All posts by Richard Kemp

Portfolio_Management_Presentation

Portfolio_Header

Wednesday night we were fortunate enough to have Steve, Jock, Johnno and Christine from Portfolio Management join us for an information evening on the state of the investment property market.

For those that missed it, the main themes to come out of the presentation were:

  • Over the long term property can provide a great return on your investment
  • Population growth is a key indicator to look at when selecting an investment property as there is a correlation with demand for property in that area
  • When looking to purchase residential property look at suburbs in high population growth areas with:
    • Established infrastructure e.g. roads, good transport links, hospitals, schools, shops etc
    • Where there is limited potential for more land to become available
  • The value of the land is important, look at properties where you can buy below replacement value e.g. if the house burnt down it should cost more to rebuild than it was worth
  • The purchase of existing dwelling is preferable to buying new or off the plan propertiesGeelong_House
  • Don’t be afraid to add value – often a bit of a makeover can add significant long term value
  • It is getting harder to find good value in capital cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane so be selective
  • Be prepared to look further a field to find the right mix of yield and capital growth, for instance presently parts of Geelong appear to present good value
  • Record low interest rates could be here for a while making it easier to get started
  • There is a trend toward investors using SMSF (Self Managed Super Funds) as an investment vehicle to get into both residential and commercial property

The team at Portfolio Management can help with:

  • Selection based on your criteria or from investment properties they have already researched and are ready to purchase for the right buyer
  • Expert advice
  • Screening of potential tenants
  • Property inspections and more…

To get started please contact your accountant at Watts Price Accountants to discuss just how Portfolio Management can assist you reach your investment property goals.

Contact Details:

Ph: 03 5382 3001
E: mail@wattsprice.com.au

Population_Growth

5 Essential Services

Emergency_services

5 Essential Services for Small Business Owners

 

A recent report published by research house Bstar has highlighted the lack of preparedness of many business owners.

 

The recent Bstar 2016/17 SME Research Report revealed the following observations:

 

·         Indicates 72 per cent of small businesses don’t have a formal business plan.

·         Only 34 per cent of SMEs spend time on strategic planning.

·         Further, 95 per cent of SMEs believe opportunities exist to grow their business, however only 22 per cent have a plan in place to grow their business’ value.

·         SMEs also have an “urgent” succession planning need, with 90 per cent of SMEs not having a formal succession plan in place.

·         Also, 70 per cent of SMEs believe their business has key person risk, with only 30 per cent believing their business can operate without them.

 

 

Does this sound familiar? If so we would like to draw your attention to the following service offerings:

  1. Business Plan

A business plan is a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. It will usually contain background information about the organization or the relative strengths and weaknesses compared to competitors as well as macro issues such as opportunities and threats.

A business plan will help a business to obtain finance, it helps identify potential problems, provides a greater understanding of your marketplace, it provides direction and clarity as well as greater accountability.

Ideal for medium to long term planning and giving your team direction!

 

  1. Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is a business management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations and ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals.

It also helps establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, as well as assessing and adjusting the business direction in response to a changing environment.

Ideal for establishing and communicating your short to medium term priorities!

 

  1. Business Model

A business model is the way in which a company generates revenue and makes a profit from business operations.

A review of your business model involves looking at core activities in relation to current customer and market demands, how efficient the business is, how the business’s goals are progressing, your current financial position and where you sit compared to your competitors in the market.

Ideal for assessing where future profits will come from when growth stalls!

 

  1. Succession Plan

Succession planning is a process for identifying potential buyers or developing people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the business.

Succession planning will help you to maximise the value of your business, it will help identify the main pathways and help set relevant timeframes. It will help identify the key financial considerations, any potential risks that need managing and what personnel and skills needed to be retained within the business.

Ideal for planning and maximising the return from your departure from the business!

 

  1. Key Person Dependency Risk Analysis

Key person dependency is when either you or one of your employees is solely responsible for something and there is no back-up plan.

To counter key person dependency the focus needs to be on developing the right systems for your business, finding the right talent and/or skillsets, delegation and empowerment, time management, setting priorities while still having adequate control through monitoring the right KPIs and appropriate accountability.

Ideal for business owners that need to free up time for other interests!

 

All business owners need to plan for their success. If you need assistance in regard to the topics above or any other business development issues we encourage you to contact one of our knowledgeable team members as soon as possible.

 

Improve Your Cash Flow with EziDebit

Illustration depicting many roadsigns with a cash flow concept. White background.

Improve Your Cash Flow with EziDebit

How Can You Get Paid Quicker?

At Watts Price Accountants we use a provider called EziDebit. They provide Direct Debit and BPAY facilities for Small Businesses. That’s correct you can access these great facilities without going through your commercial bank! If you want to speed up your collections process consider EziDebit. Read more below.

You’ve probably used direct debit personally, so you know how convenient it is as a customer. You can set and forget a payment schedule, resting assured bills will be paid on time. As a business, this means you and your customers can focus on other things, and reduce late payment conversations with your customers.  Ezidebit’s direct debit helps your business take control over cash flow by ensuring customer payments are collected on time, every time.  With direct debit, customers authorise payments to be collected automatically from their credit card or bank account. Ezidebit collects and manages these payments on your behalf and transfers settlement amounts to your bank daily, keeping you in control of the payment process, and your cash flow. Whether your business runs on scheduled or on demand payments, for either fixed or variable amounts, Ezidebit can help. We have options for self-serve or managed accounts allowing you the level and flexibility that works best for your business.

With direct debit you get:

  • Reliable cash flow
  • No contracts
  • Reduced admin time chasing payments
  • Local support available by phone or email
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Competitive fee structure

Ezidebit integrates with leading software providers, allowing your business a seamless payment solution that saves time and money and reduces unnecessary admin work. Individually receipting payments and chasing late payments will be a thing of the past.

10 Crucial System Tips for Small Business

10 Crucial System Tips for Small Business

systems

Have you ever stopped to notice just how many business owners you come across that are always under the pump, jumping from one urgent problem to another, working ridiculous hours just to stay on top of things. In my experience these business often suffer from a lack of quality systems. There the focus of this article will be looking at some systems small businesses owners can implement to improve the operations of their business.

Firstly, so we are all on the same page let me simply define a system as a way of performing any given task in a consistent way that will give a predictable outcome. This may include computer hardware or software but it is certainly not limited to them. It may include application forms, scripts or any number of resources including people that simplify your various business processes.

10 Systems Tips for Small Businesses

1.    Possibly the most important reason to develop great business systems is to create a better, more consistent customer experience. Look at your customer touch-points and ensure you are delivering a great experience through systems that ensure consistency and reliability.

2.    Don’t rush and make hasty decisions regarding your systems. You should have a strategic plan in place and this should help determine the best systems for you. Your systems need to align to your goals and your vision for the business.

3.    For a small business it is essential that the owner is able to step away from the day to day operations and work on the business. Systems will create that invaluable freedom.

4.    Some basic yet often overlooked systems revolve around your people. Don’t forget your people systems. Ensure you have Performance Standards, Position Descriptions, Procedural manuals, Staff Reviews and Reporting systems in place to get the most from your team members.

5.    Systems help grow your potential sale price. When looking to sell your business a potential buyer is looking at how they can run it without you. If you have no documented systems this will have a detrimental effect on your businesses valuation.

6.    Many businesses implement new systems and they turn out to be a disaster as the team reject them. To maximise the chance of successful implementation don’t impose change (be consultative), communicate the benefits and address any fears.

7.    Avoid biting off more than you can chew. Lack of time and resources can quickly kill good intentions so start small and build momentum through the successful implementation of smaller projects before attempting larger changes.

8.    Systems are a great way to grow your business. I see too many businesses where everyone is busy but there is no growth. The development of systems will create the necessary capacity to help your business grow.

9.    Don’t set and forget. Once you have implemented a system don’t assume it will manage itself. Ensure you review the system at regular intervals and make any changes required to improve the system.

10.Off the shelf software is often expensive and generally better suited to larger organisations than small businesses. When looking for a solution don’t be afraid to get a quote from a Systems Analyst or Software Developer that can develop a customized system for your business on an hourly rate.

Bonus: Get your team involved by creating a culture of continual improvement. Encourage team members to challenge the status quo in an environment that supports and rewards change.

There are a host of reasons why you should be systemizing your business, from improved customer experience, to more freedom, to a higher business valuation, higher productivity, whatever your reason there are numerous options available to you.

Richard Kemp
E: richardk@wattsprice.com.au

Year End Planning

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“Why should I see my accountant about year end planning?”

For most businesses the last 12 months have been a fairly rocky road with changing consumer spending patterns, poor crops, housing pressures and declining sales. Hence it would make sense to ensure that you avoid getting taxed unnecessarily on what you did make or consider ways to minimise your potential losses prior to 30 June.

Typical issues beyond the normal tax issues that you might want to discuss with your tax adviser include:

  • Ensuring your Family Trust Distribution Resolutions are provided to your accountant prior to 30 June
  • Consider asset protection issues
  • Consider whether investments outside of super are the most effective tax strategy
  • Any business succession issues
  • If a farmer: the use of FMDs or available allowance or grants
  • Consider whether your Will and BDBN are up to date and are the most tax effective strategies
  • If nearing retirement consider whether starting a pension is right for you
  • If you are an employer are you on top of your obligations such as SuperStream
  • Is it an appropriate time to refinance any loans

A typical tax planning session will take between 1 – 2 hours and will require a little bit of preparatory work beforehand. Typical outcomes include:

  • Preparation of interim accounts to 30 June.
  • An estimated tax liability for the financial year.
  • Preparation of a personalised Tax Planning Scenario Summary Report with conclusions.
  • A meeting to discuss legal alternatives to reduce your tax and the best option to suit your circumstances.

Paying taxes is part of life so ensure you are paying no more than you are legally obliged to by seeing your accountant before 30 June!

Checkout our Tax Planning checklist!

The advice provided on this Article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. 

Cloud Bookkeeping Software

Cloud Bookkeeping Software

Hand holding a Cloud Computing Sphere isolated on white background.

Which Cloud Based Accounting Software Should I Use (if any)?

Cloud software solutions have been in use for several years now and growing in popularity. The last few years has seen some great technological leaps forward and this has certainly been driving change in the accounting industry.

Last year we saw MYOB AccountRight launch their latest cloud offering which now means consumers have even greater choice when considering accounting and bookkeeping software options. Given all the available options the key question for the consumer is what is the best solution given my current and future needs?

This article will focus on the main online software packages available but before we review the various options we need to consider whether staying with a desktop version will better suit your needs.

Why consider staying with my desktop software?

Given all the marketing and hype surrounding cloud based services you would be forgiven for thinking desktop software was going the way of the dodo. However in many cases moving to an equivalent cloud based package is just not feasible yet. The biggest concerns include access to fast internet connections, monthly subscription fees, data security fears, hardware considerations and the fear of the unknown. For desktop users that are competent, have good backup systems, good communication channels with their bookkeeper and/or accountant and who have no need to access their file away from the home/office there seems to be little incentive to change at this time.

Why should I consider moving to the clouds?

The key benefits of moving to an online version will depend greatly on which vendor you decide to use but in general you will be getting:

  • A book keeping system that is not too dissimilar to the desktop application that you already know
  • You can access your company file from anywhere via the internet and a computer* (* Your internet speed and quality, your hardware specifications and user permissions will affect your experience greatly).
  • You can share access with your bookkeeper and/or accountant which means no more messy backups,  emailing large files, dropping off USB drives and greater support
  • There are no longer issues regarding which version of the software you are using as everyone will be using the latest version
  • Your file is safely stored and encrypted in the Cloud
  • Most allow you to sync your bank transactions into the software removing much of the data entry
  • Payment can be made by monthly instalments allowing better cash flow management
  • Most offer 24/7 support

So which online solution suits me best?

Having used and through working with clients that are using these software packages we can, in very general terms, advise that some options are better suited to certain types of users than others based on the overall strengths and weaknesses of the product.

MYOB AccountRight Live: Will be most appealing to users that are already familiar with MYOB and perhaps those that have concerns about the quality of internet connection. Its big selling point is the ability to work offline. When you have a good connection simply download your data, the cloud version becomes read only, work on your file then sync back changes when you are done. It also has the ability to pay third parties such as suppliers and staff directly from the software.

QuickBooks Hosted has similar advantages to MYOB for those currently using QuickBooks. They have been in this space longer than MYOB so they have a slight advantage as far as features and scalability for the growing business. Their pricing structure will certainly appeal to larger businesses.

Xero is a great choice if you are a small business that is looking for an easy to use, feature-rich product. Xero has been leading the way in the online bookkeeping space and has delivered a product that is very efficient through its daily bank feeds and other features such as credit control, asset registers, expense claim facility and job tracking.

Saasu has a similar feel to Xero. It delivers advanced reporting options and a more robust payroll system. Many of the features that are add-ons to Xero are integrated into Saasu making it fully functional from signup. For small businesses with strong bookkeeping skills or who want advanced reporting and accounting features at a competitive price would really appreciate what Sassu can offer.

Do I really need a Bookkeeping system?

Maybe not! Many smaller business owners prefer to focus on what they do best. Many either outsource everything to a bookkeeper or minimise the time spent on bookwork through a product called Banklink. Banklink provides transaction data from your bank accounts to you and your accountant so they can prepare your quarterly and annual financial reports on your behalf.

Banklink Notes Online allows you to access your bank transactions via the internet. You can add payee detail, transaction descriptions, GST amounts and even code transactions (optional). Once you have updated the transactions simply click a button to notify your accountant the data is ready to go. There are a few basic add-ons and reporting options plus you have the ability to work offline. If you don’t need an integrated cashbook system then Banklink is a very attractive option.

If you are not sure where to go from here give us a call to discuss your individual needs.

Accounting Software Update

Accounting Software Update

Software_update

Each year the main accounting software suppliers bring out a new version, new features and offers designed to either entice you to change, upgrade or renew your subscription. We take a quick look at your main options.

Banklink

Banklink is extremely popular for clients wanting to merely provide transactional information and leave their accountants to worry about the rest, hence Banklink is great for those that want to maximise their available time.

Banklink was recently purchased by MYOB but we have seen little change other than the dumping of Banklink Wages.

We particularly like Banklink Books. At no additional costs Banklink Books provides software for computer users (you will need an internet connection) so they can import their transactions electronically, type their transaction descriptions (or account code) and forward to your accountant over the internet.

This means no fighting with the fax machine (for fax users), you are using a more secure platform than faxing or emailing, less queries from your accountant as it’s easier to read, easier transfer of your data to your accountant and it provides the ability to code transactions (for those who feel up to it).

If you are interested in registering for Banklink Books please give our office a call.

Cashflow Manager

Cashflow Manager provides basic cashbook features for those clients that want to manage their finances but without all the bells and whistles.

A new release of Cashflow Manger is due soon with updated tax tables. Those that don’t use the included support or payroll may consider remaining on their current version.

Cashflow Manager has been hinting for some time now of something big being on the way. This may indicate that they are preparing to launch an online version and possibly provide bankfeeds similar to their competitors.

Reckon

After the split with Intuit, Reckon has rebranded themselves (formerly sold Quickbooks and Quicken software). Essentially little has changed apart from the software names.

The new Reckon Accounts Hosted version was released in April. The 2014 version has new features such as Bankfeeds (which is long overdue), barcode scanning for purchase orders and historical leave recording and reporting.  The addition of bankfeeds will be a great time saving feature, so users should be quick to set this feature up.

Reckon has also launched a new product called Reckon One. Reckon One is aimed at the business owner that is on the go. Users can track their finances, create invoices and manage projects through their mobile app.

Early signs suggest there is still some work to be done before this product measures up to some of their more established competitors. However, those looking for a cheap way of accessing bankfeeds and basic functionality that they can use on the go, should look out for the next version.

Saasu

Many business owners will not have heard of Saasu due to their low profile but if you are looking for accounting software that is based in the clouds then Saasu is a viable alternative to Xero.

Saasu’s interface may not be as polished as other software providers but what they may lack in aesthetics they make up for in other areas. For the features, Saasu gives more bang for your buck but is probably best suited to competent users.

Xero

Xero is a cloud based accounting package that is growing in popularity due to its heavy marketing campaigns and support from within the accounting industry.

Xero has a number of third party suppliers that have built feature rich add-ons to just about do everything your business would need, all of which integrates back into your accounting software. Popular add-ons include: Vend (Point of Sale); Receipt Bank (convert receipts to data); Workflow Max (job management); Unleashed (inventory management); GeoOp (mobile worker job management); CapsuleCRM (Client database); Quotient (customer quotes) to name a few.

Xero provides an easy to navigate interface, bankfeeds, it’s easy to reconcile transactions and has numerous reports to assist in the management of your business.

At present Xero is offering free software conversion if you are moving to them from MYOB which could save you hundreds of dollars. If that wasn’t incentive enough they are also offering 50% off your first two months.

Those thinking of moving to Xero should consider the ongoing cost of the software and any add-on subscriptions they require as the costs could soon add up. Xero has 5 different pricing plans based on the number of employees.

MYOB

MYOB has been the industry standard in accounting software for many years. The emergence of Xero over the last few years has been great for consumers as MYOB has thrown plenty of resources into product development.

MYOB has several versions depending on the needs of the user. The MYOB AccountRight range comes in Basic, Standard, Plus and Premier versions while those wanting just an online version can use the MYOB Essentials option.

MYOB are clearly pushing customers toward their online or hybrid solutions at the expense of the desktop versions. MYOB Premier is the latest version to now join the ‘AccountRight Live’ family.

The AccountRight Live products are a hybrid solution as they can be worked on either online or offline. This does require you to load the software on your computer and install regular updates which a pure online version does not require but the benefit is when the internet is not available you simply use the offline mode.

MYOB offers bankfeeds, easier file sharing with your accountant, advanced reporting (in most versions) and has recently introduced access to some third party software such as Calxa and PayDirect.

At present MYOB has a 90 day money back guarantee for all new subscriptions and Watts Price can also offer a 10% discount off the normal subscription price if you allow us to register the software on your behalf.

There are a number of different options available to you, including some we have not reviewed, and each has different benefits and pitfalls. Before making a decision as to which software is best for you please contact our office. We offer a free consultation to help you decide which accounting software is going to work best for you.

Contact us on 03 5382 3001 or via email at mail@wattsprice.com.au

Greater Productivity with Xero

Greater Productivity with Xero

 

ipad_inside_printWhat is Xero?

Xero is cloud based bookkeeping software that gives you access to your bank transactions, invoices, reports and more – anytime, anywhere!
Clients that have moved across from other accounting software packages love the functionality and feel of Xero. The real-time dashboard allows them to make better informed decisions. They are spending a lot less time reconciling the books due to the daily bank feeds and easy to use reconciliation and cash coding features, this means less data entry and more time doing what you do best.
Those that work out of the office are loving the ability to invoice, check cash flow and bank balances and access contacts information while on the run via the mobile app. Xero also allows unlimited users so file sharing with your team, bookkeeper or accountants is a breeze.
Xero also offers you a wide range of ‘add-on’ packages to help you get more from your accounting software. Xero integrates with popular e-commerce websites such as Shopify or BigCommerce and when used with add-ons like Vend (Point of Sale) and Unleashed (Inventory) create a professional and functional way to run your business.
Tools like GeoOp, Capsule CRM, Receipt Bank, Float (to name just a few) will help you take your business to the next level.
Because Xero is online there is no software updates to load, no issues about your accountant being on the same version and your data is automatically protected and backed up.
If you are currently frustrated with your existing software contact us today for a free consultation or chat to see if Xero is right for you!
Ph 5382 3001 or email us at mail@wattsprice.com.au