If you are like most small businesses across Australia and looking for ways to deal with the impact of COVID-19, now is probably a good time to review your finances and do a self-audit. Here are six steps to get you started and get back to business as usual as things pick up.
Understand what support is available to you
With a range of Federal, State and Territory Government measures in place to support small businesses – including the JobKeeper Payment, SME Government Guarantee Scheme, administrative tax relief and cash payments, to name a few – it pays to understand what benefits are available to you*.
Review your expenses
Now is the time to look into every expense and process to see where you can tighten the belt. Do you have a long-standing account that is no longer the most cost-effective option on the market? How about any outdated practices that are draining time and resources from your business? Take a holistic approach to cutting any unnecessary expenses across your business – and ask for help from your accountant or financial adviser if needed.
Clean the books
If you're spending days or even weeks gathering receipts and filling out forms when tax time rolls around each year, your business may be due for a thorough clean-out.
Sorting out your business banking and other vital paperwork is important, and can often be pushed to the curb when customers are demanding your time. So make the most of whatever time you have now to get your documents and finances in order. Doing this will save you the stress of sorting this out in the future.
Consider your accounting practices and try to find ways to streamline the process. Perhaps you could benefit from an investment in accounting software such as Xero or MYOB? Alternatively, you may want to think about outsourcing to a dedicated professional such as an accountant if you don’t already have one.
Tidy your inbox
Recent research has found that reading and answering emails is a serious drain on productivity. Employees report that less time spent checking emails resulted in more time focused on ‘more important tasks’ and a general increase in productivity1.
Tidying your email inbox can go a long way towards improving the performance of both you and your employees. For instance, setting up filters and folders to ensure unimportant messages skip the main page can ensure employees are not being distracted from their work. Another good tip is to turn off pop-up notifications and allocate a specific time each day to deal with incoming messages.
Negotiate a better deal
Now is the time to approach your landlord and suppliers to talk business. If you've been a loyal tenant or customer for some time, you could ask your landlord to look at rental assistance and see if your debtors could drop their rates or offer discounts.
Clear any debt you can
Given now is a difficult time for many small businesses to clear debts of any kind, it is still worth looking at how you may be able to chip away at them. Try knocking back the high-interest loans first, or completely clearing the smallest debt to kick-start the payment momentum. Talk to your accountant about what may be the best option for you.
Remember you are not in this alone. BOQ are here to support you and help you navigate this challenging period and finance your plans for the future. Click here to talk to a BOQ Business Banking specialist.