31 October 2016

Is Digital Disruption really TRUST disruption? By Tina Zawila.

As accountants and business advisors we often say that potential clients need to "know you, like you, trust you" before they will choose to do business with you.  Quite simply, our profession puts us in a position of trust with our clients, often knowing their most intimate financial details.                      

However, the way trust flows through society is undergoing a significant change and it's causing a big shift. Technology is creating trust between people (strangers) on a scale never seen before.  All around the world we are getting into cars with complete strangers (Uber), opening our homes to complete strangers (AirBnB) and going on dates with people we have never met (Tinder).  And while we often talk about the growth of the sharing economy as part of the "digital disruption" of traditional services, the real disruption happening isn't just technological it is a TRUST shift.

It seems that as consumers we have stopped trusting institutions and started trusting strangers.  Instead of using taxis (regulated commercial operators) we prefer an Uber driver who drives part-time, instead of staying at a Best Western we are staying in a stranger's home when we travel.  We are prepared to do this, because, using technology, information is openly shared via reviews and ratings.  We are prepared to put our trust in systems that are transparent, inclusive and accountable.

What is also interesting is the way we behave as consumers often changes when we are interacting within the sharing economy, because we recognise that trust is a two-way street, and as a consumer you are also subject to transparent reviews and ratings.  I also believe that we feel more connected to the individual providing the service in the sharing economy than the “faceless” organisation or institution.

So as business owners what do we need to do to manage this trust disruption?  

How can we build trust with our clients and customers using technology and systems that are transparent, inclusive and accountable?  

Remember as Charles Darwin infamously said "it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one that is most adaptable to change."  

If you need help adapting your business model and strategies to the changes in the "trust" economy, call our professional team at Sothertons Gladstone on 4972 1300.

25 October 2016

Prepare for Single Touch Payroll

By Steven Marsten

Have you heard of the Single Touch Payroll (STP) system initiative? If not – you soon will. It received Royal Assent recently. So it’s not if, but when. Small Business - hold on to your hats! The ATO has come up with an initiative to create “real time” payroll data and superannuation payment efficiency.
Currently many employers manually report Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholdings to the ATO. Under the new STP this information will be automatically reported to the ATO through Standard Business Reporting (SBR) software.
Employers will have the option to pay their PAYG withholding tax at the same time they pay their staff.
From 1 July 2017, all businesses will be able to commence STP reporting, with the option to make voluntary payments. In addition, the ATO will transition employers with 20 or more employees to STP. From 1 July 2018, employers with 20 or more employees will be required to use STP enabled software for reporting to the ATO. The Government has yet to fully decide on the full rollout of STP for employers of less then 20 employees. This will take place after a pilot has been completed.
Interestingly the Government is going to offer a $100 non-refundable tax offset for SBR Software upgrades. Your business will have to have a turnover of less than $2million to obtain the benefit with the offset being made available in the 2018 financial year.
It appears the Government is seriously looking at the option of real-time superannuation payments as well. It will have the benefit of boosting employee’s retirement savings.
This initiative will have some seriously good benefits such as reducing the incidence of non-compliance of payment. There is some $3 billion in superannuation payments that are currently not being paid by either businesses in severe hardship; or with cashflow problems or those simply run by rogue operators.
Small business need to start giving consideration to this as it will impact on the way some businesses currently manage cashflows. Consideration may also be given to changing payroll systems from weekly to fortnightly or even monthly! If it’s to be the latter, then six months notice maybe a good idea.
To ensure that you stay abreast of these change be sure to call the experienced team at Sothertons on 4972 1300.

18 October 2016

Start your Engines! By Tina Zawila.

I know Bathurst is done and dusted for another year, and I have to confess I know next to nothing about car racing, but my article this week isn’t really about fast cars. 

As business advisors we often talk about setting goals and targets, knowing your key performance indicators (KPIs), measuring your results and all that other seemingly “boring accounting” stuff that you are supposed to do to make your business run like a well-tuned V8 engine.  Well have you thought about how you can make that stuff FUN?

At Sothertons, we share our goals and targets with our team, report our results to them on a quarterly basis and regularly get them involved in strategic decisions.  After all, they have a vested interest in our business and they are integral to our success! 

Recently, we had a team meeting to discuss our targets for the December 2016 quarter and we identified the KPIs we need to track to measure our success.  We  then came up with an idea on how to keep us focused on our quarterly goal over then next 90 days and how we can make it fun.

One of our goals this quarter is to connect with, and help as many start-up and growing businesses as we can. So with that aim in mind we came up with a theme of “Start Your Engines” and we have decorated the office and our work spaces with racing cars.  It does liven up our office space, and I know a couple of clients have looked twice as they have walked through the office.  But this bit of fun, actually reminds us everyday of our quarterly goal and keeps us focused on what we need to do to work towards achieving our target.  At the end of the quarter, once we have achieved our goal we will celebrate together.

So how do you get your team involved in your targets and goals?
How do you stay focused?
How can you make it fun?

If you need help with setting goals and targets for your business, call the professional team at Sothertons Gladstone.  If you are a start up or growing business we would love to talk to you! Call us today on 4972 1300.

12 October 2016

The Meaning of Business Collaboration. By Steve Marsten.

There is a lot of talk around Gladstone at the moment of Business Networks for small and micro businesses. There is also some confusion about the aims and goals of these networks as well understanding some of the jargon that academics and even accountants tend to overuse.

So I want to clarify a few points raised by clients this week. There is plenty said about collaborations in business networks. I am always cautious about Business Groups that provide business to business services within the group or network without addressing the issues of quality and value.

Collaborations and strategic brand partnerships are the most effective budget-friendly and valuable tools to tap into, provided they have businesses (or existing communities of relevant people) that are connected to your target market.

A real collaboration is where two or more businesses determine how to reach end goals for both businesses. Maybe it's building a joint email list or valuable content or just selling tickets to a jointly sponsored event. Either way both need to be committed to quality of product or service and adding real value to their clients.

Another way of collaborating is to identify a well known local brand that already holds an engaged audience or following, that fits within your target market. This is a particularly valuable resource for small and micro businesses. Collaborative marketing is not about money but about leveraging a targeted exposure for your business within an existing client base.

Finally, think about what you can offer your audience and that of your collaborator that will encourage your new and existing customers to engage or re-engage with you and provide a return to you and your collaborator.

At Sothertons we continue to help and assist micro and start up businesses to reach their potential by assisting them to get creative with some brand collaborations. Call us on 07 4972 1300.

05 October 2016

Reach out, connect, create. By Tina Zawila.

One of the ways I like to start my day is to watch a TED talk.   TED is a non profit organization devoted to ”ideas worth spreading”, so you can watch/listen to talks from the world’s most inspired thinkers and curious souls.
Last week I listened to a talk by Courtney Martin, about the “American Dream” and how the way we live in the 21st century is changing.  She talks about intergenerational living and “revolutionary parenting” where people of all ages live together to raise families, share stories and support each other. 
Whilst the talk was focused on family and lifestyle, I did pick up a few gems that I believe are relevant to businesses and entrepreneurs.
I’ve always been a believer that “it takes a tribe to raise a child (not just two parents)” and I also believe, that a great business idea or budding entrepreneur also needs a network of people to grow and develop the idea into an operational business.
As business advisors, supporting and empowering people to achieve in business and life is what gets us out of bed in the morning!  We love to share the passion, excitement, opportunities, and challenges faced by business owners, and offer our professional advice, support and encouragement along their journey.   As a business owner or entrepreneur, you should never feel alone.
In her TED talk, Courtney said “The most reliable wealth is found in relationships” and I couldn’t agree more.  A community that fosters and supports creativity and ingenuity and encourages people to ‘have a go’ is one that I want to live in, and one that I want my children to live in.  We are fortunate here in Gladstone to have access to many networks and resources to support, educate and encourage you to pursue your dreams.
So reach out, connect and create. 
Live a life that is as connected and courageous as possible.
We would love to share your journey in business and life. Call the professional team at Sothertons on 4972 1300 and let’s connect and create together.