What better way is there than to prepare for the future by reflecting on your progress? This is why KPIs (key performance indicators) are so important. “It is better to move forward, than to move fast and backwards”. Now, how do you measure that you’re really going forward?
What do the books say about revenue growth? The “books” are a business’s revenue, expense and income summary reports. Lucky for you if you are using an accounting software, it automatically closes your income and expense accounts at year end before adding your net profit (or loss) to your retained earnings account. If you have not automated this process and recording in your books manually, read on.
Closing the books annually lets businesses draw up financial statements that give business owners insights into their business’s financial health. This also helps you to properly file for your income tax returns.
Here are 5 things you need to do before you close off the business year:
* Monetize all invoices.
Be sure to send out reminders to clients on outstanding payments and that all the invoices are being monetized. If some clients don’t pay you, you can write the invoices off as bad debt (or if you think they are never going to pay you-this is why contract agreements are important). Follow up on invoices and payments, and make sure all the business money has reached the business account.
* Record your expenses.
ALL your bills go onto this; from things as little as internet costs, fixed costs, to variable costs. This includes incurred business expenses, keep track of those separately; you can claim tax deductions on these.
* Reconcile bank statements.
This is a common practice for many, even for personal finance. This will help you identify discrepancies, possible bank errors, or fraudulent activity that may have happened in your account. This can also help you reflect on some transactions you have authorized, that might kill your business, canceled and uncleared checks.
* Profit and Loss.
This reports on your business performance over the year. This shows the value of sales, expenses, and overheads and the resulting gross and net profit or loss for the year. Run it from the first day of your fiscal year to the last.
* Balance Sheet.
This report shows the worth of your business from the day you started trading, up to the end of the fiscal year. It includes your company assets and liabilities.
That’s a few pointers from us. Let us know what your year end closing tradition is like, we would love to hear about the different ways for different businesses.
Just so you know, Black Friday is the biggest international sale that was started in the early 1900s in USA and to date, it is still the biggest last Friday of November where consumers around the world buy necessities to prepare for the holiday and gifting season. It is an annual shopping event that businesses and customers all over the world eagerly anticipate
Small businesses can take advantage of Black Friday, this presents you with an opportunity to win customers and keep them coming back for more. Everyone likes saving and getting discounts.
Although Black Friday 2020 was a flop for South African retailers – statistics show, with a huge decrease in in-store sales. Shoppers avoided malls and stores due to coronavirus – but also there was a lack of money in their pockets, because of the economic impact of the virus and lockdown. But this year, we’re getting more prepared and focusing on what we can change/improve.
We had already had a social media post that summarises this, but in this blog we will discuss this in detail. Keep reading!
Here are 3 things you can do:
1️⃣ Social listening: Black Friday is on everyone’s lips, tune in your target market’s conversation to find out what kind of deals they hope to find. You can do a keyword research on either Google or Social Media to find out this information, see what people are mostly searching or talking about.
That is why market research, before anything else is so important so you may know your customers. Know where to find them, how to find them, and how to entice them.
2️⃣ Start preaching & marketing: customers research in advance, start advertising teasers. Some people already have a budget dedicatedly Black Friday deals, help them make buying decisions. On the day/weekend, people will be going straight where they want specific things and not hop into shop after shop.
5 Black Friday Marketing Ideas:
Social media ads
3️⃣ Make the experience smooth: Over the past year, Covid-19 restrictions pushed many traditional stores and customers online. Online transactions increased by more than 60% – more brands selling online means higher competition. More customers, especially those who are new to the digital retail space, means new challenges and demands.
Now that the restrictions are lifted, it might be quite a mess at physical shops, online shops also get a lot of traffic. Make sure you are prepared for the numbers and offer a variety of payment options. If need be, hire a VA (virtual assistant) if your business is online based and make arrangements with your developers to make sure your e-commerce site can take the traffic. If you have a physical store, prepare your team to be active and on the ground – helping customers.
Before the launch of your Black Friday marketing campaigns, make sure you didn’t neglect the details that can make or break the customer experience. Take a careful look at your store or website and see if there is any room for improvement.
What’s your plan after Retirement? How are you planning to continue living your comfortable lifestyle even after retirement?
This is where Retirement Annuities come in. It is a lifetime guaranteed monthly or annual income for a retiree until their death. You might be asking how this is different from a Pension Fund or Provident Fund? Let’s break it down for you before we get any further…
Different types of retirement vehicles:
Pension fund – You can only join a pension fund, through the company that employs you. Your money is managed by the trustees of the fund and your contributions as well as your employer’s contributions are tax deductible.
Provident fund – with provident fund, you are able to withdraw the entire savings amount as a lump sum when you retire.
Retirement annuity fund – a retirement annuity fund is independent of your employer, it allows you to choose what funds you invest this money in and you can also make monthly contributions.
Retirement Annuity Plan
Retirement Planning is important because it enables you to invest your money for a time when you will no longer be working but want to continue living comfortably with regular income.
However, this is barely ever enough to guarantee a comfortable retirement, simply because the value of money changes over time due to factors such as inflation and interest rates – which is why it is imperative that one makes additional contributions to their retirement plan, over and above the employer’s contribution.
Someone who’s been contributing R300 per month with their employer doing the same over the past 10 years, that amounts to R600 total contribution per month. This means that this person has saved R72 000 over the past 10 years. If this person continues to work for more than 30 years, given that nothing changes, a contribution of R600 per month over the next 30 years equals R216 000. Adding this to the R72 000 that was saved equals R288 000.
Disclaimer: this amount does not take into account inflation and interest rates.
Retirement annuities can be taken up as an additional investment plan for retirement which will guarantee you fixed or variable payments over time during your years of retirement.
Over and above your Retirement Annuities, there’s a few things you can do to ensure you still live a comfortable life even after retirement;
1️⃣ Start saving and investing now. Try to take up a minimum of 10% of your income and put into your savings and investments and increase this as your income increases over the years. You can also automate this process by creating debit orders so that the money is deducted automatically from your account on payday. It’s a great way to grow your wealth.
2️⃣ Adopt healthy lifestyle choices. Your mind, body and income are wealth-building tools. Don’t destroy them with unhealthy and expensive habits and addictions that are expensive to treat.
3️⃣ NEVER cash out your pension funds when you change jobs, rather transfer it to your new employer’s pension fund.
We have pretty much covered anything, you can look up different companies that offer different Retirement Annuity investment plans, compare and pick one that makes more sense to you.
Let’s not assume you know, and take it from the top.
Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions made by a business, this means keeping track of what your business spends and what you receive. The transactions would be recorded in daybooks, cashbooks, or journals, you can also use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel.
Do you need a bookkeeper for your business?
You can either do this by setting up a software, or hire a bookkeeper to keep your books in check. A Bookkeeper’s responsibility is to record, classify, and organize every financial transaction that is made throughout business operations.
Amongst other reasons, one of the reasons why some startups fail is due to the poor management of money: sole business owners mostly can relate. It gets a bit challenging to separate business finances form personal finances, making it harder to account for some of the money that comes in, and goes out of the business because no one is holding you accountable for anything. This is where bookkeeping comes in. When studied thoroughly, you can see some of your spending habits which you need to change.
3 reasons why you need bookkeeping:
To reflect on whether you are spending more than you make, vise versa. Moreover, bookkeeping enables you to seamlessly analyze your expenses, and adjust your budget, if need be. You will have a record of all your financial information you may need in a case where you want to plan or budget for the future.
You can curate accurate tax returns. Tax preparation can be a stressful season for small business owners, this is where bookkeeping comes in. Instead of looking through a pile of documents to get the required information, bookkeeping ensures that this information is well organized beforehand.
We have mentioned before, cashflow is one of the struggles small businesses have. Bookkeeping will help you mitigate that challenge by keeping track of the cash going in and out of your business. Having this kind of information will give you the confidence and peace of mind you need to make financial decisions.
Record your sales (in a cashbook/spreadsheet).
Note down every business-related purchase (keep proof of purchase).
Regularly cross-referencing your business books against your bank statements to check that the transactions and balances match, A.K.A Reconciliation.
Other things to note…
Accounts receivable, i.e. issuing invoices and making sure they’re paid, and accounts payable, i.e.paying bills on time.
Payroll (paying employees).
There are many small businesses that use online bookkeeping software to speed up the job, this also cuts down on human data-entry errors and saves time. The benefits of these tools include, but not limited to: automatically pay bills, send automated invoice reminders to people who owe you money, and allow you to check cash flow from your phone.
Here are 3 softwares you can check out:
If you are too much of a busy for bookkeeping for your small business, then you can find someone to do it for you; outsource or hire. We have an article on what’s the best option between the two, again this depends on a number of things. If you wish to get a bookkeeper for your business, look no further: Accase Solutions would love to assist! Reach us here:
South Africa has one of the highest business failure rates in the world, with five out of seven of these businesses failing within the first year of operation. This is worth looking into if you are considering starting a business or have a new startup who wants in for a long haul. Read on…
For a country with such a high rate of unemployment, this is very concerning. SMMEs play a crucial role in counteracting the major challenge of unemployment. What’s the gap between SMMEs and acquiring talent/skills from the qualified?
As said by the specialist advisory service, access to finance is a major stumbling block, with only 6% of SMMEs report to have received government support. Although there are government programmes and initiatives, some still find it relatively difficult to get funding due to criterion and/ or requirements.
Although there are many different reasons why start ups fail, we can’t narrow it down to 1 thing. This is worth looking into. In this blog, we will look at only 3 reasons why…
3️⃣ common reasons why South African startups fail:
In finance and economics, liquidation refers to the closing of a business when liabilities exceed assets and it can be resolved by voluntary action or by an order of the court. “216 companies were liquidated in March 2021, compared to the 178 the month before – a 21% jump. Voluntary liquidations increased by 61 cases and compulsory liquidations increased by 10 cases. This is 49% higher than the total liquidations registered in March 2020.”
They say “illiteracy in business is another reason for small business failure.although it is worth noting that finding skills/talent is not limited to finding a good cashier for example, but finding the skills + right attitude. This means finding a person with people skills (attitude towards customers), and functional skills (e.g., planning, organizing, leading and controlling). Find a team with both technical skills and people skills to keep customers coming back.
3️⃣ Poor sales and marketing
Sales is the heart of a business and marketing keeps it alive. Nothing’s more important than brand awareness. No matter how great your product/service might be, your business will take a dip if no one knows about it. Sometimes you don’t need a 20 page business plan, you need proper marketing!
It is by far more costly to to win a new market than to preserve an existing one. It takes time to raise brand awareness, build up sales, build a new team, etc. If you can, save your small business.
Let’s take it back a little, Savings Month is more than just a hashtag or buzz. Everyone was pumped up about it but above the hype, it was to raise awareness. Let’s break it down.
[Background] What is Savings Month?
Savings Month is a campaign by the South African Savings Institute (SASI) to raise savings awareness nationally in July annually, and the main objective of the campaign is to bring together financial experts to provide insights on savings through the #waystosave financial education initiative that:
Promotes debate around key aspects of saving
Raise awareness of the benefits of short, medium and long term planning
Build relationships with key partners to leverage future opportunities
Get consumers to move from ennui into action
SASI CEO Gerald Mwandiambira said that in 2021, the focus is on driving awareness around how savings knowledge must be understood and accessible in more South African languages. Everyone can find ways to save in their own language.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.“ ~ Nelson Mandela
Now more than ever – amid the pandemic, it’s critical to be money smart. Report by the SARB Financial Stability Review shows improvement in household savings, but also shows we can save when under pressure. It is important to also note that South Africa still has one of the lowest Household Savings Ratios in the world.
In our increasingly tough economic environment we need to find ways to save and avoid the credit trap. We looked at saving by cutting costs on our blog on How To Cut Costs In Your Business, now let’s look at how you can use your money wisely to improve your overall financial health.
5 steps to improve your financial health:
1️⃣ Attach yourself to a savings goal
Although it’s a good thing to have big goals/dreams, it’s always wise to break it down to smaller bits. It’s motivating as it doesn’t seem far fetched. Set small, medium and long term goals.
2️⃣ Draw a budget, including savings
It is said “A budget is telling you where your money goes instead of wondering where it went”. Now the question is, do you know where your money goes?
Just to add on popular advise that you to save at least 10% of your income towards your savings, we advise it is the first thing you do before spending.
3️⃣ Automate your savings
You can discuss this with your bank, or use apps invented to automatically deduct money from your money – into your savings account every month. Apps like 22seven, Moneysmart, My Financial Life, and many more!
With FNB for instance, you can schedule recurring payments into any of your accounts like savings account, and even your credit card.
4️⃣ Track to improve your bad spending habits
There’s a method some/most people use to do this…where you print out your monthly statements to see where most of your money goes.
This does not only help you navigate where your money goes, but it also helps you see where are you WASTING your money. Like eating take aways a lot, or frequently purchasing airtime via cellphone banking when you can find a reasonable data plan that works for you.
5️⃣ Live within your means
There’s nothing more important than this. You may be earning the same salary with your colleagues, but your responsibilities may not be the same and therefore you can’t spend the same… like buying lunch from the cafeteria everyday, or going out for drinks every Friday night.
It’s important to focus on your budget and financial goals, don’t go where the wind blows or your money will finish just like that. Focus.
We hope these help you in some way, we would love to hear how you save money and stay committed.
The Individual Tax Season is upon us, many of you might have seen us share a lot about this. In this blog, we will not get into any technicalities, but rather share the administration side of things (or so to say).
Why You Need To File For Your Returns
As many like to say when starting a business that it is important for you to identify your WHY, and so it is for us to know WHY is it important to file for your returns.
1️⃣ The first, most general reason is that you are being a good citizen. Remember that if you don’t file, you are committing an offence as per Tax Admin Act, which is punishable by law.
2️⃣ For financing purposes, you need to be up to date with your taxes. When you apply for a home loan or car finance for instance, they will check your tax compliance status (as they do credit checks), it becomes an issue if you are not compliant with the South African Revenue Services (SARS). It communicates a message that you are not a god citizen who pays their dues.
3️⃣ You might have heard some people saying it’s Refund Season (although that is not necessary 100% true), but if you don’t file and SARS actually owes you a refund then you won’t get it due to non compliance.
4️⃣ Regarding your Retirement Fund – if you retire and your taxes are not up to date, it will be an issue for your funds to be released.
Just to mention, you have various opinions available to you, you are not bound to use a tax practitioner (for example) because it does come at a fee. Here are some of the options available to you:
1️⃣ You can use your SARS e-filing.
2️⃣ You can use your SARS Mobi App.
3️⃣ You can make an appointment (via SMS or online) with your nearest SARS branch.
4️⃣ Or you can use a certified tax practitioner: we have pointers on this on our blog previously.
Mistakes: Criminal Offences
In passing, we would like to share these few red flags/little things that gets you in trouble with SARS and are actually criminal offences:
➡️ Not updating your details (emails address, banking details, postal address, etc)
➡️ Not filing for your taxes
➡️ Failure to provide information as and when requested to do so by SARS
… and a few more as listed below:
Moving right along… let’s touch on Auto Assessments.
How it works:
Previously, you would get a certificate from your third party (medical aid, employer, etc), log in and slot in the details manually. But now, SARS is connected to these 3rd parties and sources/uses information from them to pre-populate your returns. When your employer sends you IRP5, it gets loaded. When your medical aid gives you your certificate, it gets loaded. Everything you get from different institutions automatically get loaded into the SARS portal and when you login, you will find all this information in one place.
So before you ACCEPT the auto assessment option, it is your duty to ENSURE that all the details are correct if you are doing it by yourself. If you find that something doesn’t make sense, you can decline the Auto Assessment and “Edit” it. Although you might find that having a tax practitioner makes things a lot easier because we know better and understand some of the technical things you might not understand.
Home (Office) Expenses Deduction
If you follow us on social media, you might have seen us touch on this. So this is relatively new to most taxpayers due to Covid19 and working from home conditions (it has always been available to commission earners), but be in the know that you are able to deduct your home office expenses IF you meet the requirements. Some of the requirements include but not limited to:
✅ Your home office is used SOLELY for production of income.
✅ If the employee’s remuneration is only salary, the duties are mainly performed in this part of the home. It therefore means you perform more than 50% of your duties in your home office.
✅ Where more than 50% of your remuneration consist of commission or variable payments based on your work performance and more than 50% of those duties are performed outside of an office provided by your employer.
NB: Only expenses relating to the premises must be allocated based on floor area (such as rent, interest on bond, cleaning, etc.). Expenses that do not relate to the premises (such as clothing and furniture) do not need to be allocated based on floor area.
If you qualify for a home office deduction; enter the expenses amount calculated next to the source code 4028 (Home Office Expenses) in the “Other Deduction” container on your Income Tax Return.
Medical Aid Rebates (Tax Credit)
How rebates work;
SARS will show you how much tax you’re supposed to pay for the year, and we consider the rebates which reduce your tax liability.
For example; if you’re supposed to pay SARS R20 000 for taxes, and your rebates add up to R10 000, this will mean that from the R20 000 you’re supposed to pay, your tax will go down by R10 000 and you will only owe SARS R10 000.
However, this is not “automatic”. The “refund” comes in when you did not owe SARS anything (sitting at R0), and the medical aid credits come in (as per example)…leaving SARS in a position of owing you money due to the rebates.
Note that these are not refundable credits in a sense that if you did not pay tax for the year but you have a medical aid, you will not automatically get a refund from the rebates. The rebates DECREASE your tax liability. So if you did not pay tax for the year, you are not going to benefit from the medical aid credit.
We hope that this blog enlightened you and answered some of your questions. Feel free to send us a DM on our socials if you need clarity, or drop a comment below.
Picking the right accountant is important for your business’s financial future. An accountant manages your finances and plays a significant role on the direction of your business. So it’s important to do thorough research before you hire an accountant.
An accountant can acts as your business’s financial guide by overseeing and/ or forecasting your company’s financial planning and recordkeeping. They can handle your bookkeeping, as well as help with tax planning and tax returns.
A question that may arise as you read this may be, how do I CHOOSE the right accountant/tax personnel for my business?
Avoid being scammed and learn by reading on 🧠📚🤓👇
If you follow us on our social media, you would remember us touching a bit on this subject. Just to recap, as per Tax Administration Act no. 28 of 2011, every person who provides advice to another with respect to application of tax principles or assistists with any tax matters for a fee must:
✅ Be registered with Recognized Controlling Body that’s registered with SARS.
✅ Be qualified.
✅ Undergo examination to evaluate their ability to competently perform functions of a tax practitioner
✅ Engage in continuing professional development.
1️⃣ Just to save you a bit of time, accountants in South Africa could belong to one of the other main South African accounting bodies:
If your accountant belongs to one of these organizations, then that’s security for you! If there is an issue, you will be able to lodge a complaint with the respective organization.
Accase Solutions is a company of Certified Tax Practitionership with accountants, tax and personnel involved in our tax accounting practice.
With all that said, we would like to top it off with a word that we are registered with the IAC, Institute of Accounting and Commerce as Certified Tax Practitioner since registration of Accase Solutions.
2️⃣ Your accountant needs to keep up with the ever changing technologies and should be using recent and relevant software solutions. Be it Sage Accounting Software, for instance, it’s important that they have the training and experience working with that tool.
3️⃣ What evidence is there to support that you can trust them to manage your finances? Are they even real? Do they have references? What important information is there on their website? You might wanna call and check with the references if need be.
Here are 3 reasons why you can trust Accase Solutions with your taxes and accounting:
✅ We are Certified Tax Practitioners, qualified and registered with Recognized Controlling Body.
✅ We are competent and can perform the functions of a tax practitioner & Accountants.
✅ We are professional.
If you would like to consult with us, reach out to us here:
Have you ever heard it being said “if you can’t manage R1000, you won’t manage R100 000”?
Yup, that’s it! Managing your cash flow is basically tracking how much money is coming into, and out of your business. However, profit does not equal to cashflow. Cash flow is one of the most important components that makes the business successful, like many say…it is the blood that keeps the heart of the kingdom pumping!
Businesses that have more cash going out more than it comes in completely die or get into debt they could have avoided.
Back to Basics.
You should be tracking your cash flow either weekly, monthly or quarterly. There are essentially two kinds of cash flows:
1️⃣Positive cash flow: when money coming into the business through sales for instance, is bigger than the money leaving business by means of salaries, expenses, etc.
2️⃣Negative cash flow: when money leaving the business account is greater than the money coming in. This screams TROUBLE for the business.
Simple example: company x renders your services in May, and you invoice them on the 31st of May. Company x only monetise the invoice in around June-July, whilst you had salaries to pay. Thus cash outflow exceeded cash inflow in May. If many other customers continue to do this, you can almost see how your company could run into cash flow issues.
The cash flow statement basically records all of the organization’s cash inflows and outflows, and includes cash from operating activities. The cash flow statement is divided into three parts: investing, financing, and operating activities. Failure to manage this cash can lead to problems.
We have mentioned the poor cash management may lead to cashflow problems or bankruptcy, but here are some of the causes:
1️⃣Poor understanding of the cash flow cycle – not having a clear understanding/ timing of cash inflows and outflows from the business. E.g. when to pay for accounts payable (what you owe to suppliers),etc.
2️⃣ Lack of understanding of profit versus cash – a business can be generating profits on its income statement and be burning cash on the cash flow statement.
3️⃣ Lack of cash management skills – it is important to acquire the necessary skills to manage your finance. If you are looking for this service, do get in touch with us!
As they would say, successful financial management involves balancing 3️⃣ elements:
accounts receivable (what you are owed by the customer), accounts payable (what you owe to suppliers), and shortfalls (the amount of money you owe that exceeds your available funds). Make sure one element doesn’t overtake the others.
If you can’t afford to pay someone to do this for you, you can do it by yourself. Here are 7️⃣ tips to manage cashflow:
Have you heard the saying, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail“? COVID19 is here to prove to us that it’s no cliche! Many are becoming more aware of their financial wellness, and cautious about planning for the future (unforeseen events). Would R10 000, R20 000 have been enough to keep your bakery business amid the national lockdown? It might sound like that’s not a lot, but in difficult economic times/dry seasons, every cent counts.
The first most important step is to set specific short, medium, and long-term financial goals/targets. These goals can include saving up for property, making sure that you are adequately financially provisioned for unforeseen events, and so much more. This process is called financial planning.
A financial plan is obviously different from your financial statements. Here, you make projections for the coming months/years, forecasting income/profits. Hire a qualified and licenced financial planner who will assist you in assessing every aspect of your business finances to help you design and regularly review your financial plan as your business grows.
At Accase Solutions, we offer Financial administrations services, Management Of Cashflow and Budgeting. To get to the bigger goal, you need to hit the smaller targets. Let’s break it down:
Budgeting is simply balancing your expenses with your income, creating a plan to spend your money. This spending plan allows you to determine in advance whether you will have enough money to do the things you need to do or would like to do.
Cash flow management is basically tracking how much money is coming into and out of your business. This helps you predict how much money will be available to your business in the future.
A financial administrator is responsible for managing the accounts receivables and payables of the organization.
…moving right along…
To help you gets started, here are six steps to create your financial plan:
1️⃣ To start off, think about what you want to accomplish and ask yourself… Do I need to expand? Do I need more equipment? Do I need to hire more staff? Do I need other new resources? Most importantly, how will my plan affect my cash flow?
2️⃣ Create monthly financial projections by recording your anticipated income based on sales forecasts and anticipated expenses for labor, supplies, overhead, etc..
3️⃣ Through the year, compare actual results with your projections to see if you’re on target or need to adjust. Monitoring helps you spot financial problems before they get out of hand.
✳ If you don’t have the expertise, consider hiring an expert to help you put together your financial plan.
Accase Solutions is registered with the IAC, Institute of Accounting and Commerce as a Certified Tax Practitioner since registration of Accase Solutions.
Practicing number: PR0100503. Get in touch with us, a consultant await your call 📲😊
Accase Solutions | Official
Accase Solutions is a 100% black owned and managed company providing a range of professional accounting & related services to start-ups, small-medium companies, corporates.
We prioritize quality and ensure that all our clients receive consistently best service.
We offer tailor made solutions to companies, at the most cost effective options.