Fresh financial year — looking back, looking forwards

It’s the new financial year (yay!) but let’s face it, making EOFY (end of financial year) resolutions is not much different to those you promise you’ll do over a champagne on New Year’s Eve.  Yes, you will be better, yes, you’ll lose weight, yes, you’ll make more time for things that matter….

Well, assuming that you mean it, what could your business be improving in 2017-18?

 (Re)organise your systems

You (and your accounts department/bookkeeper/accountant) made it to the 30 June by the skin of your teeth, right? And now you’re promising you’ll be more organised for next time, hmm? At least while the adrenalin’s up and the memory’s fresh from finalising reconciliations, make a point of setting up your interim reports/ paperwork / spreadsheets properly, and get that Google Calendar reminder going at regular intervals. 

Do a financial de-clutter

With the tax year having just finished, it’s a good idea to sit down with your board (or business advisors) and staff and go through all the areas you skimped on or over-cooked during the past twelve months. Look at where things blew out, where you saved. What can we lean? Do this in July (this year)!

Efficient does not always equal effective! 

Does your business succeed at both? If not, you may need to explore why. For example, you may have invested money in a virtual or bot receptionist and congratulated yourself that you saved on an individual.  Then when the angry or missed calls filter in, you wonder if the reduced expenditure was worth it. Or thinking your existing staff wouldn’t handle a rush of new work, you brought in some contractors, only to have the latter marking time because the workload was overestimated. This is where business judgement is called for.

Project for the next two years (minimum)

Why stop at every June 30? Most businesses need to make their forecasts longer than 12 months. There’s a lot to factor in: Wages, capital equipment, rent, budget, where your industry may be heading, how your existing clients’ business is tracking, and so on. Again, involve your stakeholders (within the office, and in your governance structure). Examine how well you are tracking towards your vision.

Budget for the unexpected

The GFC was eight years ago, but its repercussions are still being felt, and almost no-one imagines there aren’t more global surprises around the corner. Certainly not with the current White House incumbent, and really, nearly anywhere you care to look. Plan for the unexpected and discuss scenarios on a regular basis – balance optimism with realism.

Not just talk about the “big picture”

Sometimes those in charge of strategy become a little lofty, giving the impression they have more important things to do. But as the new financial year swings into gear, we all get simultaneously busy chasing new business, maintaining the deliverables pipeline while procrastinating over the “small stuff”. Make a point of regularly attending to the details, because it’s right there where things can go wrong.

Attend to office emotional well-being – LISTEN!

One person may be doing a rotten job, maybe triggering a major mistake, client loss or financial crisis during the last few months.  The warning signs are always there and staff will be muttering their concerns for some months previously. Someone may resign, others seem unhappy. Be open and listen to how they are feeling. Encourage staff to come forward with concerns (and ensure it’s handled constructively, proactively and confidentially).

Happy new financial year! It’s a great time to put in place great measures to reach success.

 

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