How SMEs can turn tax time into an opportunity to grow

Many small-business owners see the end of the financial year (EOFY) as a busy time during which they need to prepare tax returns for the business and group certificates for employees, as well as finalise sales, do stocktakes, and ensure all financial recordkeeping is in order. The thought of adding another task to that seemingly-endless list can be daunting. However, there is one more important task SMEs need to undertake, and that is business planning.

EOFY is an ideal time to focus on planning for business growth. Whether SMEs intend to upgrade equipment or buy new assets, or simply revamp business processes to increase efficiency, the key is to start planning EOFY activities as early as possible. This ensures the right tax rebates available to the business can be leveraged, reducing the stress of closing out the financial year.

There are six key ways businesses can turn tax time into a growth opportunity:

  1. Plan early. Waiting until the end of June to consider how to make the most of EOFY will make it difficult to manage the baseline tax and financial requirements, let alone make time for advanced business planning. It’s important to keep financial records and processes up to date throughout the financial year so that it’s not a huge burden in June. This also frees up time to start considering some of the strategies and approaches the business should adopt to facilitate growth in the coming year.
  2. Take stock. Review the current business plan against actual performance to get a clear picture of where the business currently stands. If the business is not on track or objectives have changed, now is the time to tweak or redevelop the business plan to achieve goals for the coming year. This process should include a thorough review of the business’s current capabilities and assets, and a gap assessment to see what’s needed to reach the next stage of growth.
  3. Automate processes. Most businesses, regardless of how streamlined and modern, can benefit from regularly revising processes. This can be anything from how order are taken and goods are fulfilled to how income and invoice payments are accounted for. In many cases, these processes can be completely or partially automated using technology solutions that are becoming more affordable all the time. Businesses can achieve significant cost savings through automation so it’s well worth investigating the tools that are available.
  4. Reduce costs. Reviewing print policies can help reduce print costs substantially. Simple, free measures such as setting waste-reducing policies like mandating duplex and monochrome printing can shave costs off the top line. The next level is to implement optimised print services that can leverage even more opportunities to reduce cost. Optimised print services technology can also track print costs and tie them back to departments, cost centres, and even individual users.
  5. Research rebates. At the end of the financial year, there are lots of tax rebates and other benefits for businesses investing in assets, so it’s important for business owners to speak with their tax advisor regarding what’s available to their business.
  6. Purchase assets. It’s important to purchase the right assets for the business. For example, if the business needs a new printer fleet, it may not be advisable to simply replace existing machines like-for-like. A comprehensive review of print requirements may reveal that the business can consolidate the fleet and get better results with fewer machines, while saving money. The same applies to any business asset that may need replacing; it’s important to thoroughly research the market and get the best, most advanced equipment the business can afford.

Shane Blandford, Director of Marketing and Innovation, Konica Minolta

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