Monthly Tips for Financial & Business Success in 2012
Sally Revell, head of marketing, Intuit UK
Sally is head of marketing for Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks accounting software for small businesses and accounting professionals. Intuit is a leading provider of financial management software and services in the UK with offerings that simplify small business management and payroll processing.
Many people dream of starting up their own business, and despite the bleak outlook in the wider economy, increasing numbers of the British workforce are choosing to set up on their own. The threat of redundancies and job cuts from established organisations has sparked a new entrepreneurial spirit across the nation as people want to take the driving seat of their careers, earning potential and destiny.
When starting up a new company, it is key that your time is not dominated by managing IT systems and getting bogged down with processes. There are some simple steps that can be taken to get your processes working harder for you, freeing you up to dedicate yourself to growing your business, and doing what you enjoy.
Don’t forget about compliance
Compliance can become a burden on the shoulders of a business, if you do not keep on top of the necessary deadlines. Companies House requirements, Self Assessment and payroll are just some of the essential deadlines that occur every month. Mark theses dates on your calendar, with reminders and avoid getting caught out in the future with subsequent fines.
Do one thing each month
Many people overwhelm themselves when starting a new business by attempting to do everything at once. Taking a considered approach will present you with realistic aims and achievable objectives. Setting yourself one monthly goal to work towards improving your business efficiency will avoid needless stress, reward you with the satisfaction of consistent business growth and the achievement of completing the task.
Build your network of contacts
2012 has been dubbed the ‘year of enterprise’ by the British Government, and in support of this a host of events are taking place across the UK for small businesses to network and share experiences and ideas. You’re not alone in your start-up struggle so make the effort to get out and network at some of the events listed below.
Dates for the small business diary; deadlines, events and tips:
- January: Grow your business in 2012. Find valuable tools, information and support at: is4profit.com, bis.gov.uk, businesslink.gov.uk
- 31st January: Official deadline for online submission of Self Assessment tax return for tax year ended 5th April 2011
- February: Simplify your paperwork. All transactions should be logged correctly and clearly in your accounting books. These provide the foundations for your business accounts and tax returns which help you understand your cash flow. You should always try and update these weekly to keep a transparent view of your financial performance
- 2nd February: Extended deadline for online submission of Self Assessment tax return for tax year ended 5th April 2011
- March: Be inspired. Meet with other small business owners at events across the country and gain valuable insight, ideas and inspiration by meeting others face-to-face.
- 7th March: VAT return due for accounting period ending 31st January
- EVENT: 12-16th March: Global Entrepreneurship Congress, Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre, Liverpool
- EVENT: 18-20th March: Business 2012 event, O2 Arena, London
- April: Build your workforce. Prepare yourself for when you have a peak in demand for workforce, such as the Olympics or Valentine’s Day. Also keep your employees happy by paying them on time and with the correct amount. Installing an integrated in-house system will help save time and reduce outsourcing costs.
- 3rd April: End of accounting period (VAT Return due 7th June)
- 5th April: Last day of the payroll tax year
- 6th April: First day of the new payroll tax year
- May: Make light work of VAT. Filing regular returns can be a very stressful process. Financial management software that files VAT returns directly with HMRC online will remove this headache. Do note that from April 2012, all VAT returns must be filed online.
- EVENT: 17-18th May: Business Startup Show, London Excel
- 19th May: Deadline for filing your Employer Annual Return (P35 and P14s) for the tax year ended 5th April 2012
- 31st May: Last date for giving a P60 form for 2011-2012 to each relevant employee who was working for you on 5th April 2012
- June: Get professional advice. Accountants specialise in financial management and work to help you manage your finances properly. If you don’t already have one, speak to one and learn about taking control of your cash flow to encourage business growth in 2012.
- 7th June: VAT return due for accounting period ending 31st April
- July: Keep up to date with current affairs. Current affairs shape the context in which you do business. You can benefit from sharing opinions and experiences with similar businesses.
- 6th July: Deadline for filing forms P9D, P11D, P11D(b), or substitutes for the tax year ending 5th April 2012
- 31st July: Deadline for second Self Assessment payment on accounts for tax year ended 5th April 2012
- 31st July: End of accounting period (VAT Return due 7th September)
- August: Get paid faster. The core result of your business process is to eventually get paid, however creating invoices can be a laborious process. This will only increase as you grow your customer base. Typically, most companies manually produce invoices, so evaluate your procedure to see if you can find places to instil efficiencies.
- September: Be social. With so many people using online networking tools it is a really simple way to monitor the marketplace, learn and network to improve your business.
- 7th September: VAT Return due for accounting period ending 31st July
- EVENT: 19-21st September: MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival, Electric Works, Sheffield
- October: Create a budget. It is essential to know just how much income you need to cover your outgoings. Regular reporting will detail your performance against forecasts and prepare you for any future cash flow issues.
- 7th October: Deadline to notify chargeability for Income Tax/Capital Gains Tax for 2011-2012, if not registered for Self Assessment
- 31st October: Deadline for paper submission of Self Assessment tax return for tax year ended 5th April 2012
- 31st October: End of accounting period (VAT Return due 7th December)
- November: Stay on top of your finances on the move. Keep on top of your finances wherever you are by choosing a tool like QuickBooks Online that allows account management on the move using peripherals such tablets, smart phone or laptop.
- December: Review your performance. Take the time to see if you can reduce your expenses, your revenues have been accurately logged and that you have no outstanding invoices for customers. Look back on your year; did you achieve everything you set out to do? Also think about what you want to accomplish in 2013.
- 7th December: VAT Return for accounting period ending 31st October
- 30th December: Deadline for online submissions of Self Assessment tax return for tax year ended 5th April 2012
- 31st December: File accounts with Companies House
- If you know when HMRC’s deadlines are and you follow one tip each month, your business will succeed in 2012. If you want more information and advice, navigate yourself to the Small Biz Matters blog and join the daily discussion with small business experts.
*Note: Above dates assume i) VAT quarters of January / April / July / October and ii) Ltd companies accounting period of April-March