Business Tips Archives - BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray

Category Archives for "Business Tips"

Do you feel like a slave to your business

Do you feel like a slave to your business?

Feeling like a slave to your business implies the loss of control; thinking that you need to be available to your customers 24/7 and that your team can't cope without you.

It can also imply a victim mentality - that this is just what it's like to be a business owner and that it's not something you can change. Maybe Covid had a huge impact on your business and you're playing catch up.

There are lots of reasons why you feel like a slave to your business. In other words, lots of excuses.

The OARBED behaviour model tells us we must act above the line; taking Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility for our actions and the choices we make. Feeling like a slave to your business is a choice.

So, what can you do to stop feeling this way?

How can you get back in control of your business

First, review and update your processes. If customers are contacting you at all hours, put in place a timeframe for responding, e.g. within 24 hour hours, and communicate this with your customers. If cashflow is an issue, review your payment terms and ensure they're being enforced.

Next, if you don't feel like you can trust your team to run your business without you, establish why this is.

Do they need more training and support?

Have you given them the opportunity to step up and take on more responsibility?

Do you need to take on more team members or outsource some tasks?

Whatever your reasons - or excuses - are for feeling like a slave to your business, now is the time to reflect on what it is you wanted your business to deliver to you.

Set goals for what you want your business and personal life to look like in 12 months.

Break these down into 90 day goals and actions to achieve those goals.

Take ownership, accountability and responsibility for regaining control of your business.

Consider the following questions

  • Do you need to start going home on time every night?
  • Do you need to stop accepting work from people who don’t respect your payment terms?
  • Do you need to block out calendar time to respect your health and wellbeing?
  • Do you need to implement 10 strategies to grow your cashflow?
  • Do you need to train and empower your team to take on more responsibility?
  • Do you need more time to plan?

No more excuses - it’s your business, you make the rules, choose not to be a slave!

We can help you be the master of your business - get in touch to find out how.

"Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire."
Arnold Glasgow

What do you want from your business

What do you want from your business?

When you started your business, you probably dreamed about flexible hours and highly profitable, stimulating work.

Ideally, you would’ve adopted best practice and documented those dreams in a succinct Business Plan. Your plan would specify how much cash you need, your role, and the hours you’d be working.

In other words, what your business was going to deliver to you personally as an owner.

But that was all before the world turned on its head and most plans went out the window.

Whatever you previously dreamed of or planned for must be reconsidered due to the impact of Covid.

It’s likely that what you want hasn't changed, it will probably just take longer than expected.

Take the opportunity to reinvent your business to deliver what you want 

Trimming what you need personally from your business for the next year or two will give you the best footing to recover.

Consider the following:

  1. Can you still have the lifestyle you want with less cash strain on your business?
  2. A walk with friends, as opposed to a dinner out, is great for your health and easier on your wallet.
  3. Are there personal costs that can be avoided? Do you need that second takeaway coffee each day?
  4. Can you refinance your personal and/or housing debts to achieve lower interest rates or reduced principal repayments?
  5. Can you spend less on holidays or travel in the next 12 months?
  6. Can you modify your role in the business to reduce stress or workload?
  7. Will these needs be different in the medium term? I.e. can you hunker down for 12-months or until your business’s profitability and cashflow improve?

The best way to reduce the cashflow strain is to revise your personal budget. 

Your budget will identify potential savings you can make and provides a benchmark against which your actual spending can be tracked in the future.

 Your Business Plan and budget can then be built around how your business can deliver the level of personal cashflow you need.

There are no shortcuts here. 

The discipline of personal budgeting with ongoing monitoring of your expenditure is essential.

The good news is that the process is both empowering and enlightening at the same time. You’ll be amazed at where personal savings can be made and will feel much more in control of your business.

Contact us if you need help developing your Business Plan or personal budget.

“You must gain control of your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” – Dave Ramsey

5 signs you’re undercharging

5 signs you're undercharging

Are you undercharging for your services?

It can be hard to tell, particularly if you’re in a niche industry or you’re a contractor. Costs have been rising, so it may be time to rethink your own pricing.

Here are five signs that you might be undercharging:

1. Nobody ever questions your quotes

Do all your new clients accept your quotes or charges without asking any questions, requesting a breakdown or wanting a discount? It’s possible they’re delighted to be getting such a great deal.

2. You run off your feet but you can’t afford to get help

When you’re working yourself to the bone, but there’s not enough money left over to employ someone to help you, your prices are too low – or something else needs to change.

3. Your prices have been the same for two years or more

In most industries, prices increase just slightly each year. Leave your prices flat for too long and you’re not keeping up with the market; make sure you review your fees annually.

4. You’re overbooked

When business is booming and there’s no room for new clients, it’s time to raise your prices.

5. Clients don’t treat you as well as they should

When clients think they’re paying peanuts, they’ll often take you for granted. They don’t see your time as valuable, so they feel free to mess you around.

What should you be charging?

Finding your pricing sweet spot could take a little time. You’ll need to do some research, maybe ask around a little, and find out where your competitors are pitching their rates.

We can help

We work across various industries and therefore may be able to give you some indication of typical fees. So get in touch.

How do you get your outstanding invoices paid?

How do you get your outstanding invoices paid?

Do you dread following up outstanding invoices?

It can be frustrating when you have customers who haven’t paid their invoices. Not to mention the impact on your cash flow.

Getting paid on time is essential to good cash flow. But how do you get paid?

Here are some simple, effective techniques that can help you get your outstanding invoices paid.

Make sure your terms are clear

Write into your terms of service that you will charge a late fee for overdue invoices. Make sure you your customers are aware of your terms of service before you do the work.

Also, we recommend doing a credit check before you do business with a new customer. This can help reduce the risk of late payments and defaults, as well as minimising the need for follow-ups.


Often, the payment is a simple oversight. By resending the invoice or sending a simple payment request an outstanding invoice will be paid. Start there, and you might be surprised by how many outstanding invoices are paid.

Better still, set your accounting software up to send automated reminders to customers with outstanding invoices. Talk to us about how to do this.

If the above action doesn’t achieve the desired result, ie your outstanding invoice being paid, it’s time for firmer action.

As uncomfortable as it can be to make a phone call to ask for payment, it can be one of the most effective ways to get paid. Perhaps start with asking are they aware that their invoice is outstanding.

A stronger stance

So, what do you do if your customers don’t respond to your polite requests?

If you have been waiting for payment for months, it’s time take a stronger stance.

This could include:

  • stopping your services until payment is made
  • using a professional debt collector
  • bringing in your lawyer

While you will likely get paid by taking this stronger stance, you do need to consider the potential impact on the relationship with your client. How important is it? Do you want to continue to do business with them? Is it worthwhile continuing to do business with them? 

If you need help managing your outstanding invoices, get in touch for expert support and guidance.

managing finances in your business

Managing finances in your business

Managing finances in your business

When you are busy running a business getting your head around effective financial management can be difficult.

If you get it wrong you could end up focusing on the wrong things that are detrimental to your business.

As a business owner, there are four basic areas that you need to consider when managing finances in your business:

Have a plan

It’s important to have a plan to you understand your business expenses, project your revenue and be able to track your finances.

Having a plan allows you to track and review your profits and losses, outstanding accounts, payroll expenses and more.

You should review your plan regularly so you have a clear understanding of your business financials and are able to forecast accurately.

We recommend using online software, like Xero. Online software helps you keep accurate and up-to-date records and is a more efficient and time saving way to stay across your financials.

Cash flow

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Cash flow is the lifeblood of business.

By understanding and tracking your incoming and outgoing cash (or cash equivalent), you can gain insight into trends over time. This gives you more understanding of, and therefore control of, your cash flow.

And that means you can use forecasting tools, like Futrli, to identify opportunities to make adjustments to help prevent fluctuations in your cash flow.


If you have debt associated with your business, and let’s face it – most of us do, it’s essential to keep an eye on it.

Borrowing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to make sure the benefits of going into debt outweigh the costs.

On the flip side, if you’re owed money, it’s vital to closely manage unpaid invoices and secure any money you’re owed in a timely manner. Read more about having a watertight accounts receivable process here.


Growth is great, but it does need to be manageable.

When you are looking at growing your business or taking on new clients, work out if you manage the additional work and how it will affect your current setup. What additional resources, tools, personnel, financial investment will be required? And (like taking on debt), will the benefits outweigh the costs.

Successful financial management isn’t necessarily about the specific decisions you make. It’s about understanding the impact your decisions will have on your business.

Talk to us about the Apps and tools available to help you manage your business finances.

5 ways to improve your cash flow

5 ways to improve your cash flow

5 Ways to Improve your Cash Flow

In our last blog, we discussed ways of managing your cash flow. We know that cash is the lifeblood of any business, so here are 5 more tips to help you improve your cash flow.

 If the cash dries up, problems quickly begin to multiply. By keeping the cash running freely and you can continue to grow your business.

Here are five tips for improving your cash flow:

1. Have a system to manage your debtors. 

Come up with a clear, step-by-step way to handle outstanding accounts. This might include:

  • automated reminders on unpaid emails
  • a phone call or email when the amount has been outstanding for a certain period of time
  • a stop credit on the client when they exceed an acceptable payment time.
2. Be prepared for tax time 

One of the fastest ways to run out of cash is to find yourself short at tax time. Talk to your accountant about tax planning measures you can implement to ensure you can make your compliance and tax obligations. 

3. Try not to dip into business funds for personal spending

It’s always tempting to tap your business account for personal spending. Instead, try to keep them separate. If you’ve over-saved at the end of the tax year, you may be able to draw down a nice bonus. That’s much better than being caught short.

4. Sell old stock

Too much stock? Consider old stock, old furniture, machinery or even stationery: they can all be sold to free up space and provide a small cash injection.

5. Forecast your cash flow

Create a cash flow forecast (we can do this with you) and that will help you monitor and measure the flow of cash in and out of the business.

Need help with forecasting or cash flow management? We’re here for you. Feel free to get in touch.

Accessing business funding

Accessing Business Funding

Cash is the fuel that powers your business. But, does your business have enough capital in your company to actually fund your short, medium and longer-term goals?

Whatever your business aims are, you’re likely to need some additional finance at some point along the business journey. But, how does this extra cash then benefit the growth, scaling up and (eventually) the sale value of your business?

The value of extra capital in the business

Third-party business finance comes in many forms.

It might mean talking to your bank about agreeing an overdraft extension, or taking out a business loan from a business funding provider. It may even mean looking at specialist finance products, such as:

  • asset finance (for buying new equipment)
  • invoice financing (for quickly raising cash from your outstanding invoices)
  • government-backed grants and tax incentives for enterprising businesses.

Whatever finance route you take, it’s important to understand the impact that this extra capital will have for your business. And for your longer-term success.

Accessing business funding

Accessing business funding provides a number of opportunities for your business.

Boosts your working capital

Funding gives you the liquid cash needed to stabilise and expand your operations.

With enhanced working capital, you can overcome your post-pandemic cash worries and get your balance sheet looking healthy once again.

You can also take on new work, projects and customers, safe in the knowledge that you can cover the initial expenditure while waiting for new revenue streams to bear fruit.

Provides investment in your growth strategy

If you’re looking to expand your operations or scale up the business, extra funding gives you the capital to invest in this growth.

You have the capital to take on more people, to invest in equipment, plant and new technology, and to scale up the overall capacity of your business.

Strengthens your company's balance sheet

The health of your balance sheet is determined by the balance between your assets (the things you own, including cash, within the business) and your liabilities (the debts that you owe other people).

Additional funding in your business helps to:

  • increase your assets, which, in turn, helps to boost your working capital and liquid cash
  • enhance your asset performance
  • improve your capitalisation structure as a viable business.
Makes your company more valuable

With more cash in the bank and more capital to draw on, your company becomes a more valuable, and a more attractive proposition in the marketplace.

This healthy financial position is invaluable when approaching lenders for more funding, when buying out a competitor or even when selling the business and bringing your exit strategy into play as the owner.

However, if you’ve taken on private investors to provide part of your funding, you do have to consider that these investors will likely now own shares in the business – limiting your overall ownership and control of the company.

Whatever the next stage is for your business, the journey will be easier with a robust, tailored funding strategy behind your business plan.

Talk to us about creating a tailored funding strategy

10 ways to improve your margin

10 ways to improve your margin

10 ways to improve your margin

Improvements can always be made at the margin. Small tweaks to your processes or systems can make a massive difference to the end result. It’s the same with your business margin; a 1% increase in your gross margin on $500,000 of sales is an extra $5,000 on your bottom line.

The best part about improving your margin is that you increase your profit without needing to lift your sales.

Here are 10 ways to improve your margin

1. Negotiate better prices with your suppliers.

As they say, ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil’, so if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

2. Update your pricing model.

Make sure you’re using the most recent supplier prices and that all costs are included in your price.

3. Back cost jobs regularly.

Review exactly what you spent on 2-3 jobs each month and compare the actual cost to what you anticipated the cost would be when you quoted the job.

4. Get rid of slow-moving items or work that has a poor return.

Selling old stock at cost will drop your margin, but if you replace those items or jobs with higher-margin items, you’ll achieve a higher return in the long run.

5. Set budgets and targets with your team.

Give your team something to aim for. Celebrate success when the targets are achieved.

6. Report your results on a cloud-based, real-time system.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure! Regularly monitor your most important Key Performance Indicators on your dashboard.

7. Reduce wastage and re-work.

What processes need to be updated to help reduce wastage and re-work? Or, if the processes are correctly documented, what training do you need to provide to your team to ensure the processes are being followed to reduce wastage and re-work?

8. Review your sales process.

Does your sales team know which products or services have the highest margin? Do they know how to upsell to those higher-margin products or services? Identify the sales skills gaps in your team and implement training.

9. Make a plan.

There are plenty of areas for improvement in your business. Unless you write them down, you’re unlikely to bring the correct focus to them. Make a plan to improve one area at a time.

10. Involve your business advisors.

Not only to help you with idea generation and building a plan, but also to hold you accountable to do the things you need to do.

We can help you lift your margin. Contact us today!

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." - Winston Churchill

The benefits of offering online payments

The benefits of offering online payments

Did you know the easier it is for people to pay you, the faster you will get paid?

So, how easy do you make it for your customers to pay you?

One of the best things about the digital world is the ability to pay online. And businesses that offer online payments get paid faster.

If your customers can make an instant online payment, they’re likely to pay you more quickly – and they’ll appreciate the simplicity too.

What are online payments

In simple terms, online payments are the methods you offer so your customers can pay you on-line.

Different online payment methods include services like Stripe or Paypal (known as an Automated Clearing House or ACH), credit and debit cards, online wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and recurring payments through direct debit (either from a credit/debit card or bank account).

The right set of payment methods not only offers your customers payment flexibility and convenience, they also reduce the chance of fraud.

It’s important, however, that you choose a provider that can integrate with your accounting software.

Talk to us about integrating the appropriate online payment method, for example, Stripe or Go Cardless, into your business.

What are the costs of online payments

Most online payment service providers won’t charge any set-up fees. However, they will charge transaction fees.

Transaction fees usually range from 2-4% of the payment amount for credit cards. Direct debit transactions are usually a fixed amount - often under $2 per transaction.

On large-ticket items or services, some businesses don’t like to offer online payments. This is because the fees can add up. However, if you include these fees in your profit calculations and offer online payments for these large-ticket items, that point of difference may be the difference between making the sale or not.

What are the benefits of online payments

At the end of the day, businesses that set up online payments get paid faster.

Offering online payments can be a point of difference for your business (especially if you have big-ticket items or services).

Online payments allows you to reach more customers globally.

Offering the right mix of payment options can increase the chances of a purchase.

If you want to add online payments to your business offering, talk to us about integrating the appropriate online payment method into your business.

Should I focus on profits or cash flow?

Should I focus on profits or cash flow?

Turning a profit is at the heart of running any successful company. But should profits be the only financial focus if you're looking to create a stable, long-term business?

Cash flow is the beating heart of your business. Without an even and predictable flow of cash into the company, you can't cover your overheads, you can't pay your employees and you can't run your day-to-day operations – let alone think about expanding and growing the business.

So, what’s needed is a healthy cash flow position AND a good focus on driving profits.

Keeping on top of the financial management of your business can be hard work, especially if you’re new to accounting and the technical terms that are used to talk about money.

Understanding your finances

But if you’re going to be in control of your financial destiny, it’s important to get your head around the important process of cash flow management. This is especially true in the current business landscape, where sales revenue may be less buoyant, cash can be tight and the market is going through a challenging time.

Let’s look at some of the key things to understand about your finances:

Profit is a by-product of a successful business

As the owner, you want to make profits, but profitability isn’t the only goal. A business can easily be profitable, but also be highly unstable in the longer term. What you want is stability and consistent revenues.

Cash flow is the blood that keeps your business alive

Good revenues (income) serve to bring cash into the business. Without cash to cover your operating expenses, you have no means to keep the lights on in the business. So cash really is king!

Know your cost base and overheads

The flipside of your cash flow position is your costs. In an ideal world, you want more cash inflows than cash outflows, so it’s important to know your expenses and costs and to manage them carefully.

Be proactive about spend management and easing expenditure

If you can take action that reduces your spending, that is hugely positive for your cash flow position. Choose cheaper suppliers, negotiate better deals and bring that cost base down.

Drive more revenue, through increased sales and marketing activity

If you can increase your revenues, you also boost your cash flow. So it’s important to be proactive about running targeted sales and marketing campaigns to increase your sales.

Keep the cash flowing and the profits take care of themselves

If you achieve the ideal cash flow position, the company sits on solid financial foundations, the cash is there for investment and the business can grow. It’s that simple.

Talk to us about improving your cash flow management

Whether you’re new to running a business, or a seasoned owner who needs some financial support, we can give you the cash flow advice you need.

We’ll review your finances, delve down into your cash flow and will come up with key ways for you to increase your cash income and reduce your cash expenses. It only takes a few small changes to achieve a far better cash flow position for your business – helping you maintain positive cash flow AND generate meaningful profits.

Get in touch to talk through your cash flow concerns.

vaccinations and the workplace

Vaccinations and the Workplace

Vaccinations and the Workplace

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has released guidance for employers on vaccinations and the workplace.

Currently, there are no laws in place that allow employers to order existing employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The Australian Government policy is that vaccinations are voluntary. Each state and territory government is responsible for implementing vaccination plans.

There are some circumstances in which an employer may require existing or potential employees to be vaccinated, but most employers cannot enforce vaccinations. If there are state or territory laws that provide specific orders requiring vaccination of certain workers, then employers and employees must comply. However, the FWO states that no such orders exist right now.

Employers need to check Fair Work Act workplace protections and discrimination protections before making changes to any employment agreements to require vaccinations. Employers should also discuss any proposed changes to agreements with employees, including options for implementation and safe work practices.

The Fair Work Ombudsman COVID-19 Vaccinations & the workplace webpage has detailed information explaining rules about many aspects of vaccinations in the workplace. Visit the webpage to get details on when an employee can refuse, asking for evidence of vaccination, disciplinary action and lawful directions.

The Department of Health has a great tool to check eligibility for priority vaccinations for high-risk workers such as emergency services, border services, frontline healthcare or aged care and disability workers.

Safe Work Australia provides industry-specific information, including risk assessment and worker consultations. An employer has a duty to eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure in the workplace by cleaning, distancing and hygiene information.

Many employment situations may require legal advice before the employer can make any changes to vaccination policies.

Don’t get caught out by making unlawful changes to your workplace! Review your employment agreements and look at your options for keeping your workplace safe.

7 ways to save time and money in your business

7 ways to save time and money in your business

We all know that time is money. So, it’s worth finding ways to reduce those tedious and repetitive tasks. And technology is the answer.

How can technology help?

Here are 7 ways to save time (and money) in your business.

1. Automate your invoicing

While invoicing is a vital part of running your business, it can take up a significant amount of your time. Using a digital/cloud accounting system to extract data from supplier emails and auto-populate your invoices can save hours each week. You can also use cloud accounting systems to set up recurring invoices and timely payment reminders, saving your more time.

2. Simplify your expense claims

If you have a manual expense claims process, implementing a digital automated process means your team will save time submitting receipts, approving expenses and dealing with any mistakes.

3. Reduce human error

It’s well known that manual data entry brings a high risk of error. You can eliminate this risk by automating key manual data entry tasks. And that allows you to spend more time on data analysis so you can make better decisions.

4. Automate approvals

Streamlining your bank reconciliation with an automated platform means you don’t waste time manually approving individual transactions.

5. Up to date payroll

Keep staff details up to date and calculate tax contributions within your accounting software. You’ll save significant chunks of time and you’ll avoid mistakes.

6. Accurate information for tax

Instead of Excel spreadsheets, receipts and physical documents, by using cloud accounting software. the information needed for your accountant to complete your tax is accessible through your software.

7. Better access to business data

With smart software and cloud based apps and add-ons, you get accurate business data wherever and whenever you need it. No more going back to the office to check a number, getting back to clients with final details, or reworking quotes because the numbers were wrong.

So, if you want to save time(and money) in your business talk to us about setting you up with the right systems.

Is Your Business Eligible for JobMaker Payments?

Is Your Business Eligible for JobMaker Payments?

The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is designed to encourage businesses to employ additional young jobseekers aged 16-35 years. The hiring credit subsidises an increase in employee headcount.

Eligible employers can receive the hiring credit for up to 12 months for each eligible employee engaged between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021.

Registration for the scheme has been open since December 2020. Employers can still register for the scheme now, even if you have already put on eligible workers since 7 October last year.

Is Your Business an Eligible Employer?

Various factors must be satisfied for an employer to receive the hiring credit payment, including:

  • You must register for the scheme with the ATO by the due date of the first JobMaker period you are claiming.
  • You must be registered for PAYG withholding.
  • You must be up to date with income tax and activity statement lodgments for the previous two years.
  • You must not be claiming JobKeeper in the same period.
  • You must be reporting Single Touch Payroll.

The business must also satisfy payroll and headcount increase conditions by proving new employment positions have been created.

Payment Rates

  • 16 to 29 years old - $200 per week
  • 30 to 35 years old - $100 per week

JobMaker Claim Periods

There are eight JobMaker claim periods available for the scheme from 7 October 2020 to 6 October 2022. Single Touch Payroll reports must be submitted three days before the end of each claim period. Employers must also complete claims electronically through ATO online services.

The ATO JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme webpage has more detail about the scheme, including a calculator spreadsheet to estimate payments you could receive.

Want to Check if You can Receive the Credits?

The headcount rules are important to understand before registering for the scheme.

Contact us to discuss whether your business can access the hiring credits, and we’ll make sure your business can verify the payroll increase.

We can also take care of the ATO reporting and claiming process for each JobMaker period on your behalf.

Should you buy or lease your business assets

Should you buy or lease your business assets?

There are certain items of equipment, machinery and hardware that are essential to the operation of your business – whether it’s the delivery van you use to run your home-delivery food service, or the high-end digital printer you use to run your print business.

But when a critical business asset is required, should you buy this item outright, or should you lease the item and pay for it in handy monthly instalments?

To buy or to lease? That is the question

Buying new pieces of business equipment, plant, machinery or vehicles can be an expensive investment. So, depending on your financial situation, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of buying, or opting for a leasing option.

First of all, let's look at why you might to decide to buy the item.

Buying: the pros and cons

Pro: It’s a tangible asset

When you buy an item, you own the item outright and it will appear on your balance sheet as one your business assets. As such, by owning these assets outright you increase the perceived capital and value of your business. You can also claim the cost of the asset against your capital allowance for tax purposes.

Pro: It’s yours for the life of the asset 

Once you own the item, you have full use of the equipment for the duration of the life of the asset. Your use of the asset isn’t reliant on you being able to keep up regular lease payments, and if your financial circumstances change then you can sell the asset to free up the capital.

Con: It’s an expensive outlay

Paying for the item up-front is a large outlay for the business and will require you having the cash to cover this cost. Spending a large lump sum in this way may take cash away from other areas of the business, so you need to be 100% sure that this purchase is the right decision and a sound investment.

Con: You may require extra funding

If you don’t have the liquid cash available to buy the item outright, you may need to take out a loan. Asset finance is available from funding providers, but does tie you into a loan agreement that will add to your liabilities as a business – reducing your worth on the balance sheet.

Leasing: the pros and cons

Pro: Leasing has a cheaper entry point

If the item you need to purchase has a large price tag, leasing allows you to make use of the asset without the cost of buying it in full. For startups and smaller businesses with minimal capital behind them, this can make leasing a very attractive option. You may not own the asset, but you can make use of it – and this may be the difference between the success or failure of your business.

Pro: You can spread the cost

There is still an associated cost of leasing, but you can spread the cost over a longer period, making it easier to find the necessary liquid cash to meet your lease payments. With this money saved, you can then invest in other areas of the business, helping you to expand, grow and bring in more customers and revenue.

Con: You don’t own the asset

There are different types of leasing agreement. Under a capital lease, you do own the asset (once you’ve paid if off). But if you opt for an operating lease, this is a more short-term lease and you won’t own the asset at the end of the contract. Ownership does have its advantages (including being able to sell off the asset if required) so it’s important to consider what kind of leasing agreement you’re entering into and what the advantages/disadvantages may be.

Con: You may pay more in the long run

Most leasing agreements will attract additional costs and interest on your agreement, so you may well end up paying more than the market price for your asset in the long term. If you can cope with the higher cost, this is fine, but bear in mind that buying outright may have offered greater value.

Con: You may lose the use of the asset

If you can’t keep up your lease payments (due to poor cashflow for example) then the owner of the lease agreement may recall the asset. If this item is crucial to your business model, losing this key asset can have a profound impact on your ability to operate. In this respect, leasing is a more risky prospect, but also an easier option for businesses with less cash to splash.

Whether you opt to buy or lease your equipment isn’t always a straightforward decision to make. 

Talk to us about whether buying or leasing is the best way forward.

We’ll help you review your current financial position, assess your available cashflow and look at your regular cost base to help you decide whether buying or leasing is the right thing for the business.

Cash Flow Management

Why you need to forecast your cash flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. And when it comes to cash flow management, preventing cash issues is far easier than trying to solve these issues after the event.

Positive cash flow comes from balancing your income (the cash inflows) against your expenditure (the cash outflows). If you’re in control of this then the business will always have the liquid cash needed to cover your liabilities.

Forecasting your cash inflows and outflows

Forecasting works by taking your cash data from prior periods and projecting it forward in time, giving you a ‘crystal ball’ that reveals the future health of your cash flow.

By running detailed cash flow forecasts, it’s possible to:

  • Understand your future operational cash flow – helping you to see the seasonal dips, or the projected drops in income, and get the early warning you need to take action.
  • Plan your costs and expenditure effectively – by working to strict budgets, looking at cost management and reining in expenses – so your future outflows are reduced.
  • Avoid the cash flow issues before they happen – giving you the information you need to plan ahead, take clear action and stay in tight control of your cash status.

Utilising technology to forecast

There are a number of tools you can use to forecast your cashflow, including Add-on Apps. One we often recommend is Futrli. With the ability to connect to Xero and Quickbooks, Futrli can provide integrated forecasting and reporting for small businesses.

Talk to us about setting up cash flow forecasts

If you want to get a grip on cash flow, we’ll help your tailor your accounting set-up and will provide the cash flow forecasting tools you need to reveal your future cash position.

Get in touch and let’s start forecasting.

Pricing Strategies

Pricing Strategies

What's the best way to establish a price for your products or services?

Getting your pricing right is crucial. Put your prices too high and your customers may desert you; put them too low and you’ll generate sales but won’t have a large enough profit margin to create healthy revenues and cashflow for the business.

Whether you’re a new startup, or an established business, choosing the right pricing strategy is a fundamental part of designing your business model. As such, pricing is something that’s likely to take considerable thought, research, planning and analysis over the lifetime of your products.

So, how do you know what to charge for each product and/or service? And how do you decide a price point that’s both competitive AND profitable for the business?

Costs, margins and hitting the right price point

For your business to be viable, you have to know for certain that you can:

  • Find and win customers
  • Meet your project sales and revenue targets
  • Cover your running costs, overheads and operating cashflow
  • Generate profits and get a return on your investment.

But how does this all come together to define your final sale price? The answer is to have a granular understanding of your costs, your margins and your pricing – and also to know who you’re selling your product/service to.

Different ways a price can be worked out

Cost price

When you make a product, or deliver a service, you need to spend money to do that. This expenditure includes the raw materials, the business overheads and the labour costs of creating your product/service.

By adding up all these expenses and dividing them by the number of units you delivered, you get your cost price. In other words, it’s the total cost of the unit before any margin or profit is added.

Wholesale price

Your margin is the amount you add on to your cost price to make a profit.

So, if my cost price per unit is $5, I might sell each unit to a wholesaler at $7.50. By doing this, I recover the cost of making the unit (or ‘Cost of Goods Sold’ in accounting terms), and I make a profit of $2.50 on each unit I sell to my wholesale client. This is the wholesale price.

The wholesaler will then add on their own margin in order to sell it to a consumer at. Using the example above, if the wholesaler sold each unit for $10. You make $2.50 and the wholesaler makes $2.50.

Retail price

This is the price when you sell the product to a consumer. The retail price factors in margins and comparing prices within the market to ensure you're competitive but still turning a good profit.

So, if you sell direct to a consumer, at a price of $10, and your cost price is $5, then you’ll make $5 profit for every unit you sell.

This contrasts with $2.50 profit per unit if you sell to a wholesaler, although you’re likely to sell in bulk to a wholesaler and will make your profits through this economy of scale.

Premium or economy pricing

Knowing how to position your product/service in the market is important.

Are you selling a premium product, with a high price tag? Or are you selling an economy product, with a low price point? There’s a big difference between selling a limited number of units at a high price (and high profit), and selling a big number of units at a cheap price (low profit but larger sales).

Positioning your prices between these two polar ends of the pricing spectrum isn’t easy, and will take time, experience and plenty of experimentation to get right.

Knowing when to discount or increase your prices

Your price isn’t a static thing.

Costs of production will increase, markets will change and sales campaigns will require discounted prices. So it’s vital to continually assess, review and update your prices.

For example, you could run a discount to increase sales, decreasing your margin and selling more units. Or you could choose to put your price up to increase your margin and make things more profitable.

What’s important here is to know how price-sensitive your customers are, how loyal they are to the brand, and what they’re willing to pay for your specific products/services.

Pricing is a complex and difficult area to get right, so working on your pricing is something that should be done on a regular basis.

If you’d like to review your current pricing strategy, please feel free to talk to us. 

Work from Home Shortcut Claim Extended

Work From Home Shortcut Claim Extended

Good news if you work from home.

The shortcut method* for calculating work from home deductions has now been extended to 30 June 2021. (*Practical compliance guideline PCG 2020/3.)

The guideline covers working from home and incurring additional running expenses in relation to your income-producing activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally introduced in April 2020, the guideline was first due to expire on 30 June 2020 (which was then extended to September 2020, and then to the end of December 2020). Interestingly, unlike previous extensions, the PCG no longer states whether further consideration will be given to extend the latest end date.

The shortcut method

The shortcut method contained in the PCG provides a rate of 80 cents per hour for running expenses and only requires taxpayers to keep a record of the number of hours worked from home. This could be in the form of timesheets, rosters, a diary or similar document that sets out the dates and hours worked. A notation stating “COVID-hourly rate” will need to be placed next to your deduction for home office expenses in the 2019/20 and 2020-21 return.

All told, the PCG now applies from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021. Taxpayers eligible to use this new shortcut method are employees and business owners who:

  • work from home to fulfil their employment duties or to run their business during the period from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021 and
  • incur additional running expenses that are deductible under s 8-1 or Div. 40 of the ITAA 1997.
    Running expenses include: electricity, gas, computer consumable such as printer ink, cleaning expenses, telephone, internet, depreciation on computers and other equipment (e.g. chairs, desks, filing cabinets).

Taxpayers who use this method, cannot claim any other expenses for working from home for that period.


Jay is an employee who is working from home as a result of COVID-19. He purchases a computer on 5 April 2021 for $900. He marks in his diary when he commences and finishes work each day and also the length on any breaks he takes. All told, from his records he calculates that he worked 355 hours through to 30 June 2021.

Provided he retains his diary entries and receipt for the computer purchase, Jay’s 2020-21 deduction under the new shortcut method is $284 (355 hours x 80 cents).

Claims for working from home expenses prior to 1 March 2020 cannot be calculated using the shortcut method, and must use the pre-existing methods as follows:

Method 2 - the fixed rate method. 

Under this method, you claim all of the following:

  • a rate of 52 cents per work hour to cover heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and depreciation of office furniture
  • the work-related portion of your actual phone and internet expenses, computer consumables, stationery, etc
  • the work-related portion of depreciation on a computer, laptop or similar device.
Method 3 – the actual cost method. 

Under this method, you claim the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which need to be calculated on a reasonable basis.

The methods are not mutually exclusive across the financial year. It may be the case that you use more than one method during 2019-20 and 2020-21.

For example, you could choose methods 2 or 3 for the period July 2020 through to February 2021, and then choose the shortcut method for the period from March through to the end of June 2021.

Feel free to talk to us if you need more information.

proactive business

Tips to being a proactive business

Tips to being a proactive business

Recent times have certainly shown us that the future path of your business can change in an instant. Usually, due to influences that are far beyond our own control.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing global economic recession have both had a negative economic impact on the business world. So, when a challenge arises, you need to be ready.

The key is to be proactive. Be prepared, have a ‘Plan B’ and react in a proactive way to the uncertainty. But what elements of your business should you focus on to get your downturn plan ready?

How to be a proactive business

To keep your business afloat, you’ll need to be agile, innovative and resourceful. And being flexible in the face of adversity is also likely to play a big part in your survival. 

No business owner has all the answers, and there are some important steps to take if you’re going to overcome the challenges of a downturn.

Proactive steps to take will include:

Enhancing your business knowledge

Knowledge is power, and being in control of your business data gives you that knowledge. The latest cloud reporting tools, like Futrli, help you to understand the financial numbers and forecast the future path of the business, allowing you to make truly informed decisions.

Improving your cashflow

During a downturn, money will be tight and your cashflow position is more likely to be poor. To improve this, you need to be proactive about reducing overheads, billing promptly, following up on overdue invoices and making sure that the minimum amount of cash flows out of the business, and the maximum flows in.

Negotiate with your suppliers

If you can wrangle a better deal from your suppliers, that goes a long way to enhancing your cashflow position. Negotiate with your suppliers to agree on better terms, or cheaper prices. And talk to your landlord about a reduction in rent – or even a rent holiday if the situation is extremely dire.

Accessing additional funding

When your cash reserves get tight, there may be a need to look for additional funding. This could mean asking your bank manager for an extended overdraft, approaching business lenders for a loan, or even looking at attracting private investors or private equity firms that may want to pump money into the business – although you’ll need a strong business plan for investors to be willing.

Evaluating your market offering

To generate enough revenues to survive, you need your products and/or services to be selling. To that end, it’s worth evaluating your market offering and making some changes. Do some products deliver a much higher return than others? If so, you could make more money by focusing purely on these products and having a tighter and more profitable product range.

Evolving your marketing and sales

Communication with your customers during a downturn is vital. Keep them in the loop and let them know that your products/services are still there for them. And reevaluate your marketing channels to make sure you’re hitting the right audience. Is your online presence as good as it could be? Are you providing enough information on your website and social channels to help solve your customers problem? If not, what else could you do to bring in more enquiries and sales.

Learning to pivot and diversify

Some sectors, for example, the travel and hospitality sectors, were badly hit by Covid. If this happens, you may need to pivot into a new niche or sector to find a new audience and more revenue streams. You can also diversify your product range to meet the needs of a wider range of customers, bringing in more revenue streams and bumping up your cash position as a business.

It’s all about having that Plan B in place. When (and if) a downturn hits, you’re then primed and ready to respond.

The better prepared you are, and the faster you react, the more likely it is that you’ll ride out challenging times successfully.

If you’re looking to improve your business planning, or improve your financial model, come and talk to us.

Leadership lessons: JUST FOR ME

Leadership Lessons


There are thousands of books written about leadership. We’ve distilled some lessons from some of them into the acronym JUST FOR ME. Nine things within your control to help you become a more effective leader.

1. Just do it

So often we get in our own way of implementing our ideas. Stop limiting the business’s potential and prioritise your time to ensure the important things get done.

2. United vision and values

Your vision is where you want the business to be in the future; your values are the compass that drive your behaviour to get there. Clarify and articulate these ASAP.

3. Safety

It’s a leader’s job to ensure physical and emotional safety for their team at work. This goes beyond legal obligations; the safer employees feel at work, the more productive, innovative and loyal they’ll be.

4. Teamwork and Trust

Form a team of people who are smarter than you in different ways, using your collective expertise to achieve results impossible to achieve alone. Build a culture of trust so your team know they can rely on you and that the feeling is mutual.

5. Focus

Bring focus to each team member’s individual contribution towards achieving the business goals and vision. Provide clear key performance indicators to ensure everyone knows what to focus on.

6. Opportunity

Look for the opportunity in every mistake, challenge and difficult situation. These are key sources of learning.

7. Resilience and Resourcefulness

Resilience helps you recover quickly from difficult situations; resourcefulness helps you find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. Build resilience and resourcefulness in your team and yourself.

8. Mindset

This is the attitude you bring to your role as leader. Do you have an abundance mindset or scarcity mindset? Do you take ownership, accountability and responsibility for your actions? Your mindset has a huge impact on how you and your team feel about coming to work each day.

9. Empathy and Energy

Empathy is the ability to see things from another’s perspective. For example, instead of disciplining a team member for struggling, first seek to understand why they’re struggling, then offer support and training. Increased empathy increases energy across the team and the business and improves results.

Take these nine factors and make a plan for how you can develop your leadership skills. Which one will you focus on first? 

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying fundamentals.” - Jim Rohn

JobMaker scheme – key points

JobMaker Scheme - Key Points

The JobMaker hiring credit scheme is now open for registration.

Here’s a summary of some of the key points around the JobMaker scheme.

If you are considering applying for JobMaker, please take into consideration the administration of JobMaker can be quite complex, so we don't recommend attempting to manage this on your own. Talk to us about how we can assist.

For background, JobMaker was announced by the government in the October 2020 federal budget, and will operate until 6 October 2021.

Key points:

  • Key to the hiring credit scheme is that employers must have added additional employees and also have increased their payroll during the relevant JobMaker period, as compared to a baseline date.
  • The hiring credit is backdated to 7 October 2020 (applying to new employees from that date) and will provide eligible employers with the following payments for up to 12 months for new jobs created from that date.
  • Eligible employees must work an average of at least 20 hours per week over a JobMaker period for the employer to qualify for the payment in respect of that employee. They must have commenced employment between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021, were aged between 16 and 35 years at the time they commenced employment, and worked an average of 20 hours a week for each whole week the individual was employed by the qualifying employer during the JobMaker period.
  • The JobMaker payments for up to 12 months for new jobs created are:
    a) $200 a week for hiring a worker aged 16 to 29 on at least 20 hours a week during the JobMaker period and
    b) $100 a week for those aged 30 to 35 on at least 20 hours a week during the JobMaker period.
  • Employer eligibility criteria are broad. Some employers are specifically excluded. These include:
    • employers who are claiming JobKeeper
    • entities in liquidation or who have entered bankruptcy
    • commonwealth, state, and local government agencies (and entities wholly owned by these agencies)
    • employers subject to the major bank levy, and
    • sovereign entities (except those who are resident Australian entities owned by a sovereign entity).
  • Entitlement to a hiring credit payment is assessed in relation to three-month periods known as “JobMaker periods”. These periods are relevant for the purposes of the additionality criteria (refer first point).
  • Claims can only be made during the claim period. No exemptions or extensions are available. There are strict dates by which claims for a period must be reported by. The credit is paid every 3 months in arrears to employers.

As mentioned at the start, this is a summary of some of the key points around JobMaker. There are many other requirements and a thorough understanding of those requirements are needed to ensure your JobMaker administration is correct. 

Talk to us if you need support in applying for or administering JobMaker.

Leveraging your technology

Leveraging your technology

The decisions you make in your business are only as good as the data you use to make them. The more accurate and up to date your data is, the better your decisions will be. Leveraging your technology will provide you with accurate real-time data to make more informed decisions in your business.

Processes and systems drive your business, so it’s important to ask yourself if all of yours are clearly documented and up to date? Some processes may be followed simply because they always have been. Although other processes may have evolved over time, your documentation might not necessarily reflect this.

Using technology to streamline your processes and systems increases efficiency in your business, saving time, money, and reducing stress. You’ll also prepare your business for the future, making it more sustainable, scalable, and saleable.

Leveraging your technology can help you to:

  1. Make your data accessible from the cloud, allowing you to view real-time data and make decisions on the go.
    Example: Xero.
  2. Reduce human error and increase productivity by automating repetitive tasks and workflows.
    Example: Asana for workflows.
  3. Track your expenses and load them directly to your accounting software simply by taking a photo.
    Example: ReceiptBank.
  4. Minimise double handling and increase efficiency by integrating your apps.
    Example: Xero Marketplace.
  5. Collaborate with your team regardless of where they are.
    Example: Slack and Microsoft Teams.
  6. Save the time and money needed to travel by using online meetings.
    Example: Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
  7. Induct new team members seamlessly with clearly documented processes.
    Example: Deputy.
  8. Monitor your inventory in real-time, reducing inventory days and freeing up cash.
    Example: Fishbowl and Unleashed.
  9. Store customer preferences to personalise customer experience, increasing customer satisfaction and retention.
    Example: Vend and Kounter.
  10. Make your business become scalable with systems in place to allow the business to grow without the wheels falling off. Talk to your business adviser. 

Using technology to its maximum advantage will help to improve your business. However, implementing these changes can often be overwhelming.

Talk to us about any of the above technology to improve efficiencies in your business.

Building a better business in 10 steps

Building a better business in 10 steps

There’s no magic bullet to building a better business; it’s about taking small steps every day to get a bit better than the day before - it all adds up!

Owning and running a business is not easy. And at times you might question why you’re even doing it, particularly after the impact Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns had on business.

But you’re here because you had a vision. You decided being in business was a better way to achieve that vision than working for someone else. And, you’re right; you just have to work on it.

It's likely that you're an expert at what you do. Maybe you’re a tradie and know plumbing or carpentry like the back of your hand. Or, maybe you’re a restaurant who can dish up delicious meals. This doesn’t mean you’re an expert at running your business though. It’s hard taking time out of working in your business to work on it. But doing this is essential for its success.

There’s no magical overnight solution to building a more successful business. It’s about taking small steps every day to get a bit better than the day before.

So, what should you do to build yourself a more successful business? We’ve broken it down into 10 essential steps

Ten steps to building a better business

  1. Get clear on exactly what it is that you want.
  2. Be open to change and new learning.
  3. Define where you are now (warts and all).
  4. Make a plan.
  5. Get your organisational structure right.
  6. Be a better leader.
  7. Be held accountable by someone independent.
  8. Build strong networks.
  9. Monitor your progress.
  10. Keep your well of happiness full.

These are the 10 most important things you should be working on to ensure you achieve your goals. Small, incremental changes can have a massive effect on your success.

We’re here to help you, every step of the way. Get in touch!

“Success isn’t overnight. It’s when every day you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.”  Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Saving time and money with a bookkeeper

Saving time and money with a bookkeeper

Turning a profit will be high on your list of goals as a business owner. And if you want to generate the best margins, that means keeping an eye on the money that’s going out of the business, as well as what’s coming in.

So, how can your bookkeeper help with this?

The days where your bookkeeper just did the bookkeeping, compiled your accounts and filed your BAS are well and truly over. Modern bookkeeping firms are far more interested in helping you with your financial performance, your business strategy and offering flexible value-add services that put you in better control of your finances.

If you partner with the right bookkeeper, we can actually save you money – in both the short, medium and long-term. And that’s good news for the growth of your business.

Key ways your bookkeeper can save you time and enhance your financial health

The less expenditure you have as a company, the bigger your profit margin. It sounds incredibly simple, doesn’t it?

The smaller your costs, the larger your profit. But if you’re not fully in control of your financial management, it’s very difficult to know WHERE you’re spending money, and WHY you’re not achieving your profit targets.

This is where working with a bookkeeper adds a huge amount of value. Your bookkeeper helps put you back in the driving seat of your finances. And that’s never been more needed than in the current economic climate.

So, what specific things can your bookkeeper do and what will the impact be on the future of your business?

Cashflow management and advice

‘Cash is King’ may be a cliche, but it’s true. Unless you can balance the cash inflows and outflows from your business, you’ll never have the liquid cash to pay your bills, cover your payroll costs or cover your operational expenses. We’ll show you where money is going out, and coming in, so you achieve the ideal positive cashflow position.

Cost control and spend management

To improve your cashflow, you need to reduce your cash outflows. An important way to do this is to focus on cost control and spend management, reducing your expenditure, removing unnecessary costs and negotiating better deals with your suppliers. The more you cut costs back, the better your cashflow will be and the easier it will be to thrive, grow and become more profitable.

Forecasting and financial modelling

When we understand the key financial drivers in your business, we can build you a full financial model. This allows us to change the variables, run different scenarios and forecast the various future paths of your business. Being able to project these numbers forward gives you a clearer view of the path ahead. And that’s invaluable in the challenging economic times that we all face at present.

Better management reporting and information

Your decision-making stands or falls on the information you have available to you. We provide detailed management accounts, breakdowns of key metrics and forecasts of your cashflow, spending, aged debt and revenue – all of which helps you to save money, make sound decisions and keep the revenues flowing into your business.

There are a number of Apps that create efficiencies with cashflow management and forecasting to help you save time and money, and have a life.

Rather than spending your life working in your business and trying to do everything yourself, you'll be saving time and money with a bookkeeper. We’ll help you optimise the most profitable parts of the business and increase your overall return on investment.

Let’s talk about how we can work together to support your ongoing business profitability.

Safeguard your business

Safeguard your business

Small business is all about relationships. But when these go wrong, it is devastating.

Ensure you have the systems in place to routinely look at where your money’s going in order to safeguard your business and your relationships.

Being able to trust your team is gold standard but introducing a few simple processes ensures that is much harder for someone to abuse your trust.

Think about these tips to safeguard your business and keep your trusted relationships strong.


Good systems make it easy to understand and hard to hide things. If you have a system, make sure it’s documented. They don’t have to be complicated. For instance, when you refund a customer, make sure it’s signed off by a manager or yourself and recorded somewhere central. Checklists can make a system easier for staff to understand and work with too.

Have systems in place to routinely look at where your money’s going or that require you to sign off on key transactions.


Do you have regular reporting? Things to look for are unusual customer refunds or credits, a spike in new suppliers or payments to existing ones. Do your sales look right? Is there a dip in cash sales?

Know what benchmarks other businesses in your industry are hitting. Compare your profit to overhead ratios with theirs and question inconsistencies.

Risk Assessment

Conduct an annual risk assessment of your business to make sure your systems and monitoring are still relevant and in place. 

Talk to us about setting up or reviewing the systems you have in place.

strategic alliances

Strategic alliances: the benefits of working together

Strategic Alliances: the benefits of working together

Your business may compete head-to-head with a number of other companies, but this doesn’t mean you have to treat ALL other businesses as if they are the competition. In fact, there are real benefits in creating strategic alliances with other like-minded organisations.

When you look at the wider marketplace, you’ll see that there are businesses out there that may well compliment your offering. And by working together (rather than against each other) it’s possible to become valued strategic partners. Collaborating to serve your joint customers, improve brand awareness and, ultimately, expand your target market.

If this sounds like a positive strategy, now’s the time to do your homework and start hunting down the best strategic partners for your business.

Working to serve a shared customer base

Strategic alliances are all about finding the common ground between you and your intended partner. This means finding the best ways to combine your efforts.

If you can share the same customer audience, and create a complementary way of meeting their needs, that creates a broader, more connected way of growing both companies.

Finding a company that’s interested in forming a strategic alliance

Find partners in complementary sectors

If you’re an professional services business, like us, it makes sense to partner with solicitors, lawyers, accountants, marketers, and other professional services providers who can help your clients.

If you're a manufacturer, find a shared audience or customer need, and to create some real synergy between your two businesses. For example, if you're a maker of shoes it makes sense to partner with a clothing manufacturer that shares your same sense of style and purpose. 

Take part in business networking and events

To get a wider understanding of your local, or industry specific, business network, it’s worth taking part in plenty of online and offline business events. You’ll meet new people, hear about new brands and will find it easier to find your ideal strategic partner. The wider your business network, the more choices you have for an alliance.

Look at crossover between your target audiences

Once you’ve found a potential strategic partner, it’s important to take a detailed look at the crossover between your partner’s audience and your audience. Do they shop through the same channels? Do they fit a certain age group or social demographic? Are these customers local? Or are they part of a national or global online customer base? How large is their database?

Cross-reference your customer databases

By sharing and comparing your client relationship management (CRM) data, you can cross-reference both sets of customer data. Then see where there’s overlap, or where you may already share some of the same customers. The better you understand each other’s customers, the more likely it is that you’ll find some common ground for shared marketing and promotion.

Run joint events and promotions

Present joint webinars with your strategic partner, or run joint promotions. By finding a common theme, you bring both audiences together and reinforce the alliance between your two brands. You also reduce the expenditure by sharing the costs and reach a wider audience.

Combine your R&D efforts

To move your alliance forward, you can also try combining your research and development (R&D) activity. Find new products, new services and new ways of keeping your joint customers happy. By sharing the time, costs and effort of developing new offerings, both companies will benefit. And you keep your businesses at the cutting edge of their respective sectors or specialisms.

Strategic alliances are all about finding the common ground. If you share the same customer audience and create a complementary way of meeting their needs, you can significantly expand your target market.

Setting Sales Targets

Setting Sales Targets

Setting Sales Targets

Setting sales targets for your business is standard practice for any aspirational, growing company. If you’re going to stretch the sales and marketing teams, it’s important to have clear, unambiguous targets for them to aim for.

Setting sales targets in uncertain times

In uncertain times it’s more than likely that your established sales targets will effectively become unrealistic and impractical for your teams to use.

So, how do you set sales targets when the world has changed? 

And how can you ensure these targets are meaningful, accurate and workable for your business goals?

Understanding your strategy and sales numbers

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to defining your business strategy during uncertain times. The better you understand your position, the easier it will be to agree on the right strategy and to set sales targets that support these aims.

With a plan in place and targets to meet, everyone knows what they need to achieve. A list of key tasks to do at each point along the sales journey adds real value. Even if you don't end up gaining new business, you’ve made every effort to solve the customer's needs.

Important steps for setting sales targets:

Understand your turnover and profit goals.

Do you know how many sales to make if you’re going to break even, or want to actually make money? 

Understanding your gross margin, your break-even point and your desired profit margin helps you calculate how many sales will be needed to achieve this profit goal.

Bear in mind, of course, that your sales will, most likely, be down during uncertain times. And work this into your figures and targets.

Make your targets SMART

If you set sales targets then these numbers have to be Smart (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).

Break them down into achievable goals, such as weekly or monthly targets, and track your actual sales over time. That way you can see how you’re performing against your sales target. 

Look at regular performance reports and make these part of your regular management meetings. Discuss how you’re tracking and what action you can take if you’re not hitting your desired targets.

Track other sales elements

It’s also worth considering what other elements of the sales process you can measure, to get a handle on how you’re doing as a business. Track things like calls/enquiries, visits to your home page, trials, bookings or customer demos.

Analyse what drove these enquiries or visits, so you understand where things worked well and can do more of the same.

Run forecasts and scenarios

Use your tracking data to project your sales position forward in time. Base your projections on the historic information you have available and the other drivers you’ve identified. 

Run different scenarios. For example, 75% sales based on prior year numbers, 50% sales and 25% sales. And see how you’d need to tweak your sales targets to account for these drops in sales activity.

Fill the information gaps

Are there any gaps you could fill to get a better understanding of the market and your customers?

A proactive effort to make more follow-up calls with existing customers can be incredibly informative.

Running a customer feedback survey can also help to gauge where the sales process works well, where you could do better and what their future buying intentions might be over the coming months of the crisis.

Talk to us about your sales targeting process.

contractor or employee

Contractor or Employee

Contractor or Employee 

What You Need to Know

Should your staff be contractors or employees?

There are many factors to assess and, as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to get it right.

So, what is the difference between a contractor and an employee?

An employee

  • works in the business and is integral to that business
  • has rights and entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009
  • has a reasonable expectation of ongoing work, agreed hours and duties
  • is covered by the employer’s workers compensation insurance
  • is paid superannuation guarantee.

A contractor

  • is actively running and advertising their own business
  • is responsible for their own insurance, equipment, licenses and tax
  • has a high level of independence, discretion and control as to how and when the work is performed
  • is able to delegate work
  • is liable to fix mistakes at their own cost
  • may or may not be paid super depending on the nature of the work engagement.

It is the business owner’s legal responsibility to determine the nature of the work and the correct basis of engagement. We can help you get it right.

Multi Factor Test

There are many factors involved in deciding whether a worker is an employee or contractor. And the guidelines must be applied individually to each working relationship.

There is no single overriding factor, rather, the totality of the working relationship and nature of the work being done is taken into consideration.

Sole Trader as a Contractor May Not be Right

When sole traders are engaged as contractors, the business owner needs to check whether they really meet the criteria for being engaged as a contractor. Many sole traders engaged as contractors are not actively carrying on a business, and do not have the level of independence that a contractor should have. This is even if they have their own ABN. 

Sole traders are often engaged for their own services and labour. However they are not free to delegate the work to someone else and must work under the direction of the employing business. In this case, they should be engaged as an employee and not a contractor.

Factors to Consider

This is not an exhaustive list but some of the main factors to assess.

  • Is the worker engaged to achieve a specific result or are they engaged for their labour?
  • Are they able to delegate their contract to another worker within their own business?
  • How much choice do they have in where, when and how the work is performed?
  • Is the service integral to the business?
  • Do they advertise services and accept work from other businesses?
  • Who is liable to fix damages or mistakes?

Contractor or Casual Employee?

If you are not sure whether a worker is an employee or a contractor, check the ATO Employee or Contractor information first.

It’s okay to engage a worker as a contractor initially and to reassess the engagement three to six months later if the situation is unclear.

However, at that point, if the worker does not meet the contractor definition and you don’t need a permanent employee, put them on as a casual employee. This is often the best solution for both parties.  It means the employer is compliant with tax, super and employment laws. Plus the worker retains some flexibility while being paid super and having tax taken care of.

The ATO and the Fair Work Ombudsman are particularly concerned with the validity of sole traders treated as contractors. This is because they are the workers most frequently disadvantaged by being classified incorrectly as a contractor when they in fact meet the test for being an employee.

Get it Right to Avoid Penalties

A business that should have engaged a worker as an employee will be liable for back-payment of entitlements (such as leave, overtime and allowances), and superannuation.

Some situations are straightforward to work out. But many contractor or employee decisions are not so easy with so many factors to consider.

Let us help you get it right and sort out the tax and superannuation obligations for all your workers whether contractors or employees.

benefits of forecasting

What are the benefits of forecasting?

What are the benefits of forecasting?

There are many benefits to forecasting for your business.

First and foremost is that you’re more likely to maximise your profits if you are able to accurately project your revenues and expenses.

Additionally, accurate forecasting helps you to identify potential opportunities and manage your cashflow. And when you have this information you are able to make educated decisions at the right time for your business.

Here are some examples of questions that an accurate forecast of your cash flow could help you answer:

  • Can I start creating a new product/service?
  • Can I open a new office/location or start selling in a different area/country?
  • Can I afford another member of staff or outsourced assets?
  • Can I take more money out of my business?
  • Am I at risk of running out of cash?

How do you create a forecast?

The short answer is you don’t have to do it manually anymore.

Forecasting Apps, such as Futrli, mean that the complex, manual time-consuming forecasting is a thing of the past. Forecasting is now possible with the click of a button.

An added benefit of using Futrli to forecast, is that you can test out your decisions before you make them.

Using automated predictions means you have a second brain on your business 24/7.


  • Creates separate predictions for invoices, cash transactions and journal entries
  • Works out how many days it takes for invoices to be paid for every account
  • Accounts for Covid-19 where it sees a potential impact
  • Considers ‘what we thought the month will look like’ compared to current month actuals and adjusts accordingly
  • Reads account names and looks for account-specific patterns
  • Creates staff payroll predictions just like your payroll software does

And the information is presented in chart format, making it easy to understand.

How far into the future should I forecast?

Forecasts are most beneficial for looking at the next year. They should be used in the short term for immediate planning and decision making and medium to long term to assess and extrapolate current trends.

It’s important to remember that the further you look into the future, the less accurate your cash flow forecast will be as there are too many unknowns yet to pass.

Talk to us about forecasting and how Futrli can benefit your business. 

demystifying your balance sheet

Demystifying your balance sheet

What story does your Balance Sheet tell?

Do you understand the story your Balance Sheet tells about your business? 

It’s important you understand the components of your Balance Sheet and the key ratios that measure the health of your business.

1. It measures the net worth of your business.

Your Balance Sheet is made up of all of your assets and liabilities; your net worth is your total assets less total liabilities.

Current assets are assets which are expected to be converted into cash within 12 months; current liabilities are expected to be paid within 12 months

Non-current assets aren’t expected to be converted into cash in the short-term; non-current liabilities are long-term liabilities which aren’t expected to be paid within 12 months

Your net worth is the owners’ interest in the business. In other words, if your business was to be wound up this is how much you’d be left with as the owner of the business.

2. It tells you if your business is solvent.

Solvency is the acid test for survival. If your business is insolvent, without immediate action to remedy this, it’s unlikely to survive for long. There are two components to solvency:

Current ratio greater than 1 (current assets / current liabilities)

Positive net assets (total assets - total liabilities)

If your business is insolvent, you’ll struggle to pay bills on time and you may be personally at risk. It’s imperative you seek help immediately if your business is insolvent.

3. It allows you track the strength of your business.

By comparing your Balance Sheet to previous periods, you can track whether your net worth is increasing or decreasing.

The stronger your Balance Sheet, the easier it will be for your business to survive a downturn.

For example, if your retained earnings are diminishing over time, it’s clear that you need to take action to strengthen your Balance Sheet to ensure you’ll receive value upon the wind up or sale of your business.

4. You can calculate key ratios.

Key ratios not only allow you to compare your results year on year or to industry benchmarks, they also highlight areas for improvement.

For example, calculating your debtor days may show that it takes on average 35 days for customers to pay you. If your payment terms are within 7 days of invoice, it’s clear that your debtor processes need to be strengthened.

Perhaps you calculate how long it takes inventory to sell and see it’s taking twice as long to sell this year than it did last year. Or, maybe a specific product is taking a lot longer to sell than others, which may indicate you should discontinue it. Key ratios calculated using your Balance Sheet can tell a us a multitude of things.

As a business owner you should be able to read your Balance Sheet and understand what it's telling you. 

If you need help demystifying your Balance Sheet and identifying key areas for improvement, get in touch now!

cutting costs and increasing prices

Cutting costs or increasing your prices

Are you considering cutting costs or increasing your prices?

With more than 85% of SMEs expecting a lower profit in the next nine months, the more prepared you can be for the unexpected, the better.

Managing expenses is a good idea at any stage in your business and you may need to consider increasing your prices.

Smart ways to get your costs under control

Cashflow has been a big issue for thousands of businesses this year, and when the money’s not rolling in, it can help to rethink your costs. To do it effectively involves more than just keeping an eye on outgoings. It’s about looking at all the moving parts of your business to see if your systems (or lack of) are costing you unnecessarily.

Here’s how:

Muck in

Do a cost control audit to work out where your big cost centres are and look at your systems for managing them.

Be aware

Don’t just slash your expenses. Track costs and look out for opportunities to trim fat or take a different approach.

Unite your team

Bring everyone together to monitor and analyse inputs and expenses. Reviewing and developing your systems? Get your team’s feedback.

Look to your peers

How do your costs compare to others? If a business of a similar size and production system to you is performing well, but spending less, explore what they’re doing differently.

Seek advice

Got a good idea of where the issues are, or feeling totally confused? Talk to your advisors about your next steps

How can I put my prices up without losing customers?

If you need to change your pricing to make ends meet, be honest and up-front with your customers at all communication points.

  • Make it clear on your website and social media that prices have changed and why.
  • Send an email to let all your clients and suppliers know about the changes.
  • Meeting people face-to-face? Make sure they’re aware of the price hikes before they’re invoiced - otherwise you could be in breach of the Fair Trading Act.
  • Provide the best customer experience you can by updating staff on any changes and advising them on how to communicate them to customers.
  • Worried you’ll lose fans? Consider staggering price increases of individual products over time.
why data matters

Why data matters

Why data matters!

With cloud accounting software, such as Xero, simplifying much of the bookkeeping process, you now have greater accuracy over business numbers with less effort and time.

Yet, there is still one point of weakness.

Your data.

Data is often still manually entered. And if your data has errors, is missing information or is out-of-date, your results will reflect that.

Remember the saying “garbage in, garbage out”.

And that’s not a good thing when it comes to your business. Especially when it comes to forecasting.
When making decisions about the future of your business, getting the full picture is essential. And that means you need clean and accurate data.

When you have accurate forecasts, you can say goodbye to surprises and take better control of your business.
Businesses who consistently make errors with their data and base decisions upon incomplete data often end up in a cash flow crises. And more often than not, realise they’re about to run out of cash when it's too late to respond.

There is a direct line between accurate, up-to-date data and making better decisions for your business.

One way to improve your data accuracy is by automating as many points in your bookkeeping process as possible. 

Using apps that integrate with Xero, such as ReceiptBank and Futrli, makes it easier to get the right information you need to make the best decisions for your business.

Using Receipt Bank makes it easy to photograph snap your receipts with your phone and extract the information your accounting system needs.

No longer do you have to file away physical copies as your information and a copy of the receipt is stored in the cloud.

Receipt Bank then “talks” to your accounting software, for example Xero, and uploads your receipts.

Your information is available in your accounts system ready to be reconciled by your bookkeeper. And then Futrli uses that information to report in, predominantly, graphic form. And most importantly, provide the ability to set budgets and forecast. 

Talk to us about how Receiptbank, Futrli, and Xero can help make better business decisions.

understand your cashflow statement

Understanding your cashflow statement

Understanding your cashflow statement

Understanding your cashflow statement means you know how your business has generated and used cash (and cash equivalents) within a specific time period. And this gives you an overall picture of your business performance. 

It is another important financial statement to understand in conjunction with the Profit and Loss statement and the Balance sheet. These three reports provide a good understanding of the financial position of your business.

How does it work?

The cashflow statement integrates the information provided by the profit and loss statement and the balance sheet into a current cash position.

Your cashflow statement is reported on a cash basis, while your other financial statements are usually reported on an accrual basis. Accrual income (from the profit and loss statement) is converted to cash by calculating the changes in the balances of asset and liability accounts.

Report categories

Your statement of cashflows is organised into sections that report on different types of business activity.

  1. Operating activities - all business income, expenses, assets and liabilities (except for those assets and liabilities reported in investing and financing activities).
  2. Investing activities - the purchase and sale of long-term investments, property, plant and equipment as well as security deposits paid to suppliers or received from customers and dividends received.
  3. Financing activities - the changes in balances of equity accounts, for example, issuing and repurchase of stocks and bonds and payment of company dividends if applicable. Loans are also included in financing activities.

Formal financial report packages usually include notes to the financial statements. The notes contain supplemental information that explain significant items or activities that did not involve cash transactions. 

Why is it useful?

Your cashflow statement gives you a valuable measure of cashflow in and out of the business over a given period. It shows the ability of your business to pay bills and fund operating activities. This gives you a picture of overall performance.

It also shows the relationships between assets, liabilities, equity and cash accounts. Your cashflow statement shows changes and movements over time. Whereas the balance sheet and profit and loss reports show account values at a single point in time.

Your cashflow statement gives you vital information on your business.

  • How strong is your cash position?
  • What is the long-term outlook for your business?
  • What activities generate the most cashflow?
  • What is the relationship between your net income and your operating activities? 
nine ways to improve your business

Nine ways to improve business performance

Nine ways to improve your business performance

Supercharge your business with some simple tips.

Here are nine ways to make sure that you continue to drive through each business quarter with purpose, vision and the courage to super-charge your business.

1. Get a plan

You don't go on a journey without a map or any idea of where you're headed - so why fly blind with your business? Have a planning process, create a plan and execute. 

2. Eliminate distractions

Time is the scarcest resource and biggest killer for most businesses. When we get busy we can also get distracted and focus too much time and energy on the wrong things. Be brave - slash standard meeting times, reduce unnecessary admin and delegate roles and responsibilities.

3. Use technology

Technology can help you decrease admin, improve communications, improve reporting and accountability. Whether it's for team communication or cloud accounting, slash paper and automate where possible. Talk to us about the different Apps that can help you make your business more efficient. 

4. Keep on top of the numbers

Do you have enough information to monitor business cashflow and see emerging trends? We can help you identify the metrics to track on a regular basis, in order to run your business efficiently.

5. Say goodbye to bad customers

If possible in your business, get rid of ten time-wasters, bad payers, or customers who cause you pain. You will feel instant relief and spend your time better elsewhere.

6. Surround yourself with positivity

Make sure the people in your business understand and share your vision. Bring them onboard, listen to them and give them ownership. Don't let people who don't get it, or don't care, be a millstone around your neck. If they're not right, do them a favour and free up their futures.

7. Be different

Break the mould and position yourself to attract ambitious, growing and engaged clients, and employees.

8. Deploy marketing

Create a simple marketing plan to increase reach and penetration. Set aside a budget to treat this seriously. Start by making sure you really understand your customers. Existing customers are prospects too, keeping them happy is your first step. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to attract more of the same.

9. Take a break

Don't underestimate the time you have away from your business. It can allow you to come back refreshed with new enthusiasm and inspiration for the way forward.

Whats next?

If you would like to know more about ways to improve your business performance, book a time with us to discuss your options.

Your business success is important to us and we are here to help you.

six reasons to look at your financial reports

Six reasons to look at your financial reports

Six reasons to look at your financial reports

Making time to look over your financial reports each month is an important task for any business owner.

If you are not taking the time to do this, either because you’re too busy, or perhaps you don’t really understand what you’re looking at and it doesn’t make sense to you, then here are six reasons to look at your financial reports.

But before we get our six reasons, let’s talk very quickly about which reports to look at.

At a bare minimum, and depending on the complexity of your business, you should be looking at the following:

The Profit and Loss report (P&L)

As the name suggests, your P&L tells you how your business is performing over a period of time, such as a month or a financial year. In broad terms it shows the revenue that your business has generated, less the expenses for that same period. In other words, it shows how profitable your business is.

The Balance Sheet

The Balance Sheet shows the value of the business’s Assets, Liabilities and Equity.

  • Assets include things like money in bank accounts, Plant and Equipment, Accounts Receivable balances
  • Liabilities include things like Bank loans and credit cards, Accounts Payable, and Hire Purchase balances
  • Equity is the difference between your Assets and your Liabilities and includes Retained Earnings and Owner Funds Introduced
Accounts Receivable Ageing Report (Aged Receivables)

This shows how much money is still owed to the business as at a certain date in time, and is usually segmented as to how overdue they are, or sometimes by how far past the invoice date they are. Generally, you will have Current, 30, 60 and 90 days columns.

Accounts Payable Ageing Report (Aged Payables)

This report shows who the business owes money to as at a certain date in time and, like the Accounts Receivable Ageing report, is usually segmented by overdue period.

So, why bother? (six reasons)

1. Understand your business better

By looking at your Profit and Loss report monthly you will get a good picture of how your business is performing month by month and it will give you a better understanding of what makes up your profit. It can be helpful to compare periods, or to look at a month by month P&L, so you can clearly see on one page the revenue and expenses month by month. This will help to identify trends in your data and many also help to highlight anomalies in coding/categorising.

2. Accurate information for lending purposes

If you are applying for a loan or an overdraft, the bank or financial institution will look closely at both your Profit and Loss report and the Balance Sheet as a lot can be learned about a business by looking at these reports together. If you are unsure what some of your balances are in your accounts, get in touch and we can explain them further.

3. Get paid quicker and reduce bad debts 

By looking at your Accounts Receivable Aged Summary each month you can follow up with overdue accounts promptly which often results in getting paid quicker. The longer an overdue amount is left unpaid the higher the risk of it not being paid at all, so it is important to keep on top of this.

4. Better relationships with your suppliers

Assuming you are entering your supplier bills into your accounting software (recommended for most businesses to get an accurate profitability figure) your Aged Payables report will alert you to any unpaid or overdue amounts. Supplier relationships are an important aspect of your business and paying on time is crucial to maintaining those relationships.

5. Better cashflow

Having an accurate understanding of how much money the business is owed, and how much money the business owes, can help with cashflow planning to ensure that there is enough money when needed. Additionally, understanding the trends of your business, its profitability drivers, its expenses, etc., can help to plan sales and marketing campaigns so that the revenue keeps coming in.

6. Better decision making

Your financial reports tell the story of your business and it’s important that you understand the story that they are telling you. The better you understand what’s going on in your business the stronger position you will be in to make better business decisions that affect the profitability of your business and its financial viability.

Whats next?

If you would like to know which reports are relevant to your business, and you want to better understand what’s going on in your business , then book a time with us to make a time to go through them with you.

Your business success is important to us and we are here to help you.

The Fundamentals of a Business Budget

The Fundamentals of a Business Budget

The Fundamentals of a Business Budget

A business budget is one of the essential tools in managing your business finances and actively building your business.

A budget shows what you plan to do with your cash over the next year.

For a complete picture of your business health, you need to review the profit and loss statement, the balance sheet, the cash flow forecast and the budget. Taken together, these reports allow you to make informed business decisions and monitor performance.

Why have a budget?
  • Forecast sales and expenses according to monthly or quarterly variations.
  • Evaluate performance over time, including changes or patterns.
  • Get really familiar with where your money goes and where it comes from.
  • Clarify targets and goals and use the budget to help you focus and achieve those goals.
  • Comparing actual figures to budgeted figures allows you to see potential problems early and plan for unexpected costs.
  • A budget will help you to see the big picture and stay motivated over the long term.

Where to start

A basic budget takes known income and expenses, then makes certain assumptions about the timing of income and planned expenditure. The basic budget is based on cash in and out of the business.

Over time, as you start to see the benefits of using a budget, your budget should evolve into a more sophisticated version that includes non-cash elements such as provisions and depreciation.

Most businesses will start with one budget but soon move to having three budgets.

  1. Business as usual -  the next year’s budget is based on current year income and expenses, with perhaps a small adjustment for consumer price index increases.
  2. Worst case - budget is based on a pessimistic view of next year’s performance.
  3.  Best case -  budget is based on an optimistic view of performance over the next year.

A budget is usually for a financial year, but you can also set up budgets for two to five years.

Once you have one budget (or more) set up, you can then run your current financial reports against the budget to see how you are tracking. This allows you to make rational business decisions in real time to adjust accordingly.

Your can run your financial reports monthly and adjust your budget as needed.

Whats next?

It's never too late to to put a budget into place. Book a time with us to help you create a meaningful budget in your accounting software so that you can use it as a proactive part of your business management, strategy and your success.

xeros short-term cashflow feature

Xero’s short-term cashflow feature for businesses

Xero's short-term cashflow feature for businesses

Business cashflow is simply money coming in and money going out of the business. Your outgoings will include things like rent, payroll, taxes and supplies. Your income will be revenue from sales but might also include investment funds or the sale of assets.

For most businesses, income and expenditure don’t always happen at the same time so focussing on strong cashflow management will help you prepare for the shortfalls and also manage surplus income.

Cashflow reports allow you to look back at cashflow in your business. This can uncover cashflow patterns over time and show you how much money you need to run your business each month.

Cashflow forecasts look forward by combining payment dates and due dates for invoices, to give you an idea of what your cashflow will be like going forward.

Managing healthy cashflow

Xero’s short-term cash flow feature gives you an up-to-date dashboard view of your organisation's cashflow. You can choose multiple bank accounts and see the projected cashflow over 7-30 days. The more information you include, the more accurate your forecast will be.

Healthy cashflow management gives you better control, so you are more prepared for growth or for the unexpected. Read the article at Xero Central to learn more about this feature.

Review your expenses - and save yourself money

Review your expenses – and save yourself money

Review your expenses - and save yourself money

Running a business will always mean incurring certain expenses or 'spend'.

There are always costs, overheads and supplier bills that mount up - and these expenses will gradually chip away at your cash position, making it more difficult to grow and make a profit. 

So, what can you do to reduce your spend levels? And what impact will this have on your overall margins, profits and ability to fund the next stage in your business journey?

Getting proactive with your spend management

Spend management is all about getting in control of your expenses – and, where possible, aiming to reduce the level of costs and overheads that you incur as a company.

Why does this matter? Well, excessive spending eats into your cashflow, reduces your profit margins and stops you from achieving the profits that you’re capable of as a business. So if you can get proactive with your spend management, you can actually make your company a far more financially productive enterprise – and that’s great for your overall business health.

So, what can you do to reduce spend and slim down your company expenses?

Here are some key ways to reduce expenses:

Reduce your overheads

Your overheads are the unavoidable costs of running your business, producing your products or supplying your services. If you have bricks and mortar premises, these overheads will include rental payments, utility bills and even the cost of paying your staff. Drill down into the numbers and see where there are opportunities to reduce these overhead costs. That could mean moving to smaller premises, or reducing the size of your workforce, to reduce payroll expenditure.

Put limits on staff expenses

If your employees can claim expenses, or buy raw materials and equipment with the company’s money, these costs can soon start to rack up. It’s a good idea to put a spending limit in place, so each staff member can only spend up to an agreed amount. Having a clear expenses policy helps, as will training up your staff in good spend management techniques. Expenses cards – such as WebexpensesSoldo or Pleo – allow you to quickly set spend limits, track expenses and pull your expenses data through to your cloud accounting platform for processing.

Look for cheaper suppliers

If you can reduce your supplier costs, this will go a long way to bringing down your overall spend. If you’ve been with certain key suppliers for years, look around for new quotes, look at current market prices and see if you can negotiate better deals. And if your old suppliers aren’t flexible enough, try swapping to newer, more eager suppliers who will be willing to meet you in the middle on price.

Make your operations leaner

The bigger your operational costs are, the less margin you’ll make on your end products and services. One way to resolve this is to aim for a ‘lean approach’, paring back your staff, resources and operational complexity to the bare minimum. By making the business as lean as possible, whilst still delivering the same output, you keep your revenue stable, but reduce the spend level that’s eating into your cost of goods sold (COGS). The smaller your COGS, the more profit you make on each unit or sale – and that means better cashflow, more working capital and bigger profits.

If you’d like to get in control of your expenses, we’d love to chat. We’ll review your current costs and will highlight the key areas where expenses can be cut. Then we’ll help you formulate a proactive spend management programme, to reduce your unnecessary spending.

We can help. Talk to us about improving your spend management.

understanding working capital

Understanding working capital to maintain business success

Understanding working capital to maintain business success

If cashflow is the lifeblood of your business, then working capital is the health check you should regularly undertake to keep your business alive. It is important for you to have an understanding of your working capital to maintain business success. Regularly checking working capital will play an essential part in maintaining business success during these times of greater economic insecurity.

What is working capital?

Working capital is your current assets minus your current liabilities and measures the surplus (or deficit) you have to keep your business afloat without needing to sell assets, borrow more, or add your own money into the business. The more working capital you have, the easier it is to fund growth or weather any downturns.

To calculate your working capital: Cash + debtors + stock + work in progress - creditors - taxes owing

For example, if your business had the following balances:

Cash $150,000
Debtors $120,000
Stock $100,000
Creditors $45,000
Taxes owing $25,000

Then your working capital would be $300,000 ($150,000 + $120,000 + $100,000 - $45,000 - $25,000).

If the business had an overdraft of $150,000 rather than a positive cash balance, the working capital would be zero. This means the business would have no cash to cover any slowdown in debtor payments or a downturn in sales (which would lead to higher stock levels). Worse, the business could be in serious trouble for trading while insolvent.

It’s likely your working capital has taken a hit due to Covid-19. Now is the time to review your processes and boost your working capital.

Consider the following strategies:

Build up enough cash to cover at least 2 months’ sales value

One of the key learnings from lockdown was how important it is for businesses to have enough cash in the bank to get them through a shutdown. Use the average sales value for the last six months to calculate the amount you’ll need, then manage your expenses to build your cash stocks up to this level.

Renegotiate your debt

If your business has an overdraft, could the core debt be negotiated into a term loan? Have you spoken to your bank manager about options for managing your debt as a result of Covid? We can work with you and your bank manager to determine your best finance options.

Negotiate with suppliers

Speak to your suppliers and see if you can negotiate better terms. This might be a discount for early payment or longer payment terms. They’ll be suffering too, so work together to come to the best arrangement for you both.

Set aside money for taxes

Calculate the percentage of sales you need to put aside for taxes and put this aside in a separate bank account so you have the cash to cover tax payments as they fall due.

Inject sufficient funds

If the above strategies don’t boost your working capital sufficiently, you’ll need to invest your own funds into your business to cover your working capital requirements.

Even with the many challenges of a post-pandemic economy, undertaking regular working capital checks is an effective way to help increase your business’s cashflow. We can help you calculate your working capital requirements and identify strategies you can implement to increase your working capital.

“Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is.” - Seth Godin

We can help. Talk to us about your working capital.

Your critical numbers

Your critical numbers

Your critical numbers

Establish your critical numbers; to improve the KPIs that have the biggest impact.

The Covid-19 crisis has created a “new normal” for businesses. Traditional ways of working are being challenged and we now need to innovate, adapt, re-engineer, and reinvent the way we work. Lockdown gave us time to consider our options, but two important questions often remain unanswered:

  1. How will we know if we are on track or not?
  2. Are our new plans actually working?

It goes without saying that our success needs to be measured. But it’s important for us to know what to measure. Your critical numbers are the levers that, if pulled, make the biggest impact to your results. Choose four or five critical numbers to measure. These may vary between businesses, for example, most businesses should know their minimum viable sales number per day or week for survival. Likewise, knowing the gross margin needed to cover your overhead costs and living expenses will be critical for many businesses.

Some tailored critical numbers might be:

  • Return on investment by each team member
  • Average value of proposals won
  • Number of networking calls or meetings
  • Number of days it takes your debtors to pay you

  • Once we’re clear on the critical numbers we should be measuring, we need to establish how to measure them. Having real-time, cloud-based data is the new standard, so having the right software is important. The way you capture data may require additional planning. For example, you may need to make changes to your coding or reporting structure to measure your sales or margin by product type to assess the viability of different product lines. These changes will help to give you peace of mind and certainty that you’re on track. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

    “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.” - James Harrington

    How healthy is your working capital?

    How healthy is your working capital?

    How healthy is your working capital?

    We all know that cash is king when it comes to business success, but what exactly is ‘working capital’ and how does this financial metric help measure the health of your business?

    Working capital is made up of the cash and assets that are available in the business to fund your operations and keep you trading. It’s worked out by taking your current assets (the things you own) away from your current liabilities (the things you owe to other people).

    So, why is working capital such a critical metric?

    Having the liquid capital needed to trade

    It’s possible for your business to be busy, successful and profitable, but for your cash position to still be in poor health – and that can have a serious impact.

    If you can’t readily convert your assets into liquid cash, it’s a struggle to meet your cashflow goals, pay your bills and fund your day-to-day operations. But with the optimum level of working capital, you strengthen your balance sheet and put the company in a solid financial position.

    To achieve this healthy level of working capital you will need to:

    Proactively manage your cashflow

    Cashflow feeds your working capital by pumping liquid cash into the company and keeping the balance between assets and liabilities in a strong position. But to achieve this, it’s vital to achieve a positive cashflow position, where your cash inflows are greater than your cash outflows. This means getting paid on time, lowering your outgoings and keeping a close eye on your ongoing cash position.

    Monitor and forecast your financial position

    Running regular financial reports helps you stay in control of your finances. With careful monitoring and forecasting of your cash position, you can ensure you don’t end up in a negative cashflow position, without the requisite working capital to trade and fund the next stage in your business plan. Cloud accounting software and business intelligence apps have made it easier than ever to create up-to-date, real-time reports and run dashboards that show your key metrics.

    Use additional finance when required

    If working capital is looking thin on the ground, then additional funding may be needed to bolster your balance sheet. Short-term finance options (such as overdraft extensions or invoice finance) and longer-term business loans can be needed to keep working capital on an equilibrium.

    Working closely with your accountant is vital if you want to promote the ideal level of working capital in the business. We can help manage your cashflow, monitor your financial metrics and provide access to additional finance and funding when your capital needs a boost.

    We can help. Talk to us about optimising your working capital.

    How to use forecasts and scenario-planning

    How to use forecasts and scenario-planning

    How to use forecasts and scenario-planning

    For centuries, accounting was all about reviewing historic information – but that only told you about the past, not what was going to happen in the future.

    If you’re only looking back at past periods and historic numbers, that limits the insights you can achieve into your business. With a backward-looking ideology, it becomes difficult to plan, run through different scenarios or understand the path of the business.

    Forecasting changes this. With the right data analysis and forecasting tools, you can project sales, cash, revenue and profits into the future – and get in control of your business.

    A forward-looking view of your business journey

    Forecasting switches the focus of your financial management. By moving to a forward-looking view of your business journey, you can see further down the road – and that helps to spot the opportunities and avoid the common business pitfalls.

    Forecasting adds value by:

    Highlighting the data patterns

    A forecasting tool takes your historic data and projects it forward in time. This helps you and your advisers to spot the patterns, trends, gaps and opportunities, revealing the true ‘story’ behind your business accounts. For example, forecasting may reveal a predicted seasonal slump in the next quarter, allowing you to plan ahead and proactively take action to minimise any negative impact.

    Giving you a future view of your business

    Instinctively, business owners will look back at prior periods to assess performance. There’s value to reviewing your historic actuals, of course, but using forecasting helps you to look forward, rather than just backwards. Forecasting is the satnav, showing you the road ahead, rather than the rear-view mirror showing you the road you’ve already travelled.

    Helping you scenario-plan

    With a financial model of your key drivers, combined with accurate forecasting, you can quick answer your burning ‘What if…?’ questions. Forecasting lets you run different scenarios, with different drivers, to see how business decisions may pan out over time. If option B performs better than option A, that’s invaluable information when defining your next strategic move.

    Making informed, evidence-based decisions

    Having ‘the full picture’ of combined historic numbers, forecasts and longer-term projections aides your business decision-making. Forecasting gives you solid evidence on which to base your strategy, and helps to red flag any threats that are looming on the horizon – giving you the best possible information to keep your executive team informed and on the ball.

    A deeper relationship with your accountant

    Forecasting also helps us to get a far more granular view of your business. This helps to spot potential areas of performance improvement, and to give you the best possible strategic advice, all backed up by solid, empirical data and management information.

    If you want to get in control of the destiny of your company, come and talk to us. Forecasting helps you highlight your future threats and opportunities – and create a proactive strategy to improve the performance of your business.

    Talk to us about the benefits of forecasting.

    Lessons learned in lockdown

    Lessons learned in lockdown – for your business and life

    Lessons learned in lockdown – for your business and life

    Lockdown has been (and remains) a tough time for business.

    Having to shut your business at short notice, or switch to an entirely digital, remote-working model, was a stressful experience. But there are things we have taken out of lockdown. Whether it enabled us to explore new ideas or dive into some fresh thinking regarding work, life or a business venture.

    So, what lessons did we all learn from this enforced period of business shutdown, quarantine and remote working?

    Carrying over the positives from lockdown

    Suddenly, your office space lay empty, your employees were spread across various home locations and (crucially) your customer sales and revenue evaporated in the blink of an eye. The amazing thing about human resilience and ingenuity, however, is how quickly businesses DID evolve to cope with this situation.

    Teams got used to home-working, video meetings and dealing with customers in the online space. And many of us began to see the positives of this low-impact, remote-working approach.

    Are there things you can hang to now in the return to working life?

    More time with family

    With the daily commute no longer needed, and the ability to work remotely from our own homes, everyone had far more time to spend with their family, their partner or (via video calls) their wider circle of friends and family. Although enforced time together may have added a few strains, this extra time with our nearest and dearest is something we are grateful for – and should aim to continue.

    More exercise and fitness time

    finding the time to fit in a gym session or run was always tricky. The quieter pace meant that many could follow the latest workout video, go for a run, or get back on our bikes. We know exercise is good for both our physical AND our mental wellbeing - so it's important to keep this in your daily schedule going forward.

    Future planning

    working ON the business, rather than IN the business is an aspiration of any ambitious owner, but the time to do this is usually scarce. In lockdown, we’ve had far more time available to think through our core goals, what our next move should be and what our ‘post-coronvirus strategy’ should be.

    Using data to understand your customers

    Intuition is vital for business owners but if there’s data in your business that you haven't had the time to review, you may be missing opportunities. For some, lockdown provided some time for analysis such as, learning to use Google Analytics to understand how your customers find you, what your popular pages are, and which products are selling.

    Getting in control of your financial model

     Huge drops in revenue have meant cashflow worries. We've been assisting clients to re-evaluate their financial model. Looking at costs, debts and potential revenue streams allows you see how you can reduce cash outflows and boost those all-important cash inflows. Reporting on these metrics will continue to support your business decisions.

    None of us know exactly what the ‘new normal’ of business trading will look like. But if you want to be ready for a different kind of business reality, we can help. We’ll work with you to update your goals, strategy and financial model – so you’re ready for the future.

    Talk to us. We are here to help.

    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:


    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).

    cashflow and cost control

    Cashflow and cost control

    Cashflow and cost control

    More than ever, cashflow is a vital part of staying afloat, whether your business is in recovery or growth mode.

    Revenue, profit and your bottom line will all resume their importance when we’re back to “normal” (however that’s going to look), but keeping everything running is the priority for now.

    Regular cashflow forecasts will help you keep that in focus. Here’s why:

    Cost control  

    If you can't reach your targets for income, reining in your costs may give you a little extra head room to manage cashflow while you plan your next move.

    Visibility on outgoings 

    Cost control can be a challenge when it’s hard to pinpoint hidden costs or where established ways of doing things cost more money than they should. You may also have been coping with unexpected expenses, as you’ve adapted your business for unplanned circumstances.

    Improving business practice

    It's more than just keeping an eye on outgoings (though that's important). It's about looking at each aspect of your business and business systems (or the gaps where there should be business systems) to see if poor practice is driving costs up unnecessarily.

    It can be useful to break it down  

    You can look at cost centres such as office supplies or freight. Or you can look at what those costs do for your business.

    It can help to analyse costs in terms of cost of sale and overheads.

    Cost of sale and overheads​​​​

    Cost of sale (also known as Cost of Goods Sold or CoGS) is how much it costs you to make a sale. In a business which sells products, CoGS is based on the price paid for the product, plus any costs necessary to put the merchandise into inventory and make it ready for sale, including shipping and handling. You can even break it down to calculate the cost of sale of individual units.

    Overheads are general business expenses. They can’t be tracked directly to sales. Overheads are what it costs you to open your doors (whether online or actual) every morning.

    What’s your plan?
    • Reduce unnecessary expenses - Now might be the time to trim every expense that’s not related to your core product or service.
    • Suppliers - Are you able to work with your providers to ask for discounts or more favourable payment terms on either cost of sale or overhead expenses?
    • Talk to the team - Analyse your costs and involve your team, including frontline sales staff.
    • Advertising - It might be a false economy to cut back on advertising, as customers are online looking for bargains and price-checking alternatives. Targeted campaigns might work better.
    • Prioritise - Can you pinpoint the products most likely to bring the fastest or best return and hold back on products that are a slower sell?
    • Promote or discount - If you have old or slow-moving stock, can you discount it and convert old stock to cash? If you can attract customers now, you may be able to use it to spotlight your other products.

    Every dollar you can pull back from your costs can go straight into cashflow.

    Want to get a handle on cash flow in your business?

    Whether your sales are boom or bust, you want to make sure that your costs aren't holding you back. We can help.

    Talk to us if you'd like to review your costs and your systems to keep costs under control. .

    reduce your debtor days

    Reduce your debtor days and improve your cashflow

    Reduce your debtor days and improve cashflow

    Managing the gap between the receiving money into your business and paying money out of your business is vital for sustaining viability.

    Debtor days is the average number of days taken for a business to receive payment for goods or services. Keeping track of the average number of days for a business to receive payment is important in understanding the cashflow gap you might experience and the impact on cashflow planning and budgets.

    How to calculate debtor days

    (Year-end receivables amount ÷ annual sales) x 365 days = average debtor days.

    Here's an example: An IT consultant has in her terms and conditions that payment is due 21 days after invoice date. But she is interested to know what the actual average payment time is.

    Trade debtors at 30 June 2019 = $35,000

    Annual sales for 2019 = $478,000

    (35,000 ÷ 478,000) x 365 = 26.7 days

    With this information, she can either alter her cashflow planning according to the actual time-frame or take steps to reduce the average number of debtor days.

    Here are ten things you can do to reduce the payment times?

    1. Update your payment terms

    Make sure the terms are clear on every invoice issued. Don’t forget to include bank details on the invoice!

    2. Regular admin

    Schedule a regular time for your own administration and get your invoices out promptly.

    3. Send to the right person

    When you send invoices, make sure you address the email personally to your contact. Send the invoice to multiple addresses if possible, for example, your contact and the accounts department.

    4. Use technology to your advantage

    Use automated invoice reminders to notify customers when an invoice is about to be due and then when it is overdue. Do not wait to send notifications manually, let the software do it as soon as the invoice is a day overdue.

    5. Make it easy for your customers

    List the payment terms, for example, due in 14 days, as well as the actual due date.

    6. Provide incentives for early payment 

    For example, a 5% discount if paid within five days.

    7. Offer several payment methods for clients

    Make it easy to pay by adding an online option such as credit card or PayPal.

    8. Offer instalment payment plans over a mutually agreed period. 

    This allows you to plan for part payments, rather than being inconvenienced by the whole invoice being paid late.

    9. Do not offer unlimited credit to customers

    Make sure your terms and conditions include the right to refuse further supply if invoices are outstanding. Request part or full payment before supplying more goods or services.

    10. Talk to your suppliers

    Maintain good relationships and clear communications so they are more likely to help you if you need an extension on your bills. If possible, renegotiate supplier terms that suit your business cashflow.

    During tough times it can be difficult to get paid on time. Use low activity phases in your business to update your terms and conditions, implement alternative payment options, think about ways of making it easy for customers to pay you and clarify information on your website.

    Talk to us about adding payment options, updating your software and improving business systems to assist in reducing the number of debtor days to improve your cashflow.

    We can also look at average debtor days of your business compared to industry averages and discuss ways of managing cashflow during difficult periods.

    6 secrets to getting prompt payment

    6 secrets to getting prompt payment

    6 secrets to getting prompt payment

    If you’re struggling with late payments, and about half of small businesses are, here are some simple tips to try.

    Invoice without delay

    Your customer can't pay until you've invoiced them, so make sure you send you bill promptly. Customers are also more open to paying when they've just recieved the goods or services that you delivered. Cash in the goodwill, there's no reason to delay.

    Include all the information

    Make sure you invoice has all the right information, including a description of the work or product, the date it was ddelivered, and any customer requirements such as a purchase order number. Some customers have very specific requirements so ask what they need to see on the invoice. Make the due date clear too.

    Ask for prompt payment

    Customers used to get weeks to pay invoices, but that's changing. More than a third of businesses now request payment within a week. Consider doing the same. Starting off at seven days will help set an expectation of prompt payment. 

    Be easy to pay

    Customers will pay faster if they can use their prefferemd method to hand over the money. Consider whether you can offer them a variety of options, like a credit card or PayPal.

    Chase payments

    Your job's not done when the invoice goes out the door. You'll need to follow up with the customer to make sure it's being processed. If the invoice goes past due, it's time to make a phone call.

    Talk to us about your invoicing system, we can help you get paid faster.

    4 tips to help your debtor management

    4 Tips to help your debtor management

    4 Tips to help your debtor management

    It’s not easy to request payment right now, but it is important to keep cash flowing into your business so you can cover expenses and meet your obligations to others.

    As with all business dealings right now, a little empathy and a lot of open communication can go a long way.

    The following tips might be useful to keep in mind when you are asking for payment.


    Connecting with your customers is important. Try to make it personal to their situation rather than a one-size-fits-all email.

    Connecting on a more personal level shows you value them and are conscious of the impacts that the current situation may be having on them. The empathy you show now will also be remembered when business returns to normal.

    And, be proactive . Early communication will help you stay on top of cash flow and will also alert you, if you need to account for late payments.

    Add value

    Use your expertise to give something back. Surprise and delight your customers by offering something over and above your usual services.

    It could be as simple letting customers know you want to help and being open to requests, offering a one-off discount or an offer just to chat one to one.

    Offer flexible payment options

    For customers who can’t pay in full, consider breaking invoices into multiple payments with payment terms moved to a longer timeframe.

    Set up a credit card facility to give customers other options for payment. After all, the easier you can make it for them to pay you, the quicker you will get paid.

    If you don’t have payment services set up in your Xero account, we can help you do this.

    Offering a discount for early payment might provide the incentive for customers who can settle, to pay your invoice before others.

    Set up debtor management apps

    Debtor management apps allow you to automatically send payment reminders, provide cashflow forecasting, automate and tailor debtor communications, and more.

    Dedicated debtor management tools help you to collect your debtors faster.

    Keeping cash flow going is vital for your business so the earlier you can communicate with customers the better.

    Inventory Management Best Practices for Retailers

    Inventory management best practices for retailers

    Inventory management is incredibly important in retail and yet studies reveal that 43% of small businesses either don’t track inventory at all, or do it manually. Proper inventory management can be the difference between a lost sale and a lifelong customer.

    Here are some quick tips on how you can stay on top of stock control:

    Understand the relationship between sales and inventory

    Look at inventory and sales data together so you can see the relationship between the two.

    For example, if you pull your sales results and see that dresses are 20% of your sales, and jumpsuits have only generated 4%, the instant reaction is to buy more dresses.

    However, if you simultaneously look at your inventory results, you may see that while dresses generated 20% of sales, they represented 40% of your inventory, while jumpsuits generated 4% of sales but on 1% of your inventory.

    By considering the relationship of sales to inventory, you might discover you are over-inventoried in one item, and missing opportunities to sell another.

    Manage residual inventory to control costs and preserve profit

    Residual inventory is what remains at the end of one selling season and is carried into the next season. A few examples include wool apparel that is on sale in the spring season or outdoor furniture sets that are marked down after the summer season.

    An effective way to manage this is to create season codes with style numbers when you enter items into your inventory management system. This can make analysing sales and inventory by season a significantly easier task.

    Equip your business with the right inventory management tools

    From choosing the right inventory management software to finding a POS solution that fits your business, it’s essential to implement tools.

    The right ones will integrate together to streamline and automate processes, making inventory management more accurate and efficient.

    In a competitive market, knowledge is key to business success.

    create cash flow forecast

    How to create a cash flow forecast for your business

    How to create a cash flow forecast for your business

    A cash flow forecast is an important tool for business planning. And right now, understanding the cash coming in and going out of your business is vital.

    A cash flow forecast will show you how long your business can continue to survive on current sales levels, by showing you how much money you’ll have in the bank at the end of a period.

    It will give you an understanding of what the revenue drivers are in your business, and give you visibility of your expenses and the things you can control. Having this information in a forecast will also allow you to plan for different scenarios, work out your priorities and understand the outcomes of different options such as diversification.

    A cash flow plan can give you a proactive tool to deal with uncertainty. If you are seeking funding in the form of a loan, applying for business support or just establishing your long term survival, you'll need a cash flow plan.

    What information do you need?

    We can help you to create a plan for your business. The plan is only as good as the data you have. So here’s what you’ll need to get started:

    Understanding where your cash is coming from

    Start with revenue from sales - break your sales figures up by product line and across channels. This will show you where the cash is coming from. For example:

    • Does 80% of your revenue come from only 20% of your products?
    • Do you sell to different markets and does one deliver more revenue than others?
    • Are some of your products high value but low volume or low value at high volume?

    The data you collect will enable you to ask questions, such as can you reduce margin to lift sales, can you push volume up or are there other channels to sell through?

    Make sure you include all other revenue streams, such as grants, tax refunds or investment in your cash inflows.

    Understanding expenses - where is the cash going to?

    This will include all the costs associated with your business, including rent, wages, supply materials, bank loan fees and charges, tax bills, and electricity.

    If you have a bank loan, include the details such as the length of the term and the monthly payments.

    Your cash flow plan should also include tax payments when they are due and any capital expenditures.

    Some of your variable expenses will directly relate to revenue such as freight or materials. When your sales stop, these will drop too, so your cash flow plan should reflect this relationship in order for you to scenario plan.

    Controlling expenses - what costs are fixed and what are the variable costs that you can control? You may not be able to stop fixed expenses like rent, power and internet, but you could reduce the cash going out on petrol and travel, cleaning, and even directors' drawings.

    Making informed decisions in your business

    A good cash flow forecast will collate all the data from your business in one place. It will allow you to plan and work out how long your business can weather a storm. It will also help you make decisions around staffing, purchasing inventory, ordering supply materials or investing in growth.

    It’s worth remembering that a cash flow plan is a different tool to a budget. Here’s one example: a budget will show sales but a cash flow plan will show the cash benefit of those sales. If you offer credit to customers, your sales may not result in immediate cash flow.

    Want to get a handle on cash flow in your business?

    If you’re not certain of how to get this information from your accounting software, talk to us about which reports to run. You may need a combination of accounting software reports and projected figures.

    Use the information above to source the data you’ll need and get in touch. We can help you build a plan that gives you cash flow projections to assist your decision making.

    Managing Cashflow

    Managing cashflow and accessing emergency funding

    Managing cashflow and accessing emergency funding

    Working capital is a vital component of any successful trading business – providing the liquid cash needed for everyday operations. Suddenly finding your business without this cash can be a shock, but there are ways to fill these cashflow holes and get the company back on track.

    In short, it comes down to careful cashflow management, and ensuring you have the best possible routes to additional finance and funding provision.

    Key ways we can help include

    Helping you understand your cash requirements

    The starting point of any funding search will always be to understand what your current cash requirements are. This means sitting down to review your whole financial position. Then, armed with this information, we can see exactly how much you’ll need to borrow.

    Liaising with banks and lenders

    We can put you in touch with the most suitable banks, lenders and alternative funding providers, and can help in conversations with these lenders. For example, you may want to discuss the possibility of extending your overdraft facility, or whether you could temporarily suspend principal payments etc.

    Preparing financial information for lenders

    Any lender will want detailed financial reporting to back up your loan application. We can produce up-to-date accounts, cashflow statements and forecasts to help banks and finance providers understand your financial health and the risk levels involved in lending to your company.

    Accessing government assistance

    The Government is offering a variety of ways to support businesses financially during the coronavirus crisis. We can explain what loans, grants, tax reliefs or filing extensions may be available to you, and can help you fill out all the relevant forms and applications to make a claim.

    Improving your debtor tracking

    Outstanding customer invoices is another key area to get under control. We can help you understand your aged debt position, and identify which invoices you should be prioritising when it comes to chasing up customers and finding mutually agreeable payment terms.

    Extending credit from suppliers

    The coming months will be tough for many businesses, so it’s worth having open and honest communication with customers and suppliers around when payments will realistically be made. Agreeing on small discounts, part payments or extended terms will all help to increase liquidity for everyone.

    It’s likely to be a rocky road for many businesses over the next few weeks and months. So, working together as a business community to support each other will be essential.

    If you’d like to get in control of your cashflow management and funding needs, we’re here to help. We can help you crunch those cashflow numbers, access the best possible routes to funding and remove some of the worry during these testing times.

    Talk to us about getting on top of cashflow.

    The value of cashflow forecasting

    The value of cashflow forecasting

    During challenging times, many businesses are seeing income either disappear completely or drop to dangerous levels.

    To be able to navigate the future path of your cashflow, you need to start forecasting, so you can map out your financial position over the coming months and can take the appropriate action to safeguard your cash position.

    Forecasting your future cash piepeline

    Projecting your cashflow pipeline forwards during a crisis is vital. Having access to detailed forecasts helps you to scenario-plan, search for cost-savings and look for strategies that will preserve your cashflow position.

    Remaining in control of the cash coming into (and going out of) the business is the real focus, so you can accurately predict your financial position and can resolve any issues.

    Key ways to get more from your forecasting

    Run regular forecasts

    The financial landscape is changing on a daily basis at present. A cashflow forecast is not a document that remains static. Variables and external drivers are literally changing each day, so it’s vital that you run frequent forecasts and react swiftly to any projected cash issues as they become apparent.

    Use the latest cashflow forecasting apps 

    Cashflow forecasting apps, like Futrli, integrate with your Xero accounts, giving a drilled-down view of how your cash inflows and outflows will pan out over the coming months – information that will inform and justify the decisions you make during these extremely challenging times.

    Explore the right revenue streams

    Most sectors will have seen their face-to-face sales drop to absolute zero since quarantine restrictions came into place. To overcome this, there’s a real imperative to explore revenue streams and new opportunities for income. An example of this is coffee shops that now sell roasted beans online (this will depend on lockdown restrictions). The idea is to find ways to increase the money that’s coming in the door and balance out your unavoidable expenses.

    Get proactive with cost-cutting

    If you can reduce cash outflows to a minimum, that will have a real impact on the health of your future cashflow. Pare back your operations and aim to reduce things like unnecessary software subscriptions, or over-ordering of basic supplies. Negotiating cheaper rates with suppliers, if possible, will also help.

    Review your staffing needs

    Now’s not the time to make anyone redundant, but you can look at ways to reduce the costs of staffing and resourcing. Reducing working hours or redeploying staff in different roles are all options that reduce payroll costs, while also looking after your staff’s welfare.

    Run a variety of scenarios

    Changing the financial drivers in your forecast model allows you to scenario-plan different strategies and options. Many of these will be in a long-term plan when restrictions ease. Scenario-planning lets you answer questions and will give you some hard evidence on which to base your decision-making and strategic outlook over the coming months.

    Look at various ways to access funding

    If forecasts show a giant cashflow hole coming up, you’re going to need additional funding to get through this crisis. We can assist your business to investigate funding opportunities from grants, banks, loan providers, alternative lenders and crowd-sourcing funders.

    Forcasting is an important step to give you the business intelligence to support your decision making.

    Talk to us about setting up cashflow forecasting.  Get in touch.

    Keeping your cashflow strong in tough times

    Keeping your cashflow strong in tough times

    Keeping your cashflow strong in tough times

    Small businesses are particularly vulnerable in tough economic times.

    When sales are slow, there are still overheads and salaries that need to be sorted. Pre-planning and being proactive can help you weather tighter economic periods and allow you to continue to thrive.

    Make sure you have a clear picture of your payroll, and any other planned expenses that will need to be accounted for.

    If there’s even a possibility that there could be a shortfall, it’s essential to meet this head-on. Whether this means talking to your supplier or creditors to figure out an arrangement, or compromising on other business outgoings, you must make a plan to ensure that the business, or your staff, won’t suffer.

    Minimise the stress of cash-flow

    Invoice early

    Send any invoices that you can, and in advance if possible. Perhaps consider whether you have any regular clients or customers that you could offer a retainer or similar deal to if they book services or make a purchase from you in advance.

    Chase payment 

    Use this opportunity to chase up any outstanding payments. Strong communication and relationships matter - talk to clients and chase invoices.

    Talk to suppliers​​​​​

    A little honesty can go a long way. Perhaps they can extend a line of credit for your payments to them. In most cases, a good supplier would rather offer a little flexibility to keep an ongoing business relationship.

    Review Inventory

    Can you find a cheaper supplier locally to avoid the shipping costs or discuss alternative products that allow you to reduce expenses?

    Review your costs

    It’s also a good idea to do a general review of expenses. Business costs can creep up, and it’s a great idea to make a time to check on your expenses regularly, no matter what your financial situation. Review all of your regular payments and subscriptions as well as upcoming costs. There may be travel, functions or purchases which you can decide on an alternative approach to.

    Talk to the bank or inland revenue

    If cashflow is tight, make sure you have conversations early so you have everything in place to see you through.

    Need help? We can help you implement strategies to protect your business for the long terms and help you alleviate cashflow worries.  Get in touch.

    social distancing

    Social distancing: Running effective online meetings

    Social distancing: Running effective online meetings

    In unprecedented times, businesses must adapt to remain productive. If face-to-face meetings are a key part of your daily business operation, here are some tips to take your meetings online with minimal disruption.

    Find the best system for you

    There's a range of free or low-cost platforms, including GoToMeeting, ezTalks,, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and TeamViewer.

    Before you choose one, consider:

    • How many people generally attend your meetings?
    • Do you require screen share functionality?
    • How many meetings do you run? (If it’s a lot, a small monthly subscription may pay off due to better functionality)

    Schedule your meeting

    Depending on your chosen system, consider how you schedule your online meetings. It may be that you include a link generated by your system into an email calendar invitation. However you do it, make it easy for your meeting attendees to be reminded of the meeting and access the meeting at the time.

    Check your tech

    Do you need a webcam (usually built into laptops) or an audio headset? These are a must for any online meeting. Communicate the need for this technology to your meeting attendees, and if required consider completing a quick online tech-check before the first meeting.

    Set a clear agenda

    Like any face-to-face meeting, you’ll need a well-structured agenda to follow. You’ll also need to specify the time a length of the meeting, and respect this. Decide who will take minutes, define the next steps, and if appropriate - BAMFAM (Book a meeting, from a meeting).

    Does it need a meeting?

    These unfortunate times act as a friendly reminder that some meetings can be emails. Consider using free tools such as Loom to document a longer and more engaging message in a video to send via email. The recipient can view the video multiple times before responding, resulting in a more considered reply.

    Online meetings have been a great tool for global businesses for some time; maybe it’s time for your business to adopt online meetings as part of social distancing. They also create capacity for you to do other, more productive, things through reduced time spent travelling to face-to-face meetings.

    covid-19 advice for employers

    Covid-19 Advice for Employers

    Covid-19 Advice for Employers

    Employers are facing unprecedented changes to the way of working, and many employers are having to do this with little or no preparation for such adversity.

    The Fair Work Ombudsman has updated their information on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws to provide advice to employers on managing the situation. The advice is general in nature and reminds employers that the usual provisions of the Fair Work Act apply.

    It is important to note that the Fair Work Act does not have specific provisions or rules for a situation like this, that has such an unforeseen effect on business and employers.

    Employers and employees need to come to their own arrangements. Employers must communicate with employees what their policies will be in this situation, making sure that they are lawful within the Fair Work Act provisions.

    The Fair Work Ombudsman provides guidance on many topics including:

    • Health and safety in the workplace.
    • Directing employees to stay away from the workplace.
    • Quarantine and self-isolation.
    • Working from home.
    • Casual employees and independent contractors.
    • Redundancy and reduction of hours.

    Essential Information for Employers

    There is a great deal of information being published, and we encourage you to stay updated with the official websites.

    What you need to do

    We suggest you write a policy and plan for the business management of Covid-19 and provide this to employees as soon as possible. This should include guidance on working from home, productivity measures and expectations, personal hygiene, workplace safety, flexible working, user access to relevant tools and technology, leave policies, online security and safety, team communications, as well as any procedures or policies relevant to your business and industry in this situation.

    Remember, stay safe and maintain connection and communication with your employees throughout this challenging time.

    Need help navigating the support packages available?

    Talk to us. We are here to help.

    Gift cards

    Gift cards and vouchers now have three year expiry

    Gift cards and vouchers now have three year expiry

    Gift vouchers can be a great way to attract customers, maximise marketing campaigns and increase sales - so long as you don’t get caught out by the new rules.

    Does your business offer gift cards or vouchers? If so, new laws came into effect on 1 November 2019, which you'll need to adopt. Gift cards and vouchers issued on or after 1 November 2019 must meet the new requirements of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

    New Gift Card Laws

    • Mandatory minimum expiry period of three years from the date of issue.
    • The actual expiry date must be listed on the card; alternatively, the supply date and expiry period, for example, “Valid for 3 years from 11/02/2020”.
    • Post-purchase fees are no longer allowed. Payment processing fees may be allowed, however activation, top-up, account keeping or balance enquiry fees are not.

    There are some situations in which the new requirements don’t apply, for example if the card can be topped up, if it is part of a temporary marketing promotion or if it is donated free of charge for promotions. Visit ACL New Gift Card Laws webpage for full details.

    If you have not met the new requirements on vouchers issued since 1 November, the new laws will still apply even if the actual voucher does not. Customers will be able to redeem the voucher within the three-year expiry regardless of what is stated on the voucher. Gift cards and vouchers issued before 1 November 2019 have the same expiry period and conditions of purchase as at the time of purchase.

    What Next?

    1. Review your gift voucher terms and conditions.
    2. Update your printed and online vouchers and related marketing material.
    3. Check the information published on your website and social media.
    4. Make sure your internal processes and point-of-sale systems are brought up to date and remember to tell your staff of the changes.
    top 8 things to outsource

    Top 8 things to outsource in your business

    Top 8 things to outsource in your business

    If you’re looking to scale your business, you’ll need to spend more time working on it than in it. Finding ways to leverage your time is critical, and outsourcing your least favourite tasks is a great way to do this.

    Things you should consider outsourcing in your business:

    1. Payroll

    This task is best left to the professionals. Outsourcing payroll will minimise the risk of inadvertently getting it wrong, while saving you time and, most likely, reducing the cost of this task. Utilising a payroll product is another great option.

    2. Bookkeeping

    Do bookkeeping tasks often infiltrate your evenings or weekends? Does the stress of these tasks piling up occupy your mind? Outsourcing these tasks (and the stress) to someone else can be liberating and cost-effective.

    3. Virtual CFO

    If you find budgeting and forecasting a struggle, a virtual CFO can wear this important hat for you. They’ll monitor the financial health of your business and provide a fresh perspective which will help you make better strategic decisions and improve your results.​​​​

    4. Digital Marketing

    From your content strategy to your social media accounts, if this is not a strength of yours, outsource it! There are many freelancers who have multiple clients at this level, who’ll likely be more knowledgeable regarding SEO and much more effective and efficient in general.

    5. Graphic Design

    Your brand is a key reflection of your product offering. If you don’t have the skill, software and time to do this well, you’ll potentially damage your brand.

    6. Scheduling and administrative tasks

    A Virtual Assistant can help you manage anything from your appointments to flights, emails and beyond (virtually anything admin). At a lower level, consider adopting software that’ll automate or minimise processes, such as self-booking appointment apps where your clients can schedule a meeting with you, e.g. Calendly.

    7. Customer feedback

    Many businesses miss this valuable opportunity to connect with customers and improve their experience. A Virtual Assistant can help, but there are also apps (such as Ask Nicely) that automate the process of asking for feedback; directing happy responses to leave you Google reviews and negative responses back to you to quickly resolve!

    8. Inventory management

    Too much stock can cause cashflow issues and affect sales price (due to resulting discounting), but not enough equals lost sales. Outsourcing inventory management can help you minimise stock-carrying costs and allow you to focus on more important things.

    While outsourcing takes a little bit of setting up, it’s worth the short-lived pain for massive gain. We don’t have to be jacks of all trades. In fact, this thinking often leads to begrudgingly doing many things poorly rather than doing a few things really well – and enjoying doing them.

    Tempted to start outsourcing some of your tasks to free up your time? We can help by taking the first three roles off your hands! We work with a number of our clients in this way, allowing them to focus on what they do best.

    Work to your strengths, outsource the rest! Need help? Get in touch.

    Colourful abacus on white background

    Understanding Your Balance Sheet

    Understanding Your Balance Sheet

    To understand the financial position of a business at a specific point of time, look at the balance sheet. The balance sheet may also be called the statement of financial position. Together with the Profit and Loss Statement, and possibly other reports such as the Statement of Cash-flow, these reports provide a complete understanding of the financial position and business performance.

    So what’s involved?

    The balance sheet has three sections: assets, liabilities and equity.

    What are Assets?

    Assets are things and resources that a company owns. They have current and/or future value and can be measured in currency.

    Assets may be subdivided on the balance sheet into bank accounts, current assets, (receivable within one year), fixed assets, inventory, non-current (or long term) assets, intangible assets and prepayments.

    These include banks and other financial accounts held, accounts receivable (trade debtors), supplier deposits or bonds, stock on hand, property, equipment, vehicles, investments and intellectual property. All of these can be translated into monetary value.

    What are Liabilities?

    Liabilities are amounts owed to suppliers and other creditors for goods or services already received. Liabilities may also include amounts received in advance for future services yet to be provided by the business.

    Liabilities are generally subdivided into current, (payable within one year), and non-current liabilities.

    These include accounts payable (trade creditors), payroll obligations (salaries, taxes, superannuation), interest, customer deposits received, warranties and loans.

    What is Equity?

    Equity includes owner funds contributed, drawings, retained earnings and stocks. The value of the equity equals assets minus liabilities.

    Transactions that affect profit and loss accounts also affect balance sheet accounts. For example, providing a service increases the accounts receivable balance, which therefore increases the equity.

    The Balance Sheet Equation

    The balance sheet must always balance! Asset value = liabilities + equity.

    For example, if you buy a new vehicle for the business at say $50,000, having paid a $10,000 deposit and taking out a $40,000 loan, the value of fixed assets increases by $50k, but the bank asset value decreases by the $10k deposit paid. The value of liabilities increases by $40k loan, thus leaving the balance sheet balanced on both sides of the equation.

    The balance sheet equation shows you how much money you would have left over if you paid all your bills and debts and sold all your assets at a given date. This amount is the Owner’s Equity.

    Note that the balance sheet equity total is not necessarily how much the business is worth at market value. Assets are listed on the balance sheet at their transaction value, which may be very different from the market value. Some assets may be worth more, and others may depreciate in value. Business value is calculated not just on the balance sheet figures but many other factors.

    Need more information?

    Talk to us. Get the complete picture of your business performance and financial position, regardless of what stage of business you are at.

    Contact us here.

    Modern award annualised salary changes

    Modern award annualised salary changes

    Recent changes made by the Fair Work Commission mean that you need to review employment agreements to ensure they are compliant with the award requirements.

    The Fair Work Commission (FWC) late last year has varied a number of modern awards that include annualised salary provisions. The decision has also introduced the provision for annualised salaries into some other awards for the first time.

    Whilst the actual specifics of the annualised salary provisions vary per award, there are some significant changes that affect all award terms in relation to annualised salaries. - We can help with the red tape.

    What is an Annualised Salary?

    Some awards permit employees to be paid an annual salary that covers all payments such as allowances, penalty rates and overtime. For many employers and employees, this has been a flexible and practical solution to avoid the need for timesheets and extra payroll administration.

    The important changes

    The changes may affect the ease and efficiency of your current payroll administration, as there are now extra records required for all employees paid an annual salary under an award provision. Note: this does not affect employees with a common law employment contract.

    • The agreement or arrangement must document the specific provisions of the award that are addressed.
    • The agreement must include reference to overtime or other penalty rates the employee would otherwise be paid, specified as an ‘outer limit’, or maximum number of such hours to be worked in each pay period. Outer limits must be specified separately for overtime and hours that would be subject to a penalty or loading.
    • Records of hours worked (and unpaid breaks) must be kept for each pay period and signed by the employee.
    • The employee must be paid for any extra hours that exceed the ‘outer limits’ as defined in the annual salary agreement.
    • Check the relevant award to see if an employment agreement is required. In some awards the employer can implement an annual salary arrangement without an employee agreement.
    • Document the calculation of the annual salary according to the requirements of the award. It is vital that the calculation shows that the employee is receiving at least as much as if they were paid according to the award hourly rates, including all wages, allowances, penalties, overtime and loadings. This will require breaking down the salary into its separate components.
    • Employer and employee must complete an annual salary review on the anniversary of the agreement or arrangement.

    What you need to do now

    1. Make sure you are aware of the applicable modern award and check the annualised salary provisions.
    2. Check that the current annualised salary arrangements meet the new requirements of the award.
    3. Document the calculation as per the award conditions.
    4. Update existing agreements or implement new ones as needed.

    The new provisions came into effect on 1 March 2020. Employers need to review all existing agreements for annualised salaries as soon as possible.

    You will also need to consider the impact of the new requirements on your payroll administration and software.

    There are many payroll software add-ons that can help to make administration easier if your current software does not have the required record-keeping tools built in.

    understanding your profit and loss statement

    Understanding your profit and loss statement

    Understanding your profit and loss statement

    Your profit and loss statement (P&L) helps you understand your business performance and profitability over time. It’s sometimes called an Income statement and its main purpose is to list income and expenditure.

    Whereas a balance sheet is a snapshot in time, the P&L shows transactions over a specific period of time. This can be a month, quarter, financial year or any other period, and it can be a stand-alone report or a comparative period report.

    Together with the balance sheet, these two reports provide a comprehensive understanding of the financial position and performance of a business.

    The profit and loss statement has two main sections: income and expenses.

    These may be further subdivided depending on the complexity of the business and reporting requirements.

    Income or Revenue

    Income primarily includes main business activities such as sale of goods or services. Other income such as interest received, capital gains or income from secondary business activities is also reported.


    Expenses are usually divided into two sections: direct costs, or cost of goods sold, and expenses. Cost of goods are those that are directly linked to the provision of services or sale of goods. For example, if you buy widgets from a wholesaler and sell them at a marked-up value, the cost of the widgets is a direct cost, not an overhead expense.

    Other types of direct costs might be importing and freight costs, contractor costs or certain equipment. Some direct costs are fixed, that is, they are the same from month to month, or they could be a fixed percentage of sales; others vary in value but are still related to the income producing activities.

    Overhead expenses are all the other expenses required to run the business, regardless of the level of income: for example, rent, utilities, bank fees, bookkeeping fees, professional development costs, vehicle costs and staff costs. Many of these costs form the basis of working out your break-even point, or how much it costs just to open the doors for business.

    There are some expenses which may be reported as a direct cost in one business but an indirect cost in another type of business, for example, merchant fees or contractor costs.

    The Bottom Line

    Total income minus total expenses results in the net profit (or loss), is often called ‘the bottom line’. Often business owners are just interested in looking at the bottom line, but a true financial picture requires an understanding of several reports and an ability to see the big picture that the reports are illustrating.

    The P&L is a vital tool to analyse for trends over time

    • What does your P&L tell you about relationships and ratios between sales and expenses, seasonal changes and annual trends?
    • Have all your direct costs been allocated correctly?
    • Have you recouped all billable expenses from customers?

    Financial statements help you understand the big picture for your business. With deeper understanding of your business operations and performance you can make informed decisions about your business finances.

    Are you playing the growth game

    Are you playing in the growth game?

    Are you playing in the growth game?

    What’s your business growth looking like and where were you 12 months ago compared to today?

    If you haven’t given it much thought it is probably because you’re always stuck in the day-to-day operations. But it is worth spending some dedicated time to do some reflecting and planning.

    Growth doesn’t need to mean more risk, more hours and more headaches. To be successful, you first need to identify where the opportunities for growth are in your business and industry. Then establish what you and your team are going to have to do in order to maximise these opportunities – and navigate the likely obstacles you’re going to have to climb over.

    Here are a couple of tips to get you thinking about growth:

    Do an audit to document your growth over time

    Analyse all the information you have to understand how you got to where you are right now. This will help you to plan for future growth.

    Put a one page plan together

    Include the big objectives and what you’ll realistically need to do in order to achieve them. (identify the tasks and people)

    Establish some key performance indicators

    Keep the momentum up and visit these regularly to ensure you’re on track.

    As a business owner, it’s really tempting to try and do it alone, but you can get bogged down in the demands of day-to-day business. The truth is that you need to take time out of the business to get some much needed perspective. We can help build your business plan and identify the steps you’ll need to achieve it.

    Business growth can be perceived as something scary, but when you have a plan and it’s done right, it can be empowering and rewarding.

    With a bit of planning, the right systems, people and resources, there is tremendous opportunity to grow and scale your business to the next level to hit your growth targets.

    We can help you get started.

    Contact us here.

    egain control of your business

    Regain control of your business

    Regain control of your business

    Not all business owners want to grow their business. Some may just want more control. After all, your business is there to serve you; you shouldn’t be a slave to it. So, how do you regain that much needed control?

    There are three essential tools all businesses must have:

    1. An annual Business Plan.
    2. An annual forecast.
    3. Ongoing reporting and accountability.
    The annual Business Plan​

    Your Business Plan shouldn’t be a lengthy document living in a dusty drawer. It should be on one page and displayed somewhere highly visible so you can review it regularly.

    Best developed using an independent facilitator, your Business Plan should articulate exactly what you want from your business; the hours you want to work, the holidays you want to take, and the income you need.

    You’ll identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor, vulnerabilities to manage, and opportunities to act upon. You’ll set no more than four key goals for the year, breaking these down into quarterly goals with clear actions to complete in order to achieve them.

    The annual forecast

    Your forecast will record how cash must flow throughout the year to give you what you want from your business. Too often business owners only create a forecast because the bank has requested one.

    The forecast will highlight your business's weaknesses, when cashflow problems might arise, and how you need to manage your business financially to achieve the goals in your Business Plan. Don’t wait for your bank to request a forecast; it’s an essential tool to ensure the success of your business every year.

    Ongoing reporting and accountability

    The value lies in the implementation of your Business Plan and annual forecast. Constantly reviewing your progress against your targets is crucial. Ongoing reporting allows you to track actual results against your forecast to ensure progress towards your goals.

    The best way to ensure you don’t fail to implement the plan is to be held accountable by someone independent. Every business owner needs a coach. A great coach will work with you to get a result better than you could achieve on your own. They’ll uncover the root causes of problems in your business and empower you to do better. Most importantly, they’ll hold you accountable to getting the important stuff done.

    There are no magic bullets to business success. All businesses need these three tools.

    Get in touch to discuss how we can work together - to help you regain control of your business.

    “Dreams x Goals x Plans x Actions = Your success” - Brad Sugars

    Contact us here.

    be do have

    Be, Do, Have

    Be, Do, Have

    Our success in life depends largely on our mindset. Those who wait until conditions are perfect are unlikely to achieve their goals as they’re always waiting for the right time and never take that first step.

    There are three small words whose order can heavily influence the outcomes we achieve: be, do, and have.

    After deciding on your goals, the next step is to consider who you need to be in order to achieve your goals, rather than what you need to do.

    Compare the following sentences:

    “When I have a more profitable business, I’ll do great things with my family and be a great partner and parent… first I need to work a bit harder to sort out my business and finish these projects, then everything will fall into place.”

    “In order to be a great partner and parent, I need to work smarter so I can have more time with my family.”

    Now, if this resonates with you, how can you work smarter?

    When you focus on who you need to be first, you’ll start to prioritise doing things in a way which is consistent with that role. The things you’ll have as a result become the bi-product of who you are. In contrast, if we wait to achieve what we think we must have in order to be a better person, we risk never changing our habits.

    So, who do you really want to be?

    Start being that person today. Think like that person, speak like that person, and act like that person.

    Let the be drive what you do from now on. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll get what you want (the have).

    Do you need perspective on how you can work smarter? We can help!

    “You’ve got to be before you can do, and do before you can have.” - Zig Ziglar

    Contact us here.

    woman working remotely from home

    Introducing remote working?

    Introducing remote working?

    70% of professionals work remotely at least once a week, according to a study by serviced office provider IWG. Remote working has become more and more common as developments in technology have allowed us to communicate and collaborate no matter where we are. In fact, most of us are already logging on from home or holiday.

    Remote work is on the rise, and it’s challenging traditional ideas about where and when work should take place. Offering flexibility to your staff can be a valuable tool to both attract new talent and retain your existing team. Make sure you’ve set up the systems to support this way of working.

    Remote work has many benefits for a business. Introducing remote working can mean that you retain employees through a change in their circumstances, for example, becoming a parent or relocating to a different part of the country. When you’re recruiting, the ability to offer an entirely remote position can mean that you’re suddenly able to consider candidates from across the country, rather than limiting yourself to one area, or to people who are in the position to be able to relocate.

    So what do you consider before introducing remote working?

    When you’re working with a distributed team, communication is key, and as the employer, it’s your job to provide the resources and systems to make this happen. Typically, these might include:

    • Laptops and other tech as required
    • Guidelines around the use of public wifi for business critical activities to ensure you protect sensitive business information
    • Compensation if an employee is using their home internet connection
    • A way to stay in touch with the team, beyond email. Platforms like Slack are great for team communication
    • Guidelines around how often and in what way the entire team will catch up
    • Project management tools that are accessible for every worker

    With these essentials in place, the biggest factor in making remote work a success is workplace culture. Consider up-skilling your management team to make sure they are ready to support your remote staff or even to give them the skills to allow them to do their roles remotely.

    Remote working can be isolating for an individual and sometimes the meaning in email and text can be lost so it is important to factor in a regular face-to-face meeting or video conference to bring coworkers together, enable mutual understanding and to build the team culture.

    If you’re planning on introducing remote working to your team, make sure you have strong communication channels, and robust systems to support your flexible workers.

    Talk to us about how we can help.

    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.

    looking after yourself - a walking meeting

    Looking after yourself as a small business owner

    Looking after yourself as a small business owner?

    As a small business owner, do you find looking after yourself a challenge?

    Owning and working in a small business can eat up all your spare time. Exercise or time for yourself is often the first thing that is abandoned to fit in the many other things you have to do in a day. And while many of us finish the year with lofty goals for exercise in the new year, these lofty goals can be hard to achieve.

    Is this you?

    Here’s an idea… 

    Instead of setting goals that are vague and big, set smaller more specific goals that are much easier to achieve.

    Make a point of getting outside every single day and getting ‘a little’ exercise. It doesn’t have to be a gym membership, a bootcamp or going running.

    Even just a walk around the block will be a step in the right direction!

    A study in the journal Preventive Medicine found that just by minimising sedentary activities, and replacing some of them with light-intensity activities can achieve benefits for your health.

    Easy actions

    So start small and stick to it. Soon you’ll be benefiting from the short time away from work, more time to think, and the fresh air.

    • Start walking - Walking has multiple health benefits both physical and mental. Find out about walking groups in your area or join a friend a couple of days a week.
    • Take the stairs rather than the lift - When the option is there to take the stairs, use them.
    • Replace your daily drive with a bike ride - If your exercise is part of your daily commute it becomes integrated in your day rather than another thing to achieve.
    • Walk ‘further’ to the office - if biking is not an option perhaps you could park a bit further away from the office or get off public transport one stop earlier.
    • Go out for coffee - You may not achieve it every day, but if you find a great coffee shop a couple of blocks away, you'll have a reward to look forward to.

    For a healthy lifestyle, the adult recommendation is at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on five or more days per week. This will not only increase your quality of life but also your sense of wellbeing.

    Team developing great leadership

    Developing great leadership

    Developing great leadership to scale your business

    There are several aspects of successfully scaling up your business one being having comprehensive systems. Another being developing great leadership.

    Have you heard the quote,

    “What got you here won’t get you there”?

    These are wise words (and the title of a book we encourage you to read!) are from Marshall Goldsmith.

    When choosing to scale your business many leaders focus on their systems and teams, which is important. But you should also focus on scaling yourself.

    Developing great leadership

    Most reasons why businesses fail, directly and indirectly, point to leadership failure.

    From poor planning to poor hiring, poor communication to poor process, poor capacity to poor execution - most things can be fixed with great leadership.

    Scaling the business will make new demands on a leader’s time and attention. And it’s critical that these are both focused on the right things:

    1. Planning

    Setting a clear vision and relevant business goals. Having a regularly reviewing progress. And resetting goals to drive performance improvement.

    2. Inspiring

    Motivating others to achieve more than before. Showing them their potential to make an impact.

    3. Empowering

    Enabling your team to find their own solutions by guiding them with your support, trust and encouragement.

    4. Culture

    Demonstrating allegiance to your team and standing for the business’s core values.

    5. Innovating

    Continuous improvement in people, product, and process.

    6. Personal growth

    Developing and supporting your future leaders with mentoring and guidance.

    Great leadership is about influencing others in the direction of a common goal.

    While there can only be one leader of a business, there are different areas that need individual leaders. People can lead multiple areas initially. But, as the business grows, look to empower others. Delegate the leadership of some areas to ‘leaders in training’.

    On a scale from 1 to 10, how well do you rate your performance on the above six categories?

    Where can you scale your leadership?

    If you need help? Get in touch.

    “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” - Ralph Nader
    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!

    Fresh Start Effect

    Use the Fresh Start Effect

    Use the Fresh Start Effect to achieve positive change

    Have you heard of the Fresh Start Effect?

    Around the world, people usually start each new year by setting goals and making positive changes. 

    The reason that the new year can be such a great time to make changes is that the date provides a clear ‘temporal landmark’. Temporal landmarks give us an opportunity to step back, survey our lives and figure out what things we’d like to tweak.

    At new year, we set goals to harness the energy of a resolution and create what’s known as the Fresh Start Effect.

    It is important, however, to make sure that you understand what you’re trying to achieve, and create goals that are more likely to succeed.

    Making changes or starting something new is easier with these techniques:

    Making a public commitment

    Announce your new goal on social media. If your friends and family get behind your goal, you’re more likely to be accountable and more likely to succeed.

    Join a group

    If you want to pick up a sport, start a new hobby, or pick give something up, consider joining a group. Again, this is a great way to create accountability. If you’re worried about letting down other people, you’re more likely to commit or show up!

    Be specific

    When you’re setting goals, be exact. If you want to make your business more efficient, know what this means in practice. For example, implementing the right apps to help automate some of your core processes requires research about what is going to suit your business the most. Set your goal with dates and times in mind about what you're going to research and when. And put them into your calendar.

    Talk to us about automation

    If your Fresh Start for 2020 involves implementing automation, talk to us. We can review you business processes and identify the automation opportunities, helping you choose the best apps to drive your business efficiently.

    Contact us here.

    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.


    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.


    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.

    Finding the balance

    Finding the balance

    Looking for a little more work-life balance?

    Sometimes it seems impossible when you are in the thick of it. The following ideas might help provide some light at the end of the tunnel.


    Work often dictates to us, rather than the other way around. Create a list of all the things that need doing and categorise them. For example, work out the tasks that are ‘important but not urgent’ and ‘urgent but not important’. Task or project management tools like Trello can simplify your workload and and help to prioritise your time.


    Letting go can be an opportunity for others in the team to shine. Alternatively, bring in a contractor to help clear the load and you may find they bring in new ideas, create opportunities or streamline the process. Don’t limit yourself to what’s on at work - think about what would help at home too, such as a meal kit delivery to simplify the end of the day.

    Book it in the diary

    We are all guilty of putting off an exercise class or a coffee catch up because work takes over. These events are important for your mental and physical health and may give you space for creative thought or the ability to think with more clarity. Plus, you’ll return to work feeling more productive. Book it in and consider joining a group so you are more committed to turning up!

    Use the technology to help you

    ‘Always on’ technology such as smart phones are designed to make life easier but we’ve ended up busier than ever. So choose the apps and tools that can reduce the stress. Whether it’s for communication and meetings, or your filing and accounting. An app could save you time and allow you to get on with other things - read more on apps. We can help with the right accounting software solution to reduce the paperwork.

    Share with your network

    Are there individuals in your network who face the same challenges or can help you achieve your goals? Set up a monthly breakfast to catch up, support and learn from each other. You’ll go back to work with new inspiration.

    Do what you love

    At the end of the day, your work is ‘part of’ your life not separate from it, so if you enjoy it, you’ll feel you have more ‘balance’.

    Get in touch to talk about how we can help you achieve balance in your business.
    Business man with umbrella what is the forecast

    What’s in the forecast?

    What’s in the forecast?

    When we set out on a fishing trip or hike, we always check the weather forecast.

    It’s no different in business. The forecast tells us if there’s bad weather (poor cashflow) in store based on the direction we’re heading.

    Your forecast will tell you:

    • 1
      Whether you have enough sales in the pipeline to give you the desired level of profit you want for the year.
    • 2
      Whether your margins are appropriate.
    • 3
      If you need to review your pricing or production processes.
    • 4
      If your business is running as efficiently as it could be.
    • 5
      Where savings can be made.
    • 6
      Whether you should invest more to get a better return.
    • 7
      How much money you need to set aside for tax.
    • 8
      How much money you can draw out of the business each month without running short.
    • 9
      How much debt you’ll be able to pay off.
    • 10
      Whether or not you will be able to meet all of the bank’s requirements.

    The difference between a business forecast and a weather forecast is that, when the business forecast is showing bad weather, you can do something about it to make the sun come out. The forecast will tell you what’s going well and what’s not, so you can make adjustments to reduce the impact of bad weather.

    Just as you wouldn’t go fishing without checking the forecast, you shouldn’t run your business without an annual forecast. So, don’t live in your raincoat, waiting to get soaked - take control and talk to us about getting your forecast done so you know what to expect.

    “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” - Alan Lakein

    We’re here to help you, every step along the way. Get in touch!

    Collect your debtors faster

    Collect your debtors faster

    Did you know that you still have to pay tax on your debtors, even if you haven’t yet collected them?

    This is because you pay tax on your sales figures, whether you’ve collected the cash or not.

    So, how do you collect your debtors faster?

    • 1
      Agree your payment terms at the time of sale
    • 2
      Ensure your customer signs your Terms of Trade before you start the job
    • 3
      Include a guarantee in your payment terms
    • 4
      Invoice as quickly as you can
    • 5
      Ask for a deposit prior to starting the job
    • 6
      Change your payment terms to within 7 days of invoice or on delivery
    • 7
      Send statements religiously at the start of the month
    • 8
      Have someone other than the owner be responsible for collection of debtors
    • 9
      Document any changes to your standard payment terms in writing
    • 10
      Use an integrated payment gateway app
    • 11
      Don’t provide credit to customers who’ve been late payers in the past, and don’t offer more credit to customers with outstanding payments

    Don’t procrastinate on your debtors. Establish clear payment terms and ensure you stick to them.

    Need help finding an integrated payment gateway app to suit your business? We can help. Get in touch!

    “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.” – Anon

    Need help finding an integrated payment gateway app to suit your business? We can help.

    Choosing a new business bank account?

    Choosing a new business bank account?

    A business bank account is an essential requirement for any business. But with so many banking providers out there, how do you know which business account to choose?

    The key is to know what you require from a bank account, and to choose a bank that understands the banking, financial and funding needs of your business.

    Choosing an account that fits your business needs

    Whether you’re a new sole trader or an established limited company, it’s advisable to maintain a clear divide between your personal and business money. So it’s vital to open a business bank account, giving you a separate account to handle your business transactions.

    The choice of available accounts can be baffling, with the big corporate banks and high-street providers offering a range of accounts, and new digital challenger banks also adding to the available options for business owners.

    When looking for a business account, consider:

    • Bank charges – some banks offer free banking, others will charge you a monthly fee. And most accounts will charge you for things like cash withdrawals, payments in foreign currencies and going into (or over) your agreed overdraft limit.
    • Earning interest – look at the interest rate paid on the balance in your account. The higher the interest percentage, the more money you’ll earn on the cash in your account. The rate is unlikely to be high, but it’s still worth assessing the potential for a return.
    • Overdraft facilities – cashflow can ebb and flow in any business, so an agreed overdraft facility can often be a lifesaver when cash becomes tight. Look at what overdraft is available and what you’ll pay in penalties if you exceed the agreed limit.
    • Access to finance – if working capital gets exceptionally low then you may need to borrow a lump sum of money. If the bank has attractive options for bank loans, invoice financing or asset financing, that gives you and your business more flexibility.
    • Mobile apps and technology – digital is changing the banking sector at an incredible pace, so look at the quality and functionality of the banks internet banking, mobile banking apps and online financial management tools. Many of the emerging challenger banks are digital-only and offer a great online experience for business users.
    • Support and relationship management – the big banks have cut back their bricks and mortar presence on the high street in recent years. Look at whether you’d have access to a business banking adviser, or whether support is all online or done over the phone. A good relationship with your bank is invaluable when cashflow is tight.

    Talk to us about selecting your ideal bank account

    If you’re in the market for a new business bank account, come and talk to us. We’ll help you understand the key requirements you need from your account, and the banking providers that are most suited to delivering the right flexibility for your business.

    We’re here to help you, every step along the way. Get in touch!

    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.


    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.

    Photo of light bulb with INTEGRITY conceptual words isolated on white

    Hold me accountable or else what?

    Hold me accountable or else what?

    Most business owners understand that the only way to ensure something gets done is to document what is expected, assign it to the right person, and set a due date. But what do you do if the task isn’t done? What are the consequences of this inaction?

    Think back to your school days when you had homework... 

    Maybe you were super organised and got stuck in as soon as the work was assigned, or perhaps you completed it on the school bus the morning it was due. Either way, why did you get it done? Chances are there were clear consequences set by your teacher if you didn’t complete it - a few whacks with a stick or a lunchtime detention – that’s what we call accountability and consequence.

    Unfortunately, many business owners forget these lessons from school. Sure, we set the tasks and actions, assign them to people and, if we’re really good, set a due date. From there, we so often forget to hold the person to account. Very rarely is there a consequence for the person responsible for the task. The consequence for the business owner, however, is ultimately a poorer performing business.

    Here’s seven rules to tighten up your accountability:

    • 1
      Ensure at the outset that everyone is clear about why the task is important.
    • 2
      Assign the task to the right person and be available to give support.
    • 3
      Be specific and crystal clear with all communication. Remember, they don’t know what they don’t know.
    • 4
      Ask them to repeat back the instructions, to ensure the message was interpreted correctly.
    • 5
      Set a realistic time-frame and provide delivery instructions and expectations.
    • 6
      Agree on consequences for inaction.
    • 7
      Have quick catch ups to check progress is on track.

    Now, ask yourself…

    What actions can I take to improve accountability and outcomes for my team? What changes or improvements do I need to make to my planning processes and reporting systems? And most importantly, who is the best person to hold me to account as a business owner? Accountability goes both ways, especially if you want to be an authentic and effective leader.

    "Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result."Bob Proctor.

    closing your business

    Closing your business

    Closing your business

    Are you consider closing your business? Or have you recently sold your business?

    If so, do you know what your obligations are regarding your accounts?

    If you are closing your business or the business has been sold, you need to get all the data entry up to date, for the final accounts to be completed by the accountant.

    This involves reconciling all the bank accounts, loan accounts and managing any outstanding invoices and bills.

    You also need to ensure all your employees final pays are processed.

    It’s important that your accountant has the details of everything to do with the business sale - the contract and settlement documents etc.

    If this sounds like a mammoth task we can help.

    As your bookkeeper, we will check if you or your accountant will be cancelling all your relevant registrations such as:

    • Cancelling company and business name through Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
    • Notifying the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
    • Cancelling Australian Business Number (ABN)
    • Cancelling other tax registrations such as Goods & Services Tax (GST)
    • Making GST adjustments on final activity statements
    • Lodging final tax returns
    • Looking at any insurance requirements for the business, such as run off cover (where you are insured for any legal claims that are made after you close your business)

    It’s really important that registrations are not cancelled without checking with your accountant first.

    Sometimes business goes bad

    Sometimes things go wrong, things that can be out of your control or can’t be helped, And the sad outcome of that is that businesses can go bad.

    It’s obviously a challenging time when this happens. So, it’s important to understand what is involved.

    Firstly, if you’re working with a bookkeeper and accountant, they can often identify when things aren’t going and can try to help you get your affairs in order. Unfortunately, sometimes this isn’t enough, and you have to call in the Liquidators.

    The liquidation process will be dependent on your business structure, there are differences in the process for sole traders and companies.

    The Liquidator will most likely contact your bookkeeper and accountant to obtain access financial records. Before providing any information, your bookkeeper and accountant should check that you are actually in liquidation. There are scammers out there. This is achieved by searching your company name or CAN on ASIC.

    If you are in liquidation, you should also be aware that, as a creditor, your bookkeeper and accountant will most likely only continue doing any further work for you if the Liquidator has authorised the work.

    As mentioned previously, liquidation is a challenging time. Understanding what is required of you and your bookkeeper can help ease the pain a bit.

    We’re here to help you, every step along the way. Get in touch!

    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

    Group of business people discuss building a better business.

    Building a Better Business in 10 Steps

    Building a Better Business in 10 Steps

    What are you doing to build yourself a more successful business? There’s no magic bullet, it’s about taking small steps every day to get a bit better than the day before - it all adds up. 

    You're in business

    Congratulations! That takes courage and commitment. It’s not easy, and at times you might find yourself questioning why you’re even doing it, but you’re here because you had a vision. You decided being in business was a better way to achieve that vision than working for someone else. And, you’re right; you just have to work on it. Good things come to people who hustle.

    Continuous development

    You’re likely an expert in what you do… maybe you’re a mechanic and know the inside of a car engine like the back of your hand. Or, maybe you’re a fashion retailer who can style anyone. This doesn’t mean you’re an expert at running your business though. It’s hard taking time out of working in your business to work on it. But doing this is essential for its success.

    There’s no magical overnight solution to building a more successful business. It’s about taking small steps every day to get a bit better than the day before.

    So, what should you do to build yourself a more successful business?

    We’ve broken it down into 10 essential steps:

    • 1
      Get clear on exactly what it is that you want
    • 2
      Be open to change and new learning
    • 3
      Define where you are now (warts and all)
    • 4
      Make a plan
    • 5
      Get your organisational structure right
    • 6
      Be a better leader
    • 7
      Be held accountable by someone independent
    • 8
      Build strong networks
    • 9
      Monitor your progress
    • 10
      Keep your well of happiness full

    These are the 10 most important things you should be working on to ensure you achieve your goals. Small, incremental changes can have a massive effect on your success.

    “Success isn’t overnight. It’s when every day you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.” - Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

    We’re here to help you, every step along the way. Get in touch!

    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. 

    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: 




    Below the line, BED, is defined as: 




    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.

    Become a digital business

    Become a digital business

    In the online, connected world that we now live in, it’s important for your business to become a digital business.

    Digital technology has revolutionised the options you have available as a small business. There are a wealth of cloud-based solutions and apps to help automate your admin, enhance your productivity, open up your business data and market the company online.

    Making the technology work for you

    Becoming a digital business isn’t about using technology for tech’s sake. It’s about seeing the huge value and potential of applying digital processes and software tools within the company.

    By moving your systems, processes and customer interactions over to digital, your small business can quickly become more streamlined, more efficient and more profitable. And with the ineffective elements of the business removed, you’re ready to grow, scale and expand.

    Key benefits of digital transformation include:

    Cloud accounting at the heart of the businesss

    Cloud accounting moves your bookkeeping and financial management online. This gives you access to your accounts, reporting and key performance indicators (KPIs) through your web browser, on any internet-ready device. You can literally run your finances, invoicing, credit control and bank reconciliation from anywhere with Wi-Fi. And that helps you keep in control of the numbers..

    Automation of low-level tasks

    The manual tasks involved in company admin begin to eat into your business time. Many digital business tools have elements of automation built in, to help you automate the key time-consuming tasks and become more efficient. Automated bookkeeping, automatic bank reconciliation and automated payment collection all put hours back in to the business and help you do more.

    Fintech and payments

    Keeping on top of your finances isn’t just about accounting. Financial technology (fintech) tools help you ensure that money is flowing into the business, cashflow is being managed sensibly. And online payments are being made, and collected, automatically – helping to maximise your financial health.

    Job management and productivity

    Planning and running your operations and project work can be tough. But with software project management and workflow apps connected up to your central system, you’re always on top of the workload and resourcing. Talk to us about which app would work in your business. 

    Digital marketing and social media

    Most consumers and business customers will begin a search for products/services online. So having a good website, a bold online presence and the right social media channels in place is vital for your sales and marketing strategy. By positioning your brand in the digital space, you make yourself relevant, easy to find and connected to your ideal customer base.

    If you’re planning a digital transformation process for your small business, come and talk to us. We’ll help you review your systems and processes, identify your key business needs and recommend the software tools and apps that will build your ideal digital system.

    Get in touch to start embracing the digital future.

    Supercharge your business

    Supercharge your business with these ten tips.

    Here are ten ways to make sure that you continue to drive through each business quarter with purpose, vision and the courage to super-charge your business.

    1. Elimi​​​​nate distractions

    Time is the scarcest resource and biggest killer for most businesses. Owners get distracted and focus too much time and energy on the wrong things. Be brave - slash standard meeting times, reduce unnecessary admin, delegate and cull.

    2. Saying goodbye to bad customers

    If possible in your business, get rid of ten time-wasters, bad payers, or customers who cause you pain. You will feel instant relief and spend your time better elsewhere.

    3. Invest More

    Having freed up time and headspace from deploying points one and two above, make sure you ring-fence time, key people, and money for some of the initiatives below. Redeploy with passion!

    4. Get a Plan

    You don't go on a journey without a map or any idea of where you're headed - so why fly blind with your business? Have a planning process, create a kick-arse plan - and execute.

    5. Reconfigure

    Don't let people who don't get it, won't get it, or don't care, be a millstone around your neck. If they're not right, do them a favour and free up their futures.

    6. Use Technology

    Decrease admin, improve comms, improve reporting and accountability through the use of the best apps. Slash paper and automate where possible.

    7. Value-add

    Don't do the same old, same old. Refocus on value-add, making a difference. You want to do work with impact, meaning, and value - yes?!

    8. Be Different

    Break the mould and position yourself to attract ambitious, growing and engaged clients, and employees.

    9. Deploy Marketing

    Create a simple marketing plan to increase reach and penetration. Set aside a percentage of fees to treat this seriously. Remember that clients are prospects are online too. Make sure that you engage online and incorporate this as a key part of your marketing plan.

    10. Ask for referrals

    Advertise, target, and look for referral relationships to drive good quality customers your way. They’re out there if you proactively seek them out.

    Good luck super-charging your business with th​ese ten tips!

    Getting your business records ready

    Getting your business records ready.

    There is a lot to deal with at the end of the financial year, so it's good business to get your 2019 records in order before you get stuck into the next tax year!

    What records do you need to have ready?

    • Have you bought or sold assets? If so, you need full details of acquisitions and disposals.
    • Have you taken out a new loan or other finance? You must have details of the finance arrangements and statements of monies owing at 30 June.
    • Check that any bonds or deposits paid or received have been allocated correctly.
    • Have you prepaid for insurance or other large business expenses that need to be apportioned to the following financial year? Make note of the portion applicable to the current financial year.
    • Do you carry stock? If so, did you perform a full stocktake at 30 June (unless you qualify for the simplified trading stock rules).
    • List any bad debts to be written off or pursued.
    • Do you have loans with related entities? You need to reconcile the loans to and from each entity to ensure the same value is reported in the accounts of both entities.
    • Ensure that all payments to company directors have been correctly captured.
    • Review your debtors and creditors (accounts payable and receivable). Is the list current and accurate?
    • If contact details of business owners and key personnel have changed let us and your accountants know.

    There may be other matters to discuss such as capital gains, vehicle usage, private usage apportionment or superannuation.

    Remember you need to keep all your business records for seven years, so store everything securely and where possible electronically for safety and ease.

    Talk to us today about how we can help you get your records ready for your accountant. 

    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.

    Scam Alert message

    Scam Alert – Payment re-direction

    Scam Alert - Payment re-direction

    As a business owner, high on your priority list is to protect your assets, employees, reputation and most importantly your customers.

    Unfortunately, in this highly technological advanced world, businesses are more and more vulnerable to the scams which can be presented in many forms and guises. It is the adverse effects from scams which can have a devastating effect on your most valuable assets.

    The damage done can be significant to your business, including financial and reputational. The scammers are capable of being manipulative in sophisticated forms without you even realising.

    You will have heard of many types of cons over the years, whether it be overpayment scams, or fake directories & advertising scams to phishing, malware and ransomware scams. The business world is full of them and there are more being formed daily.

    Let’s explore further into one of these scams and look at ways of protecting your business:

    Payment Redirection

    How this scam works

    • Scammers hack into your supplier email accounts and obtain information such as customer lists, bank details and previous invoices.
    • You receive an email, supposedly from a supplier, requesting an electronic transfer to a new or updated bank account.
    • The scammers either disguise their email address or create a new address that looks nearly identical. The emails may be bluffed by adding, removing, or subtly changing characters in the email address which makes it difficult to identify the scammer’s email from a genuine address.
    • The email may look to be from a genuine supplier and often include a copy of the suppliers business’s logo and message format. It may also contain links to websites that are convincing fakes of the real company’s homepage or links to the real homepage itself.
    • The scam email requests a change to usual billing arrangements and asks you to transfer money to a different account, usually by electronic transfer.
    • The scam is usually not detected until the business is alerted by complaints from genuine suppliers that they have not received payment.

    Protect Protect Protect

    • Implement effective management procedures in your business to prevent future scams. SCAM PROOF your BUSINESS.
    • Have a clearly defined process for verifying and paying accounts and invoices.
    • Consider a multi-person approval process for transactions over a certain dollar threshold.
    • Ensure your staff are aware of this scam and understand how it works so they can identify it, avoid it and report it. Share this article with them!
    • Double check email addresses - scammers can create a new account which is very close to the real one; if you look closely you can usually spot the fake.
    • DO NOT seek verification via email – you may be simply responding to the scammer’s email or scammers may have the capacity to intercept the email.
    • If you think a request is suspicious, pick up the phone and call your supplier.
    • DO NOT call any telephone number listed in the email; instead, use contact details that you already have on file for the business, or from an independent source.
    • DO NOT pay, give out or clarify any information about your business until you have investigated further.
    • Confirm that all your IT systems are up to date with security requirements. Perform regular security maintenance on your computer systems to ensure anti-virus, anti-spyware and your firewall are up to date.

    This is one headache that your business can do without!

    If you need help setting up these processes, feel free to contact us

    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,, 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.

    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.