While the end of financial year can be hassle, it is a great opportunity to do some tech spring cleaning. PAUL WALLBANK
By Paul Wallbank
The end of the financial year is a busy time on a number of fronts for businesses, and unfortunately the tech side has a few things you should look at before 30 June.
One of the things I always check at this time of year is what I need to buy in the upcoming months. The first place to look is the stationary cupboard for the stocks of printer toner, paper, blank DVDs and the like. Anything that’s looking a little low gets ordered.
Keep in mind, you don’t want to over order. Many a time I’ve found offices with whole storerooms full of unused ancient printer cartridges that were bought in bulk because they were a good deal at the time.
On my last spring clean, I found a box of five cartridges for my long deceased Laserjet 4L printer. At $140 a pop, that turned out to be an expensive bargain back in 1996.
Your business plans for the new financial year might dictate some purchases now. For instance, if you’re looking at registering new domain names or upgrading your hosting or internet plans, now is a good time to do it along with getting business cards to go with them.
If you have a domain that’s expiring in the next few months, it’s not a bad idea to renew it now. You can also review if you are actually using some of those sites or domains anyway.
It’s worth looking at internet, mobile and fixed phone line charges and see if they can be changed. Often a more competitive plan has been released or you might have changed your usage patterns. Sometimes changing plans involves some upfront expenses which can be put against this tax year.
Another area worth looking at is maintenance. If you have a computer or other technology that’s playing up or overdue for a check up, now’s the time to do it. You often find that’s money well spent in itself in terms of improving the performance of office equipment.
Sometimes you’ll get the advice that it’s time for something to be replaced. I’m a bit of a scrooge and tend to use things until they fall apart. But eventually even us cheap Charlies have to bite the bullet and get new office equipment. Even if it doesn’t make sense to buy them before the end of the financial year, you can at least budget for them.
Of course I’m not an accountant and I’ve often had a stern talking to for not consulting mine before making a big purchase. So you should clear any important spending you make and always consult them when the taxation rules are a factor in your decision.
The last thing I do on 30 June is burn a couple of DVDs of financial records and important documents. While these figures aren’t set in stone as the accountant makes adjustments and the odd stray receipt turns up, you at least have a rough snapshot of the past financial year.
When your accounts are finalised that’s another time to burn a set of DVDs containing all your important information for safekeeping.
While the end of financial year can be hassle, it is a great opportunity to do some tech spring cleaning.
Paul Wallbank is Australia’s most heard computer commentator. For the last 10 years he has been the resident computer expert on ABC Local Radio and has written five computer books. Paul founded and built up a national IT support company, PC Rescue and has a free help website at IT Queries. Today he spends most of his time consulting and advising community and business groups on getting the most from their technology.
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