As a trades business owner, the end of financial year (EOFY) can seem like a daunting period filled with a cascade of deadlines and seemingly endless paperwork. However, it doesn’t have to be. By understanding the essential tasks and deadlines, you can navigate this period with confidence and ease, setting your business up for a prosperous new financial year.
One of the first steps in preparing for the EOFY is understanding your financial obligations. This includes knowing when your financial year ends, which for most businesses in the United States is December 31, and in Australia and the UK, it’s June 30. This date is crucial as it sets the deadline for financial reporting and tax returns.
Reconciling Your Accounts
Reconciliation of your accounts is the process of ensuring that your financial records match up with your bank statements. This is a crucial task that should be done regularly throughout the year, but it’s especially important at the EOFY.
If you’re using accounting software, this process can be straightforward. However, if you’re handling your books manually, it can be more time-consuming. Make sure to reconcile all your accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and any merchant services you use.
For trades businesses with physical inventory, such as materials and tools, conducting a thorough inventory count is critical. This count allows you to identify any discrepancies and adjust your records accordingly. It’s also a good opportunity to write off any obsolete or damaged stock.
The inventory count is important for two reasons: it affects your profit and loss statement (as unsold stock is not a profit), and it can impact your tax obligations (as you may be able to claim tax deductions for lost, damaged, or obsolete stock).
Reviewing Your Financial Statements
After reconciling your accounts and completing an inventory count, you should review your financial statements. This includes your profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These documents provide a comprehensive view of your business’s financial health and performance over the past year.
While reviewing these statements, look for any trends or significant changes that may require your attention. This could include declining profit margins, increasing debt, or changes in cash flow.
Preparing for Tax Obligations
A key part of EOFY preparation is readying for tax obligations. As a trades business owner, you likely have several tax obligations, including income tax, payroll tax, and possibly sales tax.
Remember that certain expenses, like equipment purchases or business-related travel, can be tax-deductible. Consult with your accountant or a tax professional to ensure you’re taking advantage of all relevant deductions and credits. They can also help you understand any changes in tax law that may affect your business.
Updating Business Records
EOFY is a good time to ensure all your business records are up to date. This includes details like your business and ABN registration information, licenses and permits, and insurance policies. You should also update your employee records, particularly if there have been changes in employment terms or if you’ve hired new staff.
Setting Budgets and Financial Forecasts
As you prepare to close the financial year, it’s also time to look ahead. Setting a budget for the next year can help you manage your cash flow and make informed decisions about spending and investments. You should also create a financial forecast, which will help you anticipate future income and expenses based on your current financial performance and market conditions.
Seek Professional Advice
End of financial year preparation can be complex, and there’s a lot at stake. Mistakes can lead to penalties or missed opportunities. That’s why it’s a good idea to seek professional advice. A certified accountant or financial advisor can guide you through the EOFY process, help you identify tax savings, and assist in planning for the future. They can ensure that you’re complying with all legal requirements and can provide advice tailored to your specific business needs and circumstances.
Each task associated with the end of financial year has a specific deadline, and missing these deadlines can result in penalties. Tax return deadlines, for example, are particularly important. In the United States, corporations must typically file their income tax return by April 15 of the year following the end of financial year. In Australia, the deadline for businesses can vary, but it’s typically between July and October.
Ensure you have a clear understanding of all relevant deadlines for your business. Note them in your calendar and plan to complete the required tasks well in advance to avoid any last-minute stress.
Using Technology to Streamline Processes
Technological advancements have made the EOFY much more manageable for small to medium-sized trades businesses. Accounting software can automate much of the tedious work, like reconciling accounts, generating financial reports, and even preparing tax returns.
Many of these software solutions are designed specifically for small businesses, with features that simplify complex financial tasks. If you’re not already using accounting software, the EOFY is a good time to consider implementing it.
The end of financial year is a critical time for trades businesses. By starting your preparation early, staying organized, and seeking professional advice, you can ensure a smooth transition into the new financial year. It’s also an excellent opportunity to review your business’s financial performance and set goals for the year ahead.
Remember, the end of financial year isn’t just about compliance and meeting tax obligations; it’s also about understanding your business’s financial position and making strategic decisions to drive growth in the future. By embracing this period of financial reflection and planning, you can position your business for greater success in the coming year.
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