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Category Archives for "Bookkeeping"

Dealing with uncertainty – tips for business owners

Dealing with uncertainty – tips for business owners

Dealing with uncertainty – tips for business owners

Whether you’re in full lockdown, restricted trading conditions or back to ‘business as usual’, there’s still real uncertainty for business owners. We’re trading in challenging times at present. And knowing what step to take next is a key worry. We know that you invest more than simply time and money into your business. It is more than a job but part of your identity.

So, how do you get more clarity around your future plans? And how do you work on the short-term future of the business, when sales, income and cash are in short supply?

Focusing your efforts in the right places

Planning the next business move is difficult at the best of times, but it’s doubly problematic when we have so little clear idea of what a post-COVID19 business world will look like.

It's difficult to plan when we don't know what will be possible. What regulations will be in place once you can begin trading? Will the market have changed dramatically? Will you be able to trade over borders and continue to be an international operation? Will you have enough cash to actually operate?

As a business owner, you’ll be continually thinking of new business-critical issues to add to this list – but the reality is that you CAN’T control all these elements. This sense of mounting uncertainty is likely to raise your stress levels and make you more anxious.

So, how do you overcome these worries and find a practical solution?

Try to focus on the things you can control:

  • Identify the things that matter to the short and long-term success of the business
  • Find the things you can control and over which you have some influence.

It's too overwhelming to try and work on everything at the same time. Instead, try to focus on the one thing you can achieve each day.

Review your overheads and costs

One way to reduce your cashflow worries is to reduce your spending. Look at your controllable overheads and see if there are ways to negotiate better terms with suppliers, cut down on expenses or pause any subscriptions.

Talk to debtors and creditors

If you can bring down your aged debt, that will help your overall financial health. Talk to any late-paying customers and agree when these debts will be paid. And talk to suppliers about extending payment terms, if possible.

Consider alternative revenue streams 

If your current business model doesn’t work well in lockdown, are there other online services that you could diversify into? Any new revenue streams will help to bolster your income and cash position.

Update your website and marketing

Having a great online presence is vital during this crisis, when most goods and services will be purchased online. Give your website a refresh and make it easy for potential customers to find and buy your services.

Catch up with your team

Maintaining contact with your employees is vital if you’re going to nurture team spirit. The more engaged your team is, the easier it will be to embrace change together.

If you’re uncertain about the impact of COVID-19 on your business, please do come and talk to us. We’ll help you get in control of your finances, prioritise the right elements of your business and find a strategy that prepares you for trading in the post-coronavirus market.

Talk to us about other strategies for dealing with uncertainty.

key numbers to focus on in your business now

Key numbers to focus on in your business now

Key numbers to focus on in your business now

As a business owner, it’s always been helpful to have an understanding of accounting – but in the post-lockdown world, it’s never been more important to have a good grasp on your finances.

With the business world irreparably changed by the impact of coronavirus, your business is facing a ‘new normal’. Priorities have changed, customer behaviours have mutated and revenue streams have had to evolve and pivot in order to create a viable post-lockdown business model.

To track, monitor and drive your financial performance in this new business world, it’s increasingly important to have a handle on your key financial reports and metrics.

Getting to grips with your financial reports

Whereas in the past, extra cash in the business may have been seen as a surplus that needed to be spent on something, COVID-19 has shown us that having these reserves is vitally important for the survival and long-term health of businesses.

To truly be in control of this cash, it’s vital that you can dip into your accounts, financial reports and dashboards and ‘see the genuine story’ behind your financial position.


So, what are the key reports to focus on? Let’s take a look:

Budget 

Your budget is the financial plan that's tied in with your strategic plan. In essence, the budget is your approximation of the money it will take to attain your key strategic goals, and the revenue (income) and profits you hope to make during this period. It’s a benchmark you can use to measure your actuals (historic numbers) against, allowing you to see the variances, gaps and missed targets over a given period.

Cashflow Statement 

A cashflow statement shows the flow of money into and out of your business. Understanding these cash inflows and outflows in detail allows you to manage this ongoing process, allowing you to aim for a ‘positive cashflow position’ – where inflows outweigh outflows. In this ideal positive scenario, you have enough liquid cash in the business to cover your costs, fund your operations and generate a profit.

Cashflow Forecast

forecasting allows you to take your historic cash numbers and project them forward in time. As such, you can see where the cashflow holes may appear weeks, or even months, in advance – and that gives you time to take action, whether it’s increasing your income stream, reducing your underlying costs, chasing up unpaid invoices (aged debt) or going to lenders for additional funding.

Balance Sheet 

 the balance sheet shows you the company’s assets, liabilities and equity at a given point in time. In a nutshell, it’s a snapshot of what the business owns (your assets), what you owe to other people (your liabilities) and what money and profits you currently have invested in the company (your equity). The balance sheet is useful for seeing what stock and equipment the business owns, how much debt (liabilities) you’ve worked up and what the company is actually worth – all incredibly useful information to have at your fingertips when making big business decisions.

Profit & Loss

Your profit and loss report (P&L) Your P&L gives you an overview of the company’s revenues, costs and expenses over a given historic period of time. Whereas the balance sheet is a snapshot, your P&L is more like a moving video. It shows you how your finances are progressing by demonstrating how revenue is coming in and costs/expenses are going out (rather than cash coming in and going out, as you see in your cashflow statement and cashflow forecasts).

your workspace can impact productivity

Your workspace can impact productivity

Your workspace can impact productivity

A great office space is about keeping your people happy, productive and working towards the key goals of your business.

An office is more than a place to put your desks, it is the heart of your business and the space where your people will spend most of their working day. Your office needs to create the right atmosphere for your people and inspire productivity.

A great workspace motivates your team

Engaged employees make their organisations 17% more productive and 21% more profitable, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report. Keeping your people engaged and motivated is a core aim of your workspace design.

There are some key universal traits that any good workspace will need if your aim is to boost team motivation, productivity levels and, ultimately, profitability.

A good workspace will include:
Flexible working options

A good office space should be an environment that's conducive to different types of work. If staff have different roles, and carry out different activities throughout the day, a mix of quiet spaces, communal areas, private meeting rooms and breakout space for catch-ups can cater for this.

Access to drinks and refreshments

Somewhere for staff to re-hydrate, refuel and stay productive. Offer free coffee and tea. A bowl of fruit or healthy snacks is a nice way to support time-poor employees who don’t have time to head out.

Privacy when it’s required

The seclusion of a meeting room is great for making for private calls, having team meetings or carrying out one-on-one conversations with employees and fellow directors.

Space to relax and kick back

Outside of the usual working day, a more social space in the office provides somewhere where people can hang out and enhance the social side of the team. The ‘creative agency with a foosball table’ has become a slight cliche, but having a space with comfortable furniture and recreational activities can be a real plus for many employees.

Great branding and design 

The design of the workspace isn’t just about the choice of paint colour. It's important to create an aesthetic and ergonomic design that reflects your brand personality, but also works as a highly effective space for your people. A professionally designed and branded workspace can have a huge impact on how your staff and customers perceive your company.

Enhancing your workspace

If you’re looking to refresh your office space, think about the elements that will improve the experience for your staff and your customers. A successful office revamp makes everyone happy and boosts productivity.

woman establishing document systems and processes

Establishing document systems and processes

Establishing document systems and processes

With growth comes growing pains. Such pains can affect team morale as well as your margins. It’s critical to preempt potential friction and put systems in place to ensure you scale up with minimal disruption. 

It’s essential that you regularly review your business’s systems and have clearly documented processes in place - for consistency, efficiency, and so that you can delegate more responsibilities to your team.

Nine steps to establish great systems:

1. Identify your key systems.

Focus on documenting your most critical processes first. These may be customer focused, those where only one person knows how to perform the task, the tasks currently causing the most friction, or those preventing you from being paid on time.

2. Develop a standardised approach to documenting your systems.

Document processes from start to finish in a concise, logical, and visual way. Start with diagrams or flowcharts, as they’re easier to digest, then embellish each step with text. Where necessary, include ‘how to’ guides, checklists, and templates (such as welcome letters or customer response email templates) within each system to ensure consistency and efficiency.

3. Break down each step into bite sized pieces.

If an overarching process requires touch from multiple team members, ensure the process includes the necessary communication points (so ‘Person B’ knows it’s time to do their piece), and that it’s clear which role has overall responsibility for completing the process.

4. Clearly label and store your procedural documents.

Your team needs to be able to access and execute procedures fast. Online document storage is best (the trees will thank you).

5. Identify the best person to draft each process.

If it’s a finance task, it’s likely someone within the Finance department should draft the system. This need not be a highly onerous task for the business owner, however, taking time to review these will save time and reduce rework in future.

6. Test the process!

Unless it involves learning how to use software, a new team member should be able to pick up a procedure and perform a task with little or no support.

7. Team training.

Include relevant procedures in new team member induction and make it clear to your team that they’re expected to follow the system. If mistakes are made, blame the system, not the person… and improve the system.

8. Review the process!

Regularly review and update your systems to ensure they’re still best practice. Empower the team to ‘own’ the systems they use and encourage them to drive improvements. Resist the urge to dictate how things must work, as those using the systems will have a better understanding of improvement opportunities.

9. Consider what can be automated or streamlined.

Technology is moving at a rapid pace. Encourage the ‘techies’ in your team to suggest automation opportunities, apps, or software solutions that could help your business scale better. A small investment could lead to a massive time saving - time is money!

“Speed is useful only if you are running in the right direction.” - Joel Barker

We can help you review and improve your critical business processes. Get in touch!


Business woman planning for seasonal dips

Planning for seasonal dips in income

Planning for seasonal dips in income

Seasonal dips in income can be highly challenging when you’re a small business. But there are proactive ways to predict, plan for and overcome these dips in revenue.

The key to dealing with seasonal dips is to know when they’re most likely to occur, and to have measures in place to spread your income and revenue pipeline over the course of the year.

Understanding seasonality in your sector

If your business is seasonal such as pool supplies, or a ski gear specialist, you’ll be used to the peaks and troughs, but many 'non-seasonal' businesses experience times during the financial year where sales and revenue peak – and, on the flipside, where sales and revenue experience a pronounced dip.

When income is low at certain times of the year, it makes for challenging times.

So, what are the key ways to plan for this kind of seasonality?​​​​​
Forecast your seasonality

It’s vital to know WHEN you’re most likely to experience any seasonal dips. Looking at bench-marking reports for your industry is one way to predict the seasonality in your niche or sector. But you can also use your own accounting data to great effect. Look back through your profit & loss reports and spot where the peaks and troughs have occurred over preceding years.

Charge a premium in peak time 

One straightforward approach is to apply premium pricing for your products/services during the busy season. By increasing your pricing, you boost your overall revenue, giving you more working capital to see you through the leaner months when sales and income are at their lowest.

Offer additional peak-time services

Offering added extras and other additional service lines during peak time is another way to maximise the season. In the months where customers are most engaged, look to upsell these premium services and offer more value. Satisfied clients will be more inclined to pay for added extras, giving you an increased revenue stream from the same number of customers.

Target other markets

Exploring other related markets is another useful tactic. When you’re experiencing downtime, look for other ways to monetise your existing assets, products or services. For example, if you’re a hotel where sales peak in summertime, offer discounted conference space in the winter months to boost revenue.

Diversify your products/services

If one product/service has a known seasonal dip, look at adding an additional product or service to offset this downtime. For example, a a ski resort could promote bike-riding or hiking breaks during the warmer summer months to keep revenue constant. Likewise a pool maintenance firm could establish an outdoor fireplace business for the colder months.

Have a regional e-commerce strategy

If you’re dependent on a small local market, broadening your marketing and e-commerce strategies can help to attract a wider customer base – and bolster sales. Paid advertising through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter can easily target new geographical markets, bringing in new customers and giving your revenue a much-needed uplift during seasonal troughs.

Talk to us about planning for seasonality

f your business is struggling with seasonal dips, and the resulting impact on cashflow, come and talk to us. We’ll help you identify the timing of your seasonal downtime, and come up with a clear strategy for stabilising your income across the year.

Get in touch to start beating those seasonal dips.

How to make your out-of-office email work harder when you’re away

How to make your out-of-office email work harder when you're away

There are a few essentials your out-of-office message needs to contain. Before you try anything fun with yours, make sure you have the essentials covered.

Check that your auto-response has:

  • A title that lets your recipient know this is an out-of-office message (some email services will do this automatically)
  • The dates you’re out of the office, and the date you’ll be back in action
  • Whether you can be contacted, and the correct contact details. Be really clear about when you’d expect to be contacted. You’re on holiday, so it’s fine to reserve this option for emergency use only
  • Who they can speak to in your absence, what they’re responsible for, and how they can get in touch

So, here are a few ideas:

  • Share your favourite post from the company blog
  • Add a sign up for your newsletter into the text
  • Add a link to your Instagram account so that they can follow along with your holiday adventures
  • Spice up your message with a gif or some well-chosen emojis
  • If your company supports a charity, use this space to share some information about the work they do at this time of year

Or, if you’re ready to really take things to the next level, try a humorous message. Done properly, this is a great way to brighten the day of the person getting your bounce-back. Of course, you’ll need to consider all of the people who could be emailing you during this time, and how they might respond. If in doubt, play it straight.

Here’s some clever out-of-office message inspiration from Grammarly:

Heading out of the office? Don’t let your business affairs slide. Book an appointment with us to make sure you are covered for the holiday period.

Talk to us about how we can help.


Making data meaningful for your business

Making data meaningful for your business

Raw data describes the facts and figures that a business processes every day. Over time, every business hoards a certain amount of data and it only becomes meaningful to a business after it has been processed to add context, relevance and purpose.

For example, in a restaurant, every order will be recorded. However, a restaurant won't learn much by looking at each one in isolation. Analysis of the orders will reveal trends and patterns, such as peak dining days or biggest-selling menu or bar items. Knowledge of the business comes from the relationship between the singular pieces of information. That restaurant owner may know to do their biggest stock order on a Wednesday by analysing their covers and establishing that sales increase by 38% on Thursdays.

The pace of business in today’s technological times requires businesses to be able to react quickly to changing demands from customers and environmental conditions. The ability to be able to compile, analyse and act on data is increasingly important. In some instances, a high volume of data may need to be accumulated and analysed before trends and patterns emerge, like a particular season’s most popular dish.

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

If your business is already using cloud software for accountancy, project management system or CRM, it’s likely that you’re sitting on a goldmine of data. If properly utilised, this data can greatly aid running a successful business. You'll have valuable insight into your sales, expenses, profit and staff efficiencies that can help you answer critical questions and drive smart business decisions.

Every business is unique, but here are three quick tips to help you drive data in your business.

Three steps to ensuring data is meaningful for your business:

1. Data is only powerful if there is context – can you stop to answer these questions?

  • What is your primary objective (business or personal)?
  • What is happening in the business?
  • What isn’t happening?
  • How can you influence what happens?

Figure out what you’re currently trying to achieve before anything else. It’s important to periodically go back and ask yourself these questions and what goals develop from the answers, as answers evolve over time. You may have started out with your primary objective as running the best restaurant in your area. However as time has passed, your primary objective might now be to take time away from the business to spend more time with your children.

2. The only way your data can help you drive your business is if it’s accurate and organised appropriately – ask yourself:

  • Are your financials up-to-date?
  • Do you have any unreconciled transactions?
  • Are you tax compliant?
  • Are your staff trained on what systems and processes to use for different parts of your business?
  • Are your cloud systems being correctly utilised?

The worst thing you can do is to attempt to analyse incorrect data and attempt to make decisions for the business based on it! Tools like Spotlight Reporting can help you with the reports you need for business decisions.

3. Understand what the data necessities are and what the niceties are.

  • What would you most like to understand about your business?
  • What figures pinpoint success for you?
  • What are your objectives over the next six to twelve months, and two to five years

Remember, to focus on what truly matters and build from there. If you want help with the process, we can accumulate, analyse, report and advise on your data; or show you the tools to use.

Talk to us about how we can help.


Financially stress free piggy on christmas holiday on beach

Have you got a strategy for a financially stress-free holiday period?

Have you got a strategy for a financially stress-free holiday period?

Christmas holiday breaks are a time to spend with family, friends & have a chance to recharge for the year ahead. We look forward to warmer weather and finally setting up an out-of-office email for the break. However, for business owners, this time can be stressful without careful cash-flow planning.

Even if you do continue to operate through the holiday shutdown season, your customers' financial behaviour may not remain the same.

It can be pretty disappointing to work hard all year only to find that once you have paid staff, overheads and creditors, you have little or nothing left in the bank to cover your own time off.

The strategies and tips shared below are generalised, however, we are here if you need to budget and prepare a cash-flow forecast. We can also help if you need assistance in applying for short term finance to get you through the break.

Why is cash-flow planning particularly important at this time of year?

Staff leave needs to be covered in addition to your normal fixed overheads like rent, creditors and tax compliance. The budget and forecasting process ensures you know your numbers and are prepared. If you are shutting down, you won't be driving revenue during this period and sales may take time to get started again in the new year.

Here are some simple strategies that can help:
Decide your Christmas and holiday break dates

Confirm these with staff, customers and suppliers.

Budget and plan for annual leave 

Remember the pay rates may be higher than standard hourly rates, also factor in statutory public holidays.

Decide

If you are going to pay out leave in full at the beginning of the Christmas break or continue to pay as usual throughout the break.

Review your work in progress (WIP)

Plan to complete jobs or services that can be invoiced and paid before Christmas (remember if you don’t invoice and get paid before Christmas, you may not see the money until mid to late January).

Capacity planning

There is often a rush to get everything done before Christmas, whether it's the kitchen benchtop installed or the beauty treatment before the break, so make sure you have the capacity to maximise on this.

Stock-take

Do you need to order in goods now to be able to complete work in progress? Check that there is stock on hand available.

Making an arrangement with the Tax Office

if you find you can not make payments, it is possible to apply for an instalment arrangement. There are costs associated with this, however it may provide a solution that gets you through the holiday period. Talk to us, we can help.


Talk to us about enhancing your financial support

If you can’t make ends meet, now is the time to organise short term financial relief like an arranged overdraft of loan, rather than hoping it will come right. Please let us know if you need any help with cash-flow forecasting, budgeting or finance applications.

Get in touch to improve your cash flow.

New employee welcomed by business team

The true cost of a new employee

The true cost of a new employee

Bringing on another pair of hands?

It can be a big decision to commit to having a new member on the team but the right person will bring in the skills you need to grow the business and give you more time to achieve your goals, even if that is to spend more time with your family!

Before you advertise the role

Spend some time to understand what skills you need in your business to move forward or to strengthen your position in the market. You may decide that the skill gap could be met by training existing staff who have capacity or would be open to a change in job description.

If the role is new

Decide whether you need a full-time or part-time employee and what sort of experience or qualifications the ideal candidate would have. If they need training when they start, consider who will run this and how that will impact timings.

Create a job description

This will help you when it’s time to assess candidates. Try to avoid too many acronyms and internal jargon that won’t make sense to people outside your company.

Finally...

You’ll want to understand the true cost of adding another staff member. Start with average industry salary rates and work out the fixed and discretionary costs involved, including Fringe Benefit Tax, industry insurance and superannuation costs. Include your one off recruitment costs and overheads, as well as the cost of training and any benefits you offer, such as a car park.

The recruitment process provides you with an opportunity to diversify your workplace. And if you hire people facing barriers to employment, you may be eligible for a number of financial incentives available for businesses.

Talk to us about employing someone new.

Employing someone new to help take your business forward is an exciting step. We’ll help make sure that your finances and paperwork is in order before you hire.

Get in touch to see how we can help.

Get on top of time wasters in your working week

Get on top of time wasters in your working week

There are 1,440 minutes in a day and each of us have the same allocated amount. Some people manage to achieve much more than others. So, how can we free up time to help lead a better business and ultimately a happier life?

The top 10 time wasters:


1. Lack of clear goals.

Planning and setting SMART goals provides clarity. SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable or Achievable, and most importantly Time-bound. Have your goals documented and visible.

2. A messy desk.

Desk clutter equals mind clutter. Tidy your work-space each day before you leave. Also consider how paperless you are; paper is part of the problem.

3.  Procrastination and shifting priorities.

Avoid unnecessary pick up and put down. Multitasking is a productivity myth. Plan your day carefully and stay focused; don’t deviate unless it’s really necessary.

4. Interruptions (from humans and technology).

Establish ground rules for others, and set yourself clear parameters regarding your technology distractions, e.g. turn off your email notifications and only check emails between tasks. If it’s urgent, they’ll call or tap your shoulder.

5.  Ineffective delegation (and abdication).

Responsibility and doing are not the same. Invest time in creating clear processes and empower others to do more for you. When delegating a task, responsibility still falls on you… and without a clear process, you are setting someone up to fail which will ultimately reflect poorly on you.

6. Ineffective systems.

Mistakes can usually be attributed to ineffective systems. Involve your team to get buy in and LEAN up processes where possible. Eliminate systems that don’t add value; always go back to your purpose.

7. Inability to say 'no'.

We are defined not just by what we say yes to, but what we say no to. Planning helps us to say no to things that don’t align with our purpose and goals.

8. Ineffective meetings.

Every meeting needs a purpose, an agenda and clear objectives. Stick to the agenda, document outcomes and consider which meetings could be replaced with reporting or an online planning tool (such as Trello).

9. Ineffective email use.

Think twice before playing email tennis. Ask yourself: 1.) Is the directive clear? 2.) Is the tone correct? 3.) Is it better to walk five steps to have a conversation?

10. Poor planning.

Effective planning has three key components: a one page plan (with goals, KPIs and required actions), regular reporting to ensure continuous improvement, and accountability.

What are your biggest time wasters? Identify your top 3 and take ownership and responsibility to minimise them today!

"Regretting wasted time is wasting more time." - Anon


Talk to us about how we can help you plan more effectively


Automation can ease your business workload

Automation can ease your business workload

Small and medium-sized businesses are spending on average 120 hours a year on admin tasks, according to recent research into productivity at UK SMBs.

If your people are spending 120 hours wading through tedious and unproductive admin, that’s bad for the business and for your overall efficiency. Fortunately, technology and software automation can go a long way towards automating the low-level admin tasks.

Better productivity through automation

Automation is an important way to ease your business workload, with a host of different business apps and cloud solutions offering ways to automate your admin.

With ‘smart business tools’ increasing in number and choice, software is utilising automation algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cognitive solutions to help remove the mundane admin tasks from your workflows.

Core processes that will benefit from automation include:

Automated bookkeeping

Just take a photo of your receipts, expenses and invoices and ‘optical character recognition’ (OCR) technology will digitise the output and pull it through into your accounts software. No data entry, no human error and no lost receipts! We can do the rest to ensure your records are accurate.

Automated credit control 

Chasing up debts and late-paying customers takes time. Automated credit control apps track your debtor numbers and automatically sends out customised chaser emails as soon as an invoice is late. This reduces your credit control time, speeds up cash collection and cuts your aged debtor figure.

Automated payment collection

The easier it is to pay you, the faster your customers will pay. Automated card payments and cloud-based Direct Debit solutions allow you to automatically take payment from a customer as soon as an invoice is due. Some solutions will even automate the invoice matching and bank reconciliation process.

Automated reporting and forecasting 

The better your reporting and business intelligence, the easier it is to make informed decisions about your company strategy. Accounting platforms and fintech tools now offer automatic, real-time reporting and forecasting, giving you access to the important numbers and metrics, fast.

Automated digital marketing

Digital marketing is key to raising your brand’s profile. Marketing platforms offer important time-saving ways to schedule and post social media content, or email automation that sends a pre-programmed cadence of emails to specific target audiences within your wider customer base.

Talk to us about embracing the power of automation

If your admin is starting to hold you back, come and talk to us about how automation can pick up some of the heavy lifting as well as giving you the metrics you need for decision making. We can review you business processes and identify the automation opportunities, helping you choose the best apps to drive your business efficiently.

Contact us to discuss your automation opportunities. 

Reporting PAYGW

Reporting PAYGW correctly

Reporting PAYGW Correctly 

PAYG and claiming tax deductions

From July 1 2019, If you don’t meet PAYG withholding obligations for your workers, by not withholding tax from their payments and not reporting it to the ATO, you could lose your tax deduction.

This will apply to income tax returns lodged for the 2020 financial year and beyond.

If you withhold tax from payments to workers, you must withhold the required amount and report correctly to the ATO in order to receive a tax deduction for your business.

PAYG withholding and reporting obligations apply to payments for:

  • Salary, wages and other payments to employees
  • Directors' fees
  • Religious practitioner payments
  • Labour hire arrangements
  • Voluntary withholding arrangements
  • Payments to contractors with no ABN

Withholding rules still apply to cash payments. Similarly, for non-cash payments such as property or exchange of services, withholding rules still apply even if your worker agrees to receive a non-cash payment in place of money.

PAYGW

The payment of PAYGW to the ATO is a separate issue. The new rules are aimed at getting employers to report correctly and on time. Once you have reported an amount to the ATO, they expect payment of that obligation by the due date.

If you make an honest mistake, such as treating an employee as a contactor, you won’t be penalised. You can correct your mistake by lodging a voluntary disclosure

Talk to us

Contact us to review your PAYGW reporting obligations. 

Keeping your receipts

Keeping your receipts

Source document management

When it comes to small business compliance, source documents – bills, receipts, checks, or anything substantiating a transaction – are critical.

And collecting and managing source documents can mean a lot of administrative effort and time. Then you have to store all the documents too. Historically, source documents have been paper based, so that means a lot of office space just dedicated to paper document storage!

The good news is that bookkeepers can help small businesses to better manage source documents.

Here are a few frequently asked questions to better understand why and how bookkeepers can help. 

Who should manage source documents: the business, or the bookkeeper?

Allocating source document management to your bookkeeper means you can better manage your source documents for compliance-related reasons. This is because your bookkeeper is able to provide more accurate reconciliation. The added bonus is that this can lead to meaningful business insights.

Why are source documents important for bookkeeping?

Source documents are vital for business compliance and audit preparation. Bookkeepers keep up to date with compliance requirements and understand the types of documentation that small businesses are required to keep compliant.

Source documents are also important for improving bookkeeping quality. Having source documents readily available will not only make the reconciliation process faster, easier, and more accurate, it will also help to gather clean data. Again, that data can then be translated into business insights.

What’s the best way to collect and manage source documents?

One of the best ways to collect and manage source documents is to do so digitally. This means implementing a process and using technology to automate and digitise document management.

Using a single system and process for collecting source documents gives you a centralised document storage solution, and all your documents are readily available when you need them.

There are a number of apps and tools that can make it easy for both bookkeepers and business owners to collect and digitise documents. Mose of these will integrates with cloud storage platforms and integrate with cloud accounting packages.

Are digital documents acceptable in the event of an audit?

Yes! Many governments accept digital files as source documents in the event of an audit, including the Australia.

In the event of an audit, having all documents readily available in one place will help to make sure the audit process goes smoothly.

Talk to us about improving your source document management

If you are interested in digitising your source document management, contact us today to discuss the apps and tools available, and how we can help, 

keeping debt low

Keeping debt low

Keeping debt low

Keeping debt low through proactive 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. ​

The good news is that there are ways to tackle late payment head-on.

Get effective with your credit control

Being proactive with your credit control procedures and 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 credit control 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 and automation needed to reduce this debt.

Get in touch to improve your credit control.

living above the line

Living above the line

Living above the line

There are three winning behaviours and three responses that’ll sink your team.

Are you living above the line? If not, you need to get there, as it’s the easiest way to transform workplace culture and team performance.

Here’s how, using the OARBED behaviour model:

The acronym starts with OAR - when behaving above the line, one takes: 

Ownership

Accountability

Responsibility

Below the line, BED, is defined as: 

Blame

Excuse 

Deny

No matter what, reacting in these ways is below the line.

For instance, consider the likely reaction of a naughty child caught in the act. If five-year-old Bobby is caught pulling his sister’s hair, he may resort to BED behaviour:

Blame: 'She made me do it.' Excuse: 'She pushed me first.' Deny: 'I didn’t even touch her.'

Adults don’t typically pull hair, but BED behaviour could look like this in your office: Someone misses a deadline… and they blame an internet dropout; make an excuse about not having the necessary information; or deny the project was their responsibility in the first place. This behaviour alienates oneself, while hurting team performance and morale.

On the other hand, paddling with our OAR means, regardless of our initial thinking, we must take ownershipaccountability and responsibility. When we live above the line a resolution is found faster, individuals feel more supported and we’re more likely to learn from our mistakes.

OARBED has no hierarchy. 

Would your team be comfortable calling you, or anyone else, out on below the line behaviour?

Remember, thinking below and acting below are not the same. It’s human nature to dip below the line in our minds, but it’s how we act that matters. Staying in BED is easy, but paddling with your OAR is much more effective and in time the whole team will be paddling in sync. Are you living above the line???

Therefore if you would like to know more about OARBED then feel welcome to contact us.

"The best apology is changed behaviour." - Anon

five a's of change

The five A’s of change

The five A's of change

Do you want continuous improvement in your business?

Let us explain The 5 A’s of Change: Awareness, Acceptance, Action, Accountability and Acknowledgement, and how we can help you to make change stick.

  • Awareness
  • Acceptance
  • Action
  • Accountability
  • Acknowledgement

Whether it’s a new focus, a new venture or a new year, consciously recognising the process required to change can vastly improve your outcome.

The Five A's of Change breaks it down simply:

1. Awareness.

First we must be aware of what needs to change. Perhaps we want to work smarter, not harder, so we can have more family time and better financial returns.

2. Acceptance.

We have to accept that in order to work smarter we will need to do things differently. There is no magic bullet; effective planning is critical to achieving change.

3. Action.

Once we have a plan; we must actually implement it. Taking action can be simpler than imagined; one step at a time, the momentum for change will grow. But, if we don’t act, planning is pointless.

4. Accountability.

Having someone independent to hold us to account is typically a foolproof way to ensure we act. A bit like going to the gym before work… we’re more likely to show up if we’ve committed to a friend or paid for a personal trainer.

5. Acknowledgement.

Humans are habitual creatures. It takes 21 times to change a habit. By celebrating the success of taking action and forcing change, we help to reinforce that good behaviour. The reaction is a chemical one.

This powerful model is simple and effective. Consider the things in your business that you would like to change and what stage in this process you’re at. What is your next step? Whatever your current situation, empower yourself and make a commitment to real change.

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates

Do you need help making change stick? Check out how we can help you with planning and accountability.

Talk to us about how we can help.


insure your business

Insuring your business

Insuring your business

When it comes to business, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Protecting your business with the right insurance policy can guard against risk and compensate for any losses. Make sure you have the right policies for your business and review them annually.

It’s not just fire or theft that you have to consider these days. Insurance can provide coverage against:

  • accidents in the workplace
  • harm to clients through oversight or error
  • medical expenses
  • malpractice
  • data breaches
  • and much more

So, insurance isn’t just about piece of mind. When the worst happens, it can also be the difference between rebuilding your business, or having to shut up shop.

Before you buy

Before you buy any policy, it’s important to take the time to understand the fine print. Make sure you supply all the necessary information to the company you’re purchasing through, as providing misleading information could invalidate your policy.

In Australia, some forms of insurance are compulsory for businesses such as workers compensation if you have employees. And third party personal injury insurance, which is often part of your vehicle registration fee.

The risks you face and the policies available to cover these risks vary from business to business, and by industry. They’ll also change over time so a regular review is a good idea. Insuring your business is good risk management.

No single policy can cover all your business risks so it’s likely you’ll need more than one policy to.

Check out a list of common policy types for business by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

And talk to us, we can help.

woman working from home office

Working from home

Working from home

If you are working from home for your business, you should be able to claim some of the costs involved in maintaining, owning and using your home.

However, 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 about how we can help.


Why bookkeeping is essential for your business

Why bookkeeping is essential for your business

As a small business owner, do you need a bookkeeper, an accountant, or both?

Bookkeepers can seem a little mysterious. In fact, they deal with the organisation, the recording and the reporting of financial transactions of a small business.

Most importantly, a bookkeeper clears the way for the accountant to work with your business strategically.

This means: keeping track of daily transactions, sending and managing invoices, handling the accounts payable ledger, keeping an eye on cash flow, and preparing the books for the accountant.

When you’re hiring, make sure you ask whether a bookkeeper has an area of specialisation.

Some bookkeepers may be able to help train staff in using online accounting or POS systems or give you advice on business processes.

One of our specialities is Addon Apps. We specialise in understanding the different options for different industries and businesses. We provide you with insights and guidance on what Apps would best suit your business.

If you need help improving efficiencies in your business to save you time and money, there's probably an App for that. Give us a call to see if we can help

For more information on the difference between bookkeeping and accounting, head to this article from Xero

Get into the habit of doing your bank reconciliation

Get into the habit of doing your bank reconciliation

When it comes to bank reconciliation, it’s important to get into the habit of doing it often. Putting it off can mean bad things for your business records! 

What is it?

Bank reconciliation keeps your bookkeeping accurate and can help lower your tax, alert you to fraud, and allow you to track costs.

It involves a comparison of your sales and expense records against the record your bank has.

Saving time

It can take a lot of time to do it manually, so you may want to consider using software. Most banks can send transaction data directly to accounting software like Xero through a secure online connection.

However if you do bank reconciliation, do it often.

The longer you go without doing it, the longer it will take to catch up.

It won’t just be that you have more transactions to do, it will take longer per transaction, because you’ll have a harder time recalling the details.

So, schedule the time to do it every week or even every day. And set up a system that makes it quick and easy to grab the records you need.

Talk to us, we can help.

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.