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What to watch as online retail takes off

The retail sector is experiencing a dramatic shake up with massive growth in online shopping indicating a shift in how consumers interact with products, sales and spaces.

Recent figures speak for themselves. Domestic online sales represented more than 50% of 2017 total retail sales growth in Australia as opposed to three years ago when they accounted for less than 10%.i

This rapid growth is staggering in a sector that has otherwise been sluggish of late. But what does it mean for consumers? With Christmas just around the corner, now's the perfect time to look at current trends in online shopping, what to watch out for, and how you can bag a bargain while saving a heap of time in the process.

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Keep your cash flowing

As we head into the Christmas holiday season you are most likely looking forward to some relaxing times ahead, but one thing that should not be taking a break is your cash flow.

Invariably there will be a blowout in your personal spending over the Christmas period on food, presents and holidays, while the normal household bills keep rolling in.

It's much the same for businesses. It can be all too easy in the busy lead-up to Christmas to let chasing bad debts and invoicing clients take a back seat. But if you don't act now, you may not see any cash until February. Meanwhile your regular bills will still be coming in and wages will also need to be paid.

So what can you do to make the holiday season financially stress free?

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'Black Economy' rules target tax avoidance

Small businesses are likely to find themselves kept busy with the progressive transition to the Single Touch Payroll system and new rules designed to beat Australia's 'black economy'. Here's a round up of the latest tax news:

New rules cast a wide net

Even businesses not seeking to avoid tax could find themselves affected by a new Bill designed to curtail Australia's 'black economy'.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Black Economy Taskforce Measures No. 2) Bill 2018 was introduced into the House of Representatives in late September. If passed, the Bill will deny a tax deduction for employee/contractor payments if a business is not seen as complying with its obligation to withhold PAYG tax.

Although the Bill provides safeguards for errors, businesses will need to carefully review their internal systems to ensure they are capturing all payments likely to require PAYG withholding. Unusual payments - such as bonuses or commission payments - that are not properly identified as being subject to withholding, could have their tax deduction denied.

The new Bill also requires businesses providing road freight, information technology or security, investigation or surveillance services to report annually to the ATO under the Taxable Payment Reporting System (TPRS). The TPRS was first introduced to the building and construction industry and requires a business to report any payments made to contractors, as the Government believes contractors servicing these industries are at high risk of not disclosing income.

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Salary Packaging Unwrapped

Many employers offer salary packaging to attract and retain employees with additional benefits. If it's done well it can be good for both the employer and the employee. The employer benefits from being able to attract top quality candidates; the employee benefits from a lower tax liability.

In a nutshell, salary packaging is where an employer offers their staff the opportunity to pay for certain goods and services out of pre-tax income. These goods and services can include such things as computers, cars, health insurance, childcare and superannuation contributions (commonly known as salary sacrificing).

By paying for these goods and services before tax, it reduces your gross salary so that your tax liability is lower. As a result, it is more likely to be tax effective if you are in a higher tax bracket.

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Take Control of the Future of Your Business

What are your plans for the future of the business? Are you wanting to find more time to relax and enjoy your lifestyle? Are your children prepared to take on the family business when you retire? Have you actually had a family discussion about succession plans?

Succession planning is very much more than about making sure there is enough money in the bank. It is about ensuring the future generation is able to be successful with the day-to-day running of the business without struggling with the weight of a job they are unprepared for, or with experience they don't have.

With the knowledge that every business and family is different, Symes Accountants provides a 5-Step Succession Plan Process which works with every family circumstance.

For more information, download our Family Business Succession Planning brochure here, or contact our team today to arrange your first succession planning meeting.

Attitude is Everything

In August 2018, Symes Accountants hosted work experience student Lauren for the week. She gained a great insight into working as an Accountant during the busy ITR season and the importance of good working relationships. Below is her personal account of her experience.

Attitude goes a long way, this is shown through the everyday life at Symes Accountants. At Symes everyone has the right attitude towards their work and especially towards their clients, this is shown through their hard work and determination to ensure that they can do everything in their power to help their clients. Seeing Symes employees interact with their clients was an experience that can never be forgotten, they are open and honest with their clients, they ask about their client's family and make sure that they are doing everything within their power to help. Having a helpful and determined attitude makes Symes a successful business. Everyone within the Symes community has a role to play, and it is their attitude toward that role that can ensure their continued success.

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Making Your Budget Stick

With 86% of Australians saying they don't know what they spent last month, it's fair to say we aren't great budgeters.i But in many cases, the problem isn't writing a budget per se so much as it is sticking to it over the long term. The good news is with a few simple tricks you could change your spending habits for good and start realising your dreams sooner.

Get Real

Many budgets get derailed because they simply aim to achieve too much. If your goals are too lofty, your budget is much more likely to fail and you may give up on budgeting all together. Aim instead to set achievable goals that have incremental rewards. This way you're more likely to stay on track.

You also want to be real about what you can live without. Think deeply about what gives you true pleasure on a day-to-day level. Maybe you need that morning latte because it's an important part of your daily ritual. Those impromptu online purchases made from your iPad at 2am on the other hand might need to go.

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In May 2018 Symes Accountants hosted local high school student, Brett for a week of work experience. Brett is interested in owning his own business in the future and below is his personal account of his experience with our team.

As a Year 11 student currently completing a Certificate III in Business, I have completed work experience at Symes Accountants to help better my understanding of what it is like owning a business and how the inner workings of a business actually operate. This work experience was extremely valuable to me as I have been able to learn so much through completing it.

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New Year, New Look - Your Symes Accountants


Revealing our New Look!

Your trusted Accountants and Business Advisors, Symes Accountants are excited to release fresh new branding this financial year, which includes an update to our iconic red and black logo.

Taking Symes into 2018 and Beyond

Symes Accountants has been servicing the local community for over 30 years with our iconic 'S' logo. The heritage of our business and branding is something we're very proud of, however like many other things we felt it was time to give it a lift.

We've taken a big leap this financial year to modernise and refresh our branding to a design that is simple, yet undeniably Symes Accountants.

Our branding will be rolled out over the coming period to all of our communications, digital platforms and office.

The FBT Grinch that Stole Christmas

With Christmas carols and decorations popping up in every shopping centre, you know the festive season is just around the corner. That means it's time to celebrate another year of hard work with your colleagues by taking time out to have a little fun.

For most organisations, however, the lavish parties and restaurant meals of holiday seasons past are now but a fond memory due to the modern-day Grinch of Christmas - the fringe benefits tax (FBT). FBT applies wherever an employer provides a benefit to an employee other than their regular salary or wage, with employers required to pay FBT at a rate of 49% on the grossed-up taxable value of these benefits. Unfortunately, the tax mean deems Christmas parties to be an 'entertainment benefit' because food and drink are provided in a social situation and the aim is for employees to enjoy themselves.

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