Summer 2019 Newsletter
Summer 2019 Newsletter
Welcome to the summer edition of our e-newsletter
As we race towards Christmas once again, we reflect on what an amazing year it has been for all of us at Yield. With the consolidation of our new systems and processes we can now comfortably say we are truly a 100% cloud based accounting firm. Although we were once apprehensive of new technology, we now eagerly look forward to exploring and developing expertise in many more applications for the benefit of our clients, the practice and the ongoing development of our staff.
In this newsletter we introduce two new staff members, some new apps to consider for your business, changes to the AUSkey system, tax advice as it relates to staff Christmas parties and presents, Pete’s environmental tips for the summer and a client profile for the new owners of the Northcliffe General Store, Mark and Paula Edwards.
We also review the highlight of the year for all of us at Yield, which was attending the annual Xerocon conference in Brisbane during September 2019. If you are wondering how an accounting conference could possibly be a highlight of the year please read on…..
It appears the days of boring accounting conferences are a thing of the past! At least that’s what we soon found out when we closed the office for a few days in September 2019 and took all our staff to the annual Xerocon conference, which was held in the heart of Brisbane at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Xero approaches conferences with the same attention to innovation as it does its software. Apart from housing over 100 Xero add-on partners and 3000 attendees, the vibrant expo floor comprised among other things decorate-your-own skateboard decks with a resident artist and a plywood half-pipe skate ramp, a Vintage Gelato Van serving ice creams, Yellow Table Tennis Tables and balls, a lolly bar serving old favourites, a yoga studio, a barber shop for the guys and a nail bar for the ladies.
The two day conference often referred to as Xero’s annual Woodstock, featured world class inspirational speakers, thought leaders and industry professionals. One of the keynote highlights on day one was a very emotional monologue by Craig Hudson, Xero’s general manager for New Zealand about his struggle with depression. It was one of several talks on the morning of the first day that focused heavily on depression in small business, particularly as it relates to culture and leadership.
There were various breakout presentations available to attendees on topics of their choice, at each of the 4 individually coloured stages. Some of the most memorable presentations included:-
- Bring your A-Game with Emma Murray, who is a Psychologist, Mindfulness Coach and Clinical Hypnotherapist, known for her role of getting inside the heads of the Richmond football players to help win the 2017 and 2019 AFL grand finals.
- Influencing Humans: The oldest trick in a very old book with Nigel Latta, who is an author (8 books) and Clinical Psychologist, working in the forensic psychology and family therapy arena’s.
- Any ordinary day with Leigh Sales, who is the award winning journalist, author and host of the ABC’s 7.30 exploring how regular people endure the unthinkable.
There was a clear focus at Xerocon on your firms “purpose and passion” and to ensure that everyone understands your “why”. At Yield, our motto/why has always been that “we love making life easier for our clients” and to that end we believe we need to be at the forefront of technology in the small business arena, to be able to provide the service and solutions that our small business clients need. In this regard there were several major announcements relating to the Xero software platform including; the HubDoc integration (see separate section below), a pilot of the new cashflow forecasting tool, automatic payments with Stripe (also see below) and the formalisation of Xero’s connection with enterprise suppliers, known as Xero Connect.
Xerocon Brisbane ended with the legendary Xerocon Wrap Party. Held at Howard Smith Wharves nestled against cliffs by the river and sitting beneath the iconic Story Bridge with views of the Brisbane city skyline. With various forms of entertainment, dancing, lavish food and pop up bars, it was a night to remember.
Although taking all our staff to what appears to be an extravagant junket (and the photo’s don’t provide an argument to the contrary), it was in a way a reward to our wonderful team for 3 years of stepping up to the mark, with the constant changes we needed to introduce at Yield, to become a modern accounting practice with vision, passion and purpose.
At the end of the day it was well worth the time and investment and a great opportunity to step out of the office as a group, and be surrounded with so many like minded people, inspiring us all to take our clients businesses and our practice to the next level.
A short video of Xerocon Brisbane 2019 can be found HERE
Kelly commenced with the firm in October 2019 as a bookkeeper.
Since leaving high school Kelly has worked in numerous businesses and with numerous titles, Customer Service Manager, Finance Officer, Bookeeper & Office
Manager, as well as wife and mum. Kelly loves movies, music, the beach and spending times with family and friends.
Based in our Pemberton Office, Jasmine is a Manjimup Senior High School (MSHS) graduate who is returning to the region after studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Accounting at Edith Cowan University Joondalup.
Jasmine will complete the remainder of her studies externally, while undertaking an Internship as part of her full time employment here at Yield.
Jasmine enjoys living an active and healthy lifestyle. In her spare time she is usually found travelling, baking, at the beach or spending time with her partner, family and friends.
Mark & Paula Edwards
The Northcliffe General Store (‘NGS’) is under new management – local entrepreneurs Mark and Paula Edwards have taken over the reins to one of Northcliffe’s most notable businesses. NGS is in a unique position in that is resides within a small community which has a large number of tourist visitors due to its location between Manjimup and Albany and is also the last stop to Windy Harbour/the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
The new business owners plan on creating a friendly atmosphere in the general store where all the residents of the town and tourist alike feel welcome and happy to come in. Providing excellent customer service and improving the range of good/services offered will be priorities in the weeks and months ahead. Mark and Paula hope the improvements will provide a higher level of enthusiasm and connectivity with the local Northcliffe community.
Yield Accounting Group provided the necessary business planning advice to Mark and Paula in the run-up to the change in ownership, and continues to work with NGS as regards its ongoing bookkeeping, tax and accounting requirements.
Say Goodbye to AUSkey’s
The ATO has announced that AUSkey’s and Manage ABN Connections are being replaced with MyGovID and the Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) at the end of March 2020.
MyGovID is the Australian Government’s digital identity system that certifies your identity when transacting with government agencies online. Basically its an authentication app (backed by a 100 point ID check) that can be installed on your smart phone and linked to businesses you have authority to act on behalf of.
RAM on the other hand, is the new Australian Government authorisation service that allows you to manage who can act on behalf of your business online.
Together, these systems provide the new secure way to access government online services.
For more information CLICK HERE
Xero & Hubdoc
Last week Xero announced that it’s newly acquired data capture tool HubDoc, will be bundled with all Xero Starter, Standard & Premium Plans from March 2020.
Hubdoc is a cloud based document management system which allows you to quickly and easily upload bills and receipts using your mobile device, desktop, email or scanner, giving you access to the documents you need, when you need them.
Once the documents are uploaded to HubDoc the key data is automatically extracted and synced to Xero with source documents attached. From there the transactions are ready for the one-click bank reconciliation.
Since the acquisitions of the Canadian tech company Hubdoc just over a year ago, Xero has doubled the processing rate of Hubdoc by improving the way in which it reads numbers and printed invoices and receipts.
If you would like to learn more about Hubdoc, or if you do not have a Xero subscription and would like access to Hubdoc, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
CLICK HERE for more information on Hubdoc & Xero
Staff Xmas Parties & Gifts
Holding a Christmas party is a great idea. But the cost of holding a staff Christmas party is regarded as “entertainment” expenditure and:
- It is not tax deductible
- You have to pay (FBT) if the cost per person is more than $300, which doesn’t fall under the “minor benefits” exemption.So what is the “minor benefits” exemption?
A minor benefit is one that is provided to staff or their associates, for example their spouse or partner, on an “infrequent” or “irregular” basis, is not considered a reward for services, and the cost is less than $300 “per benefit” inclusive of GST.
If you wish to make Christmas deductible instead,it is a better idea to give your staff certain items known as “non-entertainment” gifts that cost less than $300, as the amount is fully tax deductible and GST credit can also be claimed with no FBT payable.
Examples of non-entertainment gifts include flowers, alcohol, gift vouchers and hampers. Generally speaking anything that the employee will consume or enjoy at home, but gifts like tickets to sporting events will be treated as non-deductible entertainment.
Providing employees with “non-entertainment gifts” of $300 or more GST inclusive is less tax effective.
A tax deduction and GST credit can still be claimed, but FBT is payable at the rate of 49 percent on the grossed-up value (currently 2.0802).
As a general rule, you can claim GST credits for the cost of providing entertainment that is a fringe benefit.
Note that exempt benefits are not fringe benefits. They are not tax deductible nor can you claim GST credits for the cost of providing them.
Xero has recently partnered with Stripe, the global payments processor to allow for the autopay for sales invoices. A business can now turn on autopay to receive recurring card payments for repeat billing customers directly through Xero.
Xero says that Xero businesses are sending over 1.6 million repeating invoices in Xero every month. “Imagine if all those invoices that are automatically sent, could automatically be paid.”
An innovative way to take recurring payments is a fantastic addition. The implementation looks excellent and it means you don’t need to use third-party apps.
How it works:
- To add auto-pay, tick the ‘Offer auto pay’ check box on your repeating invoice templates. When your customers go to pay those invoices, they can opt in to be automatically billed on the same credit card the next time the invoice is due.
- If your customer’s card changes (i.e. they are replacing an expired, lost or stolen card), Stripe will work with card networks to automatically update the saved card details. This lowers the risk of payment failure and reduces the need to collect new card details.
Stripe charges 1.75% on each payment with a minimum 30 cent charge.
Xero data shows that small businesses who enable Stripe payments are paid on average up to 12 days faster than those without any payment services attached. Giving your customers more ways to pay also makes it even easier for them to do business with you, and saves time and hassle for everyone.
At Yield we also use Stripe to reduce our customer payment administration time, so feel free to utilise Stripe to pay your accounting fees when you receive your next invoice from us.
Feel free to contact us at your convenience if you would like assistance with implementing Stripe to your business.
CLICK HERE for more information regarding Xero and Stripe
Cooling tips for the hot summer ahead
Here at Yield, we recognise that all individuals and businesses have a collective duty to minimise any negative impacts on the environment. As such, one of our ongoing goals is to take practical steps to act responsibly in this regard.
In an Australian climate that continues to become hotter, more Australian homes and businesses than ever before use air conditioners to escape the worst of the summer heat. We must all remember, however, that the process of pushing indoor heat outdoors requires electrical energy that has to be generated and also costs money.
So, we have two lists of tips for you – the first are things to consider before you turn your air conditioner on and the second for actual air conditioner use. Both will help keep your building cool and also reduce the environmental and hip-pocket impact.
Before you turn on the air conditioner
- Check for poor window and door seals that let in heat and have them fixed
- Use shade where possible – in particular exterior blinds
- On hot days keep curtains and interior blinds closed to deflect the direct sun
- Use efficient lighting indoors – in particular old-style incandescent globes emit considerable heat – switch to newer, more energy efficient types
- Insulate ceilings and walls
- Make some minor lifestyle changes to reduce interior heat generation – dry clothes outside, cook outside etc…
When using the air conditioner
- Have your air conditioner cleaned/serviced on a regular basis
- Turn the air conditioner off at night – open the windows instead and let in the cool night air
- Temperature settings – as a guide, somewhere between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius is where you should set the thermostat.
This last point is one of the most important to remember. Be aware, that for every single degree of cooling you can do without, you’re saving on your electricity bill. So, avoid setting the air conditioner too cold in summertime. Even setting your air conditioner one degree warmer can cut costs by up to 10%.
The Material contained in our newsletter is no more than general comment for the benefit of clients and associates of Yield Accounting Group. Readers should not act on the basis of the material contained in our newsletter without taking professional advice relating to their particular circumstances.
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