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8 Ways Cloud Software Benefits Your Business


Many of our clients have made the step of changing their accounting software to the cloud. We are seeing some very successful outcomes and have listed some benefits below: 

     1. You have a clear overview of your current financial position, in real-time; 

     2. Multi-user access makes it easy to collaborate online with your team;

    3. Automatic updates and data feeds mean you can spend more time doing what you love and less time doing bank recs;

    4. Everything is run online, so there's nothing to install and everything is backed up automatically.
        Updates are free and instantly available;

    5. Upfront business costs are reduced – version upgrades, maintenance, system administration costs
        and server failures are no longer issues. Instead, they are managed by the cloud service provider;

    6. You can run your business from work, home, or on the go;

    7. You can create synergies with data as cloud based accounting software integrates well with other cloud based packages

    8. We can help your business by providing fast, real-time responses by accessing your accounting records easily.

At Harris Black we support all cloud packages including MYOB and Xero. Your Harris Black team member is well trained on the pros and cons and can help you decide on the program that suits you the best. Please call your Harris Black Team member if you would like to discuss moving your accounting to the cloud.


AEIOU Take A Hike 2015 

On Sunday 11th October 2015 Team Harris Black (being Brendan Power, Paul Whimp, Bjorn Kirberg, Nikki White, Louise Chen and Kimberley Schluter) will be supporting the AEIOU Foundation by participating in the Take A Hike 2015. Take a Hike involves walking a 42km loop of Brisbane River to raise funds and awareness for AEIOU Foundation and the work they do providing early intervention services for children with autism.

Take a Hike involves walking a 42km loop of the Brisbane River over 9 hours to raise funds and awareness for the AEIOU Foundation and the work they do providing early intervention servicers for children with autism. Team Harris Black's aim is to help eliminate 2 x $10,000 funding shortfalls that exists for each child placement. Your support will change the future of the children in the AEIOU program.

Our challenge along with the rest of the Hikers is to raise $250,000 and make a real difference to children at AEIOU. Your support will change the future of the children in the AEIOU Foundations program.

Any support you can give will change the future of the children in the AEIOU Foundations program. Our fundraising website is Team Harris Black. Please give as generously as possible, but nothing is too little.


Correctly Terminating An Employee 

Termination is often a complicated and awkward area for any business owner; however it is sometimes an inevitable move that has to be made. 

There a number of situations where termination can occur. It is important that each situation is handled carefully to ensure that the process is compliant with complex employment laws. Often it may be a good idea to seek legal or HR advice before initiating the termination process.

If a business fails to follow the correct process of termination, they can be liable for legal action, as well as fines and penalties. Employers should consider the various ways to terminate an employee's role within the business and the legal requirements that will follow before making any decisions. 

There are various ways to terminate an employee's role within a business:

Redundancy

Redundancy occurs when an employee's role within a business is no longer required. This can occur due to reconstruction of the business, or technology taking the role of an employee. A redundancy is based on the operational needs of the business, not the personal performance of the employee.
When an employee is made redundant they are often entitled to compensation and other entitlements. It is important the employer follows the correct protocols when making an employee redundant, which are laid out in the award or enterprise agreement.

Abandonment Of Employment

This form of dismissal occurs when an employee is absent from work for an extended period of time without providing a reasonable excuse. This
could occur if an employee does not return to work after a leave of absence, or for walking off the job without providing an explanation.

If an employer wishes to terminate an employee under abandonment of employment they must show that they have taken steps to contact the employee before terminating them.

Summary Dismissal

A summary dismissal is when an employee is immediately terminated from employment due to a serious breach or misconduct, such as theft or assault. Generally there is no period of notice or financial compensation in lieu of notice.

Although this type of dismissal does occur quickly it is still important that the correct formal process is followed, and that any allegations against the employee are thoroughly investigated before the employee is dismissed.

Dismissal For A Cause

A dismissal for a cause is less serious than a summary dismissal. It is used when an employee is terminated for under-performance, or other issues such as inappropriate behaviour. Leading up to a dismissal for cause there must be a disciplinary process which can include warnings and performance management in an attempt to correct the employee's actions.

Termination By Notice Or Agreement

This is when an employee's role in the business is terminated by one party giving notice to another. This can occur when an employee resigns, or if an employer informs a casual employee or contractor that they wish to terminate their agreement. Termination agreements often come with various provisions that must be complied with, for example the timeframe for notice. There may also be other steps to follow listed in the relevant award.


A Guide To Warnings In The Workplace

Warnings are an important workplace tool in helping to ensure that employees understand their employer's expectations.

They also serve as evidence of a fair performance management process and provide supporting evidence should the employee be terminated. Warnings can play a crucial role in defending unfair dismissal claims as it provides evidence that the employee was aware that they were displaying unsatisfactory workplace performance and conduct.

A workplace warning is defined as a communication, be it verbal, or written, to an employee about their performance or conduct at work. Warnings are a tool used to communicate an identified area where an employee needs improvement, or where their conduct does not meet the required standard.

The aim of delivering a workplace warning is to give the employee an opportunity to improve their workplace performance or conduct. Verbal warnings are usually administered before a written one as they are less informal and are usually of a less serious nature.

That is they do not warrant summary dismissal. Once a warning has been issued the employee's performance or conduct is usually monitored for a set period of time.

A written warning should be issued after a warning meeting has taken place. At the
conclusion of the meeting, the employee is advised that they will be receiving a written warning in the following couple of days.

Generally, most written warnings will comprise of the following:

  • Record who was present at the warning meeting;
  • record the fact that the employee was invited to have a support person present;
  • outline the conduct or performance which is the reason for the warning;
  • where appropriate refer to a relevant policy or the employment contract;
  • refer to previous warnings that were issued;
  • record the employee's responses to the matters in issue;
  • clearly state that the employee needs to improve, including an explanation of the consequences
    for failure to improve;
  • where relevant, provide support for the employee to improve such as training; and
  • preferably be countersigned by the employee as evidence of their understanding of the warning.

There is no legal requirement as to how many warnings must be given prior to termination. The unspoken rule is to use anything from one to three written warnings, to ensure that the employee is given enough notice and time to improve their performance or conduct.

However, it is always a good idea to refer to the company's policy and any performance management procedures that may be in place before deciding when to terminate an employee.

There is also no legal rule that defines how long a warning remains current. Generally, it is unusual for a warning to remain current after six months had passed with no more warnings being issued.

Workplace warnings are an important tool for employers to communicate their expectations to their employees. Failure to implement, or appropriately manage, warnings can come at a high price.


Excessive Deduction Claims On Holiday Homes On ATO Hit List

The ATO is increasing its focus on holiday home investors and, in particular, whether they are correctly claiming deductible expenses. A key concern is when people make claims for expenses when the property was not available for rent. The ATO has recently advised that it will be sending letters to taxpayers in approximately 500 postcodes across Australia, reminding them to only claim the deductions they are entitled to, for the periods the holiday home was rented out or was genuinely available for rent.

TIP: Holiday home investors should be aware that the ATO appears to be taking a broad approach in monitoring rental deductions. Where relevant, it may be prudent for holiday home investors to take this opportunity to review the rules surrounding holiday home tax deductions to ensure that any risks or issues are addressed in a timely manner. It may also be a good idea to review records now so that you are prepared should the taxman come knocking. If you have any questions about this issue, please contact our office.


Foreign Property Investors – Reduced Penalty Period Ending 

The ATO has reminded foreign investors that the reduced penalty period for possible breaches of Australia's foreign investment rules for purchases of Australian real estate will close soon. The reduced penalty period is only available until 30 November 2015.  From 1 December 2015, new criminal and civil penalties will apply. The ATO said if foreign investors disclose a breach of the rules for residential real estate purchases during the reduced penalty period, depending upon their circumstances, they may: 

  • be given a concessional period of 12 months to divest themselves of the property, rather than a shorter period; and 
  • not be referred for criminal prosecution.

Payroll Tax Grouping – Know The Rules

For payroll tax purposes, businesses may be grouped with other businesses if there is a link between the companies. Businesses may be deemed linked in several ways. One of the most common ways is where two or more businesses are controlled by the same person or persons. However, there are specific exclusions under the payroll tax grouping rules which could apply for a business depending on the circumstances. This will require making an application to the relevant state or territory revenue authority.

When a group exists, only a single tax-free threshold will apply to the whole group. That is, the separate businesses themselves will not each have the benefit of the tax-free thresholds. Each member of the group will be liable for any outstanding payroll tax of the other group members. Therefore, it is important for businesses to identify whether they could be grouped for payroll tax purposes.

TIP: The potential eligibility for exclusion from the payroll tax grouping rules should be assessed. Furthermore, as business conditions may change and as part of the overall management of a business, it may be prudent to regularly examine your business's payroll tax obligations.


ATO's Proportionate Compliance Approach to SMSFs

From 1 July 2014 the ATO has three new regulatory compliance powers to deter and address contraventions of the superannuation law by trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs). These three new powers include the ability of the ATO to issue education directions, rectification directions and administrative penalties. The new laws were introduced to give the ATO more flexible and proportionate powers to deal with the various levels of noncompliant behaviour by trustees.
It is important for trustees to understand the ATO's compliance approach to administrating the SMSF sector. A key message that the ATO has been communicating to all trustees is for them to rectify a breach as soon as it is identified. According to ATO Assistant Commissioner, SMSF Segment, Superannuation, Kasey Macfarlane, in these circumstances, the ATO would be "unlikely to apply further sanctions unless other factors are identified, such as if the same or similar contraventions frequently arose".

Ms Macfarlane said the ATO uses "the new powers and penalties to drive compliance, not to increase revenue". "So while you can expect to see us actively using the directions powers, in a large percentage of cases our application of SMSF administrative penalties will be more judicious, via favourable remission requests, for first offences," she said.


Find Your Small Lost Superannuation Accounts

A Bill has been introduced into Parliament which contains legislative amendments to increase the account balance threshold below which small lost member accounts will be required to be transferred to the Commissioner of Taxation, i.e. from $2,000 to $4,000 from 31 December 2015, and from $4,000 to $6,000 from 31 December 2016.

TIP: Moving all your super from multiple accounts into one account (known as "consolidating your super") might help you to save on fees and make managing your super easier. 

There may be sound reasons for maintaining a separate small superannuation account. It may be prudent to assess those reasons and, if those reasons are still valid, to take steps to ensure that you remain an active fund member.

Individuals are able to claim back their superannuation from the Commissioner at any time. Interest, calculated in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has been payable on unclaimed superannuation money repaid since 1 July 2013.

Please contact us for further information.


Important Tax Dates 


21 October 2015 

September 2015 monthly activity statement – due date for lodging and paying.

28 October 2015

Quarterly activity statement, quarter 1, 2015–16 – paper lodgements – due date for lodging and paying; and

Super guarantee contributions, quarter 1, 2015–16 – contributions to be made to the fund by this date. 

31 October 2015 

Tax returns for all entities if one or more prior year returns were outstanding as at 30 June 2015 and remaining outstanding at 31 October 2015.

 

About Us


 

 

 

 


Since 1994, Harris Black has been providing accounting and advisory services to our valued clients to help them achieve their business and personal wealth goals.

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National Affiliation

Harris Black is a key participant in a network of nationally affiliated independent chartered accounting firms called the Brentnalls Group.

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Brisbane, QLD 4000 
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