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Protecting your business from online scams

Protecting your business from any kind of threat is a priority. When it comes to online security, however, many owners are not practising secure measures to properly protect their business. Small businesses are unfortunately too often the target of online scamming and should practice a number of strategies to ensure their online security.

Keep personal details secure:
Be mindful of how much personal information is accessible on your website and social media profiles. Back up your content and avoid using public computers or hotspots where possible. Ensure you are using password protection and that you choose your passwords carefully. An organisation-wide password policy can also go a long way in protecting businesses from online fraud.

Practice caution:
It is common for small businesses to receive fake invoices which can easily be paid if not enough attention is being paid. Keep records of everything and check the credibility of people who are contacting you online expecting some kind of financial transaction. Take the time to educate your employees about the importance of not clicking on links in emails or messages, or opening attachments from people or organisations they don’t know.

Install appropriate anti-virus software:
Ensuring all technologies used for your business are protected from vicious spyware or malware is a necessary step when preventing online scamming from occurring. Do your research to find the best software for your business and your business needs. Be sure to read reviews before deciding on the software you will install.

Posted on 22 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

Managing business growth

It can be exciting and reassuring when your new business venture achieves growth and success. When things reach a certain threshold, however, you may no longer be able to oversee everything as a business owner. Here are some key things to consider in order to manage the development of your business.

Key performance indicators:
As your business expands, determine some key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate certain tasks and how you will get regular data for each. Some examples include:

Develop your skills:
In addition to making changes that improve how your business operates, you should also focus on adjusting your own leadership style. In areas where you recognise you could improve on, think about delegating tasks to your employees to maintain growth. Brainstorming with your staff and other advisors may open you up to different perspectives and insights, facilitating a diversity of ideas within your organisation.

Anticipate competition:
Growth will inevitably attract competition. If the growth of your business begins to take away your competitor’s market share, they may implement strategies to counter your success such as lowering their prices, increasing advertising or adding new products. Be prepared for this and pay attention to the other businesses in your market.

Posted on 22 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

What SMSF records should you keep?

A key responsibility for trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) is to ensure proper and accurate tax and superannuation records are kept for the fund. When you have been running your fund for a long period of time and have amassed a large amount of information, it can be hard as a trustee to know exactly what records to keep, how long for and where to store them.

The ATO requires SMSF trustees to keep the following records for a minimum of five years:

The following records are required to be kept for a minimum of 10 years:

Your SMSF’s records must be kept in Australia, in writing and in English. If your SMSF does not keep the records for the minimum time required, you may be subject to penalties and fines.

Posted on 22 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

What is replacing AUSKey?

The ATO is developing new online services systems as AUSKey will be retired in March 2020

Replacing AUSKey will be myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM).

MyGovID is an authentication service that will allow individuals to prove who they are online. This system will work by establishing your identity once online and then using your myGovID credentials to access government services you need online.

Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) is an authorisation service that allows you to link your myGovID to an ABN, managing authorisations across government services, for businesses and their staff. RAM gives you the ability to add multiple businesses, access the business portal on behalf of multiple businesses, modify authorisations, customise and delegate the level of business authorisation for employees and nominate who can act on behalf of your practice.

MyGovID and RAM are currently available in a public beta for eligible businesses to access the ATO Business Portal and will soon be available for online services for agents. AUSkey can still be used to access online ATO services while myGovID and RAM are being developed.

The ATO advises that in preparation for the changes you check your ABN details are up-to-date in the Australian Business Register (ABR).

Posted on 22 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

Hiring the ‘overqualified’

Motivating employees is a large part of keeping quality standards in the workplace. Managers may be missing out on the ideal hire by eliminating those who are overqualified from consideration. When potentially hiring someone who is overqualified, it pays to look at every aspect of what they could bring to the business.

What makes a candidate overqualified?
People with a higher education level that is required for the job they are applying for are generally what would be considered overqualified. There are also those individuals who have had a number of years experience in the industry that would make a starting position seem like a step down the career ladder.

The Pros:
The overqualified candidate will require less training than those who are inexperienced, saving you time and money not having to train new staff. They could be left unsupervised for longer periods as they will have more industry knowledge to get them through a task and can provide assistance and guidance to other new members of the team.

The Cons:
While overqualified candidates may save you money in regards to training, they may request a higher salary overall. If you advertise a job with a certain pay rate then it is assumed applicants are willing to comply with this, but those who have more experience may want a bit more for their work.

Whichever way you decide to go, it is important not to rule out a candidate simply because they have more knowledge or experience required for the position. Getting to know an individual’s motivation and personality during the interview process will give you a look at what kind of worker they will be, which will be different from the side that shows on paper.

Posted on 15 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

What makes a successful business plan

When starting a new business, there are many elements you need to consider. Careful planning is essential to ensuring the longevity of your business, but what exactly goes into a good business plan?

A good business plan is one that is detailed. Sections should include; an executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management, service or product, marketing and sales, funding request and financial projections. These topics cover as much of the business as you can in the planning stage.

Showing attention to detail in your written plan demonstrates a commitment to the business going forward. When writing a business plan, there are a few ways to ensure you are creating the best guide for your idea. Researching the industry and other companies in the market you are looking to step into can give you an insight into more than just the competition. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to know how and if audiences will respond to you.

If you aren’t presenting your plan to investors or potential partners, determine what purpose your business plan will serve. A good business plan can be used not only as a sales document but a map for the business into its future. Writing a business plan that makes projections for the first five years can keep you on track and show you areas in which you need to focus on.

A business plan is a guide to help you create and maintain the best business you can. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned, a successful business plan is one that teaches you the things you want to get out of the business and ways in which you can achieve them.

Posted on 15 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

SMSF rollovers in SuperStream to be deferred

The 2019-2020 Federal Budget suggested a deferral of the extension of SuperStream to self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) rollovers from 30 November 2019 to 31 March 2021. The commencement of this deferral has recently been confirmed by the government.

The deferral will coincide with the $19.3 million that will be provided to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) over three years from 2020-21, enabling electronic requests to be sent to superannuation funds for the release of money required under a number of superannuation arrangements.

With the combined date for both bringing electronic release authorities into SuperStream and allowing SMSF rollovers, changes needed to update SuperStream will only need to be undertaken once. The deferral aims to reduce administrative costs for funds and allows for a more integrated design of SuperStream.

First introduced in 2015, SuperStream is a government standard for processing superannuation payments electronically in a streamlined manner. Currently, SuperStream can only process rollovers between two APRA funds electronically but with the change will see this process extend to SMSFs.

Regulations for the deferral to put into effect will be made promptly.

Posted on 15 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

Maximising your tax return as a home-based business

Small business owners may be able to claim deductions for the costs of using your home as a principal place of business when filing your 2019 income tax return.

Tax deductions may be claimed for the business portion of expenses that include electricity, cleaning, rent payments or mortgage repayments. However, it can be difficult to ensure you are claiming expenses you are entitled to. How you operate the business out of your home will determine the types of expenses that may be claimed. Your business structure will also affect your entitlements and obligations when claiming deductions on home-based business expenses.

Individuals that operate a business as a sole trader or partnership are entitled to claim a deduction for the costs of running their business from home. There are two types of expenses that can be claimed, running expenses or occupancy expenses. Running expenses refer to the increased costs of using your home’s facilities for the running of your business. Occupancy expenses are those that you pay to own or rent your home.

Typically, those that are eligible to claim occupancy expenses can also claim running expenses. Records that need to be kept include written evidence, tax invoices and receipts, which should substantiate your claims for all home-based business expenses. You may consider consulting a trusted advisor or registered tax agent to ensure that you meet all obligations when claiming deductions in your tax return.

Posted on 15 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

Claiming a tax deduction for personal super contributions

Members of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) that are eligible can claim an income tax deduction on personal super contributions. Members that intend to do this must notify their fund trustee before lodging their 2019 individual tax return.

The eligibility requirements to claim a deduction for personal super contributions include:

Prior to lodging their 2019 tax return, eligible members must ensure that they supply the SMSF trustee with a notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction for personal super contributions. They must also provide a written acknowledgement from the SMSF trustee of the notice of intent.

Posted on 8 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

How to make shareable content

Content should be produced with the intention of it going viral and being shared across a broad number of platforms. Although this sounds ambitious, it is a good practice to help ensure solid planning is being incorporated into creating content to make an impact on readers. With that in mind, do not be discouraged if your content isn’t reaching large volumes of people, as there is a lot of luck behind creating viral content. Here are some ways you can get the most out of your social media presence.

Composition:
Careful thought needs to go into how you choose to display your content. The best way of composing your content will depend on a number of factors, such as your target audience, the seriousness of the content, and whether it is better presented using text, images or videos. Try using a mix of different ways when composing content such as lists, videos, infographics, photo essays, memes or written how to/opinion pieces.

Conversation:
Great and shareable content sparks discussion. The internet is flooded with information so to stand out and prevent being lost amongst the noise online, your content should generate a point of dialogue. Directing your audience to some kind of action or being intriguing enough to make people tell others about it is a good thing to keep in mind when creating and posting content. Incentives, such as giveaways, are another way to get your audience talking and sharing content. The cost to you is minimal, but the potential benefits are great.

Posted on 8 July '19, under General news. No Comments.

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