business tips Archives - BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray

Tag Archives for " business tips "

Review your expenses and save yourself money

Review your expenses and save yourself money

Review your expenses - and save yourself money


Running a business will always mean incurring certain expenses or 'spend'.

Whether you’re a large family business or a small fledgling startup, there will be costs, overheads and supplier bills that mount up – and these expenses will gradually chip away at your cash position, making it more difficult to grow and make a profit.

So, what can you do to reduce your spend levels? And what impact will this have on your overall margins, profits and ability to fund the next stage in your business journey?

Getting proactive with your spend management

Spend management is all about getting in control of your expenses – and, where possible, aiming to reduce the level of costs and overheads that you incur as a company.

Why does this matter? 

Well, excessive spending eats into your cash flow, reduces your profit margins and stops you from achieving the profits that you’re capable of as a business.

So if you can get proactive with your spend management, you can actually make your company a far more financially productive enterprise – and that’s great for your overall business health.

So, what can you do to reduce spend and slim down your company expenses?

Here are some key ways to reduce expenses:

Reduce your overheads

Your overheads are the unavoidable costs of running your business, producing your products or supplying your services.

If you have bricks and mortar premises, these overheads will include rental payments, utility bills and even the cost of paying your staff.

Drill down into the numbers and see where there are opportunities to reduce these overhead costs. That could mean moving to smaller premises, or reducing the size of your workforce, to reduce payroll expenditure.

Put limits on staff expenses

If your employees can claim expenses, or buy raw materials and equipment with the company’s money, these costs can soon start to rack up. It’s a good idea to put a spending limit in place, so each staff member can only spend up to an agreed amount.

Having a clear expenses policy helps, as will training up your staff in good spend management techniques. Expenses cards – such as WebexpensesSoldo or Pleo – allow you to quickly set spend limits, track expenses and pull your expenses data through to your cloud accounting platform for processing.

Look for cheaper suppliers

If you can reduce your supplier costs, this will go a long way to bringing down your overall spend.

If you’ve been with certain key suppliers for years, look around for new quotes, look at current market prices and see if you can negotiate better deals. And if your old suppliers aren’t flexible enough, try swapping to newer, more eager suppliers who will be willing to meet you in the middle on price.

Make your operations leaner

The bigger your operational costs are, the less margin you’ll make on your end products and services.

One way to resolve this is to aim for a ‘lean approach’, paring back your staff, resources and operational complexity to the bare minimum.

By making the business as lean as possible, whilst still delivering the same output, you keep your revenue stable, but reduce the spend level that’s eating into your cost of goods sold (COGS). The smaller your COGS, the more profit you make on each unit or sale – and that means better cash flow, more working capital and bigger profits.

Talk to us about improving your spend management

If you’d like to get in control of your expenses, we’d love to chat.

We’ll review your current costs, run forecasting, and help highlight the key areas where expenses can be cut. Then we’ll help you formulate a proactive spend management programme, to reduce your unnecessary spending.

Keeping your cashflow strong

Keeping your cashflow strong in tough times

Keeping your cashflow strong in tough times

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable in tough economic times.

When sales are slow, there are still overheads and salaries that need to be sorted.

At First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray, we understand that the key to staying afloat and continuing to thrive during this time is pre-planning and forward thinking.

Here are some tips to help your business thrive in these difficult times:

Get a clear picture of your payroll and planned expenses

It's important to have a detailed understanding of your business's expenses so that you can plan for any potential shortfalls.

Make sure you have a clear picture of your payroll, and any other planned expenses that will need to be accounted for. If there’s even a possibility that there could be a shortfall, it’s essential to meet this head-on.

By forecasting and budgeting meticulously, you'll be able to better understand how you're placed to weather financial strains if or when they arise.

Invoice early

Sending invoices as soon as possible and in advance can help you receive payments sooner. By proactively billing your clients or customers, you increase the chances of receiving payment promptly. Offering a retainer or similar deal to regular clients or customers can also encourage them to book services or make purchases in advance, providing you with a cash flow boost.

Chase payment 

It's essential to follow up on any outstanding payments during tough times. Maintain strong communication with your clients and proactively remind them about their unpaid invoices. By initiating conversations and expressing the importance of timely payment, you can encourage clients to settle their dues promptly. Read 6 secrets to getting prompt payment here.

Talk to suppliers

A little honesty can go a long way. Being honest with your suppliers about your financial situation can lead to more flexible arrangements. Openly communicate with them and explore the possibility of extending a line of credit or negotiating alternative payment terms. Suppliers who value an ongoing business relationship may be willing to work with you to find mutually beneficial solutions.

Review Inventory

Evaluating your inventory can help identify potential cost-saving measures. Look for local suppliers who may offer cheaper alternatives, reducing shipping costs. Additionally, consider discussing alternative products with your suppliers that could help you lower expenses without compromising the quality or value you offer to your customers.

Review your costs

It’s also a good idea to do a general review of expenses. Business costs can creep up, and it’s a great idea to make a time to check on your expenses regularly, no matter what your financial situation. Review all of your regular payments and subscriptions as well as upcoming costs. There may be travel, functions or purchases which you can decide on an alternative approach to.

Talk to the bank or tax department

If you're experiencing tight cash flow, it's important to initiate early conversations with your bank and tax department. By discussing your situation, you can explore available options for financial assistance, such as credit facilities or tax payment extensions. Proactive communication allows you to put necessary arrangements in place and ensures you have the support needed to navigate challenging times.

Need help? 

We can help you implement strategies to protect your business for the long terms and help you alleviate cashflow worries.  Get in touch.

Making the most of digital and cloud

Making the most of digital and cloud

Making the most of digital and cloud

Transforming into a digital business sets the best possible infrastructure for your future growth. And, as your business scales, the benefits of going digital will start to become obvious.

Running your key business processes in the cloud and using the latest digital software and apps adds to both your efficiency and your productivity. And, most importantly, digital systems are designed to scale with you as your enterprise grows and the need for resources increases.

Here are some of the big reasons for taking the plunge and diving into digital.

Automate your key manual process to increase efficiency

A scalable business has to systemise its processes and procedures. If your business model is still tied to manual processes and a system that only exists in the owner’s head, you’ll eventually come up against a capacity brick wall. Systemising and automating your processes is a fundamental step when you make the jump to digital.

Look at every internal and external step in your operations and write down how these systems work. Note down each task, who actions what and how the whole system links in with the next step in your operational chain. If there are opportunities to automate a step, automate it. Many business apps now include artificial intelligence (AI) or automation features that can chase up unpaid invoices, send automated replies to customers in live chats, or take automatic payments etc.

Work in the cloud to stay more connected

Since the start of the 2020 pandemic, the world has seen a quantum shift to remote working – and that’s only been possible because of cloud technology. Instead of working from local applications on our laptops or office-based servers, most tech-savvy businesses now use cloud-based apps that are accessible anywhere you have an internet connection.

Switching to cloud-based systems is a game-changer. You and your team are no longer tied to a physical office and can be productive from any WiFi-enabled location. That could be your home, your customer’s warehouse, your regional office or your local coffee shop.

And the benefits aren’t just limited to remote working.

With your applications and databases in the cloud, you can access customer information, sales data or financial numbers wherever you happen to be. Everything is securely backed up and available at the press of a button – that’s an invaluable benefit if you want to be flexible, connected and scalable as a business.

Create your own custom app stack

Your business systems and software no longer have to remain static and based on the office server. By combining a business and accounting platform like Xero with your own choice of business apps, you can create a truly tailored ‘app stack’.

Apps use an API (application programming interface) to connect with each other, share data and form a larger business system. This can include apps to:

  • Manage and automate your bookkeeping and accounting tasks
  • Send out e-invoices to your customers to speed up payments
  • Take automated payments and reconcile your transactions
  • Automatically chase late-paying customers and carry out credit control duties
  • Project manage your operations and provide detailed reporting
  • Manage your job utilisation and time spend on each project
  • Keep a detailed real-time inventory of your products
  • Send out marketing campaigns and social media posts to your audience
  • Interact more closely with your end customers and learn their habits

Talk to us about implementing the appropriate app stack into your business.

Record and track your business data

App integrations and a customer app stack don’t just improve your productivity. Because your apps are connected via APIs and are sharing your business data, you also have access to a wealth of data, information and reporting features.

Look in detail at your cashflow, expenses and spending to improve your cash position. Take a deep dive into your sales and marketing information to find out who your best (and most profitable) customers are.

Run projections and ‘What if…’ scenarios, based on your historical data to forecast the future path of the business. There are plenty of ways to make use of this bountiful data to help you review, understand and improve your performance as a company.

Make better-informed business decisions

A business in the pre-computer age would have had very little information on which to base its decision-making. Annual accounts, cashflow statements and some basic management information would have been available, but there was very little real-time data to refer to.

In the digital age, you can literally see every aspect of your company’s performance in real-time – and, in some cases, in the future as well. That’s a game-changer in so many ways, and something every business owner should be using to improve strategy, financial management, customer experience and business decision-making.

To summarise, a digital business:
  • Creates systems that are integrated and connected
  • Shares and records all your business data
  • Reviews, analyses and finds insights in your business information
  • Connects with your customers in more meaningful ways
  • Makes better-informed business decisions, as a result.

making the most of business data

Making the most of business data

Making the most of business data

Are you recording, measuring and analysing enough of the data being generated by your business?

With so many apps and digital solutions now available to businesses, there's a wealth of useful data to trawl through – and plenty of hidden insights for you to benefit from.

Here are 5 ways to get more insights from your business data

1. Track your business finances

Managing your business accounts used to be something you left to your finance director. But with cloud accounting now the norm, every business now has 24/7 online access to detailed information about its financial position and performance. Deeper analysis and insights are usually available at the click of a button, helping you spot the pitfalls and potential opportunities.

Your accounting platform can show you:

  • Profit & loss reports and balance sheets, with real-time data to help decision-making
  • Cashflow forecasts and projections, to help plan your future cash position
  • Budget tracking and spending reports, to stay in full control of your expenditure.
2. Review your credit score

The credit risk rating your company is given by the big credit agencies can have a huge impact on your ability to borrow. A high risk-rating will mean that banks and other lenders will be reluctant to offer you funding. And suppliers will be less open to offering you trade credit.

Some credit bureaus, like Experian, now offer ways to check your business credit score. With a better understanding of your credit data, you can take action to improve your score.

To get in control of your credit position, you should:

  • Find out your current credit score and how this is impacting on your ability to borrow
  • Check out your payment history and take action to improve performance
  • Regularly check this credit data to track improvements or drops in your score.
3. Monitor your sales and marketing data

Steady sales revenues are a must for any business that wants to grow, but how much oversight do you have over your historic and future sales data? Using a sales and marketing platform like Salesforce helps you track your sales, campaigns and customer relationships – giving you a goldmine of data to sift through and analyse:

Key data areas to analyse will include:

  • Which products and/or services are making the most sales, and why
  • Which customer demographic is the biggest spender, and why they’re advocates
  • Which campaigns are delivering the best return on investment (ROI).
4. Track your staff performance

Your people are one of the company’s most important assets. But do you really know how well your employees are performing, or how engaged they are with the goals of the business? Today’s HR software makes it easy to set core skills and capabilities and track how each team member is performing over the course of the year.

As an employer, you can:

  • Set performance and training targets, and see how your employees are tracking
  • Run satisfaction surveys and staff feedback to check in on team engagement
  • Use your data to drive improved performance and happiness in your workforce.
5. Measure your performance against targets

One of the big benefits of tracking your business data is the ability to measure your performance against a given target. Whether it’s a budget target for a new department, or a sales target for a new marketing campaign, you have the performance data at your fingertips. This helps you motivate the team, work towards a common goal and ‘gamify’ your progress as a business.

If you share these targets and performance data with your people at monthly team meetings, this transparency can work wonders for motivation. When your employees, management team and executive team are all aiming for the same goals, you’re a more effective team.

Talk to us about getting more from your data.

Transforming your company into a digital business may seem like the end of the process. But the reality is that getting in control of your data sharing, analytics and performance tracking is the genuine goal for any ambitious business in 2023.

We can help you connect up your app stack and focus on analysing the most important data for business success.

Check Your Business Performance Against the ATO Small Business Benchmarks

Check Your Business Performance Against the ATO Small Business Benchmarks

Check Your Business Performance Against the ATO Small Business Benchmarks

Are you interested in comparing your business performance against the ATO Small business benchmarks? It can be a useful exercise to see whether your business is performing well, on average, or lower than the benchmark figures.

Each year the ATO publishes industry-based data to highlight specific ratios of financial and other types of performance.

For example, you can compare your cost of sales to turnover, total expenses to turnover, or labour cost to turnover. Comparing to average data gives you an idea of how your business performs compared to others in your industry.

It's no problem if your ratios are different – but it can be a helpful starting place to look if you want to improve financial performance or reduce costs. If your ratios are very different from the ATO’s, then it could be worth diving deeper into your financial reports to see if you have problems that can be addressed. For example, a hospitality business might realise that its food cost is much higher than average and then take action to change suppliers and manage wastage.

The ATO benchmarks are based on your business industry code used in your activity statements and tax returns. If you’re not sure what industry you fall under, check the ATO Business industry code tool to find the correct code for your business.

To start comparing your business, you’ll need some information from your accounting software financial reports.

  • Gross sales income
  • Salary and wages expenses, including superannuation
  • Vehicle expenses
  • Interest on credit cards and loans
  • Cost of sales
  • Total other business expenses, including all running costs, administration, contractors, suppliers, rent, freight, training and website fees.

Once you have these totals, either from your software or your last tax return, you can compare your figures to the ATO benchmarks. Compare your business here.

Want to learn more? We can run the numbers for comparison information and then discuss areas you can target to increase profitability, reduce costs and streamline operations. Talk to us today.

Meeting your goals during a global slowdown

Meeting your goals during a global slowdown

Meeting your goals during a global slowdown

Optimism among business owners was high coming into 2022. But a number of factors are now making things a lot more challenging:

  • Global events are pushing up energy prices to astronomical levels.
  • Ongoing supply-chain issues are making it difficult to source raw materials.
  • A scarcity of talent is causing problems when it comes to staffing and hiring.
  • Covid is still around and making trading more complex and difficult.

Faced with these hurdles, you might feel that your goals are no longer attainable. But is this true? Growth is likely to be a challenge, but not impossible.

5 steps for meeting your goals during a slowdown

Moving forward during a period of economic recession is certainly more of a challenge. But what's needed is an updated plan with awareness of the major external threats.

Here are five steps to set you on the right path:

1. Revisit your goals and see how realistic they are

Look at the numbers and make a call on whether they still make sense in the current business market. If necessary, update your goals and make them challenging. But, importantly, make any goals attainable during a time when cash and resources are in short supply.

2. Get the best possible understanding of your financial position

Take a deep-dive into your finances and see how you’re tracking against your budgets and targets. How is your cashflow looking? Do you have enough working capital to fund your growth? If additional funding is needed, where could it come from?

3. Decide if you have the right team for the job

Whatever your key goals, you need talented people on board who share your core aims for the business. Think about whether you have the team you need, or if there’s a pressing need to hire new people. And consider if artificial intelligence (AI) and automation could fill some of the resourcing gaps and help you scale up.

4. Assess the current situation in your sector

You can’t change the big external threats in your industry. But you can do your homework and find out what the immediate threats will be. Are there supply chain issues? Are prices going sky high? Get up to speed and look for ways to minimise the impact and rise to the top of the crop.

5. Update your plan

Once you’ve looked over your numbers, goals and strategy, you’re likely to need an updated business plan. Factor in the threats, set meaningful goals, but give your company a target that’s realistic during a global slowdown. Successful small steps towards a goal are better than one giant leap; a leap where you may land flat on your face.

Getting prepared

The sooner you start revisiting your goals and business plan, the better prepared your company will be for the ups and downs of a recession.

Come and talk to us about your financial position, your core strategy and your concerns about the next six to twelve months. We’ll help you set practical, attainable goals that will push your business forward.

Key numbers to focus on in your business

Key numbers to focus on in your business now

Key numbers to focus on in your business now

As a business owner, it’s always been helpful to have an understanding of accounting – but in the world today, it’s never been more important to have a good grasp on your finances.

With the business world irreparably changed by the impact of coronavirus, the war on Ukraine, and rising inflation, your business is facing a ‘new normal’. Priorities have changed, customer behaviours have mutated and revenue streams have had to evolve and pivot in order to create a viable post-lockdown business model.

To track, monitor and drive your financial performance in this new business world, it’s increasingly important to have a handle on your key financial reports and metrics.

Getting to grips with your financial reports

Whereas in the past, extra cash in the business may have been seen as a surplus that needed to be spent on something, the past three years have shown us that having these reserves is vitally important for the survival and long-term health of businesses.

To truly be in control of this cash, it’s vital that you can dip into your accounts, financial reports and dashboards and ‘see the genuine story’ behind your financial position.

So, what are the key reports to focus on? Let’s take a look:

Budget 

Your budget is the financial plan that's tied in with your strategic plan. In essence, the budget is your approximation of the money it will take to attain your key strategic goals, and the revenue (income) and profits you hope to make during this period. It’s a benchmark you can use to measure your actuals (historic numbers) against, allowing you to see the variances, gaps and missed targets over a given period.

Cashflow Statement 

A cashflow statement shows the flow of money into and out of your business.

Understanding these cash inflows and outflows in detail allows you to manage this ongoing process, allowing you to aim for a ‘positive cashflow position’ – where inflows outweigh outflows.

In your ideal positive scenario, you have enough liquid cash in the business to cover your costs, fund your operations and generate a profit.

Cashflow Forecast

Forecasting allows you to take your historic cash numbers and project them forward in time.

As such, you can see where the cashflow holes may appear weeks, or even months, in advance. This gives you time to take action, whether it’s increasing your income stream, reducing your underlying costs, chasing up unpaid invoices (aged debt) or going to lenders for additional funding.

Balance Sheet 

Your balance sheet shows you your company’s assets, liabilities and equity at a given point in time.

In a nutshell, it’s a snapshot of what your business owns (your assets), what you owe to other people (your liabilities) and what money and profits you currently have invested in the company (your equity).

Your balance sheet is useful for seeing what stock and equipment your business owns, how much debt (liabilities) you’ve worked up and what your company is actually worth. This is all incredibly useful information to have at your fingertips when making big business decisions.

Profit & Loss

Your profit and loss report - often referred to as your P&L. Your P&L gives you an overview of the company’s revenues, costs and expenses over a given historic period of time.

Whereas the balance sheet is a snapshot, your P&L is more like a moving video. It shows you how your finances are progressing by demonstrating how revenue is coming in and costs/expenses are going out (rather than cash coming in and going out, as you see in your cashflow statement and cashflow forecasts).

There is a range of software and apps that you can use to generate the above reports. For example Xero

Talk to us about software and apps to help you with the financial reporting and forecasting for your business

attracting the right talent

Is your business attracting the right talent?

Is your business attracting the right talent?

We all know that business owners are finding it challenging to find good people to join your team.

Have you considered what your employer brand says about your business?

Your employer brand is like the tone of voice for your business. It should reflect you and what makes it unique, while also attracting people who want to work there too!

The right employees are a business’ most valuable resource. With the changing needs of industry, it's important to have an attractive brand that will attract those with skills relevant for your company - and keep them around longer than before!

So how are you attracting great talent to your business?

Start with sharing the full picture

To get good people, you need to tell them what your company is like.

This includes talking about the work environment and company culture. You can do this by describing your work environment in job descriptions. Including that on your website or social media.

Also make sure your careers page has more information about your company, the culture, and the roles available.

And it helps if you can also provide some insight into company life and why your people currently work for you.

Know your Employer Value Proposition

Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is what makes your company different from others and attractive to potential employees.

Your EVP includes things like your company's values, offerings, and associations.

Having a strong EVP makes it more likely that people will want to work for you, and it can also help reduce turnover if current employees feel aligned with your company culture.

Attracting the right talent

When it comes to attracting the right talent, you need to first understand who your ideal candidate is. Build a profile of your ideal candidate by thinking about their:

  • Work experience
  • Aspirations and goals
  • Values
  • Education
  • Personal activities
  • Personal life and family situation.

Then, create questions to ask potential employees to see if they fit your ideal person. You can also tailor your advertising based on the profile you develop to attract the right candidates.

Plan for the future

What positions do you need to fill in the next 6-12 months, and what skills are required for each?

Build relationships with potential candidates now. This will take time, but it will be worth it.

Make your company an attractive place to work by investing in your employer brand. This includes things like culture, environment, values, and strategic vision.

Doing this will help you save money on recruiting costs and reduce the number of employees who quit.

Business tip: Knowing what your customer wants

Business tip: Knowing what your customer wants

Knowing what your customer wants

Knowing what your customers want helps you meet your growth targets. We’ve outlined a couple of ways to improve your understanding of your customers, through better data, analysis and feedback.

The increase in digital business systems has opened up forensic ways of understanding your customer base. That's a huge bonus when you're aiming to build better connections, relationships and experiences with your audience.

Knowing what your customer wants is a fundamental piece of knowledge for any successful business to get to grips with. And when you're running a modern, digital business there's an overwhelming wealth of customer and sales data and analytics at your disposal – making it easier than ever to dig down into the needs and habits of your end user.

Detailed CRM records and customer notes

A CRM system becomes the heart of your customer management, business development and marketing activity, allowing you to log activity, keep notes and record progress throughout the sales pipeline.

The more information you have about your valued customers, the more you can do to meet their needs and deliver the perfect customer experience. And by maximising your use of this customer data, you can tightly focus your marketing campaigns and do more to make every customer feel understood, valued and (most importantly) satisfied.

Apps such as Active Campaign and HubSpot are very popular, with information being generated from accounting sales data or add-on sales management POS systems.

Drilled-down sales records

Keeping tabs on your sales activity is central to any business model. In an ideal world, you want regular, repeatable sales from a loyal customer base. But sales activity can be hard to predict, especially when you’re setting ambitious sales targets for your team to hit.

Having detailed sales records and data at your fingertips has two key benefits:

  • You know how sales have fared in the past
  • You know how sales may pan out in the future

Being able to run forecasts, based on your historic sales data gives you a stable foundation on which to build your future sales targets. It’s a solid projection, based on real business data.

This data also gives you an encyclopaedic overview of what your customers have been buying.

This sales data helps you understand:

  • Which products/services your customers want to spend their money on
  • Which specific products/services are failing to convert
  • Which points in the year will have peaks and troughs in sales
  • When it’s the right time to invest in more sales and marketing activity

This is all gold dust when it comes to planning out your strategy, assigning your sales and marketing resources and building engagement with your core audiences.

Hitting your growth targets, is far easier when you know the needs of your customers and can accurately target your sales, marketing and social activity.

1 2 3 14