As the end of the financial year (EOFY) approaches, small business owners must start preparing to avoid stress and maximise their tax benefits. With so much to do, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a six-step guide to help you get organised and make the process as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Review your financial statements
The first step is to review your financial statements, including your profit and loss statement and balance sheet. These documents will give you a clear picture of your business’s financial health and help you identify any areas that need attention before the end of the financial year.
Make sure all your transactions are recorded accurately, and if you find any errors or discrepancies, now is the time to fix them. If your business carries inventory, conducting a stocktake and updating your inventory records is also essential. This will help you identify discrepancies and ensure your financial statements accurately reflect your business’s inventory levels.
Step 2: Gather & collate your receipts and records
Having the necessary paperwork in place helps to streamline the EOFY process. Some examples of records you need to keep are:
- Receipts for sales and business purchases, including buying, maintaining, repairing and selling business-related assets and stock to substantiate expenses reported in your tax return
- Records of tax returns, Business Activity Statements, GST returns and employee super contributions.
If you haven’t already, it is also highly recommended that you implement a system for tracking expenses and income. Cloud-based accounting software, such as Xero, is the most effective means of doing this.
Step 3: Know your superannuation requirements
Businesses with superannuation guarantee (SG) obligations are required to pay employee contributions through STP. Super contributions must be paid to qualify for tax deductions. The payment must be made AND received by your employee’s super fund in the same financial year you want to make a claim. So don’t leave it until a few days before the EOFY; do it ASAP!
Step 4: Manage your deductions
To maximise your tax benefits, you need to know how much you can claim and which concessions you may be eligible for. You can claim deductions for most business expenses as long as they directly relate to earning your income. For example, you may be able to claim deductions if your business:
- has set up a website
- has motor vehicle expenses
- uses diesel fuel
- operates at home
- has travel expenses
- uses machinery, tools or computers.
Instant Asset Write-Offs will end as of June 30 this year, so it is wise to make the most of this while it’s available. There may be tax changes each year that you need to be aware of, including changes in tax law and deductions or concessions, so if you’re unsure about what’s required, speak to your small business accountant.
Step 5: Prepare for a possible audit
The ATO conducts audits when they believe a more in-depth examination of your business is required. This can range from relatively quick examinations of source documents to more intensive analyses of complex arrangements and transactions. Audits aim to investigate any possible fraud or evasion or where an arrangement or transaction is considered high risk.
However, each year, the ATO will also conduct random audits on tax returns that meet their chosen criteria. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but instead of trying to avoid a tax audit, running your business as if you expect one is best.
Step 6: Schedule due dates
The EOFY is a busy time, so due dates can be missed if you don’t have them written down and reminders in place. Put all the required dates in your calendar to give yourself a reminder that will help you avoid ATO penalties. You can view the list of important dates from the ATO.
Finally, as you wrap up the financial year, it’s time to start planning for the year ahead. Review your business plan and set goals for the coming year. Consider any changes you must make to your operations or financial management systems to improve your business’s performance. This is also a good time to review your cash flow and ensure you have adequate reserves to meet any unexpected expenses.
By following these 6 steps, you can ensure your business is ready for the end of the financial year. Remember to stay organised, keep accurate records, and seek advice from your accountant or financial advisor if you need help. With careful planning and preparation, you can make the end of the financial year a stress-free process and set your business up for success in the year ahead.
Owner of PCR Accounting & Advisory, Peter Marmara-Stewart is a top-tier accountant and financial advisor dedicated to helping clients reach their business goals and achieve financial freedom. Peter is highly regarded for his client-focused approach and entrepreneurial spirit, catering to a diverse range of professionals across a wide scope of industries all across the country. Peter’s expertise can help you plan effectively, set goals, maximise profits and protect your assets. Get in touch today on (03) 9847 7516.