Give us 90 minutes and we’ll give you back your lost profits

Did you show a profit on your profit and loss – but your bank balance doesn’t come anywhere near to matching that figure? Wondering where it all went?

SME can solve that mystery and help you turn your paper profits into actual cash in your bank account. We’re offering a free 90-minute consultation to new clients, where we’ll answer the question: “Where did my profits go?” We can work hand in hand with you to improve your business performance, find your missing profits and improve your cashflow into 2016.

We’ve had some fantastic success stories with both new and existing clients this year, with every person who has switched to SME saving money on their taxes or improving their financial position – or both. I’ve personally handed a cheque to a client from the Inland Revenue for almost $1 million after sorting out the mess created by the previous accountant. 

One new client used to spend every Wednesday doing his accounts, but we’ve improved his systems so much that he now takes every Wednesday off work entirely. This month we took on a new client and reduced her taxes so dramatically we’ve paid for our own fees for at least the next two years.

Our company has been in business in Auckland since 1988: almost 30 years of riding out the ups and downs of the economic cycle. We have the experience and the long-term perspective to help set up your business for sustainable success – so you can thrive, prosper and grow your company for many years to come.

Come into our Mt Eden office for a free, no obligation consultation about your accounts and we’ll show you how the right accountancy and business development advice can pay for itself immediately and keep paying off as your company grows. 

By Geoff Hamilton

Xero dashboard

At SME Financial we often sing the praises of Xero. This isn’t just because it is pretty, it is because we see daily how Xero can help our clients run their businesses more efficiently and in turn more successfully.

Earlier this year Xero released the Business Performance Dashboard. The dashboard is a new way of giving you, and us as your accountants, better visibility of how your business is performing.

We think this is a fantastic tool and if you take a look at the top 20 reasons for start-up failures and you’ll see that many of these problems can be identified by a simple metric.

Of course simply having a metric such as a gross profit percentage in front of you isn’t going to solve any problems but it will certainty make you aware of them.   With both of us able to see the basic data in one easy glance, it becomes easier to work together to tackle issues and design a sustainable business strategy.  Our monthly advisory board meetings sound very formal but the practicality is they gives us the opportunity to review your results in real time and solve issues as they arise, rather than 12 months down the track.  These meetings bring an independent perspective to the business as well as the experience of hearing how hundreds of other businesses operate - some really good and others not so good.

Thinking you can do it all yourself and forging ahead with fundamental errors in pricing or no idea how to grow, is a quick way for SMEs to find themselves in hot water.

That’s something larger, more established businesses know well. A study of over 1,000 Australian SME owners found that bigger companies (turnover $1 million plus) and older business owners were “more likely to consider their accountant as their most trusted adviser”, for both day-to-day accounting and business planning.

If you are interested in hearing about how a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly meeting can add value to your business, talk to one of the team at SME Financial.

 

5 ways to spring clean your systems

It’s officially the start of spring, which means it’s time to think about spring cleaning your office systems (although Wikipedia thinks Kiwis like to do ‘New Year’s cleaning’ – I’ve never heard of this!). Here are 5 ways to help get your workspace – both physical and digital – more organised and decluttered before summer arrives:

1.     Sort out your inbox

Are you an ‘inbox hoarder’? According to this survey, the average inbox contains about 8,000 messages and 37 folders, while 90% of inboxes contain more than 15 unread messages. A surprising 20% contain more than 21,000 messages. If your inbox is stressing you out, now is the perfect time to start clearing it out.

A good tip to get you started is to sort your messages by sender – this way you can delete in bulk all the emails you know are irrelevant, like reminders from your kids’ schools, promotions from suppliers and social media invites.

2.     Have only what you need at arm’s length

When sorting out your physical desktop is to remove anything from your immediate reach that you don’t use every day. If it’s not something you’re going to reach for at least once a week, it should be sorted into a box or onto a shelf for when you do need it. This makes your desktop cleaner and smarter – and it may impress your colleagues, too. One survey found 57% of employees judged co-workers by how clean they keep their workspaces.

3.     Disinfect your surfaces

Computer keyboards and mobile phones contain more bacteria than toilet seats, but we never seem to get around to cleaning them. Spring clean your keyboard by disconnecting it, tipping out the crumbs, then rub with disinfectant wipes. Wipe your phone and iPad, too. Improve the situation by not eating in front of your computer and not using your digital devices when you’re in the bathroom.

 

4.     File in the cloud

From receipts to timesheets to notes, you can make the paperless office a reality. We’ve been working on becoming a paperless operation since 2002 and it’s revolutionised the way we do business. We no longer have to fork out for storing hundreds of boxes of paperwork and our spaces are neater and more organised, unlike the guy in this photo. 

Look for some of the Xero add-ons for managing your records. For instance, WorkflowMax will sort out your timesheets, Receipt Bank will store your receipts from your phone or computer, and Xero can track all your inventory and accounts.

5.     Sort out your computer desktop

Desktop clogged with icons and files? This can be distracting and inefficient. File your individual items into folders and reduce your desktop clutter to a few well-chosen items. You can even spruce up your icons by downloading some free new icons – there are some amazing icon sets here; my favourites are these cute and colourful mushrooms, but there’s something for everyone here.

By Trina Newby. 

Somebody needs a cloud-based filing system...

Somebody needs a cloud-based filing system...

Why New Zealand is a fantastic place to do business

Running a business is always full of challenges and regulatory costs can feel particularly annoying. But New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to start and run your own company. Ranked second, only behind Singapore, New Zealand is the World Bank’s top-ranked performer in three categories:

·       Starting a business,

·       Getting credit, and,

·       Protecting minority investors.

It’s also second-ranked in ease of registering property (read New Zealand’s Doing Business report here). Compare New Zealand to some of the other nations and you start to feel very lucky about your place in the world.

Consider that:

·       Starting a business in India takes 11.9 procedures, 28.4 days and 12.2% of income per capita plus paid-in minimum capital of 111.2% of income per capita. (Our income per capita in this report is around $40,000, so an equivalent cost here would be $4,800 to start a business and minimum capital of $44,000). In New Zealand it takes 1 procedure, half a day, 0.3% of income per capita and requires no minimum capital.

·       Building a warehouse in Ireland would require construction permits that take 150 days to organise at a cost of 9.5% of the warehouse’s value. In New Zealand, your equivalent warehouse will take 93 days and cost just 0.7% of the warehouse’s value.

·       Registering property in Hong Kong means 5 procedures, 35.5 days and a cost of 7.7% of the property’s value – which is substantial in one of the world’s least affordable property markets. Here it takes just 2 procedures, 1 day and 0.1% of the property’s value.

Next time you need to pay tax or build a warehouse or start a new company, you might like to think twice about complaining. And of course, if it’s proving too stressful, give us a call and we might be able to make the process less painful.

By Chris Morris. 

7 ways the Budget could affect your business

The 2015 Budget is likely to have at least a small impact on your business and possibly also your investments over the next two years. I’ve selected the seven ways it’s most likely to affect SME’s clients: 

ACC cuts

You’ll pay less in ACC levies for vehicle, work and earner accounts in 2016, followed by a further cut in 2017. The reduced levies on vehicle registrations that were announced earlier start kicking in this month. All good news for small businesses.

Tax cuts

The Government is predicting minor cuts to income taxes in 2017. That would be welcome news for everyone, although these tax cuts are far from guaranteed and could easily be derailed by an economic setback.

Connectivity spending

With $210 million being spent on ultra-fast broadband, your business may be able to take advantage of better connectivity and quicker download speeds in the future. Rural businesses can also take heart, with $150 earmarked for developing faster rural broadband. 

R & D growth grants

Is your business involved in research and development? There’s an additional $80 million available in grants, so get in touch with Callaghan Innovation and find out if some of that could help your company.

More land in Auckland

For developers and investors in Auckland, there will soon be more land available to build houses, thanks to 450 hectares of Crown land opening up for Special Housing Areas.

Reducing the cost of government interaction

Another $12 million is going towards the NZBN scheme, with the ultimate aim of reducing the cost of business-to-government interactions by 25% by 2017. Cheaper compliance is definitely a plus for small companies.

 

Additional airport taxes

A user-pays tax rather than a business one, this will increase costs for our clients who often travel by air.

If you have any questions about how the Budget will have an impact on your taxes or accounts, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to help.

By Matthew Green