It’s a busy time of year for Accountants and Bookkeepers — but we are not the only ones.

Cyber security experts are predicting an increase in scam activity targeting small-to-medium businesses over the next month as fraudsters ramp up their tax time scams.

You need to be vigilant, with a recent survey finding just over 80% of Small business owners say they’re worried about online identity theft over the end of financial year period, mainly due to the large amount of information that is now transferred online.



Common scams to watch out for this tax time

Experts are saying that July will be the heaviest month for scam activity, but are predicting a large volume of email fraud to start floating around over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s what to watch for.

  • Scammers impersonating tax agents or accountants offering to reduce your tax burden.
  • Emails, text messages or phone calls purporting to be from the tax office offering tax breaks.
  • Tax office impersonators claiming you’ve made an error on your tax return or need to update your details.
  • Any correspondence where the status of your financial accounts or personal information is questioned.
  • Emails, text messages or phone calls where fraudsters claim your data is being held hostage.


Advice for beating the scammers


The golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, or at least merits a sceptical approach.

  • Only share personal or financial information with tax agents or bookkeepers you know and trust.
  • Always ask anyone asking for sensitive information or payment to confirm their identity.
  • If someone claims to be from the ATO, but won’t confirm their identity, hang up.
  • It’s a good time of the year for a general security check, changing all passwords and getting two-step authentication.
  • As the ACCC noted last month: don’t trust email!

 

It is important to keep in mind you personally are much more likely to be targeted as a security vulnerability than your computer is. In other words, humans are the weak point scammers are targeting.

 

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Tax Planning Tips To Maximise Your Return

The end of the tax year will soon be upon us with 30 June just around the corner. Now’s a good time to take a look at both your expected income for the current financial year; and your projected income for next financial year, as they will help guide your tax planning strategy.

In this short video I will give some general tips to help with your year end tax planning.


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To Improve Your Cash Flow, One is The Number



Every business has a seven financial principals that underpins the way they operate from a financial viewpoint.

Not knowing your principals is like walking through a maze blindfolded. These consist of the four drivers of profit and three drivers of the balance sheet.

The four drivers of profit are:

  • Price
  • Volume
  • Direct costs/Cost of Goods
  • Overheads


The three drivers of the balance sheet are:

  • Accounts Receivable days
  • Inventory days
  • Accounts Payable days

They are the drivers that management should have some control over. Business improvement is driven by changes to these drivers. 


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Starting A Business Guide

The Definitive Guide to Starting a New Business 

Do you have a brilliant idea that you want to develop into a business?

It is one thing to have a good idea, but it is entirely another matter to turn it into a successful business.

All good business owners know that one of the keys to success is asking for help when you don’t have expertise and experience in certain areas. This is where we can help. We are here to get your business moving in the right direction.

Have a look at our definitive guide to starting a business in 2019 and your business will surely be on its way to success.


Do Research For Your Business Plan
Never start any business venture without being thoroughly prepared, and this will involve research.

You need to study the following:

  • Potential customers
  • Competitors
  • Industry in which you will operate

The aim of this is to have an all-inclusive understanding of exactly what your potential customers want, who your competitors are and the market your business will work in. This will enable you to make more educated decisions about if your business will be a success rather than just going on your gut feelings.

You can take on the hands-on approach and complete your own market research or engage the services of specialist firms to do it for you.

Whichever way you do it, making sure you have a sound understanding of the needs and challenges of your target market will mean you are better prepared for your businesses launch.


Having the Right Business Structure in Australia

Choosing your business structure in which to operate in Australia is a crucial step in setting up a new business. The structure you choose will have an impact on who can make decisions, how profits and losses are shared, asset protection along with tax advantages & disadvantages.

The four most popular business structures in Australia are:

  • Sole Trader – Is where you are the sole owner and hold all responsibility for the business
  • Partnership – Is where a number of people or entities run a business together.
  • Company – Is where the business is a legal entity separate from its owners
  • Trust – Is where the business is an entity that holds property or income for the benefit of others.

Not sure what business structure is best for your potential business? Check out the ATO website for more help with choosing your business structure or reach out to us to find out more.


Writing a Business Plan

You’ve done your research and have a good idea on how your business is going to be run.

The next step is preparing a business plan.

A business plan is essentially documentation of what your businesses goals are, reasons they be achieved and how you plan to make the goals a reality. It can be daunting especially if you have never written one, but it doesn’t have to be.

Just download this simple Business Plan Template Guide

Business Plan Template Guide


Develop A Marketing Strategy and Plan
The next step in the planning process is finalizing a marketing plan. Your marketing plan pulls together the information you have gathered in the research stage, it then outlines your marketing strategy.

If you are unsure where to start when writing your marketing plan, just take a look at this Marketing Plan Template

Marketing Plan Template



Calculating Your Start-up Costs For Your Business
Next is for you to calculate your businesses start-up costs.

You need to be pretty ruthless in this step. You are not trying to put forward the best case scenario. You are trying to understand the set-up costs associated with your business and be adequately prepared so you can work out if you need financing and if so, how much.

There’s nothing worse than being partway through setting up your business and receiving a conceivable but still unexpected costs, and not having sufficient funds to cover it. Avoid the unexpected by grabbing this Start-up Costs Template

Start-up Costs Template

 

Use Financial Monitoring and Tracking Tools
One of the biggest things that leads to the failure of a business is the lack of understanding the numbers. It is reasonable that in the early days of your business you would wish to look after the finances yourself to help minimise costs. This, however, cannot be an excuse for poor financial management.

It is your responsibility as a business owner to have the right financial tracking and reporting tools to monitor your profits, losses, sales, stock & cash flow or otherwise seek out the assistance of a professional to do so.

If you are opting to complete your books yourself for now make use of helpful templates like the ones below.

Cashflow Template

Alternatively, look at cloud-based accounting software packages like Xero, Reckon or MYOB.


Which Registrations and Licences Do You Need
Depending on what your business is planning to sell, there may be a variety of different registrations you will need. However, no matter the type of business you plan to run, all businesses operating in Australia require an Australian Business Number (ABN) and Tax File Number (TFN).

The Australian Business and Licences Information Service (ABLIS) is an helpful resource when determining exactly which registrations, licences and permits you will need.


Get Your Insurances In Order
Insurance is one of those things that people don’t like to deal with, so they just take the minimum with a name they know without doing any proper research into whether the policy really suits their needs.

The industry or profession your business will be operating in will influence exactly which and how many insurances you will require. Some insurances you may need to consider are:

  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Motor Vehicle Third Party Personal Insurance
  • Building & Contents Insurance
  • Assets & Revenue Insurance
  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Products Liability Insurance
  • Personal Accident, Illness & Life Insurance
  • Income Protection Insurance

AS there are so many different types of insurances and so many providers, many business owners use an Insurance Broker to assist them to find the right policy. Not only can they save you time, they can also ensure that you have de-risked your business, and can also save you money as well.


Protecting Your Intellectual Property
How long did it take you to come up with the perfect name for your business?

How would feel if you were halfway through your business start-up process to find out that a competitor had chosen to use that same name.

This is why you need to register your business or company name & domain name as soon as possible.

This does not automatically give you the right to use the name as a trademark, so you may also need to consider registering the name as a trademark if you intend to take action against illegal users.

Depending on your industry and what you will be selling, you may also need to protect your business idea. This is what is going to be making you money and no one will pay for something they can get elsewhere. If you have a unique business idea, you should look into protecting your intellectual property (IP).

Your intellectual property includes:

  • Trademarks
  • Patents
  • Copyright
  • Design rights
  • Domain names.

Depending on where your intended market is, this may also include looking at protecting these ideas overseas.

As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration before you even open your doors for customers.

If you would like to discuss your options about your business idea, reach out to the team to schedule a chat.

 

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Risks In Your Business
In the article, OnPoint Advisory Gold Coast Accountants, will discuss the some current trends in de-risking your business.

Business owners are becoming increasingly aware of more business risks they are becoming exposed to. More than just financial issues. 

Reliance On One Person

Many Small Businesses are totally reliant on one or a hand full of key people who are vital to the running and survival of the business.

But what would happen to the business if something was to occur to these key staff?

The unexpected can occur, like death, illness or they just decide to move onto new ventures.

Will your business survive.

The first thing a business needs is a strategy and contingency plan for these key roles.

Businesses should, as part of this, consider:
– Process Documentation;
– Shareholders agreements, which include buy / sell agreements, if there are unrelated owners;
– Relevant Insurance Policies;
– Estate Planning.

Market Risk

Does your business rely on a few major clients to generate a majority of it’s income?

What would happen to your business if that client restructures and reduces the requirement to use your business? What if they went out of business themselves?

You need to look at extending your market reach, either by expanding your client base and doing a strategic review of your offerings to see if your key market is looking for new products or services you may be able to offer.

At the end of the day, the more you can de-risk your business, the more valuable your business can become.

You would need to have have the necessary processes in place for at least three years for the flow on effect to the valuations to show the full impact.

The sooner the process is started for any business the better you will be.

To discuss more ways you can de-risk your business, reach out to us for a free consultation.







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A Business Plan is Essential
Business Plans Are An Important Tool

Here at OnPoint Advisory, we quite often talk to clients about their business plans, and if they have one.


It is rare that a client actually has their plan down on paper.

Here are some tips to help you write a business plan that lets you stand apart from the crowd.


Identify Your Niche

You need to identify what sets you apart from the rest of the businesses in your industry. Focus on a specific market and indicate any secondary markets that you may want to tap into in the future.


Don’t be concerned about the size of the market but by your ability to lure them to you. A large market means a lot more businesses are already in it, and will give you a large amount of competition to deal with.


Identify what sets you apart and why you think you have a chance of getting a piece of the market.


Understand Your Business Before You Start The Budget

You cannot set a realistic budget without knowing your industry, the market, and competitors.


Make sure you have a good understanding of them, while you start preparing your financial projections.


Many times I’ve have had people tell me that they have a budget of only a few thousand dollars and they want to start a business.


They believe that they will find some way to just fit everything in. WRONG! There are barrier costs for many industries. Your job is to understand what they are.


Customers Are The Guidance You Need

You are NOT your client.


Don’t create a product or service just because you think it’s a great idea.


And don’t get offended when people, outside of your family and friends, tell you it’s a bad idea. You need customers! Make sure that you target a market that really wants what you are going to be offering.


There Is Always Room For Improvement

Though you may want to boast about how you have the perfect fool-proof plan, be careful to leave room for improvement.


A perfect plan rarely exists.


Be honest about your weaknesses, and be insightful about ways to improve them. Especially, if you are a tech oriented business.


Get A Second Pair of Eyes

I can not reiterate this enough.


Have someone proofread read it! And then get someone to read it again.


There’s nothing worse than asking someone for money when you have a whole bunch of spelling and grammatical errors in your plan.


Get someone you trust to read through your plan. Have them point out any weaknesses or areas that need more explanation.


Summary

  1. Identify Your Niche Market

  2. Know Your Business Before You Start A Budget

  3. Target What Customers Want

  4. Leave Room For Improvement

  5. Have Someone Else Read Your Plan


OnPoint Advisory is a Gold Coast based accounting firm servicing areas including Robina, Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads and Miami.


Contact us today to discuss the benefits of having a formal business plan.


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