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Jun 21

2017 EFOY Tax Plan

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Your 2017 EOFY Tax Minimisation Tips

 

Another financial year is about to finish! As a business owner, there are many obligations that you need to consider and action just before and after 30 June. Some of these will help to minimise your tax. We have outlined these action points below to assist you.

 

Date

Action Required

BEFORE
30 June 2017
  • Ensure your employee superannuation payments are received and allocated by your employees’ super fund prior to 30 June 2017 to ensure a tax deduction for this year. Any payments made between 1 July 2017 and 28 July 2017 will count towards your Superannuation Guarantee requirement but will not be tax deductible until the 2018 financial year.
  • If you operate through a trading company, review shareholder loan accounts and make minimum loan repayments (may need to declare dividends).
  • If you operate through a discretionary family trust, ensure that a Trust Distribution Resolution for each Trust is signed by 30 June 2017.
  • Review 2017 LAST MINUTE strategies below to reduce your tax prior to 30 June 2017.
  • Carry out a stocktake by 30 June 2017 (companies with turnover over $10 million)
1 July 2017
  • Superannuation guarantee rate is still 9.5%
  • 2% Temporary Budget Repair Levy ceases.
14 July 2017 or before
  • Provide 2017 PAYG Payment Summaries to all employees
28 July 2017
  • Quarterly Superannuation contributions due for employees (for the period 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017).  THIS IS A KEY DEADLINE!
(Note: If you fail to meet your requirements by 28 July 2017, you must complete a Superannuation Guarantee Charge Statement and forward it to the ATO together with underpaid superannuation plus administration fees and interest by 14 August 2017. Superannuation Guarantee Charge payments are NOT tax deductible.)
14 August 2017 or before
  • Lodge your 2017 Annual PAYG Payment Summary Statement (for employees) with the ATO. Penalties apply for late lodgement.
28 August 2017
  • Taxable Payments Annual Report due for lodgement with the ATO (building and construction industry)

 Key changes from 1 July 2017

Businesses need to take note of many key tax changes that apply from 1 July 2017. These include:
  • Small Business Entity (SBE) threshold turnover increased to $10 million. This allows many more business to access tax concessions that improve cashflow, simplify reporting, and bring forward tax deductions.
  • SBE Company Tax Rate reduced to 27.5%.
  • The temporary budget repair levy for high income earners is abolished.  This reduces the highest marginal tax rate from 49% to 47%.

 Your 2017 EOFY Reminders & Action Items


SBE Company Tax Rate reduced to 27.5%

Effective 1 July 2017, the company tax rate for SBE (Small Business Entities) reduces by 1% from 28.5% to 27.5%.  To be considered an SBE, your group aggregated turnover must be less than $10 million.  This key concession for 2017 applies again in 2018.


 $20,000 Immediate Deduction for SBE’s

From 7:30pm on 12 May 2015, small business entities (SBEs) were able to claim an immediate deduction for depreciating assets costing less than $20,000. Depreciating assets costing $20,000 or more will be allocated to the SBE’s general small business pool and will depreciate at a rate of 15% in the income year in which the assets are first used or installed ready for use. The assets will then be depreciated as part of that pool at 30% in subsequent income years. If the balance of the general small business pool is less than $20,000 at the end of the income year, this balance is also written off.


Trust Distributions - Timing of Resolutions

Trustees (or directors of a trustee company) need to consider and decide on the distributions they plan to make by 30 June 2017 at the latest (the trust deed may actually require this to be done earlier).  Decisions made by the trustees should be documented in writing by 30 June 2017.  If valid resolutions are not in place by 30 June 2017, the risk is that the taxable income of the trust will be assessed in the hands of a default beneficiary (if the trust deed provides for this) or the trustee (in which case the highest marginal rate of tax would normally apply).

 (Action Required) Please contact our office before 30 June 2017 so that we can properly prepare this document for you to sign.

 

You might not need to do a Stocktake

Small Business Entities (operational businesses with an aggregated turnover below $10 million) have access to a range of tax concessions.  One of these concessions is the simplified trading stock rules.  Under these rules, you can choose not to conduct a stocktake for tax purposes if there is a difference of less than $5,000 between the opening value of your trading stock and a reasonable estimate of the closing value of trading stock at the end of the income year.  You will need to record how you determined the value of trading stock on hand.
 If you would like to take advantage of the simplified trading stock rules, call us today to make sure you are eligible to use the simplified rules and to discuss how to use them properly.

 

Deadline for 2017 PAYG Payment Summaries

You need to provide 2017 PAYG Payment Summaries to your employees and other workers by 14 July 2017.  These must then be submitted to the ATO by 14 August 2017 or penalties will apply.

 (Action Required) If you have any doubt about how to correctly complete your 2017 PAYG Payment Summaries, please contact us for assistance BEFORE you prepare them.

 

Building and Construction Industry Reporting

From 1 July 2012, new tax reporting rules apply for businesses in the building and construction industry. Businesses will have to lodge an annual report with the ATO setting out details of payments made to contractors. This will assist the ATO to reduce the “cash economy” by ensuring tax is paid on all income including “cash” payments.   You will need to record the following details of all payments made to contractors for building and construction services:
  • The ABN of the contractor
  • The name and address of the contractor
  • The gross amount paid for the financial year, including GST
  • The total GST included in the gross amount paid
  If you use computerised accounting software, your system should be able to track this information for you and prepare the required Taxable Payments Annual Report.

 (Action Required) Ensure that you lodge your Taxable Payments Annual Report with the ATO no later than 28 August 2017.

 

Payroll Tax

Payroll tax applies to all entities that have an Australian payroll that exceeds state-based limits. You should note that in addition to normal salaries and wages, the following items are generally also included in payroll expenses if payroll tax applies:
  • fringe benefits based on the grossed-up taxable value of fringe benefits;
  • all employer contributions to superannuation on behalf of employees; and
  • some contractor or sub-contractor fees.
 For more detailed information about whether payroll tax applies to your business, please contact our office.

 (Action Required) The Annual Return/Reconciliation for payroll tax must be lodged by 21 July 2017 with your State Revenue Office.

 

WorkCover/WorkSafe

Your WorkCover/WorkSafe insurer sends an annual reconciliation to all registered employers at the end of the financial year.  In completing your annual reconciliation, you will need to include the following items in addition to normal salaries and wages:
  • fringe benefits based on the taxable value of fringe benefits (do not gross-up);
  • all employer contributions to superannuation on behalf of employees; and
  • some contractor or sub-contractor fees.
 For more detailed information about what items to include in the reconciliation statement, please contact our office.  Once the reconciliation is received and processed by your WorkCover/WorkSafe insurer, you will be issued with a final assessment or a refund depending on the instalments you have paid during the year.

 (Action Required) Complete and lodge the Annual Reconciliation with your WorkCover/WorkSafe insurer by the due date.

 

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

A reconciliation of GST should be performed as at 30 June 2017 to determine if there has been an under or over-payment of GST in the 2017 tax year. If a discrepancy has arisen, then it is possible to adjust a subsequent Business Activity Statement (BAS) to rectify the error, however there are limits imposed on adjustments that can be made in this way.  Income declared on your BAS should be reconciled to income declared on your income tax returns.  Also, please note that you are required by law to substantiate all Input Tax Credit claims with a complying Tax Invoice, and you need to retain these documents for a minimum of 5 years.

 (Action Required) Complete the annual GST reconciliations, and check that you have all required tax invoices and other supporting documents.

 

ATO Audit Activity

Please note that the ATO and State Revenue Office are constantly increasing their audit activities. There has been an increase in audit activity for PAYG Withholding, Payroll Tax, WorkCover, GST, Division 7A loan accounts from companies, and Trust distributions from Discretionary Trusts.  We can offer a review of your records and record-keeping procedures if you are concerned about your ability to satisfy an audit.

 (Action Required) Please contact our office if you would like to request this service.

 

Last Minute Tax Minimisation Tips

Here’s a few final reminders about ways to reduce your tax for 2017:
  1. Write-off Bad Debts
  2. Write-off any trading stock that is damaged or obsolete
  3. Review your Asset Register and scrap any obsolete plant and equipment
  4. Pay for marketing materials, repairs, consumables, office stationery, and donations before 30 June 2017
  5. Ensure employee superannuation contributions are made (and received by your employees’ superannuation fund/s) by 30 June 2017 to allow a tax deduction this financial year
  6. Realise any capital losses you have before 30 June 2017 to offset against any capital gains you may have made
  7. Review the guidance provided in TR97/7 to confirm if you are eligible to claim deductions for your creditors as at 30 June 2017
 

Want to talk?

Feel free to call our office any time on 03 8669 1751 or email us at info@btna.com.au – We can’t wait to provide you with better advice now for a beautiful future

Sep 14

Would you appreciate an extra $240 in your pocket every month?

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Wednesday, September 14, 2016

For many Inner Westies, owning a family home is only possible with the financial challenge of a large home loan. Did you know the average debt in the Inner West is $423,565 & the average interest rate being paid is 4.67%. This equates to average monthly payments of $2,395.36* which makes up a large proportion of household expenditure. 
With interest rates at all-time lows, now might be the time for you to review & refinance your existing home loan.

There are several reasons refinancing may benefit you and your family:
It could provide equity access for home renovations
Options for a holiday 
Investment opportunities

Let’s have a look at a case study of the average inner west family.

Case Study.

Monica and her husband bought their first home in Yarraville, they took 
out a $500,000 home loan with an interest rate of 4.67%. Their principal 
and interest monthly repayments were $2,395.36.

After doing some quick calculations, they discovered that if they switched
their home loan to a new lender with a lower interest rate of 3.65%, their 
monthly repayment would be just $2,154.71 which would lead to a saving 
of $240.65 per month
or approximately $72,195 over the life of a 25-year 
home loan.


Monica and her husband used a mortgage broker who was able to do the 
leg work for them, saving time and ensuring they got the best loan rate 
and structure for their circumstances.

Is Refinancing right for you?

Whilst saving money is fabulous, there are some factors you need to consider to ensure that refinancing is the right move for you:

There are costs involved in refinancing your home loan, therefore it may not be the best financial move for everyone. These costs may include government charges to switch (to give you an idea, it’s a maximum of $250) and any lender application fees. 

A good broker will consider any applicable costs and some of the following:

Your repayment history or changed financial circumstances
How high is your loan-to-value ratio (LVR)
Fixed rate break costs
Is your loan amount too small (this is a nice problem to have)
Family Budget

Don't wait, call today and speak to an expert at WE Mortgage Solutions, our mortgage broking partners, for an obligation free consultation and start saving. 

Call 1300 13 59 53 or book an appointment online at http://www.wemortgagesolutions.com.au/contact


*Principle & Interest over 25 years



Mar 07

Where there’s a Will, there’s an Estate Plan. Well, there should be.

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Monday, March 07, 2016

Let’s face it: no-one likes to think of death, especially their own. It’s not exactly a great conversation starter, is it? This might explain why so many people end up “dying Intestate” which means they die without a will and, as a consequence, have their assets distributed according to State law.

Sadly, the way State law distributes a deceased person’s assets among family members can often be a lot different to the way a deceased person wanted their assets distributed

It can create a lot of unnecessary stress and conflict within a family.

So unless you’re living as a hermit with no contact or relationships with others, and you also don’t have a single possession to your name, you need to not only think about preparing a will, but do something about it.

And you need more than just a will. You need an estate plan.

Why having a will is not enough

If you have a will in place, you may not think you even need an estate plan. After all, your will spells out your “Who gets what” instructions regarding your estate, right? 

Unfortunately, the estate you’ve specified in your will may not include all of your assets. By law, your will doesn’t include assets such as:

  • jointly-held property
  • superannuation
  • proceeds of life insurance policies
  • assets held in trust
  • company assets.

To control what happens to these assets, you need an estate plan.

6 more reasons to have an estate plan 

A well-written estate plan can do more than just distribute all of your assets the way you want. It can also help:

  1. Your beneficiaries (i.e. your loved ones) to reduce (if not eliminate) tax on the income generated when they receive their inheritance, and every year thereafter
  2. Protect your beneficiaries’ inheritance from unfortunate events such as divorce and bankruptcy
  3. Minimise or even avoid the death benefits tax when distributing your superannuation benefits
  4. Guard against a beneficiary wasting their inheritance because of their spending habits, mental health, drug addictions, gambling or other vulnerabilities
  5. Make capital gains tax savings on the assets distributed through your estate
  6. Ensure your assets are passed to your preferred beneficiaries rather than, say, an in-law or former spouse.

Who should help you create your estate plan? 

While an estate plan is a legal document, its creation shouldn’t be left solely to your solicitor. You need someone who knows about you, your family and your financial situation. 

And the person who generally knows the most about that is your accountant or financial planner. 

However, while they may know all about your finances, they may not have the legal qualifications needed to create a watertight estate plan. So you actually need your accountant or financial planner and a solicitor. 

According to One Super Fund partner Gerard Wall: 

“The financial planner’s job is to try and identify if the estate plan is funded properly, and if it is funded that the insurance is owned by the right person; the accountant’s job is to make sure that the client’s affairs are structured appropriately from a tax point of view; and the solicitor’s job is to make sure the documentation is all drawn up.”

Avoid leaving a trail of chaos behind you

Whether or not you have an active will in place, without an estate plan there’s no telling who your assets may end up with. Avoid creating stress and conflict for your loved ones, and give yourself the peace of mind in the here-and-now that your affairs are well in order. 

Get in touch and we can start the ball rolling to get a solid estate plan in place for you and your family.

Jan 06

3 Reasons Your Business Needs A Budget Now

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Wednesday, January 06, 2016

For many, the word ‘budget’ is about as appealing as the word ‘diet’.

It seems to imply what you will go without, rather than what you will achieve.

To a successful business owner, however, the word ‘budget’ has a very different meaning.

It’s more like a map than a diet. It’s an outline of where you want to take the business, and what you need to achieve to get there.

Running a business without a budget is like a ship’s captain setting off on a voyage without a map. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it. Who would do that?

Yet this is, figuratively speaking, what many business owners do.

Successful business owners, on the other hand, not only set clear targets and budgets each year, they monitor them closely each month, even each week, and adjust them as they go throughout the year.

Here are 3 compelling reasons your business needs a budget, now:

One: If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know you’re not already there?

If you’re not satisfied with how your business is performing, unless you set clear goals for where you want to take it, it’s probably as good as it is ever going to get. At best, it will just meander along, subject to the whims and vagaries of the economy and general market conditions.

The good news is that your business doesn’t need to meander along.

The first step in charting a clear course for growing and developing your business is objectively measuring ‘where it’s at’ right now.

And the numbers do tell a story.

For some, they act as a wake up call. For others, they just confirm the journey’s starting point.

It’s paradoxical that a large part of the value in a business budget is not in the numbers themselves. It’s in the realisation and acceptance of where you are and where you want to be.

The numbers are just the signposts for the journey.

A factual look at the numbers that describe where your business is right now takes away all the subjectivity, opinions and ‘reasons’ (often excuses, disguised as reasons).

This is the naked truth.

In fact, it is like standing on the scales, naked, looking at yourself in a full length mirror. That may or may not be a pretty sight!

For your business, these factual numbers are the sales, the variable costs, the margins, the overheads, and, lastly, the profit. After all your work, this is the reward you’re left with.

Then comes the first of a series of ‘hard questions’…

  • Are you happy with that profit?
  • Is it worth it? Or are you dissatisfied? Then …
  • What do you want those figures to look like?

Answer those questions, and you’ve just described where you want to be. Congratulations! You have charted your course, which is the first step to maximising your success.

Two: What’s more important to treat? Symptoms or causes?

As you well know, sales just don’t happen. Costs don’t just drop because you want them to. Sales and costs are a result of other underlying factors. Put another way, they are symptoms of causes.

The business budgeting process quantifies the symptoms, and by asking a series of ‘What leads to this number?’ questions, it also identifies the underlying causes.

For example, underlying factors contributing to a sales (revenue) figure could include:

  • the number of calls made,
*
  • the number of customers walking through the door,
*
  • the percentage of conversions of enquiries or walk-ins to sales, the dollar value of the average transaction, or simply
*
  • where your marketing is targeted.

These are all called drivers.
The sales figures are simply a result of these drivers. Costs are no different.

For example, the rent paid may be a result of the storage you need for your stock levels. Wages costs may be blowing out as a result of overtime paid but underlying that may be inefficient staff. Or a lack of clear processes. Or both.

So in reality what came first was not the sale or the cost, but their underlying drivers. The budgeting process forces you to name and to quantify these underlying drivers.

That’s one of the most valuable aspects of preparing your budget. Not the budget itself, per se, but identifying your business’ drivers.

Why?

Because then you can focus on improving them.

That’s what will produce the improved results in your business. No focusing on last quarter’s figures. That’s history.

It’s more fun to create history. And that is, in essence, what you are doing when you are in your own business. You are captain of your own destiny, and you can steer it in any direction you want.

Note that word … direction. A key point is to have one.

You will enjoy how effectively the budgeting and planning process will get you crystal clear on your direction.

Three: Budgeting is not about accounting. It’s about being accountable.

Once you are clear on the handful of drivers that creates your business’ results, the next question is…

What are you going to do about it?

Your budget won’t just give you a monthly sales target, for example, it will help you quantify the drivers that will produce the result.

For example, if next month’s sales target is $120,000, that end-result figure is not your focus. Not on a day-to-day basis. Knowing the underlying drivers, your focus will instead become, for example:

  • 25 calls per day (Driver No.1)
  • At 80% conversion rate (Driver No.2), with
  • Each customer buying an average of $300 worth of products (Driver No. 3).

Now you and your staff have a clear focus and are 100% accountable.

That’s good for them, and good for you and your business.

People in a business want a clear scoreboard and a ‘game to play’ so they know whether or not they are winning. Research has found that a lack of measurement in a job is demotivating to a staff member. Patrick Lencioni’s book ‘3 Signs of a Miserable Job’ gives some great examples of this.

Knowing these drivers, and quantifying a target for each you can then ask questions like:

  • Have the 25 calls been made today?
  • If not, why not? Is the target realistic?
  • Does the team need training?
  • Do they need better telephone equipment or dialing software?
  • Or just more focus?
  • Or guidance on what their task priorities should be?
  • Or a combination of these?
  • Are we being effective and converting 80% of the calls?
  • Again, if not, why not?

You can then decide to improve skills, or systems, or attitude, or all three!

As you can see, the power of the budget is in the process of preparing it, and then the budget itself is a tool to hold you accountable to the measurable indicators you’ve chosen.

An added layer of accountability is… us.

We work with a number of clients where, on either a monthly or quarterly basis, we act as a sounding board and independent party to ask you the hard questions about the drivers and the results. This focuses your mind, allows you to form a clear Action Plan to improve results, and then increases your chances of success because you know you need to report in to us next time.

It’s a powerful process that you’ll enjoy due to the focus it creates and, in turn, the results that focus achieves in your business.

To take more control of your business and its performance, get in touch to make a time to come in and see us. Depending on the size of your business, we might work out that a quarterly process might work best (and be the most feasible, cost-wise), or your business might be at a point where monthly or even weekly guidance would be ideal.

Either way, we’ll outline your options and your costs so you know precisely what’s involved.

We look forward to helping you chart your course, helping to get a clear direction, and then keeping you and your business on course.

After all, you won’t end up at the ideal destination by drifting.

Nov 28

Get It Done. Get It Read. Get Ahead.

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Saturday, November 28, 2015

Success in business requires a number of essential ingredients. A sound strategy. A robust business model. Effective planning. Strong financial control and bookkeeping. A good team. Great systems. Measurement. Focus.

 

But you know what? Even all those elements are not enough without this skill: Execution.

Call it “Getting Things Done”, making things happen, the action habit, extreme focus… call it what you like, for many entrepreneurs it’s what separates mediocre from magic. It’s the difference between a business that plods along from one year to the next, and one that grows, evolves, impresses, enriches.

 Execution is a skill. Sadly, we’re not taught it at school. (Gee, but we all use those good ol’ quadratic equations each day!) The good news is that, as adults, we can go out and find the information and principles of effective execution, then apply them. Daily.

To fast track you on your journey towards becoming brilliant at execution, here are some books that we highly recommend that you not only read, but you study, practice, live by:

Read (or listen) to those books, and your mind will be permanently re-wired. Obstacles and frustrations will become Projects, Tasks, or Wildly Important Goals. And you’ll have a pragmatic framework for achievement and creating the change you want in your business.

And in your life. It’s powerful stuff.

We’d love to hear of your favourite books on this ‘execution’ topic. Please share them in the Comments below, and after you read (or if you have already read) any of the books above, please share with us the key principles and practices that have made the biggest difference to you in terms of “getting things done” and executing your ideas.

Oct 29

Can't afford to start your new business? Why not crowdfund it?

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Thursday, October 29, 2015

So you’ve got a great idea for your business, but you don’t have the funds right now to get it off the ground.

You could try applying for a government grant, but it’s often a long and arduous bureaucratic process of form filling and there are of course no guarantees you’ll get the money. Some governments also offer tax incentives for research and development, but usually you need to spend the money before you can get it back.

And there are private investors—’business angels’—too, if you have the contacts and know how to structure and negotiate a good deal that you won’t regret in the years to come.

‘Bootstrapping’ is the most common way that businesses fund their startup phase. This is where entrepreneurs fund the startup business out of their own savings and even from their credit card limits! High risk, but the bootstrapping advantage is that the founders don’t have to give away equity or control to other investors.

The downside is that bootstrapping can lead to under-capitalisation of the business, which can starve it of the cash the business needs to fund its growth.

You have to admire the entrepreneurial spirit. Small business is the engine room of the economy.

But what if you’re not able to tap into government grants, private investors or your don’t have sufficient funds for your startup idea?

Fortunately, it’s not a dead-end. There’s another relatively new way for your business to get the money it needs: crowdfunding.

With a little help from my friends

Crowdfunding is defined as the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via a web-based independent crowdsourcing platform.

Compared with other ways of raising money through multiple smaller investors—such as by issuing a prospectus or other traditionally regulated disclosure documents, which could also extend to completing the complex and expensive Initial Public Offering (IPO) process—crowdfunding is a relatively simple, easy and inexpensive process.

Crowdfunding is essentially a process of explaining (selling the idea of!) a proposed venture or project, and then asking for pledges from the public. In return, those who pledge receive rewards. These rewards can include early access to the product or service, or copies of the proposed book, album or movie, or (depending on the crowdfunding platform used) even equity in your company.

You just need to offer something that motivates people to help fund your crowdfunding campaign.

Two crowdfunding models to choose from

When you set up your crowdfunding campaign, you specify:

  • the amount of money you hope to raise
  • the time period you want to raise it in.

What happens at the end of that time period depends on the funding model you’ve chosen.

With the ‘all-or-nothing’ model (used by crowdfunding sites such as Pozible and Kickstarter), if you don’t reach your target then nothing happens. You don’t get any money, and your backers don’t get any rewards.

If your campaign is successful, then you get the money (less the fees charged by the crowdfunding site), and the backers get their rewards.

With the ‘flexible’ model (used by Indiegogo), you get to keep the money you raise whether your campaign is successful or not. However, you may be charged higher fees if you don’t reach your target. (You may also be legally obligated to give rewards to anyone who has given you money for your campaign. Be sure to study the crowdfunding platform’s terms and conditions before you start your campaign.)

How much are you willing to reveal?

The secret to a successful crowdfunding campaign is giving people a compelling reason to back it. And according to Johanna Baker-Dowell of Strawberry Communications, that means telling your story.

“Speak from the heart and help your supporters understand why the project is important to you and why they should pledge to it. Use words, videos, photos and whatever else you can think of to share your story.”

There’s a fine line between telling your story and giving away your intellectual property. So when you’re telling your story, make sure you don’t reveal too much.

Thanks to the internet and crowdfunding platforms, entrepreneurs now have more options and a much better chance to get the funding needed for their startups.

The “Ask and you shall receive” principle might just hold true? It’s certainly a matter of, “Ask and you shall find out!”

If you’d like to bounce any of your business startup ideas off us, or ask us about the various funding strategies you have available to you, get in touch and we’ll make a time to have a chat about it over a coffee.

Jun 24

Business Owners: Ready to ride the SuperStream?

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

If you’re still paying your employees’ super with bank transfers (or worse still, cheques), then you need to change the way you do things–and fast.

From 1 July 2014, if you make super contributions for 20 or more employees you’ll have to make those payments online. (Those of you with fewer than 20 employees have until 1 July 2015.)

That means you’ll no longer be able to pay by cheque (yes, some super funds still insist on being paid that way). And chances are a bank transfer won’t cut it either because you’ll also need to include other details such as the employee’s name, Tax File Number and Super Fund member number.

Help the government help you

Why is the government making you do this? Well, the government is acutely aware that people aren’t putting enough money away for their retirement.

At one point the magic superannuation figure to retire on comfortably was one million dollars. But according to a recent Deloitte report, that figure is now $1.58 million for men and $1.76 million for women. (Women live longer, so they have to save more.)

So as part of their become more educated and proactive with their super investments” (to quote Richard Puffe).

The bottom line? If you’re not using an electronic accounting system, it’s time to make the switch.

Make things easier for yourself with Xero

Naturally, the accounting systems that will handle the change best are those that already do everything online. And few systems do that better than Xero.

Xero operates completely in the cloud, and already works with feeds from banks and other financial institutions. So it’s easy for Xero to also work with superannuation funds.

How easy? Here’s a video showing how to easily make superannuation contributions for employees using Xero.

And this feature is being included in all Xero Premium plans.

Get ready to ride the SuperStream

The deadline for moving to online superannuation contributions is only months away. And if you have to move to an electronic accounting system as well, it’s time to get that process moving before it’s too late.

Talk to us and we can guide you on converting across to Xero. Streamlined payment of your employees’ superannuation contributions will be just one of many benefits you’ll enjoy once you’re using Xero.

May 20

Business Owners: Why Cash is King, Profit is Theory

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

There’s a saying in business, “You can go broke making a profit.” And another, “Cash is king. Profit is theory.”

As you know only too well, you don’t pay rent, meet payroll or pay your bills with profit.

You pay them with cash.

A business can make a lot of sales, have a book full of orders, have delighted customers and clients, have a great reputation, be growing, and yet still go broke.

Why? Cash flow.

The business might be profitable on paper, but have no money left in the bank. They cannot pay their bills and they become insolvent.

A growing business is often hungry for cash … hungry for inputs so it can make the business’ outputs, be they physical products, services or a combination of both.

The tragedy in this is that cash flow crises can often be averted. They can be predicted, planned for, and then contingency measures put in place.

For example, if a business has seasonal effects where some months are busier than others, or if a business knows it has some jumps in expenses or fixed costs approaching—such as moving to a larger premises or hiring more staff to cope with growth—then these expenses can be planned for and compared with the planned income in those months.

Which would you prefer to do?

(A) Call your bank manager and ask for a short-term loan or increase in overdraft when you are urgently in need of the cash (and therefore stressed, and desperate, and not in a great frame of mind to negotiate good terms), or

(B) Call your bank manager 6 months in advance and meet with him or her to explain the coming cash crunch, the reasons behind it, and plan for the funding in a calm, relaxed, totally-in-control manner?

Not only would you get the loan, you’d impress the bank manager and strengthen the relationship for further funding, should it be needed to support your growth.

The bank manager would see you are a professional operator with a planned approach to your business, not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants operator. (They see a lot of those. They don’t like doing business with them.)

Apart from the relationship with your bank, there’s the immediate effect of sleeping better at night.

We all seek a level of certainty to comfort us. Knowing what lies ahead in business and planning your cash flow gives you peace of mind and confidence in your day-to-day work that will rub off on those around you…

…in your workplace and at home. It’s a good feeling.

This is one of the reasons we are so passionate about helping our clients put together cash flow forecasts, to help them keep their business on track and to avoid any stressful, unpleasant surprises in the coming months.

It doesn’t matter whether a business is a one-person hairdressing or lawn mowing business, or a 10 person, 20 or 200+ person business.

Every business needs a cash flow forecast.

Running your business without a cash flow forecast is like driving a car at night along a dark country road with only your normal headlights on. It’s hard to see what lies ahead. Some wildlife might come right out in front of you, leaving no time for you to react. CRASH!

On the other hand, a cash flow forecast is like driving along that country road with high beam on. You can see so much more. You can drive with much more confidence. Less stress. And avoid the CRASH!

Another thing we often find in helping our clients build realistic cash flow forecasts, is that we can spot problems and make suggestions that help improve the business’ cash cycle. This puts money in your bank account.

For example, a combination of negotiating better terms with suppliers, tightening up or at least clarifying and enforcing your business’ own credit terms, and reducing stock holding and waste can have a powerful positive effect on your cash flow.

So, if a cash flow forecast is so crucial, why do many businesses not have one?

Simple. Business owners get busy. Busy pleasing customers or clients. Busy dealing with staff. Busy paying suppliers. Busy generating sales.

Also, it’s easy to get ‘too close’ to your own business. “You can’t see the forest for the trees,” as the saying goes.

Having an independent and fresh pair of eyes come in and look at your business—especially cash flow which is its life blood—allows opportunities for improvements to be identified. Things that are there, but difficult for the business owner to see amidst the ‘busy-ness’ of it all.

So, what should do about it? Call us. Take action. A cash flow forecast costs less than you think.

It’s time to turn those high beams on!

Your next step... Call us on (03) 8669 1751 or email us on info@btna.com.au to make a time to meet and discuss your options. We’ll then outline the costs so you know exactly what lies ahead.

Apr 16

Crowdfunding: New Ways To Fund Business Startups

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Thursday, April 16, 2015

So you’ve got a great idea for your business, but you don’t have the funds right now to get it off the ground.

You could try applying for a government grant, but it’s often a long and arduous bureaucratic process of form filling and there are of course no guarantees you’ll get the money. Some governments also offer tax incentives for research and development, but usually you need to spend the money before you can get it back.

And there are private investors—’business angels’—too, if you have the contacts and know how to structure and negotiate a good deal that you won’t regret in the years to come.

‘Bootstrapping’ is the most common way that businesses fund their startup phase. This is where entrepreneurs fund the startup business out of their own savings and even from their credit card limits! High risk, but the bootstrapping advantage is that the founders don’t have to give away equity or control to other investors.

The downside is that bootstrapping can lead to under-capitalisation of the business, which can starve it of the cash the business needs to fund its growth.

You have to admire the entrepreneurial spirit. Small business is the engine room of the economy.

But what if you’re not able to tap into government grants, private investors or your don’t have sufficient funds for your startup idea?

Fortunately, it’s not a dead-end. There’s another relatively new way for your business to get the money it needs: crowdfunding.

With a little help from my friends

Crowdfunding is defined as the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via a web-based independent crowdsourcing platform.

Compared with other ways of raising money through multiple smaller investors—such as by issuing a prospectus or other traditionally regulated disclosure documents, which could also extend to completing the complex and expensive Initial Public Offering (IPO) process—crowdfunding is a relatively simple, easy and inexpensive process.

Crowdfunding is essentially a process of explaining (selling the idea of!) a proposed venture or project, and then asking for pledges from the public. In return, those who pledge receive rewards. These rewards can include early access to the product or service, or copies of the proposed book, album or movie, or (depending on the crowdfunding platform used) even equity in your company.

You just need to offer something that motivates people to help fund your crowdfunding campaign.

Two crowdfunding models to choose from

When you set up your crowdfunding campaign, you specify: 

  • the amount of money you hope to raise 
  • the time period you want to raise it in.

What happens at the end of that time period depends on the funding model you’ve chosen.

With the ‘all-or-nothing’ model (used by crowdfunding sites such as Pozible and Kickstarter), if you don’t reach your target then nothing happens. You don’t get any money, and your backers don’t get any rewards.

If your campaign is successful, then you get the money (less the fees charged by the crowdfunding site), and the backers get their rewards.

With the ‘flexible’ model (used by Indiegogo), you get to keep the money you raise whether your campaign is successful or not. However, you may be charged higher fees if you don’t reach your target. (You may also be legally obligated to give rewards to anyone who has given you money for your campaign. Be sure to study the crowdfunding platform’s terms and conditions before you start your campaign.)

How much are you willing to reveal?

The secret to a successful crowdfunding campaign is giving people a compelling reason to back it. And according to Johanna Baker-Dowell of Strawberry Communications, that means telling your story.

“Speak from the heart and help your supporters understand why the project is important to you and why they should pledge to it. Use words, videos, photos and whatever else you can think of to share your story.”

There’s a fine line between telling your story and giving away your intellectual property. So when you’re telling your story, make sure you don’t reveal too much.

Thanks to the internet and crowdfunding platforms, entrepreneurs now have more options and a much better chance to get the funding needed for their startups.

The “Ask and you shall receive” principle might just hold true? It’s certainly a matter of, “Ask and you shall find out!”

If you’d like to bounce any of your business startup ideas off us, or ask us about the various funding strategies you have available to you, get in touch and we’ll make a time to have a chat about it over a coffee.

Mar 16

Your business, government grants and tax incentives. Are you cashing in?

Posted by Ross Griffiths on Monday, March 16, 2015

Thomas Edison once said that “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”.

Unfortunately, going from that inspirational idea to the finished product takes a lot more than hard work. Just like Edison, you also need to invest in a lot of research and development.

And R&D doesn’t come cheap.

Fortunately the Federal Government helps business in two ways: Grants and Tax Incentives

Government Grants - What’s available to you?

You might be surprised to find out just how many different government grants and assistance programs are on offer. The Federal Government’s GrantsLINK website helps you work out the grants your business may be eligible for. Click Business and Industry on the left of the screen and you’ll see pages of grants listed. Depending on your type of business, different grants might be applicable.

The Grants & Assistance Finder on business.gov.au has a more detailed listing of grants and assistance programs. You can filter on State or Territory and Type of Grant or Assistance.

Get in touch with us if you’d like us to shortcut the process for you, and we’ll let you know which grants are worth applying for in your situation.

Keep in mind there’s no guarantee a grant application will be successful. That’s one reason the next type of assistance is so appealing

The R&D Tax Incentive - Are you eligible?

Innovate, and you reduce your tax. That’s the idea behind the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive. It provides R&D tax offsets to encourage businesses to innovate and engage in R&D.

Businesses conducting R&D may be eligible for:

  • a 45% refundable tax offset (that’s equivalent to a 150% deduction) for eligible entities with an aggregated turnover of less than $20 million per annum, provided they are not controlled by income tax exempt entities
  • a 40% non-refundable tax offset (equivalent to 133% deduction) for all other eligible entities (entities may be able to carry forward unused offset amounts to future income years).

The program is jointly administered by AusIndustry and the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

To register for the tax incentive you must lodge your application within 10 months of your company’s income year.

Each year you must apply to register for the R&D Tax Incentive. This is a self-assessment process for companies using the R&D Tax Incentive Online Eligibility Tool. This will give your company an indication of its eligibility.

It’s important that your company keeps adequate records throughout the year to show it carried out eligible activities in incurring the claimed expenditure.

If you’re eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive but not applying for it, you’re leaving cash on the table. We can help you make sure you tick all the relevant boxes so you don’t miss out.

If the government is offering your business financial assistance through tax breaks, take them!

A little perspiration will be worth it

Remember Edison’s words. The ‘perspiration factor’ can’t be avoided. You need to apply for the grants and tax incentives, but the effort can be well worth it. And we’ll share the load with you.

Drop us a line and we’ll make a time to catch up and have a chat about your eligibility and the next steps required.