Instant asset write-off for small businesses to be extended and increased

As of 29 January 2019, the Instant Asset Write-Off Scheme will be extended to 30 June 2020 for assets purchased under $25,000.

The Instant Asset Write-Off affects small businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million a year. It allows business owners to immediately deduct assets costing up to $25,000 which can then be claimed for tax return in that income year. The Prime Minister’s announcement on 29 January stated that “businesses who go out and invest today, whether it’s a vehicle, whether it’s a piece of plant or equipment, all of it, up to $25,000, immediate write down.” However, there are certain assets that are excluded from the scheme so it is best to check with your accountant or financial advisor.

It is important to remember that the Instant Asset Write-Off Scheme reduces the tax your business has to pay, it is not a rebate. Your cash flow will still have to be sufficient enough to support the purchases.

With the ATO reporting that the average claimed amounts were at $11,000 in 2016-2017, there are concerns that the scheme is underutilised. Fewer than 350,000 small businesses have taken advantage of the scheme in the 2016-2017 year.

There is no guarantee that the Federal government will extend this scheme beyond 30 June 2020.

Posted on 31 January '19 by , under tax. No Comments.

Switching banks for your business

Businesses need to access finance with ease in order to sustain and develop themselves. Is your current bank still cutting it? Here are some indicators and tips to effectively assess your business’ banking needs.

Assessing your needs:
Evaluating and reevaluating your business’ financial needs is the first step towards choosing the right institution for your business. While drawbacks on customer service, high bank fees, or an increase in interest rates are clear red flags, you can also consider if your bank supports the direction of your business as it grows. That is, how will the bank affect your business if you choose to operate online? How will your bank manage a larger line of credit in the future? Does your business benefit more with a personal relationship with a small bank or the efficiencies provided by a larger bank? Consulting a financial advisor and developing a relationship early on can reduce headaches later on.

Choosing the right bank:
After identifying your business’ needs and possible trajectory, identify the key features you are looking for in a bank and be sure to have questions ready before meeting with bankers to compare effectively. Again, consider if the bank is flexible enough to meet your needs, and reevaluate services you have been paying for previously but may no longer need. For example, would an online bank work for your business?

Posted on 31 January '19 by , under money. No Comments.

Instagram for business

Instagram business accounts help you reach new clients and companies that you wouldn’t be able to on other social media. It is an area of the market often overlooked due to its focus on an image but now is the time to utilize Instagram for your business and grow a profile in a fairly untapped area.

Why use Instagram?
Graphics and quotes are an easy way to engage with users and using hashtags help you to reach people who don’t follow you yet. The news feed algorithm favours active business accounts and suggests similar accounts for you to follow or see how they use the platform.

Business Profile:
The analytics feature alone is enough to entice businesses to the platform as it gives you insights into your follower base, interactions, peak posting times and paid advertising options. You can boost a post to reach more than just your followers and find new clients based on shared likes or similar accounts followed. A business profile is completely free and all paid advertising is optional though encouraged to get the most out of the platform.

Instagram Advertising:
One of the benefits of Instagram advertising is that it seamlessly blends into a news feed. Many ads on social media appear very out of place and obvious that they are an ad, Instagram formats advertisements like a regular Instagram post and targets it to people similar to your audience.

Posted on 31 January '19 by , under business. No Comments.

How to get out of a SMSF

Sometimes a self-managed super fund (SMSF) isn’t for you. While that is ok, getting out of an SMSF can be a tricky and complicated process.

Every individual involved in an SMSF is responsible for their part. No decision can be made on their behalf or outsourced to another member or industry professional. Once deciding to leave your SMSF, you must approach carefully to avoid penalties and damages or disruptions to the remaining member funds. To successfully remove yourself you will need to:

  • Notify the ATO within 28 days
  • Remove all assets from the fund, whether paid out or transferred to a new account, leaving it empty
  • Have a final audit of your fund
  • Complete your reporting

Posted on 31 January '19 by , under super. No Comments.

Effective Team Performance

Teams, like workplaces, are becoming increasingly diverse, dynamic and digital. But the principle behind managing teams effectively remains the same. Are you providing the right conditions for your team to thrive? Here are some aspects to consider:

Shared Direction
A shared understanding of the team’s mission and tasks is essential to a team’s level of commitment and motivation. This is especially crucial when teams are made up of members from dissimilar backgrounds as the means for reaching the same goal can mean for different strategies for different people.

External Support
Supporting your team involves providing and maintaining an effective reward system, ensuring your team has access to the required materials and data to complete their tasks, and providing opportunities to expand their skillset if required.

Team structure
Constructing a high performing team requires a careful balance of meeting both organisational and individual needs. A recent study has found that more-cohesive teams had members with higher levels of emotional stability, inquisitiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity. Managers often utilise an employee’s strengths to fill a team role, but taking the time to observe your employee’s working style and personality can mean for a fresher approach to the way the team can think about, manage, and organise tasks.

Posted on 24 January '19 by , under business. No Comments.

SuperStream to be extended to SMSF rollovers

First introduced in 2015, SuperStream is a government standard for processing superannuation payments electronically in a streamlined manner. Currently, SuperStream can only process rollovers between two APRA funds electronically but a change coming into effect on 30 November 2019 will now see this process extend to self-managed super funds (SMSF). This means rollovers between an APRA fund and an SMSF can be processed through SuperStream later this year, and the time taken could even be reduced to three days.

The streamlining of the rollover process between all funds aims to increase efficiency and reduce compliance costs. An example of this is the removal of the requirement to draw a cheque when rollovers are made from an SMSF to an APRA fund. Further, direct transfers between funds will give greater confidence when tracking the whereabouts of your money.

For a fund to receive a rollover, trustees will have to provide the ATO with the fund’s requested information – such as ABN, bank account details and internet protocol address – at least 10 business days before the fund receives the rollover.

Posted on 24 January '19 by , under super. No Comments.

Areas of investment you might not have considered

People and internal processes
Arguably one of the best forms of investment is in the employees you hire, and the talent, experiences and skills that come with them. Take the time to reflect the strengths and weaknesses of your business and where you can retain or invest in your people.

Yourself
Consider investing in a way that would help you earn more income in the future. Just as you would consider investing in your team, consider investing in yourself and your career. Between taking online courses to skill up, learning and networking at conferences, earning a certification in your field, pursuing higher education, and becoming more enlightened through books, audiobooks, and podcasts, the opportunities are at your fingertips. How can you make yourself more valuable to your business?

A side hustle
Whether you’re not earning as much as you’d like at your day job, or if you’re looking to discover an untapped passion or skill, consider making more out of 2019 with a side hustle. Not only would a side hustle help you reach your financial goals, but in the age of the ‘Share Economy’, the opportunities are growing. Options include selling old items online, renting out a room on Airbnb, tutoring online, working odd jobs, starting and monetising a blog, or selling your technical services.

Posted on 18 January '19 by , under money. No Comments.

Challenging the use of country as a proxy for culture

Associating certain behaviours to different countries have long been a way of identifying and comparing cultures and widely assumes country homogeneity. For example, previous studies on national culture have compared vastly different working styles between East-Asian countries and the West. However, a recent study published on Havard Business Review found that equating country with culture can overlook even bigger cultural gaps within a single country – including those of age, gender, number of years of education, socio-economic status, and occupation. That is, it could make more sense to talk about cultures of age and cultures of the rich or poor than it is to discuss the cultures of countries.

Posted on 18 January '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Superannuation for Women

It’s no secret that the median super balance for Australian women at the time of retirement is significantly lower than that of their male counterparts. The Australian Commission & Investments Commission (ASIC) have reported that men retire with about twice the amount as women. The discrepancy is reportedly even higher between Mums and Dads. Between lower wages and a higher likelihood of having an interrupted working life for women, women also tend to live longer and thus require more super to cover more years. Unfortunately, between personal finances, business financial capabilities, and governmental policies, actions to close this gap can be limited.

Where viable, private companies can consider:

  • continuing paying superannuation to staff during parental leave.
  • paying full-time super benefits to part-time parents. This has already been implemented by Viva Energy (a Shell subsidiary). From the ABS, women are much more likely to be working part-time than men.
  • increasing the percentage of base salary put toward their employees’ super accounts.

Posted on 18 January '19 by , under super. No Comments.

Single Touch Payroll to include all businesses in 2019

On 1 July 2018, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) rolled out Single Touch Payroll (STP). This changed the way employers with 20 or more employees report their employees’ tax and super information. Generally through payroll or accounting software that offer STP reporting (or through a third-party service provider), employers are expected to report information on withholding amounts, superannuation liability information or ordinary times earnings (OTE) and salary, wages, allowances and deductions.

The STP currently affects businesses with 20 or more employees, but just last month, the Senate passed a Bill for the STP to include all Australian businesses, affecting at least an additional 700 000 businesses. Although the amendments to the STP are currently under review by the House of Representatives, the change is expected to be implemented on 1 July 2019.

Posted on 18 January '19 by , under tax. No Comments.