Business Technology

"Small businesses are falling behind in technology", Ita Buttrose
We reckon Cold Chisel got it right when they sang, "She got wholesome news for the family, I believe, I believe, in what she says, Yes I do."

Photo: www.computerworld.com.auComputerworld Australia reported how Ita Buttrose stood up for Australian SMEs recently when she addressed an audience of IT professionals at the Internet Industry Association's 16th Annual Gala Dinner in Sydney, saying that small businesses are falling behind in their uptake of technology.

She said, "In today's world, anyone in a business leadership role must be ready for change… When you think of change as something that offers opportunity then I think it becomes something that needs to no longer be feared. If you are not looking around for opportunities, you won't find them." 

"Having a website, social media presence and an app are 21st century business fundamentals and no-one serious about business success in this country can afford to be without them."

"Your industry is keen to work with and encourage small businesses, indeed all businesses, to embrace technology and what it can bring to a business. But the fact is not all small businesses have a website – around 50 per cent of them don't – and many of them don't transact business online either."

Even though the upfront costs of technology investments may seem more real and challenging for small businesses, Buttrose said it needs to be seen as part of a company's long-term strategy and sustainable business plan.

Read the whole article at http://bit.ly/VGRkNU. Phone GJB on 02 9686 3130 if you would like to review or discuss the adoption or upgrade of technology in your business.

Being Social

Welcome to the GJB Blog 

G J Barnett & Associates is a Chartered Accounting firm with a wide variety of experience. Through research, training and practical application we are constantly improving skills and expanding our expertise. This has provided us with a wealth of quality knowledge that we would like to share.

This space is where we aim to connect with you to provide insights and opinions on a variety of matters including: 

  • Business Improvement and Growth
  • Latest Business Trends
  • Building Better Business Relationships 
  • Potential Impacts of Current Affairs on your Business
  • More Effective use of your Accounting Systems
  • General Business Advice
  • Tax Planning Opportunities
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Please have a look around our site to familiarise yourself with the services we provide and to get to know a bit about our team. Different team members will be blogging in this space and you will be able to read about our personal experience.

We encourage you to comment and participate on our blog page and hope you enjoy and subscribe. If you have any suggestions or requests for future topics please also feel free to leave a comment or alternatively you can
contact us directly.

 

 

What can small businesses claim this year?
As a small business owner, there are a plethora of tax benefits, incentives, concessions and offsets that can potentially be used

This represents a significant challenge when you have 1,001 matters to think about and an enterprise to run. Here are three changes to the simplified depreciation rules that you may have missed (they apply from July 1, 2012).

1. Increase to instant asset write-off threshold
Eligible small businesses that use the small business pooling rules can now claim an outright deduction for most depreciating assets purchased that cost less than $6,500 each - an increase from the original amount of $1,000. 

2. Accelerated deduction for motor vehicles
A small business from July 1, 2012 can claim a $5,000 deduction for a motor vehicle if they satisfy the following conditions: 

  • they are an eligible small business (turnover under $2 million)
  • they choose to use small business pooling in order to work out their depreciation
  • the car is worth more than $6,500 (if the car is worth less than $6,500 and you satisfy the previous two conditions, you will be able to write it off under the increased instant asset write-off threshold)
The remainder of the cost is deducted through the general small business pool at 15% for the first year and 30% for later years.  Read more…

Superannuation Planning

$1M pension fund in today's money will need to be $2.5M+ in 30 years' time
Last week the Australian press reported that super is on the political agenda again amid speculation that Labor could reorganise super tax concessions, particularly for high earners, in the May Budget.

While $1 million was a considerable sum in today's terms, once medical and aged care costs are factored in, it could be inadequate. A $1 million pension fund in today's money will need to be at least $2.5 million in 30 years' time.

While the Prime Minister has ruled out tax changes on withdrawals by those with higher balances, the Government has so far declined to respond to other concerns.

Any Federal Government move on superannuation risks setting the retirement system up for failure, one national accounting industry peer warns, with the Government risking eroding confidence in superannuation.

"During recent weeks, the government has stigmatised Australian retirees who have set aside their own monies for independent retirement," they said, "Australians are going to need more retirement income and the current government is doing surprisingly little to help."

At G J Barnett & Associates, we support you through every stage of the superannuation process and provide you with full documentation necessary for the establishment and compliance for a super fund for up to four members, while being flexible enough to suit your individual needs. Talk with us on 02 9686 3130 about ensuring your SMSF is set up properly to reflect your retirement and investment wishes.

From: AAP, 27 February 2013

Cloud Technology

If you've read anything about accounting software in the past year, odds are you'll have come across references to cloud technology
So what is 'cloud' technology? And why would you be interested?

Essentially, accounting software with a 'cloud' component enables accounting data to be stored securely offsite - on servers/hard drives managed by a cloud provider - and accessed remotely anywhere, anytime via the internet by the software user.

Today, most offers are based on either terminal server or browser technology. Although it's recently become a buzz word, the cloud is not a new a concept.

Large businesses have been using private 'clouds' for many years to help facilitate multiple users accessing central business systems at the one time, and to connect ERP systems with third party providers or customers (for example online ordering).

Now we are seeing the creation of affordable solutions for small to medium businesses, so that you can take advantage of the same technology big businesses use to drive efficiency, enhance the customer experience and keep up with the competition.

So why might you consider moving to a 'cloud' based accounting system? Read more…

Claim it or lose it puts frighteners on lost or unclaimed super members
The Australian Taxation Office is likely to receive a massive windfall after recent changes allow it to hold untouched super accounts with balances of up to $2,000.

Hundreds of thousands of idle superannuation accounts will be handed over to the ATO in coming months if members don't take action to recover lost and unclaimed funds.

Superannuation fund providers have until 31 May to transfer these accounts across to the tax office.

G J Barnett & Assoc's Director Glenn Barnett contact says super fund members need to act now to retrieve their lost or unclaimed funds before their money is transferred.

"It is not an unsubstantial amount of money that is going to be moved to the ATO," says Glenn. "There are a lot of forgotten about accounts floating around in the system."

On average, every Australian has almost three super accounts. It is common for people to accumulate multiple super accounts as they change jobs, with many people failing to consolidate accounts along the way.

ATO says there are about 1.1 million accounts on the lost members register with balances between $200 and $2,000. Not all of these will be eligible for transfer as some may be receiving contributions and some will be reunited with their owners.

What does it mean? Read more…

Low risk choices impact long term investment outcomes
According to the Australian press, 'low-risk' super could leave you all the poorer!

More to the point, young workers choosing 'low risk' investments for their superannuation may be up to $170,000 worse off.

An AustralianSuper poll showed half of the young people surveyed chose 'low risk' investment options but failed to understand these would deliver returns marginally higher than inflation.

The research, released as the shadow treasurer met with senior superannuation industry representatives to discuss the $1.5 trillion retirement savings industry, has the superannuation industry demanding that politicians stop tinkering with the system.

Since the global financial crisis, the focus for many investors has been on limiting exposure to volatile assets such as shares. But AustralianSuper's James Coyle said this has meant that too many workers are choosing the wrong investment options for their age bracket as they don't consider the impact of inflation on their super savings.

"For a 55-year old who is not going to keep their super invested in their retirement, a low risk, that is a low volatility option, may be part of a sound investment strategy, but for a 25-year old who has another 40 years of saving ahead of them, choosing this option could be disastrous," he said. Read more…

Work life balance

SME bosses slaves to their smart devices
Small business owners can't clock off even when they are on holiday or should be asleep, research finds.

Most owners of small businesses have mastered technology but, because of it, find it increasingly difficult to stop work encroaching on their personal time, according to a recent survey.

The study found that 89 per cent of those surveyed felt they had mastered the use of technology in their business, yet 38 per cent of respondents admitted to working when they should be 'off duty'.

Work-life imbalance
Further, the survey found a staggering 64 per cent of business owners having made or received work-related communications when it may be inappropriate, such as during recreational time or when commuting.

Being 'switched on' out of hours was not necessarily an issue for all those surveyed; Read more…

Self-managed super returns

Annual returns for newly registered SMSFs due 28 Feb
Trustees of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) urged to prepare for impending 2011-12 annual return deadline.

If you belong to a newly registered SMSF - and assuming you lodge your returns with our help - you will usually have a 2011-12 annual return deadline of 28 February 2013.

To meet the lodgement deadline, you should already have had your financial accounts and statements audited.

If an SMSF has no assets set aside for the benefits of members and has not started operating, it is not legally established. In this situation, you can ask us to write to the ATO to: Read more…