End of financial year – party time for accountants, woo!
As a long-time accountant working in Australia, I always confuse people who aren’t accountants because as far as I’m concerned, the year starts on the first of July, not the first of January. Around the world the financial year starts at different times – our Kiwi friends start their new financial year on the first of April, the UK several days later, whereas Americans and Canadians are actually aligned with the calendar year. Whenever the new financial year starts for you, the weeks leading up to it are a great time to get your practice organized for the new year. Here are my top tips.
Put your own oxygen mask on first
Accountants often put our clients and their needs before our own. Accountants are usually a small to medium sized business too and it’s important to ensure that the processes you undertake for your clients are also undertaken for your own business. This means getting admin up to date. You always hear of the plumber who has a half-finished bathroom – don’t be the accountant whose own records are six months behind.
In SuiteFiles, this is good time to declutter your system and consider archiving prior-years’ folders. It’s also a good time to consider your pricing structure before new engagements start. Have a look at templates you use in SuiteFiles and update them to reflect the new financial year. The start of the new financial year is often a time when legislation recently enacted becomes operational so make sure that any necessary updates are reflected in your client engagement letters.
Our business is cyclical with often a lot of work required in the first three months of a new financial year. For small to medium practices, this swallows up resources and if you have staff that need unplanned time off, this can throw a spanner in the works. Work with your team and make sure everybody gets a chance to refresh before silly season starts. This counts for you too – take some time out to relax and recharge before work gets hectic.
Be a good advisor
Once the new year starts most of the opportunities for tax planning have passed. We are all used to the client who is not happy with their tax bill. So be proactive and make sure that before the end of financial year you spend some time considering your clients’ tax position and advising on strategies but also what the expected tax bill will be. This helps mitigate angry clients getting surprise tax bills. Setting up tax planning workpapers and standard letter templates in SuiteFiles can make this process streamlined and efficient.
Scan and shred
If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper reading this blog, hopefully you’re already working in a substantially paperless environment. The new year is a good time to restate how you want to deal with paper. Make sure your templates are up-to-date and can be completed online and saved to the appropriate SuiteFiles folder. If things must be printed to be completed, make sure they are scanned and filed digitally and the originals securely disposed of. The same goes for incoming documents for which original documents do not have to be kept. With client source documents that must be returned make sure wherever practicable that they can be scanned and saved.
This is a no brainer but, if you haven’t already, set up digital signing in SuiteFiles before the new year starts. It makes the workflow between gaining signatures and lodgment much faster than snail mail and it can be more secure.
Most importantly, enjoy the decluttering and roll-over as you move from the old to the new financial year in a well-rested and prepared state of mind.
We’ve got your back meeting your end of financial year deadlines
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Wishing you all the best smashing your deadlines!