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Leadership mistakes to avoid

Posted on 8 November '18, under Business.

Leadership mistakes contribute to falling standards around the office due to a lack of motivation or inefficient management.

Here are some leadership mistakes to avoid in the workplace.

Being hypocritical
Leaders that do not meet the expectations they set will lose the loyalty and respect of their employees. If you require your staff to come in ten minutes early every day or are strict on their lunch break, follow your own rules. Setting a consistent standard will make employees feel they are being treated fairly.

Shifting blame
Employers that do not take accountability for their own mistakes and shift blame onto their customer or their employees will lose the support of both. Admitting you are in the wrong is essential for moving forward with the business relationship by making amends.

Poor delegation
Your delegation will fail if the task is given to an unsuitable member of staff or a new responsibility is given without the leader providing training and feedback.

Trustee reporting obligations checklist

Posted on 8 November '18, under Super.

Trustees must comply with reporting obligations to avoid penalties from the ATO.

The following trustee reporting checklist to make sure you are stress-free at tax-time.

Trustees must:

  • Value the funds’ assets at their market value at 30 June
  • Pay any minimum annual income stream payments required under super laws
  • Get an actuarial certificate if required
  • Prepare the fund’s end of year financial accounts and statements
  • Appoint and approve a SMSF auditor not more than 45 days before the SMSF annual return is due
  • Lodge your SMSF annual return by the due date
  • Lodge your transfer balance account reports if required
  • Review the fund’s investment strategy and document the review
  • Maintain all the fund’s records as required under super law

Record keeping for small businesses

Posted on 8 November '18, under Tax.

Businesses that fail to keep accurate records may struggle to remain compliant at tax time and incur financial penalties from the ATO.

Follow the ATO’s record keeping guidelines to stay organised.

Basic organisation tips:

  • Keep records electronically (if possible)
  • Keep evidence of all transactions
  • Take photos of paper receipts to avoid faded records
  • Keep all business records including income, expenses and bank records- you generally need to keep them for five years
  • Keep your business records separate from your personal records

Financial tips:

  • Make sure business records include cash, online, EFTPOS, bank statements, credit and debit card transactions
  • Records should be kept of sales and other business income and business expenses which can be claimed as a deduction
  • Keep records showing when you use business purchases for private purposes, which will help you work out the business portion you can claim as a deduction
  • Use the ATO record keeping evaluation tool to review your record-keeping practices from time to time and see if you’re still on the right track

Tips to save money on office space

Posted on 30 October '18, under Money.

The expenses of running your office and paying for rent add up to a significant cost to your business. There are several key ways you should consider to reduce costs, without sacrificing conditions in your environment contributing to your employee’s productivity.

Consider the following tips to help you better your bottom line on your office space.

Get a second opinion
Another set of eyes and a fresh perspective will spot savings that may be hiding in plain sight. Get someone who has experience in running an office who will assist you by spending a day in an office and working out what is necessary and what can be culled.

Allow flexible working arrangements
Where it is possible and beneficial to both the employer and employee working from home is a great way to minimise the number of bodies in the office, and makes a smaller office space with lower rent a more viable option for your business.

Rent your office space on weekends
If you own your office space and want to find ways to finance your mortgage, consider renting out your office space when you are not using it. You could potentially rent it to organisations who run workshops or classes on weekends.

Negotiate a fixed fee
Certain office spaces will entice you with low rent options but your amenities costs like electricity, internet and water bills will be significantly higher. Including all the services that your landlord provides in and renting the actual office space in a fixed rate, will help you stay in control of your costs and avoid any nasty surprises when your bill rolls in for the month.

How community involvement grows your business

Posted on 30 October '18, under Business.

Business’ that get involved in community reap financial, workplace and brand image related benefits. Whether your business is new or relatively established in your area, community involvement should be at the forefront of your business strategy. Consider donating services of products to a range of charitable ventures or getting amongst community fundraising initiatives, parades, picnics or festivals.

How community involvement can grow your business are provided below.

Grow your network
Getting your name out there in the community and having a positive association with your brand is a great way to grow your business. If you are partnering with another local business, assisting in a fundraising activity or putting your business out there at a community event, will give you the opportunity of mixing with new customers and forging valuable industry connections. Make sure you keep your business cards on you and display contact information at every opportunity.

Build a loyal customer base
When customers see that your business is supporting a good cause, this appeals to their values and ethics. Your community involvement may be the discriminating factor in your customer’s decision to choose your business over your competitors. Your work in building relationships in the community will reward you with loyalty.

Opportunities for collaboration
You never know whom you will stumble across whilst you are playing your part in the community. The relationships you may forge may be beneficial to your business, and you may find collaboration partners on your marketing or developing new products or a courier service that may be the right fit for your company.

A checklist for setting up your SMSF

Posted on 30 October '18, under Super.

Setting up an SMSF can be complex, which is why a checklist is useful to streamline your process. Before you set up your SMSF, first determine if having an SMSF is a commercially viable option.

Once a decision is reached and you are about to start your SMSF, here are the basic steps to get things started:.

  • Determine which members will be in your fund?
  • Decide if you will you seek professional help to assist your set up?
  • Decide whether the fund should have individual trustees or a corporate trustee
  • Establish a suitable trust and trust deed
  • Register your fund with the ATO
  • Set up a bank account
  • Prepare an exit strategy
  • Get an electronic service address so the fund can receive contributions from employers

Tax implications of a business restructure

Posted on 30 October '18, under Tax.

Tax exemptions may apply to small businesses going through a restructure provided they meet certain criteria.

Typically when a business is sold, you would have to pay income tax due to transferring assets. However, when a business is restructuring, the ownership of assets remains unchanged, and there is instead a rollover. This allows you to transfer assets as a part of the restructure without having to pay income tax on that transfer.

Your business may be eligible for the small business restructure rollover provided that:

  • The change is a genuine restructure as opposed to an artificial or inappropriately tax-driven scheme
  • There is no change to ultimate economic ownership in the sense that the economic owners of an asset are not changed or transferred, including if there is more than one owner of that asset

The commissioner’s remedial power has repealed laws that incurred tax consequences on depreciating assets during a business restructure. When transferring depreciating assets, like cars during a business restructure, the commissioner’s remedial power will automatically apply, and there is nothing different you need to do to qualify for this tax exemption.

Picking the right business location

Posted on 26 October '18, under Business.

The decision of where the headquarters of your business should be will have a significant hand in determining your profitability and productivity.

Consider the following checklist to ensure you make the right choice.

Will you buy or lease?
First, you need to decide whether you will buy or rent. Entering a lease is less of a financial commitment and perhaps a lower risk option for businesses in their infancy. Buying increases your business value by adding a property to your portfolio but could be a step for businesses with stable finances.

What kind of property will you require?
Picking your location will depend on the needs of your business. Consider whether you need office space or whether a retail space, warehouse or processing plant is necessary. If you require a warehouse, you will want to consider the distance between your suppliers and contractors for ease of convenience.

Who are your customers?
Knowing your customers is vital to understanding whether the location you have chosen is convenient for them if you will need to rely on foot traffic, if there is parking and other amenities nearby to make for a positive experience.

ATO update: Check for $17.5 billion in lost super

Posted on 26 October '18, under Super.

The ATO’s new data revealed that although the total amount of lost and unclaimed super reduced by $420 million in 2017-2018, there is still $17.5 billion left to be found.

The ATO has prioritised reuniting people with their lost super spread across over 6.2 million accounts. In the past financial year, the ATO was successful in merging $3 billion into active super accounts across the country.

Typically people lose contact with their super funds when they change jobs, move house or forget to update their details. Although some people may intentionally maintain multiple accounts, those who are unaware they have an inactive account may not realise that fees are possibly eroding their super. You should remain engaged with your super fund throughout all stages of your career so you can maximise your retirement nest egg.

You can view your super account details, including lost or forgotten accounts, by linking your myGov account to ATO online services. If you are unsure whether consolidating your super is the best option your super fund can advise you on issues such as insurance that may be attached to your accounts.

When can the ATO issue a default assessment for overdue lodgements

Posted on 26 October '18, under Tax.

A default assessment is an assessment of taxable income for overdue tax returns or the net amount or assessable amount-for late activity statements. Although the ATO’s preferred approach is to work with taxpayers to help them meet their lodgement obligations, a default assessment will be issued if this collaborative approach fails.

Penalty
The administrative penalty of 75% of the tax-related liability will be applied for each default assessment issued by the ATO. The penalty increases by 20% for taxpayers who have a pattern of non-compliance and the ATO may also apply for another penalty for failing to lodge on time.

Assessment notice warnings
A warning letter will be sent by the ATO including the details of the default assessment and the date the overdue obligation needs to be lodged by to avoid a default assessment. If you do not receive notice of your default assessment, it will be if there is a risk of:

  • Flight
  • Dilution of assets
  • Movement of funds outside Australia

What you should do if you receive a warning letter
If you receive a warning letter, ensure all overdue obligations are lodged by the date advised in the warning letter. If you are a tax agent, notify your client, immediately, remove the client from your client list if you no longer represent the taxpayer and provide new contact details of the client to the ATO if you possess them.