Tax time is daunting for many Australian retailers. While it presents new opportunities, managing the compliance complexity is often a significant hurdle that takes time and careful consideration. This is especially challenging for smaller retailers with fewer resources.

In a nationally representative Intuit QuickBooks survey of over 1,000 Australians, 31 per cent said they find end of financial year (EOFY) planning and tax submissions to be one of the most stressful times of year.

Most (62 per cent) say that small business owners should have more support, including services like business coaching, free government advice and subsidised access to accountants/bookkeepers.

As the tax deadline nears, it’s critical that retailers get their affairs in order as soon as possible. Here are three tips that will help retail leaders manage the complexity and stress of tax time, so they can focus more energy on running and growing their business.

1. Build a strong accountant or bookkeeper relationship

Engaging the services of a qualified accountant, bookkeeper or tax advisor can be a game-changer for retailers. Our research shows that 39 per cent of Australians who don’t find tax time difficult say it’s because their accountant or tax consultant does everything for them.

These professionals possess the expertise and knowledge to navigate complex tax regulations, identify eligible deductions, and ensure accurate financial reporting. They provide invaluable guidance tailored to specific retail business needs, saving time, stress and money in the long run.

Establishing consistent communication channels with accountants and professional bookkeepers opens up more tactical benefits. This extends beyond bookkeeping to business planning and strategy, allowing retailers to identify new opportunities to stay ahead of all obligations.

2. Understand which tools are available

Using the right tools helps retailers take control of their finances throughout the year. Mobile applications — such as the QuickBooks iOS and Android app — allow business owners to take pictures of their receipts, send quotes/invoices and collect payments on the go, ensuring their financial data is always up to date and they’re better prepared when BAS and tax time hits. The ATO also has several online tools that assist with tracking and submission processes.

There’s nothing worse than having to trawl through filing cabinets, wallets and glove boxes to find receipts that could have been safely tracked and stored digitally. Establishing a robust digital strategy provides deeper oversight of finances and reduces the likelihood of errors or omissions.

“Adopting software and digital tools is a simple way to improve your tax management,” says DKM Accounting Senior Tax Accountant Jimmy Nguyen. “Tools like Intuit QuickBooks makes your finances more streamlined, increases the speed of getting paid and means human error is less of a risk. This will make a huge difference when it comes to tax time.”

3. Don’t leave everything to the last minute

Tax time is a lot more stressful when retailers don’t prepare for it throughout the year and need to backtrack their finances. Without oversight on things like transactions, receipts, cash flow and expenses, retailers will face far tougher challenges.

Retail business leaders must establish robust record keeping processes and tools that are easy for all staff to use and understand. Keeping meticulous records of sales, expenses, and inventory is a great starting point and will ensure more accurate reporting at tax time. Accountants and tax advisors can help business owners and their teams set up and manage the right systems and processes.

Tax time doesn’t have to be overwhelming for small Aussie retailers. With the right advice, strategic use of digital tools, and careful planning, businesses will approach the tax season with confidence. That helps reframe tax time from a daunting scramble for compliance to an exciting transitional period that brings new opportunities.

Damien Greathead is accountant and advisor lead at Intuit QuickBooks Australia.