There's a general sense in the Australian economy right now that not a lot is happening, and businesses around the nation are in something of a holding pattern. Perhaps it's the spectre of an early election contributing to a more risk-averse environment, as any decisions made now could be interrupted or dismantled by changes in government.
Regardless of what is causing the nerves, the year continues to march on, and all businesses have to prepare for the rapidly approaching March quarter business activity statement (BAS) deadline – April 28. It's a date that comes hot on the heels of the previous deadline, just two months after the December quarter BAS. For some organisations, this rapid turnaround makes it one of the hardest to prepare themselves for.
Approaching the deadline the right way
Even for businesses who managed to hit the December BAS deadline without any issues, that shorter window to cover three months of tax liability can present significant challenges. If you are not managing cashflow and ensuring that an effective debt-recovery procedure is in place, it can be easy to quickly find yourself behind the curve.
Essentially, your business needs to ensure it has been segregating the required funds on a monthly or weekly basis in a potentially separate tax account for when the deadline comes around. Try to remember for GST it's never your company's money, it is simply to be held on trust for this use, not for trading with.
There's nothing more frustrating than being caught short because of outstanding money owed to your business. You have to make sure your systems are robust enough to capture what it is that you're owed when it's owed, and that the people that operate those systems within your organisation have a good relationship with your debtors.
Building relationships to help meet tax deadlines
Your customers are obviously very important to your company, so you should know about them and what drives their business. Building a strong rapport with them can certainly present you with opportunities to prompt for payment when required, but may even open up other means of increasing your revenue.
Maybe there's an avenue to increase your offering to them, or you may see another service line that can be developed quickly and easily to complement an existing one to expand your income stream. There's no real advertising or external expenditure other than keeping your eyes and ears to the ground and listening to your customers' needs and wants. By regularly checking in with your customers, identifying areas where your service can be expanded becomes easier.
Not every conversation should begin with "when are you going to pay me?" Forging an amicable relationship with your customers means that when times are tough or you need a quick turnaround in their payment, they are much more likely to assist you.
Navigating the bumpy road
It's not unusual to struggle with BAS deadlines once in a while, but if you find yourself continually struggling then there may be bigger issues at play in your business. Whether a quick review of your procedures and systems for collecting money is in order, or something more substantial, you may need the advice of an expert.
Speak to Corporate Lifeline today, and we can help set you on a path of preparation to meet all of your tax obligations.