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scam-alert-payment-re-direction

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

chasing invoices

5 tips for chasing invoices without annoying your clients

Chasing Invoices

When you’re a small business owner, sole trader or freelancer, chasing invoices and asking for payment on overdue invoices can be a delicate matter.

Without an accounts person or department, sometimes you’re trying to secure new work and chase invoices from the same person. That can be an awkward tightrope to walk.

Here are five tips for chasing payments while maintaining customer loyalty:

Automate reminders

Set friendly payment reminders that go out automatically – they tell clients they’re missed a payment without making it personal. It’s like your invoicing platform is giving them a nudge, rather than you doing it yourself. You can sign it off with just your business name, rather than your own.

Find out who’s behind the payments

Is there another person at the business who’s in charge of accounts or payments? Ideally, you want to be selling your services to your usual contact and chasing someone else to pay your invoices.

Enlist help from a friend

If you have a friend who also has a small business, become each other’s accounts support. Set your friend up with an ‘accounts@yourwebsite.com’ address and they can send out email reminders and follow-ups to your clients, or call them about the invoice. Maybe you can do the same for them.

Set expectations when you negotiate the job

Firm and clear payment terms make it easier to get paid faster and keep that cash flowing.

Set out your terms up front – it’s much easier to talk about your payment expectations when you organise the job, rather than once the invoice has been sent.

For persistently slow payers, consider offering an early payment discount or ask for more money upfront for the next job.

Be nice, but firm

There’s no need to be rude or aggressive to your clients when chasing payment; you want to maintain a positive relationship.

However, at some point you need to cut off their credit. Often saying ‘I’m very happy to do that for you, just waiting on payment of that last invoice’ will give them the impetus they need to pay you.

But if they persistently don’t pay, no matter how much you like the client, you’re not providing a free service! Stop working for the client and chase those outstanding invoices more assertively.

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


basics of business tax

Basics of Business Tax

Basics of business tax

Different business structures pay taxes in different ways, so it's important to have an understanding of the basics.

Although there are many taxes that a business might be affected by, the main ones are:

  • goods and services tax
  • income tax
  • pay as you go withholding tax for employees
  • payroll tax
  • excise tax

Other taxes that a business could encounter are:

  • fringe benefits
  • capital gains
  • property
  • vehicle
  • other duties and levies administered by state or local governments
Taxes Paid on the Business Activity Statement

Once your business is registered for the relevant taxes, several are reported and paid as part of the monthly or quarterly activity statement.

  • GST is collected from customers and paid to suppliers, and you pay the difference between GST on sales and purchases
  • PAYG Withholding for employees or suppliers that don’t provide an Australian Business Number
  • PAYG Instalments contribute towards an expected income tax bill
  • Other taxes paid on the BAS (if applicable) are fringe benefits instalments, fuel tax credits, wine equalisation tax and luxury car tax
Taxes and Other Fees Paid to State Revenue Offices

Some business taxes are paid directly to the state revenue office, such as land tax for property purchases and payroll tax once the state threshold of reportable wages is reached. Other common government duties include stamp duty on property transfers and land tax.

Income Tax for Businesses

Income tax is calculated after the end of the financial year, taking into account any PAYG instalments already paid.

Tax deductions for business expenses reduce your taxable income and, therefore, your tax bill.

If financial gain is made on the disposal of assets, such as property or shares, capital gains tax is paid on the amount of financial gain and is paid as part of income tax.

Income tax for business is calculated differently according to the type of entity.

Small Business Tax Concessions

Your tax agent can make sure you are claiming all the small business tax benefits that you are allowed through concessions that reduce the amount of tax liability.

For example, there are specific concessions for asset write-off, primary producers, fringe benefits or start-up expenses. Concessions also apply in some situations to reduce the amount of capital gains tax payable.

Thinking of starting or changing your business?

Talk to us about adding or cancelling tax registrations, concessions and planning for the various taxes your business will need to manage.

business finances

Making sure your new business finances are in order

Making sure your business finances are in order

Getting your head around the basics of bookkeeping, accounting and good financial practice may not come naturally to all business owners. But the better you understand the numbers, the more control you'll have over your business and your decision-making.

To get you started, here’s a rundown of some of the main financial terms and how they apply to the financial management of your business.

Revenue and money coming into the business

Most of us understand that revenue is the income you generate through your sales.

If you multiply your average sale price by the number of units sold, this is the top level number you get. It’s a gross figure (i.e. before any deductions) and gives you a clear idea of how much money the business is generating through its sales activity.

Revenue can come from various sources, and each income source is known as a ‘revenue stream’.

Revenue streams could include product sales, income from services you provide, income from intellectual property you own (like patents) or income from assets the business owns, like property you rent out at a profit.

Having several revenue streams is a good idea, as it spreads your income generation across multiple areas and reduces the risk of one revenue stream drying up.

Expenditure and money going out of the business

Expenditure refers to any payments you make (either in cash or credit) against the purchase of goods and/or services.

In a nutshell, expenditure is the money that’s going OUT of the business, so it’s important to have a good grip on these costs and to make sure you’re not spending any more money than you need to.

Costs that would fall under expenses include your supplier bills, your payroll expenses, your operational overheads and the costs of any raw materials and goods you buy to keep the business running.

The less you pay out in these expenses and overheads, the more of your revenue will end up as profit – as we’ll see in the next section.

Profit and loss (P&L)

Your profit and loss statement (usually referred to as your P&L) is an incredibly important financial report to get your head around. 

The P&L summarises your revenues and expenditure over the course of a period – usually for the month, quarter or year that’s just ended – and gives you a breakdown of the profits and losses the business made during that period.

If you make more in sales revenues than you spend in outgoing expenses, you make a profit (and that’s vital to your success).

For any business to be financially viable, your financial model MUST be able to generate profit.

Without profits, the business can’t make money, you can’t reinvest back into the company to drive growth, and you (personally) won’t get paid anything.

Cashflow statements and positive cashflow

Your cashflow statement is another vital tool in your accounting toolbox. 

To keep the lights on in the business, you need enough available cash to cover your everyday expenses. Your cashflow statement shows you the cash inflows (money coming into the business from revenues etc.) alongside the cash outflows (payments to suppliers, or operational overheads etc).

For the business to have enough cash in the pot, your cash inflows MUST outweigh your cash outflows. This is called being in a ‘positive cashflow position’ and it’s a level of financial health that every startup should aim for.

By tracking inflows and outflows, and projecting them forwards in time to create forecasts, you can make sure there’s always available cash in the business.

Improving your understanding of the numbers

It takes time to pick up the financial jargon and accounting terms that will help you understand your accounts.

But don’t despair. As your business journey evolves you’ll gradually begin to get your head around the important business finances, numbers, metrics and reports.

Other important finance terms to understand include

  • Turnover = the total sales revenue made in a period. It’s also sometimes called ‘gross revenue’, as it’s the number prior to any deductions being made.
  • Assets = the things you own in the business, like equipment, property or cash etc.
  • Liabilities = the things you owe to other people, like bills, debts and loan repayments.
  • Balance sheet = a snapshot of your assets and liabilities on a given date.
  • Working capital = your current assets minus your liabilities. In common usage, it’s the capital (money) you have in the business to keep the company operational and trading.
  • Funding = bringing additional capital into the business, usually in the form of business finance products like loans, or through private investment from outside sources.
  • Credit score = a rating given to the financial health and risk level of the business. The bigger the score, the lower the risk – and the better your access to funding.

If you’re planning for your business, get in touch. We’ll help you set up the ideal accounting system, so you’re in complete control of your finances.

e-invoicing

E-invoicing

E-invoicing

Is your business using e-invoicing?

It’s a fantastic way to protect yourself and your customers from invoice scams, and it can help you get paid faster. E-invoices replace emailed PDF invoices or links to online invoices. Instead, e-invoices are delivered securely to your clients, even across different accounting systems.

Preventing invoice fraud

Invoice scams are surprisingly common, and can be quite sophisticated.

For example, with intercepted invoices everything looks exactly right, but the bank account number has been altered. When it happens to you, your client thinks they’ve paid you, but the money has actually gone to a scammer. 

Another example is when you receive notifications from suppliers that their bank account number has changed. But it’s not actually your supplier, it’s fake, and your money is going to a scammer.

In the event of an invoice scam, it can be very difficult to get your money back.

E-invoicing prevents these types of scams because the invoices travel directly from one accounting or payment system to another. By directly connecting suppliers with their clients, there’s no opportunity for scammers to intercept the invoices.

Start sending and receiving e-invoices

When you have your accounting software set up for e-invoicing you can send and receive e-invoices immediately.

You can also use e-invoicing if you don’t use an online accounting platform. There are a number of e-invoicing enabled software providers. Talk to us about which one would suit your business.

It only takes a little bit of time to learn how to use e-invoicing.  And once you have implemented e-invoicing you’re more protected from invoice fraud. So, it’s well worth getting it set up!

We can help you set up your accounting software to send and receive e-invoices immediately. Talk to us about how

Q3 Deadline

Q3 Deadlines for the Diary

Q3 Deadlines for the Diary

Don’t let the relaxed summer holiday feeling distract you from your business lodgement responsibilities!

Lodgement and payment deadlines still apply, although you get a little extra time this quarter for your December obligations.

To help you get organised for the new year, we've highlighted some upcoming business lodgement due dates.

Q3 Deadlines table

Talk to Us About Lodgement Planning


If we're already lodging on your behalf, lodgement extensions automatically apply. You may have earlier deadlines if you're lodging activity statements and other forms directly with the ATO.

If you need more time to lodge and pay, let us know, and we can help you meet your obligations or arrange a lodgement extension if required.

Some tax return due dates fall within the first quarter of 2022. Talk to us if you're not sure of your business entity's tax return due date.

It's good practice to plan for your lodgement dates, so you're always ahead of the ATO and also for your cash flow planning. Don't get caught out with a penalty for late lodgement!

We are a registered BAS Agent. Get in touch to organise Busy 01 Consulting and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray to manage your lodgements. 

Automating Bank Reconciliation

Automating bank reconciliation

Automating Bank Reconciliation

Good bookkeeping is all about recording and matching your financial transactions.

Over the course of a usual week of trading, you’ll have a range of payments being deposited into your bank account and a host of operational expenses being withdrawn from that same account.

To keep on top of this, you must match each line on your bank statement with the transactions recorded in your accounting software.

This process of matching the incoming (or outgoing) transaction with the relevant receipt, invoice or supplier bill is called bank reconciliation.

Why is bank reconciliation so labour intensive?

Bank reconciliation (or bank recs) is not the most thrilling part of the accounting process. But it’s essential if you’re going to have an accurate overview of your current accounting balance, and the balance that’s in your business bank account.

Traditionally, to complete the bank recs, you would need to:

  • Get a copy of your bank statement for the period
  • Check the deposits (cash coming in) and withdrawals (cash going out) on the statement
  • Look at the related credits and debits in your accounting software
  • Match these transactions to the relevant receipts, invoices or supplier bills
  • Reconcile your balance in the bank with the balance in your accounting software.

It’s a necessary process – and something you have to keep on top of. But it’s also a laborious and time-consuming task that eats into your admin time.

So, is there an alternative?

How can automation help to lighten the workload?

Accounting software has evolved in leaps and bounds over the past decade. And many of the innovations that are now available focus on alleviating the time-intensive tasks, like bank recs.

Modern cloud accounting packages offer a range of ways to not only lighten the financial workload, but also to improve speed, accuracy and efficiency.

For example:

Live bank feeds

These software integrations pull all the data from your online banking into the accounting software, giving you a live feed of your bank transactions.

Automated matching

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are used to automatically match the right invoices and bills with your bank transactions.

One-click matching

In a platform like Xero, you just need to review the automated matches and then click OK to match the transaction and complete the bank rec process.

Reduced human error

With an algorithm doing the matching, there are fewer errors in the bank rec process, and the whole process is completed in seconds, rather than hours.

Real-time bank and accounting balances

With live bank feeds and real-time data in your accounting software, you have the most current overview of your balances.

Talk to us about automating your bank reconciliation process.

If your current accounting platform doesn’t allow for automated bank recs, now’s the time to upgrade. Cutting out the manual processes gives you more time to focus on higher-value financial tasks, and keeps the reconciliation process ticking away silently in the background.

Get in touch to discuss switching to a new accounting platform.

Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

Christmas is nearly here, and it’s a great time to let your customers and team members know how much you appreciate them. 

But this has been a tough year. It’s not easy to know how much to spend or whether it’s appropriate to throw a party.

Gifts, cards and donations

The traditional professional Christmas gift tends to be food-related: hams; hampers; bottles of wine or spirits. Those can be ordered online and sent out, although it’s best to avoid anything that will spoil considering current delivery delays and people who may not be working in the office.

For customers or clients who you know really well, something tailored to their personal interests can show you’ve been paying attention. And for both customers and staff, a handwritten card is a lovely touch and costs very little.

Another option is a donation on behalf. Many people really appreciate an email or card that lets them know you’ve donated money to a charity on their behalf, particularly if you can include details like, “The local foodbank will use this donation to feed families on Christmas Day.”

If lockdowns allow, a coffee or lunch for higher value clients is an excellent way to build stronger relationships as well as making the most of the Christmas season. You might spend more this way, but for your best clients this can be far more memorable than a gift.

For your team, a hamper is probably a less popular choice. A Christmas bonus might be appreciated, but do run the numbers first. A supermarket voucher retains its full value, while a cash bonus must be taxed. Talk to your team – they may prefer a paid day off rather than any gift.

How much should you spend?

You might like to create categories based on how much your clients spend with you and how valuable they are to you. The top customers might all receive a larger gift, while the smaller customers might get a something more modest.

Christmas budgeting

Wondering how much each client or customer has spent? Not sure what you can afford to budget for Christmas gifts? We can help.

Get in touch and we’ll run the numbers to give you the insights you need.

Benefits of a BAS Agent for your business

The benefits of engaging a BAS Agent for your business

Do you spend too much time on your accounts? It could be time to engage the services of a BAS agent to help you with bookkeeping and ATO reporting.

Working with a BAS agent can benefit your business more than you may realise! We’d love to talk about how we can help save you time and money.

Many business owners starting out try to save on costs by doing their own bookkeeping, but this is one of the first tasks you can outsource to give yourself time and save money. If you can work on your business to generate more sales, why spend that valuable time on administration and accounts management?

A BAS agent is a registered tax professional who can provide a greater variety of services than a bookkeeper. BAS agents are trained in the complexities of GST and other laws – meaning you don't have to become an expert in areas that are not your passion or skillset.

What a BAS Agent can do for your business

Once the agent has become familiar with your business operations, they can not only take care of the transactional recording, financial reporting and compliance requirements, but they can assist you in better understanding your day-to-day business performance. A

BAS agent can become a trusted member of your management team along with your tax agent, providing accurate and timely financial advice and insights to help you make better business decisions and plan for long-term success.

BAS Services

A BAS agent can ascertain and advise the business owner on correct liability amounts and submit statutory reports to the ATO and other agencies on behalf of the owner.

BAS provisions include determining GST liabilities, PAYG withholding obligations, employee superannuation contributions, and submitting taxable payments reports and Single Touch Payroll.

What makes a great BAS Agent?

Professional BAS agents keep up with ongoing education and development, use industry best practices, take the time to ask questions and understand your organisation, and do their best to assist and advise your business.

They will work proactively to support the business by ensuring the integrity of the accounts and providing accurate financial reports. They will be able to discuss your business’s financial health, assess operations and systems, and give you valuable advice.

If you think it’s time to engage a professional BAS agent, get in touch and let’s talk about how this can benefit your business and save you time and money.

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