An Accountant's guide to setting your goals

6 years ago

Tracey Catterall pictured with her sonGuest post from Tracey Catterall of NCAT Solutions.  Tracey has over 15 years’ experience as an Accountant, working for large companies as the Company Accountant. In 2011 she established NCAT Solutions, a Loughborough based accountancy firm, supporting a range of clients from multi million pound turnover companies to start ups. In her spare time, Tracey can often be found enjoying a family day out at Alton Towers. 

Goal Setting – Why is it important?

Goal setting is an important part of any business as without goals and measurable business targets, a business will spiral out of control. Furthermore, you will have no way of measuring and tracking improvements or declines over time.

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For our clients we set financial and non-financial goals:

Financial Goals:
• Turnover
• Profitability
• Debtor days

Non-Financial Goals:
• Positive customer reviews
• Reducing customer complaints
• Staff productivity
• Achieving web presence
• Increasing efficiency
• Inventory movement

Relieve the Stress

Setting goals will not only relieve the stress of fighting against the clock each day but will also give your staff a clear structured work flow which can then also be rewarded up on achievement.

NCAT Solutions work with businesses on weekly, monthly goals to achieve the overall long term objective – win more business. To achieve this, goals need to be broken down into weekly targets and defining the appropriate marketing strategies.

Goals are crucial for growth and success but equally important is your execution plan to achieve the desired results and not forgetting measurement, if you do not measure your progress how will you know if you are on track?

Not just more sales

Goal setting can take many forms not just obtaining new clients and increasing turnover but also making sure deadlines are met, legal responsibilities are completed, service levels are met or exceeded e.g. all orders received are despatched within 24 hours. To help some clients meet their goals we develop bespoke interactive KPI (key performance indicator) dashboards. These bring together a variety of key measurables that are tracked against their overall goals.

Setting the Bar

If a goal is easy to achieve then you have not set the bar high enough, targets should encourage businesses to ‘stretch’ and strive for improvement whilst keeping the goals realistic. Setting yourself a goal of “This time next year we will be millionaires” if for the last 3 years you have only been turning over £20k pa. is doomed for failure. Reaching for the stars should always be encouraged but remember it is a long journey and you need to plan each step of the way.

We like to help our clients set achievable goals and support them through the year towards achieving their targets. One example we have had was a self employed tradesmen came to me to do his tax return, after reviewing his accounts I had pointed out the savings he could make by trading as a Limited company and becoming VAT registered, which he found pretty daunting. After providing him with the various tax advantages and documented the structure in black and white he agreed to take the next step. We managed everything from the company formation through to the VAT registration with HMRC and setting the accounts up for trading. We helped him to identify his core market and how he could expand his business. We set goals together by identifying achievable targets and planed an execution strategy.

2 years on and he’s now doubled his turnover and taken on employees. He still has the same goals and structure in place but increases the size of his goals each year.