Importance of budgeting

You wouldn’t set out to drive from Sydney to Perth without a plan would you?

Yet every day thousands of small business’s run without their business without budgeting planning.

When starting a long road trip there would be things you do before you start like getting the car serviced, filling it with petrol (maybe organise additional fuel), get a map and work out the best route, get some supplies such as snacks and water.

Along the way, you would regularly check the petrol & oil so you don’t run out on the 1200 km stretch across the Nullabor, you would also periodically check with the map that you have on the current road until you reach your goal, Perth.

Just like planning a trip across the country, there a few things you need to do before you embark on your annual business journey.

A budget is a road map to succeeding in business. If you don’t know where you want to go, and the twists and turns on the way, how are you going to get there?

No budget is going to be 100% accurate each and every time you create one .After all if our country’s leaders can’t get it right, then how can we get it right every time?
However, like anything in life the more times you do it, the better you will become, you will be more in tune with your business and create better budgets, and more importantly, manage and grow your business better.

A budget does not have to be complicated and Microsoft’s Excel ™ can be an excellent tool to quickly do the calculations, or you can use pen paper and a calculator.

When creating your budget, there are 3 main areas.

Income, Direct Costs and Overhead Costs. When creating you need to ask yourself some questions about each of the areas.

Income

  • What income do I want to achieve each month i.e. $50,000 per month.
  • Are there periods when the income is lower or higher? Is it a seasonal business where the income is higher in the summer compared to winter or is there an annual shutdown over Christmas?
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      • What are my expenses in earning that income? What is the cost of buying product or manufacturing it etc? If your income is $50,000 per month, and your profit is 50%, then your direct costs will be $25,000 per month.
      • Rent
      • Accounting & Legal Fees
      • Advertising & Promotion
      • Wages & Superannuation
      • Motor Vehicle
      • Insurances
      • Bank Fees
      • Printing & Stationery
      • Freight & Cartage
      • and any other categories you want to break it down to.
      • You will then need to ask yourself, is the cost spread out over each month, or are there periods I will be paying most of those expenses? Will I have an annual shutdown over Christmas? If so, then the wage costs will be higher in December, than they will be in January.
      • Do I pay my insurance monthly, or does it come only once per year?
    • Direct Costs

      Overhead or fixed costs

      What are my other costs?

      For each month you will list all the Income, less cost of sales expenses, less overhead expenses to give you a monthly surplus or deficient. The result will look something like this table below, which we call a budget income statement or budget profit and loss statement.

How to start a successful business!

You have an idea for a product or service, which you think might be your ticket to making millions. But now what!

Most people at one time or another say “I had this idea for a business”, but in most cases this never turns into a business, or someone else comes along with the same product or service before you get started.

There can be a number of reasons for this including but not limited to:

  • lack of money to start the business
  • lack of time (or perceived lack of time I am busy with this or that)
  • lack of knowledge
  • Finally, and in most cases, lack of guts to give it a go.

Firstly, there is no such thing as an overnight success. That “overnight success” has usually involved several years of extremely hard work.

Often as an employee, you won’t see the amount of work put in by business owners in evenings and on weekends. If you are a shop front, you may have set hours, say 9 to 5, Mondays to Fridays, However there is usually not enough time during those business hours to complete all the paperwork a business generates.

Usually the first year is the hardest for any business, especially if you have not had any previous business experience.

There is no doubt starting a business can sometimes be a blessing and a curse (at the same time) but you can build a successful business.

There are no guarantees in any business, however remember “Failure to plan will lead to planning to fail”

You need to spend some time carefully planning what you are going to do before you spend your first dollar.

One of the elements of planning is doing your market research.

Market research is very important and a lot of small business owners have not even done that before they start their business. Recently a friend started a business in a small town. It was in the take away food business (why does everyone think that take away food is the way to riches?). He didn’t do any market research, had a great product, lots of enthusiasm and family support.

What he did not take into account was that there were already 5 competitors operating in the town.Within 6 months a major international fast food operator was going to build and open up it’s doors. Guess what happened to his business, it failed. The market research, if he had done it, would have revealed that the major chain was going to open up. It can be as simple as talking to your local council, finding out what development applications have been approved or are in progress for new businesses in your area.

It is amazing the information that is available about the type of business you may be wanting to start , especially on the Internet. You can obtain information about the competition in your local area. You can obtain vital statistics from the Australian Bureau of statistics especially on the demographics of your local area. This can be important if your target market is a certain age group, or has a certain level of disposable income.

This is only one of the many elements that you need to consider in the planning process.

Stay tuned for more.

Ralph Rossteuscher

I Want to Buy MYOB — but Which One?

MYOB have several different programs on the market to help businesses with their accounting and GST reporting requirements and also to suit the various stages of a business’s life cycle however, which one would suit your business?

MYOB constantly brings out upgrade versions of their top end products, either to make things easier for the end user or to keep up with the tax office requirements, ie updated tax tables for employee pays.

Therefore, I would recommend you pick the program that suits your situation now, rather than what you might need in the future as all the MYOB products are fully upgradeable to the higher end product. For example, you could purchase Business Basics now but in 2 years time, you might need the features of MYOB Accounting Plus. In this case you can simply purchase an upgrade (difference in price between what you already have and the full version) and convert all your financial information to the higher end product.

But which MYOB will suit your business needs?

MYOB Business Basics is the baby of the family, and if you are a sole trader business ie a plumber or electrician, MYOB Business Basics would probably be suitable. It will allow you to create Sales Invoices, keep track of who owes you money, when you have received payments from customers, as well as keeping track of the expenses you have paid . It also has the entire reporting requirement to complete your Business Activity Statement as well as the information to complete your tax return. MYOB Business Basics also has a very basic database, to keep track of your customers and suppliers.

You could also use MYOB Business Basics if you have a self managed super fund or you have investment income and expenses that you need to track to complete your tax return.

MYOB Accounting suits a slightly larger business, perhaps 1-5 employees that wants a little bit more information from their accounting package.

MYOB Accounting has all the features of MYOB Business Basics, some of which are slightly more sophisticated, but you also get the Purchases module,this will Maritain the records of all your suppliers.

MYOB Accounting also has a full inventory module. The inventory module will allow you to keep track of stock levels, as you buy and sell your inventory, and trace any back orders you have with suppliers. And more importantly, any customer back orders, so you don’t miss out on a sale because you forgot the customer had ordered 12 items but you had only sent him six.

MYOB Accounting also has a more advanced job costing module, which will give you job or departmental reporting, ie you want to keep track of the income and expenses for a particular project.

MYOB Accounting Plus has all the features of MYOB Accounting, and it also has a fully integrated payroll module. MYOB Accounting Plus would suit a business that has five or more employees. MYOB will correctly calculate the pay each week, including Tax and Superannuation requirements, and it will also keep track of any annual leave or sick leave entitlements that the employee accrues. The real bonus comes at the end of the financial year, when you can print PAYG Payment Summaries (formerly group certificates) at the touch of a button. MYOB Accounting Plus also has a special report, which will comply with all the quarterly superannuation reporting to employees as required by law.

MYOB Accounting Plus also has a Time Billing Module, which suits anyone that needs to keep records of time spent on working for a client progressively to then invoice them at the end of a period of time, ie a solicitor or consultant.

MYOB Premier is the granddaddy of the family, and would suit larger businesses. MYOB Premier has everything MYOB Accounting Plus has but it also has the ability to be Multi User. ie You can have more than one person accessing the same company file at the same time, for example, Mary in Accounts Receivable can be processing Sales, while Jenny in Accounts Payable can be paying bills.

MYOB Premier can also be Multi Currency, ie you can keep foreign currency bank accounts, as well as invoice your customer in their own currency, ie US$ or NZ$ and MYOB will then convert the information to AUS$ for your reporting requirements.

MYOB Premier also has a slightly more advanced inventory module, where you can have price matrixes for different customers and quantity breaks. Ie you can have a retail price as well as a wholesale price and you can have one price for sales between 1 and 10 items, and a different price, between 11 and 20 items.

MYOB products are one of the few accounting packages that have both a PC and Mac version available and they are interchangeable. ie If you have a Mac and your accountant has a PC, you can still give him/her a copy of your data file, and they will be able to open it on their machine and read your information to prepare your tax return.

MYOB Products are not just accounting tools to help you with your end of year tax return or BAS returns, they can help you run your business if they are effectively used. For example, you can use the database in MYOB to create mail merge letters to your clients or suppliers.

MYOB also has a Test Drive version of the software that you can buy at most retailers, ie Harvey Norman or Office works, for about $15.00, or you can download it direct from the MYOB web site. The Test Drive version allows you to trial the software before you buy, to ensure it is going to do the job for you. There are also many MYOB Certified Consultants who offer free demonstrations of the program in your own office. You can then explain what you want to use the program for and they will tell you which the best for your purposes.

Once you have purchased the right MYOB software for your needs, you may need some help, either setting up the program, or with some problems you may encounter after you have been using the program for awhile.

Many people buy accounting programs like MYOB because they think it will cut down on the amount of fees they pay their accountants each year. This is true providing the information given to the accountant is correct in the first place. It’s a case of “Rubbish in – Rubbish Out”.

MYOB products are easy to use, once they have been setup correctly, but the initial set up phase is critical to ensure that you will be getting the correct information out of the system. If the program is not set up correctly or the information entered in is not properly allocated, your accountant may end up having to re-create the information or spend many hours correcting any mistakes and this can end up being more costly.

When it comes time to set up your MYOB , there are many resources available to you, from class room style training course or self paced training manuals to on-site assistance.

There are many training institutes that offer class room style training, ie MYOB themselves or Community Colleges and TAFE courses, many of which are run by MYOB Certified Consultants. They are worthwhile attending, especially if you don’t have any accounting or bookkeeping knowledge, as they will give you the steps to setup the program correctly. You can also get on-site assistance from qualified people; sometimes your accountant will know somebody that specialises in MYOB or have an employee within their own office that can help you setup your file.

MYOB also has a panel of independent trainers called MYOB Certified Consultants, who are authorised by MYOB to offer on-site assistance on their behalf. This is your quality assurance stamp that the person you have chosen to assist you, knows what they are doing. MYOB require these trainers to pass a stringent test to join the panel in the first place, and they are also required to sit yearly exams to ensure that they are completely up to date with all the latest versions as well as attending regular training sessions.

If you do get someone to help you setup your MYOB program, it is best to do the training in small chunks. It is tempting to get somebody out for a full day, and try to cram as much information into that day as possible but the reality is, you will forget most of what you are shown at the first session.

It is best to only have somebody out for no more that about 4 to 5 hours on the first day. This would consist of about 2 to 3 hours to setup the program, depending on what was needed. For example, you may also wish to customise an invoice, as well as setting up your opening balances, then have no more than 2 hours training, to learn how to use the program.

After a few weeks of using the program, get the consultant back to check what you have done and give you further training. MYOB also have a number of Support Notes, which can answer some of the common questions, on their web site: www.myob.com.au

Maria Landrelli