From Craig’s desk
This month we welcome Chelsea to the tax team. We have another two team members joining us in October and will be introducing them through the month.
We are pleased to announce that Anne Hunter and her firm at Grafton have decided to merge with Vault and from 1 October Barb, Blake, Bubbles, Sue and Wendy will be joining the team. Anne will be continuing with a split role between her Oxenford office and assisting in the transition of the Grafton firm.
In November we are attending the Brisbane Small Business Expo and Primex in Casino. If you see the team in either location, say hello.
We are glad to see a return to normal with the Brisbane Oktoberfest event, after two years of cancellations due to covid, we wish Boris and Kim a successful festival in early October. To buy your tickets click here.
We have recently rolled out ATO Mate as our communication method for ATO communications. This will mean that all ATO correspondence will be emailed as the first option. For those without email we will be assisting you to continue to receive communications by post, the team will be in contact with you to set up an alternative to the emailed option.
Unfortunately we continue to see the impact of inflation and interest rises on business activities, we continue to expand our offering of business planning services. There has been an increase in insolvency activities, and for October we are being joined by an insolvency professional to discuss the implication of the insolvency for impacted businesses and what you can do to protect your business. With the change of business conditions we continue to expand our business planning service. We cover what’s involving the planning process and the benefits for businesses at all stages of the business cycle.
Tyler is covering the basics of Xero and how it can assist your business. She will be looking at some of the apps that will make your business record keeping is much simpler and how these apps can give you the information you need to improve your business.
This month we cover the record keeping requirements and the utilisation of digital records to maintain your ongoing compliance, what apps and resources are available and how to keep in compliance with the ATO expectations.
In conversation we look at some of the basics of investments held through SMSF, some of the basics of the different asset classes and what you can and can’t do inside a SMSF. We are seeing a lot of more curiosity around SMSF as people explore alternatives in investment their superannuation.
Martin Turner from the Turner Group will explain the benefits of a formal recruitment process for businesses and how the pre-employment testing can help in making sure candidates are the right fit.
Bud from Streten Real Estate tells us about his property information service. We had great feedback about the digital property management that Bud offers.
As we continue to develop our newsletter we welcome any feedback email email@example.com
Anne Hunter and the Grafton Team Join Vault
We welcome the Grafton Team and Anne Hunter to Vault Group and are happy they will be joining the team. The Grafton office will be remaining at 160 Pound Street and apart from some office renovations there will be the same faces and the same great service.
Anne commenced her practice over 30 years ago and has been fiercely independent throughout that time, Anne first entered the world of tax three decades ago as a tax agent. She quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the only women leading her own practice, which she has done successfully since 1992 as a Registered Chartered Accountant.
Tyler will be relocating to Inverell and will be the practice manager for the Grafton Team (as well as helping the offices at Moree and Bingara).
The phone number for Grafton will remain the same 02 66422799 all the teams emails will be changing to the @vaultgroup.com.au domain but the existing emails will still work for the next year.
Understanding your business
Business conditions continue to evolve with disruption in the economic landscape and as it does, nimbleness is becoming a key element to ensure that your business is able to continue to thrive. We often ask “when was the last time that you sat down and plan what your business looks like for the next month, year, and what is your exit plan”. It’s something that Vault has been guilty of not doing as well, often it is an afterthought, and as a Team is now the first thought not the last.
In understanding your business it is important to have a plan and work backwards to achieve this, we like to start with what you want to achieve from your business; financial, time or lifestyle or all three, and then work out how the business can allow this to happen.
We often see, especially in the franchise space, someone swapping their salaried position for a business on the basis that this will give them more freedom and flexibility, rarely is this the case, not least of which there is no identification of what they actually want to achieve and how they will do it. For more information about franchises click here.
Developing a business plan requires stepping away from the business, and in a shameless plug, working with someone like Vault to assist you in understanding not just the numbers but the systems and efficiencies that you need in order to develop your business to what you want it be. This is usually an all team approach, building on your most valuable resource, your team.
The business planning process involves looking forward and back, and hopefully examining each aspect of the business to determine where the opportunities are, whether these are cost rationalisations, premises and occupancy, product lines and pricing or staff composition and staff mix. As businesses are adapting to change market conditions, this is often done in a responsive manner and not planned, which can have adverse consequences, we often see this in business attempting to cut costs by dropping their marketing, usually the worse things they can do.
In the current business environment business planning is a critical tool for weathering whatever storm is coming up, we found through covid that businesses that did not adapt have been the ones that have struggled as business conditions have returned to semblance of normality, but equally as the business landscape is getting tougher, there is a need to understand your business and look to the future.
What does business planning involve?
We start by stepping away from the business and understand what you are wanting to achieve from the business. We then development some goals and objectives for the business, and what it needs to provide to you.
Once we have identified the needs it is then analysing the business from top to bottom, through this process we look to systemise and make efficiencies.
Finally there is a map forward, regular updates and analysis and ultimately ensuring that we keep you accountable and measure the successes and failures on the way through.
How does it help?
The business planning process is something we practice and preach, we utilise a business plan for ourselves as it keeps us accountable and focused on constantly improving the business. It is not a fixed document, it needs to be constantly updated and reviewed. It gives us focus on things that we can improve, and reminds us of what we need to continue to focus on.
To discuss the business planning process, we first recommend a complimentary review of your business, this will determine some basic issues, some simple strategies and then determine a course forward. To book a Complimentary Client Review click here.
We are running a webinar on the benefits of business planning and what is involved, to register your interest click here.
Why you need Xero
As far as accounting packages go, the market seems to have an abundance of them and in a range of colours, branding and pricing points. So how do you know which option is best for you, and your business? And when you pick one, how do you learn to be proficient enough at using it, to be able to get the most out of it?
Here at Vault we are a Gold Partner Xero Practice. We have built a team with a wealth of knowledge and experience across a lot of the accounting packages out there – but we specialise in just one. Xero.
Why only Xero?
Xero is a wholly functional accounting, payroll and bill management system (thanks to its acquisition and integration with Hubdoc. It can tell you everything you need to know on your balance sheet in a very easy to read format directly on your dashboard.
But Xero is much more than just an accounting software, thanks to some very clever design mechanisms, Xero can be customised and built into your business and other systems and processes that you use.
Think of it like a piece of Lego, it’s a great design as a standalone concept – its accounting software – it does exactly what its supposed to do. Essentially it records money coming in and money going out.
But it can be so much more than that.
Do you need to manage staff and rosters? Tanda or Deputy can help with that especially if you need to manage multiple locations or if you have projects that are running concurrently try Next Minute or Service M8.
Xero has some very clever integration options, so it can be synced and integrated with a myriad of other systems that you probably already use every day. By sharing the data with your Xero file, it doesn’t change how you do your day to day work or transactions, it just increases efficiency and less manual or duplicate data entry. This frees up more time for you, and makes your records more accessible and more accurate in real time – not just at the end of the financial year.
Finding a software package that you and your business partners, advisors and lenders can work with is not a luxury – its now an essential business need.
Here at Vault this is where we excel. We focus a lot of time and energy on speaking to you about your business – where you are today, where do you want to be tomorrow and how can we best support you on your journey.
Not all software is the same.
Prices range from $0 to $99+ per month – but there is some truth in the old adage, “you get what you pay for”.
We find that for businesses it is the ability to integrate additional applications as being the critical component for business owners. To have your point of sale talk to your inventory management, your staff timesheets and human resources platform and then feed this data into your accounting system to give you real time reporting is the key.
But I use another bookkeeping platform, can you help?
Absolutely, we can assist you to transition to Xero, but in order to give you the best outcome we only offer bookkeeping services on the Xero platform.
To understand why you need Xero in your business, reach out to Tyler here.
Tax Record Keeping – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
We are following through the expectations of record keeping from the ATO perspective and what we need to see as tax agents to assist you in preparing your tax return. There are some red flags that we recommend you avoid, to avoid difficulty we are encouraging the utilisation of digital record keeping to make sure things don’t get lost.
The retention of paper receipts has started to rapidly reduce as there is alternate methods for the storing of tax records, we encourage clients to use the digital options available. There are plenty of apps available to help you retain this information such as hubdoc, retailers now are offering text receipts and photos suffice in most cases.
We often ask for a log book or diary to make sure that the claims are correct, this is to protect you, as if the ATO queries the information.
Receipts are important, bank statements are okay and a cover, nothing is a problem. Utilising the apps that are available or taking photos of receipts is sufficient providing that there is evidence of the claim.
The ATO also offer an app via mygov which allows you to record your claims.
We are finding that the utilisation of physical receipts means that things get lost or damaged before you have the time to claim them, and if you are audited you will need to provide this information.
If you need help to move to digital record keeping Tyler is here to help.
There was a recent case where the taxpayer attempted to claim car usage using a logbook method. The problem was that the dates chosen for the claim included public holidays and times that the taxpayer was out of Australia. The data matching process included using their passport and departure records.
Your records need to be accurate, in this case, the logbook was completed several years after the return in response to an ATO audit. We recommend Driversnote as a digital logbook.
What is required?
Do I have to keep records for seven years? Good practice is that records need to be retained for the period where the tax returns can be amended or reviewed. A better answer is keep digital records and there is no requirement for keeping shoeboxes.
What apps are available? As an office we use Driversnote for the tracking of motor vehicle usage.
Can I automatically claim less than $300 in work related expenses without receipts? No, you are not able to automatically claim the deduction and there is a requirement to be able to prove that you have incurred the expense (so something like a bank or credit card transaction).
Can I claim uniforms and laundry? This is a difficult one, it depends on the industry and depends on the role. If the work item is something like an unbranded shirt or a generic item (such as shoes) chances are no. In this case if there is a compulsory uniform or specific safety gear then you are likely to claim.
Some of the more bizarre claims you have seen? As we are seeing more people running side hustles, and this has seen an increase in claims that are less likely to be deductible.
It is hard to pinpoint all of them but some of the more “interesting” claims we have seen attempted include;
- Claiming pet food as the animals needed more food because they were being walked more during a work from home time.
- Swimming pool cleaning, as they needed it for the background of the zoom videos.
- Subscriptions to online games as staff amenities (whilst working at home).
- Purchase of an xBox as a home computer.
For more information
Audit Insurance – we recommend that you consider audit insurance to cover any ATO activities. Click here for more information.
For more about what the ATO is looking for click here
A SMSF Questions and Answers
This month we are exploring the types of investments that we see in SMSF and what you need to be aware of. Craig has covered this in a video here.
- Can a super fund run a business?
Whilst theoretically possible, in most cases the limitations in the operation of a SMSF make it difficult to run a business through a fund. Generally we only see this occur where a property has been recovered or a loan recovered and the fund needs to operate the business for a short period of time.
- Can a super fund own a commercial leasehold?
Simply yes, we see this primarily in the rural sectors and where a warehouse is leased in a wider complex. Where a leasehold interest is being acquired by a fund it is important to make sure that the fund is protected and it does not create debt for itself, such as chain on chain rental liabilities.
- Can a super fund own collectables?
A fund can own collectables but there are strict rules around their storage, insurance and valuation. It is important that there is no personal use of the assets of the fund, which means they cannot be stored at home or where the members have the enjoyment of the asset.
Where you are considering collectables in a SMSF it is important to factor in not only the storage and insurance but also if there is a secondary market for the items where you need to sell the assets.
- Can a super fund buy a home for the members?
No, unless at the same time the member is taking their benefit from the fund to acquire the property or they are taking a property from the fund as their benefit. In every case a member or their associates cannot lease a residential property from the fund.
- Can a super fund develop a property?
Yes it can. A SMSF can be a party to a development, but it is important to ensure that the fund clearly adheres to the borrowing rules and the sole purpose tests. We often see that funds which own property have a joint venture arrangement with a member or trustee to undertake a development project.
- Can a super fund lease a commercial property to a related party?
Where a fund owns a commercial property it can lease it to a related party on the basis that the rent is on an arm’s length basis. We see business owners utilise their SMSF to acquire business premises in line with their long term succession planning.
- Can a super fund own livestock?
Yes it can. Owning a herd via a superannuation is permissible but there needs to be clear compliance with the sole purpose test. This often occurs were rural properties are acquired by a fund and the herd is part of the purchase.
- Can a super fund own crypto?
A fund can own crypto but it is important to ensure that the account is properly set up and in the name of the fund. We have found funds that have held crypto via foreign exchanges have struggled to properly set up their funds.
- Can a super fund borrow to buy a property?
A fund can borrow to acquire a property under a limited borrowing structure. Where you are considering to utilise superannuation to buy a property that will need borrowing, it is prudent to reach out to Craig for some guidance.
- Can a super fund borrow to buy shares?
There are limited situations that allows a superannuation fund to borrow in order to acquire shares, but generally it is simpler to undertake this via a geared fund or structure (such as an ETF or managed fund).
- What is the strangest investment you have seen?
Greyhound straws of a triple crown winning dog that originally owned by the SMSF. The straws were held by the superannuation fund and kept in cryogenic storage. As there was a robust secondary market for the straws and that the additional straws were created from an asset from the fund, it was a strange but permissible investment.
Our guide to SMSF is here
Why Recruitment is Critical
Our guest writer this month is Martin Turner from the Turner Group and TTG Community Engagement.
Martin is joining us for two months, as the message is too long for one article alone.
Martin has worked in recruitment for years, we have engaged Martin for staff recruitment and screening, before we start Martin; what can go wrong if I do it myself?
One thing I never recommend is hiring friends or hiring on the basis of a personal recommendation without screening and testing the person first. Obviously confidentiality limits what I can say, but I witnessed a business owner hire a friend without doing the background checks, after a year and most of his staff leaving it was worked out that the “friend” was a complete disaster, and had alienated all the existing staff of the business, in the end, unfortunately, the damage was done.
Also Martin, what is the benefit of psychometric testing? There is a lot of debate about the value of pre-employment testing, but for the most part it will assist in the understanding how someone will fit in the organisation and what are some of the issues that you need to consider. The testing process is not necessarily everything but it can be the difference between a suitable or unsuitable candidate.
Recruitment & Selection – Part 1
For as long as I can remember every popular research publication including, PWC, Forbes & The Wall Street Journal have sighted attracting, recruiting and retaining great talent as one of the top 3 challenges facing a CEO of a successful growing company. In fact, more recently, in many surveys it is the main concern.
The attraction of potential talent should be a part of every leader’s skill set and in the current acute skill shortage environment, being aware of who may be in the market & ‘talent banking’ has never been more important.
So, what is Recruitment and Selection? Recruitment is a core function of the Human Resource division of a larger company or more often than not it becomes the function of an Owner, Director, or Line Manager in a smaller business.
It is a complex process that involves everything from identifying, attracting, screening, shortlisting, interviewing, testing, selecting, hiring, and onboarding employees. The process can take several months, especially at a senior level where a notice period can be up to 3 months.
Many organisations outsource their Recruitment & Selection needs to external Recruitment Consultants while some companies rely on placing their own advertisements on job boards, and social media channels to recruit talent for new positions. Many companies use sophisticated recruitment software to make their recruitment process more effective and efficient.
The recruitment process can be broken down into 5 or 6 core components, but I believe this should be broken down again into all the crucial steps to ensure a successful placement result.
- Identify the hiring need
- Develop & outline a recruitment plan
- Prepare/update a position description
- Advertise the position
- Recruit the position
- Review potential applications resumes
- Conduct initial screening/phone interviews
- Conduct 1 or 2 informal/formal interviews, in person or by video conference
- Conduct applicant aptitude/general reasoning assessment
- Complete reference & background checks
- Decision time on best candidates
- Reference Checking
- Negotiating Job offer
- Pre-start paperwork
- Onboarding the New Employee
All too often I have seen businesses jump from step 1 to 4 and then 13 and leave everything else behind. When they find out that the decision was wrong, often it is way too late to fix it.
Next month I will break down some of the most important steps in more detail.
Martin as a plug, what do The Turner Group offer? We offer recruitment service for businesses but also ensure that the candidates are properly screened and tested. To engage with the Turner Group click here.
The Turner Group is a leading boutique provider of holistic recruitment and staffing solutions, and HR services. Our people, our values, our history and our culture all combine to make us the recruitment consulting team we are proud to be.
Property Investor Support Service – Streten Real Estate
Streten Real Estate formed our Property Investor Support Service to assist people when investing in Real Estate.
Our Property Investor Support Service is FREE and arms investors with all the information and tools necessary to make informed decisions on their next property purchase. We can provide;
- Detailed and comprehensive rental appraisal on potential investment properties you are targeting (Existing or off-the-plan)
- In-depth suburb reporting with local knowledge and data mapping, including flood, bush fire, traffic, fire ant, koala zones and Development Application status
- Recent Satellite Images
- We have access to council codes and rules applicable to a property, allowing us to conduct accurate and timely feasibility studies and produce 3D AI possibilities.
- Legislative advice and understanding of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
- Help investors understand their actual costings, forecasts, and expectations to capture their real return on investment.
- Property Management strategies and solutions.
Where Do We Get Our Information?
We utilise our extensive database, software, and good old boots-on-the-ground approach to keep up with the constantly evolving property market. We are linked heavily with Tier 1 Financial lenders, reputable financial advisories, other real estate agents, property groups, builders and developers, allowing us to consistently stay up to date with what is happening in the ever-evolving property market.
Property Health Check-Up
Streten Real Estate’s Property Investor Support Service helps investors understand where to allocate funds towards their properties to minimise spending and maximise returns, all whilst keeping tenants onside and happily renting their property. It also gives you a snapshot of where your property is sitting with comparable properties regarding the rental price.
Saving You Valuable Time
The Property Market waits for no one and being well informed allows you to save wasted time at open homes on properties that don’t fit the brief. Our Investor Support Service will enable you to analyse and shortlist properties faster and more accurately, saving valuable time getting ahead on the deal.
What does it cost?
FREE! Our Property Investors Support Service gives you the advantage before stepping inside a property, whether you are a Streten Real Estate client or not.
When Should You Contact Us?
If you are looking at investment property for the first time or adding to your existing portfolio, it is always a good time to contact us. If you utilise our support services before, during or after buying an investment property, we have advice and tools that will assist you in growing and managing your properties.
At Streten Property Group, technology allows us to manage properties all over South East Queensland. Properties located 2 hours away get no more or less attention than one on my street. A “good” manager can do their job effectively no matter where they are and now has the technology to thank and back them up.
Contact Bud at
Phone: 0436 486 444
Meet the Team – Raffy
This month’s spotlight is shining brightly on Raffy in the Philippines. Find out more about Raffy here.
Where in the Philippines are you based? Pampanga, its about 80km from Manila Metro.
What’s Pampanga know for? Food.
Everywhere in the Philippines is know for it’s food, what else? Pampanga is a province in the Philippines, northwest of Manila. Nayong Pilipino, a cultural theme park in Clark Freeport, has replicas of major national sites. Animatronic dinosaurs roam at Dinosaurs Island nearby. A mountain trail leads to the streams of Miyamit Falls, southwest. Farther west, a turquoise lake fills Mt. Pinatubo’s volcanic crater. In Angeles, the Museo ning Angeles documents the area’s history.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies? Movies, I love them
What’s a perfect weekend for you? Taking the family to the cinema or strolling around the mall, and, of course, food.
Tell us about your family? There are three of us, my wife and my eight year old daughter.
How long have you been with Vault? It is over 18 months now.
What area do you work in? The tax and accounting team.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your role? Preparing financials for complex groups, each has their own identity, which keeps me busy. Oh and Craig’s one word answers to complex problems.
Learn about our team here
We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this monthly round up, and look forward to bringing your more news next month.
To find out what’s happening at Vault click here.
As always we’re here to help. Contact us on (07) 3012 6724 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.