Renae Pitargue, Author at BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray

All Posts by Renae Pitargue

Single Touch Payroll Phase 2

Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 is Nearly Here


Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 Expansion is Nearly Here!

The expanded Single Touch Payroll (STP) Phase 2 is due to start on 1 January 2022.

However, the ATO has recently announced that there will be some flexibility with the reporting start date being allowed up to 1 March 2022 if the business is not ready by 1 January.

Businesses must now report all employees via STP. Plus, concessional reporting options are no longer available unless the employer has extraordinary circumstances.

It's important to note that employers should be reporting STP to the ATO on the day they pay employees.

What’s New with the Expanded Phase 2?

The STP Phase 2 report includes extra fields to allow for more detailed payroll information. The additional details enable the data to be reported to multiple government agencies using standard payroll categories.

This means the government agencies receive accurate data directly from the employer without extra forms or time-consuming administration.

STP Phase 2 Improvements

  • More income types and related special tax treatment.
  • Reporting gross pay in separate elements such as bonus, commission or overtime.
  • New employee tax file number declarations lodged directly with the ATO.
  • Employee termination information.
  • Clearer superannuation and lump sum payment reporting.
  • Easier for employees at tax time and when dealing with government agencies.
  • Better matching employer payroll data, employee tax return information, government agency payments and business activity statements.

The main payroll software providers are now bringing in phase 2 reporting categories, and in some cases, the changes have already happened in the background.

If you’re not already using an STP enabled payroll product, or you want to upgrade your software, talk to us about implementing a solution to make STP reporting quick and easy.

We can set you up with the right software or submit all the reports on your behalf.

Does your business have a disaster recovery plan?


Does your business have a disaster recovery plan? 

It’s important to have a watertight plan for overcoming any potential natural disasters

With extreme weather events on the rise and climate change becoming an increasing threat, it's never been more important for your business to have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Weather is becoming more severe, more unpredictable and more destructive over time. With shops and offices in some locations getting flooded out, shaken by earthquakes or threatened by wildfires, you need to know that your company can:

  1. Survive an extreme weather threat
  2. Set up the business in a secondary location, if the need arises

Your disaster recovery plan (DRP) is your detailed plan for how to achieve this, and is an important element of your company’s wider business continuity strategy.

The increased threat of extreme weather conditions

When you’ve invested considerable time, effort and money in setting up a business, the last thing you want is an unpredictable threat wiping out this investment.

However, if your company runs from bricks-and-mortar premises, there’s always the potential for extreme weather to have an impact on your operational capabilities. The recent severe flooding in Europe has wreaked havoc in many small towns, wiping out high streets and dumping tonnes of filthy river water into business premises, shops and homes alike.

As a business owner, the question you have to ask yourself is

‘What would I do if this happened to my business?’

Getting your business back up and running

When you sit down to complete a standard SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, it’s unlikely that you’ll previously have included extreme weather as a major element in your list of threats. But the times are changing, and the potential for disaster has to move up your agenda as a matter of urgency.

To keep your business prepared and ready, you should ask yourself a few specific questions.

These will include:

Do you have a disaster recovery plan? 

Does the business have any kind of disaster recovery plan (DRP) in place at present?

You may well have a business continuity strategy of some sort, but do you have a specific plan if fire, flood, earthquakes or other natural forces directly threaten your business premises? If not, you need to create one.

How does your plan align with your business continuity strategy? 

Business continuity is all about ensuring that your company can remain operational and trading. So your DRP should be a significant part of this continuity strategy.

Being wiped out by a flood may have once seemed like a Hollywood disaster movie scenario. Now it’s an event that’s all too possible – and something you need to have prepared for.

Is anyone in charge in the event of a disaster? 

Leadership and clear advice during a time of disaster are essential. So, in the event of an extreme weather event affecting your premises, who will be in charge? Is this the CEO or MDs job? The COO? Or maybe this will be a secondary role for another employee, who has been trained up and knows how to lead the response.

Make sure you know who to contact and their role.

Are your systems and databases in the cloud? 

In today's digital world, many companies will have based their IT and communications infrastructure around cloud technology.

Being a cloud-based business is incredibly valuable in the event of a disaster, allowing you to engage a ‘disaster recovery as a service’ (DraaS) process that gets all your business systems up and running from cloud backups and off-site servers.

Talk to us about cloud based apps and platforms for your business.

Can you team work remotely? 

Another benefit of being cloud-based is that employees can work remotely from any location.

So, if your office is flooded out, your team can log in from home and can continue to work. If you’re still relying on desktop applications via an office-based server and network, this just isn’t possible.

Offering remote working isn’t just good for your staff, it could be a business critical decision.

Do you have access to any alternative workspaces? 

Depending on the business property you own, you may have access to alternative offices or workspaces.

When one location is affected by extreme weather, would an alternative location be able to take on your displaced staff and continue working? Look at how feasible it is to have a plan for moving teams to alternative locations. And, if possible, making as much use of remote working as possible.

No-one believes they will be the victim of a disaster...until it happens to them.

No-one can fully predict how extreme weather and natural disasters will come to affect the planet over the coming years and decades. But the risk of a freak event impacting your business is growing.

Its worth putting some time aside now to think about the practicalities of setting up a disaster recovery plan.

Credit Control

Keeping debt low through proactive credit control

Keeping debt low

Credit control: Having a large amount of debt in your business is bad for cashflow, weakens your overall financial health and brings down your credit score as a business.

So when customers don’t pay on time, that ‘aged debt’ is bad news for your finances. Aged debt can begin to stack up, adding to your liabilities and reducing the health of your overall balance sheet. So, it’s important to tackle late payment head on.

Get effective with your credit control

Being proactive with your debt management helps you speed up payment, reduce your debtor days and rein in your overall debt as a business

To improve the efficiency of your credit control:

  • Make your payment terms clear – state your payment terms on all invoices and create a policy that’s part of the terms & conditions that customers sign up to.
  • Run regular debtor reports – check your list of late invoices to see which customers are the late payers, and where the big debts are that need to be collected.
  • Be proactive in chasing late payment – don’t be shy about asking a customer to pay their bill. Set up notifications and schedules to remind yourself to chase late-payers.
  • Automate your credit control tasks – cloud accounting platforms have built-in tools or automated credit control integrations that can automatically chase your late-paying customers as soon as an invoice is overdue.

Talk to us about enhancing your credit control

If late payment and aged debt is weighing heavily on your balance sheet, we’ll help you set up the debtor reports and credit control processes needed to reduce this debt.

Get in touch to improve your credit control.

Making Data Meaningful

Making data meaningful for your business

Making data meaningful for your business

In today’s world the fast pace of business requires business owners to be able to react quickly to conditions.

This means having the ability to compile, analyse and act on data is increasingly important. Having access to your business data allows you to forecast and potentially identify trends and patterns before they emerge.

So, what is data?

When it comes to business, data includes the facts and figures that your business processes every day.

Over time, your business will obtain data.

For example, if your business is already using cloud software for bookkeeping and accounting, payroll, project management or CRM (customer relationship management), you likely have access to a goldmine of data. And that data gives you valuable insight into your sales, revenue and expenses, profit, payroll, and other business details that can help you make smart business decisions.

If you aren’t recording accurate data for your business, you can only rely on gut feel and assumptions about your business’ past performance to inform and guide your future business decisions.

It’s important to remember that your business data only becomes meaningful when it has context, relevance and purpose.

Data is only powerful if there is context

You want your data to be able to provide insight into answering these questions:

  • What is your business goals?
  • What is happening in the business now?
  • What has influenced the past?
Is your data relevant?

With all the tools available for data collection it’s important to focus on what’s relevant to your decision making.

Make sure you know what data is necessary rather than what’s nice to have.

  • Are your financials up-to-date?
  • Are the right systems and processes in use for different parts of your business?
  • Are your cloud systems set up correctly (and being used correctly)?

The worst thing you can do is to attempt to analyse irrelevant data and then make business decisions based on it! Make sure you’re collecting and looking at the data that’s relevant for your business.

Your data needs to have a purpose

Don’t forget what you’re collecting your business data for.

Focus on what truly matters and build from there.

  • What data/numbers/information determines success for you?
  • What do you want to understand most about your business?

If you want help with setting up and understanding your data, so you can forecast and make better, informed business decisions, get in touch.

We can accumulate, analyse, report and advise on your data; or show you the tools to use.

Streamline your business administration with digital record keeping

Streamline your business administration with digital record keeping

Streamline your business administration with digital record keeping

Good record keeping is the mainstay of accounts management. It assists you to both meet your compliance obligations and provide verification for all your business transactions.

The Government requires that relevant records exist to support all business transactions – purchases, sales, payroll, and other business matters such as loans or foreign currency dealings. It is a business owner’s responsibility to maintain and store accurate records for all financial transactions.

Did you know that you are allowed to store all business records digitally? This is both more efficient and sustainable than having to keep years’ worth of paper records at your office.

The most important thing to take care of if you are moving to electronic record keeping is the security of your information.

Using cloud accounting platforms, such as Xero, with add-on apps and systematic electronic record keeping makes it so much easier to run your business. 

This is because you will not waste time trying to find documents when you need them; whether that’s for yourself, your bookkeeper or your tax agent.

Most government departments allow business records to be either in paper or digital format. The legal requirements for record keeping are the same, regardless of format.

All records must be:

  • True and correct
  • Unaltered once stored
  • In English and legible
  • Stored in a secure system, whether physical or digital
  • Easily accessible if required
  • Held securely for the statutory five to seven years, depending on the type of record.

For best protection, store records both locally on your business computers and secure external online storage. This makes the records easily accessible from anywhere at any time.

Always take care of who has what level of access to your documents and manage user access accordingly.

If you need help understanding which apps will work with your business systems, we'd love to hear from you.

cost of sales

Cost of sales affecting gross profit

Cost of Sales Affecting Gross Profit

Do you know how much it costs you to produce each product or service in your range?

The better you can understand this cost of sales – or cost of goods sold (COGS), as it’s more commonly known – the more ability you have to control your company’s profitability. When you know your COGS, you can set the right price point, control your profit margins and ensure that you’re maximising your gross profit.

But to do this, you need to understand COGS and how it impacts on your financial management.

Understanding your Cost of Sales

To take one of your company’s products or services from inception to delivery, you will incur a number of costs.

For example, if you’re a manufacturing business, these costs might include buying in raw materials, direct labour costs, the overheads for running the machinery in your factory, the costs of delivering the products and the sales and marketing expenses needed to sell the product to your target customers.

For you to manufacture a finished product and to generate a sale, all these costs are a necessary part of the process. They’re the direct costs of producing your goods for sale.

You calculate your COGS number for the period by looking at the value of your opening stock (or inventory), adding the cost you’ve incurred to produce the goods and then subtracting the value of the closing stock balance.

The COGS formula looks like this:

Opening Stock + Purchases - Closing Stock = COGS

So, if you started with an inventory of $10,000, this is how you’d calculate your COGS:

  • Opening Stock: $10,000
  • Purchases: $25,000
  • Closing Stock: $8,000
  • COGS: $27,000

Reducing your COGS to boost gross profits

The more sales you make at a given price, the higher your revenue (income) will be. Deducting your COGS number from your revenue figure gives you your gross profit – and gross profit is a key metric for tracking the health and profitability of your business.

A high COGS number reduces the size of your profit margin. And, in turn, a small margin will start to have a negative impact on your gross profit. Being able to control and manage your COGS, and its impact on your gross profit, is a vital skill for any product-based business.

Here are some ideas for improving the profit impact of your COGS:

Reduce your supplier costs

If you can reduce the size of the purchases made to produce your goods, that means less expenditure and less impact on your profit margins. Try shopping around for cheaper suppliers, or negotiating better prices with your existing suppliers to bring down costs.

Streamline your production process

The more complex your production process is, the more overheads and production expenses there will be. Taking a lean approach helps you to continually evolve your processes and remove the extraneous elements – cutting costs while still delivering a quality product.

Increase your prices to boost your margins

If your COGS number is eating into your profit margin, one way to resolve this is to increase your price point. This will help to increase income and boost your margin but does require caution. If prices get too high, this can damage existing customer relationships and make you uncompetitive in the market – so think carefully about any price increases before taking action.

Talk to us about improving your gross profit.

If you want to boost your gross profit and get COGS under control, come and have a chat with us. We’ll look over your expenses and overheads, and will look for the opportunities to reduce your goods-related purchases and push for a better profit margin on your products.

PAYGW and PAYGI

What’s the Difference Between PAYGW and PAYGI?

What’s the Difference Between PAYGW and PAYGI?

Many people running a business and employing people are unsure about the difference between PAYGW and PAYGI.

They are not the same thing!

PAYG stands for ‘pay as you go’. This is the means the ATO uses to obtain tax payments from both employees and business owners.

Paying tax ‘as you go’ throughout the year means you don’t have to pay it all in one lump sum at the end of the tax year.

PAYG Withholding for Employees Income Tax

PAYG withholding refers to the income tax an employer withholds from employees’ gross wages to meet their personal income tax liabilities.

Employers are required to remit the employees’ withheld tax to the ATO each month or quarter, with the business activity statement (BAS) or the monthly instalment activity statement (IAS).

PAYG withholding applies to payments employers make to employees, directors, office holders and labour-hire workers.

PAYG can also be withheld from non-employees: contractors with a voluntary withholding agreement, some payments to foreign residents and payments to suppliers where an ABN has not been quoted.

PAYG Instalments for Business Income Tax

If you run your own business, you'll need to plan for income tax payments once you make more than the taxable threshold.

PAYG instalments allow you to pay an amount towards an expected tax bill. Amounts are based on business or investment income from the previous tax year.

Once you complete your tax return, the amounts already paid are offset against the total amount of tax due. You will then receive either a bill for extra tax or if you have paid too much, you will receive a refund.

Usually, when you start in business, you don't pay any tax instalments until you have completed the first year’s tax return.

However, if you’re new to business, you can voluntarily enter into the PAYG instalment system to start contributing towards your next tax bill. This is worth considering if you have done better than expected in your first year!

You can pay PAYG instalments by using the ATO determined amount based on information in the last tax return (instalment amount) or using the ATO defined percentage rate applied to your income (instalment rate).

The first method is the simplest; however, if your income varies a lot from one quarter to another, it may be better to use the instalment rate so you know you have put aside the correct amount based on your actual income.

PAYG Planning for Cash Flow

If you’re in business or considering employing people soon, you’ll need to plan for PAYG instalments and possibly PAYG withholding so you can meet your ATO tax reporting and paying obligations. 

Planning ahead means you’ll never be caught short with cash flow difficulties.

Talk to us to learn more about income tax responsibilities as an employer and business owner

What value can automation bring to your business

What value can automation bring to your business?

What value can automation bring to your business?

Automation has the capacity to revolutionise your efficiency and productivity. But how many of the automation features that are available to you are actually being used?

Could you be getting more value by building automated processes into your operational framework?

Removing the manual workload to streamline your processes

There’s a very simple mantra when it comes to making the most of automation

If there’s a manual task in your business that’s taking up time, automate it now!

The more time you and your team spend on low-level administration, data-entry and form-filling, the less time you have available for actually running your business.

With your software tools maximised, your automated processes can be chugging along in the background, doing the heavy lifting and freeing up your time to focus on client service, sales and strategy etc.

So, which elements of your everyday operations could you be automating? And which apps and software solutions can help you to achieve your automation goals?

Here are some areas where automation and smart systems can really help to add value

Automated bookkeeping and digitisation of paperwork

Apps like Dext (formerly Receipt Bank) offer you the opportunity to automate your bookkeeping and record-keeping. These solutions let you snap a photo of a receipt or invoice, digitise the contents and then automatically create an expense claim or bill in your accounting system. There’s no keying in and the whole process is synced with your choice of cloud accounting platform.

Automated employee expenses

Apps like DiviPay give you automated control over your employee expenses. Using either virtual or physical credit cards, your staff can pay for expenses and payments are then automatically synced with your main accounting platform.

That means no late expenses claims, no need for petty cash and no wasted time keying in the receipts. All employee expenses can be tracked, measured and paid, with the whole expenses process automated from start to finish.

Automated payment collection from your customers

With payment gateways like Stripe and GoCardless you can automate your cash collection. By using a modern payment gateway, you make it easier for clients to pay their bills. 

But you also automate the actual cash collection and bank reconciliation process too. Money can be instantly paid to your main business account and all the transactional data pulled across to your accounting platform. That means less admin, and faster payments too.


Automated marketing and social media posts

Digital marketing is key to finding customers and growing your business. You can automate a large chunk of your marketing work. These solutions let you create automated emails, target specific customer audiences and track your return on investment (ROI) in forensic detail.

Talk to us about understanding the different App options to help you automate your business.

Getting on top of your invoicing

Getting on top of your invoicing

One way to help your small business succeed is to get on top of your invoicing.

This means sending them in a timely manner, making sure they have all the essential information included and chasing them up when you need to!

When you’re running a small business or working for yourself as a contractor, getting paid relies on sending your invoice. And because getting paid, and on time, is essential to staying afloat, it’s important to make sure that you’ve got all the important information included.

Setting up your invoices correctly will ensure you get paid quicker.

One of the important aspects of invoicing is making sure your invoices are sent in a timely manner. Ideally you will be invoicing immediately a services is completed or a product ordered. At a minimum you should provide an invoice within 28 days.

Also, for high ticket items, consider asking for a deposit.  If your service is ongoing or extended over a period of time then look at implementing progress invoices. This will help your cash flow. 

What to include in your invoice

Your invoice needs to contain the following:

  • 1
    The words ‘tax invoice’, ideally as a heading.
  • 2
    Your business or trading name.
  • 3
    Your contact details- these aren’t technically required for invoices for under $1000, but it’s a good idea to include them in case the recipient needs to get in touch.
  • 4
    Your ABN or ACN.
  • 5
    The date you’re issuing the invoice.
  • 6
    An itemised list of what you’re invoicing for, including the price for each item or service. Make sure that you clearly indicate whether GST is included in the total price.

If you are using accounting software simply fill in the templates or you can see some examples of invoices on the ATO website.

A well set out invoice will make it easier for your clients and customers to pay you. Accounting software will make the job easier by providing the format for your business and increasing your efficiency.

Talk to us about your invoicing to ensure you make it easy for people to pay you.

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