Firm Journal

What advertising avenue is best for you?

Without exposure, businesses would come and go very quickly. In this new digital age, there are even more options for how you want to advertise your business. There are a variety of resources, all priced differently so you can pay as much as you want or nothing at all. You will need to be aware of your target audience and what form of media would they consume the most.

Traditional Media:
Traditional media most commonly refers to print, radio or television advertising. Ads in magazines, newspapers, on the radio and the television, are how you would target an older audience. To optimise this advertising medium, have your ads displayed prominently or played at peak times.

New Media:
New media refers to the internet and the various avenues on which you can advertise. Like traditional media, you can by ad space to appear on Google or other pages. Again this is monetarily based. The audience on social media, in particular, is younger and many services, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, offer free business models that highlight all your relevant information for public consumption.

Local Advertising:
On a smaller scale, physical advertising in your area can boost visibility. Flyers or business cards are a good way to get locals to be aware of your presence in the community and can be fairly inexpensive. This form of advertising lets you reach an array of people as well as helping to establish yourself in your local area. If you have more money to spend, consider renting a billboard or a bus stop space for larger scale advertising.

Posted on 21 February '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Do you know where your super is?

If you’re not close to retiring, you may not be thinking about your super or where it is. Even if you are a way off from retiring, you should be keeping track of where your super has gone. $17.5 billion of super was lost in 2017-18, $420 million down from the previous year. If you are not paying attention to your super contributions, accounts and insurances, you may have lost super. You may also have unintentionally lost track of super if you have ever changed your name, address, job or lived overseas.

It is not uncommon for people to have multiple super accounts they have acquired over the years of working at different companies. Having multiple unused accounts can result in high fees that drain your untouched super or you could lose track of it completely. It is in your best interest to consolidate all super into one account that suits your retirement goals. When closing unused accounts, you should be mindful of any termination fees, insurance policies, investment options, and ongoing service fees.

If you have lost track of your super it may be held by either your super fund as a lost account or as an ATO-held account. The easiest way to consolidate super is through the myGov website, linking the ATO to records of your super funds

Posted on 21 February '19 by , under super. No Comments.

STP extension for small businesses

The ATO has released a statement in relation to transitioning to Single Touch Payroll (STP) for small employers. Parliament has passed legislation to extend STP to include employers with fewer than 20 employees from 1 July 2019. STP is payday reporting by employers to the ATO as it happens.

The initiative is designed to help keep up with advances in technology and firmly establish business reporting. As some small employers do not currently use commercial payroll software, the ATO is working with software providers to develop low and no-cost reporting solutions including simplifying payroll systems.

It has been highlighted that to further assist in the transition, the ATO is offering:

  • micro employers (1 to 4 employees) help to transition to STP and a number of alternative options.
  • Small employers can start reporting any time from the 1 July start date to 30 September 2019. Deferrals will be granted to small employers who request additional time to start STP reporting.
  • No penalties for mistakes, missed or late reports for the first year.
  • Exemptions can be provided from STP reporting for employers experiencing hardship, or in areas with intermittent or no internet connection.

Posted on 21 February '19 by , under tax. No Comments.

Payday loan apps and websites; the pros and cons

Personal loans have become a fast-growing financing option for consumers, with payday apps and websites gaining popularity. For aid between paychecks, payday loans can be very helpful for the pay cycle lull. Taking out a loan is not something to enter into lightly though, there are many variables that should go into your decision-making process. Here are a few pros and cons you should consider before taking out a payday loan

Pros:
Payday loans are named as such because they are basically instant. Once applied, your loan is usually processed and paid out on the same day. This is very helpful if you are in need of money urgently between pay, like a fine or surprise bill for example. For this reason, the loan amounts can often be quite high. Like any other loan provider, the quicker you pay the amount back, the more likely you are to receive a higher loan the next time around. These services track your repayments and can increase funds based on your credit history. Application for payday loans is extremely easy as they are based online. The process is very quick and many payday loan services have app options so you can apply on the go.

Cons:
Any loan you take out will affect your credit rating so it is important to really think about why you need the loan before applying. Frivolous loans can greatly harm your credit score which could make life difficult down the track. With the loan process on these sites, if you are unable to make a full repayment by the agreed deadline, further fees may be charged to you but will not be revealed until you are required to pay. These payday loans often have a high-interest rate due to their instant nature and repayment period.

Posted on 14 February '19 by , under money. No Comments.

“Building a Better Tax system” What does this mean for you?

The Australian government has launched the Better Tax campaign in order to help inform the public of tax reforms coming into effect. Designed to “better Australia”, here is a look at what this plan means for you.

Individual Tax:

  • New low to middle-income tax offset: Offering immediate relief of up to $530 after an individual lodges their tax return for each income year from 2018-19 until 2021-22.
  • Increase to income tax rate thresholds: Changing over the next seven years so less tax is paid by Australian taxpayers. The first change took effect on 1 July 2018 with future changes in 2022-23 and 2024-25.
  • Reduction in the number of tax brackets: In order to simplify the system, in 2024-25 the tax system will move from five tax brackets to four.

Business Tax:

  • Tax cuts for incorporated small and medium businesses, with a turnover of less than $50 million per annum. These companies will move to a 25 per cent tax rate by 2021-22.
  • The small business income tax offset; increasing the rate of the tax discount for unincorporated small businesses with a turnover below $5 million
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $20,000 to $25,000 and extending it until 30 June 2020. The increased threshold will apply from 29 January 2019, with legislation to be introduced.
  • Increasing the small business entity turnover threshold from $2 million to $10 million per annum, extending access to a range of tax concessions.

Posted on 14 February '19 by , under tax. No Comments.

Creating a positive business culture

Business culture is a reflection of what your company stands for, it’s your voice. Employee relations are what establishes this voice and can always be improved. A work environment that everyone enjoys can help to improve performance and productivity. Here are some ways you can help better the culture of your business

Vision:
For a business culture to be established, as the employer you must first decide what that voice will be. Having a clear direction for your business practices is common but for community in the office, a vision for your business culture will help the process. It is your job to help guide your company toward your vision in every aspect of the business.

Lead by example:
Often business owners can be separated from the general culture of the workplace. It is important to show you adopt the values and productivity levels you are expecting of your employees. Integration on this level helps to establish what you expect out of the business and its everyday processes.

Communication:
One of the most obvious points is communication, it is essential in running a business. Good communication is not only needed for basic tasks and management but also key to creating your business culture. If your vision for the business is not effectively communicated then the culture will reflect that.

Feedback:
If you foster an environment that encourages feedback, you get an everyday look into how the culture of your business is or has formed. Feedback to employees is important for their personal growth in the company and practices but when there is a mutual level of communication and trust, their feedback to you can help better your own idea of your business culture.

Posted on 14 February '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Superannuation tips for each stage of your working life

A 2018 study revealed that almost 40% of Australians think they won’t have enough money to retire on – and that number is on the rise. Managing your superannuation fund can be confusing but it was found that 50% of us do not consult a financial planner. As we face different financial challenges at different points in our lives, how do you ensure you have enough to retire on?

20s to 30s:
It is not uncommon for many people in their 20s and 30s to have multiple superannuation fund accounts accumulated through years of youth part-time work or otherwise. Now is the time to chase up on lost super. With one superannuation account, you not only can save on fees but it may also give you better investment returns. When combining and comparing your active accounts, be mindful of any termination fees, insurance policies, investment options, and ongoing service fees.

40s to 50s:
You may find yourself earning more than you’ve ever earned before, but it is also a time where you may be juggling more living costs – from your mortgage to your growing family’s fees. Experts advise against decreasing your mortgage payments and encourage voluntary payments to your superannuation fund. If you have a partner, he or she may be able to help grow your super by making a ‘Spouse Contribution’ to your super account or consider if contribution splitting is viable for you. You may also be thinking about your retirement plan at this stage, and now is a good time to review your superannuation’s insurance and beneficiary policies.

60+:
This is the time many consider leaving the workforce but this decision doesn’t have to be as daunting or finite as it may seem. An alternative to this is the Transition to Retirement (TTR) income stream, where you can concurrently decrease your working hours while withdrawing money from your super once you reach your preservation age. There are a few regulations on how you can access your super and how you will be taxed so it is best to seek financial advice for your situation. In your 60s, you may be eligible to apply for a government age pension or withdraw a tax-free lump sum from your super fund. Your 60s might also be a period where you can consider your estate planning strategies.

Posted on 14 February '19 by , under super. No Comments.

Travel allowance and expenses

On the occasion that you are required to travel overnight for work, you may be eligible to receive a travel allowance from your employer for accommodation, food, drink or incidental expenses. The reasonable amount of travel expenses is updated yearly and is based on job type and salary. From this allowance, tax deductions are to be withheld unless specified otherwise. Exceptions are:

  • you’re expected to spend all of the travel allowance paid
  • the amount and nature of the travel allowance is kept separately in accounting records
  • the travel allowance is not for overseas accommodation
  • the amount of travel allowance paid is less than, or equal to the reasonable travel allowance rate.

Where the exceptions apply, your employer won’t withhold tax and will include the allowance on your payslip.

It is important to keep detailed records of your travel expenses, length of trips and if it was overseas or domestic travel. If you need to claim anything from these trips in the future, you will need the appropriate documentation that covers all expenses, not just excess amounts. Vehicle, food, accommodation and incidental expenses need to be documented on a case by case basis:

  • With travel allowance
    • Written evidence need to be supplied for overseas accommodation
    • Travel diary need to be supplied on overseas trips of 6 nights or more in a row
  • Without travel allowance
    • Written evidence need to be supplied on all domestic and overseas travel
    • Travel diary need to be supplied on domestic and overseas trips of 6 nights or more in a row

Posted on 7 February '19 by , under tax. No Comments.

What we can learn from ‘introverted’ people

Most of us fall somewhere in between the introvert-extrovert spectrum but our concept of a great leader often looks to someone who exudes characteristics we often associate with ‘extroverts’ – including being charismatic, confident, and courageous. While these traits are indeed admirable and can be essential to motivate and drive your team, recent research surprisingly suggests ‘introverts’ tend to be better CEOs. In light of this research, we look at some often overlooked traits to expand your concept of great business leadership.

Taking the time to be introspective:
Ensure you don’t underestimate the value of taking the time to self-reflect on certain issues, looking inward for inspiration and judiciously asking in-depth questions to better understand your organisation.

Forming and maintaining deeper connections:
In the age of Linkedin and the increase of networking events, growing your professional network is often a focus of many business professionals. When taking into consideration the notion that humans can only maintain about 150 stable relationships at any given time (Dunbar’s Number), you can consider the value of holding more small-scale events or arranging more one-on-one engagements to better utilise your professional network.

Identifying and accommodating for ‘introverted’ behaviour in the workplace:
While it often ‘takes one to know one’, it doesn’t take much effort to recognise and accommodate introverted behaviour. An effective leader takes advice from all people in the room – not just the ones who happen to speak out. For example, it doesn’t hurt to give a little heads up on issues that are going to be addressed at a meeting. This is so all employees, including ‘introverts’, have the time to process their thinking and prepare talking points.

Posted on 7 February '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Didn’t pay your employees’ super on time?

How to reduce the hassle of missing your employee’s super payment.

The Super Guarantee Charge (SGC):
The SGC may apply to employers who do not pay the minimum super guarantee (SG) to their employee’s designated superannuation fund by the required date. The non-tax-deductible charge includes the SG shortfall amounts with interest and a $20 administration fee for each employee. You will need to lodge your SGC statement within a couple of months of the respective quarter. While employers are able to apply for an extension to lodge and pay the SGC, the nominal interest will still accumulate until the extension is lodged. From this point, the general interest charge will apply until the SGC is paid off.

What you can do to reduce your SGC:
The nominal interest and SGC shortfall can be offset or carried forward by late contributions against the SGC in certain conditions. This excludes the administration fees, certain types of interest and other penalties. The late contribution is also not tax-deductible, nor is it able to be used as a prepayment for current or future contributions. However, you are able to carry it forward if the payment is for the same employee and is for a quarter within 12 months after the payment date. It is advised to consult a professional to work with your unique situation.

The bigger picture:
Struggling to pay your employees’ super is a sign of financial insecurity for your business. While an employee’s PAYG Withholding tax and super may not be due for a while, not having the funds for them at each payday is a debt that will only accrue. You may have to consider your business’ strategy and operations or consult a financial professional if you feel it is only the symptom of a bigger issue.

Posted on 7 February '19 by , under super. No Comments.