With a continuing difficult business environment persisting due to the global pandemic, many small and medium sized businesses are facing into another uncertain year.
What are some of the areas businesses should commit to focusing on for the new year to give the best chance of growth during 2022?
1. Progress of the Business Plan
Having a robust plan, and adhering to it, builds the confidence of business partners and potentially facilitates on-going access to capital.
Monitoring its successful implementation and progress is critical.
Your CFO/Finance Director and senior management should ensure you are kept informed of the progress on sales targets, potential threats to the supply chain, required resources and key hires, and any additional or unexpected expenditure. Knowing in real-time the progress of each area ensures action can be taken when issues arise.
2. Cash flow and potential funding options
Cash flow management has always been a hugely important undertaking for any business, but successful cash flow management over the last 18 months has been vital to companies surviving. Being aware of the potential for and extent of cash shortfalls are more important than ever in 2022. If necessary, potential funding options can be considered and action taken.
3. Government supports for employees
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced in Budget 2022 that the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) was being extended to April 2022, but with uncertainty around rates and the possibility of other additional supports you need to understand what this means for your business in terms of employees, payroll costs and the effects on cash flow.
4. Digitisation projects
By necessity, many companies started on the road to digitisation over the past 18 months, and the finance departments in these companies have seen huge changes in terms of how they work. Digitisation is no longer seen as a nice-to-have project; it needs to be at the core of your business strategy. You essentially need to ask what processes and procedures can be made more efficient for the coming year and put a plan in place to deliver on digital transformation.
5. Team requirements and skills building
Be it an unwillingness for people to work or simply a shortage of skilled people, attracting and retaining staff will continue to be a big challenge for companies in most sectors in 2022. A recent survey by Workhuman showed 42% of Irish workers are planning to resign from their jobs in the next 12 months – this ‘big resignation’ has already begun and is set to only increase pressure on companies. Understanding the drivers and actions required to minimise the impact of this “phenomenon” on your business is vitally important as is the need to identifying skills and knowledge gaps within your organisation to build the capacity and capability of the business. There is perhaps a need to re-think hiring strategy to fit the needs and wants of today’s workforce, which includes, among others, more flexible ways of working.
Sustainability has been the buzz word for 2021 but it is no longer just the concern of large organisations. Small and medium sized business cannot afford to ignore it too. As we know, sustainable businesses can deliver financial returns in the short and long term while generating positive value for society and the world at large. With new requirements on climate- and sustainability-related financial disclosures coming in 2023, this is an area we all need to take action on in 2022.
7. Financial Reporting
Where required, scheduling of the annual audit is becoming increasingly important considering the pressure on professional services firms, with many assignments being delayed or rescheduled due to the backlogs and resourcing issues caused by Covid. This is particularly important where a business requires recent financial information for purposes of any transaction or funding. In addition to early planning for audit or independent accountant reporting, it is important to complete as much pre-audit preparation work as possible before the financial year end to ensure a smooth running of any reporting process.
As senior finance professionals with experience working across multiple industries, Chartered Accountants Ireland Interim Managers are ideally placed to assist companies in dealing with financial and business challenges. Get in touch to find out how we can help your business succeed in 2022. Contact us today.
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