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Benefits of cloud computing

Posted on November 22, 2017 by admin

Cloud computing is redefining the way small businesses conduct business; the advantages in the technology allow users to access data off-site, save on IT equipment and give businesses a competitive edge. Here are a few benefits of switching your business to the cloud: Greater flexibility Growing businesses with a need for greater accessibility, i.e., flexible working arrangements for staff and so on, can benefit immensely from the cloud. Provided there is internet connection, you can access data from home, while on holidays, commuting or virtually anywhere across the globe. Reduced hardware costs Moving to the cloud can be likened to renting – you pay for your services through a cloud computing service provider. This means you don’t need to purchase expensive IT systems and the costs of operating and upgrading these systems are removed. Instead, the cost of new hardware and software, etc., is included in your contract. Automatic updates Cloud computing has the added perk of providing regular and automatic software and security updates for you. Not only does this keep your technology up-to-date, it frees up time that would otherwise be spent manually updating systems. Increased collaboration and control Employees and third parties can access and work on […]

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Time wasters to avoid

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Understanding what behaviours and factors which cause employees to waste time is important. Only when you understand why time is not being used efficiently can you implement strategies to overcome this. Consider the following: Technology Technology helps us do things in a fraction of the time, it allows us to do things that are otherwise impossible to do from day to day. While it is extremely valuable, it is also one of the greatest distractions in the workplace. The amount of time employees spend checking their phones each day adds up and breaks down the flow of productivity. Another way technology becomes a time waster is when it isn’t working efficiently. Slow internet connection or slow software updates, failure to set up firewalls and virus protection can slow down an employee’s day drastically. Lack of motivation Employees who aren’t motivated are a big source of wasted time. Being motivated to get a task completed means you are going to complete it faster and to a higher quality. If employees aren’t motivated, they are likely to waste time procrastinating and doing anything other than the work they should be doing. Failing to adapt There could be ten processes to complete the […]

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SMSFs warned of risky retirement planning

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The ATO is warning self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees about the risks of some emerging retirement planning arrangements. Retirees or SMSF trustees who are involved in any illegal arrangement, even by accident, may face severe penalties, risk losing their retirement savings, and potentially, their rights as a trustee to manage their own fund. The Tax Office has released additional information through their Super Scheme Smart Program to help educate retirees and trustees of these complex tax avoidance schemes and arrangements. Super Scheme Smart provides case studies and information packs to ensure taxpayers are informed about illegal arrangements including what warning signs to look for and where to go for help. Many of the arrangements are cleverly designed to look legitimate, give a taxpayer a minimal or zero amount of tax or tax refund or concession, aim to give a present day tax benefit and involve a fair amount of paper shuffling. Some arrangements may be structured in a way which appears to satisfy certain regulatory rules, however, these arrangements are often ‘too good to be true’ and are in fact illegal. Among the ATO’s previous concerns about dividend stripping arrangements and contrived arrangements involving diversion of personal services income to […]

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ATO’s data matching programs

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The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has sophisticated data matching programs in place to ensure individuals and businesses are complying with their obligations and to uphold the integrity of the tax system for the community at large. The Tax Office uses data matching to pre-fill tax returns, ensure people and businesses are lodging tax returns and activity statements when required, correctly declaring their income and claiming offsets, and meeting their tax obligations. It helps to detect dishonest individuals and businesses operating outside the tax system, detect fraud against the Commonwealth and to recover debt. The following areas are currently under close scrutiny: Credit and debit cards The ATO obtains data from banks and financial institutions to identify the total credit and debit card payments received by Australian businesses. Specialised payment systems Data on electronic payments made through specialised payment systems to Australian businesses is analysed in conjunction with data collected through the credit and debit card data-matching program. Business transactions through payment systems Data is collected from organisations that process electronic payments for businesses in a report. Online selling Details of online sellers who sell goods and services to the value of $12,000 or more is attained. Data is obtained from […]

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Sexual harassment and the workplace

Posted on November 15, 2017 by admin

In a perfect world, sexual harassment would never occur, let alone in the workplace, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Sexual harassment, while it has reduced over the past decade due to a number of factors, still occurs in many workplaces. It is damaging to not only the individuals involved and their families, but to the business and the rest of the workplace as well. One of the first steps to minimising not only the chances of harassment occurring but also the attitude employees and employers have towards those they work with is fostering an environment in which all that come into contact with the business feel safe. An office where jokes based on sex or gender are tolerated is not necessarily one that condones sexual harassment, but it is one where those likely to harass feel more comfortable in doing so. What is obvious to some may not be obvious to others, so clarifying exactly what is and what isn’t acceptable in the workplace is a must. Understanding what the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 classifies as sexual harassment will help businesses to tailor their code of conduct appropriately. The Sex Discrimination Act recognises sexual harassment as: – Staring […]

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Is your company culture hit or miss?

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Once upon a time, people found a job and stayed in it for their working lifetime. In many cases, it was unheard of to change career or to go back to study. However, nowadays, with online studying and such a great emphasis on mental health and overall well being, gone are the days where individuals stay working in an environment that makes them unhappy. To retain employees and ensure you are a providing a safe workplace where they feel driven and inspired, you must focus on developing a company culture that supports rather than breaks down employees. Consider the following benefits of a strong company culture: Productivity An office where employees feel respected, valued and enjoy their work each day is an office that is bound to be productive. In terms of making money and being profitable, employees need to be productive. While it may – on face value – look like an employee is not doing their work because they are conversing with another employee or they regularly go for team lunches, this is actually a sign that an employee enjoys their workplace and in turn is more likely to work hard. Retention A company with a great culture […]

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Getting customers to settle debts

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Good credit management is an important business strategy to maintain cash flow and stable finances. A cornerstone of managing credit is not only making sure an invoice gets paid, but gets paid on time. Before a debt recovery process commences (which may delay payment further and damage a relationship with a customer), it is worthwhile for businesses to put a few processes in place to avoid customer debt in the first place. Prepare your customers Making sure the customers understand their payment terms from the start is the first step in training them to keep track of outstanding invoices and payment due dates. Keep detailed records Businesses should keep all customer records such as payment term agreements, customer limits and outstanding sales to date. Follow up regularly Starting following up procedures once a payment becomes overdue will help speed up the process. It is also very important to know exactly who to speak to about payment matters, it may be different to the person you had been dealing with during the transaction process. Being consistent when following up debts will help businesses maintain good customer relationships. Implement payment in full Most businesses adopt this policy in regards to payment procedures. […]

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How to ensure your branding is consistent

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Consistent branding is a big factor in your business’ marketing strategy – it can help build loyal customers, improve recognition and trustworthiness. Businesses that adopt consistent branding techniques gain a competitive advantage by differentiating their products and services from other competitors in the market. Staying consistent also helps to stay on track in delivering the brand promise to customers and clients through every single touch point. Here are three ways to focus on delivering a consistent brand: Similar tone and showcase personality Whether your business is advertising via social media, TV advertisement or email campaign, the content should be similar in tone. Your marketing campaigns are a way to express your business’ personality and values, so make sure you deliver on this. Use similar language, adopt the voice to suit the type of marketing (i.e., conversational v formal) and stick to key messages for target audiences. Design Colours, images, fonts, logos and so on all communicate your business’ brand and identity. Creating a style guide is very useful for communicating your expectations to a graphic designer. If the designer is given a vague brief with no rules or guidelines then you cannot expect their designs to match your overall brand. […]

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SMSF annual return for pension phase trustees

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Self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees who are in pension phase must lodge their SMSF annual returns if they remain active, or choose to wind up the fund. The ATO is warning SMSF trustees about their regulatory obligations and is paying close attention to those SMSFs that are not meeting their lodgment obligations. Trustees must lodge a Self-managed superannuation fund annual return 2017 if it was a self-managed super fund on 30 June 2017, or a self-managed super fund that was wound up during 2016-17. Super funds that are not SMSFs at the end of 2016-17 must use the fund income tax return 2017 and, where required, a separate super member contributions statement. Even if your fund does not have a tax liability, your SMSF must lodge an SMSF annual return.

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Using the margin scheme for property sales

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Those selling property as part of a business sale may be eligible for the margin scheme. The margin scheme is a way of working out the GST you must pay on the property that you are selling as part of your business. The scheme is only applicable if the sale of a property is taxable. The GST on property sales is generally equal to one-eleventh of the sale price. If the margin scheme is used, the GST is calculated on the difference between the sale price and your purchase price of the property (or the property’s value on 1 July 2000 if it was acquired before that date). To meet the eligibility requirements you need to be registered for GST or required to be registered for GST. Contact our office to check your eligibility for the margin scheme when selling property as the application of GST to property-related transactions can be quite complex.

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