New (Financial) Year Resolutions You Should Make Today

The key to financial bliss is starting the year the way you’d like to end it.

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The key to financial bliss is starting the year the way you’d like to end it, says Trent Innes, managing director of Xero Australia.

Like all small business owners looking to save money, you may think you can’t afford professional advice – but think about how many hours you spend rifling through your shoebox of receipts before visiting your accountant. If that’s you, it’s time to engage a bookkeeper, says Trent. “These people will keep you organised, they will keep you up-to-date with your records. They can be your best friend at this time of year and make sure you bring that discipline in.” If you’re drawing a blank on finding a suitable advisor, Xero offers a dating-agency-style directory on their website, where you can source a bookkeeper or accountant via location or industry.

We know you’ve heard it before, but good record-keeping really is essential to manage your cash flow, meet your tax obligations and understand how your revenue and expenses are stacking up. So set aside some one-on-one time with your new bookkeeper or accountant and get to know your financials inside out. “You want to be in front of the curve, rather than waiting for it to hit you,” recommends Trent. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to actually take stock of where you are and start looking forward. Think about what your goals are, and potentially what you need to invest, to grow your business to what you want it to be.”

Running a small business is no easy task, and it becomes even more complicated when the first employee is brought on board. “If you’re employing people, you’ve got commitments,” says Trent. Paying staff brings a host of new responsibilities, like understanding PAYG tax and tracking various superannuation accounts.

Now is a great time to read up on deductions you might have missed out on last financial year. So, get reading on what you can claim as part of your trading expenses, and shop accordingly. “Time and time again people don’t understand what they can claim, so it’s really important to engage someone to help you do that,” says Trent. “You don’t want to over-claim but you want to claim the maximum amount of deductions and get everything you can.” For Aussie small businesses, remember you can still claim accelerated depreciation in the form of an immediate write-off for assets costing less than AU$20,000.

“One of the great things about my role is I get to meet so many small business owners,” says Trent. “It always blows me away how hard they work and the risks they take to run their business. End of financial year is a ridiculously busy time and there’s a lot of pressure on people as all their business and accounting needs have to be finalised.”What small business owner has time for a break? You – now that June 30 is fading into oblivion.“If you’re on top of your record-keeping and you’re not stressing out, you should actually take some time out and reflect on your achievements. It’s really important to follow your passion – whether that’s surfing, playing guitar or spending time with family – to restore the balance.”

See Trent speak at Kick. Start. Smart. on August 19th in Brisbane.

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