With the end of financial year rapidly approaching I expect most Australian accountants are now making sure their clients are ready for the year end. Here are my top 3 things I reckon you need to get done by 30 June.

  1. Tax planning finalisation with clients

This is the usual tax planning you go through to check that clients will not get any unintended consequences or nasty surprises. I’m not going to dwell on that as I assume you are all over that. If you are not, you should be as you are doing your clients a disservice. Of course tax planning for your more complex clients will be most likely be an ongoing thing but it is a still a good idea to double check. I have often heard stories from accountants who say their clients completed certain transactions prior to year end without talking to them about it. Push your clients – make sure they have told all!

Oh, and one more thing…. Have you taken a systematic approach to this and gone through your client list and marked off each as done when completed? And have you followed a basic checklist of the key things you need to cover so you don’t miss anything? (See my review here on a book about the value of checklists – I’m personally a big believer.)

  1. Self Reflection and projection

EOFY is also a great time for you to reflect on your own business. I’d recommend you take some time out to ask yourself the following six questions:

  1. What has worked well in the past 6 to 12 months?
  2. What would we do differently and what can we learn from that?
  3. What could/should will we stop doing?
  4. What could/should will we start doing?
  5. What could/should will we do more of?
  6. What could /should will we do less of?

Even better, you could ask your team these questions. You might be surprised by what they say! Get some discussion going. You can do this at two levels – as an individual and then as a firm. Very powerful for both.

  1. Reflection and projection with certain clients

This could have two parts. The first would be to ask an opening question such as “How has the year been for you?” Then you could use a tool like Panalitix to do a Business Performance Review – look at the results for the business over the current and past two years. Keep it simple and use the graphs.

Ask the client if they were aware that these were the results and then dig deeper about what they mean, particularly for future action. The three years will show trends that could be very important. For example, a reducing GP% – perhaps due to the client not having changed pricing for 12 months but having increased direct costs.

You only need to do this for up to 6 or so measures – say Revenue, Gross Profit, Net Profit, Debtor Days, Payables Days, WIP days, Current Ratio and Cash Flow / Cash Balance – for most businesses. It doesn’t have to be complicated – just have a conversation.

The second part flows nicely from the first, or could be used on its own if you chose not to do the first   Ask them the six questions you asked yourself. You don’t have to make a big deal of it and if you could do it over the phone or via email. For maximum impact however, I’d recommend face to face following part one.

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