24 June 2014

"Hot tips for your 2014 Tax Return" Article by Tina Zawila

With tax time just around the corner, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has recently released the list of areas it will pay special attention to this tax year.

This year, instead of focusing on individual occupations, the ATO will be looking at specific work related claims.  

In particular, they will be looking closely into people who due to their occupation type claim a tax deduction for using their computer, mobile phone or other electronic device. 

In today’s world, this is likely to include almost every occupation and taxpayer in Australia!  Whether you are a doctor, teacher, electrician or hairdresser, most jobs require the use of a phone, computer or other electronic device out of hours, and this is usually reflected in our tax returns.

For people using their computers at home for work-related purposes it is very important for you to understand the distinction between what is work-related and what is personal use.

The ATO have said that they are using very sophisticated technology to check deductions and track down unusual or excessive claims which enables them to look at every single tax return.

This year the ATO will also be focusing on work-related claims around travel expenses, and people who transfer bulky tools and equipment between home and work.  In an “industrial town” like Gladstone, this is a common claim, so make sure you are eligible to claim and that your deduction is correct.

At Sothertons, our goal is to ensure your tax is legitimately minimised, by ensuring you claim all deductions to which you are entitled and that you have appropriate evidence to substantiate your claims.

Call us now on 4972 1300 to make an appointment for your 30 June 2014 Income Tax Return.  We offer a discount for the early birds who have their returns prepared in July or August.  Get in early!

17 June 2014

"Preparing for the Year End" Article by Steve Marsten

Well the financial year is drawing to a close, as a business owner, your focus will soon be on year-end accounting and bookkeeping tasks as well as forward planning for the new financial year. We’ve provided you with this handy checklist to ensure you have all your accounting and bookkeeping sorted for EOFY:

• Ensure that your BAS lodgements and super guarantee (SG) contributions are accurate and up-to-date.
• Update your payroll software to get the latest tax tables, including the increase in Medicare levy from 1.5% to 2% from 1 July 2014.
• Reconcile your payroll and provide 2014 PAYG Payment Summaries to your employees by Monday 14 July 2014. Ensure that the salary sacrifice superannuation contributions and certain reportable fringe benefits have been included on the PAYG Payment Summaries. The 2014 PAYG Payment Summary Statement needs to be lodged with the ATO by Thursday 14 August 2014.
• If your business carries stock, the stocktake of inventory should be completed by 30 June 2014. If you have adjusted stock quantities and identified spoilage in your inventory, this should be adjusted as at 30 June 2014 to ensure it is reflected in the 2013/14 accounts.
• Review your asset register to identify any adjustments required and damaged assets or obsolescence that need to be recorded in the assets schedule.
• Review your balance sheet and profit & loss statement to ensure you have completed the following items:
-          Bank accounts and loans are reconciled
-          Receivables and payables ledgers are reconciled to the general ledger
-          GST and PAYG withholding accounts are reconciled to the June BAS
-          Wages in the profit & loss are reconciled to the PAYG Payment Summaries
-          Capital items such as plant & equipment purchases have not been expensed as repairs
-          Amounts in suspense have been allocated to the appropriate account
-          Personal expenses have not been claimed as business expenses
-          Material differences to the prior year can be properly explained
At Sothertons we assist businesses prepare for year end with an EOY Business Review. This ensures business owners are financially well organised for the year ahead. Call 07 4972 1300.

12 June 2014

Finding Your Own Balance "Article by Tina Zawila"

A long weekend!  I trust you all enjoyed some time away from whatever it is you call "work".  My family and I went away for the weekend and enjoyed some precious time together.  

Over the weekend, I also worked on my upcoming presentation at Helen Simpson's Body Soul Wellness Workshop titled Women in Business - Strategies for Success, and one of the topics I will discuss is finding your purpose, your passion, what you love to do.  It's actually a foundation topic for everything I will discuss regarding success in business.

What occurred to me, as I spent time preparing my presentation (and even writing this article) is how much I love to do this "work"!  Some people may think I am a little crazy "working" on the weekend, but I genuinely enjoyed the time I spent doing this activity.  And isn't that what it's all about - enjoyment and happiness?

So if you get a moment this week, stop and think about what gets you out of bed in the morning? Does it warm your heart, energise and revitalise you?  Is it what you want to be known for, does it make a difference to you and those around you? 

If your current "work" doesn't provide you with personal enjoyment and satisfaction, then make sure you find time for the activities that make you feel great.  Maybe you could also start to think about how those activities could become your "work/business" one day.

At Sothertons Gladstone, we are passionate about making a difference and helping others spend their time and efforts on activities that they love to do.  Call us on 07 4972 1300.

03 June 2014

"Techniques in handling difficult people….” Article by Steve Marsten

I was discussing a “people” issue with a client in our Sothertons Boardroom recently. Put simply he wanted some advice on how to handle the bullies, the blamers, the rage-aholics, the whiners and the complainers. It reminded me of some classic issues that I have observed over the many years of being in business and of the simple approaches that we should consider.

Firstly, don’t expect them to be anything else but difficult. Once you have identified a difficult person – adjust your expectations so you are never blindsided by their actions. Give yourself some emotional distance.

Often when these types of people aren’t getting their own way or what they want - they push you into anger or exasperation making it difficult for you to act with a clear head. Those who provoke us are usually hiding something or lack competence or ability. Hence by provoking us either by complaining and whining they actually try to distract you from exposing whatever they are hiding.

Always let them finish talking. Often interruptions may escalate things. If you remain calm and centred, difficult people will catch themselves and back off. When it’s time to respond, consider some of the following responses:

“Could you please repeat that back to me in a calmer tone? I didn’t get what you were saying.”

Pause, look a little puzzled and say “Sorry what was that?”

If they use a lot of hyperbolic language then “Do you really believe what you just said?”

And if they a really venting – use the FAU technique – to extract the animosity, say “You seem (frustrated, angry, upset)....what’s that all about?”

Always remember it’s YOU who allows others to upset you, frustrate you or anger you. You actually can choose NOT to allow them to push your buttons and hence reduce your stress levels and not ruin your day. Sometimes we can get so focused on an aspect of your business that you don’t see a bully running amok in your business or see the white ants eating the foundations from the inside. The faster you recognise and remove difficult people from your business - the more positive your culture will become and the more people will be happier and willing to work.  Talk to the team at Sothertons for ways of improving your workplace culture.