Tips to help you achieve your professional goals in 2022

Tips to help you achieve your professional goals in 2022

As we ring in the New Year, you’ve probably set yourself a few personal new year resolutions. What is the likelihood of you sticking to them long-term? Interestingly, most of us will have failed to achieve these resolutions within a few months (if not sooner).

They’ve either become so onerous that we don’t care anymore, or we simply don’t have the time – life and work often get in the way.

How about professional targets, do you set yourself professional goals as well as personal? Do you consider how you’re going to work smarter this year, is work-life balance something you want to improve upon in 2022, or is your objective to spend more time focussing on your clients and less time doing admin?

Goal setting to achieve an objective

To be successful at setting goals and actually achieving them, you must be clear on what your objective is. Goals cannot be put in place until you’ve set your objective. Once this has been decided, only then can you put steps in place to achieve it.

For example, your main objective for 2022 might be to spend more face-to-face time with clients. Ask yourself the right questions – how you currently spend your day versus how you would like to spend your day. Look at areas where you could potentially create efficiencies within the business to free up your time.

Are you spending more time managing the business's finances or working on the administration side of things as well as trying to market to your existing clients or reach potential clients each month?

That is a lot to juggle on any given day, so you should consider whether any of these tasks could be outsourced to people who can do it in half the time. Obviously, there will be costs associated with outsourcing these jobs, but you must weigh up the benefit to the business as well as your clients.

How to set attainable goals

The key to success here is to break down your goals so they are achievable. You could begin with a monthly goal, which is broken down to a weekly target and then into a daily task – what individual steps do you need to take to achieve your overall goal.

By breaking it down into individual tasks, you’ll take the pressure off, especially if you don’t manage to tick something off your daily ‘to do’ list. You can just move it to the following day.

Tips for success in 2022

  • Understand your overall objective (what does success look like?)
  • Develop a strategy
  • What tasks can be outsourced/delegated/or automated
  • Create a monthly and weekly schedule
  • Break it down and create a daily ‘To Do’ list
  • Stop multi-tasking – pay full attention to the task at hand
  • Exercise and a good night’s sleep are also important!!

Another strategy you could implement is the SMART strategy. You must ensure the goals you set are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Accomplishment

Imagine finishing your workday with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you’ve been productive and ticked everything off your ‘to do’ list as well as continually working towards your main goal.

There will be occasions where something unexpected will pop up and interfere with your day, so you must allocate time in your day to be able to deal with these situations.

Here are some useful productivity apps to help with your ‘to do’ list:

  • Trello: Collaborate and manage projects in a very visual way.
  • Evernote: Record and remember everything to tackle projects with your notes, tasks and schedule all in one place.
  • Friday: Plan your day, communicate as a team and to keep all your most important work together in one place.

We can help

If your objective is to work smarter this year, then we’re here to help. One of our objectives is to help our clients with their finances so they’re able to continue to do what they do best. Call us today to see if we can free up some of your time and assist you in achieving your goals in 2022.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


The new Australian Director ID: Do you need one?

The new Australian Director ID: Do you need one?

It’s been a busy year for many of Australia’s two million plus directors. Now there's a new task on the to-do list for all of them - including directors and corporate trustees of SMSFs.

From 1 November 2021, if you’re a director or want to become one, you will need to apply for the new Director Identification Number (Director ID) being rolled out by the Federal Government.

Directors of businesses and entities of all sizes – including directors and corporate trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) – will all need to apply. If you run your business as a sole trader or partnership, however, you won’t need a Director ID.

Director ID: what is it?

The new Director ID is a unique 15-digit identifier most directors will need before they can take up a directorship.

Before you join a board, you will need to apply for your own Director ID which you will keep forever, even if you change boards, stop being a director, change your name or move interstate or overseas.

This new identifier is part of a broader registry modernisation project combining the Australian Business Registry Service (ABRS) with numerous ASIC registers to form a single system overseen by the ATO.

According to the government, unique director identifiers will create a fairer business environment by preventing the use of false and fraudulent director identities.

Who needs a Director ID?

The new regime casts a pretty wide net and will catch most business entities and organisations.

You will need a Director ID if you are an eligible officer of a company, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation, corporate trustee, charity or not-for-profit organisations limited by guarantee, or a foreign company registered with ASIC and conducting business in Australia.

Directors of registered Australian bodies (such as incorporated associations registered with ASIC that trade outside the state or territory in which they are incorporated) also need to apply.

If your organisation has an Australian Business Number (ABN), you can use the ABRS LookUp tool to check whether it is registered with ASIC.

Officers outside the ID regime

Some company officers are not required to apply for the new identifier.

If you are a company secretary but not a director, act as an external administrator of a company, or are called a director but haven’t been appointed as a director under the Corporations Act, you won’t need a Director ID.

Neither will directors of charities not registered with ASIC to operate throughout Australia.

The officers of an unincorporated association, cooperative or incorporated association established under state or territory legislation (unless the organisation is also a registered Australian body), are also exempt.

Applying for your Director ID

From November 2021, you will need to apply for your Director ID on the ABRS website and log in using the myGovID app. The myGovID app is downloaded on your smart device to verify your digital identity and is different to your existing myGov account.

When applying for your Director ID, you are required to personally make the application so you can verify your identity.

There are varying application deadlines for the new identifier, with current directors (on or before 31 October 2021), having until 30 November 2022 to obtain their Director ID.

While existing directors have plenty of time, if you become a director between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022, you must apply for your Director ID within 28 days of your appointment to the board.

Directors appointed after 5 April 2022, must apply prior to taking up their directorship.

If you are unable to apply for your Director ID by the relevant deadline, you can apply for an extension.

Once you receive your new Director ID, you will need to pass it on to your company recordholder who is usually the company secretary or authorised agent. The ABRS is not permitted to disclose Director IDs to the public without consent and your details won’t be searchable on the register.

If you would like more information about Director IDs, whether you need one and how to go about applying, please get in touch.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Cyber security - protecting yourself at home

Cyber security - protecting yourself at home

Greater flexibility in working arrangements has been a by-product of the pandemic, as working from home has become more widespread. In fact, The Families in Australia Survey: Towards COVID Normal reported in November 2020 that two thirds of Aussies were working from home.

While this flexibility has many benefits, it does also bring downsides, such as the increase in cyber security risks. With working from home to continue to be a reality for many, as workplaces move to more flexible working arrangements, here’s what we can do to stay safe.

Why cyber security is of greater risk at home

According to the ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report 2020-21, there was an increase in the average severity and impact of reported cyber security incidents, with nearly half categorised as substantial. And there were over 67,500 cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 13% from the previous financial year.

Not only are cyber security attacks impactful to the individual, but they also take a toll on businesses. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) found that the total estimated cost of cyber security incidents to Australian businesses is $29 billion per year.i

With so many Australians working from home, it’s no coincidence that the rates of cyber security attacks are on the rise. When we work from home, we are no longer protected by a closed office network, so we are at greater risk of cyber security threats.

Given we tend to be working alone at home, this also makes us more vulnerable to scams and phishing attempts. Click on a suspect email in the office, and it’s either caught before it gets to you or you can ask a co-worker if they have received the same. With fewer opportunities for water cooler chat, you are more likely to be out of the loop.

How to stay safe

There are various ways you can protect yourself from cyber-attacks, and you don’t need to be an IT whiz to do so.

Install antivirus and security software
Your first layer of protection should be the use of antivirus and security software, such as Norton or Bitdefender. If you already have this software installed, ensure that it is up to date.

Update software, including all security updates
You also want to stay up to date with your software, so don’t skip those security updates that appear on your computer and phone. You can turn on automatic updates, so you don’t have to worry about missing these.

Secure your home Wi-Fi
As well as having a secure password for your home Wi-Fi, you should also use a strong encryption protocol for your router (currently WPA2 is the most secure type of encryption) – you can check this through your device settings.

Review and update your passwords
If you have had the same password for years and don’t have variations for different purposes, it’s worth updating your passwords. It sounds obvious, but don’t choose a password that will be easy to guess, such as something relating to your street name or workplace.

Opt for multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security when it comes to accessing your devices, making them harder to hack into. An example of multi-factor authentication is the combined use of a secure password, an item such as a security key or token, and a validation such as a SMS or email.

Be aware of scams
Scamwatch.gov.au is regularly updated with the latest scams. Run by the ACCC, this website contains comprehensive and current information on scam attempts such as phishing and extortion. Share this info with family and friends so they also know what to be on the alert for.

Consult with your IT Department
If your workplace has an IT Department, contact them to ask for any additional tips on how you can stay secure working from home.

i https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/news/announcing-acsc-small-business-survey-report

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Lease vs buy business assets in Australia. Which is best?

Lease vs buy business assets in Australia. Which is best?

If you're a business owner, you may be thinking about acquiring new equipment as conditions continue to improve in Australia. There are two main options for doing this: lease or buy. When weighing up which is best for you, you have a few factors to consider, including the need for future flexibility, your risk tolerance and the type of industry that you work in.

The question is, which way will provide your company with more value? In some cases, leasing may make more sense but in other scenarios purchasing may be a better option. Let's take a look at some of these different points so you can decide which route is best for you!

Whether it’s a new delivery van or a high-end digital printer, problem free equipment and tools are essential to keep your business running smoothly.

In the May 2021 Federal Budget, the government announced full write-off of eligible business assets will be available for another year, so the opportunity to tool up is even more attractive.

Issues to consider

Unfortunately, deciding the best way to acquire business assets is not always straightforward as you weigh up whether to buy outright or lease.

With leasing, you are able to use the plant or equipment under the terms of a contract and return it when your lease expires. Whereas buying means you purchase and own the equipment outright. If you have insufficient cash to buy an asset, you can also finance your purchase and repay the lender over time.

For both buying and leasing it’s not just the immediate costs and tax benefits you should bear in mind. You need to calculate the total costs, including ongoing maintenance, usage conditions, termination fees and equipment return.

You also need to review whether your business’s cash flow is steady and reliable, and allows you to commit to regular lease payments, or is subject to seasonal fluctuations.

Impact on your tax bill

A key factor to consider when it comes to the lease or buy decision is tax, as there can be valuable tax benefits if you buy an asset outright.

At the moment, the government’s COVID-19 temporary full expensing provisions provide a significant tax incentive to buy new equipment. These instant write-off incentives allow you to claim the cost of your asset against your business’s tax bill in the year of purchase.

For many eligible businesses, these tax incentives could tip the scales towards buying rather than leasing between now and 30 June 2023.

GST and leasing

The rules around claiming GST credits also favour purchasing.

When you lease equipment for your business it’s similar to renting, so you can only claim GST credits for your lease payments, not the total cost of the asset. For example, if you purchase equipment valued at $66,000 (including GST) you can claim back $6,000 in GST credits in your next BAS, but only a couple of hundred dollars for each monthly lease payment.

If you purchase a vehicle for business purposes valued at over the annual car limit ($60,733 in 2021-22), the maximum amount of GST credit you can claim is one-eleventh of the limit ($5,521 in 2021-22). If you pay luxury car tax on a vehicle you purchase for your business, you are unable to claim GST on the tax paid.

Leasing is still attractive

Although buying can be sensible for some businesses, if you have insufficient cash to cover the cost of new equipment leasing still offers benefits, especially while interest rates are low.

Leasing also allows you to keep working capital within the business and available for other uses. For example, if you want to acquire an asset worth $120,000 and finance it at 4 per cent interest, your business retains the $120,000 on its balance sheet and still has access to it if required.

What’s more, you may be able to invest the $120,000 and achieve a return higher than 4 per cent.

In addition, leasing is often more appropriate for assets that rapidly become obsolete and need regular updating, such as IT equipment.

Leasing new equipment can also make it easier to match regular monthly loan repayments to your business cash flow, rather than having to make a large one-off outlay for the asset.

Making your decision

Whichever way you are leaning – buy or lease – it’s important to review your business cash flow, your future growth plans and the current business and economic outlook.

Your personal approach to your business is also a factor to consider. Some owners prefer the certainty of ownership and not having to worry about a lot of fixed costs. For others, it’s more important to have access to the latest equipment and to focus on rapidly expanding their operation.

If you would like to discuss whether buying or leasing would be best for your business in the current economic environment, call us today.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Find the weak links in your business and make it stronger

Find the weak links in your business and make it stronger

The many upheavals of the COVID pandemic have provided a grim reminder that in business, there will always be factors beyond our control. That’s why it’s important to put measures in place to manage those factors we actually can control.

Many businesses have recently been given some strong lessons in where their vulnerabilities lie. Even if your business came through 2020 relatively unscathed it’s now a good time to think about these areas and put some measures in place to become more robust. While it can be difficult to protect your business against all of the potential unknowns out there, let’s look at some common risks and business weaknesses that you can address.

Disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) helps keep your business afloat and functioning well despite an emergency – whether it be through an information security risk, the loss of assets from a natural disaster such as bushfires, or even human error, such as deleting data.

These plans are quite often developed in the early days of a business and then kept in a drawer, only to be forgotten about in the day to day running of the business. While you shouldn’t need to consult the plan on a regular basis, it pays to re-familiarise yourself with it and if you don’t have one at all, now is the time to make one!

Interruptions to supply

Another area to investigate is your relationship with your suppliers. Are you reliant on particular suppliers or contractors? If so, you’re open to risk. What would happen if they are no longer able to supply to you because they cease their current services or their business folds?

Perhaps geographical instability or supply chain uncertainty could affect your supplier or contractor. The Global Supply Chain Risk Report found that increasingly buyer relationships are with suppliers located in high-risk countries.i

Assess and develop redundancies to ensure the continuation of a quality supply of the product or service. Figuring this out before an issue arises will mean you have options, should the situation unfortunately rise.

Client experience

You know your business back to front, but put yourself in the shoes of your customer. How do they access information about your business, where do they go for help and what potential roadblocks do they face in securing your services?

It’s worth testing every touch point your client makes with your business. Doing so will give you valuable insight into what their customer journey is like, whether it’s experienced in person, online, through support, accounts and day to day.

Mystery shoppers, a service often provided by market research organisations, are trained to report on what they find when doing an ‘audit’ of a business. You don’t necessarily need to hire a research company, a family member, friend or acquaintance could undertake the process. Perhaps they walked into the reception of your office and were ignored by your receptionist, or they had the door held open for them and were offered a friendly greeting. They may have had issues navigating your website or were left hanging on the phone for a long time. Their perspectives, as people with no vested interest in your organisation, are incredibly valuable.

Online assets

Don’t just focus on the external ‘face’ of your business though – you also should ensure that internal systems and intellectual property are protected. This has become increasingly difficult as the traditional work paradigm moves to remote work and flexible work arrangements. Penetration testing, or a pen test is where a simulated ‘cyberattack’ is performed so any weaknesses can be detected. Through this test you’ll find out how vulnerable your systems are to unauthorised hacks.

This preventative measure can save your business by establishing and strengthening security measures which ensure your continued service online, workflow within the business and client data management.

Reviewing where you are vulnerable and assessing which aspects of your business or processes can be improved is a worthwhile task for any business. Knowledge is power and identifying your weaknesses gives you the opportunity to address them and build a stronger foundation for business growth and success.

i https://www.dnb.co.uk/perspectives/supply-chain/global-supply-risk-report-q12018-cranfield.html

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.