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Growth through Systemisation

Grow Your Business With Efficient Systems

 

Many small businesses are so busy running the business and fending off daily emergencies that systems go completely ignored and chaos often prevails.

 

Efficient Systems Create a Better Experience for Customers and You

The business that leads in the race for customers is the business that has all its systems integrated and working smoothly together.  A business that has an infallible billing system, acceptable customer service but has too much inventory is not going to win the race.

Ideally, your systems create an experience for the customer that makes him or her want to come back for more.

 

How to Improve Your Systems

Here are some tips to make sure your systems are up and running at a winning pace:

  1. System Reviews: Make sure you have a schedule for reviewing your systems and procedures.  Consider reviewing them:
    • Monthly to ensure procedures are being followed and required (not out of date)
    • Annually to check for potential efficiency gains. This check should include talking to relevant team members to gain their practical advice about things they think work well or should change.
  2. Lead the Pack. Do not follow.  Just because a system worked for one business does not mean it will work for yours.  Always consider your business and your customer needs when using other businesses as referees for model systems.
  3. Have a Backup Plan. Take care that your systems have a backup and do not rely on one person to make them work.  People get sick, make mistakes and have emergencies.
  4. Document Everything. Documenting how you do business safeguards your business in emergencies, alleviates confusion on the part of your team members and can ultimately protect you in potential legal matters.  Think how much more appealing your business would be to a potential investor, lender or buyer if you could present a how-we-do-it-here manual.
  5. Finally, Verify that Your Systems Align with Your Goals: This check is to verify that your systems have the capacity to help you achieve your business goals.  As an example, there is no point having a business goal to grow using an online store if your website is not set up to handle online purchases.

 

2017 Budget Summary

Federal Budget 2017-18 – What it means for you


Highlights

-         Notwithstanding speculation to the contrary, the Temporary Budget Repair Levy (levied at two percent of taxable income in excess of $180,000) will cease on 30 June this year as planned.

-         The $20,000 immediate write-off for small businesses is being extended for one year, to 30 June 2018.

-         The Medicare levy is being increased from 2% to 2.5%, effective from the 2019-20 income year.

-         A number of measures have been announced to reduce the pressure on housing affordability, including:

-          an annual charge on foreign owners of underutilised residential property

-          various CGT changes for foreign investors, including denial of the main residence exemption

-          an option for individuals aged 65 or over to contribute the proceeds of downsizing their home to superannuation

-          denial of deductions for expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a residential investment property

-          access to a higher CGT discount of 60% (as compared to the 50% available in other circumstances) for investments in qualifying affordable housing

-          the introduction of a first home super saving scheme

 


If you are an individual . . .

who pays tax

. . . you may not have to pay the Medicare levy this year.  From the 2016-17 income year (this year) the Government will increase the Medicare levy low-income threshold for singles to $21,655 (from $21,335), for families to $36,541 (from $36,001), for single seniors and pensioners to $34,244 (from $33,738) and for senior and pensioner families to $47,670 (from $46,966).  The additional amount of threshold for each dependent child or student will also be increased to $3,356 (from $3,306).  This means that you can earn more before triggering a liability to pay the Medicare levy.

. . . if you are required to pay the Medicare levy you will have to pay more from the 2019-20 tax year, as the Medicare levy is being increased from 2% to 2.5%

earning more than $180,000 per annum

. . . you will pay less tax next year.  Notwithstanding speculation to the contrary, the Temporary Budget Repair Levy (an additional two percent on taxable income in excess of $180,000) will cease on 30 June 2017 as planned.  It is not being extended.

who owns a home

. . . if you are aged 65 or over and have owned that home for at least 10 years, from 1 July 2018 you will be able to make a non-concessional (after tax) contribution of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling your home. You will be able to do this regardless of the existing age test, work test and soon to be introduced $1.6 million cap on after tax contributions.

. . . if you are a foreign or temporary resident you will not have access to the CGT main residence exemption from 7.30pm on Budget night (although existing properties held prior to this time will be grandfathered until 30 June 2019).

who wants to own a home

. . . you will be able to withdraw on or after 1 July 2018 voluntary superannuation contributions you make from 1 July 2017, along with associated deemed earnings, for a first house deposit.  You will be taxed at your marginal rate, less a 30 percent offset, on concessional (before-tax) contributions you withdraw. You will be able to contribute up $15,000 per year, and up to $30,000 in total.

who is studying

. . . repayments on your Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debts will be subject to revised income thresholds - a new minimum threshold of $42,000 will be established with a 1% repayment rate, and a maximum threshold of $119,882 with a 10 per cent repayment rate.

who has a SMSF

. . . the use of limited recourse borrowing arrangements by your fund will be included in your $1.6 million total superannuation balance and transfer balance cap, thereby reducing your scope to make non-concessional contributions from other sources.

. . . you can expect greater focus on the use of related party transactions on non-commercial terms to increase your superannuation savings.

If you invest in residential property . . .

and are a foreign resident

. . . where the property is not occupied or genuinely available on the rental market for at least six months per year, you will be charged an annual 'penalty' of at least $5,000.  The new charge applies to applications to acquire property from 7:30pm Budget night.

. . . you may find yourself barred from buying into a new development, as the Government will introduce a 50% cap on foreign ownership in such developments.

and incur travel expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for the property

. . . from 1 July 2017 you will no longer be able to claim deductions for those expenses.  The cost of engaging a real estate agent for property management services will remain deductible.

that qualifies as 'affordable housing'

. . . on or after 1 January 2018 you will benefit from a higher CGT discount - 60% instead of 50%.  To qualify for the higher discount, housing must be provided to low to moderate income tenants, with rent charged at a discount below the private rental market rate. The affordable housing must be managed through a registered community housing provider and the investment held for a minimum period of three years.

. . . you will be able to access concessional tax treatment by investing in a Managed Investment Trust that itself invests in affordable housing, provided the affordable housing is available for rent for at least ten years.

that contains plant and equipment

. . . you will not be able to claim depreciation deductions for assets purchased after 9 May 2017 by a previous owner of the property. 

that is newly constructed or a new subdivision

. . . on or after 1 July 2018 you will be required to remit GST on the purchase  directly to the ATO as part of settlement, as opposed to the developer being required to remit the GST as is currently the case.

If you are a business . . .

planning to employ foreign workers

. . . from March 2018 you may be required to pay a levy. Businesses will be required to make an upfront payment of $1,200 (for businesses with turnover of less than $10 million) or $1,800 (for businesses with turnover of $10 million or more) per visa per year for each employee on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa, and make a one-off payment of $3,000 (for businesses with turnover of less than $10 million) or $5,000 (for businesses with turnover of $10 million or more) for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.

planning to invest in a depreciating asset or two (or more)

. . . if you are a small business (which you are if your turnover less than $10 million for the year) you will be able to immediately deduct purchases of eligible assets costing less than $20,000 through to 30 June 2018 (initially planned to cease on 30 June 2017).  From 1 July 2018 the immediate deductibility threshold will revert back to $1,000.

in the courier or cleaning industry

. . . the taxable payments reporting system (TPRS) that operates in the building and construction industry will apply to you from 1 July 2018.  You will be required to report payments you make to contractors (individual and total for the year) to the ATO.

and you are intending to dispose of your business, or CGT assets used in your business

. . . your accountant may need to take a second look at whether the small business CGT concessions will be available to you, as the Government is planning to make changes to those rules from 1 July 2017 designed to restrict their availability.

Whoever you are . . .

if you operate in the black economy

. . . your affairs are more likely to be picked up by the ATO, as the Government will be extending the provision of additional funding for ATO audit and compliance programs to better target black economy activities, such as non lodgement, omission of income and non payment of employer obligations.

. . . the Government will act to prohibit the manufacture, distribution, possession, use or sale of electronic point of sale (POS) sales suppression technology and software, which apparently allows businesses to understate their incomes by untraceably deleting selected transactions from electronic records in POS equipment so that income earned from these transactions and tax owing from this income is not reported to the ATO..


Text Box: These materials are intended to be used as a guide only. They should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice regarding actual facts or circumstances.
Barbagallo & Allen Pty Ltd, its employees and agents do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage resulting from any person acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on all or part of these materials.

Stress Free or Stressful" Business Transition to New Owners – It's a Choice

 Blueberry Trailers was established by Jack Jones in 1970.  Since its humble beginnings as a husband-and-wife-based business, the company has grown to manage 30 team members across two factories and build approximately 50 custom trailers per year.

That said, along the way it has had its struggles.

In 2012, Jack suffered a non-fatal heart attack and it suddenly became his children's responsibility to keep the business alive while their father recovered in the hospital.  The transition in management wasn't easy.  Dave and Peter were forced to step into their roles at a young age.  They had no training or knowledge of their father's role.  Jack had set up a great business but it was 'a handshake type of business'; nothing was documented properly.  Processes, procedures and analysing business performance was almost non-existent.

This is a problem that commonly occurs in the family-run business space.

 Accountant's Role – Trusted External Advisor

Davy and Peter agreed the best strategy was to seek help and to work with an external trusted advisor. They chose their accountant who had a good knowledge of the business and who knew their father.  Bringing in an external party allowed their family to hear a well-educated objective opinion and kept everyone's egos out of the way.  With the Accountant's guidance, they 'flipped the business on its head'.  It took about two years of financial struggle and hard work but the business started to change and it has been for the better.  The company has continued to thrive ever since.

 The Result

With their Accountant's help, Dave and Peter implemented new strategies in their family business.  They successfully took over from their father and now have 30 team members across two factories.

Dave says, 'Dad was really apprehensive. Although they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, Peter and I insisted we could prove that we could get the job done and we did.  And we enjoy having our weekends off.'

Imagine how much easier this process would have been if Jack had committed to succession planning.  The issues would have been identified earlier and corrected.  His sons, his team and his business would have been prepared for the event.  Succession Planning would most certainly have made the unplanned leadership transition a stress free, organised event.  Instead it was 2 years of struggle albeit with a happy ending.

 

Effective Low Cost Business Marketing

Traditional Effective Low-Cost Small Business Marketing

 This case study demonstrates how Hair Salon owners worked with their Accountant to create an effective low-cost marketing campaign which targeted lapsed and new customers to increase sales.  The campaign was traditional but effective.

 About The Client

A Client runs a small funky hair salon in New York.  They decided it was time to move to larger premises with more passing foot traffic, but they knew they had to grow their existing strong and loyal client base first.

 Solution

To achieve this goal, a project was completed with the following objectives:

  • Analyse the Hair Salon's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
  • Use the analysis to identify traditional low cost small business marketing ideas
  • Use the marketing campaign to re-connect with lapsed customers, gain new customers, revitalise sales and customer retention

This was successful and helped get them on their way.

 Accountant's Role

The Accountant reviewed the business operations and based on the outcome of a SWOT analysis, the Accountant recommend that the Client:

  • Review their contact database and identify customers who hadn't visited the salon for over six months.
  • Create an email campaign offering these customers an incentive (a free hair treatment) to make an appointment.
  • Publish a Facebook promotion offering this incentive to new customers.

 Benefits for Client

The emails resulted in numerous new appointments from lapsed customers and a number of new customers were acquired.

This campaign also created an opportunity to introduce these lapsed customers to a new senior hairdresser on the team.

 Might similar strategies work in your business?

 

Marketing Avoid Changing Horses in Midstream

It's rare that Accountants are spoken of as examples of great marketing. So please indulge us as we share with you a wonderful campaign run by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales back in 1995.

 So proud were the Institute of their campaign that they bought serious billboard space in London. On the billboard was written in huge writing:

"It's easier to sleep with a Chartered Accountant."

 Talk about impact. The number of letters this campaign generated to the national press in England was amazing. It probably even turned up in comedians' lines, news bulletins and so on.

And then, six months later they changed it.

What to? Well, we can't tell you. Because we haven't noticed any of their campaigns since - nor have there been reports of any letters appearing in the Times!

So, the question to ask is obvious. Why change it? Or more particularly, why change something that was working brilliantly?

They changed (like most other people) because they figured it was "time to change."

In doing that, they fell into the trap into which many businesses fall - change for change's sake. It's wrong!

 Many companies indiscriminately change campaigns in midstream. In the process of that change, they:

  1. Don't allow the cumulative effect of a winning concept to work for them.
  2. Don't allow the dynamics of testing to work for them.
  3. Make a patchwork quilt of their company's image and position.

 The truth is that you get tired of your own campaign long before it's done its work out there in the marketplace.

Don't arbitrarily abandon it. Only replace an approach when you've verified and validated a more successful and profitable successor. Again, that requires measurement, management and testing. And, as you'd understand, as Accountants we're well-placed to help you with implementing those measurement systems. Please reach out if you'd like to discuss how we might do that.

 

 

Beware of Scams

 Protect Your Business from False Billing Scams

Small business owners should constantly be alert for scams involving false billings. Small businesses are a particular soft target as scammers recognise they are busy and have fewer resources than larger businesses.

False billing scams include attempting to trick busy businesses into paying for unwanted or unauthorised listings or advertisements in magazines, journals or business directories. Common scam tactics are to send a business a subscription form disguised as an outstanding invoice to get the business to sign up for unwanted ongoing advertising services. Scammers also falsely claim that the directory or publication is well known or has a high readership.

Another common scam approach is sending invoices for the renewal of a business's current domain name registration – however the domain name will be slightly different, for example ".com" instead of ".com.au". Scammers will also do anything to get businesses to sign up to a scheme, including claiming a charitable connection. Scammers can also easily copy or modify letterheads, making them look real to create phoney websites.

Businesses should always be aware of such schemes. However, businesses should be more vigilant during the end of financial year. This being a prime time to settle accounts, businesses should to take a moment and check if the invoices are legitimate.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is aware of the rise in billing scams. To help businesses avoid being a victim of scammers, the ACCC has provided the following tips for small businesses:

Make sure the business you are dealing with is the real deal – if you receive a form or tax invoice out of the blue, verify the source by contacting the company directly using contact details you sourced independently through a phone book or online search.

  • Make your business "fraud-free" – effective management procedures can go a long way towards preventing scams. Have a clearly defined process for verifying and paying accounts and invoices. Try to avoid giving too many staff members the authorisation to make orders or pay invoices.
  • Don't be intimidated – do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions involving payments or contracts. If you are unsure, always seek independent financial or legal advice.
  • Update your IT security software regularly, and make sure you use and offer secure online payment methods.

While scammers are professionals at evading the law, the ACCC said it does take enforcement action where appropriate to deter and discourage scammers targeting Australians.

The ACCC has prepared an information sheet that sets out details of the most common scams targeting small businesses. The publication, What you need to know about: Small business scams, is available on the ACCC website at: http://www.accc.gov.au/publications/small-business-scams.

What a Business Plan Can Do For You

What a business plan can do for you and how to use it

 

Running a business without a business plan is like rock climbing blindfolded. Your chances of making it successfully to the top are slim. And the process will surely be a death-defying one.

Contrary to popular practice, a business plan is not a means to securing financing. Instead it is a step-by-step guide to running your business and creating the product or service that will make it in the marketplace. And like any other map, your plan will have to be adjusted according to your vision for the company, conditions and opportunities in the marketplace and your business' current condition.

Whether it's formal or informal, every business has a plan. The local hair salon may not have formally written down the plan, but before setting up shop, a smart owner would have assessed the need for a shop in that area of town, the ability to attract clients there, the appropriate amount of chairs, whether to hire someone to do the shampooing and sweeping, the cost of utilities, the parking availability for clients. The owner who waits to figure these things out using trial and mostly error will be lucky to be left with his/her wits, much less any customers. A business plan helps to minimizes those pitfalls.

 

To many people, the concept of writing a business plan for their own business is a daunting one. Perhaps it would appear less daunting to view the process as simply writing the answer to three questions, namely:

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to be at a future date?
  3. How will you get there?

 

THE FIRST QUESTION – 'Where are you now?' – must be your starting point. This question seeks to provide a planning base. It looks at your business to establish such things as: ?

  • your business idea ?
  • your current level of sales ?
  • your customer groups ?
  • your products and services ?
  • your pricing policy ?
  • your distribution policy ?
  • your promotional activity ?
  • your overall operation ?
  • your team members ?
  • your finances

Answering the question, "Where are you now?" is often a major stumbling block because most people don't know where to start. However, the answer is surprisingly simple if you divide your business planning into four key areas: Operational, Marketing, Employees and Finance. Such a division allows you to analyze your business (or assumed business) to create a solid planning base.

 

THE SECOND QUESTION – "Where do you want to be at a future date?" is simply asking you to visualize your business operation at a set date in the future. This visualization process is almost identical to the exercise of setting personal objectives. The difference, however, is that the focus here is on business objectives.

 

THE THIRD QUESTION – "How will you get there?" asks about the steps you need to take in order to achieve the business objectives you have set. These steps, or strategies, can be identified, written down and programmed. Additional things a business plan should consider:

  1. What is a reasonable expectation of profitability and when?
  2. How will the business pay you and any team members?
  3. What are estimated expenses?
  4. What is the pricing strategy?
  5. What is the need for what you are offering and what profit margins can you expect?

While much of this may have occurred to you informally, it is very import to write it down. If you ever need to approach a bank or investors, you will need it. Writing it down will reinforce your vision, give you a reference point for checking your business' progress and will most likely bring up factors you did not consider when creating the plan in your head.

 

Writing your business plan down:

  1. Helps you determine and coordinate all aspects of business operations
  2. Gives you a means to analyze and determine what might be the best change to boost your business out of a stagnant situation
  3. Assists you in determining the risks and benefits associated with any changes
  4. Decreases your chances of making a mistake or not considering important factors in your business, and most importantly,
  5. Dramatically increases your chances of success.

Business plans are not only for those just setting out their journey in the marketplace. They are useful when acquiring a new business, forecasting growth, introducing a new product or service, entering a new market, responding to changes in the market or changing a significant aspect of your business.

 

 

 

Creating a Promotions Strategy

How to create a promotions strategy that works

 

You may have the greatest product ever but if you don't tell the world, it will sit on the shelves collecting dust until you finally have to close your business. Remember, you know what is great about your business because you created it. The rest of the world is not thinking about you and what you have to offer. So you have to tell them and you have to tell them in a way that makes them want what you have to offer.

Many small businesses shy away from promotions thinking they can't compete with the advertising, public relations and promotions budgets of their large competitors. But good promotions do not have to be expensive. And if you stay focused and create a clear plan, they don't have to be time-consuming either.

First develop a plan. This should be included in your business plan. Here are the steps to developing a strong promotional plan:

 Identify your target buyer

Consider what kind of customer you want to do business with and to whom your product or service is most likely to appeal. Take into account demographic (i.e. age, gender, location, marital status), lifestyle (i.e. athletes, club goers, outdoor enthusiasts) and psychographics (i.e. personality traits and emotions that affect buying decisions) information.

 Make Them Want What You Have to Offer

Distinguish your product or service from all the rest. This has to be meaningful and accurate, otherwise you will lose credibility with your consumers. First you will need to know what features, benefits and brand attributes your target buyers consider when making a purchase. For example, if you are a local nursery, your target buyers might take into account return policies on plants that don't survive, quality of plants in store and availability of informed people who can assist them with plant choices and directions for caring for the plants.

 Create a strategy and make it clear

Write down who your target buyers are, what your competitive environment is and what your meaningful differences are. This is called your positioning strategy statement. You must develop a consistent message and look and feel in all of your promotional campaigns.

Think about the personality of your business in relationship to your target buyers. Is it a young, hip, friendly, casual environment? Or is it a more reserved, traditional and slightly more conservative environment? These characteristics will inform the look, feel and tone of your business, as well as promotions.

 Create a clear, concise and memorable message that impacts your target buyers

This can be a challenge but doesn't have to be. Think about your business value proposition (BVP). If you have clearly identified the unique features and benefits of your product/service that truly matter to your target buyers, you will be well on your way. Take this information and brainstorm potential slogans, keywords in all marketing messages and visual images that correspond to your BVP.

 Consider your budget

When promoting your products, services and business there may never seem to be enough money. However, not all promotion costs money. Creating a mix between word-of-mouth, customer referral programs, public relations and advertising will save you a lot of money. Imagination and relationship building are the keys.   

 

Many small business owners are entrepreneurs who went into business seeking freedom, a better lifestyle, more money or simply because they wanted to run their own show. Financial acumen is rarely high amongst the skills possessed by such people. As such, it is only to be expected that business owners make financial mistakes which can jeopardise their dreams. Here are four of the most common mistakes and how business owners can avoid them.

 

  1. Failing to plan

Few small businesses have a working budget and cash flow forecast which is rolled over on (at least) a quarterly basis. As a result, they make decisions based on guesswork and have no idea whether their business's actual performance is better or worse than what they expected. A solid budget requires the following information, ideally seasonalised and presented on a month by month basis:

  • Sales – not just a lump sum figure, but broken down by product or service line and calculated as number of sales multiplied by average sale value
  • Variable costs – these are costs that vary with sales and as such, should be driven by your sales forecast
  • Fixed costs – unless there are any significant changes, these can be taken from your most recent financial statements and adjusted for any known or expected increases

Once you have developed a budgeted profit and loss account, you should then create a cash flow forecast. This differs from the profit and loss budget because it is looking at the cash inflows and outflows. As such, it needs to take account of how long your customers take to pay you, how quickly you turn over inventory, how quickly you pay your suppliers, any loan repayments due and any forecasted capital expenditure that will not appear in the budget profit and loss account.

For a thorough budget that could be presented to a bank for the purpose of raising finance, you should also complete a budgeted balance sheet.

 

  1. Financing capital expenditure out of cash flow

As a general rule, and to the extent that it is possible, it is good practice to cash flow the lifetime of a purchase. By that we mean this: if you are buying stock to sell in the short term, then finance it out of your day to day working capital. But if you are buying a large piece of machinery with a ten year life, then you should look to finance it over ten years. Similarly, don't fall into the trap of many small business owners where you have a good quarter and go out and buy yourself a flash new car – out of cash flow. Unless you are confident (and have evidence to back it up) that your strong sales will continue, you could find yourself in a cash flow bind if you empty the bank account to buy new assets every time you find you have a bit of surplus cash.

Form a strong relationship with a bank manager and keep them up to date with your plans. Often, the banks will be happy to lend when times are good for your business and you should take advantage of that to properly finance any capital expenditure required to expand your business. Similarly, the best time to secure an overdraft is when you don't need it. The banks will be more willing and able to help you out and then if you hit a rough patch, you have a safety net.

 

  1. Cutting costs rather than driving revenue

When considering how to improve profitability, many business owners resort to hacking at costs. That's all very well, but there is a finite limit to which expenses can be cut – zero. And then you have no business. On the other hand, the opportunities to grow revenue, assuming you manage your growth within the constraints of your cash flow, are limitless. It comes down to understanding the drivers of revenue, which in most businesses are:

  • Number of customers
  • Number of times those customers buy from you
  • The average sale you make each time a customer buys

Once you understand the drivers, you can put in place strategies to increase each of those critical measures.

Another thing to be aware of when reviewing costs, which, of course, is still a valid strategy, is knowing where to cut. For example, too often businesses cut back on marketing which can often be the last place you should be making cuts. Similarly, a knee jerk reaction to cut back on travel expenses could see an adverse reaction (a recent study conducted by Oxford Economics and commissioned by the US Travel Association found that 57% of businesses surveyed felt that cutting their travel costs during the recession in the US hurt their business.)

 

  1. Running your business from a spreadsheet

Quite possibly the most important to avoid of all of the mistakes listed. In this era of Cloud accounting solutions accurate management information integrated with daily bank feeds is readily available. Not to take advantage of such information is to run the business by the seat of your pants. Yet many small businesses persist in keeping their records on a spreadsheet or worse, in a shoe box!

Talk with your accountant today if you feel that your accounting records are inaccurate, unhelpful or obsolete. In fact, your accountant can help you avoid all four of the key financial outlined in this article, helping to set you up for more profitable days ahead.

Contractor Confusion

Over the last couple of years the ATO has made a concerted effort to tackle what they see as problem contractors or to put it more simply people who are working as contractors who the ATO think should be treated as employees. There has been many political arguments put forward arguing the case for the use of contractors and their use is the norm in industries such as building & construction but despite the rhetoric whether someone is an employee or a contractor comes down to the facts of the situation. 

The ATO has plenty of information available on this area and the following link includes some checklists to help determine the employee vs contractor status, http://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Employee-or-contractor

In summary the characteristics of a contractor include:

  • the ability for the worker to sub-contract or delegate the work;
  • the worker quotes for the work and is paid for a result achieved based on that;
  • the worker provides all or most of the equipment, tools etc required to do the work and does not receive an allowance or reimbursement for the cost of this equipment;
  • the worker takes the commercial risk with the worker being legally responsible for the work and liable for the cost of rectifying any defect in the work;
  • the worker has freedom in the way the work is done subject to the specific terms in any contract or agreement and
  • the worker operates their own business independently from the business that hires them. They perform services as specified in their contract or agreement and are free to accept or refuse additional work.

You will note that having an ABN is not a factor in determining whether a worker is an employee or not.

Whether a worker is classified as an employee or a contractor will determine the types of tax deductions that they are allowed to claim as well as the obligations the business paying them has for PAYG withholding, leave entitlements and possibly superannuation and workers compensation.

If you would like further information or would like to discuss your situation with us please call and we will be happy to help.

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