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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

Credit Control

Keeping debt low through proactive credit control

Keeping debt low

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

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

Get effective with your credit control

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

To improve the efficiency of your credit control:

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

Talk to us about enhancing your credit control

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

Get in touch to improve your credit control.

Creating a watertight accounts receivable process

Creating a watertight accounts receivable process

In business, it doesn’t get much more important than making sure your customers pay you.

And accounts receivable is all about getting paid for the work you do – in business.

It’s not exciting, but it’s important.

The accounts receivable process covers every part of your payment lifecycle. From finding customers to communicating expectations to billing correctly to following up on late invoices.

Building an accounts receivable process

So, how do you to build an effective accounts receivable process in your business?

The right customers

First, you need to work with the right customers and clients.

Before taking on customers, make sure you run credit checks. It’s also important to have them sign written terms, including billing timeframes and late payment penalties.

If you are comfortable doing so, you can also ask clients to sign a personal guarantee. This gives you the option of suing for an unpaid debt.

Effective invoicing

It’s vital that you always send invoices straight after the work is completed. This gets the payment ball rolling.

Make it as easy as possible for your customers and clients to pay you. You can do this by offering options like debit, credit or direct debit to.

Dependent on the apps you and your customers use, you may be able to set up to send e-invoices directly to your customer’s accounting or finance software.

Following up

Make sure you keep a close eye on your invoices. Make frequent and regular checks that payment has been made.

Have a process to follow up if an unpaid invoice is past its due date. This can be an automated process using cloud accounting software to send email reminders and statements. If that is unsuccessful included phone calls and consider debt collectors in your process.

Reviewing

For any customers that regularly pay their invoices late, consider changing their terms. Perhaps split your invoices and ask them to pay half upfront. Or suggest another payment method.

If there is not change to their late payments after changing their terms, you might consider letting them go.

Consistency is key

At the end of the day, having a watertight accounts receivable process is all about consistency.

Follow your process every time.

  • Select the right customers
  • Have clear policies and prompt billing
  • Ensure thorough follow-ups and reviews

Automating your process as much as possible ensures consistency. And being consistent in your process reduces the risk of unpaid bills and rogue customers.

If you’re ready to create an effective payment process talk to us about how we can help.

grow your profitability

Make your business more profitable

Make your business more profitable

Is profitability a key business goal for this year?

Making a profit isn’t something that happens overnight. To create a good return from your business you need a clear focus and a well thought-out strategy for increasing profitability.

This means reviewing your business model and looking at every area of the business, to see where you can cut costs, increase margins and maximise revenue.

grow your profitability

Focus on your key drivers

Having surplus cash at the end of the year allows you to invest back into the business, fund your growth plans and increase the size of your own dividends and drawings as the owner.

To achieve these profits, it’s important to focus on the key financial drivers in your business.

To drive profits:

  • Boost sales. The more sales you make, the bigger your net revenue. So, investing in marketing, sales activity and business development will be key to a better bottom line.
  • Increase prices. By setting a higher price point, and keeping your ‘cost of goods sold’ number low, you create a larger profit margin on each sale. And this improves your profitability.
  • Cut costs. Operational costs and overheads eat into your potential profits. Spend management and cost reduction are vital to creating a more profitable model.
  • Reduce taxes. Tax liabilities will be one of your biggest costs. Sensible tax planning and use of tax reliefs will help to reduce your taxes and ramp up your end profit.

Talk to us about boosting your profits

If your business goal is to increase profitability, we’ll help you:

  • review your business model
  • identify your key financial drivers
  • proactively drive your profit performance.

Get in touch and let’s start boosting your profits.

Keeping your tax and expenses in check

Keeping your tax and expenses in check when you are self-employed

Running your own business requires you to wear a lot of hats. Relationship-building, keeping track of your time, marketing your skills and actually doing the work. But one of your priorities should also be establishing how you handle your money and setting the groundwork for good habits.

Understand your deductions

Before you start, it’s essential to understand what expenses you can and can’t claim. This means you’ll keep the right receipts and track the right expenses. Figuring out what’s what can be a little confusing as everyone has a different working set up and what you can claim for can vary between industries and occupations. Talk to us about your business expenses from the beginning. This will also help you plan for any bigger work-related purchases that you may need to make.

Get a system sorted

You’ll thank yourself later for setting up a good system now. Getting your expenses recorded and your invoices collated means you’ll be able to spend more time doing the important stuff in your business. It’s not just about saving time - keeping on top of your cash means you’re more likely to succeed. Do your research and choose a system that will work for you. Consider choosing a software platform which allows you to record your time spent on projects, it’ll make sending those invoices that much easier!

Stash that cash

When you’re running your own business or working for yourself, it’s important to always keep your tax obligations top of mind. Make sure you have money set aside in a separate account or consider entering into voluntary instalments.

One way to budget and keep on top of your business tax is to pay yourself a wage. Keeping your accounts separate also prevents you from thinking of all your business income as spending cash! Remember to also put aside a little extra to cover your holidays and any quiet periods.

Talk to us about setting up a system that takes the headache out of your finances. We can help make the process easier.

All you need to know about single touch payroll

Single touch payroll regulations may require you to make some changes. Automation or outsourcing will make compliance less of a time burden for your business. We can help.

Single touch payroll (STP) is a new regulation that changes when and how small businesses report payroll activity to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Businesses used to report this information to the ATO once a year. Now, they need to send a report after each payday. And those reports must be submitted digitally, using a very specific format.

Changes to when you report payroll

Small businesses used to finalise their payroll records at the end of the financial year and produce:

  • a payment summary annual report for the ATO, stating how much the business had paid in salary or wages, the PAYG withheld, and some superannuation contributions they’d made
  • a payment summary for each employee, stating what each employee received in wages or salary, the payroll taxes collected from their pay, and some superannuation contributions made on their behalf.

No more payment summary annual reports

Because you’ll be updating the ATO on a pay-by-pay basis, you won’t need to prepare a payment summary annual report anymore. You’ll just let the ATO know when you’ve made your last pay run of the financial year for your employees.

Payment summaries won’t need to be sent to employees anymore, so employers won’t be required to produce them. The ATO will use single touch payroll reports as the sole record of salary/wages paid, taxes collected, and superannuation contributed.

Your employees will be able to see the information that would normally be on their payment summary by logging on to myGov.

You’ll need to report payroll online

There’ll be no more paper forms for reporting your payroll activity to the ATO. You’ll need to submit the information online, using a specific format known as SBR (Standard Business Reporting). Depending on how you do payroll now, you may need to change software or find a service provider who can produce compliant reports for you.

When is the single touch payroll deadline?

Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees don’t have a confirmed deadline for switching to single touch payroll. However, small business advisors expect it to be compulsory from 1 July 2019. Businesses with more than 20 employees switched to single touch payroll on 1 July 2018.

Your options for switching to single touch payroll

To be ready for the switch, you’ll need to make sure you can submit compliant reports every payday.

Here’s what it means:

  • If you use online payroll software, it should be able to handle the job. Just make sure it produces ATO-compliant reports.
  • If you use desktop payroll software, you’ll need to find a service that can upload your payroll reports, convert them into the ATO’s required format and submit them on your behalf.
  • If you use spreadsheets or pen and paper, you’ll need to find a service to convert the data into a compliant digital report format and submit it on your behalf.

We can answer your questions about single touch payroll. Book an appointment now.

The low down on GST and your small business

Is your small business registered for GST? You might not be entirely confident of your projected earnings, so it’s fine to hold off until you’re sure you’ll hit the threshold. But it’s important to monitor your profit closely so that you don’t pay extra. #smallbiz #taxtalk

When you set up a new small business, you’ll have the option to register for GST. Here’s what you need to know about this responsibility.

The first thing you should do is decide whether you’ll register for GST immediately or wait until you hit the earning threshold of $75,000. When you start a new business, you might not be entirely confident of your projected earnings, so it’s fine to hold off until you’re sure you’ll hit the threshold. Once you do reach $75,000, you have 21 days to register.

Understanding your GST turnover

The $75,000 turnover figure represents your gross business income - not your profit. There are some exclusions, like sales outside of Australia, and any sales that are not for payment, meaning they aren’t taxable.

It’s important to monitor your profit closely because if you fail to register, you may have to pay GST on any sales since the date you were supposed to register. And because you won’t have included any GST in those sale prices, you could lose money. Additionally, there could be interest or penalties imposed.

Once you’re registered

When you’ve hit the threshold and you’re registered for GST, you’ll add the 10% amount to the price of your product or services. Don’t make the mistake of considering this money as part of your profit. You’re merely collecting it to pay to the ATO. It’s really important to establish good business accounting practices to make sure that you’re keeping this money separate.

We make dealing with GST simple - so you can focus on running your business. Make a time to talk to us about GST for your business.

Remote work is on the rise – here’s what you need to know

Remote work is on the rise. 

Here's what you need to know.

Remote working has many benefits for your business and you may be offering it already. Make sure you have strong communication channels, and robust systems to support your flexible workers and ensure continued productivity for your business.

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 already. In May 2018, Swiss serviced office provider IWG released a study that found that 70% of professionals work remotely at least once a week.

Sometimes called ‘telecommuting’, 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. But before deciding to offer remote work, you need to make sure you’re able to support this way of working.

Remote work has many benefits for a business. Offering this option 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 need to 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
  • 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 upskilling 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 to offer remote work to your team, talk to us to make sure you’re across all of the tax implications.