Caitlin Sykes

Your Business editor of the NZ Herald

Small business: End of financial year - Emma Lowe

Marcelo Nunez and Emma Lowe of Monowai Estate.
Marcelo Nunez and Emma Lowe of Monowai Estate.

Can you tell me a bit about your business?

My husband, Marcelo, and I started Monowai Estate in 2002. We came back from overseas and planted grapes on a bit of bare land in Hawke's Bay, and in 2005 we started our winery and began making wine. My husband looks after the vineyard, while I make the wine and do the admin bits and pieces. There's just the two of us and we get contractors in as required when we need help in the winery and vineyard.

What's this time of year like for you in your business?

March isn't the end of our financial year. We're harvesting grapes at the moment and we're just too busy trying to get everything else done at this time of year to fit that in as well. When the grapes have to come in they have to come in, so you don't get much flexibility.

Instead, our financial year ends 30 June, which is a quieter time of year for us - the wine is made and maturing in tanks and barrels. We made the decision to do that at quite an early stage in the business - it was at the suggestion of our accountant, who works with a number of other wine businesses.

So what is the end of your financial year like?

I do two-monthly GST returns and reconcile all my accounts at the end of each month. So I don't have a lot of extra things to do at the end of the financial year. It's really just a matter of printing out reports and getting any bits and pieces like any business spending on personal credit cards and asset lists - if we've bought or sold anything - sorted. So it probably only takes me about a day to get everything sorted out and printed because I've done it throughout the year. We've also recently gone on to MYOB LiveAccounts, so now most of those reports I don't need to print out because the accountant can log on at their end.

My parents are farmers and my mother has always done the accounts, so right from the get go with our business, she said to me 'this is what you need to do...' She was able to pass on good advice, which has stood us well.

Do you also use the end of the financial year as a time to look and plan ahead?

When we get the accounts back we sit down and look at things like costs and how they compare to the year before, and also look ahead to see if we are growing volume-wise or value-wise. That's the time of year when you've got all the numbers in front of you, so we can see what we could be doing differently and how that could change the figures going forwards.

Any advice for other small business owners when it comes to dealing with the end of the financial year?

Do as much as you can throughout the year - and keep things where you can find them.

- NZ Herald

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