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Can Accountants And Bookkeepers Work Harmoniously

As cloud technology becomes increasingly popular and in demand, changing role of bookkeepers is necessary because of the benefits that changes are capable of providing. However, the idea of changing role of bookkeepers can also create challenges in terms of their working relationship with accountants. The role of accountants differs from bookkeepers but these roles remain indefinite, making the client suffer from its effect.

Issues that accountants and bookkeepers may face:

• If accountants fail to communicate with bookkeepers when doing their work for the client, there are plenty of rooms for mistakes and confusion. Potential problems can also arise if the bookkeeper fails to inform the accountant of issues concerning the task at hand.

• There will be territorial disputes when one or both parties tend to be protective of their role in terms of client’s affairs.

• Bookkeepers have not thoroughly understood their limitations and the absence of skills needed for a specific task results in a huge mess that the accountant has to clean up.

Due to the challenges that accountants and bookkeepers are continuously facing, working together may seem like an impossible thing to do. However, when proper expectations are set and both parties are putting extra effort to make the relationship work, nothing is impossible.

There are some practices that both the accountant and bookkeeper need to follow for a harmonious working relationship to take place:

• Both parties should act in the best interests of the client and should prioritise thinking about what will work best for the client. They should not be competing against each other because both roles are crucial to the success of the client.

• The lines of communication are essential for the accountant and bookkeeper to be in perfect harmony. If there are issues related to the task, it should be immediately discussed for the problem to be quickly resolved. More often than not issues or concerns become worse due to lack of communication.

• Both parties need to be clear about the tasks they are carrying out. If they do not have the skills required for the task, they should not take on the work and find out when to seek advice. Instead of making the task less burdensome, more problems are encountered because of failure to recognize the importance of skills in carrying out a task.

• Knowing exactly where to draw the line and to set boundaries before the work commences can also help an accountant and bookkeeper establish a good working relationship. They need to be in agreement of the role they are going to play. Disputes over territory must be sorted out before working together. When accountants and bookkeepers are fully aware of their limitations, the tasks will be successfully accomplished.

Accountants and bookkeepers have important roles to play in every business. Aside from making the job easier for a client, they are also instrumental to the success of the business by ensuring that its financial aspects are kept in check. Once accountants and bookkeepers are in harmony, the best possible outcome can be achieved. The client can benefit from a great working relationship between a bookkeeper and an accountant.

What To Expect From Two Essential Financial Statements

As a business owner, you get to take a look at the financial statements every once in a while because it is part and parcel of managing your business finances. The financial statements have a lot to tell you including how your business is performing financially. You will also know why your business is making money or losing it. These statements also help your financial planners, bookkeepers and advisors analyse the figures. There are 2 key financial statements that are commonly used for your business: the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet.

Profit & Loss

A Profit & Loss Report refers to a summary of your business expenses and income at a specific period of time. It provides you an idea of your business’ performance. The data you will usually find in a Profit & Loss Report include Cost of Goods Sold, Equals Gross Profit, Expenses, Operating Profit, Tax Payable and Net Profit.

Although they may seem easy to interpret, you need to develop specialized skills so you can determine what the figures say. Unfortunately, this essential financial statement is not often understood by some business owners. The Gross Profit Margin is the gross profit over sales and this is usually presented in percentage. This margin is essential for tracking so you can ensure that profitability is improved and maintained. The Gross Profit Margin also allows you to compare your figures with competitors.

If there is a decrease in Gross Profit Margin, it only means there is a rise in inventory cost, heavy discounting and many more. The Net Profit Margin can also be measured as a percentage and this is referred to as net profit over sales. If you notice any decrease in your Net Profit, it means you are paying more in your expenses.

It is necessary that a Profit & Loss Report is prepared on a monthly basis because this practice enables you to perform regular analysis of your expenses and income. You will also be able to know your key business drivers. As you master the skill of reading a Profit & Loss Report, start planning how your business can keep up with competitors.

Balance Sheet

A Balance Sheet is another important statement that business owners should not miss out on checking because it demonstrates the financial strength and net worth of your business. In a Balance Sheet, you will be able to see the assets, liabilities and equity or net worth.

The assets refer to the tangible and non-tangible items that your business owns. The liabilities are the amounts you owe to other parties. The difference when assets are subtracted from liabilities is referred to as equity or net worth. The Balance Sheet helps you identify the key performance indicators such as control of working capital, financial strength, return on equity and return on capital. A Balance Sheet may be harder to interpret than a Profit & Loss Report because of all the technical terms you can find in it. This is why you need to make sure that key areas are not missed such as the Current Assets and Current Liabilities. You should also pay close attention to the amounts on your Balance sheet as they can assist you in making a decision and cash-flow.

Signs Your Business Needs Help With Budgeting

Spending is necessary in every business, but it should come with a plan. The failure of assessing your spending habits may result in getting a zero balance in your bank account. The rule of thumb is to spend the least amount of money while obtaining the best possible return. This is where budgeting comes in. For you to manage the financial aspect of your business, a cost-effective way of using your money is a must.

You may not be doing things right if:
Bills Are Not Paid In A Timely Manner 

While it is acceptable to miss out on accomplishing some items on your to-do list, not paying important bills is a different story. Set aside money for paying your bills and budgeting is a good way to prioritize your expenses. It should start with the most important payment obligations such as tax payment. If you have to make credit card payment, you should keep a budget for funds are ready to use again.

Your Business Is Showing Clear Signs Of Overspending 

Your business is making a profit if you earn more than you spend. However, this does not mean refusing to spend money even when it is already considered necessary. It only means spending your money on necessary expenses and budgeting is going to help you monitor your expenses. 

You Have A Long List Of Unresolved Obligations 

It is time to rethink how you spend if you always find yourself depleting your funds. A long list of unresolved obligations only means that something is not right with your spending habits. You should know the difference between going out of business and growing your business. Your creditors and the people you are doing business with may lose faith in you, so you need to make sure that your problems are resolved. 

You Have Trouble With Your Petty Cash 

If your account ends up unbalanced at the end of each week, there might be part of your expenses that you need to review or re-assess. If you cannot identify what the problem is, you might be having problems reconciling your petty cash with your business accounting. The lack of budgeting can leave your financial activity in chaos. Not resolving issues with your petty cash only means that you have no idea about the amount of money you have. You also allow your spending habits to wreak havoc on your overall financial status by overspending. Make sure you are in control of your petty cash and never take money out of the rest of your budget if it is intended to cover items you have previously provided.

Poor financial management can increase the likelihood of losing your business. There are businesses that are forced to close because of not keeping an eye on the expenses. Ignoring payment obligations and spending money on unnecessary items can create a serious impact on your business. If you cannot properly identify where the problem lies, a bookkeeper can teach you wise financial management. Closely monitoring your financial activities helps you identify problems before it gets worse. You will also be able to know if changes should be made with your spending habits.

Reasons Your ABN Can Be Cancelled By ATO

binding contract 948442 1920For business owners, there are various obligations that need to be fulfilled and once Australia Business Number or ABN has been issued, you need make sure that you do not commit any violations. Although there are only a few reasons your ABN can be cancelled, the process of obtaining ABN can be difficult. One of the reasons your ABN can be cancelled is when your business lacks profitability. For instance, a business that is no longer gaining a profit can have its ABN cancelled. ATO monitors businesses that can potentially have their ABN cancelled.

How To Avoid Cancellation Of ABN

When it comes to growing your business “one size fits all” does not apply. In fact, there is no special formula in ensuring profitability. You just need a dedicated team that can help you run your business in an efficient manner. You need to spend less and have an action plan that can help you promote effective management.

Your bookkeeper will also play a huge role in helping you avoid ABN cancellation. If you want to improve your company’s outlook, a positive cash flow is necessary. Although this is not the only technique to make your business more profitable, a steady cash flow can definitely make a difference. A bookkeeper can also help you monitor your business so you will know if something needs to be fixed. As a result, you will be able to make plenty of room for growth and you can also make necessary improvements.

A competent bookkeeper should help you separate assets from your liability. A bookkeeper is also responsible for organizing your financial statements and reports so you can easily determine if your business is generating a profit or a loss. When your business has proper bookkeeping, you can identify if your business is really doing well.

A cancelled ABN can be stressful, but this is definitely avoidable if you know how to take care of the financial aspect of your business. To ensure your business continues to be in operation, make sure you evaluate various financial factors.

• Re-evaluate your spending habits.

Assess how much you are usually spending and find out if your purchases are based on impulse. You may need to implement new measures if there are unnecessary spending going on. You can speak to your bookkeeper for some recommendations if you wish to re-evaluate your spending habits.

• Consider your business goals.

Ask yourself if you have already achieved some of the goals you set when you opened your business. If all of these goals have already been achieved, you need to make new ones. If there were goals that you have not accomplished, make sure you know the factors that hindered you from achieving them. You should also make necessary changes such as formulating some techniques so you can effectively achieve your goals.

• Establish new connections.

If your business has already been established, it is the best time to make new connections. You can build new connections if you attend networking events. A business with a strong system is more likely to get ample support during tough times.

• Reconnect with your associates.

As you build new connections, you should also reconnect with associates as they can help you obtain new approach that can make you improve your business and prevent ABN cancellation.

Are You Asking Too Much From Your Bookkeeper

hand 65834 1280When you are working in the business world, there will be expectations that you need to meet or set. While employees have a set of expectations from employers such as paying them regularly, employers also have some expectations from employees and your bookkeeper is no exception. One of the expectations of business owners from their bookkeeper is to provide accurate statements and in return the bookkeepers also expect to receive timely payments for their service.

As a business owner or employer, it is reasonable to expect from your bookkeeper to:

• Obtain more than just basic understanding of accounting and explain them in simple terms. When they are asked for a brief explanation of these terms, they should be able to provide answers in an understandable manner.

• Go into details. Dealing with numbers can make every bookkeeper more prone to mistakes and it is a good sign when your bookkeeper is detail oriented because this only means they pay more attention to the essential information of your statement.

• Be a self-starter. You will no longer have a feeling that you need to give your bookkeeper a constant reminder that you do exist.

• Have the ability to see the big picture. A bookkeeper should make realistic suggestions when it is necessary. Based on the available details, the bookkeeper must know how to recommend a course of action by simply putting all the puzzle pieces together.

• Have willingness to follow through. A bookkeeper should be able to meet deadlines and accomplish the goals you set.

• Provide information to the financial status of your business. The bookkeeper should be able to explain everything in layman’s term.

• Prepare a balance sheet, statement of profit and cash flow statement on a monthly basis. The bookkeeper must also stick to the deadline when it comes to providing these statements.

• Create a commitment and stick to it. If your bookkeeper just cannot handle deadlines, there is no point keeping them.

• Have an idea of the reasonable charge for the service rendered. If the bookkeeper has a broad understanding of their business, they will know how much the services cost.

• Gain a basic understanding of the bookkeeping industry and the type of business. This is going to be essential because business owners turn to bookkeepers to ask for some recommendations, advice or suggestions. Choose a bookkeeper that is connected with a company with substantial experience in various businesses especially in your industry.

• Have solid communication skills. Your bookkeeper should communicate through emails, phone calls and conversations clearly and concisely. They should also be polite.

• Be computer literate. Most bookkeeping tasks are performed using computers or software such as Reckon and MYOB.

While these are realistic expectations, there are times when they are not met because they seem unreasonable. For instance, if you expect your bookkeeper to email back within minutes, this is considered unreasonable as your bookkeeper may be working on a busy schedule.

If you expect your bookkeeper to agree with you most of the time, then you will not be able to hear any constructive feedback that will save or help your business. Your bookkeeper will not also drop any projects just to focus on your books. Building a strong connection with your bookkeeper is possible once you discuss your expectations.

Essential Financial Statements You Need To Receive From Your Bookkeeper

copy 160129 1280Although you cannot always expect yourself to know everything about accounting or bookkeeping, it really pays to have a basic knowledge of the documents you should expect to receive from a bookkeeper. Familiarizing yourself with the documents your bookkeeper is using will help you understand the reasons they are needed for your business. You are not expected to memorize every statement that bookkeepers are dealing with, but you need to make sure that you have a deeper understanding of the gist of the statements. 

Cash Flow Statement

The purpose of a Cash Flow Statement is to show you the movement of your assets over a period of time. There are several categories that the movement is broken down into: investing, operating and financing activities. The investing activities refer to the purchase and sale of various assets such as buying a new location. Operating activities refers to the tasks that the business regularly performs such as making a sale. Financing activities refer to paying or generating debt.

Balance Sheets

Your bookkeeper heavily relies on balance sheets to demonstrate profit and loss. As a business owner, it is your guide in determining the amount of money that is currently available. However, you should take note that the balance sheet does not necessarily reflect your specific investments. Your bookkeeper may go into the details of your statements, but it generally presents your business’ overall success.
The balance sheets are also referred to as statements of financial position. They are considered bookkeeping’s building block. They are often used by professional for additional statement creation or data analysis so conclusions can be drawn.

There are three essential elements that you can find in balance sheets: equity, assets and liabilities.

1. Equity refers to the capital left after the asset have been used for paying off liabilities.
2. Assets are the business-controlled items such as machinery and cash.
3. Liabilities are the items that your business owes such as loans.
If you are going to examine the balance statement, your business’ assets are equal to the sum of equity and the liabilities.

Income Statement

This statement shows the profit and loss, showing the losses and net profits for the current period. If you would like to know your business’ current income, the statement provides you the necessary details you need including sales revenue. Aside from the profit and loss, the statement also provides you details of your expenses such as the rent and wages. A net profit or net loss is taken from the difference between the expenses and income. Business owners have high hopes of seeing a net profit on an income statement.

Bookkeepers also use the statement to give recommendations and advice to business owners. It provides the bookkeeper an idea how profitable your business is. It also provides business owners with the next steps to take for the business to become more profitable.

A meaningful conversation with your bookkeeper about the purpose and functions of these statements will help you find out how you can improve your business so it can generate additional profit. Make sure your bookkeeper provides you these statements so you are well aware how your business is doing.

Signs You Need To Consider Hiring A New Bookkeeper

IMG 6960 2A bookkeeper will always be considered necessary in every business especially if you are managing a fledgling company. Aside from making your financial activities more sensible, they are also considered your partner in running your business. There are different aspects of your business that you need to keep an eye on and in your absence, your bookkeeper should be able to keep track of your budget or cashflow so your business' financial aspect remains intact.  

However, there are problems associated with hiring a bookkeeper especially when their presence does more harm than good. Have you ever found yourself doing the task that a bookkeeper is supposed to carry out? If you think that your business operation is interrupted because your bookkeeper is unable to achieve your business' primary goals, it can already be a sign that you and your bookkeeper need to part ways. 

Signs You Need A New Bookkeeper  

1.Your bookkeeper fails to deliver financial reports and other forms to you on time. 

One of the reasons you hired a bookkeeper is for you stay on top of your business' financial aspect. Your bookkeeper does not make the entire process easier for you if they don't deliver timely reports. Find out if you contributed to the delayed submission. Have you sent the reports they need on time? If all things that the bookkeeper needs are made available to them before the deadline, you may need to think twice of keeping the same bookkeeper. While these reports require ample time to be completed, being consistently late means you need to consider another person for the job. 

2. Your bookkeeper is always busy or out with other clients. 

A bookkeeper that has strong commitment to your business should be available whenever you need to engage their service. There are days when you can be very busy and you need financial reports done ASAP. However, when your bookkeeper is nowhere in sight, you may want to choose someone that can devote his or her time for your bookkeeping task. It's time to bid your current bookkeeper goodbye if your bookkeeping tasks become the least of their priorities. 

3. Your bookkeeper does not take time to explain financial reports. 

As a business owner, you have the right to understand your financial reports and your bookkeeper should schedule a meeting to present the reports. If you are being denied of your right to obtain information of your business's financial aspect, how can you be confident that the figures on the report are correct? You don't have any assurance that ATO also gets the right information and this can spell trouble on your part.  

4. You receive repeated notices from ATO.

If you are constantly receiving notices from ATO, this only means that your business has not been taken care of correctly. This is considered a serious warning sign because if notices become very consistent, you may have to deal with bigger problems with ATO. You might also be flagged as a repeat offender and this could mean penalty on your part. 

5. Your bookkeeper fails to return your phone calls. 

Do you always find yourself in a waiting game when trying to check in on your bookkeeper? If your bookkeeper never returns your phone calls even when you left a message, this can be a sign that he is no longer interested in working for you. While there can be instances when employees encounter circumstances beyond their control, it is a different story if this happens regularly. 

Reasons Good Bookkeeping Is Necessary

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A successful business follows a bookkeeping practice to ensure that payments are made in a timely manner and all financial activities are recorded properly. There's bad bookkeeping and there's good bookkeeping. One thing that separates bad bookkeeping from good bookkeeping is the system. Even if you have a small business, it is not a valid reason to not pay attention to your bookkeeping task. It may appear to be the most trivial task, but it can be the most critical to your business especially when you start auditing your finances. 

It takes a large chunk of your success and a lot of things needs to be undone if something goes wrong. In every business, you are expected to be in complete control of your financial activities. You don't just make a mental note of your expenses, budget and cashflow because you are required to keep a record. You may not fully appreciate the importance of good bookkeeping but you will once your business starts to grow. 

Reasons You Should Maintain Good Bookkeeping

It improves your tax return.

One of the dreaded obligations of most business owners is keeping their tax payments up to date. This is why many of them rely heavily on the expertise of a bookkeeper to ensure that everything is in proper perspective. Unfortunately, business owners often fail to realize that just integrating bookkeeping into their business is not enough to keep it in tip-top shape. You have to maintain organized records that can be easily analyzed when needed. 

It provides audit protection.

Having a separate checkbook should be regularly observed because it can provide you audit protection. More likely than not, ATO does not allow a great number of expenses, which usually take place when your personal and business accounts are one and the same. 

It substantiates the corporate veil.

A separate checkbook gives you the ability to recognize that the company is its own unique entity. You also avoid mixing your personal and business funds with a separate checkbook. 

It encourages tax savings.

Nothing can be more frustrating than falling behind tax payments. This can be due to a number of reasons and one of which the lack of ability to provide an accurate record of your finances. This can be very stressful on your part especially if you heavily rely on your bookkeeper to do the job without checking the details of your books. 

It makes record-keeping less stressful. 

When your records are disorganized, it seems like you are always try to beat the deadline. You end up juggling various tasks but none of them are accomplished. There's one important aspect of your business that you might have taken for granted. If bookkeeping is the least of your priorities, you need to change the way you manage your business. Good bookkeeping is as equally important as other aspects of your business. 

It helps you make the right decision.

Accurate records are going to be important when making a crucial decision that is related to your business. You can cloud your judgment and make poor decisions if you are being presented with records that you find difficult to understand. You can't be a good business owner if you can't get your bookkeeping task straight. 

One Task That Most Small Business Owners Dread

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As a small business owner, you need to fulfill your responsibility in ensuring that your business is in tip-top shape. You need to hire the right employees, keep your business finances in order and create a website that potential and existing customers can turn to if they need to buy your product or engage your service. Without a doubt, you are ready to roll.

Unfortunately, there is still one essential element in managing your business that should never ever take a backseat regardless of priorities. While bookkeeping can take so much of your precious time especially if you don’t have any extensive experience dealing with quickbooks and other bookkeeping related tools, every task that involves bookkeeping seems complex.

Although bookkeeping can be everyone's least favorite task, this can play an important role in running your business. Bookkeeping is unappealing to small business owners because of the basic practices that can still be foreign to someone who does not have an accounting degree. You will need to learn the ropes before you can breathe a sigh of relief when deadline for submitting financial reports approaches. If you are new at bookkeeping, it can also be time-consuming and making mistakes can't be undone by simply changing figures. The painful part is that it can be costly.

How to make bookkeeping easy for business owners?

You don’t have to love math to master your business’ bookkeeping side. You just have to employ some simple techniques: 

• Take a short course on bookkeeping basics

Bookkeeping can be overwhelming when you don’t know anything about it especially if you hate numbers. However, a small business owner should make the effort to know what bookkeeping is all about so you know where your business finances are going. A short day course can give you long term benefits.

• Use bookkeeping software

When it comes to balancing the bank statements, you can't do all the work because it will sure be a tiring job. Instead of doing the job by hand, try using reliable bookkeeping software that allows you to enter the financial statements in a jiffy. It is best to use software that allows you to link your bank transactions automatically for real-time monitoring.

• Keep records organized

Keeping accurate financial records is a sign of good bookkeeping. It starts with developing good work habits and ensuring that you keep your company workflow in check. Keep receipts in one folder and be sure to label it to avoid confusion. File them on a monthly basis and store them in one place.

• Get a reliable bookkeeper

Even if you are running a small business, hiring a bookkeeper should not be set aside. A bookkeeper will be responsible for setting a workable system that your company can follow. All you need is a basic understanding of the system so you know how the process works. 

You can’t promote business growth if you don’t pay attention to small but essential details of your business. This is why giving importance to bookkeeping is a must. A lot of businesses have failed because of not paying attention to the business’ financial activities.

Reasons Small Business Struggles With Bookkeeping

entrepreneur 696976 1280It is easy to pay little attention to bookkeeping when your business is going well. Why would you still go into the smallest details of your business when you can focus on more important things? Any business owner can hover on the brink of disaster with this mindset. Your business’ bookkeeping task does not end where your success begins.

In fact, you can’t take shortcuts on other tasks such as selling without prioritizing bookkeeping. You can overlook financial activities but once these errors take their toll on your business, it is already too late for you to realize that you have already made a costly mistake. If bookkeeping stays in background, you won’t be able to determine the factors that have driven the success in your small business.

Avoid These Bookkeeping Mistakes:

Failure To Maintain Records

A small business can swim in its pool of success and just watch the bookkeeping task take a nosedive. As the temporary allure of your business starts to fade, bookkeeping starts to resurface, but this time, there are numerous questions that quickbooks can’t provide any answers to. Record-keeping is important in every business. Even if you have already tasted the sweet success of your business, this does not take the glamour out of bookkeeping. Make sure you keep all receipts in a safe place as you will need them in the future.

Unaware Of The Amount You Spend For Your Business

It is perilous to every business to assume that there is still enough cash without budgeting your spending. Keep in mind that you are spending money to run your business on a daily basis. If you are complacent that you have sufficient money at your disposal, unable to keep your financial activities in check can make you spend more than you know. When budgeting the money for your business, make sure you separate them into 4 categories: 1. Fixed expenses; 2. Prospective income; 3. Paycheque-allowance; 4. Variable expenses. You should give priorities to needs more than wants.

Spending Rather Investing

There’s a difference between spending and investing. When you spend, your business does not obtain any benefits from it as you just let your money go out the window. On the other hand, investing your hard-earned money can help you reap long-term success. While it can be inevitable to spend, make sure that the benefits still outweigh the cost. Although the balancing act can be challenging, making a sound judgment usually does the trick. If you need to buy office supplies, think first if these are necessary to improve your business’ quality of work.

Not separating your business bank accounts

You can easily lose track of your cash reserves when you don’t separate your business and personal bank accounts. If you continue to follow this practice, you may end up using all the money for your business and you have nothing left to pay for your living expenses. You can avoid confusing your personal bank account for your business bank account if you pay your business expenses from a business credit card. There should be a credit limit so you can control your cash flow. It will also give you the ability to be more flexible.

Why Good Cash Flow Management Is Essential

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Managing your cash flow wisely is not just a business practice but a household practice as well.  There are plenty of reasons you should keep your cash flow in check especially if you are running a business. Most bankruptcy in businesses is due to poor financial management. Even if your products and services are making it big in the business industry, you still have to find a leverage that will ensure sustainability in your business. If your financial activity is in chaos, you may want to look at the benefits that a good cash flow management provides.

The major benefits of managing cash flow

In running a business, you don’t just maintain a cash flow, but a healthy cash flow. However, it takes good management skills for you to pull off a balancing act ensuring the money that comes in and goes out are proportion. When money is not coming in, you won’t be able to pay your employees or purchase essential supplies. You will also see loans and debts piling up because your business appears to be breaking the bank. A good cash flow management helps you fulfill your tax office obligations such as superannuation, GST and PAYG. 

Cash Flow vs. Profit

You might confuse cash flow for profit, but these two are never one and the same. They serve a different purpose and are not created equal. A business can be considered profitable, but may not be in a position that brings in money. The real income of your business will be determined once the Profit and Loss report has been turned in. If you have not really paid off your debts and loans yet, a steady cash flow is not yet in the picture.

Cash Flow Budget Preparation

Anticipating receipts, expenses and other income should be kept in mind as it is part of preparing a cash flow budget. You don’t just provide budget without preparing a cash flow projection. You can turn to bookkeeping software packages with features that allow you to produce graphs and reports easily. 

Note that a cash flow projection does not deliver 100% accuracy. This is just a prediction of your financial activity, but it allows you to track your cash efficiently.

How to improve cash flow

There are various ways you can improve cash flow such as cutting down on your expenses or reducing the number of contractors or employees you have. If you have items that are slow-moving, you can also avoid overstocking them. You can prevent falling behind payment schedule if you only take out a short-term loan. It helps you pay your debts and other obligations in a timely fashion. If you can’t pay your debts all at once, you can also stagger payments where possible.
As a business owner, you should be keen on checking your financial activity and cash flow is going to be an essential part of it. If you fail to keep track of your expenses and other financial activities, you might be surprised to discover in the end that more money is going out instead of coming in. Check financial reports regularly so you know where your business’ financial status is at.

Are You Stuck In A Routine Or A Deadly Sin?

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Whether you have a busy day or you just want to get things done more quickly, multitasking is usually the route you are more likely to take. You believe that doing several tasks at once can save time, but what about the quality of your work? If there's one aspect that multitaskers often compromise, it is the quality of their work. Sure you save time doing things at the same time, but since each task only gets 50% of your attention, you give little time to ensuring that you deliver high quality results. Imagine working at the computer and talking on the phone at the same time. These tasks are both demanding and distracting.  You lose your focus even if you are a seasoned multitasker. 

What makes multitasking less efficient?

The chaos that a divided attention brings can be compared to money: it is quantifiable. If your attention is shifted to another task, you are only giving less than 100% of your attention to the first task. Even if you make an effort to finish earlier than usual, there is still one important aspect of the task that you might miss out. While you try your best to make the task error-free, the attention you give to the task will not give you any assurance. 

Even if you only perform one activity and thinking about another, it can also be considered multitasking. Note that your attention is still divided even when you are just thinking of another task. If you always find yourself doing two tasks at once, you need to consider introducing mindfulness into your life. Mindfulness is the opposite of multitasking. 

Unlike multitasking, mindfulness lets you pay full attention to what you are doing at the moment. For instance, if the phone rings and you are working at the computer, you leave your current task and answer the phone. If it is an important call, you are a hundred percent sure that you are getting the message right as you are not distracted. Once the call is over, you resume working and quality is not compromised. 

A complete attention to the task at hand ensures that errors are corrected and your job is kept to a satisfactory level. Mindfulness hit two birds with one stone: your work life and your personal life. More likely than not, multitaskers find it easier to be lost in thought or become absent-minded as there are so many things running in their head. Even at home, they still can't give their full attention to their family and quality time is already out of the picture.  

Mindfulness breaks the spell that binds multitaskers into the same routine. It puts things in proper perspective so it will be easy to carry out various tasks without the need to multitask. Not only do you promote efficiency but you also ensure that the job you accomplished is consistently satisfactory. 

When you integrate mindfulness into your daily routine, you will begin to notice a transformation in how you accomplish your tasks. You genuinely focus on the quality and take your work to a higher and more consistent level.  

 

Tax Systems And Other Impediments To Business Growth

Business expansion is a big decision and it can create a rippling effect on other factors of your business. It is not just a decision that you make on the spur of the moment. You need to consider several factors before you can decide which direction you are going to take. However, there are several factors that can stop a small business from growing. These factors are part and parcel of having a small business. They only become deterrents when entrepreneurs decide on taking their small business to a higher level. You may need to take a look at these several factors first, before you can decide whether or not you are going to broaden your busines horizons.

Tax systems and other barriers to business growth:

Limited access to the privileges you get from having a small business. 

When you are running a small business, you are also entitled to gain complete access to various small business concessions, which are related to GST, income tax, CGT and many others. Once you decide to expand your business, all of these will be no longer be accessible for you. When taking the road to business expansion, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to gamble or if you are ready to lose access to these concessions. 

Business restructures. 

If you want significant change to happen to your business, you need to welcome restructures. Although it is not going to be an easy decision, being familiar with the effects that restructures make can help you stay on the right track. If you are going to switch to a more effective business structure, you also have to be prepared for the challenges ahead of you. One of the challenges that you are going to face is the CGT liability. 

Payroll Tax  

One of the essentials of putting up a business is making sure that you pay the right tax including payroll taxes. The government is very particular with tax payments and they are keeping their eye on small businesses as well. This is why you need to take it seriously if you really want to run your business smoothly. You subject yourself to a series of problems if you fail to pay on time. You can also get stuck in debt which can take a serious toll on your business. Make sure you keep your payroll taxes in check and avoid falling behind your payment schedule because debts can pile up faster than you know. 

For business owners who decide for an expansion, it is necesary to step out of the business' comfort zone. There are some challenges along the way but once you are familiar with how your business works, everything will fall into place. It does take time before you can reap positive results but it will be all worth your efforts. 

There are other barriers to fulfilling your dreams of expanding your business. Regardless of the obstacles that you will face, you need to keep in mind that you can obtain remarkable results if you are going to consider the risk factors and the steps to take to reduce the possibilities of failing. 

How To Classify Your Allowances Correctly?

For employers, getting bookkeepers to ensure that financial activities including handling allowances are kept in check is a difficult responsibility to fulfill. In fact, it is one of the most complex areas that both employers and bookkeepers are trying to decipher. When you misclassify an amount, the impact on your business and your employees are going to be serious. There will be some corrections that need to be done so you can put your finances the way they should be. Why are there misclassifications on allowances and how can they be avoided? Misclassifications take place when the amount that employees expended are not identified correctly.

When are allowances given to employees?

Allowances are separately identified payments and they are given to employees for:

• Expenses that are work related such as traveling between work sites.
• Working conditions
• Expenses that are not considered as an employee’s tax deduction.
• Special duties or qualifications.

Allowances should not be mistaken or confused for reimbursements. Allowances are intended for covering anticipated costs and these are given whether or not the employee incurs these expenses. These are also considered an assessable income and they are already included in the employee’s tax return. The employee has the right to claim a deduction for the expense.


On the other hand, reimbursements are given to employees for the expenses they have already incurred. The employer may also shoulder the fringe benefits tax (FBT). The reimbursement is not considered an assessable income if it is covered by FBT. The employee cannot claim a deduction for this type of expenses.

Super obligations for paying allowances:

• Reimbursements and expense allowances are not considered wages or salary. They are not ordinary time earnings as well but can be included in ordinary time earnings.
• Employees will only be granted expense allowances if they have fully expended the money on items that are tax deductible.
• When employees are required to work during non-working hours, they will be excluded from ordinary time earnings.

Travel Allowance

• The expenses incurred when employees travel in the course of their duties.
• The expenses for food, drink accommodation and incidental while employees travel.

Reasonable rates for travel allowance

The travel allowances given to employees must also be compliant to the reasonable travel allowance rate for the following expenses:

• Meals
• Deductible expenses which are related to travel
• Accommodation

For domestic travel, the rates only apply in commercial establishments such as serviced apartments, motels and hotels. If another type of accommodation is used other than these commercial establishments, the rates will not apply.

In the event the allowance has not been fully expended, the amount must be recorded on the employee’s summary report and this should be part of the gross earnings. The employee must also show the allowance received as assessable income in their tax return. The claim will only be the amount of the deductible expense that the employee incurred. Tax Office tables can also be used for ensuring that the summary reporting for payment is error-free. Gaining a deeper understanding of how allowances should be handled can save you from committing some errors. You just need to be keen on details and be able to tell the difference between reimbursements and allowances.

5 Signs Of Fraudulent Payroll Activity

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When it comes to your business’s financial activity, accuracy is important because it is not just a simple number crunching. However, your keen eyes may not always take notice of payroll irregularities and because you’ve put so much trust in the people in charge, you become oblivious to the fact that something is not right. Payroll fraud is very common these days. The execution may be different but it all boils down to the same intention. Being complacent is not an option especially if you run a business with hundreds of employees. You just cannot afford to ignore erroneous entries on payroll reports especially if this has taken place numerous times. When payroll fraud takes place, undoing things can be such a painful and costly process.

5 signs you need to put a stop to fraudulent payroll activity:

1. Sharing logins with other employees.

The information in your payroll system should be treated with confidentiality. This is the reason logins are created. However, if your employees are sharing logins or using obsolete logins, this activity is already questionable. Make sure you have the payroll staff delete your old login to ensure that no one will use it. If you suspect that someone is trying to access your account, request a password reset. 

2. A drastic change in regular masterfile.

It is also a cause for alarm if you see the masterfile changing information at a rapid rate. This should be investigated especially if the essential information such as bank details is not what you hoped for. If changes need to be made, they have to be subject for the manager’s approval.

3. Access to payroll system outside business hours.

When payroll cut-off is getting near, you feel as though there is so little time but so much work to do. If someone in the payroll department attempts out of hours access without your permission, this activity may already be in question. If your payroll staff needs to access the payroll system outside business hours, it needs to be audited.

4. Increasing numbers of casual employees.

There are companies that may often have more casual employees than regular ones and even though this is not a tell-tale sign of fraudulent activity, casual workforce is often used to execute payroll fraud. It is important that you pay more attention to your business if the percentage of casual employees is much higher than your regular employees.

5. Inconsistent payroll reports.

You should also be suspicious if there are some obvious discrepancies in the payroll reports. These reports often undergo extensive scrutiny before they are finalized and if this process is by passed, then you know that something is just not right. It is best to outsource someone that can check the reports on a monthly or quarterly basis. More serious problems such as payroll fraud can be effectively avoided this way.

Payroll fraud needs to be taken seriously as it creates a serious impact on your business. If you suspect an employee engaging in fraudulent activity, do not hesitate to conduct further investigation. Payroll fraud prevention lies in your hands. While you cannot immediately put a lid on the problem, you can prevent more serious issues from happening when you monitor payroll activities closely.

The Future Of Bookkeepers: Are They Becoming Obsolete?

 

grid 725269 1280With the bookkeeping software stealing the limelight, is this already the end of bookkeepers’ career? For sure, every business owner relies heavily on the modern advancements of technology to accomplish daily tasks quickly and easily. However, bookkeeping software is not the be-all and end-all of every business transaction. No matter how advanced the software in carrying out bookkeeping tasks, they still have glitches that can take a large chunk of your time if you choose to fix these errors. These days, people rely on real-time information and this is one of the benefits that cloud software provides. The information you need is available right off the bat and the process isn’t time-consuming. 

The allure of accessibility, convenience and speed often make bookkeeping software more attractive to business owners. Gone are the days when you have to check a pile of receipts and enter them into the database manually. Everything is replaced by a microchip that does all the bookkeeping jobs instantaneously. However, the success of a company does not just depend on bookkeeping software and with that being said, a reliable bookkeeper will still play an important role to the company. In fact, software and bookkeepers make a great tandem. You just have to know how to play your cards right.

How to utilize bookkeepers in a world of modern technology?

Just because entrepreneurs are relying heavily on bookkeeping software does not necessarily mean that businesses are formally saying goodbye to bookkeepers. In fact, a bookkeeper can still continue to stay in the game so long as the skills required are present.

• Create a solid understanding of bookkeeping fundamentals.

If you only have basic knowledge on bookkeeping, there is only a slim chance that you will emerge victorious in a stiff competition. Attempting to step out of your comfort zone and do more than just gaining knowledge on QuickBooks can help you acquire an edge. Take it a step further by obtaining useful information on debits and credits. This is going to give you a great advantage especially when you need to fix data that have been incorrectly imported.

• Find your niche and develop it.

Instead of trying your luck on mastering various products, focus on a single product so you will only deal with a single standardized process. This way, you can work on a specific niche and ensure remarkable results.

• Participate in the community of bookkeeping technology.

If you are looking for a valuable resource that can help improve your skills and have an edge in spite of the proliferation of bookkeeping software, get involved in a community where views on bookkeeping technology are shared. When you are in the loop, you will remain updated of the principles of bookkeeping that you need to stick to.

• Explore cloud bookkeeping tools.

Searching for bookkeeping tools that might be helpful to your clients and developing a system where you can minimize errors or glitches on these tools are a must. You can also ask feedback from your colleagues so you will have an idea on the tools’ area for improvement.
You don’t need to be left behind even when bookkeeping technology continues to soar high. Regardless of the competition, being keen on seeing the loopholes and acquiring the ability to foresee future problems can still make you relevant to the world of bookkeeping technology.

Five Bookkeeping Tips Every Business Owner Must Keep In Mind

Keeping financial activities in check should be the best practice every business owner should follow. You just can’t run your business without following a system. Otherwise, it will be in complete chaos. Imagine running a business without any specific system in mind. You’ll increase the risk of losing important financial details and get into a serious trouble with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which is something any business owner wouldn’t want to happen.

Your business should have a long term goal and simply keeping it running and wait for things to happen at the end of the day is not the way it should work.

How do you maintain a steady cash flow and help your business stay on track?

1. Keep a record of deposits.

The benefits: It helps you prevent paying your taxes using money that is not obtained from your business income.

The steps: The first thing you need to do when recording your deposits is to choose a system that will straighten out your financial activities. It can either be bookkeeping software or a ledger. Regardless of the methods you use, it should provide you detailed information of your financial standing including the deposits you made all through the year.

2. Make a list of your expenses.

The benefits: You are more likely to prevent missing some tax write-offs and pay your taxes on time.

The steps: Auditing your expenses is a good habit that you should develop because it puts your business in proper perspectives. When going out on a business trip, see to it that you keep a notebook to record your business expenses on. With this simple habit, you can be sure that you remain in the loop with your business’ financial activities.

3. Plan major expenses carefully.

The benefits: You are well-prepared for bigger business opportunities that come your way even if it means spending vast amounts of money.

The steps: Make it a habit to plan in advance so you will know how much you should spend for some business improvements that you want to consider. You should also keep in mind that every business will experience peak and off-peak season. However, if you have planned ahead of time, major expenses will not worry you.

4. Store receipts and invoices.

The benefits: Cash flow will remain intact and you will reduce the risk of falling behind your bill payment schedule. 

The steps: Assign a person in your organization that will be responsible for tracking your billing. Make sure you keep track of your invoices and make a phone call to ensure that your payments have been settled in a timely manner. Invoices should not be confused for payment. Just because you have sent out an invoice does not necessarily mean you will not incur penalties or charges for late payment. 

5. Prepare money for paying your taxes.

The benefits: The ATO will not impose interest if you pay your taxes on time.

The steps: Set aside a portion of your business income for paying taxes. Don’t just make a mental note of tax deadlines as you might run the risk of forgetting them. Keep a note where you can easily retrieve it and make payments on or before the due date. Never underestimate the consequences of late payments because it can take its toll on your business sooner than you know.

Five Tips for Choosing Bookkeeping Software for Your Business

man 475557 1280It is a dream-come-true for every business to keep transactions smooth, hassle-free and fast. This is where bookkeeping software comes into play. You can be sure that your tasks are kept in order because one of the primary benefits of the software is to reduce redundancy especially when it comes to data entry. For small businesses, the process of encoding the customer’s information can be time-consuming if they heavily rely on employees. If one employee is assisting a handful of customers, the level of efficiency is more likely to suffer.

How to spot the right software for your bookkeeping needs?

1. Choose the software that is specially designed for your business’ niche because it can save you from choosing unnecessary features.

2. It is important that you determine your budget so you will know how much you are willing to spend for the software. While your budget can be your primary concern, do not put too much focus on it because you should also take quality into consideration. 

3. It is worth investing in the software that can help your business grow. One of the challenges of most small businesses is keeping up with the well-established businesses but with the help of efficient software, this goal will be achievable. 

4. Make use of a trial version for you to find out if you have picked the right software. 

5. Ask your bookkeeper for some recommendations in case you don’t know which option to choose. Read reviews from reliable sources to get an idea about your prospective software’s features and benefits. 

The Software Small Businesses Can Rely On:

• MYOB

This bookkeeping software allows you to get an accurate view of your cash flow. You will be spared from getting stuck in endless computations for your financial report. All you have to do is to link your bank account and the software will enter the necessary data for you. If you need to obtain real-time information of invoices and tax liabilities, MYOB will provide you a clear picture so you will know the status of your company’s finances. 

While accounting tasks can be a tiring and daunting, the software will make the process a whole lot easier. You can fulfill your tax obligations in a timely fashion because your supplier invoices and bills are stored securely. The best thing about MYOB is that you can collaborate with your bookkeeper without being physically present. You can keep up with the changes and updates with this feature.

The time you spend for payroll preparation will also be reduced by up to 40% because there are only three easy steps you need to follow. You can also send invoices with the use of your mobile device. Once you download free MYOB OnTheGo app, you will have the ability to use EFTPOS and credit card. 

• Xero

Xero is the noteworthy software that small businesses can put their trust in. This is not just the usual online bookkeeping software because it provides you up-to-date financial reports so you can keep track of your financial activities accurately. Its dashboard gives you quick and clear view of your bank balances, bills, invoices and other transactions.

Sales and purchases are also tracked easily so your employees will no longer spend too much time on this task. It also has the ability to categorise or import your bank transactions. As opposed to waiting at the end of the month to generate budgets and reports, Xero gives you the ability to obtain reports in real-time. 

When it comes to paying super contributions, the process will be fast and easy as the usual long process is by-passed. With this software, you can simply pay your employees’ contribution in a snap. The software can be downloaded so you can gain access to it anywhere you go. 

• Reckon

The software is such a time-saver because of its ability to generate over 200 reports. It also features unlimited payroll and massive lists of inventories. You can also make use of its job tracking tools so you will remain in control of your business no matter how busy you are. It also integrates BAS and payment summary so you can save time sorting them. 

For bank transactions, all you need to do is to link your bank account for real-time bank transaction monitoring. The invoices are also customizable and this is going to be advantageous because the feature lets you create your own logo and payment terms.

When it comes to choosing your bookkeeping software, it really pays to start with a free trial so you can gauge the software’s ability to deliver efficient and effective service. You should also keep in mind that the software has its own glitches and this is why it is imperative that you opt for the software that offers 24/7 technical support.

Record Keeping in a Shoebox - You need Help!

Is your mind as cluttered up as the pile of receipts in your table? Do you find it hard to keep a record of your financial transactions due to juggling multiple tasks at the same time? For any business, a bookkeeper is essential because they help you keep things organized especially if it has something to do with dealing with numbers. You might be spending too much time trying to remember the transactions you made on a single day, but due to the tasks at hand, getting everything organized may be such a hard thing to do. If you have a fledgling business, you may consider keeping receipts very trivial. However, you will come to appreciate its importance in the long run. This is because the receipts serve as a way to track the progress of your business. It gives you a clue for tracking your progress. Without receipts, how would you go about preparing your financial statements?accounting 57284 640 

The role that a bookkeeper plays cannot be underestimated. If you used to set aside the importance of a bookkeeper in your business, these situations may just change your mind: 

• You need to look for receipts for a specific transaction.

For minor or major transactions, receipts serve as proof that the transactions have really been made. These receipts are kept for good reasons. In the future, you will need to prepare financial report which includes all of the financial endeavors you have pursued. Without the receipts, there is no proof that the transactions have taken place. However, if you have a bookkeeper, the receipts and other important files you will need for preparing a financial statement are intact. 

• You need to prepare your tax returns.

Preparing all the necessary documents for filing your tax returns is often easier said than done. It cannot be carried out by an extremely busy person with limited time at his disposal. It is either you miss out on completing the essential documents or you are going around in circles as you have a lot of things in mind. When you have a bookkeeper to do the job, everything you need for the process to be smooth sailing is going to be achievable. 

• You want a complete report of your deductible expenses.

It is easy to make a mental note of your expenses, provided you do not have any important matters to attend to. Unfortunately, a business owner has a lot of things to do aside from preparing financial statements. A bookkeeper will help ease your worries by ensuring that you back up your deductible expenses.

The time you spend for all of your back-end activities will be significantly reduced if you use a bookkeeper’s service. You can also save money without necessarily cutting corners and as a result, your purpose of keeping track of every cent is not defeated. Any technicalities involved in bookkeeping will be properly addressed. At the end of the day, your business goals are achieved and the quality of work is not compromised. Your business can also go the extra mile as you have already set your bookkeeping worries aside.

Get Ready For Superstream

In a nutshell, Superstream is an advanced package dedicated to improving everyday superannuation transactions. The process of submitting payments and essential data will be made much easier with the use of this system. Employers with more than 20 employees will have until June 30, 2015 to complete the requirements. However if a company has less than 20 employees, employers need to comply with the requirements until June 30, 2016. To ensure that employers are ready for these changes, it is important that they also prepare contribution data following the electronic format. The employers will adopt the new standard by June 30 2017. All employers that are making super contributions are mandated to use SuperStream.

Reasons for introducing SuperStream:calculator 695084 1280

It is every employer’s obligation to ensure that employee contributions are paid in a consistent and timely manner. With this new system, discrepancies will be prevented because transactions are done electronically.

Before employers can use SuperStream, changes have to be made with their existing system. Otherwise, there will be some issues with adopting SuperStream. The software that employers need to use should be compatible with SuperStream. Employers can either upgrade their payroll software or a third party service provider. For employers with less than 20 employees, another option to consider is using a commercial clearing house. This is also referred to as free Small Business Superannuation. Since this is a completely different approach, employers will also be required to collect additional information for the electronic processing to take place. The essential information includes electronic service address, bank account details, ABN and unique superannuation identifier.

The Significant Benefits of Superstream to Employers and Employees:

Employers

• Employers will only spend less amount of time dealing with fund queries and data issues.
• Employers save on the cost of processing payment and contributions.
• Since SuperStream only uses a single channel, employers can focus on a systematic process for handling employee contribution.
• Superannuation obligations become less stressful because there is a steady flow of information and cash.

Employees

• Employees will have greater peace of mind as payment processing will be less prone to errors.
• Payments and contributions are processed faster than using the old approach.
• Employees will have better retirement savings as the new system is more efficient.
• Employees will be notified once their contributions have been received.

How does SuperStream work?

SuperStream has four elements, which are essential for each transaction being made:

• Payment methods which have been set using standard electronic format.
• Standard message structure designed for sending and receiving notifications or messages when funds have been received.
• Data format so employees receive reports of their contributions.
• Business terms and definitions used for describing employees’ contributions.

While these are considered technical details of SuperStream, employers should not worry about it so long as compliance with the requirements is observed. In the event SuperStream is prevented from sending notifications of contributions due to internet outages or technical issues, the alternative channels will be used such as paper and electronic options. Employers must also include the reasons for using these options. These contributions cannot be rejected if these reasons are indicated.

For employers to get a better grasp of this new system, support tools will also be provided and these include support mailbox, seminars, self-help materials, which can be accessed online and links to the system’s framework.

­ Questions? Give Andrew a call 0450 605 592

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