With April creeping closer, you have one mission: to survive the financial year-end and move into the new year with an intact business, workforce and mental state. Tidying up your books, reviewing your year’s finances and rewarding employees for their efforts can feel like an overwhelming amount of tasks when you’re just trying to get through the season.
At Turbine, we take a survivalist approach to make sure we’re tackling the financial year-end with the best preparation and attitude possible.
Our financial year-end survival guide covers the essentials when it comes to keeping your head above water as FY15 comes to a close and ou launch into April hoping for the best possible start.
1. Form the perfect strategy
The Scouts put it best: Be prepared. Over a quarter of small business owners were reported to have felt underprepared for financial year-end, with fears of unexpected debt and lack of support putting them out of business.
And yet there’s no good reason why. Proper preparation doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming, even for small businesses. You can easily create a schedule that assigns a few hours a week to tidying up your books, invoices and expenses so there are no nasty surprises in April.
Top survival tip: If you’re looking to make a purchase that qualifies as a capital allowance claim, don’t hold out until April. Getting the purchase in before year-end can result in significant tax savings.
2. Select your gear
One of the biggest fears as the financial year-end looms is being targeted for inspection by the HMRC. Get clued up on the ways you can be investigated and make sure you’re equipped with the right protection now, such as bookkeeping software that makes audit trails easier to trace. Being hit with an investigation puts you in a vulnerable position to start the next business year; one, which you may never recover from.
Top survival tip: Legal fee protection has grown in popularity in recent years, as HMRC have tightened their grip, so there are lots of services to choose from. The Federation of Small Businesses offers free advice and tax investigation insurance to its members – amongst many other benefits.
3. Adapt to new territories
Trudging through a slow post-Christmas business quarter with no end in sight can make it hard to stay motivated, but you mustn’t allow your business to come to a creative and productive halt.
Now is a great time to review the year and to develop ideas for FY16; what went well last year, who did you lose and who did you gain? It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom either. Rewarding employees who had great financial year-end results, or who pitch creative ideas boosting growth in the new financial year, helps to keep everyone motivated and focused on what matters.
Top survival tip: If new clients aren’t coming in, use this time to build stronger relationships with your existing ones. Social media engagement, email campaigns and promotions are easy ways to nurture clients, leading to stronger relationships, and maybe even a referral or two.
4. Keep your head
It’s no fun being bombarded with reports about the current financial year and predictions for the next. But it’s important not to get discouraged, or panic. As we move further away from the 2008 crash, reports on businesses going into liquidation aren’t as common as they used to be, and there are plenty of reasons to look at the end of the financial year as a positive time for business.
Top survival tip: Give your employees reason to be positive about the new year. Sharing positive, realistic predictions for the year ahead will make sure your workforce have achievable goals to work towards. Being transparent with the company’s progress is a great way to get your whole team on board with driving the business to success.
It’s a jungle out there
With this survival guide, you should now feel ready to face the end of FY15 and take the dawn of the next financial year in your stride. Remember these four tips and it’ll ensure nothing slips through the cracks at year-end, whether you’re faced with an unexpected audit or an unhappy employee. You’ve still got time to make sure you’re adequately prepared for any situation that the end of March brings.
Staying driven and positive is just as important as the administrative stuff. If you’re feeling in control and optimistic about the financial year-end, it will rub off on your employees. And with adequate preparation, protection and information on your side, there’s no reason to lose your cool. If Bear Grylls can teach us anything about business survival, it’s that you should never panic.