Get ahead with your financial planning

With the Christmas countdown now underway, getting ready for the tax year-end might not be at the top of your to-do list, especially if you’re expecting high seasonal demand. But, as the owner of any small business knows, the next financial deadline is never far away.

October is when your business calendar suddenly fills up with key dates, including the cut-off for paying PSA (PAYE Settlement Agreement) and filing paper tax returns. Looking ahead, remember the deadline for online tax returns, where you’re opting for underpayment to be collected, falls on 30th December, so don’t miss it during the Christmas and New Year rush.

As we approach the final quarter of the year, it’s time to take stock of your financial plans to check you’re on track to meet your goals. Christmas brings plenty of exciting opportunities – but how can you make the most of them to grow your business?

One of the most important things to consider is cash flow – after all, you’ll need enough in the bank to pay both your regular bills and any additional ones on top (e.g. for seasonal products), as well as get through what could turn out to be a quiet January.

Many restaurants and pubs, for example, spend more on catering supplies and staff wages at this time of year, while shop owners normally need to buy more stock and cover longer opening times. Ensuring you have the right amount of stock to meet demand is always tricky, so speak to your suppliers to find out how quickly they can deliver and whether they are willing to take back any surplus.

Even if you only work with tried-and-trusted suppliers, it’s always worth keeping a close eye on their credit score, using a tool like Experian Business Express. By regularly monitoring those you work with, you’ll soon be able to spot any warning signs that they might be experiencing financial difficulties.

To give yourself the best chance of accessing finance, at the most competitive rates, it’s important to regularly check your own business credit score too with our service, My Business Profile. When you know exactly what your score is, you can take steps to improve it, should you need to.

Your mid-financial year planning guide

Last but not least, look out for the Autumn Budget on 29th October, and Spring Statement in March, which are likely to include essential information for small businesses, particularly around tax.

Whether you work with an accountant, have an internal accounts team or do your own books, knowing when your next deadline is, means avoiding a last-minute panic. Bear in mind that, as well as a potential fine for filing your accounts late, your credit score can suffer too.

To help you prepare for the end-of-tax year, we’ve compiled this handy infographic.

 

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