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How to write an eye-catching bio

Social media bios are a small window into your company for potential clients. They can show your style, what you do, the promotions you are running or just be a fun read. A well written and thought out bio stands out from those that are lazy, audiences can tell if you treat your bio as an afterthought. The purpose is to get people to want to know more.

Know your voice:
Cohesion in a business is vital, there needs to be a clear message on what you are offering clients and how you are approaching them. It is very evident on social media when a business doesn’t know their voice, as content becomes disjointed and doesn’t show prospective clients who the business. Ensure the tone of your bio, post types and captions all lineup, whether that is professional, casual, humorous, etc. is up to you.

Link your accounts:
Most social media platforms have the option to link to a website in your bio, but it is also a good idea to link to your other social media accounts. As long as you are not overfilling your bio section, adding your other social media handles can help audiences to cross platforms, experiencing the different content you provide. This is also a good idea if you have separate social accounts for different elements of the business or support channels.

Use keywords:
Content from your bio is searchable, giving you an opportunity to use keywords or phrases to direct traffic to your profile. Strong keywords relating to your industry or product/service offerings are good to strategically place in bios provided they make sense. Filling the space with words purely for searchable purposes may get you clicks but that doesn’t necessarily translate to new clients.

Posted on 18 August '19 by , under web. No Comments.

Short-term vs long-term financing

Maintaining healthy cash flow can be challenging; between ongoing expenses and bills, poor cash flow can severely impact your customers, staff and bottom line. Business owners need to understand the differences between short and long-term financing when developing a cash flow strategy.

There are various sources of financing available, with each being useful for different situations. Choosing the right source and mix is key for good cash flow, with financing options often being classified into two categories based on time period: short-term and long-term. To find the right plan for you, determine your needs and then match a financing option to meet those needs.

Short-term financing:
Short term financing, or working capital financing, looks at needs that arise in relation to financing current assets – for a period of less than one year. Working capital is the funds that are used in the day-to-day trading operations of a business. Short-term financing can help you to pay suppliers, increase inventory and cover expenses when you do not have sufficient cash on hand.

Long-term financing:
Long-term financing options can help you invest in overall improvements to your business, for a period of more than 5 years. Capital expenditures, such as upgrading equipment, buying additional vehicles and renovating are funded using long-term sources of finance.

Posted on 18 August '19 by , under money. No Comments.

Evaluating risks in business  

Business owners are faced with constant challenges and tough decisions to make on a day-to-day basis. Risk-taking is often necessary to achieve more in the business, but owners need to make informed choices to avoid potential damages. To manage risk effectively, a proactive stance needs to be taken in identifying and responding to risks before a crisis strikes.

Identify risks:
Risks can be hazard-based, uncertainty-based or opportunity-based, with both tangible and intangible items posing risks for your business. Owners may find it easy to list the physical items at risk such as assets and infrastructure, yet neglect intangibles such as injury to staff, loss of important business information and more. It is important for business owners to be aware of the risks they could face in their business.

Calculate your risks:
Making an educated assessment of both the likelihood and potential severity of risks can help prioritise your responses. Once the risks have been identified they should be ranked on the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of consequence it might impose on the business. Risk ranking can help you to determine what situations need more time, attention and resources.

Manage your risks:
Finally, the risks need to be managed effectively. Avoidance is not always the best or viable solution as there is no way to ever be completely risk free. Transferring is a common way of avoiding damage as the risk is no longer your problem, for example, insurance and product warranties. Reduction of risk comes from a sound knowledge of your business and little things you can do that make a difference. Acceptance is for those owners with experience and a clear mind. Nothing in life is without risk, the business owners who accept this and learn from challenges are the ones who find success.

Posted on 18 August '19 by , under business. No Comments.

What to look for when choosing a super fund

Over the course of your life, the contributions made to your superannuation fund can often end up being your greatest asset. Because of this, selecting a super fund is an important decision, choosing a fund with the right investment strategies for you could be the difference between retiring comfortably or not. There are five different types of superannuation fund to choose from but not all options are available to everyone.

SMSFs:
Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) are those where the trustee is responsible for managing and making regular contributions to the fund. This option allows for more responsibility in terms of administration, compliance and investment decisions.

Industry funds:
Industry funds generally cater to employees from a specific industry although they are open to everyone. Industry funds are not-for-profit, meaning they have historically charged lower fees on average with profits funnelled back into members’ funds.

Retail funds:
Retail funds are offered to everyone and are usually run by investment companies or banks. A portion of the profits derived from the activities of retail super funds then goes to the shareholders.

Corporate funds:
Corporate funds are offered to specific corporations or if you are employed by a particular employer. They often return profits to their members (although they can be retail funds too), offer a wide range of investment options and are low to mid-cost funds if the business is large.

Public sector funds:
Public sector funds are offered to state and federal government employees. They generally include a wide range of benefits, lower fees and allow members to make higher super contributions.

Posted on 18 August '19 by , under super. No Comments.

FBT car parking threshold changes

The ATO has released the Taxation Determination 2019/9, which outlines changes to the fringe benefits tax (FBT) car parking threshold.

The car parking threshold for the year commencing on 1 April 2019 is $8.95. This replaces the amount of $8.83 which applied to the FBT year ended 31 March 2019. The increase has been set by adjusting the previous year amount by a factor equivalent to the movement in the Consumer Price Index (1.3%).

Section 39A of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986, sets out a number of conditions that must be met before car parking facilities provided by an employer to their employees will be subject to FBT. These conditions include:

  • A commercial car parking station is located within a one-kilometre radius of the employer-provided car park.
  • The lowest fee charged by the car park operator is more than the car parking threshold.
  • The car is parked for more than four hours between 7 am and 7 pm on any day.

There are circumstances where car parking benefits are exempt from FBT. These exemptions may apply to:

  • Employers who meet the conditions of a small business entity.
  • Institutions of certain research, education, religion and charity.
  • Employees with a disability (irrespective of the type of employer).

Posted on 18 August '19 by , under tax. No Comments.

Find the perfect employee for you

Picking the wrong employee after a long interview process ultimately results in wasted time and lost money for a business. There are constantly new ideas emerging about how to best conduct interviews, many of which will be able to give you a much better idea of how a candidate will perform in the role.

Consider graduates:
Hiring recent university graduates is a great way to bring fresh ideas and energy to your business. Having learnt the newest technical skills and the best ways to implement them, graduates are eager to gain experience, giving you the potential to shape their work habits to suit your company. Demonstrating how experience with your organisation will look great on their future CV can also help appeal to graduates with more long term goals.

Re-frame interview questions:
Most interview candidates will have rehearsed their answers to traditional job interview questions, making it hard to get an accurate reading of their abilities. Try using;

  • Fact-based questions: helps the interviewer confirm whether or not the potential candidate has the skills required for the job, as well as provide information that can be cross-checked against their resume to verify accuracy.
  • Situational questions: provides any insight into how the candidate would handle situations that may arise in the business.
  • Behavioural questions: gives insight into how a person may behave, helping to determine whether or not they will work well with others and be a good fit for a business.

Get a second opinion:
Inviting other staff members to sit in on interviews, either as silent observers or active interviewers can give you a second opinion. This also helps to more accurately read a candidate as other people will focus on different qualities or skills that could be valuable to the company’s inner workings.

Posted on 11 August '19 by , under people. No Comments.

Deduction rules for small businesses

Spending on capital assets usually cannot be deducted immediately. Instead, small businesses claim the costs over time in accordance with the asset’s depreciation. There are many different processes that businesses can employ to make claims on their assets. For small businesses with lower-cost assets, methods such as simplified depreciation or the threshold rule can help to make more effective claims.

Simplified depreciation:
Under simplified depreciation rules, business owners can immediately deduct the business portion of each depreciating asset that was first used or installed ready for use up to:

  • $30,000 from 7.30pm (AEDT) on 2 April 2019 until 30 June 2020.
  • $25,000 from 20 January 2019 until 7.30pm (AEDT) on 2 April 2019.
  • $20,000 before 29 January 2019.

Owners can also pool the business portion of most other depreciating assets that cost more than the relevant threshold in a small business asset pool. Then they can claim a 15% deduction in the first year, regardless of whether they were purchased/acquired during the year, and then a 30% deduction each year after.

The threshold rule:
The threshold rule allows owners to claim an immediate deduction for most expenditure of $100 or less, including any GST, to buy physical assets for the business. The rule is designed to help save time as purchases don’t have to be specified if they are of revenue or capital nature. Some examples of items costing $100 or less that fall within the threshold rule are:

  • Office equipment – staplers, pens, books, etc.
  • Catering items – cutlery, glasses, table linen, etc.
  • Tradesperson small hand tools – pliers, screwdrivers, hammers, etc.

Posted on 11 August '19 by , under business. No Comments.

Ineligible downsizer contributions and how they are administered

When a downsizer contribution is ineligible, the fund must re-assess the amount in accordance with the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 and the trust deed. This is to determine if the amount can be retained as a non-concessional contribution.

Provided the trust deed allows so, the fund can return the contribution to the member or adjust the prior downsizing contributions to nil and report this amount as a non-concessional contribution when the member meets the age and work tests.

When a contribution can’t be returned or returned in full:
Members who no longer have a super interest with the fund, or an insufficient return amount, must have their contribution re-reported as non-concessional, even if the contribution was returned because the member did not meet the age/work tests. Some of the contribution may be an excess non-concessional contribution (ENCC). Regardless of the age of the member, if this is the case the member will receive an ENCC determination or when the fund can’t return the full amount. Members will continue to have access to all review rights under the ENCC scheme. Even if the member is in pension phase, the funds will still need to return an ineligible downsizer contribution if it cannot be accepted.

When a fund receives a release authority:
An amount released under these circumstances is treated as a super lump sum as it is a portion of the member’s super interest. Being in pension phase doesn’t prevent a fund from complying with the release authority although it may mean the full amount can’t be released, as the available balance may be lower than the amount stated in the release authority. Where the member’s available balance is lower than the release authority amount, the fund must release the maximum amount available.

The ATO monitors the rectification of this contribution reporting. Where funds don’t act within legislative timeframes, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) may be contacted.

Posted on 11 August '19 by , under super. No Comments.

New ATO toolkit helps small businesses get expenses right

The ATO has developed a new toolkit that helps small business owners to understand their entitlements and avoid mistakes in their tax returns.

The 2019 Tax Time Toolkit Small Business covers information about:

  • Three of the most common expenses: home-based business, motor vehicle, and business travel.
  • Single Touch Payroll (STP) for small employers.

These toolkits are designed to highlight areas that small businesses may struggle with at tax time. Subjects include:

  • Information about claiming deductions for home-based business expenses.
  • Types of motor vehicle expenses that you can claim.
  • The importance of accurate record keeping.
  • How to differentiate between business and private use.

One of the factsheets, in particular, provides options and support for employers using STP. Some of the important topics outlined in the fact sheet include:

  • What information you need to report and when you need to report it.
  • How to correct the amounts reported.
  • The changes to payment summaries.
  • Information you need to provide to your employees.
  • Available exemptions.

As it is common for there to be confusion around these topics, taking the time to understand your obligations as a business owner can streamline the returns process and help to ensure correct reporting.

Posted on 11 August '19 by , under tax. No Comments.

Teaching your staff to be social media savvy

Although approximately 52% of the Australian population use social media, not everyone understands how online presence, both individual and work-related, reflects on a business. Your staff are representatives of your business meaning their online profiles can unintentionally affect your brand’s image and influence potential customers. While this isn’t always a bad thing, enforcing a social media policy and educating your staff on the importance of your business’ online presence can help to avoid mistakes and better prepare for issues that may arise.

Company profiles:
For best results, don’t give full access to social media accounts to everyone, too many employees logging on and changing things can lead to misuse. Instead, define team member roles and accessibility when you first employ a social media strategy to help create workable boundaries. By delegating regular tasks to particular employees, like content posting or customer service, helps to create a routine that everyone can follow and accountability if there is an issue. This also establishes who is allowed to speak on behalf of the company.

Personal profiles:
Your employees’ online network can be a blessing and a curse to your business. To avoid reputational damage make sure your staff is aware that any inappropriate or harmful mentions of your business will be met with professional consequences. You should educate your staff on what constitutes unprofessional online conduct.

Instead, try encouraging your staff to highlight the positive aspects of work such as your office environment, special offers or workplace achievements. Make sure they tag your business whether it be on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Posted on 6 August '19 by , under web. No Comments.