Firm Journal

Using storytelling to build your brand

Storytelling taps into your customers’ emotions, builds trust and can help form a stronger connection with your audience.

Many businesses are now using their business’ story in their marketing efforts to engage their current customer base and attract new customers to their brand.
Here are three ways to incorporate storytelling into your business’ marketing:

Share your story
Where did your business start? Talk your audience through your beginnings, including where your idea to start the business came from and how the business unfolded over time. Explain your approach to your business, your mission, highlights, and stories where your business made an impact. Your story does not need to follow a chronological timeline, for example, it may only include the challenges your business has faced and how you overcame them.

Provide insight
Stories can be compelling, but only when told effectively. Give your audience insight into your business by being transparent, authentic and even entertaining or humorous. Feature your valued customers in the story and share their experiences, showcase community activities and events you have been a part of, give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business, and so forth. The aim is to give your audience insight into your business’ core values and personality.

Inspire your audience
Your story should either invoke inspiration or provide a take-home message for your audience. This is why it is critical to be genuine in your storytelling efforts. Whether you are sharing your personal story or that of your team members’, try to relate it to the audience and avoid unnecessary and dull details. Rather than sharing a story which is self-promoting, focus on the heart of the message and what you’d like your audience to gain from hearing the story.

Posted on 25 May '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Claiming personal super contributions deductions

More taxpayers can now claim a personal super contributions deductions this tax time due to the removal of the 10 per cent maximum earnings condition that came into effect from 1 July 2017.

Eligible individuals include those who earn their income from:

  • Salary and wages
  • A personal business (self-employment)
  • Investments such as interest, dividends, rent and capital gains
  • Government pensions or allowances
  • Super
  • Partnership or trust distributions
  • A foreign source

Those who wish to claim a deduction need to:

  • Make personal after-tax super contributions directly to their super fund before 30 June 2018, if they have not already contributed this financial year
  • Provide their fund with a ‘notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions’
  • Obtain acknowledgement from their fund of their notice of intent before their 2018 tax return can be lodged.

Posted on 25 May '18 by , under super. No Comments.

GST at settlement

As of 1 July 2018, purchasers of new residential premises or potential land are required to withhold an amount from the contract price and pay the amount to the ATO before settlement.

A supplier (vendor, seller) of residential premises or potential residential land must notify the purchaser in writing whether they will need to withhold an amount. If the purchaser is required to withhold, the supplier will need to inform them of the amount and when it needs to be paid to the Tax Office.

Generally, if the property contract sale specifies an amount that is the price of the supply, i.e., the contract price, then the withholding amount is calculated on the contract price. However, there are some situations where the amount to be withheld must be calculated differently, including:
– Where the margin scheme applies to the supply
– The supply is between associates and is without consideration, or is for consideration that is less than the GST inclusive market value of the supply
– There is a mixed supply, for example, only partly a supply of new residential premises or potential residential land
– There are multiple purchasers (not joint tenants)

Once the supplier lodges their BAS and it is processed, the supplier will receive a credit for the amount the purchaser withheld and paid to the ATO.

Note, purchasers do not need to register for GST just because they have a withholding requirement.

Posted on 25 May '18 by , under tax. No Comments.

How to spot a fake loan

When shopping around for a personal loan, it is wise to be conscious of any potential scammers that may try and offer you a deal that sounds too good to be true.

Though a loan may look legitimate from a first glance, there are various tell-tale signs to watch out for to spot a fraudulent loan.

When applying for a loan, be wary if your lender:
– does not evaluate your credit report before approving your loan
– calls or emails you to advise that you are a candidate for a loan
– asks for an initial fee to be wired to a local or international bank account
– offers a low-interest rate
– approves an amount that is higher than you require or applied for
– emails you from a personal email address (i.e., hotmail or gmail)
– sends correspondence using an email address where the company name is misspelt
– gives you an immediate deadline to accept the loan
– has not provided a legitimate address

It is essential to ensure the company you are dealing with is legitimate. Find their number from an independent source and then call them. Never call a number provided in an email as the scam artist may be impersonating a legitimate institution.

To be more adept at identifying a fraudulent loan and to avoid being scammed, never solely rely on the advice of a lender. It is always better to do independent research before you finalise your decision.

Posted on 17 May '18 by , under money. No Comments.

Why your business needs a mission statement

A compelling mission statement will give your small business the purpose it needs to grow. In just a few clear and succinct sentences the statement should announce your driving business strategy.

However, it is not enough to merely generate a statement and slap it on your website. A mission statement will do little to impact your business unless you take active measures to embed its ideology into the workplace culture.

Apply your mission statement as a guiding principle when making any strategic decisions at management level.

This approach will influence you and your team to plan long-term by focusing core strategies on things that will remain constant, rather than those that will not.

Invest all your time and energy into things that are always changing, like technologies or the competition, and you will continuously need to revise your core strategies.

It is critical to use your driving purpose to form long-term strategies for your business that way they will still be relevant in five years from now.

While impacting the way you create strategies at a management level, the guiding principle must also influence how your staff complete their everyday tasks. In this way, the ideology can be embraced at every level in the workplace.

Posted on 17 May '18 by , under business. No Comments.

How the new super measures will apply to SMSFs

The Government has introduced new measures to allow SMSF members to access their super for their first home or make contributions to their super from the sale of downsizing their home.

SMSFs should be aware of the following:

Downsizing
From 1 July 2018, SMSF members who are 65 or over and exchange a contract of sale of their main residence may be eligible to make a downsizer contribution of up to $300,000 into their super without affecting their total super balance or contributions cap for the year.

This contribution will count towards the transfer balance cap and be taken into account for determining eligibility for the age pension.

SMSF members do not have to purchase another home to access this measure. However, the contribution can only be made once; it cannot be used for the sale of a second main residence.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme
SMSF members looking to get into the property market can now use some help from their SMSF under the First Home Super Saver Scheme.

As of 1 July 2018, SMSF members over 18 years of age can apply to release their voluntary concessional and non-concessional contributions made from 1 July 2017, along with associate earnings to purchase their first home.

Voluntary contributions made since 1 July 2017 of up to a maximum of $15,000 from any one financial year, or $30,000 across all years can be applied for.

Posted on 17 May '18 by , under super. No Comments.

Focus on work-related car expenses

The Tax Office has flagged work-related car expenses as a concern this tax time.

The ATO is targeting those who make mistakes or deliberately lodge false claims. Examples include:
– Claiming things they are not entitled to, i.e., private trips such as work to home travel.
– Making claims for trips that did not occur.
– Claiming expenses that their employer has already reimbursed them for.

Advancements in data-matching technology allow the ATO to match individuals with peers in similar occupations, earning similar amounts of income. Analytics is also used to identify claim patterns, i.e., over 800,000 people claimed exactly 5,000 kilometres under the cents per kilometre method last year.

The best way to avoid making a mistake include:
– only making a car claim if you paid for the expense yourself and were not reimbursed;
– it was directly related to earning your income; and,
– you must have a record to support the claim.

An example of a legitimate car claim is travelling between work sites or between jobs as part of your job.

Before you submit a car claim, consider if your employer would agree you needed to undertake the trips as part of your job. Employers may be contacted if your claim raises a red flag.

Posted on 17 May '18 by , under tax. No Comments.

Morning habits matter

How do you like to begin each day?

The daily routines of successful entrepreneurs prove that ‘when’ and ‘how’ you choose to start your morning significantly impacts the rest of your day in the office.

Incorporating positive habits into your morning routine will help to increase your productivity and creativity throughout the day, and lead to a healthier and balanced lifestyle.

Regular sleep patterns
Consistently sleeping 7 to 8 hours every night is fundamental to leading a healthy lifestyle. As an entrepreneur, you may deal with long days at the office, and it is important to give your body and mind the most appropriate amount of time to refuel each night.

Rising early
Many high-profile entrepreneurs make a habit of always rising early. Getting out of bed provides more hours in the day to achieve your goals. Consistently rising early helps to form a disciplined routine.

Morning workouts
Waking up earlier allows time to exercise in the morning. Working out as soon as you wake up is a great way to get moving and start your day on a high. Studies show that consistent exercise can boost brain activity better than coffee and other caffeinated drinks, giving you a higher level of focus throughout the day.

Eating breakfast
Breakfast matters. Your mind and body require nutrients to keep running until lunchtime. Eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast after you complete your exercise routine. This will help you to avoid becoming tired or irritable at work.

Remember, consistency is essential.

No same morning routine is right for everyone, but the best routines are the ones that are followed every day.

Posted on 11 May '18 by , under business. No Comments.

Budget 2018: living stronger

The Government is focused on encouraging older Australians to better grow and secure their personal retirement funds.

Retirees exempt from work test
An exemption from the work test will be established to allow retired Australians aged between 65-74 who have total super balances below $300,000 in their first year that they do not meet the work test criteria, to make voluntary payments into their superannuation funds.

Retirement income strategy
Superannuation trustees will now be required to produce a retirement income strategy for their superannuation fund members. This is due to new amendments to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.

The Government is also set to revise the Corporations Act 2001 to ensure providers of retirement income products will supply standardised and simplified reporting to assist with more informed decision making.

Pension Work Bonus
Increase in funding to the Pension Work Bonus will mean that pensioners can now receive up to $300 per fortnight before their pension payments are affected. The Bonus will also cover self-employed individuals, who will be entitled to receive up to $7,800 per year without reducing their pension payments.

Funding for older workers program
Additional funding will be provided over four years to form the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program, starting from 2018-19. This measure will focus on supporting employees aged 45 to 70 to remain working for longer.

Improved skills for mature age Australians
Funding will be provided over the next five years to help mature age individuals to remain up to date with changing and new skills needed to remain relevant in their workplace.

Posted on 9 May '18 by , under General News. No Comments.

Budget 2018: creating a level-playing field

The Government will continue its commitment to strengthen the economy by focusing on improving its integrity measures to create a fairer level-playing field for all.

Funding new ATO enforcement
Additional funds will be allocated from the Budget over four years to fund a new ATO enforcement strategy to tackle the black economy. Through this measure, the ATO will implement new mobile strike teams, stricter auditing and a Black Economy Hotline for Australians to report black economy and illegal phoenix activities.

Cash payment limit
The Government will commence with a restriction on cash payments made to businesses for goods or services of up to $10,000 from 1 July 2019. Payments over $10,000 must be made via an online banking system or cheque unless payments are with financial institutions or consumer to consumer non-business transactions.

No tax-deductibility for non-compliant payments
From 1 July 2019, the Government is keeping a closer eye on those businesses that try to claim deductions for any payments made to their employees that do not comply with current regulations. Deductions for payments from a business to a contractor will also be disallowed if the contractor does not have an ABN and the business does not withhold any PAYG monies, despite the withholding requirements applying.

Reforms to combat illegal phoenixing
Corporations and tax laws will be strengthened with further measures to prevent illegal phoenix activities. Those measures will include changes to:
– introduce new phoenix offences for individuals who run or open the door to illegal phoenixing;
– stop directors incorrectly backdating resignations to avoid liability or prosecution;
– control the power of related creditors to vote on the appointment, removal or replacement of an external administrator;
– expand the Director Penalty Regime to GST, luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax (to make directors personally liable for company’s debts); and
– allow the Tax Office to restrict refunds for outstanding tax lodgements.

Personal income tax
The ATO will receive further funding from 1 July 2018 in a bid to strengthen compliance activities on individual taxpayers and their tax agents. This funding is set to provide new compliance activities, a stronger audit presence and prosecutions, improve education and guidance materials, pre-filling of income tax returns and enhance real time messaging to tax agents and individual taxpayers. This measure is set to prevent over-claiming of any entitlements, including tax deductions by higher risk taxpayers and their agents.

Black economy package
The Taxable Payments Reporting System (TPRS) will expand to include security providers and investigation services; road freight transport; and computer system design and related services. Businesses required to report payments to contractors to the Tax Office must keep information from 1 July 2019, with the first annual report due by August 2020.

Tax and superannuation debts
The Budget implements a further range of strategies to improve debt collections revenue and time taken for debts to be collected. This measure is set to deter individual taxpayers from gaining an unfair advantage over individuals paying their fair share of tax and super.

Posted on 9 May '18 by , under tax. No Comments.