24 April 2018

The Tax Business Hates the most!

By Steve Marsten
Recently there has been a fair bit of discussion about which taxes Businesses hate the most. The answer from the feedback we hear from business owners is fairly obvious.
Business owners always say the most hated tax is payroll tax - by far! And we find that small businesses hate this tax with a vengeance because from their perspective, it simply doesn’t make sense to impose a tax on labour when they are trying to grow their business.

The Governments Treasury Department have released a report suggesting that businesses are fairly ambivalent about payroll tax. I’d love to know who on earth they spoke to or whether it was a discussion held in the hallowed halls of the Treasury Building around the water cooler! They suggest Payroll Tax is not a disincentive to grow. But that’s not what SME’s are telling us when we talk to them about their businesses. It halts business growth to a large extent. The Tax also makes some businesses less competitive as a result of an additional overhead for being successful. It’s potentially a success tax and represents around 4% additional costs on your payroll bill. Many look to avoid reaching the threshold because they don’t want to incur this impost.
Each State has their own Payroll Tax rates and unfortunately it’s unlikely the States will make a move on payroll tax unless the Federal government introduces a replacement revenue stream at a federal level.
According to ABS data, in 2016, payroll taxes raised $22.7 billion or about 28 per cent of total taxation revenue for all states.
There’s already angst because of assessment inconsistencies from State to State and it’s very much a state-based tax, so it’s up to the states individually to decide what they do with payroll tax, and given the dollars that flow, it is unlikely they will find an alternative funding source.
We should always remember that the GST was supposed to be the additional cashflow to States but the States never got around to getting rid of the dreaded Payroll Tax. And of course now they feel that the current level GST is  not enough. Wouldn’t we love the Governments of Australia to live within their means? Mr Turnbull consider this in your upcoming budget please.
For more information about payroll tax and other taxes call the team at sothertons on 07 4972 1300.

17 April 2018

More than just Bean Counters!

By Joe Smith
In recent research carried out by one of the big four banks, accountants were rated as the most important professional to small and medium businesses in terms of the performance of their business.  While we were rated above lawyers/solicitors, consultants and professional networks, the report also noted some areas where SME’s would like additional advice and services from accountants.
One of the quotes from a business owner was that they wanted to ‘find an accountant who wants to design the future, not write up history’.  I almost cheered when I read this as it is something that we strive to do for our clients. 
While it is still extremely important to meet compliance obligations for businesses through the preparation of financial statements, tax returns and activity statements, working with clients to design the future for their businesses is where we really get our kicks!
Assistance with business planning, strategy and the financial direction of businesses is an area where some business owners may not fully utilise the services of their accountant.  However these are some of the most important services that can be provided to ensure the ongoing growth and success of a business.
Keeping up with changes in technology is another area that business owners need to be on top of with cloud based bookkeeping, payroll, stock, scheduling and employee management software being a few key examples of where we can help reduce business owners time working ‘in’ the business to free up time to work ‘on’ their businesses.
With the business environment and conditions changing at an ever increasing pace, the value of talking to and working with your accountant on a regular basis is essential to the success of your business.  And using software that can keep you up to date by the minute, as opposed to writing up the historical financial performance of the business once per year, can only help improve the performance of your business and maybe even free up time to do something you love outside of the business!
If you would like assistance designing the future of your business, please call or email us at Sothertons Gladstone on 4972 1300 or email sothertons@sothertonsgld.com.au and we will work with you to ensure future business success!

10 April 2018

Here for Business

By Tina Zawila

In 2016, the Rio Tinto Community Fund launched a program called “Here for Business” to compliment it’s suite of “Here for Gladstone” community support programs.  At the time, the Fund Board identified the potential changes to our local economy post-construction boom, and recognised the need to promote and strengthen small businesses in our community.

Statistics show that small business is the backbone of Australia’s economy with almost 98% of Australian businesses reporting annual turnover of less than $2m, and with most businesses employing only between 1 and 4 people (according to the ABS Count as at June 2017).  So to support economic and employment growth, you need to support small business.

The Here for Business program is designed to support local entrepreneurs to launch, or expand their businesses, where this activity will add economic value to our community and lead to employment opportunities.

The program offers entrepreneurs access to a team of professional business advisors to help refine, or develop a robust business plan, and work with them to prepare to launch, or grow, the business venture.

The Fund also offers successful applicants access to an interest-free, micro-finance two-year loan to help them acquire key plant and equipment or other strategic assets critical to the establishment or growth of the business.

To be eligible, the business must:
  • ·         operate (or will operate) in the Gladstone region, 
  • ·         generate employment (for a non-related person) in the next 24 months,
  • ·         be operational now, or no later than within 6-12 months of application,

And the entrepreneur must:
  • ·         have capital ready to invest in the business
  • ·         be prepared to commit to the program and pay a refundable deposit

The program is one of the first of it’s kind in Australia, and has already helped numerous local businesses launch, grow and employ.   Is your business next?

Sothertons Gladstone is proud to be the facilitators of this amazing program on behalf of the Rio Tinto Community Fund.  If you would like more information, visit the website: www.hereforgladstone.com.au or call our office on 4972 1300.

03 April 2018

Are you the bait for the Phisherman!

By Steve Marsten
This week a work colleague received an invoice from me that had my mobile number and email address. It looked very real bar the senders address. It wasn’t my address.
This is called a Phishing Hack. It aims to gain access to something that it doesn’t currently. Hence an email masquerading as a trustworthy source in an attempt to bait the receiver to surrender sensitive information such as usernames, password, credit card numbers etc.
There has been a significant increase in Phishing attacks in recent years. Recently IT service companies reported that most customers weren’t prepared to protect themselves against phishing. Further, many felt they were not confident that their customers were vigilant enough to spot a email phishing scam.
The growth of phishing attacks in both frequency and sophistication, poses a significant threat to all organisations.
There are numerous ways in which Phishing presents itself. I will mention just a few.
The most common type of phishing scam, deceptive phishing, refers to any attack by which fraudsters impersonate a legitimate company and attempt to steal people’s personal information or logins. Those emails frequently use threats and a sense of urgency to scare users into doing the attackers’ bidding. Ie such as attaching an invoice.
The success of a deceptive phish hinges on how closely the attack email resembles a legitimate company’s official correspondence.
Spear phishing scams occur when fraudsters customise their attack emails with the target’s name, position, company, work phone number and other information in an attempt to trick the recipient into believing that they have a connection with the sender.
The goal is the same - lure the victim into clicking on a malicious URL or email attachment, so that they will hand over their personal data.
A variation of spear phishing is whaling! This is where the Phishermen go straight for the CEO of the company and attempt to harpoon an executive.
The answer is to prepare your business for this attack. Use your IT people to train your staff to be aware and vigilant. Make sure your have a written IT security policy that s available for all staff to see and discuss. Don’t be the bait for the Phishermen – call the team at Sothertons on 49 721300 for more information on Phishing scams and the protection you need to consider.