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Source: Unsplash/Scott Graham

With this year being a bit of a “back to normal” as we learn to live with COVID-19, I’ve compiled some trends and tips to help small businesses understand some of the key issues to be addressed this year – as well as how get the most out of your accountant during these times.

Accountants play a critical role in keeping businesses open and have been a fantastic support throughout the pandemic. This information may therefore be useful as we enter the third fiscal period of the pandemic.

Cash planning

The opportunity here is for small businesses to engage with their advisors as much as possible for advice on cash flow planning.

April is the perfect time for your adviser to help you determine what your upcoming tax obligations might be and how any overdue payments can be managed with the Australian Taxation Office in a way that supports your cash flow.

Work together to review busy times in the year ahead and discuss any specific challenges so you are better prepared on when and how to spend and save.

Your advisor can negotiate with the ATO on your behalf

Unlike previous pandemic years, where the ATO took a step back from pursuing companies over their delinquencies, the ATO is starting to be more active. Advisors are experts in negotiating payment terms with the ATO to support small businesses with cash flow and, most importantly, help recover from the difficult past two years.

Do not be shy. Ask your advisor about the role they can play in these negotiations to help you better manage your cash flow and keep your business afloat.

One Touch Payroll 2.0

This year the ATO will be rolling out STP 2.0 for compliance and some accounting software vendors will have already introduced it to their platforms. This means your accountant can help keep you up to date on compliance.

The big advantage here will be saving time and knowing that your accountant will be able to help you with payroll.

Monthly recurring billing

Partnering with an advisor is one of the best ways to maximize your success in small business. It is essential to ensure that your cash flow can support your work with an advisor. Ask your advisor to help you with this, working together to agree the scope of work in advance and make it a recurring monthly fee.

This way, you make sure you stay compliant, have ongoing support, and have budgeted for their services. You also avoid a heartbreaking conversation if you haven’t budgeted for your accounting services and can’t afford to pay anymore, which can sometimes happen when companies pay hourly rates.

In addition to relying on your accountant for help with these matters, they can also help you with specific challenges your business may be facing. For example, small business owners can get help from their accountants to access government disaster relief if they have been affected by flooding.

Shaye Thyer is Head of Accounting at Intuitive QuickBooks Australia.