Typically at the outset of a new new year, business owners focus on a fresh start, new beginnings and how they can make it better than the previous year.
Although we are already in March and the year is racing ahead, some businesses have not yet set their intentions for 2014 - perhaps because they've had a very busy start to the year. It's not too late if you haven't yet made clear resolutions, plans and goals - but you need to get cracking.
For many, 2013 was an uncomfortable year, so they will be looking to make improvements to ensure that 2014 doesn't become a repeat.
This involves a two-pronged attack:
1. Deal with the problems of 2013 so they are resolved.
2. Create a plan for a better, more successful 2014.
Here I will talk about point number 1; point 2 will be addressed in my next blog.
It is going to be very difficult to have a fresh start if you still have unresolved problems looming in the background, so they need to be identified and dealt to. The sooner you sort them out the better, because delaying only serves to exacerbate them.
Being behind in payments to creditors is one of the biggest and most common problems we see. More often than not, one of those creditors is the IRD and owing money to the IRD is a problem that can very quickly snowball into a disaster. The IRD is very aggressively pursuing people who are overdue in their payments, and we see activity in this area increasing all the time.
Unfortunately we have some clients who are now facing criminal prosecutions because they have ignored their problems - if you don't file a tax return for 10 years, or don't make PAYE, GST or income tax payments, you can't expect to come through unscathed. Pleading ignorance of tax laws is no excuse as far as the IRD is concerned.
Of course owing money to creditors is not the only area where businesses may have problems. There may be issues with systems and staff, for example, and these will need to be addressed e.g. by refining, updating or replacing systems and/or providing additional training and support for employees.
So first up, get real. Identify your problems, then ask for help to get them resolved. If you owe money to the IRD, or anywhere else, talk to us as soon as possible so we can work out a plan. The sooner you get on to this the better - preferably yesterday.
Once you've cleaned up your problems, you can start focusing on moving forward in 2014.