In December 2016, Harris Black partner organisation Mindshop carried out a survey of business leaders asking them to identify the key skills required for them to succeed in 2017. The top ten capabilities that came out of the survey were:
Managing Millennials - Understand the values and needs of this generation to align your employee engagement strategies
Lead by Example - Embody the traits and values you want your staff to emulate to generate direct commercial results
Simplifying Complexity - Focus on improving systems and processes, leveraging technology effectively so it works for you
Rapid Prioritisation - Focus only on what is urgent and important rather than prioritising based on the 'squeaky wheel'
Customer Centric - Re-imagine your business model by putting yourself in your customers' shoes, how will you add value?
Be the Coach in your Team - Magnify the abilities of your employees and increase their overall capacity
Challenge Strategic Plans - Create a concise, workable and evolving plan through the lens of your organisation's vision for the future
Delegation to an "A" Team - Engaged employees with clear role definition and empowerment to succeed will free up your time
Change Strength - Avoid implementation failure by addressing the key elements of change success; readiness, capability and attitude
Agility - Balance stability with dynamic capabilities to respond quickly to changing market conditions
For a number of years Harris Black has been working with clients to assist in achieving their goals and plans. If your feeling overwhelmed or lacking the laser like focus required to steer your business to the success it deserves, give us a call and pick our brains over coffee.
Tips For Improving Cash Flow
Maintaining appropriate cash flow is a critical component of running a successful business.
Despite this, running out of liquid capital is one of the most common reasons that small businesses fail. Monitoring cash flow and planning accordingly is important at every stage of the business lifecycle; however, it is especially critical that businesses experiencing rapid growth remain acutely aware of their cash availability.
Maintaining positive cash flow can be a struggle for many businesses, but setting realistic goals for cash flow management can help make a business profitable and generate enough cash to offset monthly expenses.
Make it Easy
Making it easy for customers to pay you on time is one of the best ways to ensure they do. Whether that involves investing in some new technology, taking your invoicing online or implementing some new payment methods, making sure it is easy for customers to pay you on time will definitely pay off in the long term.
Use an Automated Follow-up System
An automated follow-up system will send recurring reminders to your accounts receivable at pre-set dates. This helps to keep track of the status of your accounts and can reduce both time and human error.
You need to invoice your clients quickly, as there will already be a delay between them receiving the invoice and making the payment. Many businesses inadvertently shoot themselves in the foot by failing to invoice in a timely manner.
Intellectual Property Law Basics
While intellectual property can be a valuable business asset for business owners, it must be legally protected if a business owner wants to increase the value of their business.
Intellectual property can add further value to a business when it is sold. Intellectual property is the collection of ideas and creations of your mind or intellect such as trademarks, logos, concepts, designs, computer programs and so on.
Most businesses will have some form of intellectual property that derives commercial value.
There are several types of legal ownership available depending on the nature of the intellectual property. The most commonly used types are trademarks, patents, design rights, domain names and copyright.
A trademark is a right granted to a sign or device used by a business to distinguish its goods and services from other businesses. They can take the form of a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo or picture.
Although it is not compulsory to register a trademark, registering provides exclusive rights to use the trademark across Australia for commercial purposes and assign, transfer or sell the rights of the trademark to another business.
A design can refer to the features of a shape, configuration or pattern that gives a product its unique appearance. Examples of a design include a logo, branding, packaging and so on. A registered design gives the owner exclusive rights to commercially use, sell or licence it.
A patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method or process which is new, innovative and useful. If you have developed a new product or process, you may consider applying for a patent.
There are two types of patents in Australia; the "standard" patent provides long-term protection for 20 years or more and the "innovation" patent lasts for up to eight years and applies to innovations that would not qualify for a standard patent.
Copyright is a free and automatic legal right applied to any original work such as art, literature, music, films and so forth. Copyrights do not have to be registered for ownership. You cannot copyright ideas, the works must be tangible.
A domain name is your website address on the internet. It helps to form your business' identity and allows your customers to find your business online. To register a domain name it must be unique and not already registered as a business name, company, or a registered or pending trademark.
Harris Black Featured Add-On: 'Web Ninja'
Accounting add-ons have evolved recently in the world of accountancy. Each month we feature a range of add-ons that will help keep you focussed and become more efficient within your own practice.
In this month issue, we give you Web Ninja!
Web Ninja features rich B2B platform and is specifically designed for wholesale companies. Web Ninja's easy to use template based system can have you up and running in just a few days, cutting out unnecessary double handling and adding speed & efficiency to your operations
Introduction to Online Ordering with Web Ninja Source: Web Ninja YouTube
This add-on is the quickest and easiest way to sell online. With the ability to integrate to various accounting software like Myob, Reckon, Quickbooks, SAP and many others, there is no need for duplication of stock creation and maintenance.
To know more about this add-on, please contact your Harris Black team today.
Harris Black Top 10: Best Way To Spend Easter Break
Only few weeks away until the long Easter weekend and everyone is excited!
In this month's edition of Harris Black Top 10, our team share their plans for the coming Easter break.
If you haven't planned your Easter and need some inspiration, here's a quick run-down:
Snuggled up at home catching up on TV shows.
Camping at Straddie
Spending quality time with friends at any beach in South East Queensland.
Staycation at the Gold Coast.
Go for a hike.
Going to church.
Easter lunch with the family.
You Better Look At Your LinkedIn Profile Right Away
Your LinkedIn profile should be like a resume on steroids. In other words, you should go way beyond your one- or two-page traditional resume. You'll want to share lots of relevant information about yourself and your company, and it should be especially compelling to your target audience.
LinkedIn's research says your profile will be viewed 14 times more frequently if you have a photo. Some people will not even connect with a person who doesn't have a photo.
Do you currently look like the person in your photo?
Is your photo a headshot?
Are you smiling?
Are you dressed in your typical workplace attire?
These are the most important 120 characters in your profile. If you don't edit this yourself, LinkedIn will grab your current job title and company until you take the time to write a dynamic 120-character explanation of who you are and where you're trying to go.
Does your headline clearly state your current business or explain why you're actually on LinkedIn?
Does your headline include a few of your most important keywords?
Does your headline encourage people in your target market to want to read more about you?
This section is your virtual cup of coffee with your readers or the cover letter for your job application. You have 2,000 characters to summarize the best stuff on your profile and clearly tell readers where you're trying to go and how they might be able to be part of your journey.
Is your Summary written in the first person?
Does the first paragraph of your Summary clearly tell me why you're on LinkedIn?
Does your Summary include several of your most important keywords?
Does your Summary include at least one call to action for the reader?
Current Experience – (Job) Title
You're missing a big opportunity if you simply put your official title here. Maximize the 100 characters LinkedIn allows in this section. LinkedIn's search ranking algorithm gives extra weight to the words in your job titles, and the extra words will increase clarity as well.
Are your most important keywords in your current job title?
If you're a salesperson, did you include a few of your products and services?
Current Experience – (Job) Description
This section has a 2,000-character limit and should include specifics about your individual position (use keywords) and additional information about the company you work for so the reader clearly understands both of these important points.
Have you included a detailed listing or discussion of your specific job duties and responsibilities and used your most important keywords?
Have you included specific awards, honors or recognition you have received?
Did you describe the promotions you've received?
Have you gotten two recommendations for this job?
Make good use of these five important LinkedIn profile sections, and you'll get more exposure than even a top-notch resume can garner.
Now that you've done and dusted your LinkedIn profile, click Here to check out the latest news and insights from Harris Black LinkedIn page.
Common GST Mistakes
Despite the Australian Tax Office's education campaign on GST reporting, many small business owners continue to make errors when claiming GST credits in their GST returns or Business Activity Statements.
The vast majority of errors are easily avoidable and relate to the over-claiming of GST credits. Here are the top ten common GST mistakes:
Residential Rental Property
Incorrectly claiming GST credits on expenses relating to residential rental properties where the entity is registered for GST.
Generally, annual fees, monthly fees and loan establishment fees are input-taxed, and therefore, there is no GST to claim. However, GST is charged on credit card merchants' fees and can be claimed.
Private expenses: GST is not claimable on private expenses such as personal loans, director fees and drawings etc.
Interest paid on loan or chattel mortgage repayments or credit card payments does not incur GST, and cannot be claimed.
The Total Cost of a Business Insurance Policy
Insurance policies usually include stamp duty (which is GST-free), however, the rest of the policy is subject to GST. A GST credit cannot be claimed on the stamp duty portion of the policy as no GST is paid.
GST is not charged on government fees i.e. council rates, land tax, ASIC filing fees, motor vehicle registration and water rates, and therefore, GST credits cannot be claimed.
Incorrectly claiming GST credits on purchases without GST, such as basic food items, exports and certain health services is a common mistake. Remember not all suppliers are registered for GST, so check the tax invoice before claiming a credit.
Claiming the entire GST credits on entertainment expenses where the business has elected to use the 50/50 split method for fringe benefits tax is incorrect. Only 50 per cent of the GST credits can be claimed.
Wages and Superannuation Payments
Both wages and super do not attract GST and cannot be claimed. Wages are not an expense to be included in G11; they are to be reported in W1 in your BAS. Superannuation is not included in BAS.
Sole Traders and Partnerships
When claiming expenses that are used for both private and business use, you must apportion the expenditure to exclude private usage.
New ATO Data-Matching Program: Ride-Sourcing
The ATO has announced a new data-matching program involving ride-sourcing providers. Under the program, the ATO will acquire data to identify individuals who may be engaged in providing ride-sourcing services during the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 financial years. Details of all payments made to ride-sourcing providers from accounts held by a ride-sourcing facilitator will be requested from the facilitator's financial institution for the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 financial years. The ATO estimates that up to 74,000 individuals (ride-sourcing drivers) offer, or have offered, the services.
TIP: If you work as a driver for Uber or a similar ride-sourcing facilitator, the money you make is assessable income that needs to be included in your tax return. Contact us for more information about how the ATO's data-matching program may apply to your circumstances.
Taxation Ruling On Commercial Website Deductibility
A new taxation ruling from the ATO sets out the tax deductibility of expenditure incurred in acquiring, developing, maintaining or modifying a commercial website for use in carrying on a business.
Broadly, the ruling explains that acquiring or developing a commercial website for a new or existing business is considered to be a capital expense, and is therefore not deductible. On the other hand, maintaining a website, including remedying software faults, is generally a revenue expense, so may be deductible.
No Disclaimer Of Trust Interest: Unsuccessful Appeal
A beneficiary of two trusts whose assessable income was increased from some $70,000 to some $13 million in light of her entitlement to distributions from the trusts has been unsuccessful in claiming on appeal that she had "disclaimed her interests" in the trusts. Instead, the AAT found that she could not argue she had disclaimed her interests in the distributions. This finding was on the basis that she did not bring up having made "disclaimers" when she originally objected to amended assessments that the Commissioner of Taxation issued in 2013. Additionally, in any event, the AAT found that the disclaimers were legally ineffective because of the significant period of time between the distributions being made (in 2006 and 2007) and the disclaimers being made (in 2015).
TIP: Any attempt to disclaim an interest in a trust for tax purposes must be legally valid first – and the key consideration is that there must not have been behaviour that indicates implied acceptance of the interest. In this case, the taxpayer's behaviour was problematic because she did not act until well after she received the distributions and they were assessed as part of her income.
ATO Develops Work-Related Expenses Risk Profiles
The ATO has developed work-related expenses risk profiles to help it identify how work-related expense deduction amounts compare for similar taxpayers. The ATO said improvements in data analytics and modelling have allowed it to create a risk profile for tax agents' practices based on comparing their clients' work-related expenses claims with those made by similar taxpayers.
The ATO has said it will share these risk profiles with some tax professionals where their clients' claims appear higher than expected.
TIP: The ATO's increasing capacity to monitor the often difficult issue of work-related expenses claims means taxpayers and tax professionals need to take care when preparing returns. Contact us if you would like to discuss which of your work-related expenses may be tax deductible.
Harris Black News
You may remember our article in one of our previous newsletters congratulating Bjorn and Michelle on their engagement.
After eleven months of meticulous planning, Bjorn and Michelle took the final step at St Finbarr's Catholic Church in Ashgrove followed by a lovely reception at the Treasury Hotel. The wedding and reception were beautiful and went off perfectly. It's a shame their relaxing honeymoon in Noosa wasn't so incident free with Bjorn breaking his arm while at the gym. Now that is dedication for you.
Congratulations Bjorn and Michelle, we wish you all the best for the future, and we hope your arm heals quickly Bjorn.
Important Tax Dates
31 March 2017
Lodge tax return for companies and super funds with total income in excess of $2 million in the latest year lodged (excluding large/medium taxpayers), unless due earlier. Payment for companies and super funds in this category is also due by this date.
Lodge tax return for the head company of a consolidated group without a member who has been deemed a large/medium entity in the latest year lodged, but with a member who had total income in excess of $2 million in their latest year lodged, unless due earlier. Payment for companies in this category is also due by this date.
Lodge tax return for individuals and trusts whose latest return resulted in a tax liability of $20,000 or more, excluding large/medium trusts. Payment for individuals and trusts in this category is due as advised on their notice of assessment.
21 April 2017
Lodge and pay quarterly PAYG instalment activity statement for quarter 3, 2016–17 for head companies of consolidated groups.
Lodge and pay March 2017 monthly activity statement
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.
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.