EDITORIAL: Looking into the books

EDITORIAL: Looking into the books

Christmas comes but once a year and so too does the end of the financial year. Many channel entities may choose to ignore the opportunity this annual number crunching exercise delivers, but the smart companies don't.

Last week at Tech Pacific's techexpo roadshow in Sydney, I suggested to Ron Harris from Coles Myer's Harris Technology arm, resellers would be taking a good hard look at themselves this week as the financial year ends.

Some of those same resellers, I surmised to Harris, would throw their arms in the air and give up the ghost when they see the parlous state of their accounts.

Interestingly, Harris said the problem is that too many of them wouldn't be doing that. He felt that if more resellers actually did take a close look at the balance sheet showing their incomes versus costs and overheads, they would do something about the deficit.

Many prefer to just ignore reality in the vain hope that one day things will get better, he said.

I guess there is a bit of the classic Australian character in that attitude. The gung-ho, devil-may-care ANZAC spirit. The gold digger's prayer of the big nugget being in the spadeful. The "I can do anything with gaffa tape and chicken wire" attitude to fixing things. Put up with a little hardship now and she'll be right in the long run. It is all part of the Australian vernacular, but dangerous as a business methodology.

Whatever the case, I'd have to agree with Harris. The financial year's end is an opportune time to be engaging in a full SWOT analysis of your business. With the ledgers already open, there can be no better time to assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

The results from these self-reflections would vary from business to business as much as the models being analysed. Yet with a bit of focus, a clear and successful future can be achieved.

Non-productive or resource-intensive overheads can be identified and contained. Profitable business lines can be enhanced and poor performing ones can be eliminated. Key customers can be identified and developed while competitors can be countered with differentiation.

With most small-to-medium businesses now using electronic accounting methods, all the data is there for review. So take the time to look into it and use it to your business advantage. An annual review is standard business practice for any successful enterprise looking for long-term viability. It is also an obvious method of addressing business fundamentals; boosting sales and driving down costs.

The other crucial point about the end of this particular financial year is the sale of distribution giant Tech Pacific which is now all but finalised.

Tech Pacific managing director David Cullen confirmed last week at techexpo that a buyer has been identified and, contrary to prior reports, it is a company with no previous involvement in IT.

Naturally, he would not yet confirm or deny who the new parent company was, or even whether they were foreign or local, but he did say the deal would definitely be completed before June 30.

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