Archive for 'General News'
Looking for a competitive advantage that will help continue to grow your business? Look no further than chatbots.
When used effectively, chatbots provide a number of advantages that can help boost your business. Chatbots are invaluable when it comes to customer service. They allow you to publish content directly to your audience. For customers, communicating (with a well designed) bot is practical; it is fast and it removes the process of calling up and sitting on hold. Chatbots are ideal for sharing links to new content and new products as well.
Using chatbots provides businesses with data. Analytics such as purchase tracking, page clicks and navigational trends are all available through chatbots. Once this data is analysed, improvements and adjustments can be introduced to make the audience experience more enjoyable and more meaningful; optimising the opportunity for success in your business.
Instant messaging is taking over. Recent trends show that messenger apps are becoming more and more popular, with retention rates higher than that of other mobile apps. To improve customer experience and conversion rates, your company should not avoid this opportunity.
Integrating chatbots into your business is extremely resourceful. It helps improve sales, draw in new customers, strengthen existing customer relationships, deal with complaints, orders and so forth without needing human intervention. In-house communication between employees such as sharing resources they need to access, new training information, solving IT problems etc. can all be improved through the use of chatbots as well.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a new app called “Record My Hours,” to help reduce the amount of disputes regarding underpayments between employees and employers.
The app assists employees in recording the hours they work and other information about their employment for circumstances where issues about their pay arises.
Employees can export the data via email and share it with their employer or the Fair Work Commission if they have a question about their entitlements.
“Record My Hours” enables the location services function on the user’s device to allow users to set their workplace location and automatically record when they commence and finish work, determined by their location.
The app also adds rosters to a calendar, allows the user to receive notifications about upcoming shifts, and take photos of information that belong to them, i.e. pay slips. It also has the ability to record information about piecework arrangements and backs up information collected to iCloud or Dropbox.
While most small business employers do the right thing, the app is designed to address underpayments of young and migrant workers and to act as a backup in the event of a discrepancy or dispute.
Chances are, if you have had more than one job, you will most likely have multiple super accounts.
Having multiple super accounts means more fees and less savings. Consolidating all your super accounts into one account can help you to keep track of your super, reduce unnecessary paperwork, and most importantly, save on costs.
The first step in consolidating your super is selecting a fund to move all of your super savings into. When comparing funds, consider funds with lower fees; suitable investment options; extra benefits; funds which have performed well over the last 5 years; and provide appropriate insurance cover for your needs.
Once you have selected a new super fund, you may need to open an account with the fund and provide your employer with the new details. You will then need to rollover super to your chosen fund either online through myGov or you can transfer your super by using a form and sending it to your chosen fund. Some funds have an online process too.
Before consolidating your super, be sure to check the impact on your retirement benefit if you are in a defined benefit fund. It is also good practice to check that you are not losing benefits, such as insurance, and look up the cost of exit fees of your old fund. If you are unsure if consolidating your super is right for you, seek professional advice.
The Government has announced a new measure in the 2016-17 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook to prevent the distribution of franking credits where a distribution to shareholders is funded by particular capital raising activities.
This new measure is intended to address issues raised by the Tax Office’s Taxpayer Alert 2015/2 regarding arrangements used by companies for the purpose of, or for purposes which include, releasing franking credits or streaming dividends to shareholders.
The ATO have been reviewing arrangements with all or most of the following features:
A company with a significant franking credit balance raises new capital from existing or new shareholders, i.e., issuing renounceable rights to shareholders. Shareholders may include large institutional superannuation funds.
The company makes franked distributions to its shareholders, at a similar time to the capital raising and a similar amount of capital is raised. This may occur as a special dividend or through an off-market buy-back of shares, where the dividend forms part of the purchase price of the shares.
Overall, there is minimal net cash inflow to or outflow from the company; the net asset position of the company remains essentially unchanged but their franking account is significantly reduced, and there is minimal impact on the shareholders (except in some cases they may receive refunds of franking credits, and in the case of buy-backs they may also get improved capital gains tax outcomes.)
The new measure is set to apply to distributions made after 12.00pm (AEDT) on 19 December 2016. The measure has not been enacted and is subject to the normal parliamentary process.
Protecting your staff from workplace bullying is necessary in this day and age; just as is protecting your business from potential lawsuits as a result of workplace bullying.
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, workplace bullying is defined as any repeated behaviour towards an individual or individuals by another individual or individuals that is unreasonable and causes any risk to health or safety.
Understanding the difference between reasonable and unreasonable behaviour is important; not all workplace discrepancies are classified as bullying.
Examples of reasonable behaviour according to Safe Work Australia include:
– Transferring a team member to another department
– Reviewing employee performance
– Discussing unreasonable behaviour conducted by an employee with said employee in a private setting
– Setting clear and reasonable employment goals
Unreasonable behaviour includes:
– Any abusive, derogatory, insulting comments or remarks
– Deliberate and obvious exclusion of an employee/s
– Creating unrealistic and unachievable performance goals and deadlines
– Discrimination and sexual harassment
– Physical violence
Your business should consist of appropriate reporting channels should any incidents of workplace bullying arise to protect those involved and your business. An established procedure should be developed to follow in all instances of bullying. The procedure ought to include easy and confidential reporting methods, mediation and ongoing monitoring of how effective management of the incident has been.
We have all encountered an individual who – despite everything positive around them – insists on focusing on the negative. These people can make day to day life more stressful than it needs to be, particularly if it is in the workplace.
Luckily, there are many strategies you can employ to avoid getting bogged down by these people:
Most people who are exhibiting negative or irrational behaviour feel they have been done wrong by. Once they feel their emotions have been acknowledged, they can move past complaining and onto problem-solving. Listen to what they are saying, repeat back to them what they have told you and ask them questions about how to move forward.
Deal in facts, not emotions
Negative people are often very emotive. They focus on how a situation makes them feel and consider how a situation affects them personally. Avoid engaging in emotion-based interactions in the workplace; always come back to the facts.
Do not take it personally
Everyone has a personal life, and everyone responds to situations differently. If you have not done anything to warrant an unkind interaction with a co-worker or client, chances are their negativity does not have anything to do with you.
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep; it helps with productivity and dealing with stress. It can mean the difference between falling into a negative interaction in the workplace or brushing it off.
Distance and disengage
If you are continually dealing with a difficult coworker or client, it can begin to wear you down. If this is the case, creating distance and limiting interactions with them is necessary to maintain your productivity. Allocate time in your week to deal with them where needed and avoid interactions outside of this designated time.
Ultimately, every investor is different. However, when looking to invest in any startup company, there are a number of boxes you will need to check regardless of who decides to invest in you.
You need to know the market. How big is the market? How populated is the market? Is your product or idea doing the same as every other product on the market? How does your product stand out in the existing market? What sets it apart?
Having a strong business plan is essential. No one will want to back you if you do not have a solid plan for the future. Investors will want to hear numbers and forecasts. They do not want to hear you say that there are no risks involved, or hear you answer every question with certainty that no problems will arise because that is unrealistic. They will want to hear how you plan to tackle problems as they arise.
Investors will need to believe in you. You need to be sincere. Are you positive? Are you flexible? Are you realistic yet ambitious? Can you talk to people? Are you a good leader? A good listener? Do people respect you?
The team that you have on board will also be considered. Your team needs to live and breathe the product or idea just as much as you do. Do they listen to and respect you as their leader? As a collective, do they have sufficient skills and expertise?
Investors meet with numbers of founders and will get a gut feeling about you and your idea, but being able to address the above-mentioned areas should truly set you apart.
Crowdfunding can provide a platform for struggling start-ups to raise capital or businesses trying to get ahead with an injection of cash into a new project.
Although crowdfunding is still in its relatively early stages; it is rapidly gaining momentum. There has been a boost in crowdfunding due to the increase in the level of professionalism, ease of use and ability to access.
Crowdfunding describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organisations. It allows an interested party to invest in an idea that they find inspiring.
Businesses also can offer perks in exchange for contributions, such as a discounted price of a product once it is developed. Crowdfunding has been used in support of a variety of efforts, including disaster relief, startup company funding and inventions and software development.
There are, however, terms and conditions of the projects listed on some crowdfunding websites. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform, in that it only delivers the business the money if the project’s target is met. Sites such as Indiegogo will pay the business their money if targets are not met, though do charge higher fees.
To receive crowdfunding for a project businesses should consider:
– researching and learning from other successfully funded projects
– planning the project with a set of goals in mind
– having an active online presence, particularly on social networking sites, to spread the word of their project
– thanking all the supporters who contribute to the project
With changes to Australia’s superannuation rules coming into play on 1 July 2017, self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees would do well to review their fund’s trust deed.
Despite the fact that maintaining an up-to-date trust deed is a vital aspect of managing a SMSF, many trustees fail to do so, usually due to the time and cost restraints associated. However, a SMSF trust deed can only ensure compliance and protect the trustee’s interests if it is regularly updated and reflects current superannuation rules.
As part of the super reforms announced in last year’s Federal Budget, tighter superannuation rules will apply from 1 July 2017, including a $1.6 million super balance cap for after-tax contributions; a maximum of up to $25,000 for concessional contributions; and the removal of the current “bring-forward” rule allowing $540,000 of contributions in one year.
According to some industry analysts, these changes are likely to result in many out-of- date trust deeds. But often changes to superannuation legislation provide the perfect opportunity for trustees to review and upgrade their deed.
One of the major changes to super which will affect traditional SMSF trust deeds is the $1.6 million limit on retirement balances, which the Government also wants to make retrospective. This means those who already have more than $1.6 million saved in their superannuation will need to adjust their strategy and trust deed accordingly to meet the new limit.
Updating a SMSF deed will particularly benefit those SMSF members with money locked in the old term-allocated pension and with a pension balance greater than $1.6 million in a mix of term-allocated pension and account-based pension balances. This is because the term-allocated pension can be converted back (in full or in part) to the accumulation phase to remove any excess over the $1.6 million cap.
Another major change to consider is the deed’s death benefit control mechanisms. The new super rules will allow certain death benefits to be rolled over, so it may be worthwhile reviewing whether the SMSF trust deed has sufficient options in the death benefit payment provisions.
SMSF trustees will also have to consider whether their current trust deed will allow for the terms of the trustee’s pension to change without needing to stop and restart the pension. Many of the upcoming super changes will dramatically affect the strategic landscape of SMSFs in Australia, and some of these changes will challenge old deeds, so, as with any other financial decision, seek professional advice if you are considering updating your trust deed.
The ATO has provided further guidance for healthcare practitioners dealing with lump sum payments from healthcare centre operators.
The Tax Office is concerned with some practitioners who have received lump sum payments and have incorrectly treated the payments as a capital gain. These practitioners have then applied the small business CGT concessions to reduce the capital gain, in many instances reducing it to nil.
The ATO has clarified that a lump sum payment from a healthcare centre operator is more likely to be ordinary income of the practitioner for providing services to their patients from the healthcare centre rather than a capital gain. Practitioners are required to include the full amount of the lump sum payment in their assessable income.
Healthcare practitioners who are considering any arrangements that relate to a lump sum payment for commencing or providing ongoing healthcare services should note that the ATO is looking closely at these arrangements to determine if they are compliant with income tax laws and whether the anti-avoidance provisions may apply.
The Tax Office is aware that some practitioners are using a private ruling that was issued to another taxpayer, however, you can only rely on a private ruling if you applied for it.
Healthcare practitioners entering or planning to enter into an arrangement of this type are encouraged to seek independent professional advice, ask the ATO for a private ruling or make a voluntary disclosure to reduce any penalties. Please contact our office if you have any questions about these arrangements.