New year 2014 is upon us and you don’t have to search very far online to find articles encouraging you to spring clean your finances.
Well, it’s still winter, and often these pieces are targeted at consumers who may have overspent on the seasonal goodies.
But January is a good time for small and medium enterprises to resolve to get things right in the new financial year that begins in April.
For the collections industry, there’s the looming change of the regulatory regime to contend with, too.
Now is a good time to talk to your accountant to see if the software, hardware or even the written ledger you’re using to record business transactions is up to the job for next year.
And it’s a good idea to make a start on getting the books in order and checking through your invoices for the current year, just in case there’s a sizeable outstanding account that has yet to be settled but is threatening to slip off the radar.
Businesses have been heralding the economic recovery and the opportunities for business growth, but they remain wary of how sustainable the uplift might turn out to be. So it’s not unnatural that directors will want to seize the opportunities to sell into new markets. Some caution, though, is wise.
Do you have a credible and robust system for credit checking new customers? Remember that if you deliver goods or services in advance of payment, it’s your money that is at risk while you wait for the customer to settle up.
There have been plenty of reports about the varying fortunes in Christmas trading of the big high street retail chains. Not every little chunk of consumer spending has been helping Tesco’s profit margins. As ever in retail, the key dates to bear in mind are the quarter days when rents fall due. Some stores that scraped through December’s payment deadline may not have the funds for the next tranche in March.
Not surprisingly, there is support from some retailers for monthly rental payments and pressure on landlords not to assume that when leases fall due for renewal an increase in rent is sustainable. Empty shops are not just about the shift to buying online.
At SJ Collections we’ll be watching the economic indicators as they are published in 2014 but also keeping an ear to the ground as we meet business people on a daily basis. One final pointer for business people looking for growth is to bear in mind local business networks. They hold events where your can exchange business opportunities but, perhaps just as importantly, hear advice on avoiding the pitfalls too. They are, I suppose, the modern equivalent of the coffee houses from which the City itself grew. Good luck in 2014.