Business Start-Up 101
Many people really struggle with the administration side of their businesses. Unnecessary,valuable hours are wasted and lost on performing gigantic administrative duties that should at worst take no more than minutes to perform.For those of us who own our own businesses, this can equate to thousands of rands’ worth of time lost. The result is that often the admin does not get done and the consequence of that is total chaos! Chaos, when documentation cannot be found, that could end up costing money in terms of penalties, interest and worst of all – loss of a sale, or even loss of a client or a contract. None of us can afford this. It is therefore imperative for us to ensure that our admin is up to date, filed neatly and done in the most simple of ways.
There are several accounting and/or banking procedures that must be followed in order to assist in making full usage of the allowances that we are given by SARS. To utilize these properly the following need to be adhered to:
To be quite honest with you, it is known in the retail industry that the first place money will go ‘missing’ is out of the petty cash till. The controls and procedures that relate to petty cash have to combat this and make it that much more difficult for fraud to be perpetuated.
- If someone other than you is handling the petty cash, make sure that it is not the same person who receipts cash payments or has anything else to do with bookkeeping functions.
- The person who is in charge of the petty cash must have exclusive control over the petty cash, and therefore the responsibility thereof.
- All purchases must be supported by properly authorised petty cash slips and vouchers (where applicable). It is a good idea to purchase a book of petty cash vouchers, and then attach the receipts to them.
- Once the petty cash has been replenished and paid out, all vouchers and receipts should be marked ‘cancelled’ or ‘paid’ to prevent them from being reused.
- Your petty cash float should be set at a reasonable level.
- The petty cash should be counted on a regular ‘irregular’ basis to ensure that the petty cash balances and that the purchases are legitimate and authorized where necessary, by someone other than the petty cash officer.
- When the float is re-imbursed (both at month end and also, should this function be required, during the course of the month), the petty cash book and vouchers must be presented together to the cheque signatory.
CONTROL OF NUMBERED STATIONERY
This section is to ensure that there is sufficient security over stock of and usage of sensitive stationery. By that, I don’t mean your pens, pencils, rulers and similar, but rather stationery such as cheque books, receipt books and so on.
It is always a good idea to ensure that your pre-numbered stationery is numerically and physically controlled. This would apply to stationery such as: Cheque Books, Receipt Books, Credit notes, Invoices, Quotations, Laybye, Appro and/or Repairs. When receiving stock of the abovementioned stationery, it is a good idea to check that the numbers run consecutively and that none of the numbers are missing. The ordering of the printing of controlled stationery, if not done by you, should be done by a responsible person in the company. Pre-printed stationery should also be controlled and locked away – it has the potential to cost you money if it gets stolen or used for fraudulent purposes.
Ah now, my favourite subject! If you are not a qualified bookkeeper, please do not try to do your books yourself! You do not know what needs be done in terms of tax – remember that the taxes change every year. In the long run it will be cheaper and more effective to let the right people do your books! However, having said that, you are still ultimately responsible for what happens in your books. Get references for your bookkeeper, and check them out! Make sure that you have a proper contract in place. Make sure that there is a confidentiality clause in the contract.
Ask about the following:
- Do they have proper back-up solutions in place (and do you), and are the back-ups kept ‘off site’?
- Do they run proper audit trails for reference purposes?
- Is their software legal (and is yours)?
- Do their computers have proper passwords (and does yours)?
- Will they give you balanced, up to date management reports on a monthly basis?
- Do they have proper checklists in place to ensure that your VAT, UIF, PAYE, SDL etc are calculated and prepared timeously to avoid penalties and interest being charged?
- When their hardware goes in for repair/upgrade etc, do they remove all your confidential information from their hard drives (and do you)?
Due to time and space constraints, please understand that the information made available here is not complete but only a sample of what the requirements are.
About the Author
Viljoen Consulting is owned by Nikki Viljoen. Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Consultant. The economy is supposed to be ‘grown’ by SMME’s, yet very little assistance is available. A ‘start up’ workshop for new businesses was developed, that focuses on making the new business owner aware of what legislation needs to be adhered to as well as everyday tips on Administration. Nikki shares some of these with us here.
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