Bilanz Blogs

Flexibility in the Workplace

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Did you realise that in some cases, flexibility is legislated by the ‘The Australian National Employment Standard’ (Fair Work Act 2009 ‘NES’).

There have been countless articles in regards to 4-day work weeks, flexibility and remote work environments.  The concept is not new, combinations of these work solutions are already in place and adopted by a variety of businesses.  The tides are changing.  Slowly.

I think it’s clear now that these arrangements have a positive effect.  They create more inclusive and diverse workplaces, better morale, higher engagement, longer-term employee satisfaction and access to a key group of worked – individuals staying home during child rearing years.

The 2017 census results concluded that an ‘estimated 246,700 (42%) women had started or returned to work since the birth of their youngest child.’  That is a staggeringly low percentage of women returning to work following childbirth and note this is after the birth of their youngest child.  If families have 3 children, it’s unlikely that they will be able to return to work for a minimum of 6 years and at this point, many will require part-time employment for several years.  Six years out of the workforce makes for a very difficult return to the corporate world.  Increasingly, as many fathers opt to remain at home with children they will inevitably come up against the same issues, albeit not to the extent of women simply due to the remaining unconscious bias’s that still exist. 

It’s no secret that many organisations are now under requirements to include women in leadership positions.  This can be difficult for organisations with fewer women available to climb the corporate ladder once they have become mothers.  Imagine if the pool of women was greater, that women hadn’t left the workforce but continued their journey, acquiring more experience.  A simple change in flexible arrangements and the pool would be fabulously rich and diverse; quotas would soon be a thing of the past.

As families become more reliant on double incomes to support their lifestyles, the cost of child-care is becoming prohibitive however necessary for workers who need to stay in the workforce to keep their employment eligibility.  Let’s not forget that this inevitably leads to less disposable income, affecting the economy; the livelihood of brick and mortar business’s, the hospitality industry, the list goes on.

How can we work to remedy this? 

Flexibility is a great solution

I have first-hand experience – flexibility has allowed me to build a top rated Bookkeeping business in Perth.  I write this article from my home desk, with a cat and a dog sleeping soundly next to me.  I get to pick up the kids from school and I can keep going while they argue in the background, or at a more convenient time.  My bookkeeping business keeps five people in employment and each of us has the option to work flexibly.  We come together for a weekly catch up or more, when necessary.  This is our ‘normal’ and it works.

Not every workplace will be able to adapt to this working arrangement however it is imperative that those who can, unreservedly adapt and make flexibility available to all employees.

Why you need to hire a BAS Agent for your business

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GST, PAYG, Wages Payable, Super Payable, Wages expense, Super expense, ATO…. the joys of owning a business… these are the things you dreamed about when you were thinking about running your own business right?!.. hmm maybe not! The reality is that not only do you need to focus on the basics of business, sales and making a profit – now we’ve thrown in all the above to take into consideration for your ever growing to do list! FUN!

But wait, good news!! We live in a world of endless opportunity, and lucky for you the option to outsource the management of your business’s activity papework and statement submissions to the ATO is a viable and (might I add) time-saving opportunity.

Lets Discuss!

What are the benefits to hiring someone to manage your Business Activity Statements.

Reconciliations:

Each quarter we ensure your BAS is correct by reconciling the GST, PAYG, Wages Payable, Super Payable, Wages Expense, Super Expense and ATO integrated accounts. For reference we have added the BAS filing schedule below:

bas filing dates quarterly

Safe Harbour:

When lodging BAS on your own, you can easily make mistakes which can incur fines from the ATO. However, a BAS agent is covered by the Safe Harbour laws, which adds an extra level of protection for you. For example if you fail to lodge a document on time or there is an error in your statement resulting in a shortfall of tax you may be protected by administrative penalties imposed by the ATO if you’re going through a BAS Agent..

More time to Lodge:

Additionally, when you lodge BAS on your own, you must pay by the due date. Under the BAS lodgement program, an Agent gets extra time to lodge which means you do too!

Code of Conduct:

You have confidence knowing that you’re working with someone who is knowledgeable, professional, honest and confidential. Registered BAS Agents are bound by a code of conduct and must always reflect these attributes . In any case the Agent breaches the code, you can report it to the Tax Practitioners Board.

Qualifications and Ongoing Study:

There are a number of minimum qualifications that  need to be met in order to become registered. This includes: 1400 hours experience, at least a Cert IV in bookkeeping, PI insurance, be apart of a professional membership and partake in 45 hours worth of study every 3 years in order to stay registered. These requirements enforced by the law ensures the Agent is knowledgeable on new updates to GST and tax laws, industry changes and complex topics so you don’t need to be!

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Bilanz for Business has a superb team of BAS agents in Perth who can assist you in your business and help take the pressure off – so that you can focus on the rest of your to-do list!

Finally, if you’re wondering how to verify BAS Agents. Make sure to check the Tax Practitioner Board and type in the business name to see if they are a registered agent: https://www.tpb.gov.au/registrations_search

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Switching to Accounting on the Cloud

Ahhhh ‘the Cloud’… where is it and what does it do!? You may be unaware but you probably already adopt a number of cloud technologies in your business today – these are systems where you can access your data remotely. Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office 365 or even a Google App… these are all on ‘the Cloud’, and as you would have noticed they are greatly beneficial to your business.

Here at Bilanz, we work with a number of Cloud Accounting Softwares. But what is Cloud Accounting you ask? Well, the good news is that it works in a similar way to the other cloud systems. You use it the same as normal accounting software however the data isn’t stored on your own computer, instead the data is stored remotely on secure severs. The benefit to using cloud-based accounting software is that it eliminates the threat of vital data being deleted, corrupted, stolen or lost. This means that you can access your information anytime from anywhere, whether it be from your laptop, phone or tablet. Information is readily available, reducing your IT costs and giving you, as a busy small business owner, an all access pass to your accounts, bookkeeping and invoices.  

So what is the Cloud?!

Walk in to any small, medium or large business a few years ago (and some still today) and you’d see some type of IT server. This server device might have sat under a desk, or in a bigger business there would be a dedicated room in the corner of the building full of them. Unless you were the IT person this was strictly forbidden territory. Fast forward to now and many businesses no longer need this infrastructure on their premise. Whether or not they realise it, they’ve moved to storing and accessing information using the internet, and so we have the Cloud.

How does Cloud Accounting fit into all of this and is it easy to convert to the cloud?

Just like other cloud based applications, Cloud Accounting has really taken off in the last few years and for good reason. Transparency, ease of use and latest accounting tools are allowing businesses to spend less time worrying about their books and more time focused on optimising their business in other areas, such as selling more goods, delivering quality service or managing their general operations more efficiently. Bilanz CPA Accounting Manager: Andi Moneta enjoys using Cloud Accounting because of the “flexibility and efficiency that Cloud accounting allows. Cloud software offers the latest in powerful accounting tools and applications while allowing for the convenience of being able to work from anywhere with an internet connection”. 

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Cloud conversion easy as 1,2,3.. and we can show you how!

Although it is possible to convert to cloud accounting at any point, most business owners find it easy to start fresh with a new accounting system by converting at the beginning of a fiscal year (new *fiscal year, new me.. right?!). Now is the best time to start using a cloud based accounting system and we are showing you how easy it is to set up at our Bookkeeping Basics & Software Set up Workshop on July 25th, 2019 (4-6pm) at our fun office in North Fremantle. Check out our Workshops/Training page for more information or get FREE tickets now at Eventbrite!  

How to navigate the End of the Financial Year

The end of the financial year wraps up June 30. That means from July 1st, it’s tax season. Sole traders and partnerships- you’ll need to lodge by October 31st, or if you’re lodging through a registered tax agent, they can advise on the date. Small companies generally need to lodge by February 28th, though – again – if you’re going through a tax agent they will let you know when to lodge. Whenever your deadline is, there’s a lot to get through, and there’s more to it than tax. Make the most of this busy time and keep stress to a minimum with these tips!

Single Touch Payroll

Recent research from Xero found one in five small businesses (20 percent) wrongly believed that STP did not apply to them. All companies are encouraged to register for Single Touch Payroll (STP) by July 1st 2019, which is a new reporting requirement introduced by the ATO. Small businesses should work to transition to STP with their accountant and bookkeeper in order to become compliant now! Bilanz Bookkeepers are Single Touch Payroll Certified with Xero, making it easier than ever to transition now.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Xero works for STP. Contact Bilanz today to set up an obligation free – one on one training session.

Purchase large assets before July

Thinking of purchasing assets for your business?

The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased to $30,000 and extended to 30 June 2020.

If you purchase an asset (new or second hand) costing less than $30,000 and it is used or installed ready for use from 7:30pm AEDT on 2 April 2019, you can claim a deduction for the business portion. Another thing to consider this EOFY is an in-depth review of all fixed assets.  Have a look at any unwanted assets and consider whether they’re worth keeping around. Sales of unused assets can generate cash and reduce storage costs. Or you might want to look at hiring out items and equipment instead.

Get organised and choose the right professionals to help you do that!

Over the course of a year, your business will accumulate a decent paper trail… even if you’ve moved to the cloud. Sorting through bills, invoices and paperwork can be extremely time consuming if you’re not currently organised. In order to avoid being bogged down next year – choose to plan ahead by chatting with an accountant or bookkeeper.  They can advise on all the necessary records needed and keep everything streamlined for you moving forward. It’s very important to pick the right accountant or bookkeeper. Always look for someone who has the relevant qualifications and are registered with the correct professional body.

Check the Tax Practitioner Board (linked below) to make sure they are a registered agent for lodging Income Tax and BAS. Did you know Bilanz is a registered BAS Agent ready and willing to help your business succeed!

Lodging your Business Activity Statement? check here for registered BAS agents in Perth.   

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Hopefully these tips helped you in some way as you navigate this EOFY (we also heard wine helps too)! As always, we are only a phone call or email away. Please do not hesitate to drop us a line at business@bilanz.com.au if you have any questions about EOFY or our Xero, Quickbooks or MYOB Bookkeeping services! Finally, download this handy checklist below to ensure you’re staying on track: Good Luck!

Checklist for End Of Financial Year

Marketing … or anything else?

I don’t know about you, but as a small business trying to grow, marketing has always taken a back seat to other demands within the business.  What an oxymoron!  Imagine trying to grow your business without considering marketing at all… yet we all do it.

I suspect much of the resistance to progressing our focus onto this simply stems from the fact that we are in the business of running our own business and for most of us, our business is not in digital or print marketing.  So what do we do when we aren’t confident in a task?  Procrastinate.  Obviously.  We use any spare time we may find to review important topics such as; ‘cute animals doing cute things’, watch national yoga and spend countless hours formatting that spreadsheet you’re not being paid to format.  Although to be fair, a poorly formatted spreadsheet is sacrilege.  I like to call this marketing for small business, Phase One.

Once we have finally woken up to the inevitable, we seek the advise of our modern day oracle – google.  This search leads to a plethora of advise – all a little different from one another.  Congratulations, you have now progressed to Phase Two of small business marketing attempts.  Otherwise known as the ‘bugger this’ phase (go straight back to Phase One, do not pass go and do not collect more business along the way).

Lucky for most entrepreneurs I know, we do have one very handy skill.  We have a relatively short attention span to attempts of trial and error (read an ability to move on very quickly from what doesn’t work).  We are able to blindly follow our nose to the next brainwave of success which visibly (yet precariously) balances on the horizon.  Phase three, we usually also have absolutely no qualms in asking for advice from fellow business owners (or anyone who looks vaguely like they might know something).  I was lucky enough to be able to come across some excellent advise which has sent me on a path of totalsuccess (note positivity noted above).

Phase Four – I simply had to accept that this process was not going to be much fun and much like algebra in year 12, I just had to do it…

The ‘Good News’

The small business development corporation has a great 8 step process for starting up.  Yes, some of them you’ve seen before, however these are the steps which you simply have to take.  Jumping into digital or other marketing avenues without going through these steps is more than likely going to lead to an unsuccessful marketing campaign which will leave you with a sour taste in your mouth and a bank account to match.  Sorry.

Step 1: Conduct your market research.  Identify your top 3 competitors and have a look at what they are doing.  Talk to existing customers, as them what they needed or still need.

Step 2: Profile your target markets.  This was a tricky one for me.  My answer to this was … all of them!  The advise was, choose.  They don’t have to be the target forever, but you need to choose.  A broad brush simply doesn’t produce results.  Consider geography, demographics, behavior and lifestyle.

Step 3:  Identify your unique selling proposition.  Even if you have hundreds of competitors, you went into business for a reason – you wanted to provide goods or services and produce results for your customers.  Every business has a uniqueness of service.  You need to find yours.

Step 4:  Develop your business brand.  Whether we like it or not, our brand is important.  It needs to talk to people, it needs to encourage people to want to engage with you, it needs to be consistent and it needs to look good.

Step 5:  Choose your marketing avenues.  There are so many ways we can go with this, try to work with a professional who can give you the best result for the least investment, particularly early on.  Website, SEO, promotional material, advertising, donation & sponsorships… the list goes on.

Step 6:  Set goals and a budget.  This might be the hardest for small business owners.  Many of us will say ‘what marketing budget?’.  We have not had the experience to know how much we need to spend for the results that we are looking for but we need to be willing to spend for a few months before the results and a return on investment start to show.

Finally – a shameless plug to Angela Han @ Media On Mars (https://www.mediaonmars.com.au).  If you want results, that’s all you’ll get with these guys.

Words of wisdom, over & out!

But seriously, watch National Yoga….

Let The Fun Begin!

Well here we are – 2018! What a year it’s going to be… we wish all of our clients, friends, families and associates a fabulous 2018.

From what we have been hearing, 2017 was a tough year for many, so I think it’s safe to say that we are quite pleased to see the back of it!

A big moment for us – the first blog of 2018 (or ever!) and a website (finally!). Doing business these days, you almost feel as though you don’t actually exist until you have made your mark in the digital sphere. Glad to be catching up!

We have a lot to look forward to this year, namely Single-Tax Payroll as well as many changes to small business tax legislation and implementation….

Keep your eyes on this blog – we will aim to update you as regularly as we can!

In the meantime, keep an eye on our facebook page for our upcoming competition which guarantees you a prize completely unrelated to bookkeeping … because lets face it, we all need our books in good working order however a night at gold-class may be just what you need to get your R&R quota for the month!

Thanks for taking the time and have a great rest of the week!

Team Bilanz