Get ready for tax time by completing these five simple tax time tasks

End of financial year (for Aussies). It rolls around every year at the same time yet so many small business owners are caught off guard when the new financial year hits their calendar. It is as regular as your birthday, yet somehow always manages to catch us off guard.

Even if you’re not from the land down under you can still do a 5 point check-in of your business to make sure you’re on top of these tasks.

1

Organise Your Receipts (yes...it's boring)

Receipts. Urghh… the tax man needs them but they’re not the easiest things to deal with. Before the new financial year hits review your current invoice and receipt handling process (wow, that sounds about as sexy as granny panties). You can, of course, use different apps that will keep your receipts in one place. If you’re someone who has a lot of receipts to deal with Receipt Bank might be a great solution for you. For many of us (me included), there aren’t too many transactions to deal with so a good old fashion ‘system’ to make sure we don’t lose anything will work just fine. This is perfect for anyone who has a dirty secret drawer, pile or box of unsorted receipts. Let’s deal with that mess and promise never to speak of it again 😉

Use dropbox to create files for each month of the new financial year to keep your receipts and invoices organised

A simple solution is to set yourself up with a free Dropbox account then create a “Current Financial Year” file. Inside that file set up individual files for each month of the year. Use the Dropbox app to scan and upload your receipts to the appropriate month. I use the following file naming system so I can always find what I need.

As you can see from the pic above I also add in a file for my personal receipts for stuff that I can’t claim on tax, a file for a property I have and a file for anything I have spent money on that I can claim at tax time (I don’t usually spend personal money on taxable items, I run those expenses through the business but sometimes I realise after I have paid that it is a business expense). 

I can then give my bookkeeper access to the Dropbox and she has everything she needs to reconcile my accounts. Too easy!

You can see my receipt naming system below – I use the business name (JB HiFi) the item purchased (Camera Battery) and the date (10062018) so I can search by date, item or business name if I need to find a receipt. My bookkeeper LOVES me for this system, she can find any transaction in seconds. 

p.s If you’re in Members Club now is a perfect time to start or re-do The Get Organised Kit. The receipt and invoice procedures are all there for you including templates you can customise to your business!

2

Get Your Bookkeeping Up to Date

I can be a little boring with my constant lectures on keeping your accounts up to date. I promise it is for your own good! There is no excuse for letting your bookkeeping fall behind (unless you are dead). It doesn’t matter what country you live in, the business tax peeps are making the bold assumption that you’re in full control of your business finances. It is a hard and fast rule of running a business.

If you’re not up to date it is tempting to do nothing until you “find the time” to sort it all out. We both know you won’t find the time until the very last minute and by then you will have fallen even further behind.

Do yourself and your business a favour and start from today going forward. Don’t tell yourself the “I will catch everything up and then keep on top of it” lie. Schedule some time each week to scan receipts, pay invoices, invoice clients, follow up on outstanding payments and if you do your own bookkeeping reconcile your latest transactions. If you make this a weekly task it will take you 10 to 30 minutes a week and you will never feel the gut-churning overwhelm of having months and months, or worse years, of bookkeeping to deal with.

p.s I was in a coaching session with a client a few weeks ago. She said, “I really hate you for making me keep up with the all the money stuff but it’s so cool that I can see all numbers I need and I am on top of it”. This is the first year she won’t be playing catch up! This will be the first year that I don’t need to start every call with “are your numbers done yet…” and she doesn’t need to fell that constant nagging guilt and panic of that big task on her list of priorities.

3

Review Your Sales + Pricing

My Profit Lovers Members Club gals have to check in each Monday with 5 tasks. The one task that I am noticing rarely gets left off the list is keeping their sales tracker up to date (probably because I am so annoying about it). We have sales target check-ins also and nothing makes me happier than the ladies throwing their “percentage of sales target reached” into the group. If they’re struggling we all share ideas on what they could do next month to hit their target, if they reach their target then we all cyber-celebrate.

Here is the point…

They all KNOW their numbers. They set a sales target for the month and they work and track towards it. If they don’t reach it they create a plan of how they will do things differently next month. They’re consistent and focused on the goal of reaching their targets. That is why having sales targets and tracking towards them is so important if you want to make money in business. It is also one of the fastest and easiest ways to motivate yourself. When you see the number on the tracker each day increasing it is hard not to get excited about doing more!

Talking about sales, you also want to do a pricing review too. Has your pricing increased with inflation, growing expenses and/or supplier costs? If everyone around you is edging up their pricing but you’re not your expenses and cost of goods will eat big ol’ chunks out of your profit. The new financial year is a great time to make changes. Members Club gals can login in and complete The Pricing Kit which covers consultants, coaches, retailers, manufacturers, freelancers and wholesalers will break the process down for ensuring your pricing is profitable. You would be surprised by how many businesses have set incorrect pricing!

p.s I am doing a pricing review this year, so if you’re looking at investing in one on one coaching you might want to jump on that soon!

4

Review Your Personal + Business Budgets

This is another sexy-as-granny-panties tip but it could change your business BIG TIME. I have two very distinct camps of clients.

One camp is too scared to pay themselves from their business because they’re not sure what is theirs to take and their worried sales will suddenly stop leaving their business bank account penniless. They leave all their profits in their business bank account and essentially work for free. Working for free sounds about as fun as being hit in the head with a falling pine cone.

The second camp is spending money without know if it belongs to them or the business (or the tax man!). They often don’t have separate accounts for business and personal income and expenses and if they do, they pay business bills with personal money and personal expenses with their business funds. Combine those habits with bad bookkeeping practices (like leaving everything until the last minute) and you have a cluster-fluff of a mess. It is impossible to figure out if you’re paying yourself too much or not enough, if the business is profitable or not or if you need to change your pricing or strategy or not. Blah. Business purgatory.

Now is the time to assess your personal income budget (what do you need to pay yourself). Be realistic about this number. Start with the minimum viable amount to make ends meet then add in what your ideal pay amount would be. Don’t forget to add tax! This is called your Profit Plan and provides the basic numbers you need to set your sales goals. 

p.s We did this exact exercise step by step together on the last free live training; The Profit Plan Workshop. If you attended the free workshop then grab your worksheet and check over the numbers.

If you’re not paying yourself but you have the money then start! Even a regular transfer of $100 is better than nothing. Get into the habit so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour. Work your way towards paying your goal amount each week.

If you’re spending money everywhere and not tracking how much you’re taking personally then start. I have worked with many business owners who thought they weren’t paying themselves. Once we looked carefully at the accounts there were big chunks of business revenue paying for groceries, fuel, dinners out and lots of other expenses. Technically it isn’t ‘wrong’ to do that but it makes figuring out what you actually earn from your business super confusing!

5

Spend a Little "Sexy Time" with Your Business
(and eat some cake!)

This is much more fun than the last four tasks, I promise! I am giving you full permission to take a big long lunch break, head to a local cafe and spend some one on one sexy time with your 12-month plan. I hope you have a Profit Lovers Plan and Track that you set up before the year started. If so it should be full of awesome information on how many tasks you have ticked off your 12-month plan, how much your tribe has grown, if you’re reaching your sales targets and how consistent you have been with your marketing.

I did a quick check of mine last week and noticed how horribly inconsistent I have been with my marketing. I can see my income has substantially increased so I have totally taken my foot off the marketing accelerator. That is NOT a good thing. I am now actively moving my sweet peaches to change that bad habit.

I am going to head to a cafe this week and go through mine. Here are just a few of the things I will be looking at:

  • If my email open rates are affected by the day of the week that I send my email
  • What email subject lines have had the best open rates over the past 6 months
  • Updating the focus/theme for the next 6 months and making some adjustments to my content plan to fit in some new ideas
  • plus
    Ticking off the tasks from my 12-month plan that are completed and reassessing if the uncompleted tasks still make sense, if they do they will be re-allocated to somewhere in the next six months
  • plus
    Adjusting my sales targets for the next six months to push me a little harder
  • plus
    Updating my personal budget and cash flow forecast now I have made some changes to my insurances and paid off a heap of debt
  • plus
    Adding some new items into my cash flow that I want to save for (I cut up every credit card I had over two years ago - best thing I ever did)
  • plus
    Checking over my tribe growth and adjusting my plans to getter more traffic to my website and adding in a new marketing channel
  • plus
    Reviewing my one on one coaching inquiries and conversion rates to see if I need to make any changes
  • plus
    Adjusting my Perfect Week Schedule to my "Winter Calendar" (I work different hours in the warmer months vs the cooler months)

If I didn’t have my Plan and Track it would be a HUGE undertaking to get all this info together. Instead of having to spend days hunting down numbers and trying to figure out what I have ticked off the list and what I haven’t would be a headache. If you haven’t been using your Plan and Track then please give it a try! It’s not too late to start!

Ok, so the tasks above may not be all that alluring in comparison to taking gorgeous selfies and flat lays for Instagram, mucking about on Canva, getting creative with new products and services and just generally faffing about but they are much more important.

Take some time to focus on the less desirable business hoo-ha because the more you do the more money you will have, the more money you have the more time you can free up, the more time you have the more you can indulge in the business stuff you love! Or… you can take a holiday!

If you’re loudly declaring “all well and good for you Melanie, but I am flat-out busy with customers/clients and running my business”. My response to that… you need this time with your business more than anyone. If you have a business with no time to look over the important stuff, something needs tweaking or re-working ASAP.

Now over to you! Schedule some time in the diary and treat it as the most important meeting you will have this year!