Just the mention of the words 'retirement planning' makes many people feel exhausted. Most retirement planning information is full of references to aged care, going grey, becoming dependent, and dying with clichéd photographs of grey haired couples drinking lattes or walking hand-in-hand on the beach. The consequence is that a majority of 45 to 64 year olds (yes retirement planning does start at the ripe old age of 45!) have entered the land of denial when it comes to this issue. It would be a mistake to allow these outdated notions of retirement planning turn you off. There is now sufficient research to prove that those who have planned their retirement well and over time are clearly ahead of the pack.
The best thing you can do is get on the front foot. Harris Black can help you summarise your current position and take stock of where you are at – this is the best place to start.
The next step is to discuss some goals including where you see yourself over the next 10 years. From experience we know that every individual has different aspirations for retirement. In fact many of our clients tell us they don't intend to retire at all. Whatever your aspirations are, we still need to put a plan in place.
And that brings us to our final step - how are you going to get to your retirement goal? This is often the time that Harris Black relies on its relationships with the experts, such as financial planners (including NewLeaf our sister company), estate planners, property experts and stockbrokers just to name a few.
So don't be in denial with your head in the sand. It's time to get ahead and make a start by calling your Harris Black team member.
Welcome to the new Financial Year!
It's that time of the year again to organise and send through your end of year records so we can assist you in completing your 2016 Income Tax Return.
We have provided two checklists below to help you provide all the information we need:
Getting your information to us is easy. You can:
- Upload your tax information on our Secure Client Area which is located on our website (www.harrisblack.com.au) by selecting 'Client Login' on the toolbar located at the top of the page;
- Post it to us;
Fax it to us on 07 3032 0201; or
- Email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don't have a Secure Client Portal Login, please contact your Harris Black team member so we can set up an account for you.
Your team at Harris Black is here to help you to achieve results.
The Australian Government provides HECS-HELP benefit payments to specified graduates, provided that they are working in an eligible occupation, graduated after 30 June 2009, and have an obligation to make a HECS-HELP repayment in the specified income year. The two different application categories for specified graduates are:
- Early childhood education; or
- Maths, science, education, or nursing (including midwifery).
The benefit payments offset a portion of an individual's compulsory HECS-HELP repayment, and the ATO will automatically amend the relevant tax return and issue a refund cheque, upon a successful application. For example, a Registered Nurse who claimed 48 weeks of working in an eligible occupation (nursing) after completing their undergraduate studies had over 75% of their compulsory 2014-15 repayment covered by this benefit, and received a cheque for approximately $1,600.
Individuals have two years to lodge their application from the end of the income year for which they are applying. For example, applications for the 2014-15 income year must be submitted to the ATO by 30 June 2017.
Eligible graduates may apply for the HECS-HELP benefit on an annual basis for a total lifetime claim of 260 weeks. The claim does not need to be for a continuous period. The number of weeks claimed each year is subtracted from the 260 weeks until the entitlement is reduced to nil.
Click here for further information on this program.
If you have any questions about HECS-Help, contact your Harris Black team member today.
Accounting add-ons have evolved recently in the world of accountancy. Each month we feature a range of add-ons that will help you focus and become more efficient within your own practice.
Our featured add-on for this month is Ezy-Collect. This add-on is your all in one solution for debtor management.
Ezy-Collect automate manual tasks such as:
- Sending emails;
- Sending SMS's and postal letters;
- Scheduled phone calls for staff;
- Manage disputes; and
Track conversations and payment promises from your customers.
This add-on automatically manages your collection processes and integrates into your MYOB or Xero account.
Ezy-Collect will help improve your cash flow and free up your time to focus on the important things you need to do in your business!
To learn more about Ezy-Collect, please contact your Harris Black team member today.
The new financial year is here!
The start of the new financial year is the great time to look back on your achievements and reflect on the challenges of the last financial year.
In this month's edition of Harris Black Top 12, the team at Harris Black will share their 'Things to Do' for 2017 Financial Year that will surely help to assist you in welcoming the 2017 financial year.
Get the ball rolling!
- Set a budget (either personally or for your business).
- Understand your cashflow requirements for the year ahead.
- Put your prices up.
- Record your goals for the financial year ahead on one page and put them somewhere where you can see them.
- Work out what you should stop doing and set plans in place so you break this habit.
- Collate your tax information and get it over with early this year.
- Re-evaluate the software that are using for recording your transactions and invoicing.
- Plan to save at least minimum amount each week.
- Approach your bank – are you getting the best interest deal?
- Plan a trip so you have something to look forward to for the year ahead.
- Review a process or system in your business that is outdated or broken and fix it.
- Do some reading about your industry and what's in store for the years ahead.
Rebranding can be one of the most rewarding decisions a business owner can make but it is risky business.
Businesses looking to rebrand need to ensure they are rebranding for the right reasons. Whether you decide to rebrand due to competition or evolving customer needs, ensure you have a clear strategic vision.
A successful rebrand requires planning and consideration of the risks involved. Here are some things to consider before your brand rollout:
Before embarking on your rebranding, understand how your customers perceive your brand compared to how you would like your brand to be positioned. Conduct research into your customer's current wants, needs and opinions of your brand and take into account how other stakeholders such as suppliers and the community view your brand. It is a good idea to weigh yourself against competition to help define what sets your brand apart from your competitors.
To ensure everyone is on the same page, communicate with your customers, suppliers and employees to inform them of your rebranding. People are more likely to be receptive to changes if they are clearly explained. Remember to inform staff of any changes or implications that will impact them from the very beginning, as they will become your brand advocates.
Identify what aspects of your business are staying the same, what is changing and a timeline for the rebranding process. This demonstrates you care about your customers, suppliers and staff and you may get some valuable feedback along the way.
There is no point investing money in rebranding if you don't have a marketing strategy to promote and strengthen your new brand. Your marketing strategy should hone in on the core values of your brand, your main message and why you have made changes to your brand.
Once you have a clear vision for your brand, you will need to consider what tactics you will use to launch the new brand. Consider the use of internal campaigns such as meetings, videos and emails to employees announcing the change. You may consider a launch party where clients, employees, media and community members are invited to celebrate the brand rollout.
While most advice surrounding productivity focuses on improving an individual's mindset, there is another aspect that can be enhanced; our workspace.
Improving a working environment is often overlooked when it comes to increasing workplace productivity. However, one of the best ways to change an individual's behaviour is to change their environment.
Here are some ways working individuals can create a workspace that is not only pleasant to work in, but will help improve productivity.
Allowing plenty of daylight to shine into your workspace is a proven way to increase productivity, a person's overall mood and their well-being. Since not every workspace will have access to natural light, one solution could be to invest in LED lighting which mimics natural sunlight.
Cold office temperatures have been shown to lead to more errors and lower productivity. So, if you can control the temperature of your workspace, align it with your ideal comfort level. If this is not possible, rug up - warmer is better when it comes to working productively.
Most office spaces are painted with neutral tones to create an environment that isn't distracting. However, this can also fail to stimulate workers. One way to make your workspace more energising is by incorporating some yellow colour here and there. Yellow is a cheerful and high-spirited colour that can represent a happy future, hope and wisdom.
Businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on social media as a marketing tool and way to interact with existing and potential customers.
Although social media draws many benefits for businesses and customers alike; social media needs to be treated like traditional forms of advertising in that comments and opinions are not false, misleading or deceptive. Business owners are responsible for the content on their pages, irrespective of who published it.
Consumer protection laws apply to social media in the same way they apply to any other marketing activities. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) may require businesses to substantiate any claims that may be false, misleading or deceptive on their social media pages.
To avoid breaching any consumer protection laws, business owners should consider the following:
Business owners are accountable for the posts and public comments made by others on their social media pages. Therefore, it is your business's responsibility to monitor comments to ensure they are not false or likely to mislead and deceive consumers.
Social media pages need to be regularly monitored to ensure followers of your business's page do not post claims that could be considered false, misleading or deceptive. The amount of time you dedicate to monitoring your social media will depend on the size of your business and the amount of followers you have.
Consider establishing 'house rules' that apply to the behaviour expected from your social media followers, and ensure it is featured prominently on your pages. Followers who breach these rules should be blocked from your pages.
Businesses can choose to respond to false or misleading comments instead of removing them but it may not override the false impression made by the original comments. In most cases, it is safer to remove comments as soon as you become aware of them.
On the 15th July 2016, Harris Black held its annual HB Staff Strategy Day. This is an important day for Harris Black where we celebrate our achievements and set our goals for the year ahead.
The day included valuable time with Mark Holton who discussed the impact digital disruption is having on our industry and gave us strategies to deal with this change. We focused on the attributes of high performing teams and set our purpose "Help.Achieve" as part of this process. The day also included time focusing on our clients and ensuring that we are going our very best to help them achieve their goals and meet their needs.
Some fun games broke up the day with a tower building contest and a game called 'Guess the Avatar'. Rob Williams successfully took out top prize for the best avatar look-a-like. Click on the image and see if you can find your favourite Harris Black team member.
After a very fun and productive day in the office, everyone headed out to Madame Wu's to celebrate a successful 2016 financial year and to welcome the 2017 financial year with a bang!
Our staff have had some amazing achievements over the past month:
- Rebecca Smith - Distinction - Charter Tax Accountant Advanced Course (Tax Institute of Australia); and
- Robert Williams - Distinction – Charter Tax Accountant Advanced Course (Tax Institute of Australia) and promoted to the position of Supervisor at Harris Black.
Well done guys – we are proud of you!
- Lodge and pay quarterly activity statement for quarter 4, 2015–16 – paper.
- Pay quarterly instalment notice (form R, S or T) for quarter 4, 2015–16. Lodgement is only required if you vary the instalment amount.
- Lodge TFN report for closely held trusts for TFNs quoted to a trustee by beneficiaries in quarter 4, 2015–16.
- Lodge Franking account return for 30 June balancers when there is an amount payable.
- Lodge the PAYG withholding payment summary annual report for:
- Large withholders whose annual withholding is greater than $1 million; and
- Payers who have no tax agent or BAS agent involved in preparing the report.