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7 tips to survive Year End Accounts

Your alarm goes off in the morning. You wake up and realise your year-end accounts are upon you. You stumble your way out of bed, into the shower and crawl into work. You really don’t like year-end accounts. And you’re surrounded by people that don’t like year-end accounts too. Collectively, you groan and wail your way through the process, lamenting the very existence of year-end accounts – praying there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

We don’t like seeing Year End Zombies at Advantage, and we’ve seen plenty of them over the last 17 years! Make this the year-end you see the light at the end of the tunnel and stop being a Year End Zombie!

OK, I’ve doused myself in Caffeine. Why do I do year end again?

Because it’s a statutory requirement. Every business in the UK has to submit their year end account to make sure they’re up to date, in order and are compliant with regulations. Some people also consider year end the perfect opportunity to take stock of everything and clear up their systems and processes – so they start the next financial year in rude health.

Alright, so what do I have to do?

#1 – Be prepared

Survival expert and all-round hard man Bear Grylls, can draw upon a wealth of survival skills he’s picked up over the years of his life. Preparation has been key to Bear’s ongoing survival and the same can be said for year end accounts.

Preparing yourself, your business and your team is key to ensuring you approach year end with sufficient resources and an appropriate strategy to tackle the challenges you’ll face. Brief your staff a couple of months in advance and make sure you’re tightening expenditure, chasing outstanding purchase orders and invoices in the run up to year end. Keep expenses to a minimum and make sure they’re all being processed and put through your system.

#2 – Get your accounts up to date

All of your figures in your accounts should add up and tally with all of your bills, invoices, and bank statements and other financial records. List sales you make before year end (but you’ve not yet paid for) as outstanding debtors. Include important details like, invoice number, invoice data and amount – so you’ve got something to track.

#3 – Keep your employee data accurate

During year end, you’ll need to make sure all of your employment data is up to date and accurate. When auditing, HMRC almost always look at payroll and expenses to ensure that it all checks out. They’re always very interested in National Insurance and Tax. If any of this is incorrect, as an employer you’ll be liable as opposed to the employee in question. You need to also ensure that all of your employees are submitting their expenses with all of the correct receipts to avoid any sort of confusion.

#4 – Tidy up your place a bit

Nobody likes doing the dishes. But failing to do them will leave you with a big job when you run out of crockery! Keep on top of your admin throughout the entire financial year. Get your filing in order – so printing and organising receipts and invoices or even organising them into folders on your computer system.

In fact, why not consider getting Expense Management software? Things like Concur, Payescape, Systems@Work or Wipfli Brittenford Systems can really clear up your expense management process and make organising your expenses a doddle.

Either way, you want to make it very easy to access information if you happen to be queried on any part of your accounts.

#5 – Check your chart of accounts

This defines which accounts are directly related to your profit loss report, which are part of your balance sheet. At year end Chart of Accounts (COA) controls which accounts are going to be cleared down for the new year. So you need to make sure it’s all correct and up to date.

#6 – Check your data and create a backup

Survival works on having contingency plans in the event of catastrophe. You need a backup plan if your first plan fails, and the same is true with year end accounts. If you have an ERP system like Dynamics GP, you can take a backup of all of your financial data. And if things go awry while you’re doing your year end, and need to start from scratch – or start from a point where you know the data is accurate, you can do that with GP.

Having a backup plan in general is a great idea. Check out our site recovery blog. Azure cloud happens to be one of the best backup platforms.

#7 – Don’t panic

Year end can be a really stressful time for everybody involved. Tempers can be frayed, frustrations are high and stress can take over. Try to calm down, take a step back and evaluate what has happened, why it has happened what you can do to resolve it.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t actually a survival situation!

Got year end survival tips of your own? Share them with us. We’re always trying to find new ways to keep our finance manager happy!