Two Prosperity Advisers listed among Australia’s Top 50 Financial Advisers in The Australian’s Deal Magazine

Prosperity Directors John Manuel and Gary Dean have both been listed among Australia’s top 50 financial advisers in the inaugural list of Australia’s top advisers by The Deal, the monthly business magazine in The Australian in conjunction with Barron’s, a US based financial publication.

John Manuel a Director and partner of Prosperity Advisers was ranked in 13th position, while Gary Dean Director and partner based in the Sydney office of Prosperity Advisers came in at 40th position. In speaking about the recognition, John Manuel says, “Our clients are dynamic. They are attracted to us due to our willingness to understand their financial needs intimately and to deliver tailored, strategic and ongoing advice.”

Gavin Fernando, Director Financial Services at Prosperity Advisers says, “This list celebrates the leaders in the financial advice sector and we are very proud to have two of our advisers listed among a pool of very high calibre personal financial experts. Both John and Gary are the best of the best and this recognition builds on the feedback we regularly receive from their clients about the positive experience of working with each of them.”

The purpose in undertaking to rank Australia’s top financial advisers is twofold, to provide the market with a selection of quality advisers and to establish a benchmark for a high stand of client care that all advisers can emulate.

About undertaking the survey, the organisers of the list, Barron’s says, “It is to cast a positive spotlight on the advisory business in Australia broadly, by highlighting a group of leading advisers as examples of the tremendous skill, passion, and acumen represented within the industry. Our goal will be to recognise excellence in wealth advisory and educate the investing public on the value of a talented adviser.”

The survey comprised 73 questions covering everything from the financial performance of the advisers’ practices to their credentials, education and charitable philanthropic work.

“At Prosperity we firmly believe that reaching your financial goals may not always mean making more money, but rather making smart decisions with what you have”, says Fernando.

The partners and staff at Prosperity congratulate John and Gary for achieving this remarkable recognition!

Find out more about the Barron’s survey and Australia’s Top 50 Advisers listing here.

Gavin Fernando is an Authorised Representative of Prosperity Wealth Advisers Pty Ltd (ABN 32 141 396 376) is part of the Prosperity Advisers Group and an Authorised representative of Hillross Financial Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee 232705. This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Readers need to consider their own financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.

Prosperity adds SME specialist practice

  • Supplements stellar growth in Brisbane practice
  • Holistic service offering key attraction
  • SME sector not well served

Roger Ng & Co – a specialist SME Brisbane-based Accounting & Tax practice has joined the Prosperity Advisers Group.

The SME sector is the engine room of the Australian economy and Queensland has a burgeoning small business sector. A key client group for both Prosperity Advisers and Roger Ng & Co, the SME sector features prominently in Prosperity’s growth plans. Joining forces means greater access for Roger Ng & Co clients to an expanded group of services and is a boost to Prosperity’s SME and private client network.

Combining the long history of both firms in delivering quality accounting, tax and advisory services in the Queensland market made a lot of sense for Prosperity Advisers’ Founder & CEO Allan McKeown, “We’ve experienced double digit growth at our Brisbane practice in each of the last four years including 12% year to date, so when the opportunity arose to merge with Roger Ng & Co we were excited by the prospect.”

Prosperity is a leading adviser to SMEs and HNW families with specialist teams in the Medico and Hospitality sectors and possessing a well-resourced Asia Desk. Expanding its client base in each of these areas is a key factor in its growth plans. “Our project to build the Advisory Firm of the Future involves embracing technology changes in order to advise clients using the latest thinking. Being a progressive firm was attractive to Roger Ng & Co and we welcome the more than 120 client groups and the team, from Roger Ng & Co that have joined Prosperity.” says McKeown.

“We are pleased that both Karen Ng and her father, Roger will continue with our firm. Their specialist SME knowledge will be invaluable in assisting Prosperity to cater for a market that is often not well served by its advisers; many of whom are trapped on the compliance treadmill.”

Following a searching selection process, choosing to join with Prosperity Advisers was a logical next step for Partner Karen Ng, “Prosperity offers a complete service for our clients from financial planning, accounting and business management using the latest technology, through to tax consulting and structuring, employee benefits and superannuation. It’s a one-stop-shop where our clients will benefit as they grow their businesses and family wealth. In addition Prosperity’s people really stood out for us as very approachable, client nurturing, highly knowledgeable and leaders in their respective fields. We are delighted to be on board.”

Bring in the new financial year with a clear plan for success

As another financial year comes hurtling to an end it’s a great time to pause and reflect on what you can do to ensure FY 2018 is all you want it to be. Here are my top 5 tips in preparation for a new year. Tackle one a week and you will be on track to start the year with confidence and a recipe for success.

  1. Set a budget for the year

Assessing financial performance is subjective. To know whether you have succeeded you need to be able to measure your results against an agreed plan (or budget). Having a budget also allows you to make financial decisions around setting revenue budgets and sales strategies, making decisions to invest in capital expenditure and team development. Importantly, it enables you to allocate personal remuneration and drawings without fear of unexpected bills or a cashflow crisis you didn’t see coming.

Most SME owners start with a good idea, an identified market niche and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to drive their vision to succeed. But to what end? Having a clear financial goal in mind assists in shaping your broader business strategy for the year and also provides a sense of purpose to your company.

  1. Set your top 5 priorities 

Setting clear and concise goals gives you focus and direction. By identifying the 5 most important things to get done for you to be able to meet or exceed your financial budget you will ensure that your hard work pays rewards as your activity and efforts are directly linked to factors which contribute to your goals.

Of your 5 priorities it is also great practice to identify the number 1 priority – the one goal which is the most important thing for the business to achieve. You may also find that your top 5 priorities contain longer term projects, if so, identifying shorter term milestones or actions related to each one can keep it achievable and ensure you are making progress with steps in the right direction.

What you focus on gets done. 

  1. Use an advisory board

Being in business can be lonely, and being busy can mean time passes by without stopping to check on your progress. Implementing an Advisory Board provides owners a sounding board, guidance, and an outside perspective to hold you personally accountable. It is a great way to break the dynamic from working IN the business, to working ON the business.

I recommend at least a quarterly cycle of meetings, including a meeting agenda and financial reports (compared to your budget).

The Advisory Board team may be limited to one or two individuals (depending on the size and complexity of the business and the internal skills in the business) and meetings should be kept to 2 or 3 hours maximum. In my experience, businesses with an Advisory Board more often meet their financial targets and stay on track with their strategic priorities than those without one.

  1. Streamline a process 

Like decluttering your house during a spring clean, finding an inefficient process in your business and streamlining it can reap great rewards. For business efficiency as well as staff satisfaction.

We live in an age where technology can provide solutions for all sorts of problems and you might be surprised to find an “off the shelf” solution to your process inefficiency.

Are you spending too much time entering receipts and filing them? Try Receipt Bank to snap a photo of your receipts and bills and watch it load itself into your accounting system – and no more need to file the paper. Perhaps you are sick of entering and remembering too many passwords for the multiple applications you use each day? Try LastPass and save yourself time (and frustration) every day. 

Creating a culture of continuous improvement has immense benefits. Start now with one change and see where it leads. 

  1. What to stop doing!

Time is a limited commodity. To do new things and create new habits, you need to find some stop doing activities and bench old habits. To identify some things you can stop doing, consider the following questions:

  • Do you say ‘yes’ too often?
    • Next time, pause and consider “does it need to be done?”, “can someone else do it”, “if I need to do it, how urgent is it?”.
  • Do you do things that others could do?
    • Focus on delegation. Leverage the time of others to get tasks progressed and only get involved when they are advanced to a stage where they need your input.
  • Stop being a perfectionist.
    • Ensure the time spent is commensurate with the value of the task.
  • Cease & desist from doing repetitive tasks.
    • Take advantage of technology and start automating repetitive processes.

Help is close by. Your accountant should be a sounding board for your ideas or feel free to contact Prosperity Advisers if you want a fresh approach.

Prosperity creates opportunities for professionals to thrive

Prosperity is delighted to be a finalist in this year’s Australian Accounting Awards across two categories.

It follows recent awards for excellence among our team – Hillross Adviser of the Year for Gary Dean and 2016 Rising Star of the Year for Alex Hardy. Siobhan Sellick has been announced as finalist for Partner of the Year while Prosperity’s Professional Development Program is also shortlisted for recognition at this year’s Australian Accounting Awards.

Staff feedback surveys tell us that what sets Prosperity Advisers Group apart from other firms is our collaboration, professionalism, learning culture and team ethos – especially the lengths that we go to make a difference for our clients and to support each other.

This recognition builds on firm and individual successes awarded in 2016. We have been recognised again for the contribution our people make in helping to create stronger financial futures for our clients.

In becoming a finalist for Partner of the Year, Siobhan Sellick consolidates her 20 years of business advisory, accounting and tax experience working closely with individual, family and business clients.

Siobhan says: “I like to spend time with my clients getting to know them well. I meet with a client’s team, partners, children and people who influence or rely upon them. Prosperity gives me the freedom to work with other teams and the time to get close to clients and their families. I am not restrained in my approach so that I can provide holistic solutions and not just piece meal advice.

Mentoring my team to go beyond traditional compliance accounting has reaped rewards for individuals who have stretched themselves and discovered new skills and knowledge. It’s a very satisfying part of being a Partner.”

The Professional Development Program award recognises achievement for innovation in program development, implementation and outcomes achieved. Prosperity’s Learning Organisation approach underpins how we engage with each other and how we work with clients. For us to be recognised as the Firm of the Future we are embracing technology, changing how and when we advise and engage with clients and reshaping how we build enduring client relationships.

HR Director, Tanya Craft said “Personal and career development is an important consideration when people join Prosperity and our program aims to address the balance between technical, personal and professional growth.”

Category winners will be announced on 26 May at a gala dinner in Sydney.

Government delivers good news for business to support economic growth

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There is finally good news for some businesses in the lead up to the new Federal Budget being handed down in May. Items flagged in last year’s budget are finally progressing through the Government and the Senate. This includes company tax cuts and the ability for more businesses to access the small business tax concessions.

Legislation containing the proposed tax cuts for companies – bringing company tax down to 27.5% – has now been passed however it is limited to companies with under $50m turnover.  The company tax cuts were intended in last year’s budget to apply progressively to all companies, however objection from opposition parties and deals made to pass the legislation resulted in the tax cuts being limited to small and moderate sized businesses.

For the 2016/17 year (this tax year) it will be limited to companies with less than $10m, for the 2017/18 year the threshold will raise to $25m turnover then $50m from the 2018/19 year onwards. The tax rate will gradually decrease from 27.5% to 25% from the 2025 to 2027 years.

Importantly, the new legislation also includes the budget proposal to increase access to the small business tax concessions (excluding CGT) to $10m from 1 July 2016. This means, for example, companies with between $2m and $10m turnover will be able to obtain an immediate write-off for depreciable assets acquired prior to 30 June. This is great news for a large number of businesses and should factor into business planning strategies for the 2017/18 financial year. Small business owners should contact their adviser to discuss these changes and how they can take advantage of this immediate stimulus prior to 30 June.

The legislation also progressively increases the small income tax offset for sole proprietors (eventually to 16% by 2027) and raises the threshold to $5m turnover.  Another great win for small business!

Contact Prosperity on 1800 855 844 or mail@prosperityadvisers.com.au if you would like to know how these changes can benefit your business.

The business of hospitality – using data for growth

(First published in Business First Magazine)

Tourism is on the rise in Australia against a backdrop of unease in other key tourism locations, and it’s shaping up to be a boom for the hospitality sector writes Steve Gagel, Director, Prosperity Advisers Group.

Fresh from a European holiday and close to the Nice attacks, I had a good opportunity to discuss holiday destinations with many locals in countries across Europe. The tension is palpable in the major cities. From the moment we stepped off a plane or train, we were met with multiple army personnel carrying machine guns and walking in formations up to six at a time. Understandably, citizens are nervous, and react to anything out of the ordinary in fear of another terrorist attack.

Europeans seem to be in awe of our watery boarders and in-the-main tend to like Australia’s “turn back the boats” policy. The Australian policy of not letting anyone in does disadvantage the many legitimate refugees trying to escape oppression and to make a better life from themselves, with some thinking it might keep out the extremists at the same time.

TOURISM ON THE UP
With the above in mind and the Australian dollar a long way under our previous highs of $1.10 to the US Dollar (currently A$ buying around US$0.76) there is effectively a 31% increase in buying power that international visitors now have in deciding to visit Australia.
Tourism Research Australia tells us there’s a healthy increase in total expenditure on international overnight visitors across all three eastern seaboard states – with the average for Australia up 17%. Perhaps the combined effects of safety and lower cost (due to the dollar dropping) is indeed creating more in-bound hospitality for Australia?

Domestically, it appears that Australians are turning their noses up at overseas destinations with domestic overnight spend increasing by 4.7% and domestic day trips also up by 4.6%. The scene is certainly set for growth among hospitality operators if they can leverage the current climate to their advantage.

HOW TO CAPITALISE ON THE INFLOWS
Further analysis of the data from Tourism Australia confirms the hotspot is with holiday makers who are up 20.7% year on year to June 2016, whilst the convention and conference market seems to have suffered a downturn of 10.7%. For the actual month of June 2016 these two markets seem to be gathering speed in opposite directions with holiday makers up 29.4% and convention and conference visitors down 17.7%.

So what can participants in the hospitality sector do to capitalise on the swinging tide of tourism? Data can be your friend here. Getting to know the local Hotels Association representatives in your area and getting closer to Tourism Australia and the local “destinations” organisations in your district can give you the information you need to anticipate tourism flows and to appeal to the type of visitors expected.

For example, if there are delegations from specific nations expected in your area then getting to know the organisers and promoting a tailored option to attract them to your venue may be appealing – such as a special menu, entertainment or drink. Then capitalising on these visits through social media can help reinforce your venue as a destination for that type of visitor going forward.

Data can also help you in other ways. It could be as simple as asking visitors to your venue what postcode they come from or their home country. After collecting data for a given period you can analyse to see if you could tailor aspects of your offer (food, beverage, gaming, entertainment, special events) to the standout groups.  Again, using social media to promote these changes and how you appeal to specific groups can help you target your advertising at very little cost.

Above all, briefing your staff and engaging them in what you are trying to do and why is going to have a significant impact. Frontline staff can collect valuable data at each shift such as approximate ages and gender of your visitors. They will also have ideas for how you can make the most of tourism flows in your area. If you want to make your area more attractive to local or overseas visitors, getting together with other publicans or venues in your area and jointly approaching delegation organisers or tourism operators could see a step change in the type and quality of visitor you experience.

Competing for the consumer dollar is never easy but with a lower exchange rate on your side and a greater number of visitors to our shores it certainly makes it more interesting and exciting.

Senior appointments cap Prosperity’s Bumper New Year

Award winning financial advisory firm, Prosperity Advisers, welcomes new talent in Brisbane & Sydney.

Senior leadership additions in both Brisbane and Sydney heralds continued growth for the firm and new opportunities for Prosperity’s clients. Joining the firm’s director team is Michael Mahabeer, specialist internal auditor and risk adviser and Michael Bode, business and personal taxation specialist.

Speaking about the additions to Prosperity’s talent line up, Chief Executive and Founder Allan McKeown says “The calibre of our directors is testament to the quality of work we undertake for our varied clients. Without quality clients and exciting and challenging work we would not be able to get the attention of candidates like our two newest directors. I’m excited to see the impact that our new starters will have on our clients and team.”

Michael Mahabeer boasts an impressive track record in senior leadership positions across internal audit and risk management. He led the transformation of the internal audit function at a large government owned corporation in Queensland and has held previous senior roles with Suncorp and PwC. Michael is an internal audit expert with specific knowledge and technical competency of the public and finance sectors. 

Michael Bode specialises in providing advice on Australia’s complex tax system for corporates, businesses and individuals. Having previously been director for many years in the tax consulting division of a global accounting firm, Michael has considerable experience advising on all aspects of taxation for international inbound corporate entities and high wealth private client groups, including mid-cap and family owned businesses. Michael is known for his straight-forward approach and skill at translating complex matters into every-day language.

These appointments capped an outstanding year for Prosperity. The firm picked up three industry awards; moved into fresh new workplaces in Sydney and Brisbane; and launched our Future Thinkers Program and Business Advisory Academy to ensure our people are ‘future fit’ for a fast changing professional environment.

Prosperity Wealth’s Gary Dean recognised as ‘Most Trusted Adviser’, securing Adviser of the Year Award from Hillross Financial Services

Gary Dean - blog

“To me this is the most important aspect of a financial adviser – someone who can take all the stress of managing the money on my behalf and at the same time be able to convey to me the knowledge and confidence to rest easy about the decisions I make.” Client, 2016

Prosperity Wealth Advisers is delighted to confirm that Gary Dean, Associate Director, has secured the prestigious Hillross Financial Services award for Adviser of the Year. Highly sought after, this award recognises not only the expertise which Gary brings to his dealings with clients and the industry, but the depth and meaning with which his clients view their relationship with Gary.

Allan McKeown, CEO and Founder of Prosperity Advisers Group says, “In helping our clients to create stronger financial futures, Gary has secured a position with his clients which is based on trust, mutual respect, genuine care, and of course, excellence. We are very proud to have Gary Dean as part of the Prosperity Wealth family and are delighted that his hard work, knowledge, abilities and passion for his clients has been publicly recognised.”

Independent client research through the Beddoes Institute was instrumental in deciding the award winner as was demonstrating a commitment to ongoing excellence in providing personal financial advice, robust and high quality advice processes and a clear and demonstrable passion for clients.

At the ceremony Prosperity Wealth Advisers was also recognised for a further year as a leading advice practice securing its status as member of the Elite Strategist Group among Hillross licensed financial advice firms.

Speaking about the award Gary Dean says, “To me it’s simple, I get to know my clients as individuals. Providing financial advice is personal and that’s the approach I take. Working with my clients gives me incredible satisfaction, I highly value my interaction with them and the trust they place in me and Prosperity. I am very grateful and humbled that my clients provided such great feedback which contributed to winning this award.”

For more information, please contact: Anne Adams (02) 8262 8718

7 business strategies for 2017!

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(First published in Kochie’s Business Builders)

What can you do this year to ensure 2017 is their best year in small business yet? Here are 7 important strategies to help put you on the road to success.

# 1. Rest and read
As we know the whirlwind of being a business owner operator can provide a tremendous sense of achievement, however it can also take its toll mentally and physically if you don’t take time out regularly to recharge the batteries. Waiting for a time when things are quiet will mean the break may never come. A good friend of mine got me into the habit of booking a few breaks at the beginning of the year before the pendulum starts swinging. That way you will find it much easier to step out of the furnace.

Make sure you take a good book with you as well to improve your business skills. As business growth guru, Verne Harnish likes to say those who don’t read, barely have an advantage over those who can’t read. Exponential Organisations, the best seller by Salim Ismail was my choice over the holiday break and should be on your list.

# 2. Understand disruption
The book Exponential Organisations by Salmi Ismal is a good start to get an understanding of what all the talk about disruption is actually about. Moores Law – the doubling of computer processing power each year doesn’t just mean cooler iPhones. Coupled with some smart thinking, advances in technology are changing business models and all of our businesses will be profoundly affected over the next five years. It’s not all bad news though as your small business can benefit from better technology, higher efficiency and lower costs together with the fresh opportunities that change can bring.You need to start thinking now about:

  • What industry is my business really in?
  • What industry will my disruption come from?
  • How can I future proof my business and take advantage of these rapid changes

# 3. Embrace innovation
Innovation is not just about creating a new revolutionary app, it’s about ways of doing the same things better. Technology enables all of us to take advantage of these innovations to run our businesses better, faster and cheaper. The challenge for you as an owner operator is to commit the time to understand what’s available, what will help you serve your customers better and make your team members more productive. Don’t be distracted chasing every ‘bright shiny thing’ but there will be two or three systems or processes you can implement to radically transform your business.

# 4. Minimise your largest expense
Most small business owners don’t think about it this way but taxation is usually your largest expense. While we don’t advocate tax avoidance in any way there are many opportunities to legally reduce your tax. As the late Kerry Packer famously said “if anybody in this country doesn’t minimise their tax they want their head read because as a Government I can tell you you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra.

”You will need good advice though and if you don’t think you are getting it, there are plenty of good accountants that would be happy to review your position.Some very substantial changes to the Superannuation system have recently been passed with an effective date of 1 July 2017. While this sounds like a long way off, but depending upon your age and the amount of assets you have inside (or outside) of super, some planning opportunities may be available.

# 5. Plan to succeed
A recent Research report from BStar revealed that 72% of SMEs don’t have a formal business plan with only 34% allocating any time at all to strategic planning. Economic growth and opportunities are not evenly spread throughout Australia. Labour markets, population trends, business and consumer confidence are all influenced by local factors and we also have the impact of innovation and business model disruption. Business planning approaches have evolved to see the wasteful 20-page document become a thing of the past replaced by concise one page versions that can help you and your team understand the critical success factors for your business and stay focussed on implementing the necessary actions to achieve your goals.

# 6. Get great advice
Not even the great sports people can achieve success on their own. Business owners have clear needs for advice and assistance. You need an experienced sounding board, someone you can trust to discuss your plans and issues with and ideally keep you accountable to achieving your goals. There are many names for this role – mentor, guide, coach or adviser. It may be a friend, colleague, accountant or lawyer with some larger businesses forming a proper ‘board of advice’.Find the right person or structure that suits you, take some time out to think about where you want your business to go, get to work on your strategic plan taking advantage of some smart technology and you will be well placed to avoid the perils of disruption while you build your superannuation nest egg.

# 7. Have fun!
Don’t forget to take some time out to enjoy the ride.

SMEs: Who are the winners this year?

(First published in Business First Magazine – December 16)

Christmas is almost upon us and business owners will be shifting their focus to planning for 2017.  Let’s take a look at the highlights for 2016 and how they lead into key themes for 2017.

The budget of uncertainty

The Turnbull government’s May 2016 budget was widely flagged as a step in the right direction for small business. However, the proceeding lag time in policy implementation and uncertainty around superannuation policy has seen many SMEs simply “tune out” to how these changes affect them or their business.

Business owners should keep these in mind:

  • Reduction to the small business company tax rate down to 27.5% from 1 July 2016 – applicable to business with up to $10M turnover.
  • Other tax benefits opened to many businesses within the $2 and $10 million turnover band including simplified depreciation and trading stock rules
  • Tax offset of up to $1,000 for individuals carrying on business via a trust, partnership or sole trading.
  • No change to eligibility threshold for small business CGT concessions.
  • Small business restructure tax concessions made available to family groups

The bad news for SMEs was to be at the personal retirement level with super flagged for retrospective policy, restricted thresholds and months of uncertainty in policy.  While a backflip on the $500,000 retrospective lifetime non-concessional cap was announced in September the main superannuation policy announcements from the budget look set to become law from 1 July 2017, these include:

  • $1.6 million transfer balance for super pensions
  • Removal of the transition to retirement pension tax exemption
  • Reduction in the concessional cap to $25,000 annually and non-concessional to $100,000 annually
  • Lowering of the threshold for the additional 15% super contribution tax from $300,000 to $250,000

Business highlights as of November

The key 2016 highlights we hear from business owners on a day to day basis come from outside the tax sphere.

Low Interest Funding

Access to low interest business goodwill and asset funding has clearly been a key winner for business in 2016 –especially businesses that were able to capitalise on the low rates. We have seen many cases where the major banks have shown high degrees of flexibility on rates in order to retain and win new business – while this was not always on the first approach, it pays to be persistent.

New tools to monitor your business

We have also seen a shift in openness to technologies and new streamlined processes.  Business owners now have access to apps and software that are affordable, giving them a comprehensive and real time view of their trading results and cash flow position.  Business owners who previously preferred traditional methods are beginning to realise that they must adapt or be left behind.

Innovation

Business operating in the innovation field fared well during 2016 with a range of policies and grants delivered to foster innovation.  The commercialisation of innovative products and services continues to be an area of growth with ongoing rounds of funding and tax incentives.  One of the most generous of the concessions is the Early Stage Innovation Company (ESIC) tax concession which provides investors with a rebate of 20% on their investment and the ability to disregard capital gains for assets sold within 10 year.

On the radar for 2017

The 2017 landscape for SMEs will continue to present challenges.  SMEs will need to be focused and savvy when it comes to steering their business in a winning direction.

Business Planning is Key

The top concern keeping business owners awake at night in 2016 was business planning (or lack thereof).  With research showing that 72% of business owners don’t have a business plan. Too many owners are concentrating on day to day operations and either don’t have the time, skills or support to focus on long term planning and growth.

Given the tools available to SMEs, 2017 will see in app based resources, there is no longer any excuse to shy away from strategic business planning and ongoing monitoring.  Benchmarking, industry averages and real time comparative data is readily available and should be put to work. 

People & processes – get these right and ease your stress

As engage with remote employees or “gig” workers, processes will need to be dynamic and streamlined.  Focusing on new ways of working along with smarter processes will be a key theme of 2017 and can also help ease the stress levels for business owners.

Stress and Lifestyle concerns rose from #5 in the 2015 SME research report to #3 in 2016.  The majority hold a belief that their business can’t operate without them. To avoid burnout and missing out on family time business owners should invest focus in this area. Cloud based tools that allow time away from the business without compromising connectivity can also be a useful planning tool for business owners.

Actively managing cash

The record low borrowing rates of 2016 can’t last indefinitely and cash should always be a key focus for business.  Most businesses that fail still do so because of cash flow issues.

In 2017, we recommend using KPIs, benchmarks and cash flow planning apps to make cash management a priority for your business. Once you’ve harnessed your cash flow you can take advantage of business opportunities when they arise.