Renae Pitargue, Author at BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray - Page 17 of 18

All Posts by Renae Pitargue

Single Touch Payroll Compulsory for all employers from 1 July

Single Touch Payroll is now compulsory for all employers.

Single Touch Payroll (STP) is a new system of reporting wages, tax and superannuation information to the ATO. Initially, large employers were required to report from 1 July 2018. Now, all employers must enter into the reporting system from 1 July 2019.

Small and micro employers have until 30 September to enter the system.

STP is a reporting obligation only—it does not change the way you pay employees.

How it w​​​​orks

Employers must submit payroll data to the ATO each time employees are paid. The ATO refers to this as a ‘pay event’.

All the major payroll software providers are compliant with the reporting requirements, allowing employers to lodge the information with the ATO directly from within the software.

All pay events must be lodged electronically.

Eligible micro employers with less than four employees will have simpler reporting options, such as being able to report quarterly through a registered tax or BAS agent.

There are some exemptions for certain employers or employees, such as closely held payees, employers without internet and some foreign workers.

What does it mean for employees?

STP does not change payments, entitlements or pay slips for employees.

Employees will be able to see all year-to-date payroll information online through their individual myGov account.

Instead of receiving a payment summary, employees will receive an ‘income statement’ in their myGov account once the payroll year is finalised by the employer.

What next?

If you do your own payroll and will be submitting the pay event information to the ATO yourself, check this link for all you need to know about reporting STP: ATO Report through Single Touch Payroll.

Get STP ready for your first pay run of the new financial year.

If you do not already use payroll accounting software with STP reporting built in, talk to us about the best solutions for your business.

How much should you charge

How much should you charge?

Getting your pricing right is one of the best ways to plan for business success. Don’t make a rushed decision, take the time to properly understand the market, your total costs, and how to position your products or services.

Figuring out how much to charge is a big learning curve for any business owner. The answer to how to approach it will fluctuate as circumstances and markets change. It is important to revisit the question throughout the lifecycle of your business.

There is no magic formula

All businesses are unique, with an individual offering of products and services. Before you set your pricing, It’s important to look at the whole picture. This will help to ensure you are being strategic and not just following trends.

Gather the data

To get started, you need to gather as much information as possible. Block out some time to sit down with your business data and strategies. Pricing is essentially figuring out where your products and services are positioned in the market. So keep your business strategies top of mind. It doesn’t have to be a confusing exercise. Just grab a coffee get started.

Here are the first steps to consider:

  • 1
    Record all the costs involved in production. Make sure you include indirect costs, such as assets, insurances, licenses and legal costs.
  • 2
    Now that you have your outlay, consider your current profit margin or what margin you require. Remember there is a difference between net and gross profit margins. Net margins take all operating costs into account
  • 3
    Do your competitor research. Be thorough in understanding the market and what others are charging for the same service or product or variations of this. What unique selling points (USPs) does your business have that allow you to vary your prices?
  • 4
    Think about your offerings. What extra benefits or offerings do you have that can affect your pricing? Think about cheap and no-frills on one end of the spectrum, versus high-end premium products. Can you create different products at different prices to cater to different segments of the market?

Don’t forget to check in on your pricing regularly to make sure you’re keeping up with your customers and staying ahead of the game.

Contact us if you need assistance

Getting ready to exit your business

Getting ready to exit your business

Looking to sell up? Need a plan? Talk to us about creating a workable exit strategy, with a clear focus on driving value and delivering a solid return on your investment.

When you sell up, you want your business to have as much inherent value as possible – so you get a good price, a great return on your investment and the best possible payout.

So, how do you take yourself ‘out of the business’ as the founder, add the best value and set up an effective and financially beneficial exit strategy?

Adding value to your company

Whether the goal of your five-year plan is an acquisition by a larger corporate, or selling your share of the company to a chosen successor, it’s critically important to focus on adding value.

The more attractive the business looks in the market, the better the price you’ll achieve, or the better the yield you’ll see on selling your company shares.

To drive that value:

  • Work on the business, not in it – so you’re no longer a fundamental part of the day-to-day operations, and can focus on the higher-level strategic elements.
  • Invest in adding value – keep profits in the business, reduce your personal drawings and plough that money back into growth and investment.
  • Improve your financial health – by taking control of your finances and building a strong balance sheet, positive cashflow and attractive profit forecasts.
  • Have a proper exit strategy – with a plan that has agreed targets, so you can track and measure whether goals are hit, and a strategy your team can get behind.

Talk to us about exiting your business

If you’re looking to sell up, you need a plan. Come and talk to us about creating a workable exit strategy, with a clear focus on driving value and delivering a solid return on your investment.

Get in touch to build your exit strategy.


Have you explored Deep Work?

Have you explored Deep Work?

Have you explored Deep Work? The way you structure your day has a huge impact on your outcomes. Minimising disruption and distraction to achieve 'flow' will boost your productivity.

Think about a typical day in your office...

Perhaps you chat with colleagues, check email, return phone calls, open a work file, check email again – which leads you to your social media feed… A universe of beeps, rings and pings beckons attention and steals productivity. Distraction is the new normal. The culprit: technology.

Multi-tasking is a misnomer because research shows doing two things at once means each task suffers. One study found a typical office worker gets just 11 minutes between interruptions, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interference.

It’s worth asking whether you and your team are giving yourselves the chance to put your mind to important tasks.

The author of Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, says most serious professionals should quit social media and we should all practise being bored.

Professor Cal Newport defines Deep Work as "professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit". That sweet spot, where you’re focused and productive, is often referred to as a 'state of flow'.

Five Ways to Improve Flow

A big project is due. You need to minimise distractions to meet your deadline. You must make minutes count rather than stretch your work hours from here to next Sunday. Here are five ways to get into a state of flow, where you’re ultra-productive and focused:

1. Limit social media

Cull the feeds you rarely use. Maybe keep LinkedIn but cut Instagram. Are you using your Twitter account, or can you get news another way? If Facebook or another site is stealing too much of your time, curtail its use through technology, with an app like Freedom, https://freedom.to/, which can block internet access for up to eight hours at a stretch. Or StayFocused, a Chrome extension that restricts minutes spent on time-wasting websites. The extension is totally flexible, allowing you to set the amount of time you can waste each day, determine which websites are time-wasters, and decide if you’d like to block certain sites altogether.

2. Give yourself a strict time period to work

This limits procrastination and prevents burnout. Newport calls working 9-5, with no weekend work, fixed-schedule productivity. The more limits you give yourself, the less time you have for wasting. Deadlines such as ‘I have 90 minutes to finish this business case', or ‘I will finish work by 5.30pm each day’, make it easier to keep yourself on task.

Newport says he doesn’t work past 5.30pm and rarely works weekends yet manages a full-time professor job and writes books.

3. Introduce Deep Work strategies:

  • Monastic: isolate yourself for long periods of time without distractions; no shallow work allowed. This is when you squirrel yourself away in a distant room and tell everyone you’re unavailable
  • Bimodal: reserve a few consecutive days when you’ll work like a monastic. For example, you go to your quiet space Monday through Wednesday, then return to your usual routine of meetings and taking calls the rest of the week
  • Rhythmic: take three to four hours each day to perform Deep Work on your project - this strategy might involve blocking your calendar from 8am-12pm each day so you can work uninterrupted

4. Transition to Deep Work

Use rituals and set routines to minimise friction in your transition to depth. After you decide on your working philosophy, commit to scheduling Deep Work blocks into your diary and stick to them. Scheduling a specific time of day in advance negates the need to use willpower. Also, know where you’ll work and for how long. Create a zone specifically to perform Deep Work.

5. Drain the shallows

Confine shallow work so it doesn’t impede your ability to take full advantage of deeper efforts that will ultimately determine your impact.

Use time blocking to schedule every minute of your day, and group tasks into blocks, such as emailing, printing, scheduling meetings, etc. Don’t worry if you tweak your schedule multiple times. The goal is not to be a schedule stickler, but to maintain a say in what kind of work you’re doing.

Economist, philosopher and author, Adam Smith, figured out the value of Deep Work in the 18th century:

“The man who works so moderately as to be able to work constantly not only preserves his health the longest but, in the course of the year, executes the greatest quantity of work".

Deep Work improves efficiency. 

Get in touch if you’d like help with other strategies to increase efficiency in your business.

Employee Payment Summaries are due soon – for the last time!

Employee Payment Summaries are due soon - for the last time!

The end of the payroll year will be here sooner than you think! We can help make the process easier by reviewing and validating your payroll figures prior to issuing payment summaries by July 14.

Once you start reporting under Single Touch Payroll, you will no longer be required to issue a Payment Summary. Your final payment summary to employees is due 14th July. After this date your employees can access their income statement through the ATO via myGov.

You’ll have two weeks from the end of the payroll year to issue your payment summary so it’s worthwhile preparing now to make the process easy.

Here’s what you will need:

Payroll Ch​​​​ecklist

  • Make sure you have all the necessary details for all employees, both current and any who have terminated throughout the year. The essential information is full name, date of birth, address, tax file number, and an email address if you are sending payment summaries electronically.
  • Review any terminated employees. Is the correct termination date recorded in your software? Are there any Employment Termination Payments (ETPs)?
  • Review allowances paid to employees and check which ones are required to be reported separately.
  • Review salary sacrifice payments to superannuation for Reportable Employer Superannuation Contributions (RESC) amounts.
  • Check any Reportable Fringe Benefit Tax (RFBT) amounts that should be included.
  • Do you plan to email payment summaries to employees? If so, advise employees of your intention to provide electronic versions and make sure the email address is secure and private. The electronic version must be non-editable and preferably generated directly from your payroll software.

Verify Your Payroll Numbers

It’s important to verify payroll figures before issuing payment summaries, in order to minimise the chance of errors and having to re-issue at a later date.

Once the payroll year is finalised at 30 June, you can then focus on analysing the payroll amounts for each employee and cross-checking against the numbers in your profit and loss accounts.

The end of the payroll year will be here sooner than you think! We can help make the process easier by reviewing and validating your payroll figures prior to issuing payment summaries.

Remember, this is the last year you will need to issue payment summaries. 

From 1 July, all employers must report to the ATO using Single Touch Payroll (STP).

Do you need more information about STP? We can help you set up your payroll ready for STP reporting.

Teaching your kids about money

Teaching kids about money

Teaching your kids about money is all about finding the right moments to have a conversation. Each time this happens, you’ll be helping to strengthen their financial literacy and build their ability to make good decisions with money.

The money we spend each day tends to be invisible. When was the last time you withdrew your cash for the week and used it to make purchases? Rather than dealing in notes and coins, we tend to reach for our cards or shop seamlessly online. It’s entirely possible to spend money without even reaching for your wallet.

This can give kids some confusing messages about how money is spent. The danger here is that they won’t develop financial literacy and will struggle to manage their own money later on. One way to help them to build their financial management skills is to choose moments to talk to them about money and why you’re making certain decisions.

These moments could include:

Shopping a​​​​t the supermarket

If you’re taking your kids on the weekly shop, get them involved in the process. Involve them in drawing up your shopping list and talk through your budget. Have them help you to find items, and weigh up differently-priced options. As a bonus, helping them to understand how a food budget works might just cut down on all those requests for treats!

Withdrawing money from the ATM 

Getting out money does seem a little magical. So it’s important that kids can make the connection between the money you go to work for, and what they see coming out of the wall. Talk to them about where the money you’re withdrawing will go and help to understand the importance of knowing what’s in your bank account.

Letting them make choices 

When it comes to pocket money or money from a birthday or Christmas, it can be helpful to let your children experience the consequences of their financial decisions. It’s tempting to tell them what to do with their money, but once they discover that they can only spend their precious cash once, take the time to talk with them about what they are feeling and how they might use their money differently in the future.

Choosing activities 

When you choose what to do as a family, don’t forget to talk through the costs of different options. Kids will appreciate balancing an expensive trip to the movies with a free picnic in the park or will be amazed when they compare the cost of an icecream at a parlor versus a whole tub at the supermarket. Encourage them to brainstorm and research low-cost ideas and get creative!

Casual Workers

Employing casual workers

Employing casual workers

Having access to a casual workforce can be a great way for your business to manage busy periods while keeping ongoing costs low. Before you jump at the opportunity, it is important to understand the rules.

With the increasing casualisation of the workforce in Australia, there is a large and accessible pool of eager workers. Many students and those re-entering the workforce are looking to fill a gap in their employment or gain valuable experience.

If you want to attract strong candidates to roles in the future, gaining a good reputation for treating your casual workers properly can set you up for success in the future. The right casual employee may even become an invaluable part of your business and be a great fit for a permanent role.

What is a casual employee?

The Fairwork Ombudsman defines a casual employee as an employee who

…does not have a firm commitment in advance from an employer about how long they will be employed for, or the days (or hours) they will work.

This also means that they are not obligated to commit to all work on offer from the employer.

How is a casual employee different from a part-time employee?

Unlike casual employees, your part-time and full-time employees have fixed contracts or guarantees of ongoing employment. This means they can expect to work regular hours. They also have entitlements, such as leave and must give or receive notice to end the employment.

Casual employees have no guaranteed hours of work. They usually work irregular hours, don’t get annual leave and can end employment without notice.

What are the employers’ responsibilities?

  • To ensure employees are paid the correct rate. This may include an additional casual loading that replaces leave entitlements
  • To pay superannuation if required. You can find out more about your obligations here.
  • To follow the Fairwork Ombudsman guidelines if you make any changes to the terms of the employment. Examples would be requiring an employee to work for fixed hours or a fixed term
  • Recognise that employees can ask for flexible work arrangements and paid parental leave after 12 months of ongoing employment.

Contact us to find out how we can help you set up the right structure for casual employees and look after your payroll needs.

Is your small business ready for Single Touch Payroll?

Is your small business ready for Single Touch Payroll?

For employers with 19 or fewer employees, single touch payroll (STP) legislation will be coming into effect on the 1st of July 2019. Are you ready? Because it’s important to start preparing now.

You need to know what Single Touch Payroll is, what the changes mean for your business and who it affects. And more importantly, you need to know what to do to prepare, so that you will be compliant.

What is Single Touch Payroll?

For employers with 20 or more employees, you will already be familiar with STP, but if you are unaware, STP is the mechanism for sending tax and super information to the ATO directly from your payroll or accounting software every time you pay your employees. The legislation was passed in February this year to extend this to employers with 19 or fewer employees.

How to prepare your small business for STP and ensure compliance

Most popular payroll software companies will have the correct facilities ready to go, such as Xero and MYOB. We will have spoken to many of our clients already about STP, however, if you are unsure, talk to us.

There are a few things to be aware of you as you get ready to use STP reporting.

  1. Check your software – you may need a software update or additional step added to your process
  2. Ensure you have factored STP into your payroll process
  3. Ensure your payroll compliance is up-to-date generally, including employee benefit, wage and super entitlements and maintaining accurate records

The first year of using STP reporting is a transition year and there will be assistance from the ATO. That means penalties for errors will not generally apply.

If you don’t think you will be ready by the 1st of July, you can apply for a deferral through the ATO. The ATO gives a list of possible reasons for deferring, including lack of internet coverage, or if further development of software is needed.

If you haven't already done so, talk to us about doing your preparation now to ensure you are ready by the 1st of July.

Home Office

Do you have a home office?

Do you have a home office?

If you have a home office for your business, you should be able to claim some of the costs involved in maintaining, owning and using your home.

It’s important to be aware of what you can and can’t claim, and the record-keeping involved in making a claim.

How does it work?

In order to claim, the space you use must be used primarily for your business.

This doesn’t mean setting up at the kitchen table from time to time, it means having a dedicated space that you work from.

If you are selling online and storing stock, you may also be using other spaces in your house for storage or stock maintenance. Or, if you are making or creating products, you may be using other areas like your kitchen or workshop.

Costs that you might be able to claim include:

  • home office equipment
  • repairs to the home office or work-related furniture and equipment
  • cleaning expenses
  • any other day-to-day running expenses for your home office.

You may also be able to claim the costs of some trips in your car if these are from your home office to other locations where you are carrying out business.

The ATO has developed a calculator tool, to help you better understand what you might be able to claim. View the tool here.

Keeping track of your costs

Make sure you keep a record of all your expenses. It’s important to keep your personal and business expenses separate. Consider using online accounting software so the paperwork is kept in good order.

We can help you review your home office expenses to make sure these are included when you claim.

Talk to us, we can help.