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Business Tips – 3 Favourite Productivity Tips

Business Tips – 3 Favourite Productivity Tips

3 Favourite Productivity Tips

A fellow blogger in South Australia – Sarina Abbott shares her 3 favourite productivity tips

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” Dr Seuss

As a business owner, your productive days are the ones that keep you moving forward. They keep you one step ahead of the competition. Importantly, they mean that you can put your feet up at the end of the day with a smile on your face, feeling good about your day and what you’ve achieved.

Today I’d like to share my 3 favourite productivity tips to help you, in Dr Seuss’ words, get on your way!

Play music

Playing music whilst working BUT…only when doing easy tasks I don’t need to think too hard about. For me this includes scanning documents for filing & uploading receipts to my software. It’s surprising how much work you can power through when you have music to boost your mood and it’s almost like a reward for getting through your tougher work earlier on.

Use online invoicing software

Is this how you prepare Invoices? Open up a Word document, change the Invoice number (after checking it’s the next number), add the customer name and details, save it, attach it to an email, type up a professional-sounding email message, send. Oh and remember to back-up all your Word documents in case your laptop fails, etc? Well you have probably already guessed what I’m going to say. Of course there are much more efficient, hassle-free ways to do your invoicing and this includes using online invoicing software. Using your mobile or iPad you can send an invoice to your customer whilst you are right there with them and you know they’ve received it. If you send the same invoices to customers every month, you can set up recurring invoices to go out in a fraction of the time than if you had to do it manually each month…

Do the difficult tasks first

This is a gem of a tip that has really helped me in my business and in life overall actually. It sounds so simple, yet it can have huge productivity benefits. When the weight of a difficult task is lifted off of your shoulders you really do fly through the rest of your day feeling confident and able to tackle anything. I’ve come to believe that success comes to those willing to do the difficult things others put off doing. Pick up the phone and make those difficult phone calls first thing in the morning before you have too much time to think about it. Head out the door and introduce yourself to potential clients. Leave the fun stuff like updating social media until after the uncomfortable stuff is out the way. I tend to overthink things and before I know it part of my day is gone whilst I wait for myself to “feel like” doing the tough stuff. Since adopting the habit of doing the difficult tasks first I wouldn’t do things any other way.

So for me being productive is all about working smarter and not harder, embracing technology and remembering to reward myself. Not all of my days are productive ones, and that’s okay. As a bookkeeper sometimes I get weighed down with the numbers and just need a good break so I can come back and tackle my work another day with fresh eyes!

I think Sarina has great tips – so true!
Especially the tip to do the difficult tasks first – sometimes I just say to myself – JUST DO IT! But I still have days I put off the call or the hard item…

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Business Tax Tips – GST and Hire Purchase

Business Tax Tips – GST and Hire Purchase

GST and Hire Purchase

Many businesses acquire assets such as equipment by entering into hire purchase or leasing agreements to pay for and use the equipment over a period of time rather than paying the full cost up front. Then also they need to know how GST applies. Here is some information from the ATO website to explain –

How does hire purchase work?

Under a hire purchase agreement, you:

  • Purchase goods through instalment payments;
  • Use the goods while paying for them;
  • Do not own the goods until you have paid the final instalment.

Where the supply of goods to you under a hire purchase agreement is a taxable supply, the price you pay for the goods includes GST. If you use the goods in your business, you can generally claim a GST credit.

You treat a hire purchase agreement as a stand-alone sale or purchase in a tax period – that is, the same rules apply as they would for any sale and purchase of goods under an ordinary sale agreement. A hire purchase agreement is not treated as a sale or purchase made on a progressive or periodic basis.

Paying GST on hire purchases

If you enter into a hire purchase agreement on or after 1 July 2012, all components of the supply made under the agreement are taxable, whether or not the credit component is separately disclosed. Any associated fees and charges, such as late payment fees incurred under the terms of the hire purchase arrangement, are also subject to GST.

If you enter a hire purchase agreement before 1 July 2012, and the supplier:

  • Separately identifies and discloses the interest charge to you, you don’t have to pay GST on the interest as it is a financial supply;
  • Doesn’t separately identify and disclose the interest charge to you, you must pay GST on the total amount payable under the contract.

The interest charge is ‘disclosed‘ to you if the supplier tells you any of the following in the hire purchase agreement:

  • The dollar amount of the credit charge;
  • The interest rate;
  • The formula or formulas used to work out the credit charge amount;
  • Any other information sufficient to work out the credit charge amount.

A hire purchase agreement entered into before 1 July 2012 continues to be treated in this way even if there’s a subsequent change to the agreement, provided the change doesn’t result in a new agreement. That is, the supply of a separately disclosed credit component will continue to be an input taxed financial supply.

Claiming GST credits on hire purchases

If you account for GST on a NON-CASH (accruals) basis

You can claim the full GST credit on your hire purchase agreement in the tax period when either:

  • You make your first payment;
  • A tax invoice is issued to you, provided you haven’t already made your first payment.

For agreements entered into before 1 July 2012, you claim a GST credit only for the principal component of the agreement, not the credit component.

If you account for GST on a CASH basis

For hire purchase agreements entered into on or after 1 July 2012, you can claim input tax credits up front instead of waiting until each instalment is paid, in the same way as you would if you accounted for GST on a non-cash basis. As all components of a hire purchase agreement entered into on or after 1 July 2012 are subject to GST, you can claim one-eleventh of all components, including the credit component and any associated fees and charges that have been subject to GST under the agreement.

For hire purchase agreements entered into before 1 July 2012 you can claim one-eleventh of the principal component of each instalment in the period you pay it. If the supplier provides regular accounts or statements that show the principal and interest components for each instalment, you must use that information to work out GST credits in the relevant tax period. If you don’t know the principal component for each instalment, you need to take reasonable steps to find out from the supplier.

See some working examples further down the page at the ATO site HERE

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MYOB / Reckon / Quickbooks / Xero – Clear / Remove / Delete the “to be printed” items from print queue

MYOB / Reckon / Quickbooks / Xero – Clear / Remove / Delete the “to be printed” items from print queue

MYOB / Reckon / Quickbooks / Xero – Clear / Remove / Delete the “to be printed” items from print queue

A client called and saidWe had ticked in our invoices to be printed and never did the printing. Now when I go to print a batch that I want to print, all these non-printed invoices are highlighted. There are about 400 so it does take some time to scroll to the few I want. Is there any way I can delete this instruction without bringing each invoice up and deleting the instruction?

A good solution 1 – Turn off your printer – go to print all unwanted items, then delete the print job in the queue on the printer (usually the printer status window that opens, or from icon lower RHS in task bar or hidden icon area.

A good solution 2 – Choose a PDF printer to create a file – it may need some time to be left to run.

And sometimes using the Reckon PDF creator may not take them off and they re-appear next time, so try using Cute PDF (download FREE here http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp  and click the top “Free Download” on the right, it will also automatically tell you to download the Ghostscript converter, the second free download on the right, say yes as well) or another PDF software.

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today! 0407 361 596 Aust

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You also get FREE 30 min to assist in setting up your company in the software, and FREE ongoing email or phone support – No-one offers as much!

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Cashflow Tips – How to Improve Cashflow in 30 days!

Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieve

Cashflow Tips – How to Improve Cashflow in 30 days!

One of the services we help our clients with is teaching how to improve cashflow – and our aim is 30 days! – mainly how to get paid sooner is the top issue they face! A simple method we found is simply send statements EVERY FORTNIGHT – the majority of busy business owners and accounts people forget – you are not their priority.

Results we achieve –

  • Frequent reminders has cut accounts payable / debtors from 60-90 days to majority 30 days and fewer in 60 days! – nearly halved the average payment time in many cases!
  • Calls have been more than halved!
  • Regular email saves time, stress and cost! – The squeaky wheel gets attention!

But there are always the stragglers or those in financial stress that may not be their fault, and often they are a bit embarrassed to call to explain – so sometimes a follow-up call is needed.
And then there are the down-right determined to string you out (the old-fashioned attitude to lean on creditors (YOU)), or financially tight businesses that are only in to win themselves – sometimes they may become a loss.

Here are 5 other tips from Elan Pamensky at Dynamic Business

Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business and more SMBs have been destroyed through cashflow issues than from any other cause. The last thing you need is to be stressing about whether you have enough cash to pay your own suppliers when you should be running your business

1. Compare Your Budgeted and Actual Cashflow

When you made your realistic budget for this financial year, you predicted  your income and expenses so that you could use those figures in your planning. The purpose of this budget was to check whether your cashflow was on target and take action if it is not.

If you are having cashflow issues, you need to determine what is at the root of the problem – lack of income, out-of-control expenses, or late payment of accounts by customers are the most common causes. Once you identify the cause, you can do something about it, but it all starts with awareness.

2. Be Clear About Your Payment Terms and Follow Up

You’d be surprised how many businesses forget this step, and it’s one of the easiest ways to improve your cashflow. Clearly defining your payment terms at the start of your relationship can transform the speed at which you are paid, and it also gives you a chance to negotiate.

If you are asking for 7 or 14 days payment and your prospect wants 30, 60, or 90 days you have the opportunity to negotiate a higher fee in return for your concession on terms, and you have the opportunity to ask yourself whether this client is going to be worth working for at all. This also puts you in a much stronger position if they are late paying your invoices because you have already had a discussion about the terms.

Once you have established the terms of payment make sure you follow your clients up quickly and professionally when they are overdue. This increases your client’s respect for the value you deliver, and helps you get paid sooner

3. Invoice Immediately

Businesses that invoice weekly or monthly are more likely to have cashflow problems. If you invoice as soon as you complete a job the chances are you will get paid immediately … or at least on time because a client who has just signed off on a job is probably happy to pay (or at least schedule payment) immediately rather than having it hanging over their head as something to do.

Tradies are particularly guilty of waiting days or weeks to invoice, and often only invoice when they have a cashflow crisis, so using an app, or developing a system that allows you to invoice immediately is an excellent way to improve your cashflow.

4. Plan Ahead for Compulsory Payments

Set aside money as it comes into your account to pay your taxes, GST   and superannuation obligations. It’s best to put this into a separate bank account so you are not tempted to think of it as ‘available cash’ because it really isn’t available at all.

I’ve lost count of the number of business owners who thought they were having an incredibly profitable year, but who discovered that they had forgotten to set aside enough cash to pay their legal obligations and were suddenly plunged into a cashflow crisis in June or December.

5. Consider Ways to Reduce your Stock Without Affecting Delivery

While many businesses need to have a certain amount of capital tied up in stock so that they can provide efficient and timely service, it’s always worth revisiting your stock levels. From stationery and office supplies to spare parts and widgets your goal should be to have enough to operate your business without interruption, but not too much.

Holding excess stock has an effect on your cashflow as well as on your expenses (warehouse and office space) so it’s important to determine the right levels for your business, and to control it carefully. Lower stock levels also make stocktake easier to manage.

In summary, if you implement one or more of these cashflow improvement methods you will find that the additional cash you have available at any time will increase, and you will also be able to look ahead and see when cashflow problems are likely to occur so that you can work around them.

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

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Business Tips – Being an Open-Book business in a Closed-Book world

Business Tips – Being an Open-Book business in a Closed-Book world

Being an Open-Book business in a Closed-Book world

An interesting look at Open-Book business operating in a Closed-Book World (our own emphasis) as Michael Lumsden writes at Great Game of Business – Our company operates in the outsourced contact centre sector. We tend to have relatively few, big corporate clients with large transaction volumes and long term contracts. This means we have quite high levels of single client dependency so we are always trying to make sure we are delivering great services and anticipating our clients requirements so we can satisfy or exceed them. We do a pretty good job generally judging by our client growth and retention rates.

Most of our clients have heard us talk about open-book management but I am not sure they really understand it or appreciate the role it plays in our success and therefore the outcomes we deliver for them as clients. Often times we feel frustrated with our clients because they treat us in a “closed-book management” style. It is not uncommon for large companies to limit the information which is shared with their business partners / suppliers. Information is power and the traditional procurement led approach to supplier management is designed to help the big corporate protect their position of power in the relationship.

As practitioners of open-book management, we know that there is enormous value that can be created when organizations unleash the power and creativity of their employees. We know that an open-book approach is one of the best ways to win the hearts and minds of the employees. So when a major client imposes either deliberately or through omission a blockage to meaningful information flow between their organization and our employees (who are effectively their employees as far as the customer is concerned) we see a shortfall against the value that could be generated. So it got me thinking about how we can help build better Open Book relationships with our clients.

Here are a few ideas we are going to try:

#1 Teach clients the rules of the Game

 We teach our employees the rules of the game but we have never really made the effort to teach our clients. Our frustration at their “closed-book approach” is our own fault given we have never taken the opportunity to educate clients on the Great Game and how it impacts on our culture and performance as a business. We need to help them understand the open-book management system and agree how we can use information better to our mutual advantage.

#2 Align critical numbers

In our client relationships there is a very strong level of measurement against KPI’s. The critical numbers are usually fairly evident and we have a good ability to measure these and communicate them across our business at an aggregated and individual performance level. The “closed-book” gap with clients is not with what the critical numbers are, but with how targets are set against these KPI’s. Often times clients will set targets that are overly ambitious in the belief that they can drive performance outcomes with their outsourced providers by dangling the carrot just out of reach. If you do manage to reach the level, the bar quickly gets lifted a bit higher. Typically when targets are missed this triggers contract penalties which reduce our remuneration from the contract. This has a flow on effect in that as an open-book company we typically share our client targets with our employees and align their bonuses or “Stake in the Outcome” with the client targets. So if the targets are continually set in a way where they are perceived to be out of reach, the power of the bonus or “Stake in the Outcome” is negated. Again education is required with our clients to demonstrate the linkage between realistic target setting and the Open Book Management system.

#3 Teach clients the value of everyone following the game on a scoreboard

Large corporate companies often outsource parts of their business and keep some in house. They may also outsource to multiple providers. When the large corporate takes this multi-vendor and or in-house / out sourced approach, they will be attempting to derive the value of a competitive champion challenger mindset amongst other benefits . This should really play into the hands of an open-book management provider because we know the power that can be harnessed by sharing performance results for various teams on a scoreboard. Unfortunately, the “closed-book” thinking often prevents the client from sharing the competitive data across vendors and or their in-house operations. They will tend to release only snippets of sometimes manipulated data to support their goal of pushing the provider for better performance. This censorship or blacking out of the true scoreboard is potentially incredibly damaging to the performance across the entire estate. We need to teach our clients the benefits of everyone involved being able to “follow the action and keep score”.   

#4 Give clients a Stake in the Outcome

Our clients are naturally interested in achieving better financial outcomes. Being tough on suppliers through a procurement led approach is seen as being financially prudent and helping the big corporate drive profitability. If we want to change the “closed-book” behaviour, we need to be able to demonstrate what the client’s benefit or “Stake in the Outcome” from an open-book approach will be. We need to model the financial benefits and present compelling business cases as to why they need to adopt a more open book approach. We then need to be able to test it and make it work in the real world so that the client gets a measurable benefit.

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Business Tax Tips – Instant asset write off 2017 – $20,000 claim limit ends 30 June 2017

Business Tax Tips – Instant asset write off 2017 - $20,000 claim limit ends 30 June 2017

Instant asset write off 2017 – $20,000 claim limit ends 30 June 2017

If you are a small business (aggregated turnover of less than $2 million) contemplating buying machinery or equipment, be aware that these are final months of the $20,000 instant asset write-off 2017.

With a final date of 30 June 2017, you may consider bringing forward any planned asset investments to the next few months – particularly in this current low interest-rate environment.

The ATO says

Small businesses can immediately deduct assets costing less than $20,000 purchased since 7.30pm 12 May 2015.

You can use the new threshold amounts in claiming deductions in your 2015 and 2016 income tax returns.

The deduction is claimed in the income year in which the asset is first used or installed ready for use.

What’s changed?

The instant asset write-off threshold has increased to $20,000 (up from $1,000). This allows you to immediately deduct the business use portion of a depreciating asset that costs less than $20,000.

The changes apply

  • To assets acquired after 7.30pm on 12 May 2015 until 30 June 2017
  • On a per asset basis, so several assets each costing less than $20,000 would qualify
  • To new and second hand assets.

Assets that cost $20,000 or more (which can’t be immediately deducted) will continue to be deducted over time using a small business pool.

The low pool value threshold will also increase to $20,000. This means that an immediate deduction is available if the pool balance is less than $20,000 at the end of an income year.

What’s not included?

There are a small number of assets that aren’t eligible for accelerated depreciation, for example horticultural plants that have specialised depreciation rules.

Record keeping

Just like any other business asset, you’ll need to keep records to support any claims for a deduction.

Find out about:

Simplified depreciation for small business where we read –

You can choose to use the simplified depreciation rules if you have a small business with an aggregated annual turnover (the total normal income of your business and that of any associated businesses) of less than $2 million.

Under these rules, you:

  • Immediately write-off – deduct their full cost in the year you buy them – most depreciating assets that cost less than $20,000* each that were bought and used, or installed ready for use from 7.30pm (AEST) on 12 May 2015 until 30 June 2017
  • Pool most other depreciating assets that cost $20,000 or more in a small business asset pool and claim
  1. A 15% deduction in the first year (regardless of when you purchased or acquired them during the year)
  2. A 30% deduction each year after the first year
  • Write-off the balance of your small business pool at the end of an income year if the balance – before applying any other depreciation deduction – is less than $20,000.

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Business Finance 101 – What is the difference between Current and Non-Current Liabilities?

Business Finance 101 – What is the difference between Current and Non-Current Liabilities?

What is the difference between Current and Non-Current Liabilities?

Businesses have liabilities – payments that are to be paid soon or later (long term) they are divided into Current and Non-Current.

Current Liabilities are obligations due to be paid within 12 months or less of the date of a company’s balance sheet and will require the use of a current asset (eg money in bank) or will create another current liability if paid by debt or loan.

Current liabilities are usually listed in the following order:

  1. Credit cards and overdraft accounts, loans less than 12 months;
  2. Accounts payable (trade creditors);
  3. The remaining current liabilities such as payroll taxes payable, superannuation, income taxes payable, interest payable and other accrued expenses.

Often, all the parties who are owed current liabilities are called creditors. In special situations, a legal arrangement may be created that gives preference and then those parties are called secured creditors. The majority of creditors are known as unsecured.

Non-Current Liabilities are liabilities that are to be paid over more than 12 months – typically business or vehicle loans and financing such a Chattel Mortgage. Others include Long Service Leave Accruals, and Directors Loans.

Is the business solvent? One overall method that is used to determine if a business is trading in a solvent manner, is to check if the Current Assets are more than Current Liabilities. The amount of current liabilities is used in financial ratios – such as:

  • Working capital (current assets minus current liabilities) and the company’s;
  • Current ratio (current assets divided by current liabilities).

These give an indication of the company health.

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