31 July 2018

Not for Profits Can Make a Surplus

By Joe Smith
As well as us being in tax season it is also time for incorporated associations and limited by guarantee companies to be audited. In our community there are a vast number of people involved in these organisations as volunteers or as committee members.

I volunteer as Treasurer for the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry and when I hear it called a not for profit I do not like it. These types of organisations should budget to make a surplus if possible as this will help build a sustainable organisation that will benefit the community for a long time.
While it may not able to be possible to generate a surplus every year, either due to the timing of funding received or expenses for projects spanning over more than one financial year, having a budget in place and monitoring it on a regular basis it essential.

The value of the time put into the organisations by committee members and volunteers is difficult to put a figure on however if it were wages in a business then that business would no doubt be running at a loss. So when thinking about attending the next event run by a Chamber of Commerce or sporting club it should be  taken into account that the cost to you would be significantly higher if it were not for the time and effort put in by committee members and volunteers!

In conclusion, I take my hat off to all of the volunteers and committee members in our community. And if you do join a committee please keep it in mind that it is ok to make a surplus from activities and that a surplus is required to buy equipment or other items that the organisation could not operate or continue to operate with in the long term.

If you are on a committee and would like help setting up budgets or having an audit done please call UHY Haines Norton on 4972 1300 or email info@uhyhncq.com.au  

24 July 2018

By Tina Zawila

I spoke to three different business owners this week and they all made the following comment during the meetings, “It’s lonely in business sometimes”, it’s a sentiment I’ve heard many times. 

Many business owners are sole-traders,  husband and wife partnerships or small companies and often their closest family and friends are not business owners, or even if they are, ‘business’ is simply not a topic of conversation around the barbeque.  

Business can be tough – financially and emotionally, yet it’s one of those taboo subjects that people just don’t talk about.   However, we should talk about it with people who can relate and help, your business advisor/accountant should be your first port of call.

The common themes that were mentioned this week (that you might relate to) include:
  •            Difficult customers and clients.  Unfortunately not every client/customer is easy to deal with and some can be quite difficult.  Think about the recent treatment of the Woolworths employees around the plastic bag decision!  As a business owner, you want to protect your team members from these difficult situations, so you usually take this upon yourself.  Your employee can vent and receive support from you, but who are you talking to, and who’s supporting you?
  •            Making big decisions.  Often in business there are complex decisions to be made around business strategy, finances, legal, resourcing and the list goes on.  These decisions can be difficult to make on your own, and there may be alternatives that you haven’t even thought of.  Who can you share ideas with?
  •             Passion and Momentum.  Sometimes it can be hard to find people that think and feel about your business and your client’s the way you do.   And sometimes you feel like you are solely responsible for the passion, energy and positive vibe in your business.  Who helps keep you passionate, focused and motivated?

The key message I want you to take away from this is that you are not alone, and it’s important to seek help if you need it.  As business advisors we are here to listen and help.  We understand the challenges you face and can help you formulate strategies for success.
Give the professional team at UHY Haines Norton a call today on 49721300, we’d be happy to be your sounding board.

19 July 2018

Make your new business a success

By Steve Marsten
Here at the UHY Haines Norton Gladstone office – we get excited when we hear about someone looking at jumping on the entrepreneurship wagon and opening new businesses. Their journey though - comes with its gains and losses. The numerous problems that a business faces in its infancy are big enough to make it fail.
However, the hardships shouldn’t stop you from building your dream business and to providing the best possible service or product on the market.
Starting a business venture is easy, considering you know and understand the processes that you need to go through. What makes a good businessman, however, is figuring out a way to budget when money is tight and how you will compete against big enterprises. It’s inevitable to face challenges while running any type of business, but small business owners seem to have it the toughest in Australia.
Small business ventures face considerable obstacles, some of which are easy to deal with, others harder to tackle, but all of them demand time and resources. Preparing is important and if you have a glimpse of what the most common issues are, you may be able to prepare beforehand for the messes that you and your business might face one day.
Often overlooked by first-time business owners, a good business plan can make a crucial difference. The majority of businesses in Australia are small, meaning they don’t have employees or employ fewer than 20 people. Making up to 97% of all businesses, last year small businesses contributed more than 19% of the Gross National Product. Yet still we have a massive failure rate. It’s a fair bet that it’s because most of them lack mid- and long-term business planning.

Not everyone is good at managing money. The problem is that this is an area you have to be GREAT at! Small businesses often operate with tight budgets, which demands perfect cash flow management. Of course, if you have a good cash flow plan, you will be able to notice any potential cash pits and make sure you don’t waste the majority of your budget.
If cash flow is one of the things that is hurting your business, then you can invest in a good software product or a good professional in the field if you can afford it.
There are other areas which we will touch on in the near future as well including Marketing, Setting targets, people and fatigue. We are keen on helping small business power up so if you have any queries call the UHY Haines Norton team on 0749 721300.

10 July 2018

Happy New Financial Year

By Joe Smith
A few people have wished me a Happy New Financial Year and while there are things that we have to look forward to in this financial year, there are quite a few things to look out for to ensure it is a Happy New Financial Year!
As usual the ATO have advised us of the areas that they will be targeting in individual tax returns lodged this year.  These include claims for work related travel, uniform and clothing expenses as well as home office expense claims, just to name just a few.  The most important piece of advice that I can give you in relation to these claims is to have detailed records to substantiate claims for any amounts spent.  Further to this, if you lodge your tax return through a reputable tax agent then they should keep detailed records to substantiate claims being made.
Small business owners are also in the crosshairs of the ATO with a focus on unexplained wealth which they have mentioned. They are using social media to monitor displays of wealth that do not match income on the business owner’s tax return!  The ATO are really getting tech savvy these days and the cash economy is one area where they see they can gather a significant amount of unpaid tax with not too much effort.
There are also quite a few Bills that have not passed through parliament before the winter break that may affect tax returns being lodged in the next month or two.  Some of the major Bills are the Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty, the extension of the $20,000 instant asset write off and changes to the passive income test regarding the 27.5% tax rate to determine the franking rate for distributions to shareholders.
In particular, if you plan to take advantage of the Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty we suggest that you consider the timing of making disclosures to the ATO before the Bill becomes law as if this does not pass the Senate then fines and penalties may apply and will be non-deductible.
If you would like a no obligations chat with us regarding any of these issues, please call or email us at UHY Haines Norton Gladstone on 4972 1300 or email sothertons@sothertonsgld.com.au

05 July 2018

What's in a Name?

By Tina Zawila

So 30 June has come and gone, and it’s the perfect opportunity to start a new financial year in a positive way. At Sothertons Gladstone, we launched ourselves into the new year with a new name, logo and fresh new look!

The merger of our National Sothertons Group with another group of independent accounting firms “UHY Haines Norton” on 1 July 2018, has given us the opportunity to expand our ability to provide dedicated local service, with access to the resources of 320 firms worldwide.  As a result of the merger, we have changed our name to “UHY Haines Norton Gladstone Central Queensland”.

Of course with this kind of change, there is a lot to do.  Whilst our team is the same, with the same dedication to serving our clients and community, our name has changed and therefore we need to change almost everything!  Signage, letterhead, email addresses, business cards and even how we answer the phone. So we have embarked on a big project!

One of the first steps was to communicate with our valued clients.  To let them know that from 1 July, we’ll be different, but the same. 

What a rewarding and wonderful experience it has been to talk to our clients about this change!  Most were curious at first about the name and the merger, but all of them, within moments, said something like “so you and your team are still going to be there?” and “I’ll still be dealing with you – so really nothing will change?” As soon as they were reassured with a positive response to these questions, they were happy to move on to other more interesting topics like tax planning, business improvement strategies and advice!

Simon Sinek said it perfectly when he said:  “Companies don’t do business with companies.  People do business with people.”  People do business with people that they know, like and trust, that make them feel valued and special.  Sure your brand, your name, and of course your products and services are all important components of your business that you want to get right, but ultimately, it is your relationship with your clients and customers that is key to the success of your business and to your personal satisfaction as a business owner.

Nurture those relationships and you may be blessed with clients and customers for life!

At UHY Haines Norton Gladstone, our name may be new, but our service to the Gladstone community spans over 40 years.  If you need business, taxation or financial planning advice, call us today on 49721300, we’d love to help.