As we rapidly approach the end of another financial year in Australia, I trust you are on top of what you wanted to get done before 30 June ticks over. The Coronavirus crisis has added to the workload and I know many firms have found this challenging.
For accounting firms in Australia there is pretty well established routine of things you do with clients in the lead up to EOFY. Just in case you have taken you eye off the ball due to the pandemic here are a few things to check:
- Write off bad debts
- Look at management fees and service agreements
- Trust distribution resolutions
- Directors fees and bonuses
- Dividends if you want to take advantage of higher franking credits compared to next year
- Division 7A loans and agreements
- Superannuation contributions
- The usual things you may want to claim a deduction for this year rather than next
- Asset purchases and immediate write off in FY20 tax year
- Any other tax planning matters
- Reviewing extension arrangements for clients
- Reviewing tax lodgement lists to make sure you don’t have anyone listed who should not be
- Budgets and plans in place for FY21
Some firms are so focused on helping their clients they forget to do these for themselves. Don’t let that be you! And this list is not definitive but has perhaps prompted you to think of a few more things.
I want to give special mention to budgets and plans for FY21. The impact of the pandemic on many of your clients has been significant and in many cases you will have been helping them build budgets / forecasts and plans as part of a survival plan. It strikes me this is a high value job that most of your business clients need at this difficult time. If you haven’t been able to get to this with all your clients yet I’d hope late June and into July is when you can get that completed.
One thing that some firms start in June is communicating with clients about the timing of their annual compliance work. I still see far too often firms who take a very “free market” approach to completing client work. By that I mean they let the clients dictate it. I think this is a bad idea! At least for your business clients.
The approach I like is where you look at your business clients and work on scheduling them. This will be done based on experience with the client and what their needs are and also by reference to availability of resources. In my experience this can make a big difference to how efficiently and effectively the client work is completed.
Ideally, you want a small number of jobs on the go at any one time for each of your team members and that can only be achieved through scheduling. The smaller number of jobs on the go ends up as a win for the firm and the client. The client gets a quicker turnaround time from when information provided to finished job. The firm gets less pick up and put down, fewer errors and happier team members.
Associated with the job planning will be the task in many firms of getting ready to rollover jobs, matters or other things in your practice management system or whatever you use to track jobs. I’d like to think this is a largely mechanical process but I have heard of firms getting into difficulties with unintended consequences so you want a safe set of hands overseeing this. Plus get well supported by the software vendor as needed to ensure all goes smoothly.
One last tip. If you have not done so already consider a meeting of your key people to quickly go through a list of things needed to be done by 30 June so nothing is missed. Having worked in five firms myself and been through a lot of EOFYs I know how easy it can be to miss something. A short check in now might stop regrets on 1 July because something was forgotten.