Big-picture quarterly planning: three ways to start off Q1 properly


Know where you’re going

2018 its time to get strategic with a plan of action so you’re ready for your small business to storm Q1. If you’re not sure what your quarterly planning should cover, keep the following areas top of mind.

Make a list (and check it twice) of January’s tax dates for your business

HRMC are all ready and gearing up for submissions so here’s a quick list of some of the important ones, but check with your accountant encase these change (watch out for April budget changes).

Until then, pencil in these into your quarterly planning agenda.

  • 31 July 2018
2nd Payment on Account of tax for 2016/17 due to HMRC
  • 05 October 2018
Deadline to advise HMRC that you need to register for Self-Assessment for the 2016/17 Tax Year
  • 31 October 2018
Deadline for filing Paper Income Tax Return with HMRC
  • 31 January 2019
1st Payment on Account of tax for 2017/18 due to HMRC LAST DAY TO FILE YOU INCOME TAX RETURN<
  • 05 April 2018
End of Current Tax Year
  • 30 December 2018
Deadline for filing Income Tax return with HMRC if you want any Tax collected through your PAYE Coding (under £3,000)
  • 31 January 2019
Balance of any tax, national insurance and student loan owed to HMRC for 2015/16 must be paid.

Important Dates for Companies:

Corporation Tax payments are due 9 months and 1 day following your financial year end
e.g. – Year End is 31 December 2016. Any Corporation Tax owed must be paid by 1 October 2017


Returns must reach HMRC by the 19th of each month.
e.g. – Period 6 May to 5 June must be filed by 19 June


Due dates for returns and payments:

  • Accounting Quarter period ends 28 Feb – VAT return due 7 April (if filed online)
  • Accounting Quarter period ends 31 Mar – VAT return due 7 May (if filed online)
  • Accounting Quarter period ends 30 Apr – VAT return due 7 June (if filed online)
  • Accounting Quarter period ends 31 May – VAT return due 7 July (if filed online)


Under RTI (“Real Time Information”), an employer must file details of any payments made to employees on or before the date that a payment is made to the employee.

Payments of PAYE and NI must reach HMRC by the 19th of the month following the tax month in which the salary payment was made, if paying by cheque, or by the 22nd of the month if paying electronically.
NB – if the 19th or 22nd falls on a weekend or bank holiday, payment must reach them on the last working day BEFORE the weekend or holiday.

  • 19 April 2017
Final submission must be made to HMRC under RTI for the year, including answering the “end of year questions”
  • 31 May 2017
P60’s to be given to all employees
  • 31 May 2017
P11d to be filed with HMRC
  • 19 July 2017
Class 1 A payment to reach HMRC (postal)
  • 22 July 2017
Class 1 A payment to reach HMRC (electronic)

A lot of dates and numbers, but remember but remember depending on your company size, so of these aren’t relevant! Have a word with an accountant to find out what you need to worry about.

Set specific goals with your quarterly planning

New Year, new business! Before you jump into 2018 with all of the great ideas you’ve been cooking up throughout the year, make sure your leap forward includes a comfortable safety net of support.

Conduct a year-in-review on 2017

What sold and what didn’t? What marketing tactics worked out and which fell flat? Look at your product line to determine profitability of products or bundles being sold, and evaluate initiatives tackled by each department to help determine the ROI it gave back to the business.
When you have a clearer idea of what the numbers look like, you’ll be able to invest more in what is working and increase your bottom line further! (maybe buy that Jet you want!)

Get your team on the same page

With your quarterly planning, you should also conduct employee reviews. Re-affirm/assign responsibilities that each employee has from an objective standpoint. Highlight the success of projects and those who ran them, discuss the kind of ROI that initiative brought the business and what made it so successful.

Afterwards, meet with your team to get everyone on the same page about upcoming projects and assignments spread out over the course of the year. Remember to be SMART! (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) Be specific and set goals for each of your team members, which can be broken down in three-month, six-month, nine-month, and year-long increments.

Be the driving force that motivates your employees

For entrepreneurs, a New Year and fresh quarterly planning brings a chance for a clean slate. Your business is a little bit older and wiser now, having learned so much in its previous year. Your team members are equally refreshed from the holiday break and ready to hit the ground running.
Remember that operating a small business is not a sprint — it’s a marathon.
If you were running a sprint, everything you had in your quarterly planning for 2018 would be accomplished in an absurdly short amount of time. Your team, and yourself, would probably be extremely exhausted and burned out as a result.
Approach the year ahead as a marathon instead. As the leader of the business, get your team inspired for 2018 by being the driving force that motivates them and helps push them forward.
Talk with the various departments to see what projects they have planned, hold group meetings and discuss initiatives to focus on, and reintroduce concepts you discussed putting into action at the end of last year.
Maintain a positive, respectful attitude with everyone, (this is more important than anything else) thank your team for the hard work they put in now, and provide them assistance and tools necessary to succeed if they need extra help. In turn, your team will help lift you up and you’ll spend the year ahead knowing that whatever comes your way, you’ll be ready to successfully tackle it.
Now that you’ve carefully strategized on prepping for the year ahead with your tax payments, specific ROI-driven goals, and efforts to motivate your team, it’s time to head off to the races. On your mark, get set … GO!

The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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