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Deal with important stuff now, before balance date

February 21, 2024

You need to think about the following before your balance date, which is 31 March for most businesses.

Bad debts

Don’t forget to write off bad debts. It is illegal to backdate writing off bad debts, so go through your debtors ledger soon and determine which businesses are not likely to pay you. You must show you have taken all reasonable steps to collect the debt and also evidence it has been written off. If your business is very small, perhaps the best evidence you can show is to write on a copy of the invoice that you have written it off, sign it and put in the date.


Cull your stock. If some of it is only fit for the tip then get rid of it. If it is still on your premises, it has to be included. Remember, stock has to be valued at its cost, including the cost of getting it into your shop, warehouse etc. You may use market value, if it is lower than cost, instead of cost for an item, but you will need to keep evidence to show where you could have bought the item at the lower price.

Motor vehicle

If you are going to make a claim for use of your vehicle for business on a kilometre rate basis, remember to read your odometer at the end of the day on balance date.

Insurance premiums

If you get to the end of the financial year and you’re paying off an insurance policy, make sure you have an agreed arrangement for payment with the insurance company. If you haven’t and the insurance company would have a right to cancel your policy for unpaid premiums (even though it would be unlikely to do so), you might not be entitled to bring the whole of the unpaid portion into account as a sundry creditor (also known as Accounts Payable).

Vehicle logbook

If you need to keep a vehicle logbook, this needs to be for a continuous typical three months of vehicle running. A new recording needs to be made once every three years (or more often if there is a major change – more than 20%) in the proportion of business and private running.

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