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Running a business

Five tips to get your books into shape

Playing catch-up with your bookkeeping? Now is the time to knuckle down so you can approach tax time with confidence.

It’s a familiar story for many small business owners: you do your own bookkeeping but lack the time to deal with the paperwork that piles up during the financial year. Fortunately, there is still time to get things sorted before your taxes are due. Here are five tips to get you started.

1. Know your lodgement dates

You can prioritise tasks and avoid unnecessary panic by mapping out key lodgement and payment dates for your business using the ATO website.

For example, although the tax year ends on 30 June, your income tax return is not due until 31 October. This means you can tackle PAYG ahead of other bookkeeping areas because the annual employee payment summary report is due much earlier on 14 August.

2. Do the right tasks

Stocktake, bank-account reconciliations and reviewing debtors’ schedules must be carried out on or shortly after 30 June to enable an accurate snapshot of your business at the end of the tax year.

You should also ensure all business activity statements are lodged and that employee payment summaries have been processed.

3. Sort your records

Accounting for your business is easier if all your data and paperwork are filed appropriately. You can organise them into the following categories:

  • Money received
  • Payments made
  • Banking records
  • Accounting reports and tax notices
  • Employee records
  • Asset registers
  • Plant and equipment schedule
  • Debtors’ and creditors’ lists
  • Vehicle logbooks
  • Registrations, permits or licences

The ATO’s record-keeping evaluation tool explains which records you must keep and for how long. If you’re already using cloud-based software such as QuickBooks Online then you’re one step ahead! Accounting software can help track all these costs and records.

4. Engage a professional

As highlighted by Intuit’s recent study, many business owners need additional support to manage their finances as they are often armed with only a basic understanding of business finance. Apart from saving you time and stress, engaging an accountant or bookkeeper will also improve the accuracy of your financial information.

5. Develop better habits

Entering transactions as soon as possible prevents you from falling behind. If you are time-poor then adopting cloud-based software will be more efficient than using manual spreadsheet solutions, which are more labour-intensive.

You can manage your bookkeeping successfully. Get organised, stay on top of things and your life will be easier come tax time.

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