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Secure Jobs and Better Pay Bill

Secure Jobs and Better Pay Bill – How will it affect your business?

Secure Jobs and Better Pay Bill - How will it affect your business?

The Secure Jobs and Better Pay Bill 2022 was passed in November 2022 as an amendment to the Fair Work Act 2009.

Some changes start immediately, and others will roll out over the next six months to a year.

The act amends workplace relations laws relating to many aspects of employment. While not every new law will affect every employer, it's essential to understand the extensive changes that are coming.

The Main Changes

  • Flexibility of working hours, enabling workers to negotiate hours that suit them.
  • Collective enterprise bargaining allows employers within the same industries to negotiate common pay and conditions agreements.
  • Changes to the enterprise bargaining system to make it easier for employees to initiate bargaining for an enterprise agreement where existing enterprise agreements have expired.
  • Fixed term contract limitations will constrain the number of times a contract can be renewed. This should result in employers offering permanent positions to workers once the contracts have ended.
  • Pay secrecy clauses in employment agreements must be removed, meaning an employer cannot force an employee to keep from discussing their pay with colleagues.
  • The right to protection from sexual harassment means employers must be proactive in fostering an environment free from sexual harassment.
  • Changes to the better off overall test (BOOT) should make assessing whether a proposed agreement passes the test simpler.
    Equal remuneration principles to promote gender pay equality.

What Next?

The Bill has brought significant reforms to employee entitlements that make it more important than ever to ensure your employment agreements comply with the new laws.

There will be more updates next year about the changes, but in the meantime, we recommend you prepare for the new laws that will affect your business.

Digital Payroll for Your Business

Digital Payroll for Your Business

Digital Payroll for Your Business

Many businesses traditionally rely on paper employee records which are time-consuming to maintain. So it's no surprise that many business payroll records are lacking, as business owners don't have the time to keep them correctly.

The ATO and Fair Work Ombudsman are known to target small businesses with employees, as the industry has a track record of incomplete or inaccurate payroll records.

Additionally, many business owners have trouble staying up to date with the frequent changes in Australian payroll laws and the relevant modern awards used in the industry.

Many digital payroll solutions can help with payroll compliance and accurate record keeping. There is a range from simple, low-cost solutions to sophisticated human resource management apps. Once you are connected with a digital payroll app, staying abreast of the changing rules will be much easier.

While reliable internet can be a problem in regional areas, getting a digital payroll solution that you can use on a computer or mobile phone can dramatically reduce the administration workload of maintaining payroll.

Once systems are set up, there are many benefits to using a digital system:

  • Link entitlements, conditions, pay rates and categories from an award or enterprise agreement to each employee.
  • Approval process for timesheets and leave.
  • Flags for exceptions, such as an employee forgetting to enter an end time for a shift or not taking a lunch break.
  • Set piece rates and allowances.
  • Integrated Single Touch Payroll filing with the ATO. If you use paper or spreadsheet records, you must still use a separate digital system to report STP.
  • Secure and private payroll records are backed up online, protected from natural disasters.
  • Detailed costing for each shift or work week so you can plan ahead for the total cost of wages, taxes and super.
  • The system will automatically keep the records for the required seven years.
  • Employees can access payslips and request leave via their phone.
  • Superannuation calculation and payments are fully integrated into the payroll system.

If it’s time to upgrade your payroll systems, talk to us.

We'll help set you up with the right digital system for your business so you can spend less time dealing with paper and spreadsheets!

Check Your Business Performance Against the ATO Small Business Benchmarks

Check Your Business Performance Against the ATO Small Business Benchmarks

Check Your Business Performance Against the ATO Small Business Benchmarks

Are you interested in comparing your business performance against the ATO Small business benchmarks? It can be a useful exercise to see whether your business is performing well, on average, or lower than the benchmark figures.

Each year the ATO publishes industry-based data to highlight specific ratios of financial and other types of performance.

For example, you can compare your cost of sales to turnover, total expenses to turnover, or labour cost to turnover. Comparing to average data gives you an idea of how your business performs compared to others in your industry.

It's no problem if your ratios are different – but it can be a helpful starting place to look if you want to improve financial performance or reduce costs. If your ratios are very different from the ATO’s, then it could be worth diving deeper into your financial reports to see if you have problems that can be addressed. For example, a hospitality business might realise that its food cost is much higher than average and then take action to change suppliers and manage wastage.

The ATO benchmarks are based on your business industry code used in your activity statements and tax returns. If you’re not sure what industry you fall under, check the ATO Business industry code tool to find the correct code for your business.

To start comparing your business, you’ll need some information from your accounting software financial reports.

  • Gross sales income
  • Salary and wages expenses, including superannuation
  • Vehicle expenses
  • Interest on credit cards and loans
  • Cost of sales
  • Total other business expenses, including all running costs, administration, contractors, suppliers, rent, freight, training and website fees.

Once you have these totals, either from your software or your last tax return, you can compare your figures to the ATO benchmarks. Compare your business here.

Want to learn more? We can run the numbers for comparison information and then discuss areas you can target to increase profitability, reduce costs and streamline operations. Talk to us today.

Planning a financially stress-free holiday period

Planning a financially stress-free holiday period

Planning a financially stress-free holiday period

Holiday breaks are a chance to recharge for the year ahead, especially after the year we have had.

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.

Here are some simple strategies that can help you plan for a financially stress-free holiday period.

The strategies and tips shared below are generalised, however, we are here if you need to budget and prepare a cash-flow forecast.

Decide your Christmas and holiday break dates

Deciding when to take Christmas and holiday breaks is an important decision for businesses.

First, you need to consider your staffing and resourcing needs; how many people will be taking leave over the break period and who will be covering for those employees that take annual leave? Can your business afford to close entirely or run with a smaller team?

Once you have decided on your dates, share them with staff, customers and suppliers. It can provide peace of mind for customers; if they know how long you will be closed they can plan their spending accordingly. This will help ensure that your business runs smoothly during this time and that your customers are taken care of.

Budget and plan for annual leave

One of the most important aspects of budgeting and planning for annual leave is to factor in the pay rates for staff. At Christmas time, in most cases, these rates will be higher than standard hourly rates, so it's important to take this into account when creating your budget. Additionally, you must also take into account statutory public holidays. These days must be accounted for when calculating annual leave entitlements, and they cannot be carried over or swapped for another day.

Another thing to consider when budgeting and planning for employee annual leave is leave loading or long service leave. Staff may be entitled to receive this type of payment, which can add up to a significant amount of money depending on how long an employee has been working for your business.

By using software such as Xero, you can forecast your annual leave accrual and plan ahead. This will help ensure that you have enough money budgeted for staff wages during the holiday season. If you need help with this process, get in touch with us. We can provide you support to make sure that your annual leave planning is as accurate as possible.

Decide leave payments

There are many things to consider when deciding how and when to pay out your employees' leave payments during the Christmas break. For example, you may want to consider their preferences and travel needs, as well as any other financial factors that may impact your decision.

When it comes to making this decision, it is important to keep in mind the needs of both your employees and your business. Ultimately, the choice that works best for everyone will depend on a variety of factors, such as employee preferences, budget constraints, and company policies.

If you are unsure about what to do in this situation, it may be helpful to speak with your staff or consult with an HR professional for guidance. Whatever you decide, it is important to communicate clearly with your team and ensure that everyone feels supported throughout this process.

Overall, there are many things to consider when deciding how and when to pay out your employees' leave payments during the Christmas break. However, by carefully weighing all the different factors involved, you can make a decision that works well for both your employees and your business.

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).

  1. Send out invoices as soon as the job is complete. This will ensure that your clients have the invoice and can make payment in a timely manner.
  2. If you haven't already, sign up for online invoicing and payments. This will make it easier for your clients to pay you, and they can do it from the comfort of their own homes.
  3. Follow up with clients who haven't paid yet. A gentle reminder can go a long way in getting those payments in before the holidays.
  4. If all else fails, consider offering a discount for early payment. This may incentivize your clients to pay sooner rather than later.
Stocktake

Do you need to order in goods now to be able to complete your work in progress? Check that there is stock on hand available. If there is going to be a partial stocktake at the end of this financial year, now could be the time to get some extra stock in to make sure that you can complete orders.

If you are planning a stocktake for your business, it's important to prepare well in advance and make sure that you have all the necessary equipment, staff, and resources to complete the task effectively. This may include getting the help of a third party stocktaking company or enlisting your suppliers or distributors to provide you with any stock data they have on hand.

You should also communicate clearly with your team about what will be involved in the stocktake process and make sure that they are aware of any changes to your usual operations, such as working hours or product handling procedures. By planning ahead and taking the time to prepare for a stocktake, you can ensure that it runs smoothly and gives you the accurate data you need to make informed business decisions.

Capacity planning

It can be difficult to find the time and resources to complete a project before Christmas, but with careful planning, you can ensure that everything is done in plenty of time.

Start by prioritising which tasks need to be completed first, and make sure you have the necessary staff or equipment to get the job done. If possible, try to avoid taking on new projects or clients during this busy period, as your focus and energy will be elsewhere.

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that you can't do everything yourself, so delegate tasks where necessary and ask for help from colleagues or family members if you need it. With a little bit of planning and flexibility, you'll be able to make the most of the festive season and complete all your projects on time.

So if you're looking for a stress-free Christmas, take some time now to plan out your capacity and resources so that you can focus on what really matters this holiday season – spending quality time with friends and family.

Making an arrangement with the Tax Office

If your budget forecast indicates you won't be able to meet your tax obligations, 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.

Plan for the new year

In addition to the tasks above, having a solid plan for getting your cash-flow back in shape after the break is essential. To help you with this, look at reviewing your forecasts and budgets (including debtors), ensuring you have good management information available, and checking that all your key operational systems are running smoothly.

Talk to us about enhancing your financial support

If you identify that you'll need financial support over Christmas, now is the time to organise short-term financial relief like an arranged overdraft or 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.

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.

Meeting your goals during a global slowdown

Meeting your goals during a global slowdown

Meeting your goals during a global slowdown

Optimism among business owners was high coming into 2022. But a number of factors are now making things a lot more challenging:

  • Global events are pushing up energy prices to astronomical levels.
  • Ongoing supply-chain issues are making it difficult to source raw materials.
  • A scarcity of talent is causing problems when it comes to staffing and hiring.
  • Covid is still around and making trading more complex and difficult.

Faced with these hurdles, you might feel that your goals are no longer attainable. But is this true? Growth is likely to be a challenge, but not impossible.

5 steps for meeting your goals during a slowdown

Moving forward during a period of economic recession is certainly more of a challenge. But what's needed is an updated plan with awareness of the major external threats.

Here are five steps to set you on the right path:

1. Revisit your goals and see how realistic they are

Look at the numbers and make a call on whether they still make sense in the current business market. If necessary, update your goals and make them challenging. But, importantly, make any goals attainable during a time when cash and resources are in short supply.

2. Get the best possible understanding of your financial position

Take a deep-dive into your finances and see how you’re tracking against your budgets and targets. How is your cashflow looking? Do you have enough working capital to fund your growth? If additional funding is needed, where could it come from?

3. Decide if you have the right team for the job

Whatever your key goals, you need talented people on board who share your core aims for the business. Think about whether you have the team you need, or if there’s a pressing need to hire new people. And consider if artificial intelligence (AI) and automation could fill some of the resourcing gaps and help you scale up.

4. Assess the current situation in your sector

You can’t change the big external threats in your industry. But you can do your homework and find out what the immediate threats will be. Are there supply chain issues? Are prices going sky high? Get up to speed and look for ways to minimise the impact and rise to the top of the crop.

5. Update your plan

Once you’ve looked over your numbers, goals and strategy, you’re likely to need an updated business plan. Factor in the threats, set meaningful goals, but give your company a target that’s realistic during a global slowdown. Successful small steps towards a goal are better than one giant leap; a leap where you may land flat on your face.

Getting prepared

The sooner you start revisiting your goals and business plan, the better prepared your company will be for the ups and downs of a recession.

Come and talk to us about your financial position, your core strategy and your concerns about the next six to twelve months. We’ll help you set practical, attainable goals that will push your business forward.

attracting the right talent

Is your business attracting the right talent?

Is your business attracting the right talent?

We all know that business owners are finding it challenging to find good people to join your team.

Have you considered what your employer brand says about your business?

Your employer brand is like the tone of voice for your business. It should reflect you and what makes it unique, while also attracting people who want to work there too!

The right employees are a business’ most valuable resource. With the changing needs of industry, it's important to have an attractive brand that will attract those with skills relevant for your company - and keep them around longer than before!

So how are you attracting great talent to your business?

Start with sharing the full picture

To get good people, you need to tell them what your company is like.

This includes talking about the work environment and company culture. You can do this by describing your work environment in job descriptions. Including that on your website or social media.

Also make sure your careers page has more information about your company, the culture, and the roles available.

And it helps if you can also provide some insight into company life and why your people currently work for you.

Know your Employer Value Proposition

Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is what makes your company different from others and attractive to potential employees.

Your EVP includes things like your company's values, offerings, and associations.

Having a strong EVP makes it more likely that people will want to work for you, and it can also help reduce turnover if current employees feel aligned with your company culture.

Attracting the right talent

When it comes to attracting the right talent, you need to first understand who your ideal candidate is. Build a profile of your ideal candidate by thinking about their:

  • Work experience
  • Aspirations and goals
  • Values
  • Education
  • Personal activities
  • Personal life and family situation.

Then, create questions to ask potential employees to see if they fit your ideal person. You can also tailor your advertising based on the profile you develop to attract the right candidates.

Plan for the future

What positions do you need to fill in the next 6-12 months, and what skills are required for each?

Build relationships with potential candidates now. This will take time, but it will be worth it.

Make your company an attractive place to work by investing in your employer brand. This includes things like culture, environment, values, and strategic vision.

Doing this will help you save money on recruiting costs and reduce the number of employees who quit.

Business tip: Knowing what your customer wants

Business tip: Knowing what your customer wants

Knowing what your customer wants

Knowing what your customers want helps you meet your growth targets. We’ve outlined a couple of ways to improve your understanding of your customers, through better data, analysis and feedback.

The increase in digital business systems has opened up forensic ways of understanding your customer base. That's a huge bonus when you're aiming to build better connections, relationships and experiences with your audience.

Knowing what your customer wants is a fundamental piece of knowledge for any successful business to get to grips with. And when you're running a modern, digital business there's an overwhelming wealth of customer and sales data and analytics at your disposal – making it easier than ever to dig down into the needs and habits of your end user.

Detailed CRM records and customer notes

A CRM system becomes the heart of your customer management, business development and marketing activity, allowing you to log activity, keep notes and record progress throughout the sales pipeline.

The more information you have about your valued customers, the more you can do to meet their needs and deliver the perfect customer experience. And by maximising your use of this customer data, you can tightly focus your marketing campaigns and do more to make every customer feel understood, valued and (most importantly) satisfied.

Apps such as Active Campaign and HubSpot are very popular, with information being generated from accounting sales data or add-on sales management POS systems.

Drilled-down sales records

Keeping tabs on your sales activity is central to any business model. In an ideal world, you want regular, repeatable sales from a loyal customer base. But sales activity can be hard to predict, especially when you’re setting ambitious sales targets for your team to hit.

Having detailed sales records and data at your fingertips has two key benefits:

  • You know how sales have fared in the past
  • You know how sales may pan out in the future

Being able to run forecasts, based on your historic sales data gives you a stable foundation on which to build your future sales targets. It’s a solid projection, based on real business data.

This data also gives you an encyclopaedic overview of what your customers have been buying.

This sales data helps you understand:

  • Which products/services your customers want to spend their money on
  • Which specific products/services are failing to convert
  • Which points in the year will have peaks and troughs in sales
  • When it’s the right time to invest in more sales and marketing activity

This is all gold dust when it comes to planning out your strategy, assigning your sales and marketing resources and building engagement with your core audiences.

Hitting your growth targets, is far easier when you know the needs of your customers and can accurately target your sales, marketing and social activity.

Payroll Updates Sept 2022

Payroll Updates Sept 2022: Minimum Wage, Super Increase and STP

Payroll Updates Sept 2022: Minimum Wage, Super Increase and STP

Are you across the recent payroll and employment law updates?

Below is a summary of these updates. 

Remember, we can help check your payroll setup, award provisions, employee agreements, and payroll costing. We can also assess if your software is ready for ATO STP Phase 2 reporting, so feel free to get in touch

Minimum Wage Increased on 1 July 2022

The national minimum wage increased on 1 July by 5.2% to $21.38 per hour (or $812.60 per week).

The minimum wage increase applies to employees if an award or national minimum wage defines their pay rate.

This year, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has once again implemented minimum wage increases to awards in a staggered approach. Most awards increased on 1 July; however, some will increase on 1 October.

For full details of October award increases, visit Fair Work Ombudsman October 2022 minimum wage increase. The main industries changing in October are Aviation, Hospitality and Tourism.

Tax Table Updates

While most tax tables remain the same for the 2022-23 financial year, the annual indexing of the study and training support loans have been applied.

Check the study and training support loans and working holiday makers tax tables for current withholding rates.

If you use online payroll software, the updates will be taken care of already. But if you process payroll manually, you’ll need to factor in the new rates for these tax types.

Superannuation Increase from 1 July 2022

The superannuation guarantee statutory rate increased to 10.5% on 1 July. Your payroll software should automatically update the rate, but check that the rate has updated, just in case you have manually entered the rate for some employees or payroll categories.

Review any agreements or annualised salary arrangements you have with employees that may be inclusive of superannuation.

Also, remember that the monthly $450 threshold has been removed, meaning that you must pay superannuation for all earnings. If you have a large casual workforce, this could impact your costs significantly.

Your first quarterly superannuation payment at the new rate will be due in October 2022.

Unpaid Pandemic Leave Reinstated for Some

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Schedule X was added to most awards to allow for two weeks of unpaid pandemic leave. The schedule expired in June 2022 but has been reinstated for some awards:

  • Aged Care
  • Ambulance and patient Transport
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services
  • Health Professionals and Support Services
  • Supported Employment Services
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services

Employees who no longer have unpaid pandemic leave available in their awards can take personal leave if unwell or use annual leave if they need to isolate themselves but are otherwise well enough to work. They can also use carer's leave if they need to look after unwell family members.

Review Your Payroll

Now is an excellent time to assess your payroll systems in readiness for the busy summer season ahead.

Talk to us. We can help check your payroll setup, award provisions, employee agreements and payroll costing. 

There are many details to take care of when engaging workers, and we can also advise on the software you are using and make sure it meets the ATO’s Single Touch Payroll reporting requirements. Note: STP reporting requirements are due for all employers by 31 December unless you use Xero, in which case the date has been extended to 31 March 2023.

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