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Financial management

Systems and habits to develop for small business success

ANZ Financially Ready

2022-08-10 00:00

Key points

  • Accounting software can help you maintain accurate records.
  • Business automation can save time and reduce costs.
  • Avoid operating in a haphazard way to help your business to succeed.

Setting up sound habits and systems not only improves your chances of business success, but also makes running a business much more enjoyable. With solid systems, processes and habits in place, you’ll free up time and headspace so you can focus on the things that matter.

These systems and habits will form a strong foundation for ongoing business success: 

Keep accurate records

Maintaining accurate records is one of those essential business functions that is key to ongoing success but is often overlooked by time-poor business owners. Good record-keeping systems save business owners time and money, so making record-keeping a key business priority is wise.

Accounting software is designed to streamline your financial records, which means complying with ATO requirements should be much quicker and easier. Cloud-based accounting software can also automate many essential back-end accounting tasks to make account reconciliation and payroll faster and simpler too. The ability to generate cash flow reports effortlessly is another benefit of using software to maintain business records.          

Where small business owners once had to deal with disconnected stacks of paper files, diaries, logbooks and rudimentary spreadsheets, emerging technology has resulted in a new wave of apps that make life much easier. From helping tradies keep track of quotes to supporting café owners to manage staff rosters, a range of industry-specific apps also make record-keeping easier for busy business owners.  

Review your finances regularly

Just as you should visit the doctor regularly for health checks, you should also take the time to regularly review your business’s financial position frequently. Schedule time in your diary to review your business’s finances so you can assess how your business is performing. A regular review can help you nip potential issues in the bud before they snowball into bigger challenges.

Frequently assessing your business’s liquidity, solvency, profitability, management and balance sheet ratios will give you a clear picture of where your business is excelling and where improvements can be made. 

Embrace business automation

From invoice processing to expense tracking, many essential business processes can now be automated. Automation is proving to be a gamechanger for small business owners who can save time, reduce costs and lessen duplication through business automation.

While automation can revolutionise your financial management, supply chain and beyond, it can also save you time on everyday admin tasks.

For example, solutions like ANZ GoBiz make applying for business loans simpler by pulling data directly from your accounting software, reducing the information you need to provide when applying for business finance.

To apply for a business loan or overdraft through ANZ GoBiz, you will need an active subscription to Xero, MYOB or Intuit QuickBooks.

Reap the benefits of benchmarking

Benchmarking is one way to gauge how your business is performing financially. The ATO website has benchmarking tools to help business owners assess how they are faring in comparison to other businesses operating in the same industry.

The beauty of benchmarking is that the data allows you to identify areas of concern and make adjustments aimed at improving the profitability and performance of your business. 

Put policies and procedures in place

No matter what type of industry you’re in, operating in a haphazard way will hamper your ability to succeed.

Developing and communicating clear policies and procedures for staff to follow can not only drive efficiency by reducing errors, but it also promotes the high-performance culture needed for your business to grow and prosper.

From developing a standard operating procedure for new client onboarding to creating a financial management policy, putting policies and procedures in place will help you communicate expectations, set standards and optimise output.

Schedule systems reviews

To thrive, small businesses need to be dynamic, proactive and responsive to change. Reviewing your systems and processes annually helps ensure your business is operating efficiently. After all, a system implemented three years ago may not be the best option to respond to the current trading conditions.

As your business grows and new technology emerges, your systems and processes should be reviewed and updated to maximise productivity and efficiency. An annual review of your procedures, processes, providers, suppliers and partnerships will help make sure your business is in the best position to succeed.

Next steps

Download our Balance sheet template (xlsx 114kB) and Profit and loss template (xls 1.5MB).

Systems and habits to develop for small business success
Business specialist
ANZ Financially Ready

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This is general information only, so it doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. ANZ is not giving you advice or recommendations (including tax advice), and there may be other ways to manage finances, planning and decisions for your business.

Read the ANZ Financial Services Guide (PDF) and, if applicable, the product Terms and Conditions. Carefully consider what's right for you, and ask your lawyer, accountant or financial planner if you need help. 

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