Things you should do every time you get paid

Posted on 20 January '21, under Money.

It can be tempting to treat yourself on payday, but in the long run, planning your spending will be more rewarding. Creating a payday routine will help you pay your bills on time and save more money to put aside. 

The very first step needs to be completed the night before payday. Transfer any funds you have leftover from the previous payday to your savings account. This will allow you to spend less money you consider ‘extra’ and save it for your long-term goals.

The second thing you need to do is pay as many bills as possible, rather than wait till the ‘due date’. As it is, once money comes into the account, a lot of it is earmarked for bills and payments that need to be made, so rather than holding off on them, you should pay them immediately. This will also give you a clear indication of how much money you have.

Finally, creating a to-do list on the day of your payday is an effective method of viewing or planning your expenses. This will give a clear indication of small and large expenses that need to be paid before your next payday. They will also help identify unnecessary expenses or when extra money is being spent when it shouldn’t be. 

These are simple techniques that anyone can apply to get ahead of over-spending on payday. 

How you can improve your company’s shipping department

Posted on 20 January '21, under Business.

Effective shipping is essential in a world where online shopping is so popular. Businesses can suffer if their orders are not being shipped on time or if they are not regularly updating their customers. The following are some ways you can improve shipping.

  • Improve your communication with your shipping facility: Communicating with your warehouse and shipping team or company regularly will mean that they are updated with orders and avoid delays. 
  • Offer order tracking and estimated delivery times: Letting customers track the progress of their orders and track shipping reassures customers that their package is on the way. Estimate delivery times are particularly useful so that customers can plan ahead for delivery if possible.
  • Shipping costs should be built into the budget: Shipping rates will change regularly, but this should not change what your customers have to pay. When creating your budget, allocate more money to shipping than you have calculated to account for potential rate changes.
  • Streamline your packaging process and do standard quality checks: Invest time into creating a process which works efficiently for your business. For example, you could find software which communicates with the warehouse and creates documents which make collecting and shipping the packages easier for staff. Quality checks should also be conducted regularly to guarantee that the product the customer will receive is what they were looking at online. 
  • Declare items for customs ahead of time: This is especially important if you offer and regularly conduct international shipping. Declaring your package online when the order is placed will help it get through customs faster, and to your customers earlier. 

Basics of SMSF investing

Posted on 20 January '21, under Super.

Setting up an SMSF fund is the simplest step. Establishing a fund which delivers you consistent returns from your investments is much more difficult. 

Investing successfully involves determining precise goals and picking investments which will effectively achieve those goals. The advantage of SMSFs is that you can build a portfolio which reflects your short-term and long-term goals in response to changing market conditions.

In an SMSF fund, your investment options are:

  • Australian and international shares (listed and unlisted)
  • Residential or commercial property 
  • Cash and term deposits
  • Fixed income products 
  • Physical commodities
  • Property
  • Collectibles

Before you begin investing, consider what might be the best way to diversify your portfolio. How you portion your investments will depend on your funds, the market, and your goals. Regardless of what your plan is, diversification should be a priority. 

Choosing an SMSF as opposed to an industry or retail super fund provides you with more flexibility, but also with more responsibility. Researching before investing is key if you want the best out of your SMSF. 

Taxation of your unused leave when leaving a job

Posted on 20 January '21, under Tax.

When your job ends, whether there has been a termination of employment or redundancy you will receive a payment for unused leave. This payment will be taxed differently from your normal income. 

The taxation will vary depending on the reason why you left the job and any unused entitlements that have been accrued over your employment (long service leave or sick leave). 

Lump sum payments that you receive for unused annual leave or unused long service leave are taxed at a lower rate than other income. These lump sum payments will appear on your income statement or payment summary as either ‘lump sum A’ or ‘lump sum B’. 

These payments may also be taxed differently if you lost your job as a result of Covid-19.

Responding to negative feedback

Posted on 13 January '21, under Business.

The internet and social media have made it all too easy for customers to relay their feedback to businesses. This can be a great thing because it shows other customers or potential customers why they should choose your business. 

However, this also means that if a customer has a negative experience, then their public feedback has the scope of preventing future customers. Hearing what these reviews have to say to implement change can benefit your business and responding sensitively to the reviews will help with damage control. 

Follow these steps to construct an appropriate response:

  • Address the customer by name: Rather than using Sir/Madam, refer to the client by name so that they know their feedback is valued and not simply a scripted and automatic response.
  • Sympathise with the customer’s problem: Try to understand what happened from the perspective of the customer to find out why they might have had a bad experience. Apologising will also let the customer know that regardless of whether you agree with their review, you sympathise with their negative experience.
  • Let them know you are solving the problem: Acknowledge their problem and let them know that you will be addressing it. This will let future customers know that the negative review may no longer apply so that they are not immediately driven away.

Make sure you do not ignore negative reviews and feedback. Either the review is specific to the customer or they are making a valuable contribution towards how the business can be improved. In order to identify which it is, you should listen to what the customer has to say.

Protecting yourself from super scams

Posted on 13 January '21, under Super.

Superannuation is an attractive target for scammers as a significant volume of funds are placed into super funds by Australians. 

There are some straightforward steps you can take to protect yourself from super scams. 

Know the rules

  • Becoming familiar with the rules surrounding superannuation will alert you against scams which make false claims e.g. offering early access to your super
  • Keep up to date with the relevant authorities and so that you don’t put in your personal information into the wrong websites – always check that relevant institutions have verified their authenticity!

Check your balance and contact details

  • Check what your super balance is on a regular basis – if you notice something that doesn’t quite look right then immediately get into contact with your super fund and ask them about what could have happened.
  • Every once in a while, check that your super fund has the right postal address, email address and mobile number – this will help them get in touch with you if they spot any suspicious activity. 

Stop identity theft

  • Taking the steps to stop identity theft will also help protect your super
  • This does not have to be all too complicated e.g. shred important documents, change passwords every few months, etc.

Fuel tax credits for businesses

Posted on 13 January '21, under Tax.

The government provides fuel tax credits for businesses with a credit for the fuel tax (excise or customs) that is included in the price of fuel used in machinery, plant, equipment, heavy vehicles, and light vehicles travelling off public roads or on private roads.

Fuel tax credits a business receives depend on when the fuel was acquired, which fuel you used, and what it was used for. Since fuel credits change regularly, it is necessary to check rates each time the business activity statement (BAS) is filled out.

Eligibility

  • Certain fuels and activities are not eligible
  • Must be registered for GST when fuel was acquired
  • Must be registered for fuel tax credits when you lodge the claim

Collaboration to grow business

Posted on 6 January '21, under Business.

Businesses can gain a lot from collaboration, regardless of the industry they are in. The following are some reasons why businesses should care about collaboration.

Get inspired

As a business, it is important to build a routine and figure out day-to-day operations. However, this might mean that you stop trying different techniques which could be more efficient. Collaboration could give you a fresh perspective and encourage new ideas and methods you could apply at the workplace. 

Grow your network

Initiating collaboration will help you meet people who share common interests and goals. Building connections will benefit your business and could result in partnerships down the line. 

Educate yourself

Collaboration opens up opportunities to learn from those outside your immediate circle. This can provide you with valuable information that may be helpful for your business which is not otherwise accessible to you. 

Solve problems

Two heads are better than one. Therefore, with collaboration, you may be able to solve problems that were otherwise difficult to solve. This is because collaboration allows people with different expertise and backgrounds to contribute ideas. 

Finding your lost super

Posted on 6 January '21, under Super.

Changing of name, address or job can mean that you lose track of some of your super. This means that there is money that belongs to you that is not currently in your super fund. Finding your super will collate your previous lost funds with your current account.

It is likely that your lost super is held by the ATO. Create an account on myGov and link it to the ATO and select ‘Super’. 

Once you have done this, you will be able to see the details of all of your past and current super accounts including any lost or forgotten ones. You will also be able to find funds which have been held by the ATO on your behalf. Further, you will be able to consolidate your super funds into a single fund. 

Once you have found your lost super, remember to conduct research about which fund is providing you with the best returns before you choose which fund to consolidate with. 

Lodging your business activity statement

Posted on 6 January '21, under Tax.

Businesses that are registered for GST are required to lodge a business activity statement (BAS). These assist in the reporting and payment of:

  • Goods and services tax (GST)
  • Pay as you go (PAYG) instalments
  • PAYG withholding tax
  • Other tax obligations

ATO will automatically send businesses who are registered for an ABN and GST a BAS when it is due for lodgement. 

Businesses are given various options to lodge their BAS:

  • Online services for individuals and sole traders – which may be accessed through myGov
  • Business Portal – which is a secure website created by the ATO to assist businesses in managing their tax online
  • SBR-enabled software – which allows access to lodgement from different financial, accounting and payroll software and can be integrated to industry-specific business software.