Blog

May 21

4 questions you should ask your Accountant

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Ideally, you and your Accountant are more than just “adviser” and “client”.

With your combined skills, expertise, and shared mission to support a thriving business, you’re more like strategic partners.

The key to achieving success in any partnership is, of course, strong communication. At your next meeting, be sure to ask your Accountant these four important questions.

1. What’s my best strategy for increasing revenue?

Every business owner strives to improve profit margins – but the best way to quickly and/or sustainably grow revenue will vary from business to business.
 
When reviewing your financials, ask your accountant to pinpoint and suggest smart strategies for driving greater revenue. For your unique company that might mean focusing on new leads, encouraging customers to buy more frequently, incorporating cross-selling or up-selling, and/or re-thinking your pricing strategy.

2. How would you assess our financial performance this quarter/year?

It’s part of your accountant’s job to stay current with your company’s financial statements and reports (i.e. your balance sheet, income statement, profit and loss statement, and cash flow reports).

Some small business owners – especially those who lack confidence in their financial literacy skills – may only want to know the basics, in simplest terms. Let your accountant know you’d like a more thorough analysis of your finances when you next meet, and help understanding what the numbers mean.

Ask for key ratios, like your gross profit percentage, and an assessment of the big picture, drawing comparisons with past performance as well as trends in your industry.

Also ask for any insights your accountant might have into the reasons for new or surprising developments, and what you can do to correct areas where your business is falling short – as well as what actions you can take to continue any positive trends.

3. How can you help me grow my business?

Your Accountant should be prepared to offer professional advice to help your business expand and grow over time.

Scaling a business can be tricky as it requires a company to do everything it must to keep their customers happy while adapting to change – such as new staff and new systems to accommodate a greater volume of customers.

Financial systems may need to change as your business expands; likewise, your company’s financial management may need additional support as you transition to a larger company.

Ask your Accountant how you can best work together to facilitate smooth, sustainable growth with minimal disruption to operations, and for tips on how to successfully scale based on past experience with other small business clients.

4. What are your most successful clients doing?

Chances are your Accountant serves as a trusted advisor to a number of clients – and therefore, will be privy to the inner workings of companies who are struggling and others who are thriving.

Neglecting to ask your Accountant about their clients’ success stories is a missed learning opportunity. Even if a business has little in common with yours – operating in a different industry, or as a seller or products versus services – there’s value in learning what yielded impressive results for another company.

Alternately, you might ask your accountant how their clients overcame challenges similar to yours to help you brainstorm possible solutions.

Final thoughts

Your Accountant is an incredibly valuable resource for your business – and not just at tax time.
Be sure to check in every quarter so you have the up to date financial info you need, and your Accountant’s professional advice when it comes to making key business decisions. Number Nurses recommend actively looking at your Xero numbers and discussing these with your Accountant. 

For help with setting up regular reporting or for understanding your Xero - get in touch today. 

Apr 02

What gets measured - gets managed

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said “ First, have a definite, clear and practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends: wisdom, money, materials and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”

We all have dreams, goals, objectives but more often than not, we struggle with the means and adjusting those means – particularly when one of those means is money.

What are KPIs and why does your business need them?
Key Performance Indicators keep you on track to reach your financial goals and help measure your business' progress. They also help motivate your team and encourage individual accountability.

Here are a few reasons why KPIs can help your business:

To define what success looks like: The process of identifying & measuring KPIs forces you to look at what specific actions and behaviors will drive the company towards those goals. 

To focus everyone on the goal: Developing and tracking departmental KPIs not only show how departments work together to achieve the company’s goals, but how individuals can contribute to the company’s success. 

Because what gets measured gets managed: If you aren’t looking at something, how can you tell if it improves or deteriorates? Determining key business drivers and tracking their progress will help ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. 

To encourage accountability: Holding people accountable for results is tough. Unfortunately, if everyone thinks someone else is responsible then no one is truly responsible. 

To provide an opportunity for small wins: Employees feel empowered to make a difference when they see the needle move, so breaking down the goal into its key drivers can give them the opportunity to achieve the goal in stages.

For help monitoring your KPIs - contact us today.
It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.


Mar 27

How to painlessly change software - almost

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Once a business is loyal to a software program it can be daunting to change to a new system, even if it has functions that are significantly better than the old favourite.

However, with good planning the short-term pain of transition should be minimised, and you may even save money. The start of the new financial year is the perfect time for change. 

Number Nurses regularly works with businesses making the move from various accounting packages to Xero and  have learnt there are a few things to look out for.

Start with the future in mind

Easier said than done but when you start out with any software consider where your company will be in a few years’ time.

Look for upgrades that allow for more users, without costing a fortune.

Integration with other software, such as Xero can save you a lot of time and avoid unnecessary double-entry of data.

You may discover new features are developed in an integrated software program that make another program you use redundant and that will save some dollars.

Always anticipate free software will eventually have some cost, whether it is your privacy or limitations on features.

 

Check your contract

You may find you can’t switch software if you have entered into an agreement for 12 months or more.

There may be an opt out penalty clause that is cheaper than staying with shabby software.

 

Search the reviews

Before you ditch software, read the reviews of new apps and desktop versions of the new program.

Look for people working in similar industries or businesses as you because their perspective can be valuable.

Of course, use your own judgement as many reviews are imbalanced.

 

Contact the new software company

Send a quick email to a software provider that interests you, talk to their chat bot or message them.

This will reveal if they are no longer in existence, they are painfully slow to respond, or they use out-of-date communication technology.

Avoid them because they will never be able to quickly help you when you are stuck.

 

Plan a transition process

If you have decided this is it and you are going to make a change, plan the switch over a period.

Where possible, make sure your internal leaders and influencers have looked at the new software and they are on-board with the change.
Things to consider in the planning are:

Timing – no one will be happy if you make a big change in the middle of a busy period.

Training – who, how and when will your team have access to guidance on using the new software.

Progressive introduction – consider using a few features and building your team’s confidence before introducing more features.

Regular check-ins – you may discover team members who are not happy with the new software and revert to old systems.

 

Download stored data

Before you stop using old software, ensure you have a system in place to download and stored archived data.

For example, Harvest time tracking software enables downloads of all invoices as a pdf, ensuring users comply with their IRD obligation to store all business documentation for seven years.

 

Be patient

Learning something new is challenging – for everyone.

Use the help options, watch the demo videos and call the support teams. Make a commitment to using that new tool to its full capacity – giving you the greatest return on your investment.

Switching software may be forced upon businesses, for example Trello recently advised it will charge formerly freebie account holders who use numerous planning boards.

Fair enough, however it means some people will review their options, rather than switching to a paid account.

If you need advice about making a software shuffle contact us today and we will help you investigate new options.



Mar 19

Xero - helping kiwi small businesses with mental health

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Tuesday, March 19, 2019

We have all seen, taken part in and are in full support of the recent I AM HOPE Facebook Frame challenge. Here at Number Nurses, mental health more important to us than your business health.

Mental health continues to be a major topic of focus across New Zealand, with an estimated 25 percent of the workforce diagnosed with mental health issues.

Xero are thrilled to announce that they will be providing Kiwi small businesses with crucial mental health support through a new pilot programme called XAP. 


Take a read here to find out more
and get behind the cause.
If you need help yourself -
please reach out to someone today - you are not alone.

Dec 06

Sort out your payday filing, el pronto

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Thursday, December 06, 2018

BUSINESS buddy tell us how...

We all leave things until the last minute, but it would be a good idea to put systems in order now, to reduce your stress and avoid surprise phone calls from Inland Revenue.

We’re talking about the move being made that requires all businesses to get their payday paperwork to IRD each and every payday. That means no more submitting the paperwork monthly. You must submit PAYE details at the same time as you pay your staff, whether they are paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

By April Fool’s Day – April 1, 2019 – it will be compulsory for all businesses to meet this requirement for their PAYE employees.

Some businesses will already be doing this, so they can put their feet up and chillout.

The new system doesn’t need to be an admin nightmare for businesses, especially when there are smart tools around to take care of the payday paperwork.

BUSINESS buddy break it down for us here - read on.



Oct 29

IMPACT – The World Tour. Are you coming?

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Monday, October 29, 2018

BUSINESS buddy knows you won’t believe this, but their next gig is going to be bigger, better and even more inspiring.

You must join us at IMPACT – The World Tour to discover how your business can implement simple and powerful ideas to impact your team and your customers and, importantly, to create and live an inspiring legacy.

In 2017, many of you experienced the energy of pocket dynamo, Paul Dunn and in November 2018 he’s returning to New Zealand with B1G1 (Buy1GIVE1) co-founder Masami Sato.

Between the pair they have racked up six TEDx speaker spots and the 2018 wold tour is the first time they’ve presented together in 11 years.

What makes this business event different? Click here to find out.

Rydges Auckland, 59 Federal Street, Cnr Kingston Street, Central City Auckland 1010
Tuesday November 27, 2018
8:10am to 1.00pm

Book your seat now or give BUSINESS buddy a call for more information, phone 0800 283 399.




Oct 02

Say Hello to Xero Expenses

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The new Xero expenses is now available to use!
Check out the features and benefits here.

Xero has introduced a price increase with this new functionality so keep an eye out for the updated amount on your latest invoice and please remember to amend your automatic payment.

On the 28th of September 2018, the monthly subscription price will change;

Standard subscriptions are now $60+gst per month,
while premium pricing is $75+gst per month, (plus any additions you are already signed up for)


If you have any questions - get in touch with a friendly Nurse today.
Thanks in advance!


Sep 18

Keep the cash flowing

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The job of accounts receivable is to get money in the door. There are a lot of steps to that. You need to find customers that pay, bill them correctly, communicate clearly, and lay out enforceable consequences for slow payment.
Getting money in the door is a pretty important part of running any business. 
Check out these tips from Xero on how to build a watertight accounts receivable process, keep that cash flowing in!

Sep 03

Why KPIs are important to your business success

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Monday, September 03, 2018

You’ve probably heard the term KPI (short for Key Performance Indicator) thrown around before. You may have even considered using KPIs to manage your business.

Here are a few reasons why KPIs can help your business.

To define what success looks like: The process of identifying & measuring KPIs forces you to look at what specific actions and behaviors will drive the company towards those goals. 

To focus everyone on the goal: Developing and tracking departmental KPIs not only show how departments work together to achieve the company’s goals, but how individuals can contribute to the company’s success. 

Because what gets measured gets managed: If you aren’t looking at something, how can you tell if it improves or deteriorates? Determining key business drivers and tracking their progress will help ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. 

To encourage accountability: Holding people accountable for results is tough. Unfortunately, if everyone thinks someone else is responsible then no one is truly responsible. 

To provide an opportunity for small wins: Employees feel empowered to make a difference when they see the needle move, so breaking down the goal into its key drivers can give them the opportunity to achieve the goal in stages.

For help monitoring your KPIs - contact us today.
It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Aug 08

Important Xero Expenses changes

Posted by Kirsten Hawke at Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Xero Expenses makes it easier to claim expenses and gives you valuable insights into spending patterns for your company.  From Tuesday July 10, 2018, Xero Expenses will be automatically included in Xero for anyone on the New Zealand standard or premium plans. 

Last week the new Xero Expenses launched and has been automatically included in Xero for anyone on New Zealand standard or premium plans.

Initially there’s no extra charge, but from
28 September 2018, the monthly subscription price will increase as a result of this new functionality.

Standard subscriptions will be $60+gst per month,
while premium pricing becomes $75+gst per month,
(plus any additions you are already signed up for)

This pricing will now include one active Xero Expenses user.
Subscribers will pay $5 a month for each additional Expenses user who is active that month, for example, submitting an expense claim. All other Xero plans will not be able to use the new Expenses add-on, and as such all other pricing will not be changing.

Find Xero Expenses in the Accounts menu or download the iOS or Android Expenses app to your mobile. You can learn more about using Xero Expenses by visiting the Xero blog here.


What next?
We will automatically update your monthly Xero invoice for October with the new pricing, please be sure to amend your automatic payments to match your new invoice amount. If you have any questions - get in touch with a friendly Nurse today.