Small and medium-sized businesses are spending on average 120 hours a year on admin tasks, according to recent research.

If your people are spending 120 hours wading through tedious and unproductive admin, that’s bad for the business and for your overall efficiency. Fortunately, technology and software automation can go a long way towards automating the low-level admin tasks.

Better productivity through automation

Automation is an important way to ease your business workload, with a host of different business apps and cloud solutions offering ways to automate your admin.

With ‘smart business tools’ increasing in number and choice, software is utilising automation algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cognitive solutions to help remove the mundane admin tasks from your workflows.

Core processes that will benefit from automation include:

  • Automated bookkeeping – Just take a photo of your receipts, expenses and invoices and ‘optical character recognition’ (OCR) technology will digitise the output and pull it through into your accounts software. No data entry, no human error and no lost receipts! We can do the rest to ensure your records are accurate.
  • Automated credit control – chasing up debts and late-paying customers takes time. Automated credit control apps track your debtor numbers and automatically sends out customised chaser emails as soon as an invoice is late. This reduces your credit control time, speeds up cash collection and cuts your aged debtor figure.
  • Automated payment collection – the easier it is to pay you, the faster your customers will pay. Automated card payments and cloud-based Direct Debit solutions allow you to automatically take payment from a customer as soon as an invoice is due. Some solutions will even automate the invoice matching and bank reconciliation process.
  • Automated reporting and forecasting – the better your reporting and business intelligence, the easier it is to make informed decisions about your company strategy. Accounting platforms and fintech tools now offer automatic, real-time reporting and forecasting, giving you access to the important numbers and metrics, fast.
  • Automated digital marketing – digital marketing is key to raising your brand’s profile. Marketing platforms offer important time-saving ways to schedule and post social media content, or email automation that sends a pre-programmed cadence of emails to specific target audiences within your wider customer base.

Talk to us about embracing the power of automation

If your admin is starting to hold you back, come and talk to us about how automation can pick up some of the heavy lifting as well as giving you the metrics you need for decision making. We can review your business processes and identify the automation opportunities, helping you choose the best apps to drive your business efficiently.

You’ll have an extra step to take if you have new employees who start from 1 November 2021 and they don’t choose a super fund.

You may now need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from the Australian Taxation Office(ATO). This change aims to stop your new employees paying extra account fees for unintended super accounts set up when they start a new job.

What you need to know

You may need to request stapled super fund details when:

  • your new employee starts on or after 1 November 2021
  • you need to make super guarantee payments for that employee, and
  • your employee is eligible to choose a super fund but doesn’t

You may still need to request stapled super fund details for some employees even though you don’t need to offer them a choice of super fund. This includes if your employees are temporary residents or they’re covered by an Enterprise Agreement or Workplace Determination made before 1 January 2021.

You can request stapled super fund details for your employees if you have full access to Online services for business. You need to review and update these accesses to protect the privacy and safety of your employees’ personal information.

You must meet your choice of super fund requirements and any stapled super fund obligations by the quarterly due date or you may face penalties.

What you need to do from 1 November 2021

Step 1: Offer your eligible employees a choice of super fund

You need to give your eligible new employees a super standard choice form and pay their super into the account they tell you on the form. Most employees are eligible to choose what fund their super goes into.

There is no change to this step of your super obligations.

Step 2: Request stapled super fund details

If your employee doesn’t choose a super fund, you may need to log into the ATO Online services and go to ‘Employee Super Accounts’ to request their stapled super fund details. We can do this for you.

The ATO will provide your employee’s stapled super fund details after the ATO have confirmed that you are their employer.

If the ATO provide a stapled super fund result for your employee, you must pay your employee’s super using the stapled super fund details the ATO provide you.

Step 3: Pay super into a default fund

You can pay into a default fund, or another fund that meets the choice of fund obligations if:

  • your employee doesn’t choose a super fund, and
  • The ATO have advised you that they don’t have a stapled super fund.

Talk to us if you’d like assistance with stapled super fund.

Are you employing casuals? You may want to read this article further as there are new rules from March 2021.

Casual Employment New Rules from March 2021

The Fair Work Act 2009 has been amended to enforce several new rules for employing casual workers.

The Act includes a statutory definition of casual employment, a pathway for casual employees to become permanent, and a Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS).

Definition of Casual Employee

A casual worker does not have an agreed pattern of work or an advance commitment to ongoing work from the employer. Therefore, there is no consistent or guaranteed work schedule, and the employee is paid an hourly rate plus casual loading according to the relevant modern award. If you require employees to agree to a regular roster well in advance of scheduled work and rely on them as an integral member of your team, talk to us about whether the employee should be considered a permanent employee. True casuals can choose whether or not to work when you offer them shifts.

Permanent part-time and full-time employees have a set roster of work and a commitment from the employer to ongoing work. For full details of casual employees, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman Casual Employees webpage.

Casual Conversion Pathway to Permanent Employment

Employers of casuals are now obliged to offer casual workers the option to convert to permanent employment after 12 months of employment if the pattern of work has been regular and systematic during the last six months.

Some modern awards already have clauses that allow employees to request permanent work. The Act overrides individual award provisions and means that employers must now actively offer conversion to casual workers who meet the criteria for converting to a permanent position.

If there are reasonable business grounds for not making an offer of permanent employment, the employer must notify casual employees.

Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS)

Employers must now provide the CEIS to all casual workers upon starting work. You must also continue to provide the National Employment Standards and Fair Work Information Statement. Visit the FWO Casual Employment Information Statement webpage for details and to download the form for your employees.

The CEIS outlines the rights of casual workers to become permanent employees in certain circumstances.

Review Your Casual Workforce

The rules around reasonable business grounds, when employees can refuse an offer, time constraints, and transitional provisions are complex.

  • First, check your employment contracts to make sure they meet the new definition of casual employment.
  • Then, put in place a process for assessing casual roles at the 12 month anniversary of the employee start date.
  • You’ll need to keep detailed records for casual employees to ensure you are complying with the changes.

Talk to us if you’d like assistance with managing your casual workforce.

You may wonder how unpaid tax debts will impact you when you are planning to borrow money from a lender. 

If you aren’t already engaged with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to manage your tax debts, you may want to read this article further as the disclosure of business tax debts measure took effect on 21 February 2020.

When will the ATO report business tax debts ?

The ATO may report a business tax debt if an entity meets the following criteria:

  • has an Australian business number (ABN), and is not an excluded entity;
  • has one or more tax debts, of which at least $100,000 is overdue by more than 90 days;
  • is not engaging with the ATO to manage their tax debt; or
  • doesn’t have an ongoing complaint about the proposed reporting of their entity’s tax debt information with the Inspector-General of Taxation Ombudsman.

An entity is excluded if it’s either, a:

  • deductible gift recipient;
  • complying superannuation fund;
  • registered charity; or
  • government entity.

What's the process ?

The ATO will send you a intent to disclose notice if they plan to disclose a business’ tax debt.

The notice will tell you what steps you can take to avoid your tax debt information being reported.

You will have 28 days from receiving the notice to take relevant action.

If you believe the ATO has made a mistake with your debt balance, or you disagree with the ATO’s decision to disclose your debt balance to credit reporting bureaus, contact us or the ATO immediately to discuss your situation.

 

What should I do if I receive an intent to disclose notice or meet the criteria mentioned above?

If you’re worried you won’t be able to pay on time, or you’ve already missed a due date, there are options available to support you.

If you are a small business, you also have access to Dispute Assist, a free service that helps unrepresented small businesses with the dispute process.

 

If you receive an intent to disclose notice , please contact us immediately. We are here to work with you to manage your tax obligations.

It takes guts to start a business. It also takes a strategic mindset to succeed.

Business owners are no strangers to weighing risk and navigating uncertainty, but the current climate has dialled everything up. Many business owners face the uncomfortable position of having to remap carefully thought-out succession plans and exit strategies and to consider selling their business before they’re ready and, possibly, for less than it’s worth.

Transition may be a better option

There are five different ways to sell:

  1. Close the business down and sell the assets
  2. Sell to a family member
  3. Sell to an employee
  4. Just a straight sale to an outside party
  5. Gradual buy-out – The Platform 1 model.

Preparing for sale - what’s important

  • Get your house in order – Ensure you have systems and processes in place so the business isn’t reliant on you, but can run as a standalone entity.
  • Maximise your profit – Make sure that you are not taking decisions to minimise your tax liability – because what you’re trying to do is create a profitable business.
  • Find a manager to take the reins early on – figure out what kind of individual would be right to run the business; finding that person, and developing them. Create a plan where the new manager buys in gradually over 3 to 6 years. The objective is to get the owner out of the business physically as quickly as possible by transferring relationships and processes to the incoming person, so the owner becomes more of an investor rather than a manager.

Don’t put off your succession plan - even if you are not ready to sell

It’s a good idea to think about this long before you need to sell so that you maximise the value of the business and achieve a better outcome. It’s also worth remembering that retirement doesn’t need to be doing nothing. If your business can run as an asset without your involvement, you don’t have to sell it completely, so not selling down 100% of the business is a viable option.

If you don’t already have a succession plan in place, we can help so that you have options when you need them.

Conflict is common in most workplaces. While it may not seem too detrimental at low levels, research has found that serious conflict and toxic workplace culture can significantly impact productivity, confidence and motivation. It also leads to more absenteeism and higher rates of employee turnover.

Obviously, no business is going to thrive if the team is upset, distracted, or avoiding work due to conflict, but it’s not completely unexpected, given friction and discord do occur when people work together.

It’s wise then, to be realistic about workplace conflict, and take a proactive approach to effectively managing and resolving conflict, and equipping every employee with conflict-management skills.

Not only will it ensure you meet your obligations to ensure the health and safety of your workers, it will help turn conflict into a constructive, energising force that makes for a better business.

Let’s have a look on how to best deal with conflict in a busy workplace:

 

Embrace it

 Instead of avoiding or shutting down conflict, good managers accept it as a natural part of human relations that can spark healthy debate, stimulate innovation, and increase engagement and trust.

Plan and get in early

Be ready for conflict so you can respond constructively to issues as they arise, resolve disagreements before they turn into full-blown disputes or tackle misconduct head-on.

Keep communication respectful

Ask for and consider everyone’s opinions and focus on the issues rather than the people. Compromise can be a lot easier if no one feels like they’ve lost or won.

Train for it

Employees who learn conflict-management skills are more comfortable and confident in handling differing views and concerns, more likely to positively resolve conflict, and experience less conflict overall.

Be compassionate

People want to be treated with respect and understanding, so look for mutually-acceptable outcomes. Working positively through problems can really bring the best out in your people.

If you’d like to chat to us about this further, please feel free to contact us 07 5620 1025.

The Federal Government is providing additional support to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) who continue to deal with the economic impacts of the COVID‑19 crisis by expanding eligibility for the SME Recovery Loan Scheme.

In recognition of the continued economic impacts of COVID‑19, the Government will remove requirements for SMEs to have received JobKeeper during the March quarter of 2021 or to have been a flood affected business in order to be eligible under the SME Recovery Loan Scheme.

Eligible Businesses

The Scheme is currently open to SMEs with a turnover of up to $250 million that were recipients of the JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 or were affected by the floods in eligible LGAs in March 2021. Both self‑employed individuals and non-profit businesses are eligible. Businesses that have accessed loans in Phase 1 and Phase 2 can also apply for loans under the scheme.

On 25 August 2021, the Government announced that the current requirements for SME’s to have received JobKeeper during the March quarter of 2021 or to have been a flood affected business will be removed. The Scheme Rules will be amended to reflect the updated eligibility and loans will be available through participating lenders once the changes become effective.

Key Features

Participating lenders are offering guaranteed loans on the following terms under the SME Recovery Loan Scheme:

  • The Government guarantee will be 80% of the loan amount.
  • Lenders are allowed to offer borrowers a repayment holiday of up to 24 months.
  • Loans can be used for a broad range of business purposes, including to support investment. Loans may be used to refinance any pre-existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme.
  • Borrowers can access up to $5 million in total, in addition to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 loan limits.
  • Loans are for terms of up to 10 years, with an optional repayment holiday period.
  • Loans can be either unsecured or secured (excluding residential property).
  • The interest rate on loans will be determined by lenders, but will be capped at around 7.5 per cent, with some flexibility for interest rates on variable rate loans to increase if market interest rates rise over time.

Eligible Loan & Products

Lenders can offer any product suitable to the borrower, with the exception of credit cards, charge cards, debit cards or business cards. Loans issued under the Scheme may take any other form of credit, provided the Scheme’s eligibility criteria are met.

Loans issued under the Scheme can be used to refinance existing loans or for a broad range of businesses purposes (including to support investment) but cannot be used to: 

  • purchase residential property;
  • purchase financial products;
  • lend to an associated entity; or
  • lease, rent, hire or hire purchase existing assets that are more than half way into their effective life.

Loans may be used to refinance any pre-existing debt of an eligible borrower, including those from the SME Guarantee Scheme. There will be some restrictions on refinancing loans, such as not allowing loans that are more than 30 days in arrears to be refinanced; or borrowers who have entered external administration, or are insolvent, to refinance debts. Lenders can vary or restructure loans as long as they continue to meet eligibility criteria (including the maximum loan term) and do not increase the loan limit after approval.

Lenders must disclose the effective interest rate to the borrower at the loan agreement date. For variable rate loans, the lender must disclose the relevant margin and underlying base rate where applicable.

Loans can be used to purchase non-residential real property (such as commercial property) or for the acquisition of another business.

Lenders will be able to rely on a declaration from the borrower in regards to the purpose of the loan. 

Application Period

Loans are available until 31 December 2021.

Should you have any questions or require assistance in putting a plan together, please don’t hesitate to contact our office on (07) 5620 1025 or hello@fiskl.com.au

The purpose of a business is to make money, and that means you have to know the difference between profit and cashflow.

Net profit is what you have left after you deduct all your business expenses from all your revenue. You change net profit only by changing the things that affect revenue and expenses.

For example, if:
  • You renegotiate with your suppliers, you may get stock cheaper, or carry less inventory
  • Your staff engage with customers better, you can learn more about what they do and don’t like – and get more business
  • You can roster staff differently, you may be able to run your business more efficiently.

 

Cashflow comes from various sources. However, it also covers operating expenses, taxes, equipment purchases, repayments, distribution, and so on.

Note that a profitable business does not always have good cashflow. And a business with good cashflow is not always profitable. For example, you can have good cashflow, and loss-making expenses.

To work out how fast you can grow your business, you need to look at your projected cashflow. We can advise you on this.

Keeping cash crowned as King. Your business can’t survive without cash.

The following six takeaways are essential for business success:

  1. Protect your cash position, by knowing what it is. Build a cashflow statement and always keep it up-to-date. If you foresee a shortfall, start at once to fix it.
  2. Create a cash buffer as an insurance against unexpected difficulties.
  3. Protect your cash position against revenue shocks, by maintaining a balance equivalent to at least two months of operating expenses.
  4. Be realistic with revenue expectations. Take action now if it looks like sales are not going to get you to breakeven.
  5. Credit checking up front will reduce the risk of customer non-payment. Make sure you follow up with clear payment terms agreed in writing. Communicate regularly with customers and automate where possible.
  6. Every dollar you spend reduces cash reserves. The best way to protect your cash is to create a budget for the spend you know you need, and stick to it.

Looking to improve cashflow? Make a time to talk to us. We are here to help.

Applications for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants have opened and will close on 16 November 2021

Available funding

You may be eligible to receive a grant of between $10,000 and $30,000 (excluding GST) depending on the size of your business. This grant may be used for business expenses.

Under the joint Queensland and Australian Government support package, tiered payments based on payroll size for eligible businesses and not-for-profit organisations across Queensland are available.

These include:

  • $10,000 grant to employing small businesses and not-for-profit organisations with an annual payroll in Queensland of less than $1.3 million
  • $15,000 grant to employing medium sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations with an annual payroll in Queensland between $1.3 million and $10 million
  • $30,000 grant to employing large sized tourism and hospitality focused businesses and not-for-profit organisations with an annual payroll in Queensland of greater than $10 million.

Who can apply

To be eligible, your business or not for profit organisation must:

  • employ staff (employees does not include any business owners)
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) continuously held from 30 June 2021
  • be registered for GST
  • have Queensland headquarters and have been trading in Queensland on 31 July 2021
  • not be insolvent, or have owners or directors that are insolvent or an undischarged bankrupt
  • have an annual payroll of not more than $10 million (except for large businesses and not for profit organisations operating in an identified tourism and hospitality sector) during any of the 2019, 2020 or 2021 financial years
  • have an annual turnover of over $75,000 during any of the 2019, 2020 or 2021 financial years
    • Note: Businesses that have recently started can provide financial records to show they will reasonably meet this turnover requirement in the 2022 financial year
  • demonstrate the business or not for profit organisation was directly or indirectly impacted by a lockdown event
  • demonstrate or declare a reduction in turnover of 30% or more during a nominated 7-day period
    • this must include at least 1 full day of a lockdown event when comparing against turnover achieved during the same 7-day period in July or August 2019; or
    • if the 2019 period does not indicate a typical weekly turnover (e.g. for a recently started small business or business that has experienced structural changes), include another comparable period (e.g. the same period in July/August 2020).

Large tourism and hospitality businesses and not for profit organisations must ensure they are undertaking business activities in any of the identified tourism and hospitality ANZSIC code industry areas and meet all eligibility criteria (an annual payroll can be greater than $10 million). 

How to apply

Applications are now open and will close on 16 November 2021

You will need to apply online with supporting evidence through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) portal.

a. Create a QRIDA profile

If you do not have a QRIDA profile login, complete the following steps:

  1. Visit the QRIDA portal to create your profile. 
  2. If you have not registered with QRIDA before:
    1. click on the ‘Register’ tab and enter your details
    2. after registering, QRIDA will send an email to validate your account – allow time to receive this email (remember to check your junk email too)
    3. when you have validated your account, you will be ready to log into the QRIDA portal and submit when applications open.

b. Gather and prepare your supporting evidence to submit with your application.

Please click here to see a list of supporting documentation requirements and feel free to contact us if you like assistance.

d. Processing Time

Grants will be processed in the order that they are received. The Government has announced that all eligible businesses who apply for the grant during the 3-month application period will receive funding.

Each State is continuing to release details of their own support for businesses. If you have been affected by another state lockdown, please feel free to contact us for the further information.

 

Applications for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants will open at 12pm (midday), 16 August 2021.

All eligible businesses who apply for a grant during the 3-month application period will receive funding. 

Available funding

You may be eligible to receive a grant of $5,000 (excluding GST). This grant may be used for business expenses.

Who can apply

a. SME businesses and not for profit organisations

To be eligible, you:

  • must employ staff
  • have a QLD headquarters
  • must have an annual turnover of more than $75,000
  • must have an annual payroll in Queensland of not more than $10 million
  • must show or declare a reduction in turnover of 30% or more for a         1-week period that includes at least 1 full day of the:
    • South East Queensland lockdown commencing 31 July 2021;
    • the Cairns and Yarrabah lockdown commencing 8 August 2021; or
    • any other lockdown in Queensland in August 2021.

b. Large tourism and hospitality businesses and not for profit organisations

To be eligible, you:

  • must employ staff
  • have a QLD headquarters
  • must operate in the tourism and hospitality sector 
  • must have an annual turnover of more than $75,000
  • must have an annual payroll in Queensland of more than $10 million
  • must show or declare a reduction in turnover of 30% or more for a    1-week period that includes at least 1 full day of the:
    • South East Queensland lockdown commencing 31 July 2021;
    • Cairns and Yarrabah lockdown commencing 8 August 2021; or
    • any other lockdown in Queensland in August 2021. 

How to apply

Applications will open 12pm (midday), 16 August 2021.

You will need to apply online with supporting evidence through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) portal.

What can you do now?

a. Create a QRIDA profile

To get ready, create a QRIDA profile so you can submit as soon as applications open.

If you do not have a QRIDA profile login, complete the following steps:

  1. Visit the QRIDA portal to create your profile. 
  2. If you have not registered with QRIDA before:
    1. click on the ‘Register’ tab and enter your details
    2. after registering, QRIDA will send an email to validate your account – allow time to receive this email (remember to check your junk email too)
    3. when you have validated your account, you will be ready to log into the QRIDA portal and submit when applications open.

b. Check your QRIDA profile

If you already have a QRIDA portal login (i.e. to apply for a grant or loan previously), you should:

  1. Login to the QRIDA portal to test your password (Note: You may need to reset your password before the grant opens).
  2. Confirm all your details are correct.

c. Preparing supporting evidence

  • Reduction in turnover of 30% or more – you must demonstrate or declare you have experienced a reduction in turnover of 30% or more over a nominated 7-day period (including at least 1 full day of a lockdown event) compared against the same 7-day period in July/August 2019 (Pre-COVID comparison). If the 2019 period doesn’t indicate a typical weekly turnover, include another nominated 7-day period (e.g. the same period in July/August 2020). Provide the following evidence to demonstrate:
    • direct impact: – complete a declaration in your application
    • indirect impact:
      • submit sales turnover information from your business records for the relevant period; or
      • rely on a dated letter on letterhead issued by a qualified accountant. 
  • Employ staff – you must demonstrate you employ staff (in addition to the business owners and be employed on the business’s payroll). Evidence may include:
    • business financial statements, business payroll records, payroll tax return information; or
    • a dated letter on letterhead issued by a qualified accountant. 
  • Annual payroll up to $10 million – you must demonstrate an annual payroll up to $10 million during any of the 2019, 2020 or 2021 financial years (except for large tourism and hospitality businesses and not for profit organisations operating in an identified tourism and hospitality sector). Evidence may include:
    • business payroll records, payroll tax return information; or
    • a dated letter on letterhead issued by a qualified accountant. 
  • Annual turnover of over $75,000 – you must demonstrate annual turnover of over $75,000 during any of the 2019, 2020 or 2021 financial years. Evidence may include:
    • BAS statements or Australian Taxation Office records; or
    • a dated accountant letter on letterhead from a qualified accountant. 
  • Trading location – to verify your trading location, you may provide:
    • publicly available web information to identify your business operations (e.g. website or social media pages); or
    • utility bills for the business location.

If you’re not sure where to start, speak to Fiskl Advisory today.

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