What better way to launch headfirst into 2018 than with your finances in full working order?
Here are a few important tasks you should get out of the way early so you can spend more time on the things you actually want to do this year!
1. Get yourself organised
If you’re currently using accounting software, this won’t be too tricky for you, but if you spent 2017 stuffing an old shoebox with receipts, now is the perfect time to get things organised.
Go through all those receipts, invoices and documents and make sure you’ve updated your books. This is the first part of your New Year financial puzzle and you’ll struggle to tick off the following items on the list if you haven’t completed this task.
2. Settle up
It’s vital to get a handle on your current cash-flow situation and you’ll find this much easier if you don’t have any outstanding bills to take into account. Not to mention, paying your contractors and vendors on time will ensure these relationships last well into the brand New Year.
3. Assess your current situation
Now you’ve updated your bookkeeping and paid your bills, it’s time to assess your current financial situation. Hopefully you have at least a vague idea of where you stand financially, whether you’re operating at a profit or loss and how much cash you have available as you edge into this financial year.
If you have accurate figures to work with, though, you’ll have a much better chance of knowing how to proceed. Can you afford to make any New Year hires, can you justify the training course or new equipment you’ve been coveting?
Make sure your profit and loss and cash-flow statements are up to date so you know where you stand.
4. Review your tax situation
At this point, it’s a good idea to think about your tax responsibilities. Contact your accountant or do some research to figure out which of your business expenses for the last year are tax deductible and consider how much tax you’ll have to pay when HMRC comes knocking. Make sure you take your likely tax bill into account when you make any plans for the rest of the year.
5. Make an appointment with your accountant
For some of you, business will have wound down over the holidays, but for those of you in the retail sector, things probably got a little crazy. If you didn’t have time to get your accounts and bookkeeping in order before the end of 2017, it’s worth enlisting the help of an accountant, if you haven’t already.
Equally, if you find the financial side of your business a bit daunting, it can be hugely beneficial to get professional advice on everything from your tax strategy and allowable expenses to payroll. Have a look at our Accountant Directory to find an accountant near you.
If you already have an accountant or bookkeeper, now is an excellent time to give them a call and schedule an appointment. Remember though — your accountant will be incredibly busy during January, working on tax affairs for self-employed businesses who have to pay what they owe by 31st January, so getting a slot in their diary sooner rather than later is crucial.
6. Review the past year
If you’ve balanced your books, planned for your tax bill and also had a word with your accountant, now is a great time to review your year and the business goals you set this time last year.
Have you hit your targets, exceeded expectations or fallen short? If business is booming, try to figure out what you’re doing right so you can build on your current success.
If things aren’t going quite so well, think about how you can improve the situation, so that next year’s review is a happier experience.
7. Set some new goals
When it comes to setting your business goals for the rest of this year, don’t forget to include some financial ones that will provide you with a solid backdrop for your other ambitions.
For example, employing an accountant could be useful for saving you money come tax time. Or, if you currently put a lot of hours into chasing unpaid invoices or updating accounting spreadsheets, consider using an online accounting software platform to free up some of your time.
Want to save time so you can work on those other 2018 goals? Take out an absolutely free 30-day trial of Clear Books cloud accounting software right here!