Getting good advice when you start a new business or acquire an existing business is critical. The small business statistics report that about 30% fail, that is go broke, even if they do net enter formal bankruptcy or liquidation in the first six months and at ten years about 30% of business will be successful. However if the business has survived for ten years you are likely to remain successful. You can enhance your chances of success significantly by getting assistance and preparing a business plan.
There are many different formats for business plans. Whatever the format a business plan should include a situation analysis. A business plan would ideally consist of a mission statement, objectives in hard numbers, analysis of the product or service, marketing plan, critical success factors, management and human resources summary, production or operations strategy, innovation strategy, financial projections, sensitivity analysis, and contingency planning.
A strategic plan is an adjunct to the business plan with a more intensive analysis of the external environment and the internal environment created by the business. This analysis will often reveal the critical handful of key operations that the business must get right every time for it to continue to be successful.
There is a due diligence process that every business purchaser needs to go through whether they are aware of doing it formally or informally. A solicitor has an obligation to perform certain due diligence procedures when advising on a purchase, but advice on much of the business analysis is outside their legal obligations and competence to advise on. A proper due diligence review carried out in conjunction with your accountant experienced in this process will usually uncover most of the information you need to have available so that you can make a considered decision on whether to acquire a business or not. This analysis is the same if a farming business is being considered for purchase.
When the due diligence process has been completed, the next question is, what is the business worth. A properly structured valuation will usually indicate the highest and lowest valuations based on the methods of valuation appropriate to the situation and the industry.
A lending institution will often ask for projected cashflow statements if they are lending you funds. Banks not only want security on the loans they make, they also want some assurance that the business has the capacity to repay the loans. If it is an existing business that has been acquired, previous years financial records can be used to prepare the cash flow projections. If it is a new business the cash flow projections can be prepared with the greatest of care often based on business plan estimates.
In industries that carry high levels of debtors and stock and if net profit margins are tight, it is usually advisable to prepare budgeted profit and loss statements that account for these items on a quarterly or monthly basis. This is so that declines in profit can be immediately identified and action taken to correct any change.
Financial institutions have reasonably standard procedures for assessing whether they will lend to businesses. Apart from business loans, it may be necessary to finance equipment and other types of purchases. The form of financing will often have income tax implications. We have software that will allow us to assess the best form of finance for you in your particular circumstances.
Applications for loans from a financial institution may often be complex and time consuming to prepare if you are not experienced in this process. We can assist you to complete theses applications and in many cases reduce the number of questions an institution might raise in assessing an application.
If you are new to business, it is not unusual that a quick five minute telephone call may save you from the consequences of making a poor decision. Being able to speak with someone with over thirty years business experience may save time, stress and money.
Using accounting software or a combination of manual and computerised accounting systems will often save time and enable you to produce statutory information for GST returns, income tax returns and Australian securities and Investment Commission Statements if required. Additionally most accounting systems are capable of producing a wide variety of reports that enable you to have up to date and accurate information on business performance. We can assist you in the selection and implementation of an accounting system that is suitable for your circumstances.
Advice on how to minimise the impact of taxation on trading profits through the year and particularly before the end of the financial year in the April to June period is essential to have some control over the incidence of year end tax liabilities.
The impact of decision to sell or purchase capital assets that might incur a capital gain tax liability is of special importance. It is essential that you seek advice on these transactions. Also income tax can give rise to unexpected consequences. Having timely and competent advice on such issues can make a significant difference to your income tax liability at the end of the financial year.
An analysis may be required to determine if a new business asset that will consume significant financial resources will be a viable purchase for a firm. Various methods can be used to determine if the asset purchase is a good use of the businesses scarce resources. Such methods include accounting rate of return, discounted cashflow, net present valuations, internal rate of return, payback period and terminal value.
As part of the risk assessment a business needs to consider acquiring insurance cover for workers compensation, fire and property, public liability, professional indemnity, product liability, plate glass, fidelity, machine breakdown, computer breakdown, water damage, cash in transit, goods in transit, inventory insurance, plant and equipment, building, Motor vehicle comprehension, motor vehicle third party property, loss of profits, tenants liability, key person, personal disability (sickness and accident), trauma, travel and life insurance.
Business risk management covers current wills, powers of attorney, enduring guardianships, partnership and shareholder agreements and funded business succession agreements.
Financial statement preparation is a basic compliance issue for any business of substance. It is the document financial institutions require for lending purposes and purchasers requires when assessing the purchase of a business. Reliable, credible and accurate financial statements supported by well documented source records are an essential requirement for a business.
Assistance with the preparation of GST returns and advice on GST problems to ensure that you comply with the law and do not under or over pay your liabilities.
Completion of statutory and compliance income tax returns becomes a more onerous and a standard requirement during the growth and consolidation stage.