A good checklist from the ATO website if you are small business owner thinking of hiring a new worker.
Takes you through all the things you need to establish upfront, for example “Is your new worker an employee or a contractor” (a hot topic with the ATO at the moment) and “What are your record-keeping requirements”.
“A lot of small businesses are mum-and-pop owned businesses who don’t know about minimum wage rates.”
Do you agree with this? I was watching a TV show recently and one of the panelists was using this argument to justify why some small business owners are paying their employees less than the minimum wage. You may have come across the big story that broke late last year about some 7-Eleven franchisees in Australia paying their employees well below the minimum rate (as well as other illegal practices).
If you are thinking of hiring an employee for the first time, or if you are hiring your 2nd or 3rd employee, there are no doubt a myriad of things you need to work out first.As at the date of writing, the national minimum wage in Australia is $17.29 per hour and $656.90 per 38 hour week before tax. Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also need to receive “casual loading” – an extra amount paid to compensate for lack of benefits such as holiday pay.
These are the rates that apply to an employee not covered by a specific award or agreement. For information on specific Awards you can find all you need at the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
These rates change all the time – when working with online payroll students I was constantly updating course materials to keep up with the changes.
It’s great to check Seek.com to figure out the going rate for a particular job, or to ask fellow business owners for advice, but you still need to make sure that what you are going to offer your new employee is at least the minimum rate or higher.
Are you thinking of taking on employees? Have you looked around the Fair Work Ombudsman website?
Thanks for your support throughout the past year. I’m looking forward to providing more information and insight into not-for-profit and small business bookkeeping in 2016. Hope you can come along for the ride.
You may have read my previous tip on improving cashflow in your small business, found here Better Cashflow # 1. I have another idea you can easily implement in your small business to help boost your bank account and have more money available when you need it.
It revolves around the following fact:
The sooner you contact an overdue customer, the more likely you are to get paid.
So improve your chances of being paid on time by having a collections policy.
A collections policy is basically deciding on the steps you are going to take when a customer hasn’t paid their invoice by the due date and putting those steps in writing.
Invoice 1 week overdue. Send a friendly reminder by email
Invoice 2 weeks overdue. Phone the customer. Discuss why overdue.
Invoice 3 weeks overdue. Phone the customer. Discuss payment plan if needed.
You can still be flexible and use your judgement on a case by case basis. But overall you will lay down the framework for what action to take and when. You set aside time on a regular basis to sit down and work through outstanding invoices – you make it a priority.
An important part of your collections policy is to keep track of who you have contacted and when. This helps whether you have an in-house bookkeeper, outsource your bookkeeping or whether you are responsible for your own business accounts.
You will find that over time your customers will start to pay you sooner. If they need to decide what invoices get paid this week, you are more likely to be at the top of their list.
You are not being rude by following up outstanding invoices – you are simply a business owner running your business in a professional manner.
Have you run a report lately to see how much your customers owe you and how overdue those invoices are? How much more cash would be in your bank account helping to cover your own expenses if those customer had paid on time?
I was reading back over my previous blog posts and thought this particular one may be helpful to the small business owners and non-profits that follow my blog. It covers some key bookkeeping concepts that can easily be overlooked and can cause some real headaches if not picked up.
I just had to share this bookkeeping tip – it’s too good to keep to myself.
If you use Reckon for bookkeeping, you’ve no doubt used the “Find” feature at some stage to track down a past transaction. It’s quick and easy to use and I couldn’t do without it. Ctrl + F are the shortcut keys.
But just using the Find feature isn’t my tip.
Do you have transactions throughout the year that you aren’t 100% sure you have entered correctly and that you want your accountant to have a look over before your financial reports are finalised? Perhaps you have some GST transactions that you want your BAS Agent to look over before they prepare your BAS?
Well when you enter those transactions simply type “??” into the memo field. When it comes time to meet with your accountant or BAS Agent you simply use the Find feature (Advanced tab) to search for those transactions and generate a report. You can either print this off or memorise the report so that your accountant or BAS agent can simply click on each transaction and be taken straight to it.
No more having to stop and write down your queries on scrap pieces of paper or scrambling to remember what it was exactly you had trouble with throughout the year!
I can’t take full credit for coming up with this idea. It’s a gem of advice I picked up when I recently attended a Reckon workshop that I wrote about in my post So I attended a training workshop today.
In the morning I tell myself to just be cool and relax – enjoy the opportunity to be out and about rather than at work doing my usual thing. Lunch and snacks were included, which is always nice!
Of course I didn’t really relax as I was focusing so hard and trying to retain all the new information and make extra notes. Making sure I didn’t miss an opportunity to ask questions along the way. Never mind…that’s just the nerd in me. Maybe next time I will relax more!
But really the point of my post is to remind everyone of the importance of attending training. Here are some of my top reasons:
Knowledge is power
I enjoy study – whether it be classroom based, online, webinars, reading books or blogs. Even if study wasn’t your thing when you were younger you now have so many opportunities to extend your skills and don’t have to face assessments or assignments if you don’t want to. Day workshops such as the one I attended yesterday are a great opportunity to take your business to the next level or to give yourself that extra bit of confidence to take the next step in your business or career. If your workplace aren’t willing to pay for your course then still be sure to let them know you are taking the initiative to further your skills and knowledge on your own, which will no doubt benefit them as well.
It is easy to stay in your comfort zone as you go about your day to day work. But if you want to progress in your work or business life then inevitably you will have to start taking on little challenges. You may do your job really well and the thought of having to be taught something new can make people feel a little uncomfortable and worried that they will say or do something silly. However the fact that you have acknowledged there is plenty more out there to learn and you don’t know everything can be liberating!
Motivation and Inspiration
If you are a freelancer, work from home or are a solo business owner you may spend a lot of your time without the company of others around you. When times get tough and you are wondering whether you would be better off just clocking in and out of a 9-5 “regular” job it can be hard to keep that motivation going. Just the act of getting out and amongst other people with similar interests to you can spur you on and help bring back the spark. Lunch breaks give you a great opportunity to talk to new people…you can make new business contacts, discuss problems you are facing or share things that work well for you. Often the trainers have many years of experience in their field and their enthusiasm for their subject alone can have you walking out the door brimming with new ideas and motivation.
So I hope I have convinced you to book that workshop you have been thinking about, or signing up for that new online course.
Working for a not-for-profit organisation can be a great experience – most people involved are contributing their time, effort and money because they believe in the cause and have common interests at heart.
Just because they aren’t operating to make a profit for owners, does not mean they are not financially accountable. In fact there are usually many different stakeholders to be accountable to – including Board members, government, volunteers, staff, members and donors.
I personally love the challenge of bookkeeping in the non-profit sector and have worked with wonderfully supportive board members and volunteers.
I thought I would share some interesting facts about non-profits in Australia.
There were 56,894 not-for-profit organisations in Australia registered with the ATO at June 2013.
At present it is estimated there are approximately 700,000 non-profit/community groups in Australia.
Not-for-profits employed 1,081,900 people in 2012-13 with social services employing the most people.
Charities must have an ABN (Australian Business Number).
To be a registered charity, your organisation must be a not-for-profit that has a charitable purpose that is for the benefit of the public.
A public benevolent institution (PBI) is a type of charitable institution whose main purpose is to relieve poverty or distress (for example, sickness, suffering or disability).
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is the independent national regulator of charities in Australia.
Have you been a Treasurer, bookkeeper or accountant in the not-for-profit sector? What differences and challenges did you face compared to other sectors?