As we enter into the first few weeks on 2017 we reflect on our journey over the past 12 months. In reflecting we ask ourselves three questions; where were we, where are we, and where do we want to be.
We began 2016 as Rush & Associates, an accounting firm with a a small group of employees passionate about their work and eager for Friday arvo drinks next door at the Normanby Hotel. Rush & Associates was an accounting focused company restructured in 2008 with a focus on converting customers to Xero. Recognising a growing need for accountants that operate as business advisors a change in name, focus and scenery was undertaken.
In June 2016 we moved 200m up-the-road to our newly renovated office and rebranded to RA Business Advisors. We shifted our focus to helping our clients grow their business using Xero and its add-ons, and advising them whenever needed, not just at EOFY. Businesses have always been social; what’s new is the set of observable behaviours and available technologies that enable businesses to leverage these to solve business problems. This change lead to a more social media and digital focused marketing presence. 2016 also saw the start of our Xero Training service, offering a free one hour initial training session, as we centred our efforts, not on Xero conversions, but on assisting and teaching those who are new to Xero. This has lead to our Xero training to be a more prominent service in 2017.
We have plans to continue to grow and develop our services in 2017. The introduction of Xero training classes to start in early 2017 is set to allow us to teach our current clients and potential new clients their way around Xero. We wish to no longer deliver Xero as a product but to deliver the experience of Xero through our training. We see 2017 as a year of growth not just for our business, but for our clients businesses as our job is to help them grow.
Wishing you all a Happy and Prosporous New Year!
In order to see continued business and profit growth small businesses should be focusing on how they can be more innovative, attract new customers and get ahead of competitors. There are four key emerging digital trends every small business needs to get behind before 2017 rolls around.
The Paperless Office
Operating small businesses off digital platforms such as Xero and its add-ons, is on the rise. Running a paperless office may be difficult at first (we would know!) but it is essential in lowering costs and improving productivity.
Interested in learning what management technology is best for your business? Give us a call to find the best solution for you.
If we analyse the evolution of EFTPOS we can see a decline in cash withdrawals as we shift into a cashless society. In order to stay competitive it is important to allow your customers the ability to make payments digitally, whether through PayPal, square, or other apps. With proper training and set up digital payments can create a more streamline customer experience.
Many businesses are already using messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and Skype to communicate amongst employees. Businesses should look to implement messaging platforms as a means to engage consumers, provide value and offer exceptional customer support.
The transition from traditional newspaper and TV marketing to a more push-pull modern marketing has lead to the era of digital marketing. Digital marketing is by no means new but recent years has seen it expand rapidly under the introduction of Facebook and Twitter advertising which allows companies to pinpoint thousands of potential clients in one swoop. Whilst some traditional marketing campaigns such as direct mail, still hold the highest response rate, digital marketing is essential in every small business. Digital marketing is not just about putting an ad on Google Adwords but also about creating a brand and strong message across all platforms.
Many marketing agencies offer to outsource your digital marketing for you, or you can hire someone or ask one of your existing staff to undertake it for you. Alternatively there are many courses online and offline in which you can attend to learn how it operates.
Do you want to get your business on trend? Call or email today to see how we can help you get on track for 2017!
A $1.6 million cap on the amount of tax-free super savings a person can hold in retirement has been passed by the federal government. This new ruling is to begin July 2018, and after-tax contributions are also to be capped at $100,000 a year. Treasurer Scott Morison is calling the changed the “most significant change to protect the flexibility and ensure the sustainability of superannuation in more than a decade.” The originally proposed $500,000 lifetime cap on after-tax super contribution made since 2007 saw severe backlash from Coalition backbenchers resulting in the countered response of $100,000 cap. Whilst the changes were mostly welcomed by superannuation groups there were complaints that the Government had caved in to the super rich. This Government, however, views the change as a necessity in order to sustain a flexible superannuation policy for future generations. The changes will allow for more than 800,000 Australians to take advantage of their concessional contributions cap from July next year.
The Government is proposing to cut tax deductions for non-compulsory work uniforms in order to save the federal budget $30 million annually. In the 2013-14 Financial Year 492,000 taxpayers claimed $104 million in non-compulsory work clothing expenses, at an average of $211 each. For employees whose staff wear non-compulsory uniforms a tax deduction for expenses they incur to rent, purchase or maintain non-compulsory corporate uniform.
Rules currently specify that employees can only claim a tax deduction for non-compulsory uniform expenses, where employers have the uniform designs approved and entered on the Register of Approved Occupational Clothing (RAOC) by the Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Cutting non-compulsory uniform deductions will save the RAOC $100,000 annually in administration costs. This is not the first time the government has tried to cut tax deduction with the Turnbull government failing to pass a proposal to cut all work-related deduction by replacing them with lower tax rates when it failed to result in a lower personal tax rate for all. Tax deduction rulings are yet to be changed as the government investigates concerns that the current approach may be causing unnecessary regulatory burden and costs on businesses.
To read more click here.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s latest inquiry into payment terms that have affected the livelihood of almost five million Australians involved in small business has left me reflected on the experiences I have had with big companies and government enterprises. At my last job I was chasing up a substantial payment from a multi-million dollar, international company who was almost two months late on their payment. After repetitive, one-way conversations, office staff essentially told me that it would be paid when it was paid, despite the agreed upon 14-day payment terms they had signed prior to the job. The repercussions of this late payment had a chain reaction that affected payroll, budgets and financial position. This interaction between big companies and small businesses puts to question the effects of late payments on the owners of small businesses. Big companies and government enterprises are said to be owing at least $26 billion in unpaid invoices to small businesses. With 90 per cent of small businesses closing due to poor cash flow, the resulting unpaid invoices have led to small business owners taking out loans in order to pay suppliers and wages. “If small-to-medium businesses start falling off a cliff, economic conditions in Australia will certainly follow, so it’s incumbent on big businesses and governments to follow best practice and pay their bills on time,” (Kate Carnell, 2016). If you have a problem with late payments you can talk to your accountant for help with issuing reminders and debt collection, or just for help speeding up the payment.
Last year the ATO released a free tool for their app ‘MyDeductions’ in order to help taxpayers keep track of deductions and expenses, on-the-go. The app is simple and easy to use; all you have to do is add the date of purchase, amount and a description. You can also categorise your receipts into deduction labels whenever you like. Come tax time you will be given the option to upload your completed deductions data to the ATO and will be imported into your tax return pre-fill. The MyDeductions app allows you to keep a record of all work-related:
- Car expenses; point-to-point, odometer method or electronic log book
- Travel expenses; public transport, flights, taxi and Uber fares, tolls, parking fees, meals, accommodation and incidental expenses incurred while travelling for work
- Clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses; compulsory uniform, protective clothing, occupation-specific clothing, and laundry expenses for these clothes
- Self-education expenses; costs of attending seminars, conferences, educational workshops, and job-specific course fees
- Other expenses; home office expenses, mobile, internet
You can also use MyDeductions to record non work-related expenses such as;
- Gift and donations
- Costs associated with managing your tax affairs
Download the ATO app from the app store to start using MyDeductions.
If eligible to sell your business property to your SMSF, you can receive a tax concession on investment earnings and hence, if you are eligible, you will only be taxed at 10% as per capital gain tax (CGT). Also, if you are careful and structure the sale transaction right you may pay no CGT when you sell the property, when paying a pension from your fund.
Like most things with the ATO, there are strict rules and guidelines surrounding the sale of a business property to a SMSF.
- Must be defined as a business real property, meaning it needs to be a freehold or leasehold interest in real property that is capable of assignment or transfer.
- Needs to be wholly and exclusively in one business
- If the property is being acquired from a related party, then related party transaction rules apply
- Business real property doesn’t include property used partly for running a business and partly for residential purposes.
- Above restrictions do not apply to farmers whose SMSF can own a farm and lease it to a member
- The predominant purpose of the entire rural property can’t be for private of domestic purposes
- Small businesses can use their SMSF monies to own their business premises
For a list of alternate options and useful mechanisms, click here.
Interested in learning about how you can sell you business property to your SMSF? Give us a call today to talk to one of our small business experts or book a meeting with our director.
The ATO is warning small businesses who have yet to sign up to SuperStream that time is running out. With a deadline on 28 October 2016, businesses not set up are at risk of being not-compliant with no individual extensions to be granted. As mentioned in previous blogs, SuperStream is an electronic reporting standard for superannuation payments to staff. Luckily, 75% of small businesses are SuperStream compliant but there is still a way to go to make everyone compliant. The SuperStream system is designed to save administration time and costs.
If you are yet to set up your SuperStream now is the time to do so. Take a look at our ‘SuperStream Changes’ blog, visit the ATO for a step-by-step guide, or contact us to hear how we can make you compliant before the deadline.
In one of our first ever blogs, back in December 2011, we discussed “What is the Cloud” after holding our first information session with a small group of clients and non-clients. Now, five years on, who would have guessed the technological innovations the cloud would have helped us achieve? From multimillion dollar businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, to internet giant Amazon, it has so far seemed that cloud technology may not just be for big companies with big IT budgets. CTO at Amazon, Werner Vogels, believes that greater competition and consumer power has put cloud technology in the hands of smaller companies and average households. He stated that “almost anything that draws a current will eventually become connected to a network.” You will be able to talk to your appliances to turn them on, much like the movie “Parental Guidance” smart house. This rapidly growing technology will soon be part of everyday households and our everyday lives.