26 July 2016

"Success by Helping Others Succeed" by Tina Zawila

Steve and I were fortunate to attend a conference in Dubai recently.  Whenever we travel to attend a conference we like to explore the location, and try to get an insight into the local economy and an understanding of the culture.  Dubai was amazing!

To kick off the conference we heard from Dr Tommy Weir an executive coach, author and speaker who has dedicated years to studying the leadership traits of the rulers of Dubai, culminating in a book titled "Leadership Dubai Style".  The book and Dr Weir's keynote presentation identifies what he believes are the 12 leadership habits that have taken Dubai from a fishing village just 50 years ago with no running water or electricity, to the global super city it is today.

Whilst I cannot cover all 12 traits in this article (I encourage you to read the book!), one of the concepts that appealed to me was Dubai's commitment to "create an environment where others succeed".  On the surface, it looked like Dubai had nothing to offer its early settlers.  However, even back then, the town leaders knew that if others succeeded, so would Dubai.  So they set out to create an environment that would attract entrepreneurs to trade and establish businesses in Dubai.  Even today, the city still offers "free trade zones" and little/no tariffs/taxes to attract businesses from all over the world to come to Dubai.

This strategy has proven to be extremely successful with Dubai being home to more than 1400 companies, including Fortune 500 companies and multinationals such as Facebook, Google, IBM, Mastercard, Microsoft and LinkedIn.  Providing economic trade, employment and prosperity to the city.  

So what can we learn from this?  I truly believe that to be successful in any endeavour or business you need to have other people's best interests at heart - your customers, clients, employees, suppliers, community etc.  If you aim to serve them and make them "more successful" (or even just "happy"!), then you will be successful too.

Can you apply this to your business?  Call us today on 49721300 to discuss this concept further, we would love to tell you more about the Leadership of Dubai.

19 July 2016

It’s Tax Time Again! By Joe Smith

It doesn’t seem like 12 months since the last tax season began, and in those 12 months we have seen some significant activity by the ATO in Gladstone with some taxpayers having to pay significant amounts back to the taxman!

We don’t need to dwell on the past though, and now that 2016 tax time has arrived everyone should know the importance of keeping invoices and receipts for legitimate work related deductions.  With the technology that we have available nowadays this should be easier than ever as taking a picture on your smart phone of a receipt is just as good as keeping a paper copy of the receipt.  Some businesses will also email an invoice directly to you in a PDF document so there is no need for paper and you can do your bit for the environment as well.

There are a couple of changes in the claims that can be made in the 2016 tax return that everyone should be made aware of.  The first is in relation to work related car expenses where there are now just 2 methods available to make a claim. 

The first method is a new flat rate of 66 cents per kilometre for up to 5000 kilometres of work related car travel.  This replaces the three rates previously available depending on the engine size of the vehicle and in most instances this will be a lower rate
than previously claimed.  The second method is by keeping a logbook for a 12 week period to work out a percentage of travel that relates to work use.  With this method all receipts and invoices must be kept during the year.

The second change is that the Net Medical Expenses Tax Offset will not be available in the 2016 tax return unless the expenses relate to aged care or disability aids.  This will affect a large number of families, people with health problems and the elderly as medical and dental expenses can mount up over the course of 12 months.

If you would like to know what can and cannot be claimed for your own specific circumstances, then book an appointment with a tax expert at Sothertons Gladstone. Call 4972 1300 to book and receive a discounted rate in July and August!

12 July 2016

"Email Management Madness!" By Tina Zawila

By the time you read this article, I will be attending  an annual conference and will be out of the office for a week including travel time, and therefore, this week has been crazy busy with pre-conference (just like pre-holiday) busyness, trying to get everything done before I go!

One area that I constantly struggle with is managing emails. 

So I have been looking for the best email management tips I could find, here’s three of them:
  • Rather than aim for zero emails in your inbox, aim for 20 items.  This number allows you to see all your emails without scrolling and is generally more achievable for most of us than that holy grail of “zero emails”.
  • Another tip I found was suggested by the CEO of Zappos (Tony Hsieh) which is essentially this:  today, you only read and respond to yesterday’s emails.  Most emails don’t need an immediate, same-day response and by not being distracted during the day by the arrival of emails, you will be more productive.  You will also know tomorrow when you get up (or before you leave the day before) just how much time you need to dedicate to addressing yesterday’s emails today.  Which leads me to the next tip...
  • Schedule a meeting with your inbox.  Set aside specific time each day, whether it’s an hour mid-morning (it has been suggested that the best time to clean up your inbox is two hours after you’ve started working), or three x 20 minute check-ins at the beginning, middle and end of the day.

Modern technology has vastly improved our productivity and ability to communicate with each other, however, if it is not used appropriately it can be more of a hindrance than a help.   It’s also important to remember that often the best form of communication is to talk face to face, or at least over the phone, so next time you think about sending an email, you may want to pick up the phone (for an instant response!).  Call our professional team at Sothertons Gladstone on 4972 1300 and let’s talk.

05 July 2016

Is BREXIT the end of the world as we know it? By Steve Marsten

By now you will have seen that the people of Britain have spoken and decided to leave the EU (European Union). This surprised the Global markets and culminated in a large sell off on Friday 24th, June. It had a significant impact on the Aussie dollar as well which seemed to have already built in a “stay” vote occurring – like most markets had.

Let’s put this into context, the Brexit Vote represents a protest vote in Britain. Their people protested against the surging immigration problem, The Bankers of London and then the EU. Most of the leaders of the largest parties including the Conservatives and the Labour Party, supported the “stay” vote however the non-conventional populists like Boris Johnson (the former London Major) lead the “Leave” vote and the people sent a message to their regular political leaders.

Many in Britain want Australia’s policy on immigration. Australia’s resettlement program through the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the highest per capita globally. That said, we have strict policies and processes that controls the levels of immigration. The EU has yet to devise strict policies of limitation as yet. What we sometimes don’t realise is the huge impact the EU is currently feeling with the mass migrating of peoples from the Middle East.

Either way, it’s not for me to comment on whether it’s right or wrong however, the impact of Britain’s support to leave the EU, will have economic consequences for Australia. On the one hand it leaves Australia in a position to obtain a “free trade” agreement with them and we should be the first to knock on that door. On the negative side, we will lose an ally within the EU however one could wonder how much pull one state actually would have in the EU. 

Markets will thus be rocky for a little while before they realise that it’s actually ok for the UK to go it alone. Let’s not forget that Britain is the 5th largest economy in the world and not one to be overlooked in the scheme of things. The markets will settle down again and continue focusing on the real economics of the Global economy. For more information feel free to call us at Sothertons
on 4972 1300.