Looking back and planning ahead
It’s that time of year, the one most businesses hate but can’t ignore: it’s time to submit your year-end financials. By this stage, most businesses have probably completed theirs, but what have you forgotten? Take a look at the year-end checklist, to ensure you have everything covered for your business, allowing you to hit the ground running in your new financial year.
Review your profit and loss statement
Evaluation, especially with your financial records, is important. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you compared this year’s profit and loss statement to last year’s?
- Have you taken any extenuating factors into account, the political climate, the state of the nation, the world economy?
- What have you learned?
The dreaded stock take
If you own a retail store or wholesale enterprise, you will have to do a stocktake. Some businesses do this every month, some once a year, some whenever there is an issue. At this time of year, it is vital that you do a physical stock take. No matter how good your computerised operation might be, a proper stocktake often reveals issues that you never knew existed. Whether it’s theft, damaged goods or a fault in your stock management software, nothing beats a hand count to corroborate your stock levels, sales and year-end numbers.
Create budget for the following year
Often at year-end, companies are so busy looking back that they forget to plan ahead for the coming year. The end of a financial year is the perfect time to create a new budget as everything is still fresh in your mind, and all your financials are up to date and signed off by your accountants.
Review and update your business and marketing plans
While you are creating your new budget, now is the time to take a fresh look at your business and marketing plans. Are you on track to achieve your medium to long-term goals? Is your marketing plan working or does it need tweaking or even a complete overhaul? Be proactive and review your entire business; even if things are going well and you are happy with your numbers, forewarned is forearmed.
Check all leases for vehicles, equipment and property
Make sure that every lease you have is up to date and not about to expire. If you are renting your property, make sure you have plenty of time left on your lease and negotiate a new one if need be.
Moving a retail store, factory or warehouse is an expensive and time consuming task, which should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
Identify any possible risks or problems for your business
This is a good time for your business to try and identify any problems that might affect your business in the coming year. Factors such as the interest rate, a contingency plan if your staff goes on strike and the value of the rand should be considered.
Review your business software and hardware
Sit with your IT specialist and review all your software and hardware, and decide what needs updating or replacing. It’s best to make sure all your business software is updated to the latest versions. Is your hardware still good for the coming year, does your POS system need replacing?
We have tried to cover most points that need reviewing at this time of the year. There are many other aspects of your business that require looking at, but follow this checklist and you should be well placed to continue your success or improve on it in the new financial year.
Remember it’s always best to be proactive rather than reactive. Always make sure you choose your service providers carefully. Deal with a company with an established reputation and the relevant experience. Here’s to making smart business decisions in 2016.