improve your business

5 Tips For Using Your Financials To Improve Your Business

With preparation of year-end financials getting underway, it’s timely to explore where the opportunities for improving business results can be found in your financials.

Changing the outcomes of business results rarely happens by continuing to do what has been done in the past, but understanding what you have done, what that has achieved and how that can be changed will arm you well to make decisions for the future.

Here are 5 tips to apply when reviewing your financials which can lead to actions to improve your business.

1. Sales and Gross Profit

Your top-line sales figure for this year compared to last year gives you limited information, so drill down to explore the reasons for the change.  Have there been particular product or service lines that have performed stronger this year, what was the driver for that and did it really improve profitability? For example, your sales may have increased because you cut your prices, but if that didn’t generate sufficient volume increases you may be no better off.  Say your gross profit margin is 35 percent and you reduce your prices by 10 percent; your turnover has to increase by 40 percent just to maintain profit levels.

A simple yet effective profitability benchmark is your average dollar sale, to calculate that divide your total sales by the number of transactions. Compare this year’s average dollar sale with the results from a year ago to see some trends. To improve business year on year, set yourself a target, supported by a few initiatives, to increase this by 10 percent in a year’s time — it’ll do wonders for your profitability.

2. Breakeven point

The availability of your financials is an opportunity to update your breakeven point, which is a fundamental piece of information you need to know about your business.

If you know what cash you need to collect from your customers to cover your outgoings each month, it’s a truly motivating factor and a very early indicator of impending success or challenges on the horizon. We refer to outgoings rather than overheads or expenses because you need to factor in your drawings or tax as well as overheads when calculating your breakeven point.  This number can then be used to drive activities from salespeople and accounts staff to ensure the work is processed, invoiced and funds received month on month.

3. Solvency

Review your balance sheet with particular attention to your current assets and current liabilities, items in there include cash at bank, accounts receivable and short-term debt.  When classified as ‘current’ they are expected to be received or paid within 12 months and reviewing this comparison is a very good indicator of business solvency.

Can you pay your bills as they fall due, or are you dependent upon some extended trading terms of suppliers to continue to trade?  As directors of trading businesses, you have a legal duty not to take on liabilities you cannot repay and doing so puts yourself at risk of disqualification from directorship and severe financial consequences.  Identifying a solvency concern, determining the options available and taking action early is the best approach to ward off future issues.

 

 

4. Cash flow statement

It’s not unusual for business owners to look at a profit number only to ask “where has that profit gone?”. If your financials include a cash flow statement, use this to identify where all your profit has gone if it’s not sitting as cash at bank.  Alternatively, request a source and application of funds summary to be provided with your financials.

A cash flow statement or summary will show the sources of funds and how they have been applied over the period, which is essential because many of the outgoings of a business will not appear in the profit and loss account (for example, drawings, tax or loan repayments).  Use this Source and Application of Funds summary to understand where the profit from the last 12 months has gone and decide on future actions in light of this information.  Some common places you might find your profit sitting include the debtors, reduction of loan principal and tax payments.

5. Advance to and from directors/shareholders

How much money does the business owe you, or do you owe money back to the business? If the business owes you a substantial sum, it is good practice to consider each year if it is time to begin planning to draw this money down.

This could trigger a restructure of your finances if the business profitability is suitable and replace your advance account with a business loan. This will enable you to withdraw the money you are owed to build wealth outside the business or reduce personal debt.

If you owe money back to the business, keep this in check, reviewing it annually with a view to repaying it with priority.  Approach management of the advance account with full support from your Mazars adviser to plan for any tax consequences of these actions.

Good business operators take a keen interest in using annual financials as a means to understanding the financial well-being of their business.  There are no silly questions when it comes to clarifying elements within the financial statements and using the historical performance to set goals for the future.

At Activ8, we are focussed on supporting the development of efficient profitable businesses and can assist in identifying opportunities for improvement from your financials.  The preparation of monthly or even quarterly financial statements will provide more timely information, which will further allow for the identification of areas of improvement in your business.

Tax tips

8 Business Tax Tips

The best way to save tax in business is to consider and apply strategies prior to 30 June each year. After year end, the options available to improve your tax position are severely restricted. Activ8 are business tax specialists. In this article we share some of our best tax tips.

Tip 1. Maximise Your Super Contributions

Superannuation is a fantastic vehicle for tax effective investments. We recommend that every year you maximise the amounts you put into super. The maximum you can claim each year changes and you need to take into account contributions made by your employer, including your own business, and personal contributions. Remember to speak to your financial planner about how super fits into your personal financial plan. Our advice is purely focused on the tax benefits alone.

Tip 2. Take Advantage of the Instant Asset Write Off

The temporary full expensing of assets purchased for business use has been extended to 30 June 2023. This means that businesses can get an immediate tax deduction for the full amount of the asset’s cost in the year it is purchased.

Therefore if you are planning some equipment purchases, get them completed before 30 June to maximise the deduction in this financial year.

Note – cars are capped to a maximum claim of $60,733 for the 2022 year.

Tip 3. Do a Stocktake at 30 June

Does your business have trading stock? Do a stocktake at 30 June. This not only helps to get accurate profit figures, but you are eligible for a tax deduction for obsolete or worthless items still on the shelf.

Tip 4. Write Off Your Bad Debts

Subject to how you report income on your BAS, you have likely paid tax and GST on income you have invoiced but not yet collected. If you have deemed the debt to be uncollectible, you are entitled to a tax deduction as well as recouping the GST paid to the ATO.

Tip 5. Pay Your Employees’ Super on Time

If you pay super late, you will miss out on the tax deduction. In addition the ATO will impose interest and penalties for late super. We recommend that super is paid each pay cycle so you’ll never be late and you don’t get a big lump sum at the end of the quarter.

Another tip for super at year-end is to pay any June quarter before 30 June to get the tax deduction in the current year. Note – allow 7-10 days processing time to ensure the superfund processes the payment before 30 June.

Tip 6. Keep a Log Book For Your Business Cars

A compliant log book is essential to maximise your motor vehicle claim. Whilst they can be cumbersome to keep a log book, they are only required for 12 weeks and it remains valid for 5 years.

Tip 7. Defer Income to Next Year

If it makes sense to do so, deferring income until after 30 June means you pay tax on it next year, not this year. You can do this by holding off invoicing until 1 July, where appropriate.

Tip 8. Prepay Expenses

Cashflow permitting, you can prepay expenses like interest and rent up to 12 months in advance to boost the tax benefit in this financial year. This does not apply to stock purchases, but basically any other business expense can be paid before 30 June to allow the tax deduction in this year. This is particularly good where you have had a good year and have a bigger than usual impending tax bill.

We hope you find these tips insightful. There are plenty of other tax strategies you can put in place to minimise the tax you pay. It’s never too late to start taking advantage of tax benefits.

If you need any guidance or advice in relation to these tips, contact Activ8 Accountants & Advisors and we can guide you through them. Call us on 07 3367 3366.

 

superannuation changes

Superannuation Changes from July 2022

Several key superannuation contribution changes are set to take effect from 1 July 2022. These changes create opportunities for all SMSF members, young and old, to grow their retirement savings.

WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?

Originally announced in the 2021 Federal Budget, the following changes apply from 1 July 2022:

  • Individuals of age 67- 74, will no longer need to meet a work test to make voluntary, non-deductible, contributions
  • Individuals up to the age of 75, with a total super balance under $1.7 million, will have the opportunity to make large non-concessional contributions (possibly up to three years’ worth) in a single year
  • The minimum age to make downsizer contributions will reduce to 60, allowing more individuals to use the proceeds from the sale of their home, to fund their retirement
  • The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate will increase to 10.5% p.a. for all and the $450 minimum income threshold for SG contributions, will be removed.

Superannuation rules can be very complex.  Should you require further assistance, please feel free to contact our office for further information on (07) 3367 3366.

 

2022 budget

2022 Budget Brief

The federal budgets for the past two years have had overwhelming stimulus measures designed to get businesses to spend their way out of the covid recession.  This year’s budget has relatively little for businesses with the main focus being on cost of living payments.

Coming out of the Omicron wave that hit us at the start of the year, we have been confronted with a prevalence of bad news.  From the war in Ukraine to natural disasters closer to home.  On top of this, we have inflation on the increase, concerns about the cost of living, and potentially higher interest rates.  It is no wonder that household confidence levels are at their lowest levels since September 2020 (Westpac Consumer Confidence Index).

The Budget seeks to ease some of these concerns and boost consumer confidence with several temporary measures.  There is also little doubt the forthcoming election played a big part in this Budget.

This brief summarises the key tax and superannuation announcements that we expect will most affect Activ8 individual and business clients.

INDIVIDUALS

The key announcements for individuals include:

  • Low and middle-income tax offset to be increased by $420
  • One-off $250 welfare payment to ease cost of living pressure
  • Work-related Covid-19 tests tax deductible from 1 July 2021
  • 50% temporary reduction on fuel excise
  • Paid parental leave scheme streamlined to 20 weeks
  • Medicare low-income threshold has increased
  • Increased support for affordable housing and home ownership with Home Guarantee Scheme places increased to 50,000
  • Income tax rates remain unchanged.

BUSINESSES

The key announcements for businesses include:

  • New tax incentives to help small businesses with turnover of less than $50 million/year, adopt digital technology and train and upskill employees.
    • Until June 2024 for every $100 a small business invests in external training courses for their employees they will get a $120 tax deduction (Skills and Training Boost).
    • Until June 2023 for every $100 a small business spends on new digitalising their business (for items such as cloud accounting, online security and eInvoicing software) they will get a $120 tax deduction up to $100,000/year (Technology Investment Boost).
  • Apprenticeship wage subsidy extended
  • Primary producers – Concessional tax treatment for carbon abatement and biodiversity stewardship income
  • Expanded access to unlisted company employee share schemes
  • PAYG income tax instalment system set for structural overhaul
  • Business registry fees to be streamlined
  • Indirect taxes – excise and customs duty reduction and concession
  • Various tax administration changes.

One long-standing policy that has been repeatedly extended is the instant asset depreciation program. This was not extended in the Budget and could end on 30 June 2023.

SUPERANNUATION

The only measure announced relating to superannuation was the extension of the temporary reduction in minimum drawdown rates.

Overall, this Budget is designed to provide relief from cost of living pressures and minimise ‘losers’ from any policy decisions. Attention will now turn to next week’s Reserve Bank Board meeting to understand how this Budget may impact the Bank’s thinking around interest rates. Then the focus will be firmly on the timing of the federal election.

Please note these are just announcements and cannot be regarded as law until legislated.  Whilst Labor has come out in support of many of the “proposed” announcements earlier in the week, some of the budget measures may not pass parliament if they win the election; the election must be announced within two weeks.

If you require further information on any of these announced measures, please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 3367 3366.

 

director ID

ID Requirement For Directors

From November 2021, company directors will need to verify their identity as part of a new director identification number (director ID) requirement.

A director ID is a 15 digit unique identifier that a director will apply for once and keep forever. This will apply to all company directors including if you’re a director of a corporate trustee of a self-managed super fund.

The aim is to help prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities, and to make it easier to trace director relationships across companies.  In particular, they are seeking to identify and eliminate involvement in actions such as illegal phoenix activity.

There are transitional arrangements for when you must apply by.  Individuals who are currently a director or will be acting as a director in the future must apply for a Director ID based on the transitional arrangements specified in the table below:

director ID

Directors must apply for their director ID themselves because they will need to verify their identity. No one can apply on their behalf.

The new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) is responsible for the implementation and administration of director ID. ASIC will be responsible for the enforcement of associated offences.

When fully established, the ABRS will bring together the Australian Business Register and over 30 ASIC registers. This work is being delivered under the government’s Modernising Business Registers program. Visit the ABRS website for more information.

Please note – if you are a company director and Activ8 is your ASIC Agent, we will be in touch with instructions on how to obtain your Director ID in due course.

stapled super

Stapled Super Changes

Employers get ready – there’ll soon be an extra step involved when it comes to hiring new employees – if they don’t choose a super fund.

You may now need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from the ATO.  A stapled super fund is an existing super account of an employee that follows them as they change jobs. This change aims to stop your new employees paying extra account fees for unintended super accounts set up when they start a new job.

You may need to request stapled super fund details when:
•           your new employee starts on or after 1 November 2021
•           you need to make super guarantee payments for that employee, and
•           your employee is eligible to choose a super fund but doesn’t.

What you need to do from 1 November 2021

Step 1: Offer your eligible employees a choice of super fund

You need to give your eligible new employees a Super standard choice form and pay their super into the account they tell you on the form. Most employees are eligible to choose what fund their super goes into.

There is no change to this step of your super obligations.

Step 2: Request stapled super fund details

If your employee doesn’t choose a super fund, you may need to log into the ATO Online services and go to ‘Employee Super Accounts’ to request their stapled super fund details. If you don’t have online access then Activ8 can do this for you.

The ATO will provide your employee’s stapled super fund details after they have confirmed that you are their employer.

If the ATO provides a stapled super fund result for your employee, you must pay your employee’s super using the stapled super fund details they provide you.

In most cases, a request can be made after you’ve submitted a TFN declaration, or a Single Touch Payroll (STP) pay event linking the new employee to your business.  Responses will usually be received through the online portal in minutes.

Step 3: Pay super into a default fund

You can pay into a default fund, or another fund that meets the choice of fund obligations if:

  • your employee doesn’t choose a super fund, and
  • we have advised you that they don’t have a stapled super fund.

Remember, an employer cannot provide recommendations or advice about super to its employees, unless the business is licensed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to provide financial advice. Penalties may apply if your business fails to meet the “choice of super fund” obligations.

Full details can be found here on the ATO website.

campaign-creators-pypeCEaJeZY-unsplash

Taxation and Superannuation Updates for New Financial Year

As the new financial year commences, we’d like to provide some timely reminders, key dates and information ahead of finalising your tax affairs for 2020/21, and some things you need to be aware of over the next 12 months.

Key Dates for July

14 July – Single Touch Payroll finalised

21 July – Monthly BAS return for June due.

28 July – Make quarter 4 super guarantee contributions to funds by this date (if not paid earlier)

 

Three End Of Financial Year Payroll Tasks

1. Single Touch Payroll Finalisation

Due date is 14th July 2021

2. All Employers (including those with closely held employees) need to be using Single Touch Payroll (STP) Compliant software from 1 July 2021

​​For example if you operate your business through a company or trust structure which employs you, you will need to adopt STP compliant software into your business.  Most accounting software providers have a solution available, speak to your bookkeeper or accountant if you aren’t sure.

3. Reminder that the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) Rate increases from 9.5% to 10% from 1 July.  Look out for any communications from your payroll software provider

Super changes for 2021/22

 

  • SGC Rate: As mentioned above, the SGC rate increases to 10% for all wages paid from 1 July.
  • The concessional contributions cap has now increased to $27,500, up from $25,000.
  • The non-concessional contributions cap is now $110,000, up from $100,000.

 

Claiming Work-Related Deductions

When you do your tax do you just claim “what you claimed last year”?

Technically that is not allowed. You need to be able to substantiate your deductions and circumstances may change so you need to be considering that.

For example, if you are working from home more, then your travel and laundry expenses will be substantially different.

The ATO is data matching everything this year and checking if people are claiming the same as last year.

As the pandemic forced swathes of the workforce to work from home, work-related expenses are expected to spike for the 2021 income year. However, the ATO also expects some expenses, like travel, will decrease compared to prior years.  In general, the ATO expects to see a downward trend in expense claims related to clothing & laundry, self-education, car and travel.

2021 budget

2021 Budget Overview

The 2021 Federal Budget has been delivered, with the budget designed to keep the country out of recession through prolonged spending, with the goal to drive down unemployment.

From a pure tax perspective, it was a fairly uneventful budget.

There are a few key changes, however, and these are summarised below.

Extension of the Instant Asset Write-Off: An extension of this program out to June 2023 to allow businesses to immediately depreciate eligible assets, with no cap on the value of these assets. This not only directly benefits small businesses that invest but some of these assets will be purchased from or serviced by other small businesses.

Low & Middle Income Earner Tax Offsets Extended Another 12 Months:  The low and middle-income tax offset, which was due to end on June 30, will be extended for another 12 months. The offset is worth up to $1080 as a refund for about 10 million workers earning between $48,000 and $90,000 when they file their tax returns.

Loss Carry Back: Extended to 30 June 2023.  Losses incurred during the 2020 to 2023 years can be carried back to offset profits as far back as the 2019 year as a refundable tax offset.

Changes To Minimum Super Payments:  From 1 July 2022, the minimum threshold of $450 ordinary earnings before superannuation is payable will be removed. This ensures casual and part time workers are not penalised with less superannuation savings.

Super Contributions Limit for over 60’s: The access age to the “super downsizing scheme” will be reduced from 65 to 60 from 1 July 2022, allowing more people to boost their superannuation with the proceeds of the sale of their home. Contributions of up to $300,000 are allowed, but the home must have been owned for at least 10 years and the money must be paid into super within 90 days of receiving cash from the sale.

Superannuation – Removal of The Work Test: Work test rules for older Australians – which restrict contributions to super unless you are working a certain number of hours – will be scrapped.  This change means people who are between 67 and 74 who may have already retired, are doing volunteer work or who have more flexible work arrangements can continue to make voluntary contributions or salary sacrifice.

Self-Education Deductions – Removal Of $250 Adjustment: From 1 July 2022 the exclusion for the first $250 of deductions for self-education expenses will be removed from the first income year after Royal Assent.

Changes to Residency Rules: From 1 July 2022 they will replace the individual tax residency rules with new primary and secondary tests to determine residency.

– a primary ‘bright line’ test — under which a person who is physically present in Australia for 183 days or more in an income year will be an Australian resident for tax purposes;

– secondary tests depending on a combination of physical presence and measurable, objective criteria — for individuals who do not meet the primary test.

Tax Breaks for Aussie Patents: From 1 July 2022, companies that develop patents in Australia will receive tax reductions under an initiative to promote the manufacturing sector and innovations in the medical and biotech sectors.

Dubbed the “patent box”, the initiative will see corporate profits taxed at a concessional rate of 17 percent if the patents are developed in Australia. The scheme is expected to take effect on July 1.

Please contact Activ8 Accountants and Advisors if you have any questions about how the budget may affect you or your business.

Tax cut

What Should You Do With Your Tax Cut?

One of the key pillars of this year’s federal budget was the future and backdated tax cuts.  The “stage two” tax cuts originally set down for the 2022-23 year have been brought forward and backdated to July 2020.

The measures are expected to see lower and middle-income earners receive tax relief of up to $2745 for singles, and up to $5490 for dual-income families – compared to 2017/18.  The new tax scales have been released by the ATO now so all employees should be seeing an increase in their take-home pay.  You will get the kicker for the backdated portion when you lodge your 2021 tax returns.

The government wants us to spend these tax cuts to drive economic activity.  This argument that increased consumer spending will stimulate the economy is debatable as all spending isn’t equal.  Spending money on electronics made in China doesn’t benefit our economy as much as eating out at local restaurants.

On top of this Covid-19 has changed the rules of the game.  We have seen a fall in private consumption and people are still anxious about outbreaks and shutdowns.  In this environment, people will be more likely to save, not spend.

Here are my thoughts on what you should do with your tax cut.

Pay off your debt

If you’ve got debt, pay it off.  We have very high household debt-to-income ratios in Australia.  Each person will have different priorities at times like these, but if financial security is at the front of your mind then you should be reducing non-discretionary spending and non-deductible debt.

Paying off high interest finance like credit cards and car loans as quickly as you can is about the most effective investment you can make.

Invest

If you don’t have non-deductible debt, then think about your goals and look to invest the tax cuts.  Think about your goals and choose investments that are appropriate for the length of time to invest.

Younger people are particularly well served by investing early and often with compound interest on your side.

Now might be the time to sit down with a financial planner to start mapping out the years ahead.  We work with a few planners in this space so let us know if you’d like some contact details.

Don’t spend it before you get it

Don’t second guess how much your tax refund is going to be and don’t spend it before you’ve got it.  A lot gets taken into account in calculating the tax at year end and you might get caught out.

Also, avoid the Buy Now Pay Later offers such as AfterPay.  These lenders are essentially unregulated and borrowers are getting caught out.  The ASIC report this week about the schemes highlights that as many as 20% of borrowers are getting into trouble with these credit products.  Past financial results have shown that the lenders make between 10% & 20% of their income from late fees. So beware, don’t overcommit and don’t spend more than you earn.

 

Tax2

Taxation of Coronavirus Payments In Your Tax Return

Over the past 9 months, there have been numerous Covid-19 government support payments for business and individuals. A question we are often asked is how these are treated for tax purposes.

JobKeeper payments

JobKeeper payments received by individuals are considered taxable income. Your employer will report them to the ATO along with the tax they withheld. These payments will be part of your Payment Summary which will be available through MyGov.  They may appear separately or as part of your salary and wage income. If you are a sole trader you declare the JobKeeper payments as income.

Businesses that received JobKeeper payments to help make up for a fall in turnover, will need to disclose these payments as part of the assessable income of the business for the financial year.  It will be offset by the JobKeeper payments made to staff.

JobSeeker payments and the $550 Coronavirus supplement

Your JobSeeker payment and the $550 Coronavirus supplement are both taxable income and are included in your tax return. The ATO should automatically populate this information for you under the ‘government payments and allowances’ section in your tax return. 

The $750 Economic Support Payment

This payment was made to Australians on lower incomes who were receiving some kind of assistance from Centrelink.  It is exempt from tax and does not count as income. 

Business Cash Flow Boost payments

The federal government cash flow boosts were delivered as credits in the activity statement system to small and medium businesses who employed staff.  They are tax-free payments. You do not need to report or include them in your tax return.

State Government Grants

A government payment to assist a business to continue operating is included in assessable income. This will include assistance provided as a one-off lump sum or a series of payments.  These include:

  • Queensland COVID-19 adaption grant
  • New South Wales Government Small Business COVID-19 Support Grant
  • South Australian Government $10,000 Emergency Cash Grants for Small Businesses
  • South Australian Government Job Accelerator Grant Scheme
  • Victorian Government Business Support Fund
  • Payments under the Northern Territory Government Small Business Survival Fund
  • Northern Territory Government Business Improvement Grant
  • Western Australian Government Small Business grant scheme

Electricity rebates

Some states and territories are offering households and some businesses automatic electricity rebates. These rebates are not included in assessable income. For a business, the rebate will reduce the deduction the business can claim for electricity.

Early release of superannuation

If you accessed part of your super under the COVID-19 early release of super payment, you won’t be required to pay any tax on the payment so you don’t need to disclose it in your tax return.

Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to the team at Activ8 Accountants & Advisors who will be happy to talk further.