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  Make The 2019 Financial Year Your Best Year Ever 
 
The New Financial Year is the perfect time to reflect on the past year, and implement changes in
 order to strengthen and grow your business.

Consider the following areas when developing your business resolutions:

Finances

No matter how well your business performed in the past year, there is always room for growth and improvement. If you set a target of earning in 2018, raise that by 10 per cent for 2019. Revisit where the business is spending money and create strategies to lower these costs. For example, if the internet bill for the business is X amount, consider shopping around and looking for a cheaper deal. Small changes in multiple areas can see you make an extra 10 per cent annually without feeling like you are making large sacrifices.

Revamp social media marketing strategies

Technology is ever-evolving, meaning the way it can be used as a business and marketing tool is too. July is the ideal time to do your research; investigate emerging trends for social media marketing and try to analyse the direction in which these trends are travelling. Research may tell you, hypothetically, that successful businesses in your industry are steering away from Facebook and are predominantly using Instagram and Snapchat. In this instance, you should be analysing how you can adapt and transform your current marketing strategy to stay current.

Professional and personal development

There is always something new to learn; whether that be related directly to your business and the industry it is in, or whether it relates to personal skills that will make you a better business person and a better leader. Take some time to look at the courses available to you that will fit into your schedule.

There are many organisations online that provide courses in a large array of areas, such as developing your technology skills, learning how to use specific software and programs, business refresher courses, etc. You may have always wanted to learn a new personal skill, such as yoga, rock climbing or a new language; make that a priority in 2019. Developing your personal skills will help you to become a better leader and all round entrepreneur.

If you need assistance and advise on strengthen and grow your business, contact your Harris Black team member today


 
  Year-End Action List  
 
Businesses must be aware of their responsibilities at the end of the financial year.

Careless mistakes in tax returns or simply being unorganised can see business owners lose out on significant tax savings, as well as finding themselves liable for penalties.

Avoid the following mistakes:

Paying superannuation

Super is payable 28 days after the end of the quarter. It is important to remember that to claim a deduction for the super contribution the employer must have made the contribution before June 30. Not paying super by the due date will also lead to a penalty imposed by the ATO.

Lodging group certificates

A common mistake made by business owners is issuing group certificates late and incorrectly reporting the figures. Employers are required to issue their payment summaries to their employees by 14 July and to the ATO by 14 August.

ATO benchmarking

Small business benchmarks are financial ratios that have been developed by the ATO to help compare the performance of similar businesses in an industry. Businesses should take a look at their financials and review their management accounts before 30 June. They should be focusing on any unusual large amounts that have been reported as this could be an indicator of an accounting error or a more serious problem.

  
 
  Harris Black Digital Toolbox – Two-Factor Authentication 
 
The digital revolution has touched every industry and security breaches are more dominant than ever before. With so much of our personal and business activities conducted via online, the security of your information is becoming more important.

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-Factor Authentication – or 2FA – is an extra level of security for online accounts. You've probably experienced it already, when social media platforms and online email accounts request a phone number.  This is to protect your account from attacks by requiring additional log-in verification.

This extra level of security is usually in the form of an additional code you are required to enter before the login can proceed, and can be provided to you in a number of ways:
  • These are sometimes generated by an electronic token;
  • Data saved in memory card or USB stick;
  • An app from your mobile device which is linked to your account to provide verification code; and
  • The most effective way is via SMS to your mobile phone.

Benefits of Two-Factor Authentication

  • Convenience, as most people have their phone on them at all times;
  • The ability to generate any number of dynamic passcodes;
  • The option to ask varied personalised questions;
  • Account lockouts after a certain number of unsuccessful attempts; and
  • Extra security, since users are less likely to misplace or damage their phone.
You may already be using 2-Factor Authentication, as most banks have employed this mandatorily. The Accounting Software providers such as MYOB and Xero also have the capability to add 2-Factor Authentication to user logins as an optional feature, which we strongly recommend activating.

At Harris Black we have implemented Two-Factor Authentication for all external network logins to improve further our tight security practices designed to protect client data.


  Social Responsibility For Small Business 
 
Although small businesses do not have corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in place as large companies do, they do have just as much opportunity to contribute to sustainable business.

Businesses that adopt socially responsible business practices benefit by saving money on costs, attracting better quality candidates, improving their image in the community, increasing sales from customers with similar values, and most importantly, contributing to good causes and a more sustainable environment.

Building a socially responsible business helps to set your business apart from competitors, improves your reputation and, ultimately, ensures your business is acting in an ethical and moral manner.

Here are three tips for improving your business' social responsibility:

Start small

You don't have to be a multi-million dollar company to give back. All businesses, regardless of their size, can support a local community or environmental initiative, whether that be sponsoring a local school sporting team, volunteering or contributing to local arts and culture, etc. Socially responsible businesses start by considering their neighbourhoods, communities, supply chains and the environment in their business mission and overall business conduct.

Environment

Environmentally harmful products and production and manufacturing methods not only damage the environment but they also harm your reputation. Adopt eco-friendly practices such as reducing your business' energy consumption, i.e., switching to enviro-friendly fixtures and appliances, switching off equipment at the end of the working day and so forth. Look to sourcing ethical and sustainable materials and products and implementing strict recycling and reusing programs in the workplace to reduce your business' carbon footprint.

Community

Help solve community issues - whether it's a local or global cause. Align your business' values to a cause or variety of causes and create a program. For example, you may hold an annual fundraiser for a women's shelter, create a volunteering program with a nursing home or partner with a global organisation. Look for creative ways of solving community issues and team up with other community groups and local businesses for more impact. If you get stuck for ideas, utilise your community to garner suggestions.

 
  Employers Urged To Act Now For Single Touch Payroll 
 
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is urging employers with 20 or more employees to prepare for the introduction of Single Touch Payroll.

Single Touch Payroll will be introduced from 1 July 2018, requiring employers to report their employees tax and super information to the ATO through Single Touch Payroll approved software.

Employers will report each time they pay their employees, i.e., weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The information that will be reported includes withholding amounts, superannuation liability information or ordinary times earnings (OTE) and salary, wages, allowances and deductions.

Single Touch Payroll will provide greater transparency and connect businesses to the ATO through their existing software.

Employers must prepare by organising the following:
  • A headcount of employees on 1 April 2018 to determine if there is 20 or more. If your numbers drop down to 19 or less, you will still continue to report through Single Touch Payroll unless you apply for and are granted an exemption;
  • Talk to your software provider about how and when your product will be ready. Those without a software provider will need to find a provider that offers Single Touch Payroll;
  • Update your payroll software when it's ready; and
  • Start using Single Touch Payroll.
Employers with 19 or less employees have until 1 July 2019 to prepare, however, they can start reporting as soon as their software is updated.

If you need more information regarding Single Touch Payroll, contact your Harris Black team member today.

  
  Maximising Efficiency In Your Business 
 
Creating an efficient workplace is desirable for both staff and business owners alike. Not only does it save money and time, it can also improve productivity and morale.

Here are five ways to improve efficiency in your business:

Examine what is and isn't working

Identifying your business' strengths, weaknesses and opportunities goes a long way in improving efficiency.

Look at your processes and procedures in your business model and analyse the need for improvement. Overcomplicating or introducing multiple new systems can often slow your progress rather help it.

Automate where possible

Automating monotonous tasks can save time and prevent employee boredom, which can impact productivity. It also means employees can spend more time on tasks and projects of more importance and urgency to the business.

Minimise interruptions

Continual interruptions decrease productivity. Between answering emails, attending meetings, requests from co-workers, etc., it is no wonder employees find it hard to concentrate. Try to limit interruptions such as unnecessary meetings and encourage staff to respond to emails in set time frames rather than checking up on them non-stop.

Avoid multitasking

Concentrating on completing one task at a time is much more effective than multitasking as it allows you to get into the flow of work. Switching between tasks often interrupts this flow and disrupts concentration. Try to block out chunks of time for each individual task to maximise productivity.

Foster the right environment

Creating an environment where communication and collaboration are highly valued is paramount to business efficiency. Encourage face-to-face communication and communication between departments to improve feedback.

   
  Getting Employment Termination Payment's (ETP) Right
 
When an employee is let go or they quit; there is a chance they are owed money, otherwise known as employment termination payments.

If an employee leaves the business, they may be entitled to several lump sum payments, many of which are taxed differently to normal income. Understanding what is owed and making these payments promptly will help ensure the ex-employee moves on quickly and harmoniously.

Employment termination payments include lump sum payments that cover the following:
  • Payment owing for any of the employee's unused rostered days off;
  • An employee's invalidity payment, often relating to payments for permanent disability, other than compensation for personal injury;
  • Specific payments after the death of an employee;
  • Gratuity payments (or 'golden handshake' payments); and
  • Payments in lieu of notice.
Other payments leaving employees may be eligible to receive include payments for unused annual or long service leave, or the tax-free portion of a genuine redundancy or early retirement scheme. These payments are strictly not included in ETP; but they can be taxed concessionally.

Generally, regulation surrounding the taxation of employment termination payments include:
  • Employees pay a lower tax rate on payments when received within twelve months of their termination. If payments are not received within 12 months, they will be included in the employee's assessable income and taxed at marginal rates. If an employer has failed to make relevant payments within 12 months of termination, the employee can take legal action; and
  • Employment termination payments can not be rolled over into super.
It is important to be aware of the special tax treatment and differing caps on concessional treatment of ETPs.

Consider:

Whole-of-income cap: tax payable on ETP, if employee earns more income in the same financial year (eg, getting a new job) as their employment is terminated.

ETP cap: cap applies to all ETP and has a threshold that is indexed annually. ETP tax rate varies depending on age of employee. If over the preservation age, they are taxed at a maximum of 15 per cent plus 2 per cent Medicare Levy. If under the preservation age, they are taxed at maximum of 30 per cent, plus 2 per cent Medicare Levy.

If you have any questions regarding ETP, contact your Harris Black team member today.

 
  Important Tax Date 
 
30 June 2018

Happy End of Financial Year! 

The Harris Black Team are looking forward to further assisting our valued clients in the new financial year also!
   
   
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This newsletter is for guidance only, any professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. Neither the publisher nor the distributors can accept any responsibility for loss occasioned to any person as a result of action taken or refrained from in consequence of the contents of this newsletter. We recommend that you contact your Harris Black team member before making any decision to discuss your particular requirements or circumstances.

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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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