Changes on July 1st 2020

According to the Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office, an error has been made regarding the estimated number of employees who can access the JobKeeper program. It was initially planned to cover around 6 million workers, but they had revised the estimate to only around 3.5 million. They stated that the estimate reflects the not-so-severe impact of health restrictions being imposed as expected.

Meanwhile, the ATO has extended the deadline to lodge the monthly declaration to every 14th day after the end of the month instead of the initial 7th day after the end of the month.

However, they stated that JobKeeper payments will be released based on when the declaration has been lodged. This means that the sooner businesses comply, the sooner they will be able to receive their JobKeeper payments.

On another news, the ATO has released guidance aim to soften the rules regarding the claiming of deductions for home office expenses. This is in line with the increasing number of taxpayers who were forced to work from home due to the pandemic.

First, they have decreased the requirements individuals need to be able to claim expenses. In most cases, this can be applicable to individuals who need a specific area at home for work-related purposes. Specifically, the ATO allows individuals to claim home office expenses if they are working from home to fulfill their office duties or are running their own business which, as a result, caused them to incur additional running expenses.

There are three main mechanisms that will allow taxpayers to calculate the allowed deduction:

  • First is the actual expenses which can be computed by taking the actual expenses incurred alongside the percentage of business or work for calculating the deduction.
  • Second is the “normal” set rate method using the set rate of 52 cents per hour then claiming separate deductions for other expenses like phones, computers, and the internet.
  • The last one is the “shortcut” set rate method which allows individuals to claim 80 cents per hour, though this one will cover all expenses mentioned in the “normal” set rate method.

Taxpayers will have the freedom to choose which method works for them, specifically the one that can provide them with the biggest deductions.

 

How to Keep Your Business Going During Rough Times

Can you Claim Deductions for Employee Training?“You have to understand accounting and you have to understand the nuances of accounting. It’s the language of business.” – Warren Buffett

A misconception among small business owners is that accounting only involves managing your books and paying your dues. But there are many little things in accounting that you should consider. This is where the problem usually starts. If you’re not careful, you might end up messing up your cash flow, or worse, paying penalties for unpaid taxes. It’s time to look at your accounting practices and make sure you’re not making any of these mistakes.

1. Mixing Personal Spending with Business Spending

Confusing your personal spending as a business spending is a common mistake among entrepreneurs. For instance, when you’re doing your monthly supplies run, it’s easy to pick up some items for personal use and unintentionally tag all them as a business cost. The key is to keep all your receipts. This way, you have proof of your expenses should your business requires to be audited. Worried about losing receipts? Scan or take photos of them, so you have a digital copy. Consider filing them by month or year and labelling them appropriately by category or department. When you categorise your business expenses, you won’t have problems finding records or receipts.

2. Taking Sales Tax for Granted

It’s quite easy to forget about your sales tax —especially if you have no idea how to deal with them. To make sure you’re complying with all your tax requirements, consider consulting or hiring experts to look into your finances.

3. Working with an Inexperienced CPA or Bookkeeper

Your CPA and bookkeeper are your sidekicks to managing the financial side of your business. It’s essential to work with professionals who have enough experience in their field. If you’re new to accounting and will have to depend on your CPA or bookkeeper’s knowledge and skills, take the time to choose candidates and professionals to hire.

4. Thinking Every Deal Closed Always Equates to Cash Flow

When you’re updating your books and forecasting cash flows, be mindful of how you record your deals. When you don’t consider the money your company needs to put out to complete a project, your books could give an inaccurate picture of your business’s financial status. What happens when instead of earning from a deal, you end up losing money? Do you need assistance with accounting? Glance Consulting offers bookkeeping, accounting, and cash flow forecasting services. Let us help you get the peace of mind that you have your books in order and your finances straightened out.

Please fill out our contact form or give us a call at 03 9885 9793 to learn about our accounting services.

Do You Have a Pandemic Business Plan

pandemic business planAs the world continues to fight against the coronavirus pandemic and countries try to flatten the curve, businesses have started adapting to a “new normal.” But if there is one lesson many entrepreneurs are learning from our situation, it’s the importance of having a pandemic business plan.

What is a pandemic business plan?

A pandemic business plan is your company’s guide to responding to emergencies, particularly in a long-term crisis like the coronavirus spread. It contains policies for communicating among employees and clients. This plan also includes budget contingencies and other strategies to ensure your business stays in operation during any situation.

How do you create a pandemic business plan?

The first step to creating a pandemic business plan is to build a team of experienced and trusted individuals who truly understand how your company operates. When possible, try to include members from all departments, like your HR, operations, and your top management team. This way, you’re able to see the bigger picture and how each department would play a role in an emergency.

When you have your risk management team all set up, it’s time to do the work:

1. Set up guidelines

Lay the foundation of your pandemic business plan. Create the guiding principles that everyone must follow during a situation like a pandemic. Your guidelines should include how the company will continue providing and supporting your employees.

Will you be offering medical care for your staff? Who will be responsible for caring and communicating with your team? Additionally, this is the part where you may need to decide whether to temporarily pause any ongoing programs to ensure you have enough budget for your business essentials.

2. Develop a communications plan

Communication is vital in an emergency and especially during a pandemic. Set up a communications program or policy that ensures your staff receive important company updates and messages even when they’re not in the office. The same goes for your clients. How do you plan to reach out to them and let them know of significant company changes or updates?

3. Create a flexible workforce schedule

Understandably, you may want to continue providing services to your clients and maintaining business operations even during this time. However, you should make sure that your company can do this safely.

Think about setting up a flexible work schedule for your staff. When possible, give them the option to work from home.

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way many entrepreneurs and companies do business. What changes have you implemented in your workplace? If you need help adapting to our current situation, Glance Consultants can assist you. We offer strategic business advice and planning, business performance management, and cashflow management.

Call us at 03 9885 9793 or fill out our contact form for your enquiries. We continue to commit ourselves as your trusted advisor in your ever-changing business journey.

Leadership Characteristics To Help Your Business Outlast the Coronavirus Outbreak

leadership in times of crisis

Do you feel like you’re being pulled from every direction while trying to keep your business afloat during the COVID-19 outbreak?

We are living in difficult times. As we start adapting to our current situation, however, here’s something to keep in mind as business owners and leaders of your organisation:

 

 

“It is in times of crisis that good leaders emerge” — Rudolph Giuliani

While it may seem difficult, there is no better time than now to be visible and take charge in all aspects of your business. Your customers need you. Most importantly, your employees need your support and direction.

Here are some leadership characteristics to help you during this time:

Confident and Calm

If you’re the first one to go screaming out the door, then don’t expect your employees to be calm.

Your staff, customers, and other stakeholders are relying on your leadership to get your business through the challenging months ahead. This isn’t the time for self-doubt and inaction. It’s the time to implement your crisis management plan or create one if you don’t have any.

While your leadership is essential during this period, it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything on your own. Get everyone on board and remember, “We are all in this together.”

Transparent

Communication is critical in times of crisis. When everyone understands the challenges that your company is facing and what you’re doing to solve those issues, there will be no cause to panic. Your staff won’t have to worry about the future of your business, which directly affects their future.  

Innovative

Now is a great time to think out of the box. Since the outbreak, many businesses have opted to continue their operations from home. Can your business do the same? If yes, what technologies will you and your staff need to get the business going?

Some basic applications and services you may need are: 

  • A video messaging application for your weekly meetings
  • An online file hosting service so your team could access documents conveniently
  • Online accounting software to keep your books up-to-date
  • An online calendar to schedule workflows, team huddles, and client meetings

Compassionate

If there is one important characteristic a leader should have during this time, it’s compassion. Don’t get too caught up with managing your business that you end up forgetting the needs of your people.

Every member of your staff is handling the situation differently. Check-in on them regularly and see how you can help make things easier for them.

The Coronavirus pandemic has caught many businesses off guard. While the future may seem uncertain, one thing is for sure. Your business could thrive and survive any crisis with good leadership.

For assistance and support, get in touch with Glance Consultants. We offer a range of services for Small to Medium Enterprise. You can send an email to enquiries@glanceconsultants.com.au or call us at 03 9885 9793.

How to Maintain Customer Relationships During the Coronavirus Outbreak

how to maintain customer relationships during the coronavirus outbreakCOVID-19 has forced many organisations to scale down their business activities, if not temporarily stop their operations altogether. 

While we’re all going through a difficult time and struggling to adapt to our present situation, let’s not forget about our customers. What you do right now could determine the way your customers will work with you in the future. 

Here are some tips to help you nurture customer relationships during the outbreak. 

Humanise Your Brand

Empathy can go a long way — especially during these times. Show your customers that your organisation is more than the services or products you provide. Let them know the steps you’re taking to support your customers, employees and stakeholders. 

The best way to do this is through social media channels. Additionally, consider sending out email newsletters regularly.   

Develop a Customer Communication Strategy

Uncertainties can easily lead to anxiety in the part of your customers. Communication is important. Please don’t leave your customers in the dark. But make sure everyone in your company is saying the same things when reaching out to them. 

To avoid wrong information being sent out or miscommunication, it’s best to create a customer communication task force within your company. This group will be responsible for creating your customer communication strategy. Keep the team small and when possible, choose key individuals that are familiar with the customer-facing side of your business.

Prioritise Customer Issues and Inquiries

It’s understandable for customers to reach out to you more often during a crisis. To ensure you’re providing support promptly, develop a system that prioritises more pressing issues. This way, you could provide immediate assistance to customers who need your support ASAP.

Additionally, never forget to reach out to customers for follow-up. This way, you can make sure that you provided appropriate assistance for them.  

Stick to Your Company Values

It’s easy to forget about your company values, mission, and vision when you’re trying to keep your business afloat. 

Remember that it’s during these times that your customers need you to stick to your promises. Assure them that you will continue to provide the level of support they’ve come to love about your organisation. 

Do you need help managing your business during this time? Glance Consultants is here to assist you. We can help you find a stimulus package that your business is eligible for and get you the financial support you need. 

To learn more about our services, you may call us at 03 9885 9793 or send an email to enquiries@glanceconsultants.com.au

Government Stimulus Package

Government announces increased tax benefits in response to the Coronavirus

The Government has announced its economic response to the Coronavirus in the form of a $17.6 billion
economic stimulus package.

The package has been marketed as a measure to protect the economy by maintaining confidence, supporting
investment and keeping people in their jobs.

It is expected that an appropriate package of Bills (which will provide further detail in relation to the
proposed measures) will be introduced into Parliament in the final sitting week in March 2020
(i.e., presumably from 23 March 2020) for urgent consideration and passage.

The Key Tax Measures include:
• From Thursday 12 March 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000
(for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million) to $150,000
(for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million) until 30 June 2020.

• A time-limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) which will operate
to accelerate certain depreciation deductions.
This measure will also be available to businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million, which
will be able to immediately deduct 50% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with
existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.
As announced, this measure is proposed to only apply to new depreciating assets first used, or
installed ready for use, by 30 June 2021.

• Tax-free payments of up to $25,000 for eligible small and medium businesses (i.e., with a
turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff) based on their PAYG withholding obligations.

• Tax-free payments of $750 to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and
eligible concession card holders. It is estimated that around half of those who will benefit will
be pensioners. These payments will commence to be automatically made from 31 March 2020.

• Administrative relief from the ATO for some tax obligations for people affected by the
Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the ATO is setting up a temporary
shop front in Cairns within the next few weeks with dedicated staff specialising in assisting small
business and is currently considering further temporary ‘shop fronts’ and face-to-face options.
In addition to these key tax measures, the Government has also announced additional economic
stimulus measures including:

• Wage subsidies to support the retention of apprentices and trainees – Employers with less
than 20 full-time employees may be entitled to apply for Government funded wage subsidies
amounting to 50% of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to nine months from 1 January
2020 to 30 September 2020. The maximum subsidy for each apprentice/trainee is $21,000.
Importantly, where an employer is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available
to a new employer that employs that apprentice.
It is proposed that employers will be able to register for the subsidy from early-April 2020.

• Assistance to severely affected regions – The Government has also committed to set aside
$1 billion to support regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the
economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as
tourism, agriculture and education. This will include:

– The waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park and the waiver of entry fees for Commonwealth National Parks.
– The provision of additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets
or supply chains.
– Further targeted measures to further promote domestic tourism.

Government Stimulus Package (1)

Avoiding Unfair Business Practices

Avoiding Unfair Business Practices ImageUnder Australian Consumer Law, there are a number of sales practices that are illegal for businesses to engage in when dealing with their customers. Unfair business practices encompass a wide range of activities, such as misleading or false statements and deceptive conduct.

Here are some examples of illegal activities that you should be aware of as a business owner in order to avoid harsh penalties.

False or misleading statements:

It is unlawful for a business to make false or misleading representations about their goods or services that they are supplying, offering to supply, or promoting. For example, businesses may not make false or misleading statements about the standard or quality of goods or services, testimonials from other customers about the goods or services, or their price. While it will depend on the circumstances of each particular case, the maximum fine for this offence is $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for a body corporate.

Accepting payment without intending to supply:

Payment cannot be accepted for goods and services if businesses do not intend to supply, they intend to supply materially different goods or services, or if they are aware that they will not be able to supply the goods or services in a timely manner. However, this is not intended to affect businesses who demonstrate a genuine attempt to meet supply agreements. For example, a business may avoid prosecution if the failure to supply was due to something beyond its control.

Unconscionable conduct:

Businesses are prohibited from acting in a manner that is against good conscience. For conduct to be classified as unconscionable, it is extremely harsh or aggressive where one party exploits another and must be more than just unfair or unreasonable. Examples of this conduct include coercing a person to sign a blank or one-sided contract, failing to disclose contractual terms, or taking advantage of low-income consumers by misleading them about prices. Whether certain conduct is deemed to be unconscionable will depend on the particular circumstances involved and may require legal action. There is a list of factors that courts may consider, including the relative bargaining strength of the parties, and the extent to which the parties acted in good faith.

The Federal budget for 2019-20 is now available!

(Click here to View/Download the complete document)

The 2019-20 Federal Budget contains few surprises and only a modicum of major initiatives: one is tempted by the view that even the Government doesn’t have its heart in it.

The major – and widely expected – initiative is an extension of the Government’s personal income tax cuts from those announced in the 2018-19 Budget which match and raise the more generous benefits which Labor announced in response to the Government’s previous measures: at a cost of $5.7 billion over four years.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in his Budget “Lockup” press conference the Government would not try and force this measure through Parliament before it is dissolved for the election but would take the package to the electorate.

This contrasts with the Government’s “Power Rebate” announced before the Budget and included in it, which the Government does plan to try and push through before the election.

Other major Budget measures are:

• An extension of the small business instant asset write-off, with an increase of $5000 in the amount to $30,000 and an increase to $50 million (from $10 million) in the size of business eligible for the concession (See Small Business)

• $4 billion over four years for increased infrastructure spending

• $1 billion in increased Medicare spending (See Health) • $530 million for the Disability Royal Commission

• A small concession removing the work test for superannuation contributions for people aged 65 and 66 (See Superannuation).

The Budget’s biggest saving is a $2 billion windfall to come from a tightening of welfare payments to recipients who are also working, using the controversial automated ‘Single Touch Payroll System’ which businesses are being forced to adopt. The Budget contains little information about how this will operate but says, “From 1 July 2020, income support recipients who are employed will report income that is received during the fortnight, rather than calculating and reporting their earnings. Each fortnight, income data received through an expansion of STP data-sharing arrangements will also be shared with the Department of Human Services, for recipients with employers utilising STP.”

(Click here to View/Download the complete document)

Attracting Millennials to work for your business

Millennials are encompassing around a quarter of the workforce now and bringing along withthem diverse needs and challenges.

Employers must understand these needs and challenges to better attract more Millennials to work for them as their skills are in high demand.

Firstly, Millennials (born between 1980-2000) are the first generation to understand technology possibly more so than their senior coworkers. They also tend to value flexibility and diversity more than older generations.

Millennials are also likely to have a desire for rapid career progression within a company and are not afraid to switch companies if their needs are not being met. This means fewer Millennials are likely to stay loyal to only one company for their total working life.

Employers must consider these unique needs and adapt if they are looking to appeal to Millennials. The following tips can help your business become more attractive to Millennial talent:

Opportunities to progress

Millennials want opportunities for personal and career development, otherwise, they will look elsewhere. Ensure your business has training and development opportunities available and staff are encouraged to progress their careers within your business.

Incentives

Along with competitive salaries, Millennials look for added perks such as flexible working conditions, bonuses, free insurance, greater vacation leave and so on. This is important to note as you might not be able to offer the highest salary for your industry but you can entice Millennials with other more budget-friendly incentives.

Purpose

Meaningful work comes out on top for Millennials. Many want to give back and contribute to society in an ethical and sustainable manner. Millennials will take into consideration the reputation of your business, your business’ practices and your overall vision for the business. To appeal to this generation it is important to consider whether your business is operating in its best possible condition and if improvements need to be made.

Contact us for more information..

Eligibility for the downsizer measure

As of 1 July 2018, the Government will introduce a new measure that allows the contribution of up to $300,000 of proceeds from downsizing a home to be added to superannuation

The new measure will benefit those aged 65 years and over, provided they meet certain eligibility rules including:

  • The amount you are contributing is from the proceeds of selling your home where the contract of sale was exchanged on or after 1 July 2018
  • Your home was owned by you or your spouse for 10 years or more prior to the sale
  • Your home is in Australia and is not a caravan, houseboat or other mobile home.
  • The proceeds from the sale of the home (capital loss or gain) are exempt or partially exempt from CGT under the main residence exemption, or would be entitled to such exemption if the home was a CGT rather than pre-CGT asset.
  • You have provided your super fund with the downsizer contribution form either before or at the time of making your downsizer contribution.
  • You make your downsizer contribution within 90 days of receiving the proceeds from the sale (usually the date of settlement).

You have not previously made a downsizer contribution to your super from the sale of another home.

Contact us for more information..

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