24 July 2013

"The Accountant or The Dentist" Article by Tina Zawila

Yes, it's Tax Time!  By now you should have received your Payment Summary from your employer (or employers) and be collating receipts and information to have your 2013 income tax return prepared.

As much as the team at Sothertons love tax, it seems that some of you consider the annual visit to the accountant to be like the six monthly trip to the dentist!  My apologies to all the dentists out there, but you guys get a bad wrap too!
This means that some of you have "put off" the visit to the accountant maybe for more than one year - maybe for several!  Typically at this time of the year, some taxpayers 'come clean' and admit that they have to catch up on a few returns.  If you are in this situation, I encourage you to contact your accountant as soon as possible and make the appointment.  Generally, it's never as bad as you think and you might even have a refund due to you!

I also find it's a good time to "take stock" of your financial position.  Whilst business prepare Profit and Loss and Balance Sheets at least annually, most individuals wouldn't even consider "reporting" on their finances (except for that annual tax return).  However, you are your own "business" and you should know how much is coming in and how much is going out.  You should also know what you own and what you owe (and which one is greater).  This knowledge will allow you to make better financial decisions in the future.  Remember knowledge is power!

So while, January is usually the time of the year to make all those new years resolutions about exercising, eating better etc, make July the time of the year when you pause and look at your finances and make some resolutions to make improvements in the year to come!
Are you guilty of “putting off” the visit to your accountant to have your returns done?
Or, Are you up to date but haven’t considered “taking stock” on your financial position?
Do you know what you own and what you owe?

At Sothertons, we offer our "Tax Worx Package" for individual taxpayers which includes preparation of your income tax return with one of our accountants and a review of your financial position with a financial planner.  Call us today on 49721300 to make an appointment.

22 July 2013

"The Vegemite Story" Article by Steve Marsten

I recently perused an article on how vegemite became successful. It was quite inspiring. It was invented by a Gentleman named Cyril Callister. He was university educated and he wanted to come up with a product to match Marmite which was hard to get during wartime. In 1923 the Vegemite product started rolling off the production line. The problem was, the salespeople hated it and there were more jars returned than going out the door! Several times the business was on the brink and almost went under. The National Australian Bank at the time supported them to keep the doors open.

He went on to sell processed cheese in partnership with Kraft and in a piece of marketing brilliance, gave a small jar of vegemite away with every block of cheese. After a British scientist then discovered that Vegemite cured Pigeons with polyneuritis (or beriberi), the marketing approach changed and focussed on Vegemite as a rich source of Vitamin B – the all-round wonder food! There were some outrageous claims about it curing almost any ailment however by the late 1930’s, the health message had been taken up by the baby health centres.  It has often been the reason that adults whose mothers believed in the product, usually have a more savoury palate than children of today who are less likely to be exposed to Vegemite. And as they say in the classics – the rest is history and we created “the Vegemite kid”!

The keys to take from this story are:

1.       If at first you appear to fail, the product may not be the problem;
2.       Marketing strategy is extremely important; Have a plan B to fall back to;
3.       Are there any key elements of the product that you have not explored?
4.       Employ people who truly love the product they are selling.
5.       Consider other ways to get the public interested in your product.

Have you got a great product that isn’t selling as well as it should?
Have you implemented a marketing strategy that produced outstanding results?
Is your team supportive and do they believe in the product or service that they are selling?

Having a business consultant to bounce your ideas off is a great benefit to anyone in business.  The experienced staff at Sothertons are focussed on growing profits for business owners. Feel free to contact them on 4972 1300.

09 July 2013

"Looking after your loved ones" Article by Tina Zawila

I considered calling this article, Death and Taxes, and then I thought – no-one will read it!!  As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.   However, for many of us, these are topics we would rather not discuss.
Whilst, as an accountant, tax is something I deal with every day, fortunately I do not have to face the other one of life’s certainties very often.   However, I am acutely aware of the difficulties families and loved ones can face, if arrangements, including a valid will are not in place.

So with that in mind, I recently commenced the process of having my own will prepared - although I’m not planning on going anywhere for a while!   Obviously, I engaged a professional to assist me with this process, and I have to admit, he needed a lot more information than I expected, and challenged me with some questions, that I really wasn’t prepared to answer.

Dealing with someone’s assets, liabilities and personal wishes is not an easy task for those left behind.  It is vital that arrangements are documented, and it is so important that we have had conversations with our loved ones and those responsible for our estate, so that they clearly understand our desires.

For a business owner, this process may be even more complicated, particularly if you are in business with someone who is not part of your family. 

Have you got a Will?
Did you engage a professional to have your Will prepared?
Is you will valid?
Do you need assistance in determining your assets and liabilities?

At Sothertons, we are committed to looking after your financial well-being, and we recommend that you aim to be “financially well-organised” and that includes having a valid will in place.  This task is something I have “put on the back burner” for too long, however, I now feel relieved to know that my loved ones will be looked after, and that the process of attending to my estate will be as “smooth” as possible.

04 July 2013

"Marketing to the Subconscious" Article by Steve Marsten

I am one of those people who need a coffee everyday – sometimes two! Recently I called into a cafĂ© that I don’t usually visit to pick up a coffee on Sunday. My coffee has a couple of extra shots so I always expect to pay a little more.  The mature aged attendant rang up $18, which I said – “you have to be kidding me”? She looked me in the eye and said “no that’s what it says!”  Another attendant realising it didn’t sound right rushed over and sorted things out. Apparently she had not rung off the last sale. So the attendant then said standard coffee $5 plus one extra shot $6.05! Plus another extra shot – yes that will be $7.10!” That was one expensive coffee AND it was only a medium cup! On the way back to my car I found myself wondering why I didn’t really enjoy that experience. I am sure it was the fact that she counted out the shot prices.

This ties in with an article I read recently about author – Roger Dooley’s new book. It focussed on Neuro-marketing. Amazingly 95% of our thoughts, emotions and learning occur subconsciously; hence it’s much more important that we appeal to the subconscious instead of targeting the remaining 5% or our rational mind. Roger Dooley sets down three important tips for marketing:

  • State the price to the cent. A precise amount of $95.66 sounds well researched and accurate while a rounded figure of $100 may seem inflated.
  • Don’t penny pinch your customers. Airlines are classics for this. There are separate fees for bags, aisle seats and food etc. Every extra fee tweaks the brains pain centre. Bundled pricing is much better. This is what upset me in the coffee shop!
  • And finally – use a simple font like Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman instead of script like fonts. If you want customers to fill out web forms or take some sort of action, research shows that they anticipate the task will take less time when described in simple font.
Do you use quote a flat fee or split your price?
What has been your experience with “Extras”?
What do you think your customers prefer?

At Sothertons we can help you with all aspects of business management.  We can also keep you accountable and help you turn your ideas into actions to improve business results. Contact the team today on (07) 4972 1300.