Imagine if you were the owner of a thriving business. Your customer base was solid and loyal. Your personal brand has become more and more prominent. Your self-confidence growing stronger and stronger until one day, you cavalierly opened a plain white envelope and the letter inside from the tax collector started to make your eyes popped and your jaw dropped. A greeting from ATO is definitely not as nice as a birthday card.
Unfortunately, this kind of imagination comes to true from time to time. Recently I was referred to one of my colleague’s clients who described how he was bombarded with two major words of “outstanding” and “overdue” by his annoying old friend— the ATO. “Staggering” is pinpointing his feeling and “confusion” is permeating the whole message.
I’m hoping this little article can help those of whom have started or are planning on starting a business instill within themselves, the mindset of contracting professional accounting advice.
1. Collaborating — the path to win-win
Australia is a nation with 97% of its businesses considered as “small business”. Having said that, this doesn’t guarantee that small businesses in this country are existing within their own paradise. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 percent of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of starting. Incredibly, the trading loss only contributes a small portion of the fails. The main killer is actually the poor strategic management which hinders the business owners adapt to the constantly changing market.
Outsourcing professional services, as an important management strategy, is definitely a wise choice for a small business, considering its time-saving and cost-effectiveness. But the question is how to manage this strategy in a collaborating way; instead of treating it as another chore to complete. It’s understandable that the business owners who don’t possess the professional knowledge tend to leave the whole thing with those of whom, know better than them. In the accounting context, this means the connection between the clients and accountants are only switched on during the tax time. This limited relationship has blinded lots of clients from discovering the full range of essential services, advice, and analysis they could have received from their trusted accountant. Anyone who is taking an aerial view of the outsourcing trend will literally find out it creates a melting pot for knowledge sharing and expertise interaction.
Utilising outsourcing as a service in a positive sense will eventually not just shift your burdens, but also amplify your influence and increase your opportunities.
2. Cloud Technology — The Platform on which to Operate
If collaboration presents the long-term relationship between you and your stakeholders, then a platform is essential for everyone to operate on the same level and be thinking on the same page. In old days, accounting software used to be a static legacy system which is only possessed by the professional and is only available on site. Thanks to cloud technology, accounting software has worked as a platform which is more transparent, dynamic, efficient and user-friendly than ever.
The leading accounting software such as Xero and Receipt Bank has changed the way people operate their business and keep gaining preferential feedback from the clients. Some highlighting features of Xero, such as automatic match, instant recognition, and integration with other software, have increased the efficiency significantly. Most of all, it builds a podium where both the business owner and the accountant can access to the same database and communicate with each other.
Today most of the accounting firms provide a technology solution to guide you into the new world of business support. So, it’s worthwhile to inquiry and discusses your options when you outsource the accounting services.
3. Commitment — The never-changing way to practice
There is an ancient Chinese idiom that says, “The constant dripping of water wears away the stone.” Similarly, to the business, a small effort in a persistent way can eventually bring huge effect to the management. Usually, people always assume commitment is time-consuming. And there is always a temptation to cut corners when the time is short. This normally causes the problem later on and probably requires more time to rectify. A more manageable way to is to set up a healthy habit which breaks down the whole piece into little tasks.
A healthy financial commitment includes spending a small amount of time to go through your report every week, tracking up your expense and account receivables, regularly communicating with your contracting service provider, clarifying the issues in the first place, etc.
“The constant dripping of water wears away the stone.”
Again, your commitment shows how you and others work as a team in order to monitor their quality of operation consistently. And in the long term, a well-tracked business will avoid lots of potential risks such as poor cash flow, improper tax treatment and beyond.
Written By: Jennifer Xie