Keeping financial year-end stress at bay


Rich Preece | Global leader | Intuit QuickBooks | |

With the South African fiscal year coming to a close in only a matter of weeks, the stress associated with managing a business’ finances and operations are significantly intensified by additional regulatory requirements and comprehensive retrospective reporting.

This means that business leaders and financial teams have to not only cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’, they also have to spend even more time double-checking their financial reporting whilst getting on with work as usual.

These stresses and long hours can take a toll on the morale and performance of business owners and their staff. This is even more applicable for small businesses that have far fewer employees to designate tasks to.

For many financial and accountancy professionals, as well as small business owners who take on this responsibility themselves, fiscal year-end worries are directly linked to the fact that their accounts are not up-to-date. They simply run out of time because there is so much to be done and there is not enough support to meet the looming deadlines.

With these pressures and worries weighing on the minds of business owners and employees, their work-life balance, relationships and wellbeing are very likely to be affected.

With so much on the line personally and professionally, it is essential for businesses to consider all their options to effectively manage their year-end requirements. This goes beyond simply ‘getting more organised’ or upstaffing in a way that is disproportionate to the business’ long-term needs.

Pointers to eliminate financial year-end stress:

Technology is key

In today’s business environment, it is crucial for organisations to incorporate technological innovations into every aspect of their business – sales, marketing, operations and (of course) financial procedures.

Making use of the right digital tools and online accounting software can mean the difference between spending hours manually gathering information and having that data available anytime, anywhere and quickly cross-referenced with just one click. Not only does online technology offer a convenient solution to many of the problems that arise at financial year-end, it is also a far more cost-effective option for small businesses working with tighter budgets. Leading companies across the globe, like Intuit QuickBooks, are constantly working on products to help businesses be more efficient in their processes.

A recent example would be the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). QuickBooks has recently introduced the QB Assistant, an AI-powered chatbot that combines data-driven insights and natural language processing. The QB Assistant was designed to help business owners stay on top of their finances with ease. Using a smartphone, business leaders can ask the bot questions about their businesses or finances and get answers instantly.

Draw on a network of experts

Owning and managing a small business requires many skills, from marketing to inventory management to customer service to accounting.

Some of these skills require an expertise that can be outsourced, allowing an owner and their staff to focus on better serving customers and growing their business. Drawing on a network of experts in tax, marketing and other specialised fields can help minimise the strain on employees during high-stress, time-intensive periods.

Keep ahead of the game

Where business owners can, they should have anticipated requirements addressed well in advance – whether they are related to the company’s finances or other aspects of the business that may pick up around financial year-end, such as vendor on-boarding or product restocks.

Addressing requirements in advance can also help alleviate any added stress that results from unexpected hurdles or delays in process. Leveraging online tools that enable owners to assign tasks with due dates on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis can help plan long-term for known deliverables.

Year-end doesn’t need to be so daunting. The secret to a successful and less stressful financial year-end is to plan where possible and to make use of the expert support that is available.