Posted in: Business
Owning and running a small business often means that you are responsible for most or all of the tasks that need to be completed. Often, owners will find their time being entirely occupied with their business. This can take a toll on their mental health and cause work related stress. Which not only inhibits one’s ability to complete the duties of their role, but also puts them at greater risk of developing mental health conditions.
Keeping work hours in check
Although it is tempting to focus on your business at all times, this can prevent individuals from participating in other activities which are important for physical and mental health. Business owners may feel motivated and enthusiastic to put extra time into their work, however, long work hours have been associated with poorer mental health, fatigue, burnout, worry, and irritability.
Creating a work life balance by setting time limits on work hours might be a necessary precaution at the start. Taking breaks during the work day and setting time aside during the week will be extremely beneficial.
Running a small business can often be isolating as there is rarely someone to share concerns of the business with. This will mean that owners are dealing with all of the issues on their own.
Discussing issues that arise with family or close friends can help reduce the feeling of being isolated. Alternatively, there are groups of small business owners who, and business mentors who may be able to understand and relate to what owners are experiencing, and potentially provide relevant advice.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can help individuals manage stress and work towards improved mental health. This will also improve the ability to focus and concentrate when working.
Developing good sleeping habits is a great way to kickstart this process. It can also be helpful to try different relaxation techniques such as meditation and exercise is an important start. Remember that this is a trial process, so trying different techniques to find the most effective one is essential.
Posted in: Super
Consolidating your super can save you time and money. Consolidating your super means that rather than having multiple different accounts, all your super is in one account.
Why you should consolidate your super:
- Choosing to consolidate your super means that you will no longer be paying fees to multiple super funds.
- There is also less paperwork to complete each time
- You will be able to track your super more easily
Before you consolidate your super:
- Consider how changing super funds affects employer contributions: Certain employers may contribute more to one fund than another. In which case, you should consider switching to the fund that your employer is most compatible with.
- Consider how changing super funds impacts insurance you have through the fund: Changing funds might mean you no longer receive benefits of the insurance. Double checking the details of this is particularly important if you have a pre-existing medical condition or you are aged 60 or over.
- Inform your employer of any change in details they may need, to pay to your chosen super account.
Don’t simply choose the account with the highest balance. Rather, take into consideration the performance of that super fund, the fees you are required to pay, whether it is linked to any insurance and any other factors. Upon reviewing this, you may find that rather than choosing between your current super funds, starting with a completely new fund might be the best way to go.
How to consolidate to one of your current super funds:
- Create an account on the myGov website
- Link your myGov account to the ATO
- Go to ‘Super’ and then ‘Manage’
- Select ‘Transfer Super’
Transferring to a new fund
In the case you decide that transferring to a new fund is the best option, you can consolidate either by contacting the new fund directly, or using an ATO rollover form.
Posted in: Tax
The Federal Budget for 2020 announced personal and business tax relief through various tax cuts. The legislation was approved by parliament meaning that individuals and businesses will be paying less tax, and have more money to invest and spend into the economy.
For individuals, the government has brought forward tax cuts which were initially planned for 2022, now they will be backdated to July 2020. These cuts are set to amount to $17.8 billion and will assist low to middle income earners.
What are the specifications?
- Tax bracket thresholds were increased. The top threshold of the 19% bracket increased from $37,000 to $45,000 and the top threshold of the 32.5% bracket increased from $90,000 to $120,000.
- The low income tax offset increased from $445 to $700
Therefore, depending on which bracket an individual falls under, they will receive tax cuts as well as a one-off payment. These payments can vary from $510 to $2745 depending on which bracket the individual falls into. However, if their income is higher than $126,000, then they will not receive the one-off benefit.
Posted in: Super
All investments have an aspect of risk and property investment is no different. How comfortable you are with the risk is generally an indication of your financial situation, age and expertise. There are a few common areas that pose risks to properties that investors should be aware of before entering into the market.
Like other forms of investing, there is the danger of the market crashing or seeing a significant turn. By investing solely in property, you run the risk of lack of diversification, meaning if the market were to shift, so would your investments. You can slightly combat this by purchasing properties in different states all over Australia, but if the wider property market crashes this is unlikely to relieve risk.
Lack of liquidity
Liquidity is how accessible your money within the investment is. Real estate investment lacks liquidity, meaning an investor needs to be thinking for the long term. From this is the possibility that an investor may be unable to buy or sell an investment quickly when they wish due to limited opportunities. Liquidity risk in Australian property can be lessened through investing in capital city suburbs with high demand and limited supply.
Tenants and damage
Tenants are apart of the deal when investing property. Particularly bad tenants can affect your cash flow if they don’t pay their rent on time and may leave your property damaged. A tangible asset, such as property, can face risks like natural disasters, fire, damage by tenants, robbery or vandalism. Finding a good insurance policy is a means of managing the physical risks associated with real estate investment.
Property investment isn’t one that you can set and forget, it requires attention and upkeep. Landlords and property owners have a responsibility to keep their buildings safe and livable for tenants. Good time management and a solid knowledge of the property will better equip you to handle these hidden problems.
Posted in: Money
Taking care of invoice and billing payments can often be an onerous task for many small businesses. However, very few things are more important in the business industry than getting paid on time, since delays in payments can disrupt a business’s cash flow quite seriously.
Business owners looking for best practice tips to get paid on time should keep in mind that often the most effective solutions are usually the most simple. Owners should make sure that their invoices are accurate, easy to read and include information such as:
- How to pay the invoice
- A clear description of goods or services provided
- The details of any discounts and how they were determined
- Information about any outstanding payments
- Delivery charges if applicable
If any queries should arise about the invoice or payment, owners should handle them fairly and quickly.
Making only a few simple adjustments to invoices can speed payment from customers so owners can focus more of their time on their business than on their bills. Some techniques to speed up payments include:
- Confirming the correct location and contact details so the invoices reach the right person.
- Clearly stating on your invoice that you reserve the right to charge a set late fee for overdue invoices.
- Contacting customers to tell them what corrections or adjustments are being made to their invoice before sending the amended invoice
- Quoting any relevant customer reference number customers have provided.
- Including a credit card or online payment option.
Posted in: Business
Engage employees in the company vision
It is important to share the business vision with employees so that they feel more motivated and enthusiastic. This will not only develop an interest in the work being completed, but also increase productivity. Further, engaged workers are more likely to bring in ideas and contribute to the growth of the company.
Continually recognising and rewarding effort will encourage employees to continue putting in the effort. It lets employees know that they are appreciated and builds company loyalty.
Upholding a stoic demeanour rather than being vulnerable prevents teams from developing strong professional relationships that are effective. Instead, vulnerability assists in team building and allows employees to feel comfortable with making suggestions that could be extremely promising.
Encourage differing opinions
Businesses should steer clear from creating an atmosphere where people avoid making suggestions because they are in conflict with other ideas. An environment where conflict is welcomed can lead to productive discussions and the generation of good ideas.
Determining the core values that your business holds and sharing them with employees can help with creating a strong team. The dynamic between team members is important in ensuring productivity and efficiency. Identifying a company culture will assist the hiring process as well as team dynamics later on.
Posted in: Super
Choosing a super fund requires taking multiple things into consideration. Such as its performance, the fees you will be required to pay, details of the insurance, and different investment options that are available.
Performance is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a super fund. Take a look at how the super has been performing over the years. Compare how one super compared to others, but remember to compare within categories.
All funds will charge a fee – this could be amount or percentage or even both. Checking to make sure that you aren’t paying excessively high fees when there are lower cost options is integral. Fees will usually be charged at the end of every month, or actions such as switching investments.
Super funds will have three different types of insurance for members: Life (or death cover), total and permanent disability (TPD), income protection. When selecting a super, you should check the premium rates, the amount of cover and any exclusions or definitions that might affect you in the future.
Funds will provide you with a range of options as to how you would like to conduct investment. Such as: growth, balanced, conservative, ethical, etc. Some funds may also allow you to choose the weighting of different asset types or direct investments.
Taking all of these factors into account is difficult. Comparison websites for superfunds make this process a bit easier. These websites may have vested interests, so you should take this account before making a decision based purely on one website.
The 2020 Budget also announced provision of ‘YourSuper’ which will be a tool the government creates to compare super products. This might further help in comparing and deciding which super fund you choose or change to.
Posted in: Tax
What are fringe benefits?
Employees may opt to make an agreement with their employers that provides them with fringe benefit ‘payments’ in a form other than salary or wages.
There are various types of fringe benefits:
- Employees being able to use work car for private use
- Discounted loans
- Paying an employee’s gym membership
- Providing entertainment (e.g. tickets to concerts)
- Reimbursing expenses (e.g. school fees)
- Giving benefits under a salary sacrifice scheme
What is fringe benefits tax?
Employers pay FBT on certain benefits they provide to their employees or employees’ families. FBT will apply even if the benefits are provided by a third party through an arrangement with the employer.
Employers are required to self-assess their FBT liability for the FBT year – which spans from 1 April to 31 March. It is calculated separately to income tax based on the taxable value of the benefit provided.
Usually, employers are able to claim tax deduction for the cost of providing fringe benefits and for the FBT paid. Employers will generally also be able to claim GST credits for the items they provided as fringe benefits.
Employers are able to reduce their FBT liability by providing benefits that are income tax deductible. They may also consider an agreement in which the employee contributes to the cost of the fringe benefit. Finally, providing a cash bonus can also help reduce FBT liability.
Posted in: Tax
The Budget seeks to address various shortcomings in the superannuation system
Unintended multiple accounts
One of the consequences of changing employers is the creation of multiple accounts. These result in unnecessary fees, and reduce retirement savings. Under the Budget, the proposal is that individual’s super is ‘stapled’ to them. Stapling means that the individual keeps their super fund when they change jobs. The employer will pay super to the attached fund, and only change if the individual selects to.
Paying too much
Super fees are being paid on unused accounts, causing an erosion of retirement savings. ‘YourSuper’ allows comparison between fees and payments across different super funds so that individuals are able to make informed decisions about their super.
Not all super funds perform equally. This can lead to an inequitable retirement result for individuals.MySuper products will now undergo an annual performance test to level the playing field. Funds will be required to notify their members if they are deemed to be underperforming and if they fail the test twice consecutively, they will not be able to accept new members until their performance improves. This will give members more information and the opportunity to choose what they can do if their fund is underperforming.
Lack of accountability and transparency
Currently, members are not informed about how their money is being invested, and whether it is being invested appropriately. Through this initiative, super trustees will be required to provide members with key information regarding how they manage and spend their money ahead of Annual Members’ Meetings. They are also required to comply with a new duty to act and must demonstrate that there was a reasonable basis to support their actions being consistent with members’ best financial interests. This increase in transparency and accountability will allow members to make decisions regarding their super before it’s too late.
Posted in: Tax
The government recognises that despite support to get through the COVID-19 outbreak, not all businesses are going to remain viable.
Many small businesses will have significantly increased levels of debt in order to remain in business during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government is introducing a number of permanent and temporary measures to expand the availability of insolvency practitioners to deal with this expected increase in the number of businesses seeking to restructure or liquidate.
The package of reforms features three key elements:
Currently, requirements around voluntary administration in Australia are more suited to large, complex company insolvencies. The new debt restructuring process will adopt a ‘debtor possession model’ where the business can continue to trade under the control of its owners, while a debt restructuring plan is developed and voted on by creditors.
The costs of liquidation can consume all or almost all of the remaining value of a small business, leaving little for creditors. Under the government’s new process, regulatory obligations will be simplified, so that they are commensurate to the asset base, complexity and risk profile of an eligible small business.
Temporary Relief Measures Extended
The government announced a further extension of relief measures to 31 December 2020. The
temporary increase in the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company from $2,000 to $20,000; and a temporary increase in the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive from 21 days to 6 months. In addition there is a temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, with respect to any debts incurred in the ordinary course of the companies business.
The temporary gives businesses needed breathing space to and highlights the importance of working with financial professionals as soon as required, ensuring that your small business has the best chance of success.