Whether you’re a start-up, pop-up or an established retailer, the lead up to the end of financial year (EOFY) doesn’t need to involve a lot of late nights and panic to meet the 30th June deadline. Some planning now will make the process a lot easier, so you can focus on more important things, such as getting the most from your business before the new financial year begins.
Here are our four key tips to make EOFY a breeze for retailers. If you haven’t got time to make all the changes you know would help streamline your processes this year, then now is also a great time to plan what you might improve for the next.
1. Eliminate paper spreadsheets when counting inventory
Physically counting your retail inventory in preparation for EOFY can be a major chore. The last thing you want is to make the task even harder with manual tools like pen and paper. Do yourself and your staff a favour and opt for digital solutions such as barcode scanners and inventory counting apps.
Check if your point-of-sale (POS) or retail management solution offers stock count functionalities, and take advantage of those features. Doing so will save you time and reduce the chance of human error, helping you keep an accurate record of your inventory.
2. Automate financial tasks
Going paperless in your finance department is going to save your business a lot of time and headaches in general. Instead of printing out invoices, see if your clients and vendors would be willing to do business digitally. Get yourself a good accounting app that can automate all of these tasks for you, and that can sync in with your POS.
Using affordable cloud tools together—for example combining a POS with sophisticated accounting and payroll software—means sales, customer and cash-flow data are shared in real-time between the two systems reducing the overheads and administration required to run your business.
3. Streamline reconciliations and reduce fraud
Reconciliation is hands down, one of the ‘must-do’ jobs that every retailer should stay on top of all year round, not just at EOFY. This is where you compare two sets of records to see if the figures all match up, ensuring that your financial activity is properly recorded and the amounts are all accounted for. Thanks to cloud-based software and tech advancements, retailers can now automate parts of the reconciliation process and reduce time spent on data entry while boosting accuracy.
To reduce the likelihood of fraudulent activities in your bank reconciliations, it’s important to separate duties. It’s not a good idea for the same person to do everything i.e. count the takings, match them to the till receipts, bank the money, and reconcile the bank. The person who processes the sales or writes out the cheques is usually the best person to perform bank reconciliations, so that no single person has control over the entire process. Most often fraud is committed by someone trusted to do everything.
4. Consult a financial expert to make sure you’re not missing out on important deductions
Many Australian small businesses miss out each year on valuable tax deductions through not consulting a financial expert. It can pay to sit down with a professional at least every couple of years to go through what you might be entitled to, and learn how any changes could apply favorably to your business.
A Galaxy Research study conducted on 400 small business owners just before the end of last financial year found that almost three-quarters of SMBs who manage their own tax still weren’t aware of the deductions available to them. And almost a quarter of SMBs (23 per cent) surveyed chose to do their own tax return. Working with accountants and bookkeepers and making use of cloud accounting and integrated POS technology can save time and maximise a successful return.
Francesca Nicasio is a retail expert at Vend.
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