Organising Your Business Information For Your Accountant

I often have new business clients which are not sure what information to give me as their accountant or bookkeeper in order to prepare Australian Accounting and Tax returns, or Financial statements. So I have put together a brief explanation of a simple method of getting it all together. If you use this simple method you will not only look professional to your accountants but save them time (by doing some of the legwork and having all of the relevant information available) getting you a cheaper accounting invoice by saving accounting time and you money. This is a process primarily for businesses which, do not have an internal accounts or bookkeeper person and simply provide information to accountants to prepare returns.

I want to stress that all good businesses know how well they are doing. In fact many businesses fail because of a lack of current financial information. It is vital you know your current financial position and profit or loss statement ideally monthly or at least quarterly if the business is well established with comfortable cash flow. If you are a business who only reviews their financial position annually, I strongly recommend you consider obtaining more regular financial information. This is so you have relevant information to manage your business and profitability. This can easily be done by engaging in a bookkeeper or accountant who can also come to your office. However if you wish to prepare information for the accountant and bring it to their office here is a quick process for you to complete.

The starting point of accounting is that it is based on recording all transactions from bank statements of all relevant bank accounts including cheque accounts, investments,credit cards and loans. For this reason, businesses should aim to track all business transactions through one of their bank accounts and hence have little or no cash transactions. If you have cash transactions you may need to provide additional information.

Step one
The first simple step is to collate all your bank statements of all business accounts, credit cards and loans for the period you need to report on. Some examples to illustrate the periods involved for a tax return 2010 you’ll need to gather statements from 1st of July 2009 to 30th of June 2010, or for a BAS return March 2010 you will need to gather statements from 1 January 2010 to 31 March 2010. You should receive all statements from your bank, if any are lost or misplaced your need to reorder from your bank incurring normally a bank fee. Sort this out before you provide the accountant your information. Better still accountants love to get electronic files of your bank statements as they are quick and easier to data entry, contact your bank to do this.

Step two
Once you have collated all bank statements review all individual lines and code them with relevant information (write a relevant description of them if not obvious from the bank statement line entry). For example all credit entries all money going into your accounts, you should indicate if they are income or sometimes they are owner contributions. With all money expended (money out) from accounts, you should also be describing relevant details especially cheque numbers and EFT transfers. Remember any additional information may be useful to your accountant such as asset detail so they can process specific taxation rules. If you are GST registered, you should also indicate whether the transaction involved GST or was GST free. The more you code the more you make your financial reports accurate and speed up things for your accountants processing which will lead to cheaper fees.

Step three
If you have coded all bank statements as for step two and have made sure all relevant bank statements have been collated. You may provide this to the accountant so that the financial report can be prepared. However, as tax law requires substantiation of your transactions and keeping these records, I would also suggest, attaching all relevant invoices relating to transactions on each bank statement. There may be a few transactions which do not have invoices such as bank charges and direct debit all regular charges loan payments etc. You may have other ways of filing invoices which are also acceptable.

This has been a quick outline of how to provide information to your accountant to prepare your financial or taxation reports. It is advisable eventually for a business to take the next step and to complete it’s bookkeeping internally which may result in even greater savings. I recommend this is done with the combination of internal resources, suitable accounting software and professional accounting involvement to control and develop the financial information further. Speak to an accountant or business adviser on this issue or to discuss installing an accounting software and training you to do some of the work. Often this will streamline some of your other administration tasks such as payroll, quoting and invoicing customers, knowing which debtor accounts are due or to facilitate a purchase ordering system, and to better track creditors or cash flow.

However, if you know book work is not an optimal use of your time and do not have internal resources, please do use a professional registered BAS agent, TAX agent (in Australia) or registered accountant in your country. But, perhaps consider updating your financial information on a more regular basis. I also had a recent experience with a client who did not wish to prepare their accounts themselves, but is available when I am coding their transactions; they were also able to see how the financial report is put together giving them a better understanding of the financial information. I also recommend that you do query, and get involved with the information provided to you at a summarized level so that you are sure that it is correct.

Overall, the key to book work is to do it regularly to stay on top of it and to complete while many transactions are fresh in your memory. Having up-to-date financial reports will give you a greater sense of pride in knowing how your business is tracking. By having current financial information you are in the much more informed position to make better business management as against having only annual and lagged financial information from your accountant.

The Advances in Business Information Management

In today’s busy office environment, it is essential to have in place efficient document management procedures to make sure departments run smoothly. All data capture processes need to run efficiently so that a business can keep its staff, clients and stakeholders happy.

For example, invoice processing and mailroom automation are two operations integral to the smooth running of an office and so therefore need to work precisely. With huge advances in technology over the last decade or so, automated systems have now been developed to ensure that these tasks can now be effortlessly accomplished.

These clever business process automation tools have been invented so that enterprise can now be run digitally. The developments in information management software mean that efficiency is improved and therefore both time and money is saved in the long-term.

A huge range and volume of information including invoices, mail, financial reports, plans and drawings can now be centrally controlled, managed and distributed across internal departments and external global frameworks with ease using this innovative software.

Digital automation of business documents helps to further develop a paperless office environment and keep business as efficient and accessible as possible. No longer do invoices sit in a pile waiting to be paid. When they are managed via data capture software they can be organised and paid more quickly and efficiently.

A company that offers these innovative data capture tools is UK-based DCS. They provide a range of software suitable for most business sectors that can deal efficiently with a wide range of processes. They offer high volume data and form capture that can convert a huge range of information to electronic data file format. The FileStore EDM software automatically structures information into an easy to access database.

DCS’s systems give specific functionality for business compliance, records management, reducing document processing costs, archival and audit control of emails and files, remote scanning, automated invoice and forms capture.

DCS also provide outsource document scanning and data capture service for high volume scanning of documents, drawings, micro films and photographs. This enables archived material to be rapidly captured into the digital domain to be efficiently controlled and stored. Their scanners can cope with 1 million images per day, making them one of the largest capacity outsource services in the UK.

DCS provide their information management solutions and associated services to over 400 leading businesses worldwide. When using DCS software, their clients regularly comment that they have enhanced supply chain efficiency, increased customer satisfaction and reduced operating costs.

So in a modern business environment it is clearly essential to have data capture solutions in place. The increased efficiency and streamlined processes resulting from the use of document management software regularly results in long-term improved corporate performance.

Business Information – SWOT it For Benefits

In most situations, business decisions are prompted by information that has come into your possession. Sometimes this information comes from the information system within your business but often it is from external sources.

An interesting thing to do is to quickly apply a swot analysis to new information. If you are not familiar with the term “swot”, this stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The idea of a swot analysis is that you objectively try to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business and also the opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are aspects of your business that are particular to your business. These are internal issues. The opportunities and threats are matters that are external forces that impact on the enterprise. It is a good idea to conduct a swot analysis from time to time.

On the assumption that you have conducted a swot analysis and therefore have objectively determined your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you can apply the results of this analysis to new information that comes to you. Let us focus on information from external sources.

For example, you visit a trade show for your industry. At that trade show you observe a new technological advancement in a particular aspect of your industry. You then apply the results of your swot analysis to this new information.

As an example, you may have identified that one of your strengths is low overheads. Due to this, your enterprise is flexible and can change quickly. Accordingly, you might conclude that you could quickly adopt the new technology and steal a march on your competitors. So, off you go to your bank or other sources of capital to get the funds to adopt the new technology – and you know that this won’t be a problem because of your low overheads.

Alternatively, you might have identified the heavy capital investment in your company as a weakness. This means that it is difficult to alter the production process without very significant cost and disruption to customer requirements. When you see the new technology and realise that your competitors might be able to adopt it faster than you, perhaps this will prompt you to the decision – albeit difficult – of reinvesting in a new production process involving the new technology.

Let’s say you have identified rapid changes in technology as an opportunity for you. This maybe because of a particular set of skills that your people have. Because of their training, experience or knowledge they are able to rapidly understand the new information and apply it in a profitable way. So, you are alert to any changes in technology. You seize on this new development and give it to your people.

And, of course, if you see advances in technology as a threat, hopefully you will take action to minimise this threat.

Applying your swot analysis to every new piece of information would be too tedious. But it is a very useful practice to apply it to important information that you come across. The more regularly that you do this, the more alert you will be to developments in your industry and the more quickly you will be able to turn new information into profits or other benefits.

Promotional Mugs Are a Delightful Way to Share Business Information

With custom promotional mugs, you have a low cost but highly effective way to be able to reach out to people. Getting information out there about what you offer, how people can contact you, and building your brand are all key to longevity. You want your business to continue to grow and to be profitable. Not only right now, but may decades into the future.

Not all of your advertising dollars need to be focused on pushing products or services you offer. Some of them, such as custom promotional mugs, offer a wonderful way to thank customers and even business contacts for their relationship with you. This is a product most will use so it doesn’t get thrown in a drawer and forgotten.

Make sure you pay for very well made custom promotional mugs though. They should be durable with a lid that fits very good. If the product isn’t quality made, people aren’t going to be happy to use it. The goal is to make it something that is convenient for them and they will reach for it time and time again. Each time they do, they see your business information.

Grab them with Information

The lettering should be large enough they don’t have to get squinty trying to read it. The colors should be reflective of your company logo and other details. This is important so the person using it makes that visual connections to your business when they see it. Keep in mind, the product should be able to hold up well with the lettering too.

If it washes off when you clean the custom promotional mugs or when you put them in the dishwasher, it defeats the purpose. When the flaking starts, the quality of appearance starts to be compromised. This can cause some users to toss it out rather than to continue using it. Even if they do continue using it, the message you share is hindered.

Maximize the Space

You have plenty of space to complete your layout on custom promotional mugs. With that in mind, add a logo and your quotes for the business. Add your phone number, address, and website. To help build trust, add when your business started too if it has been a few years. This will show them you aren’t a flash in the pan business, but rather one that is here to stay!

Pick your Provider

You want custom promotional mugs that look great, hold up over time, and serve your marketing message with information. Share all of this with the provider you plan to work with and see what they can come up with for you. Find a provider who doesn’t charge anything to consult with them and share what they can offer to you. Find out what the price will be per unit.

Often, they will offer you tremendous savings if you buy a larger amount. This reduces the per unit cost so you save money. This is the type of promo item you can give away any time of the year and for any reason. They aren’t going to be out of style any time soon either so there is no reason not to buy in bulk and save. You don’t need tons of space to store them either!

Find out about the quality of the work the provider does before you talk to them about doing work for you. The last thing you need is to be embarrassed by the quality of what they deliver. It is an extension of your business, and it needs to show you care about quality on every level.