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Cost Control 101: Simple strategies for SMEs to cut insurance, energy, and taxes costs

For small businesses, managing money wisely is crucial. Imagine it like navigating through a maze of challenges.

The big obstacles are things like insurance, energy costs, and taxes—stuff every business has to deal with. It’s a tricky balance between spending smart and growing steadily.

According to a report in December 2023 about businesses in New South Wales, many owners find these challenges pretty tough. About 76% of them feel that things like insurance, energy bills, and taxes make it hard for their profits to grow. And for 61% of them, these expenses stop their businesses from growing.

We’ve gathered steps to help SMEs save money on insurance, energy, and taxes. These straightforward strategies, accompanied by useful links, can improve efficiency, cut expenses, and build a stronger, more sustainable business.

Let’s take a closer look at the steps and resources that can help SMEs to optimize their finances.

Insurance

1. Conduct a Risk Assessment:

Step: Utilize the free Business Risk Assessment Tool provided by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO): https://www.bizcover.com.au/identify-manage-business-risks/

Action: Identify key risks specific to your industry and location.

2. Compare Quotes:

Step: Use the Compare Insurance Quotes tool on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website: https://moneysmart.gov.au/how-life-insurance-works/life-insurance-claims-comparison-tool

Action: Compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the best coverage and price.

3. Consider Bundling Policies:

Step: Contact your current insurance provider or consult an insurance broker.

Action: Explore the potential savings of bundling multiple policies, like property and liability insurance.

4. Review Coverage Regularly:

Step: Schedule annual reviews of your insurance policies with your provider or broker.

Action: Adjust your coverage levels based on changes in your business or risk profile.

5. Implement Risk Management Practices:

Step: Utilize resources from the Safe Work Australia website: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/

Action: Implement safety protocols, training, and maintenance programs to reduce potential accidents and claims.

Energy

1. Audit Your Energy Consumption:

Step: Contact your energy provider or utilize the Energy Saver Tool from the Australian Government:https://www.energy.gov.au/

Action: Identify areas of high energy usage within your business operations.

2. Invest in Energy-Efficient Equipment:

Step: Explore government rebates and incentives offered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC):https://www.cefc.com.au/

Action: Upgrade outdated equipment with energy-efficient models to reduce consumption and costs.

3. Implement Energy-Saving Practices:

Step: Encourage employees to turn off lights and electronics when not in use, unplug appliances, and utilize natural daylight.

Action: Implement energy-saving measures across your business, including power-saving settings and efficient workflows.

4. Consider Renewable Energy:

Step: Assess rooftop solar panel feasibility through the Solar Homes – Panels for all program:https://www.solar.vic.gov.au/solar-panel-rebate

Action: Explore renewable energy solutions to cut reliance on the grid and benefit from cost savings and potential government incentives.

Taxes

1. Maintain Accurate Records:

Step: Utilize accounting software or consult with a bookkeeper to ensure meticulous recordkeeping of income and expenses.

Action: Maintain accurate records throughout the year to facilitate accurate tax reporting and minimize liabilities.

2. Stay Informed:

Step: Regularly visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for updates and information on tax obligations and changes: https://www.ato.gov.au/

Action: Stay informed about relevant tax laws and regulations to comply and avoid penalties.

3. Claim Deductions and Credits:

Step: Utilize the ATO Tax Deductions and Credits Tool: https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/income-deductions-offsets-and-records/deductions-you-can-claim

Action: Identify and claim all available deductions and credits to reduce your taxable income.

4. File Taxes on Time:

Step: Utilize the ATO online serviceshttps://my.gov.au/en/about/help/mygov-website/link-services-to-your-account/link-the-australian-taxation-office for convenient and efficient tax filing.

Action: File your tax returns promptly to avoid late filing penalties.

5. Consult a Tax Advisor:

Step: Consider seeking professional advice from a qualified tax advisor for personalized strategies and compliance guidance.

Action: Leverage expert knowledge to optimize your tax strategy and ensure you benefit from all available options.

Additional Tips

Negotiate with suppliers and vendors for better rates on goods and services.

Outsource non-core functions to save costs and focus on core business activities.

Utilize technology solutions to automate tasks, streamline processes, and improve efficiency.

“Business costs are impacting the survival and growth of businesses in NSW, however as the report identifies, the vast majority of NSW Businesses are investing in initiatives to improve productivity,” said Reece Ketu, Moneytech’s Head of Small Business

“The Business NSW report identifies staff training, machinery and equipment, and IT Programs as the top three initiatives NSW businesses invested in to improve productivity over the past 12 months”.

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