Financial-year fitness

In Business Together3 MinutesBy Roylance WatsonJune 13, 2024

As the financial year in New Zealand wrapped up on 31 March, it’s time to get our ducks in a row. For businesses, it’s more than just crunching numbers – it’s a chance to reflect, plan, and set the stage for the year ahead.

First off, let’s get the dates straight. Unlike the regular calendar year, New Zealand’s financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March. This gives small-business owners a chance to take stock of their finances, plan ahead and ensure they’re ticking all the tax boxes.

Tax time is a big deal. You must file your annual income tax returns and pay any dues before the deadline hits. Good record-keeping and clear financial reports make this process a whole lot smoother. Accounting software like Xero and Hubdoc have eased this burden since I started in accounting 20 years ago, when it was the norm to receive boxes full of paper to work through. Now we have live access to what is happening, and you can even file your invoices in the system to save time digging them out later.

Prep work is key. A handy checklist can help you dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s, from checking your financial records to tidying up your stock inventory.

My advice is to get this done as quickly as you can, then you can look at the year ahead. How did the past year go? Are there any trends you noticed in your income and spending? Budgeting and planning are all about learning from the past and setting yourself up for success.

And, hey, if all this number-crunching has your head spinning, don’t sweat it. Accountants are there for a reason. They can take the stress out of financial management and help you make smart decisions for your business.

So, as the financial year closes, roll up your sleeves, get organised, and set your sights on the road ahead.

A few tips:

  • If your accountant hasn’t contacted you already with a checklist – be proactive and reach out to them and ask what you need to provide to get your accounts prepared quickly.
  • Don’t procrastinate – although some questions could relate to one year ago, it is better to tackle this now, it’ll only get further away. Also, for those businesses that only catch up with their accountant once a year, the sooner you do this, the more valuable it will be to make any necessary changes.
  • Look into budgeting and forecasting – If you haven’t before, this type of planning can be invaluable to a business’ success and a great measure throughout the year as to how you are tracking.
  • Finally, remember to stop, take stock and celebrate what you have achieved.