Caitlin Sykes

Caitlin Sykes is the NZ Herald's Your Business editor

Small business: End of financial year - Annie Quested

Annie Quested, Raygas.
Annie Quested, Raygas.

Can you tell me a bit about your business?

We are a Wellington-based plumbing and gas fitting firm. My father, Ray, started the business in the Wairarapa nine years ago and we moved into Wellington nearly three years ago. The business consists of me, Dad - who is about to retire - and my brother Paul, who is a registered plumber and gas fitter. We are also just about to employ another plumber.

What does the end of the financial year mean for you in the business?

The biggest issue for us with the end of financial year is finding the time to do everything that needs to be done, while still providing excellent customer service and running the day-to-day business. I do everything that is office based and am also out in the field quoting so, as you can imagine, just managing the day-to-day is a full-on job. When you add end of year, things become really hectic.

What are some of your strategies for easing the pressure at this time of year?

The best thing we have ever done was move to a cloud-based accounting system that links to our accountant. We used to do everything manually on spreadsheets, which meant end of year was very time consuming. Now, because I code everything as it comes in, apart from making adjustments and discussing things with the accountant, the process is much more streamlined.

Is this also a time for reflection in the business or perhaps looking forward and planning or goal setting for the year ahead?

Absolutely. We review our business plan and goals every month, but the end of the year is a time to reflect on what worked well the year before, what we will do again for the next year and also what new initiatives or plans we need to put in place. My father is a prolific inventor; one of his inventions won a gold award for gas safety back in the eighties and we have recently licensed another of his designs to a large multinational. This means we always have new products and plans to be working on for the next year. It keeps things interesting, if not a little stressful at times!

What are your top tips for dealing with the end of the financial year?

Get a really good accountant - they are worth the money! We pay our accountant on a monthly, direct-debit basis so we don't get a shock at the end of the year and this works really well for us.

Move your accounts to a cloud-based system. Our accountant has access to this as well so they can review things at any time of the year.

Code invoices and expenses as you do them or receive them. That way, at the end of the year everything is in the correct place and it's much, much easier for the accountant to prepare the accounts, which, in turn, costs you less.

- NZ Herald

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