The end of the financial year isn’t just a time to buy up big on hardware and software, it’s also a chance to consider your tech strategy for the year ahead.
There’s plenty of talk about the new tax rules which let Australian small businesses write-off major purchases up to $20,000 in one year rather than three. It’s something which you should definitely discuss with your accountant. The tax break certainly offers a good opportunity to invest in new equipment, but you should also think about other ways that tech can improve your bottom line in the year ahead.
If your business is starting to outgrow shoebox accounting methods, the start of a new financial year presents the perfect opportunity to migrate to a new cloud-based financial system such as Xero, MYOB or Reckon. Once again it’s worth talking to your accountant before you take the plunge, to see which online accounting platforms they prefer to work with.
Aside from making it easier to balance the books, these accounting systems also offer better insight into your business – helping you reconcile invoices, analyse your cash flow and better appreciate which are your most important customers. This can be the first step down the road towards “business intelligence”, helping you work smarter rather than simply working harder every year.
A cloud-based accounting system fits nicely into a wider mobility strategy for your business, unchaining you from your desk so you can stay productive when you’re away from the office.
Consider a cloud-based office suite like Office 365 or Google Docs, to ensure that all your important documents are at your fingertips whether you’re working at your desk, in an airport lounge or on your kitchen table. Once you’re freed from the shackles of your desk you can also start to think about disaster recovery and business continuity plans, should disaster strike.
Hopefully you keep backups of important documents, perhaps on a network drive in your office or somewhere in the cloud. Once your backup system is in place, it’s important to think about how you’ll keep the lights on during a disaster. The ability to work anywhere, from any device, might save the day if your office is temporarily taken out of play by fire, flood or some other unexpected calamity.
Perhaps the most important financial new year’s tech resolution should be to undertake a security audit of your business. Are your old passwords strong enough? Have you re-used passwords? Is it time to embrace advanced security options such as two-factor authentication? Have you granted staff members, or perhaps customers, more access to business systems and sensitive data than they really need?
Play devil’s advocate and think about the easiest way to cripple your business, then come up with a countermeasure or at least a plan B.
Don’t just view the end of financial year as a time for spending money. Spend a little time thinking about how to prepare your business for whatever lies ahead.
David Hancock is the founder and managing director of Geeks2U, a national on-site computer repair and support company.