Archive for 'Business'
Understanding how and preparing your business for the impact of inflation is a critical element of business planning that now more than ever needs to be addressed.
Interest rates rising are putting a strain on businesses across the country, as the costs for running these businesses rise in turn. Further spikes in inflation could provide additional challenges for businesses and their owners who are struggling to prepare for them.
With interest rates forecast to increase exponentially over the next year, here are some methods you can employ to address the risk inflation may pose to you.
Improve Productivity And Efficiency
Now is the time to review processes and output and look at ways to improve or streamline your operations, such as automation of processes including business software.
This could include
- Sales and marketing or
- Purchase orders
Strategically Cutting Costs
Review your current service providers and contracts such as telecommunications and internet providers, commercial property leases and service contracts, and compare the current market. You may find that there are better deals or options that allow you to minimise costs without impacting your business’s performance and options overly much.
However, be mindful not to cut marketing spending or communications capabilities which could cost you business in the long term.
Revisit Your Banking And Financial Products Needs
Look beyond your short-term needs and make sure that the interest rate on your business loans is competitive and weigh the benefits of variable and fixed rates.
Develop A Pricing Strategy
Rather than a price increase, look at ways you can leverage or bundle your existing goods and services.
If you are selling products, understand that there is a link between your client relationship and your pricing. Pricing too high all of a sudden could impact how your business is viewed by customers, but pricing too low will be detrimental to your business.
It could be cheaper for your business to offer a discount on upfront or prompt payments, rather than maintain an overdraft that accrues higher interest rates.
Consider Your Supply Chain
Overseas markets are volatile at the moment, so consider reducing risks by finding a domestic supplier which could also slash the costs of freight and storage. Create backup supply chains to mitigate the risk of having a ‘singular’ supply chain that could be impacted by market disruptions.
Review Your Workforce
The labour market is competitive, and you want to keep talented staff. Consider offering flexible work arrangements, offering nine-day fortnights rather than pay increases, and looking for training and development opportunities, particularly those that are subsidised by the government.
If an employee is not providing value to the business (such as working in a redundant position or failing to meet work expectations that are reasonable to expect from them), it may be better for the business to let them go.
Are you concerned about how inflation could impact your business? Speaking with a trusted business adviser (such as your accountant) may assuage some of those concerns, as they can provide you with a formulated plan that targets your business’s year ahead.
What is the origin story of your business? Why did it begin?
Many people might say publicly that they went into business to make a better future. Others might say that they began the business to pursue a passion. You may have simply wanted to earn money on your own terms, and create a better world for yourself.
More money, more free time, and more control or flexibility around your own work are often the reasons that people go into business. In a perfect world, you would have that control over your own work, be working fewer hours and have more money while pursuing your dream job and career goal. This may sound perfect, but it is rarely the outcome that people get from their own business.
In most instances, people may find that their hours increase, their income drops and though they now possess control, may also find that their business now also has control over them. The amount of work that may need to be done as a business owner can be overwhelming, but it must be completed. Instead of having one boss to answer to, all your customers are now your boss.
Owning a business can grant you more control, but it also comes with these heavier responsibilities and obligations. Being prepared is why consulting with a trusted business adviser can allow you to take the fear out of ‘impossible situations’ for the business, and give you choices.
There are many tasks that now require your focus to keep your business in operation – but to everyone else, it probably seems like you are living the high life as a business owner, answering to no one (if only they knew).
Your business probably started with a dream – a dream that probably did not include becoming a slave to your business or earning less than what you did in your previous job. What was that dream? What was your motivation?
Take stock of the situation you have found yourself in with the business. Relax, reflect, and consider what direction you want it to move in. Where do you want to go? Once you have a general idea, you need to put a little bit of time into planning how you are going to get there. Determine where you want your business to be in five years, or even ten years’ time.
Benjamin Franklin is believed to have once said, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
It does not matter what stage of the business you are at, revisiting the business planning stage, even midway through the business, can be a useful strategic tool. Every business needs regular planning. This cannot be stressed enough. The chances of achieving your business goals are improved dramatically if there is a formally noted business plan.
A good business plan outlines your strategy for the next couple of years. It may be used to help support an application for business finance or business grants. Or it could be just for your own use as a roadmap for the growth of your business.
The components of a business plan explain your objectives and the actions required to get your small business from where it is now, to where you want it to be.
The process of creating your business plan will help you focus, crystallise your ideas and identify priorities, saving both time and effort. Your business plan will give you a clear sense of direction and a benchmark enabling you to measure progress.
In the approach to the end of the financial year, the best time to prepare a plan to use for your business over the next twelve months is now. Developing your five- and ten-year plans is also highly recommended. For assistance in preparing or developing your business plans, you can come and speak with us as trusted business advisers.
Super Guarantee Change – Deadlines, Payments & Everything Your Business Needs To Know Before The EOFY
It is easy to get caught out with superannuation, particularly when you are the owner of a business. With so many things to occupy your mind, superannuation may slip from the forefront.
But as a business owner, you must pay the superannuation guarantee for your staff, and you must pay it on time. A failure to pay it on time will mean that you are no longer able to receive a tax deduction for the payment for that financial year.
On top of that, you can face hefty penalties (which you won’t get a tax deduction for either!). Now imagine being five days late on a $10,000 super payment, losing the tax deduction on that payment and then copping a $20,000 penalty as well.
The first thing is to make sure that your super is paid well before the time it is due. This should be a priority payment (a payment that you make before anything else).
As the end of the financial year approaches, it is time to be thinking about the June Super Guarantee payment. You may have until July 28 to make the payment but leaving it until then will not net you a tax deduction until the next financial year. From a tax perspective, this may not be what you want to do (unless you know that in the next year, you will need more tax deductions).
Superannuation also has a few strange rules when it comes to claiming a tax deduction. For employee superannuation, it is critical that it is paid on time. More than that, the money has to actually be in the bank account of the super fund for you to claim a tax deduction.
Unlike other expenses where you can show the money coming out of your bank account, this money needs to be present in your super fund for you to make the claim. If your super guarantee payment hits the bank account of the super fund on June 30th then you can claim a tax deduction for that year. If, however, it hits the bank account on July 1st then the tax deduction is claimed in the financial year after.
Problems arise when you are paying your super through a clearing house, which takes a number of days to clear your payment and get it to the super fund. For example, you may pay the clearing house on the 25th of June, but your super fund does not receive it into their bank account until the 1st of July.
The ATO’s Small Business Superannuation Clearing House usually has some concessions in these instances.
If you want to get a tax deduction for your June Super Guarantee payment, you need to work out with your clearing house the latest day that they can guarantee that the super fund will then receive the payment this financial year. Some of these clearinghouses are quoting that you should be paying as early as the 14th of June.
Finally, with regards to Super Guarantee, remember that the rate increases to 10.5% from 1st July. This rate applies to wages paid on or after July 1st so make sure your payroll system either automatically updates the rate or that you have updated it to reflect the increase.
Employers who fail to meet their Super Guarantee obligations may also be liable for a range of penalties or charges on top of the super guarantee charge.
Paying super is an important part of being an employer. To ensure your business remains compliant, remember to:
- pay the right amount (10 per cent) of employee ordinary time earnings until 1 July 2022 (when it will rise to 10.5
- pay on-time
- pay the right way and
- keep records to show you have met your obligations
As of 5 April 2022, new Directors will need to have applied for their Director Identification Number (DIN) prior to their appointment to the position.
Existing directors were required to obtain a DIN prior to the end of the transitional period (30 November 2022), whereas directors of Indigenous Corporation have until 30 November 2023. Failure to do so could result in penalties for non-compliance.
What Is A Director Identification Number?
Previously a company or business was registered through ASIC, where a Tax File Number and an Australian Business Number would be required. These are obtained through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and are a critical part of setting up a business or company.
Introduced in November 2021, there will be an additional step introduced in the registering of a company, involving a Director Identification Number (DIN). This director identification number is a unique identifier that a director will apply for once and keep forever.
They were brought in as a part of a broader regulatory strategy to address the issue of phoenixing – this is where controllers of a company deliberately avoid paying liabilities by shutting down indebted companies and transferring assets to another company.
DINs are recorded in a database to be administered and operated by the Australian Tax Office and are made available to the public.
The ATO has the power to provide, record, cancel and re-issue a person’s DIN. A DIN will be automatically cancelled if the individual does not become a Director within 12 months of receiving the DIN.
Who Does A DIN Apply To?
Director ID only applies to companies and corporate bodies registered under the Corporations Act and CATSI Act.
Director ID does not apply to sole traders, partnerships or trusts unless the trust has a corporate trustee.
Deadlines For Applying For A DIN
When the announcement of DINs was made in April 2021, there were set deadlines in place for those involved in profit and not-for-profit entities, as well as for Indigenous Directors. As of 5 April 2022, those deadlines have changed.
For profit entities, the deadline for applying for a DIN under the Corporations Act must be done before your appointment as a director.
For non-profit entities (including those entities registered under the ACNC Act as either private or public companies), you also need to have applied for your DIN before you are appointed as a director.
For new directors of Indigenous Corporations, the same requirements for applying are advised (prior to appointment).
How To Apply For A DIN
All directors must apply for their own DIN. This cannot be done by a third part, unless it can be proven to the Registrar that the director is unable to make the application on their own behalf (such as suffering some sort of incapacity, etc).
There are three ways to apply for a DIN:
- Online application via the myGovID app. This is different to myGov and is the quickest way to obtain a DIN.
- Phone application.
- Paper application (which is the slowest process).
These methods require proof of identity documentation, however, you may be able to use certified copies (witnessed by a Justice of the Peace) if you are using the paper application.
If you have employees who are expecting to expand on their family (whether they are adopting or looking to become pregnant), the Federal Budget 2022-23 announced a change to paid parental leave that could impact you and your employees.
Single parents and fathers are now eligible for longer paid parental leave after the government proposed an ‘enhanced’ 20-week scheme from announcements made during the Federal Budget 2022.
Under existing arrangements, up to 18 weeks of paid parental leave can be taken by whoever is designated a baby’s primary carer – usually the mother – at the minimum wage, while a secondary carer is eligible to take two weeks. If the secondary carer does not use the two weeks, it is lost.
As a result of the recent announcements made in the Federal Budget 2022-23, the secondary carer’s leave will be merged with the 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave to increase the government-funded scheme to 20 weeks of leave.
Single parents will see two additional weeks of paid parental leave added to what they normally would be entitled to, whereas two-parent households will be able to split the Paid Parental Leave as they would like. However, this leave must be taken within two years of the child’s birth or adoption.
The ‘use it or lose it’ incentive will not be implemented into the new scheme, but an emphasis may still be placed on the primary caregiver to take the bulk of the leave.
The enhanced scheme will also broaden the eligibility for paid parental leave to include a household income threshold of $350,000 per year.
This fully flexible leave aims to help working parents make caring decisions that suit their specific circumstances and encourage fathers to take up parental leave.
Presently, women who earn up to $151,350 can access paid leave, but women earning more than the threshold are not entitled to this scheme, even if their partner has lesser or no income.
The rate of paid parental leave has not increased either – it is simply that eligible parents will be able to access more of it. This may be a disincentive however to the higher income earner, as taking the paid time off may be less than what they would otherwise earn working.
Notably, though, the proposed scheme still does not include superannuation payments in parental paid leave. Paying super on paid parental leave would allow parents to continue building their retirement savings while taking time out of the paid workforce to care for children.
If all goes to plan, these changes to the paid parental leave scheme will take place no later than 1 March 2023.
Paid parental leave is a topic that can be tricky for employers. Having a discussion with a professional can be a way to alleviate concerns about what your employees are entitled to or the risks of failing to match standard employee obligations around the matter.
Succession planning for the family businesses has a number of factors that could impact the decision to pass the business onto the next generation. Namely, you’ll be looking for someone in the family who is willing to assume the responsibility.
But if you intend to pass your business down the family tree there are also a number of taxation, financial and managerial considerations that need to be taken into account for a successful succession.
When transferring your family business and placing it in the name of another family member you may trigger a myriad of taxable consequences, including Capital Gains Tax (CGT), wine equalisation tax, fuel tax credits and excise duty. You need to consider, when preparing the business for succession include:
- Consulting the ATO to check if you are eligible for tax concessions
- Document all business restructuring operations and the tax impact in the succession plan
Consider A Family Trust
It is often suggested before a younger family member gains ownership of the business they should first assume managing responsibilities to prove themselves. If you want to relinquish control gradually rather than permanently, re-structuring the business as a family trust is an option.
Although this may be complicated and incur costs, as a trustee you will be able to have control of the assets from a distance and be able to step in should the need arise in the early phases of new leadership. Family trusts also carry increased tax benefits and concessions that can be taken advantage of.
This is a great solution for those looking to go into semi-retirement or looking to step back from the business but still want some involvement with the process.
Create A Family Constitution
To make the hand-off occur as smoothly as possible a family constitution should be drawn up collaboratively by all, directly and indirectly, involved in the business. The following should be included:
- A detailed business plan, stipulating goals, outcomes
- Hierarchy of the business, both present and future
- Will of the business
- Code of conduct for interactions between family members in business
Develop A Succession Plan To Successfully Succeed
A succession plan is designed to assist you in transferring your business to a successor. To do so, it should include the following to further guide the process.
- Choose A Successor
Identify who you would like to take over your business. If you wish to keep it in the family, you need to be certain that the person who will be taking over is skilled and prepared for the responsibilities to come. Make sure that you consider what is the best path for the business.
- Value Your Business
Understand how much your business is currently worth by getting your business valued. By doing so consistently, you can mark out how much your business is worth during events, the general day-to-day and more. This valuation may change substantially before you plan to leave, but having a valuation may assist you with planning for your succession.
- Keep The Plan Current
Review your plan regularly, as your circumstances and the business’s circumstances may change over time. Having an up-to-date succession plan will ensure you’re always ready in the event that you need to pass the business on earlier than expected.
- Make The Final Handover
If the final preparations have been properly made, and you’re ready to go, you should simply be able to hand over the business and step aside. A clear and current succession plan should facilitate a smoother transition with far less chance of disruption to the business’s everyday operations.
When you are first setting up a business, understanding exactly what you are setting out to achieve can be a daunting task. But a business plan takes some of that stress away by helping to cement your business idea into achievable goals. It can be as simple as dot pointing your strategy on the back of an envelope, or a 30-page report of what your business is hoping to achieve.
However, a formal business plan should consist of specific information that you can present to investors (or a bank, or just your spouse) as an indication of how your business will succeed.
What is the point of the business? In this section, try to outline your plan succinctly. You should discuss the industry that your business will be operating within, what structure your business will take, the particular product or service
Actioning The Strategy
What goals do you have for your business? When and how will you reach your goals? Do you have a clear set of steps that you need to take to implement your strategy into being?
Why Your Product?
What’s the competitive advantage of your product over the others in your field? Are you a solicitor who specialises in family law? Do you sell vintage merchandise for Aussie Rules football teams?
What niche does your business fulfil that your customers need? Provide solid information about your product to your readers, and explain the reasoning behind why your customers will want to purchase your product, and not those of your competitors.
Who are your target customers? What demographics do your customers primarily lie in? How will you attract and retain enough customers to make a profit? What methods will you use to capture your audience? What sets your business apart from the competition?
Answering these questions will assist you in planning out your marketing strategy, and demonstrate to your investors that you understand how you will be targeting your customers.
These will be based on your projected financial statements. These statements provide a model of how your ideas about the company, its markets and its strategies will play out.
Obviously, a report that outlines your business plan is probably preferable to a scrap of an envelope, but the main point to this is working through the business idea in a written form that you can take to your business strategists to formulate a more comprehensive and viable business plan that aligns with your goals.
As you write your business plan, stick to facts instead of feelings, projections instead of hopes, and realistic expectations of profit instead of unrealistic dreams of wealth. Facts—checkable, demonstrable facts—will invest your plan with the most important component of all: credibility.
It’s time to start writing that business plan if:
- You have a new idea for a business and want to explore its feasibility
- Your industry is undergoing significant changes and dramatic developments, and you want to map them out for your current business
- You’re looking to sell your business and want to establish a value for it that can be supported by facts and figures.
- You require financing for your business idea and want to plan out how you’ll expend the resources you’re committing.
If you’re looking for assistance with planning for your business’s future, you can come speak with us.
After the stress of the holiday period, there are plenty more times throughout the year that cashflow issues can become a recurring problem that you need to get on top of.
Small businesses with cash flow problems may put themselves at risk of failing or suffering significant financial hardship.
Cash flow provides a business with stability so they are able to pay employees, avoid loan defaults and pay the overheads necessary to keep their business up and running. Follow these tips to boost your cash flow so you can secure your business’ future.
Perform A Business Health Check
Preparing financial statements will give you an objective insight into the health of your business. Identifying if you have a cash flow problem is the first step to coming up with solutions. Looking into the following reports will allow you to see if your cash flow is up to scratch.
- A balance sheet will tell you what your business is worth on any given day. The value of your business is calculated by subtracting your liabilities from your assets.
- Profit loss statements reveal if your income is meeting your expense requirements. If your profit is dipping below your expenses, it is time for a change.
- Cash flow reports reveal the money that is going in and out of your business over a set period and identify peak and off-peak periods
Use A Business Budget
After analysing your cash flow situation, is your cash flow cyclical?
Creating a yearly budget is not only imperative to receive financing in future, but will also help you identify the best months to save to cover the quieter months. Where applicable, business owners can consider flexible rostering, whereby employing casuals and using a flexible roster can help you cut back on hours when you need to improve your cash flow in quiet periods.
When you have identified your quieter periods of the year, try to find additional revenue streams for when cash is low. Is there a product or service that could be introduced? Work with your team for new ideas to cover low cash months.
Get On Top Of Your Accounts Receivable
Allowing late repayments jeopardises your cash flow and can put you in a tight financial spot. Avoid being out of pocket by implementing some of these credit policies:
- Collect the debts on time – allowing late payments means that you’re without those funds for longer
- Offer an early bird discount to incentivise early repayments – it pays to repay that kindness
- Set credit limits and payment terms – know exactly what your terms and conditions are so that you can make sure that those who owe you are abiding by them
- Make credit applications and carry out credit checks on all new customers
- Penalise late payments with interest – set a specific interest rate that will apply and which you deem as fair.
- Consider cutting down on inventory – unsold stock can be a waste of funds, and if you’re finding yourself with plenty of it, you may not need to be ordering as much.
- Request upfront payment or a non-refundable deposit where viable, especially when dealing with large orders.
If you’re looking for assistance with invoicing, chasing payments or a general checkup of your business’s cash flow situation, accountants like us are equipped to help. Speak with us to find out what we can do for you.
Are you an SME who has been impacted economically by COVID-19, and who could use financial assistance to get back on their feet?
The SME Recovery Loan Scheme has been extended to 30 June 2022 with a reduced Government guarantee of 50 per cent. This is known as the 2022 Scheme expansion, where loans will be available from 1 January 2022 at the new Government guarantee.
Earlier this year (April 2021), the Government announced the SME Recovery Loan Scheme (also known as the Scheme), which was designed to support economic recovery and provide continued assistance to small and medium enterprises dealing with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scheme was initially slated to be available from 1 April 2021 through to 31 December 2021 at a Government guarantee of 80 per cent of the loan amount.
The scheme is open to small and medium-sized businesses with up to $250 million turnover including self-employed and non-profits. The Scheme has been open to (so far) eligible SMEs that were:
- The recipient of a JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 (only approved under this eligibility prior to 1 October 2021)
- Affected by the floods in eligible LGAs in March 2021 (only approved under this eligibility criteria prior to 1 January 2022
- Adversely economically affected by COVID-19 (can only be approved under this eligibility criteria prior to the Scheme Expansion Date, 1 October 2021).
These loans that are issued under the Scheme are able to be used to refinance existing loans, or for a broad range of business purposes, including to support investment. They cannot be used to:
- Purchase residential property
- Purchase financial products
- Lend to an associated entity, or
- Lease, rent, hire or hire purchase existing assets that are more than halfway into their effective life.
These loans may be used to refinance any pre-existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme.
Participating lenders are offering guaranteed loans on the following terms under the SME Recovery Loan Scheme (2022 Scheme expansion):
- the Government guarantee will be 50% of the loan amount
- the expanded Scheme will not be available for loans to flood-affected SMEs that are not adversely economically affected by COVID‑19
- the expanded Scheme will commence on 1 January 2022 and end on 30 June 2022.
- lenders are allowed to offer borrowers a repayment holiday of up to 24 months
- loans can be used for a broad range of business purposes, including investment support
- loans may be used to refinance any pre‑existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme
- borrowers can access up to $5 million in total, in addition to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 loan limits
- loans are for terms of up to 10 years, with an optional repayment holiday period
- loans can be either unsecured or secured (excluding residential property)
- the interest rate on loans will be determined by lenders but will be capped at around 7.5 per cent, with some flexibility for interest rates on variable rate loans to increase if market interest rates rise over time
Loans that are backed by the scheme will be available through participating commercial lenders. The decisions to extend credit and the management of the loan remains with the lender.
The SME Recovery Loan Scheme may be a viable option for your business if it has been impacted by financial hardship. If you would like to know more about this scheme, you can begin that conversation with us or a participating lender.
From 1 November 2021, minimum wages in 21 awards were increased. If you are not paying your employees this new rate of pay, you may find yourself facing significant penalties for failure to comply with the Fair Work Ombudsman. This increase is to be applied to anyone who is paid the minimum award wages or the national minimum wages.
As an employer of workers, you must pay them a fair wage according to the award that their profession exists under. That wage must meet the minimum wage expectations for the award, which is the minimum amount an employee can be paid for the work that they’re doing. Employees may be paid more than that wage, but the bare minimum that they can be paid is set out in the awards and as a part of the national minimum wage base rate.
The national minimum wage was increased from $19.84 per hour to $20.33 per hour, or 772.60 per week (increased from $753.80). This increase should have applied from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2021. In addition, employees who are covered by awards should also have had their base rates increased by 2.5 per cent, though these increases may begin on different dates for different groups of awards.
Most award wage increases applied from 1 July 2021, though there were 21 awards where the Fair Work Commission deemed there to be exceptional circumstances in place that would affect the increase. Those 21 awards were increased from 1 November 2021, and include:
- Pilots Award
- Cabin Crew Award
- Airline Ground Staff Award
- Airport Award
- Alpine Resorts Award
- Amusement Award
- Dry Cleaning and Laundry Award
- Fitness Award
- Hair and Beauty Award
- Hospitality Award
- Live Performance Award
- Models Award
- Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award
- Nursery Award
- Racing Clubs Events Award
- Racing Ground Maintenance Award
- Registered Clubs Award
- Restaurant Award
- Sporting Organisations Award
- Travelling Shows Award
- Wine Award
This increase is a result of the Fair Work Commission’s announcement after conducting its Annual Wage Review. The Fair Work Commission is the independent national workplace relations tribunal. It is responsible for maintaining a safety net of minimum wages and employment conditions, as well as a range of other workplace functions and regulations.
Workplaces are expected to ensure that all of their employees are being treated fairly and paid the minimum rate relevant to their circumstances (award/base minimum rate).
Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their pay and compliance requirements.
Are you concerned about potential non-compliance with the new minimum wage, want to know more about the other increases to different kinds of rewards? Trying to get your head wrapped around the new superannuation guarantee requirements, or after some business planning advice in the approach to the new year? We’re the people you can speak to about any concerns you may have for your business and its future.