Sydney, Australia (PressExposure) July 05, 2011 -- Small business expert Amanda Falconer says that there are three key questions that every business owner needs to answer at the end of FY11 to help develop their financial management skills.
"Small business owners tend to be good at what they do in their business and less confident in the financial management side of it," says Symon Brewis-Weston, general manager of local business banking for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
"Even though they may have an accountant, they should develop some basic financial skills for themselves."
To help small business owners kick start the 2012 financial year, Falconer lists three questions that business owners should answer about FY11.
1. Did you make budget?
"If you didn't have a budget put in place for FY11, or struggled to keep on top of your budget for the year, then it's time to think about how you're going to manage this in FY12," says Falconer.
She says that a budget is an absolute essential for every business, no matter how small.
"Having a measuring system in place to check your actual performance against your budgeted performance helps you stay on track to reach your goal, and helps you take corrective action if you're not," she says.
Falconer will be running an online Financial Management Essentials course in August to help small business owners with their financial planning in 2012. More information about this course will be released on the Sydney Small Business Centre website in coming weeks.
2. Did you overspend?
Even if you made budget - and by that, Falconer means the revenue line - you still need to take in to account whether you made your targeted net or operating profit number.
If you didn't, it's probably because even though revenue was on target, spending wasn't.
"Even if you feel like you have control over your business' costs, such as overheads and wages, if your estimates of what they should be for the year aren't accurate from the start you often won't make your target."
Falconer recommends that all small business owners should undertake a financial management course to ensure they budget accurately for FY12.
3. Did your customers love you?
While having a good financial management system in place is essential for every business, business owners need to always pay attention to their biggest source of revenue: their customers.
Falconer recommends asking whether your customers and clients loved you in FY11 and honestly answering that question.
"If you're still unsure of about what your customers think of your business, then you should take time out to do an end of year customer survey," she says.
She highlights three key questions all business owners should ask their customers:
Would you recommend us to your colleagues and friends?
What one thing can we do to make more of a difference to you?
What are the challenges (or problems) you're facing?
The aim of this is to get feedback from the most important part of your business - your customers - and use this to help you move forward in FY12.