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Business owners skip holidays to get books in order - research

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

While many people will be taking this weekend off and enjoying chocolate eggs - lots of small business owners (and their accountants) will be putting in extra hours to get their paperwork done, according to new research by MYOB.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor survey of more than 1,000 business operators around the country found that 34 per cent of SME owners are working weekends - and almost one-in-five are working after midnight to get their end-of-financial-year paperwork into shape.

MYOB’s New Zealand general manager Carolyn Luey says it highlights the extra workload SMEs have to shoulder to meet their compliance responsibilities.

"New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to set up and run a business, but many operators still face long hours organising material and preparing data so they can file their annual returns.

"Anything that can be done - from a government focus on reducing red tape and streamlining compliance to business advisors to helping SMEs make the most of available support and the latest technology - can make a difference to the number of hours local business operators are tied up by preparing for the end of the financial year," says Luey.

According to the survey, local SME owners will also be turning down an invitation to catch up with friends (15%), missed an important family event (7%), and being unable to take planned holidays (7%), in order to meet compliance requirements.

Luey says it’s easy to put the extra work on the backburner, but there are several actions small business owners can take to ensure they aren’t caught out at tax time.

"SMEs who take care of their accounts throughout the year tend to have a much easier time when it comes to the reporting season," says Luey. "The right technology can also make a major difference, particularly with features like automated bank feeds, which can take care of a lot of manual data entry.

"Compliance is one of the most important administrative activities of the business year and getting it right can mean the difference between business success and failure."

Adding to this weekend’s complexity, 1 April sees the introduction of a new option for paying provisional tax, called the Accounting Income Method or AIM. It introduces a new pay-as-you-go option using business’s online accounting software like MYOB to make calculating provisional tax easier, more accurate and more in line with income earned.

"MYOB has been working closely with Inland Revenue to build a solution that takes the guesswork and penalties out of paying provisional your business tax - leaving more time for more productive activities, like servicing customers, developing new products, or spending time with the kids," says Luey.

"Once small business owners have put the financial year behind them, we suggest talking to an advisor about whether AIM is right for their business."

Luey says with the right help and efficient systems in place, business owners can reduce the time they spend on bookkeeping - allowing business owners to remain focused on what matters most - running their business and spending time with family and friends.

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