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Christmas gifts for your customers and team

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

Christmas gifts for your customers and team

As the festive season approaches, it’s a great time to let your customers and team members know how much you appreciate them. 

In a year that has presented its challenges, when it comes to deciding on Christmas gifts for your customers and team, finding the right balance between generosity and sensitivity is important. It’s not easy to know how much to spend or whether it’s appropriate to throw a party.

Let's explore some Christmas gift ideas that go beyond the traditional, and are appropriate for both your clients and team.

The traditional route: gifts, cards and donations

The traditional approach often involves food-related gifts like hams, hampers, or bottles of wine or spirits. While these can be easily ordered online and delivered, it's essential to consider potential delays and the possibility that recipients might be working remotely. To navigate these challenges, opt for non-perishable items or those with extended shelf life.

For clients who you have a close relationship with, consider personalised gifts that align with their personal interests.  This more personal approach demonstrates your attentiveness and can strengthen your professional relationship. Additionally, a handwritten card adds a personal and cost-effective touch that resonates well during the holiday season.

Another option is a making a donation on behalf of your clients or team members. This adds a meaningful element to your gift-giving as many people really appreciate an email or card that lets them know you’ve donated money to a charity on their behalf. For that extra touch you can include details like, “The local foodbank will use this donation to feed families on Christmas Day.”

Building Stronger Connections: Coffee, Lunch, and Face-to-Face Interaction

Treating high-value clients to a coffee or lunch can be a powerful gesture. This not only allows for a more personal connection but also creates lasting memories. While this approach may involve a higher cost, the impact on client relationships can far exceed that of a traditional gift.

Consider the preferences of your team when deciding on gifts for them. While hampers are a classic choice, it may not be universally preferred. A Christmas bonus is appreciated, but it's essential to consider the tax implications. A supermarket voucher, on the other hand, retains its full value, providing a practical and tax-efficient alternative. Engage with your team to understand their preferences; some may value a paid day off more than a physical gift.

Budgeting for Generosity: Tailoring Gifts Based on Relationships

Working out how much to spend on each client can be challenging. One approach is to categorise clients based on their spending with your business and their overall value to your business.

Consider giving high-value clients more substantial gifts, while smaller clients may receive more modest yet thoughtful tokens of appreciation.

Need help with Christmas budgeting?

If you find yourself wondering how much each client has spent or are unsure about your Christmas gift budget, we're here to assist.

Get in touch with us, and we'll analyse the numbers to provide insights tailored to your business. We'll help make sure your generosity aligns with your financial capabilities, making this festive season memorable for both you and your clients.

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

Building and Construction Industry Bookkeeping

Building and Construction Industry Bookkeeping

Building and Construction Industry Bookkeeping

Are you looking for expert bookkeepers in the building and construction industry?

We know it's a complex industry, and it's been hit hard recently. Getting professional help to get your business finances under control will help ease the stress of pressures that many in your industry are facing.

Engaging a bookkeeper who is a specialists in your unique industry can help you to sustain your business and even thrive in difficult times.

There are many areas of bookkeeping for the building and construction industry that we often see could be managed better (and more profitably) with sound advice and the right software.

  • Tracking work in progress
  • Applying customer and supplier deposits
  • Allocating progress payments
  • Accounting correctly for retentions
  • Complex payroll and contractors
  • Accurate job costing
  • GST and BAS payment planning
  • Managing the fixed asset register
  • Control of inventory stock levels and costs
  • Taxable payments annual report
  • Accounts payable and receivable management
  • Cash flow forecasting and budgeting

Just like your construction work, using the right administration tools always makes the job easier. Businesses often start with simple accounting and business management software but don't upgrade the admin, payroll and accounting tools in line with business changes or growth.

Talk to us if you’re ready to review or upgrade your current bookkeeping and business systems. 

We can advise on the best accounting software and related add-on solutions for your business and help implement best practices to streamline the administration and accounts.

Let us help your business to thrive.

When to Register Your Business for GST

When to Register Your Business for GST

When to Register Your Business for GST

Should you register your business for GST?

Many business owners register their businesses from day one, regardless of income. Others, for example, many sole traders, choose not to register for GST until it is mandatory.

However, it is common that new businesses don’t realise they have exceeded the income threshold at which they must register! This can result in having to pay GST on sales to the ATO even if you haven’t included it in your prices – so you could lose one-eleventh of your income.

When is GST Registration Compulsory?

Your business must register for GST when it makes $75,000 income within a financial year. If you’re regularly making $6,250 or more each month, it’s time to check whether you should register for GST.

It’s good practice to check your turnover every quarter, and when you are getting close to the threshold, check every month. If you’re not yet using online accounting software, talk to us about your options, as this will make reporting and preparing for GST registration much easier.

You must register for GST within 21 days of reaching the threshold.

Special Rules

  • You can voluntarily register even if your turnover is less than $75,000. This means you can complete an annual BAS if you prefer.
  • If you’re making money through a ride-sharing platform like Uber, you must register for GST immediately. All commercial driving income, regardless of turnover, is subject to GST registration.
  • If you want to claim fuel tax credits, you must register.
  • If your business is a not for profit, the registration threshold is $150,000 per financial year.
  • If you’re not an Australian resident business, the rules for working out GST turnover are different, so talk to us before registering.

Need Help?

When starting a new business, there are many decisions to make, and GST registration is just one of them. Get in contact about the benefits of registering, and we'll help you get set up on appropriate accounting software to help you on your way to business success.

The differences between a contractor and an employee

The differences between a contractor and an employee

The differences between a contractor and an employee

The terms "contractor" and “employee” can be a bit tricky to understand, but it's important for businesses of all sizes. When you're not sure if someone is really an independent contractor or employee-the penalties are severe!

There are a few reasons why a company might want to hire someone as a contractor instead of an employee. For example, the company might think that the person can get tax benefits, or they might want more flexibility in their workforce.

However, by law, it is determined by the nature of the employment relationship whether someone is an employee or contractor.

There are no exceptions to this rule.

This means that everyone has to abide by basic employment standards and entitlements, as well as statutory tax and superannuation requirements.

A breakdown of the differences between a contractor and an employee

There are some differences between contractors and employees. Here is a breakdown:

Employees:

People who work for a contract company are called employees. They work under an agreement or contract that says they will serve the employer.

Employees usually have to work in specific places and at specific times, and they usually work for only one company.

Employees are paid by the hour and their pay includes things like PAYG (Pay As You Go) taxes and other benefits.

They are also eligible for superannuation, which is a retirement savings account.

Employees have all the minimum rights required by law.

Contractor:

A contractor is someone who works for themselves under a contract.

This means that they are not employed by anyone else, but instead have a contract with one or more people or companies to do a specific job or set of jobs.

Contractors usually provide their own equipment and systems for doing the job, although this may not be the case in all situations.

They also take on more commercial risk than employees (although this also depends on the contract).

Contractors are not paid through payroll, but rather invoice for their work and receive payments directly from their clients. They have most workplace rights but different tax, insurance, and superannuation responsibilities.

An essential difference between an employee and a contractor

There is an essential difference between an employee and a contractor.

"An employee works for your company and is part of it. A contractor is their own boss and runs their own business."

How to identify if you are employing a contractor or an employee

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has developed a tool to help you decide if someone working for you is an employee or contractor for tax and super purposes.

We recommend using this tool to help you understand if your worker is an employee or contractor for tax and super purposes.

Using forecasting to help your decision-making

Using forecasting to help your decision-making

Using forecasting to help your decision-making

Producing regular management information is one way to help improve your business decision-making. But looking at historical numbers can only tell you so much.

In business, you want to know what the future holds. And to make truly informed decisions about your future strategy, it’s important to use forecasting tools to project your data forwards in time. By running projections, based on these historical numbers, and producing detailed forecasts, you can get the best possible view of the road ahead – that’s invaluable.

Run regular cashflow forecasts

Positive cashflow is vital to the short, medium and long-term success of your business. Without cash, you simply can’t operate the business efficiently. Running regular cashflow forecasts helps you overcome this challenge. With detailed projections of your future cashflow, you can spot the cash gaps that lie further down the road, and take action to fill these cashflow holes.

Income can often be unpredictable, especially in challenging economic times. If customers fail to pay an invoice, or suppliers increase their prices, this can all start to eat into your available cash. Using forecasting, you can extrapolate your numbers forward to which weeks, months or quarters are looking financially tight. And with enough prior warning, there’s plenty of time to look for short-term funding facilities, or to get proactive with reducing your spending.

Run sales and revenue forecasts

Keeping the business profitable is one of the key foundations of making a success of your enterprise. You want your sales to be stable and your revenues predictable if you’re going to generate enough capital to fund your growth plans. And you need to know how those revenues will pan out over the course of the coming financial period.

Revenue forecasts work much like a cashflow forecast. Instead of looking at your future cash position, a revenue forecast gives a projection of your sales and how much revenue is likely to be brought into the business in future weeks and months. With better revenue information, you’ll be more on top of your profit targets. You can manage your working capital in a more practical way. And you can improve your ability to invest in new projects, additional staff or funding of the long-term expansion of your business.

Run different scenario plans

What’s going to happen to your business in the future? None of us have a crystal ball to predict this future path exactly. But by looking at different possible scenarios, you can run projections to see what the potential outcomes and impacts may be.

These ‘What-if scenarios’ can be exceptionally useful tools when thinking about big business decisions. What if there’s an economic recession? What if our sales increased by 25%? What if we raised our prices by 10% next quarter? What if we lost a quarter of our customers? By plugging the relevant data into your forecasting engine, you can run these scenarios and see how each option pans out. That’s massively useful when the worst (or the best) does happen.

Update your strategy, based on your forecasts

By making the most of your forecasting tools, you give your board, your finance team and your advisers the most insightful data and projections to work with.

A good business plan is designed to flex and evolve to meet the needs of the changing market – and the changing needs of your own business strategy. By making use of your cashflow forecasts, revenue projections and what-if scenario planning, you give yourself the insights needed to update your strategy and your business plan. You can make solid, well-informed decisions and keep yourself one step ahead of your competitors. In the dog-eat-dog world of business, that’s a competitive edge that can make a huge difference.

If you want to delve deeper into the positive benefits of forecasting, please get in touch. We can showcase the latest forecasting software and apps, and show you the value that’s delivered through well-executed forecasting and longer-term projections.

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.

making sure your business finances are in order

Making sure your 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.

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