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How to Keep Business Cashflow Positive

How To Keep Your Business Cashflow Positive

 

Money, money, money…

It is something we both love and love to hate!

When they say that money doesn't make the world go round, they mustn't be talking about running a business. Because unfortunately, having the right amount of money at the right time in the month is what keeps a business running smoothly!

Managed and understood correctly, cashflow pumps life into all aspects of your business, keeping it strong, successful and growing.

So, it stands to the reason that neglecting your cashflow - even temporarily - can get you into trouble pretty quickly.

That's why it is essential to monitor this metric regularly, and take steps to ensure you keep your cashflow positive.

Here are our top tips to keep everything flowing in the right direction.

 

Keeping Your Business Cashflow Positive

Understand Cashflow

Cashflow and profitability are two very different things. Your business can be cashflow positive without making a profit, and the opposite is also true.

Profitability is a broader term describing how much money is left after all your expenses are paid. It doesn't take into account the ebbs and flows of your money over time.

Cashflow is more of a snapshot in time metric. It outlines the money coming into and going out of your business in a given period. If more is coming in than going out, then you are cashflow positive!

 

Timing Is Everything

Staying cashflow positive is all about timing. It is making sure that money coming in is ready and waiting in your account before it is due to go out again. Admittedly, this can involve a lot of fine-tuning. Get it wrong, and you are going to find yourself in negative cashflow.

This doesn't mean your business is going to fail immediately, but if it happens too often, you could find yourself in sticky situations of not being able to make payroll, pay your tax bill, or pay suppliers. Obviously, that is not a position any business owner wants to be in!

 

Get Paid!

So the goal is to have enough money in your bank to cover all your expenses, right? Money that is on its way to you or coming in from clients next month is of zero use to you if your bills are due this week.

To make sure your cash is flowing in, get your invoicing sorted. Make it easy for clients to pay you by offering a number of payment options. You might also choose to give them incentives to pay you on time, such as early payment discounts or late payment fees. Always follow up late payments promptly, and use accounting software to take care of automatic reminders and invoicing.

 

Study The Flow And Be Prepared

While unexpected things can and do happen in business, there are certain things that are predictable – like taxes, for example. If you have a seasonal business, you know that you are going to be flush with cash for some months, and potentially struggling for others.

The secret to cashflow success is to plan accordingly! Make sure you put money aside during the positive cash flow times to cover for those periods where you might be thrown into negative cashflow.

Regardless of fluctuations, you should always have an emergency back-up fund on hand for any unpleasant surprises. Put aside enough money to cover all your expenses for at least a month - better yet, from three to six months.

 

Talk To The Experts

Who better to get financial advice from than a financial expert!? Your accountant can help you get a solid grasp on your cashflow, offer advice on accounting software, and help guide you on where and when to cut back on expenses and maximise revenue. 

Here at Strive Accounting, we excel in helping you remain cashflow positive. We are specialists in small to medium business accounting, so have plenty of experience that you can draw on. Get in touch with us today to chat about how we can help you avoid being strapped for cash.

Pay Your Accountant Less By Improving Your Business Systems

 

Using an accountant is an essential part of long-term business success. Without one, your business will always be limited.

But, having an accountant can also involve a significant financial commitment. It's one of those rock and a hard place situations. What can you do about it?

To ensure you are getting the best return on your investment with your accountant, it's important to analyse the business systems and processes you are using in-house.

Improving your business systems can save you time and money. Plus, it makes life easier for your accountant! Here's what you need to do if you are keen to pay your accountant less.

 

Pay Your Accountant Less By Improving Your Business Systems

Embrace Accounting Software

If you are not already using bookkeeping and accounting software, this is the number one thing you need to focus on. Programs such as Xero increase accuracy, save time, reduce paperwork, and can automate a wide array of business systems to make your life easier. If you don't like the look of Xero, you can also use MYOB or Wave.

Up to date information can be instantly accessed by you and your accountant at any time. With direct feeds from your business bank accounts, you get an up to date, real time view of your finances. Also, any mistakes are easy to locate and rectify.

To really get the most bang for your buck, get some basic training on how to use the full capabilities of your chosen software – it can handle a lot more than you might realise!

 

Upgrade Your Organisational Skills

Beyond accounting software, there is an endless array of other digital tools that can manage the processes that previously had to be done manually. Delegation and communication tools, time management programs, HR management, invoicing, time tracking – almost any process your business does has a relevant tool.

All of these processes impact your financial records and accountant down the line. For example, having your invoicing system send reminders and alerts for late payments means that you should have less bad debt that your accountant needs to deal with. 

 

DIY

While we are all about delegating where necessary, doing it yourself can save you money. This is particularly important in the early stages of setting up a business. Are you sending your accountant simple jobs that you – or one of your employees – could take care of?

Your accountant is a highly-trained expert, and you should save your investment for the areas where you need more complex assistance and advice. Getting an accountant to handle basic data entry and bookkeeping tasks is like going to a brain surgeon for a tension headache.

If you don't have the time, patience, or know-how for the bookkeeping side of the business, consider outsourcing to an experienced bookkeeper, who will have much lower fees than an accountant.

 

Use Your Accountant!

Here's a novel idea: ask your accountant how you can pay them less! This may seem counterintuitive, but it is their job to help you manage your finances effectively. It is in their best interest to do that job well.

Ask what software they recommend to improve your systems, if they offer training in any of those tools, and what else you could be doing to make their job easier.

An organised business is a successful business. It may seem like a huge task to improve your systems, but tackle one at a time, and you will reap the benefits in the long term, saving yourself (and your accountant!) money, time and stress.

If you would like to chat more about how to systemise your business, then get in touch with me here at Strive Accounting. I am the accountant that wants to help you pay me less! Drop me a line today.

How to Prepare Your Startup for Success


 

Much of New Zealand's workforce is dominated by small business. While the big corporates play a big part, small businesses feature just as heavily!

So it is no surprise that people test the waters with their own startup ventures quite frequently.

But, it doesn't always go well.

Let's skip the scary facts and figures about business failure rates, not every idea can be a success. And it is well documented that launching and running a successful startup is a lot of hard work. Even the best ideas in the world will fail without the right preparation.

Nobody launches a business intending for it to go bust. But there is an old saying that goes something like, "failing to plan is planning to fail." This is particularly true in startup businesses. Laying the proper financial groundwork is integral to success.

So, let's help you get started by going over the essential things you need to do to create a successful startup from a financial perspective.

 

How to Prepare Your Startup for Success

Set Smart Goals

It is important to know exactly what you want to achieve with your business. Then, you need to plan out how you are going to achieve it and set a timeline. Big goals can seem overwhelming. So, take the time to break them down into bite sized, manageable pieces, and use them to inform your business plan...

 

Create A Business Plan

Developing a professional, well-thought-out business plan is the most critical part of preparing your startup for success. Having one will help you successfully apply for loans, get investors to buy-in (if you need them), and give you a guideline for the first few years of business.

Your business plan should include a solid financial plan. That will feature things like a startup budget, balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash-flow statement.

The business planning process may well be the trickiest part as you will have to do a lot of educated guesswork. The great thing is that in the early stages, your plan is like a guideline. The best approach is to underestimate your income and overestimate your expenses until you have some trading under your belt.

 

Consult An Accountant

When you are just starting out, you want to make use of as much expert knowledge as you can. And an accountant will have a lot of tips and advice on how you can get started on the right foot. They are especially knowledgeable when it comes to your business and financial plans.

They can spot things you might have missed and point you in the right direction for financial planning over the next few years. Here at Strive Accounting, we are passionate about setting startup businesses up for success. So, don't hesitate to get in touch and run your plans by us.

 

Source Funding

Armed with your business plan, it is time to gather the funds you need to get off the ground. This could include putting in your own funds, bootstrapping your way by reinvesting profits, getting a small business loan, seeking help from friends and family, or hunting out angel investors.

Have a plan for where the money is going to come from and how you are going to pay for things so that you don't end up in financial strife from the start.

 

Budget, Budget, Budget!

Setting a strictly monitored budget is one thing. Sticking to it is quite another challenge! Do your best to keep fixed expenses low (perhaps turn your spare room into a home office rather than paying for an expensive suite in town), and keep track of your spending.

Often when you are first beginning, there isn't a lot of money coming in. So be very mindful of what goes out!

 

Use The Right Systems

To make life easier from the beginning, get your systems and processes running smoothly. Using online accounting and invoicing software like Xero, MYOB or Wave will make life easier and help keep track of your finances. Plus, if you decide to hire a bookkeeper or use an accountant down the line, they will be able to jump on board quickly and easily.

 

Have An Emergency Fund

In spite of the best planning, the unexpected can happen. Markets fluctuate and personal circumstances can change. Before you go full steam ahead, make sure you have a healthy emergency fund that can help you get through tough times without too much extra stress.

 

Launching a startup is exciting, fulfilling, and exhausting. But with solid foundations, you can make life a little easier and set yourself up for success. While it's tempting to save money by doing everything yourself at the beginning, there are times when you will save a lot of time, energy, and money by getting expert advice.

 

Don't be afraid to reach out to others who have been in your position for advice, or even seek out a mentor to help guide you through. And if you need financial advice, we are always happy to help here at Strive Accounting. Drop us a line today.

 

 

 

 

 

Payday Filing

How Payday Filing Will Impact Your Business

 When it comes to running a business, you want to make sure you are compliant with all the regulations.

That is why, an important part of running a business in New Zealand is reporting your employee payment info to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). Not only your own tax records are dependent on it, but also those of your employees.

As you may know, the rules about how and when you should communicate this info to the IRD have recently changed.

Previously, businesses were only asked to file this information once a month. But as of April 1st 2019, you must file payroll info within two days of paying your employees. This time frame applies whether you pay them weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

While the changes may sound like a lot of extra work and that you might have to adjust your systems slightly to accommodate them, the process is actually quite straightforward.

Read on to find everything you need to know about payday filing...

How Payday Filing Will Impact Your Business

How Are The Forms Changing?

Previously, your business would have filed an Employer Monthly Schedule (IR348) form once a month. This will be replaced with a new employment information schedule, which should be filled out every payday.

The old Employer Deductions Form (IR345) is no longer needed.

If you haven't already been filing electronically (using payday compatible software or the myIR service), you will have to start doing so (unless your annual PAYE/ESCT is under $50,000).

 

What Else Is Changing?

As well as the new forms to fill, you will also need to give more information to Inland Revenue about your employees. They require the address of any new hires you make, along with details of staff that are moving on. Date of birth is also requested if you have that information. This information should also be filed after every payday, not once a month.

 

How Do I Submit The Reports?

The most effective and efficient way to submit your reports is to upload them directly to the IRD using compatible accounting software such as Xero. You can set this software up to automatically create a report every time you process your pay runs.

If your business doesn't use software that is compatible with the IRD system, you can still use the old myIR system to upload or fill out forms online.

Paper forms are being phased out by the IRD. Currently, you can only submit paper forms if your business pays less than $50,000 a year in PAYE and ESCT (Employer Superannuation Contribution Tax).

To make the transition as easy as possible and to reduce the chance of error, we do recommend upgrading your systems and moving across to online payroll software (or work with an accountant who does!). Automating or outsourcing your payroll is one of the most effective ways to save time and ensure you are fulfilling the requirements of the IRD.

 

What If I Have Multiple Payment Schedules?

A lot of people have asked about what they should do if they have multiple payment schedules to submit. The easy answer is, no matter what payment schedule your business uses, each time you pay an employee, your information has to be filed within two working days.

So, if you pay some staff fortnightly and others monthly, you will have to file twice to ensure you make those deadlines.

 

When Should I Pay PAYE To Inland Revenue?

The big question on everyone's lips is when does the money have to leave your account!

The great news is that the method of making these payments has not changed. PAYE and other deductions should be paid either twice a month or monthly, depending on your total annual PAYE deductions. You can find more info on your payment requirements here.

 

Do you want to streamline the way that you handle Payday filing in your business? Maybe you are looking for an accountant that can make your finances easier? Then get in touch with us here at Strive Accounting. Drop us a line today.

The Difference Between A Tax Agent And An Accountant

Hands up who loves doing taxes?

Chances are, not many of you raised so much as a finger. Fair enough. Taxes, figures, and accounting aren't for everyone.

But they are definitely something that you need to get right.

New Zealand tax regulations are becoming increasingly complicated. It can be hard for individuals or businesses to understand their responsibilities with limited experience.

That's where the experts come in.

But between accountants, tax agents and bookkeepers, it can be hard to understand exactly who does what, and which is the best fit for you.

Let's take a few minutes to figure out the difference between a tax agent and an accountant so that you can make the smart choice for your business.

 

What Is A Tax Agent?

In New Zealand, a tax agent is an individual or organisation who has registered with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to prepare tax returns for clients. No qualifications or prior experience is needed to register. The only requirement is that an applicant has permission from at least ten taxpayers to file tax returns on their behalf.

Of course, there is some screening of applicants to ensure they have a clean record and no conflicts of interest.

If you want some peace of mind that you are hiring a reliable, experienced tax agent, you can find someone who is a member of the Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of NZ (ATAINZ). Tax agents who belong to this organisation are bound by the code of ethics and have to meet the requirements for membership.

 

What Do Tax Agents Do?

The name gives it away a little, doesn't it? There are no surprises - tax agents deal with tax! They can advise you on your obligations and entitlements according to the law, and deal with the IRD when it comes to tax returns and the like.

Most tax agents will take the financial transactions you have created throughout the year and then prepare your end of year tax return. They tend not to go through and check your coding and transactions, trusting that what you have produced is a true and accurate record.

This is fine if you have straightforward accounts or are experienced in your bookkeeping. However, if things are a little more complex or you aren't really sure what you are doing with your finances, then a Tax Agent may not be able to do what you need.

 

What Is An Accountant?

In New Zealand, anyone can call themselves an accountant, even if they have no experience. So how do you know you are not hiring someone armed purely with a calculator and not much else?

A sure fire way is to find yourself a Chartered Accountant (CA) who is registered with the CAANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand).

To be a member, you must have a university accounting qualification and at least three years of practical accounting experience. CA's must actively continue their education each year, so you know they are truly the experts in their field.

 

What Do Accountants Do?

The shorter answer would be what DON'T accountants do!

In a nutshell, accountants analyse and audit figures as well as giving financial and business advice to individuals and companies. Whew, that was a mouthful!

It is an accountant's job to make sure you are meeting the laws, following the correct procedures, and doing everything by the books, so to speak.

With regards to tax, an accountant can help ensure your business is operating according to tax laws in the most effective way. They can handle all your tax requirements, including tax returns. They will also be able to help you pay the right amount of tax, advising on what you can claim for and what you can't.

While many people think an accountant's main function is to do the end of year tax return, that is actually a very small portion of their job! Their real focus and where much of their passion lies, is in helping you grow a sustainable and successful business.

This means developing streamlined systems to save you time and money, discovering the most profitable parts of your business, and helping you work on the parts that are not working well. In the long term, a good accountant will help save you money by implementing easy to follow systems that you can maintain.

 

Which Is Right For Me?

So, do you need a Tax Agent or an Accountant?

If you already have your books and finances in order but need a little extra help with the technical tax stuff, you might be fine with a good tax agent. Because their work is less involved, their fees tend to be cheaper. 

However, if you feel like your business would benefit from some wise financial advice and all-around support, an accountant can handle a lot more than just your taxes.

Here at Strive Accounting, love to help our clients improve their overall business systems so that you need us less! We are qualified Chartered Accountants who can certainly handle your taxes. But our main passion is helping you to grow a business you love. Get in touch with us today for more info.

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