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Xero New Release to Projects – Time Tracking via Location

Location, location, location! Now, a new feature in the Xero Projects iOS app suggests time entries against a project based on the time spent at a particular location. This means no more manual tracking of how long you (or your employees) have spent on the job. Rather than track every move, the app uses geo-fencing to register when you arrive at a site and then automatically stops the clock when you leave. Geo-fencing means your device recognises it has entered a set location and that triggers an action – in this case to start timing how long you spend there. Xero only stores your location data on your mobile device. It’s not saved anywhere else and the details aren’t shared, so your privacy is maintained and you operate in an environment of trust. (You can check out our privacy terms for more about how we collect and store your data.) Because the locations that you add to a project aren’t shared, each team member needs to set up the locations for the jobs they’re working on in order to get automatic time suggestions. How it works Using the location-based time entry feature has minimal impact on your device battery and doesn’t use any mobile data. Here’s how it works: Make sure you have the latest version of the Xero Projects iOS app. Select a project and tap the + icon to add one or more locations for a job. Tap Always when prompted to allow location access. In the time entries tab, view suggestions based on how much time you spent at each location. Review, and save or discard the suggestions. Read more in the... read more

Home Office Running Expenses

What This Resource is About When ATO officers are reviewing claims for home office running expenses and electronic device expenses, there is a need to establish that expenditure has been incurred, and the extent of deductibility. This summary of the ATO practice statement concerns acceptable verification approaches for: home office running expenses – home office electricity, gas and cleaning, and decline in value (previously known as depreciation) of home office items such as furniture and furnishings – Not deductions for computer consumables and stationery. home office occupancy expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, council and water rates, or house insurance premiums. Only taxpayers using a part of their home exclusively as a place of business can claim a deduction for occupancy expenses. electronic device usage expenses – phone calls and internet (data) expenses, but not deductions for the decline in value of electronic devices. These should be calculated and claimed in accordance with Division 40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, and the annual guide titled ‘Guide to depreciating assets’ available on ato.gov.au or through the ATO Publication Ordering Service. Basic Principles Pre-requisites for deductions include the conditions that: the taxpayer has actually incurred the expenses and has not been reimbursed (see section 3 of this practice statement), and there must be a real connection between the use of the home office or device and the taxpayer’s income-producing work. If the taxpayer uses their home office or device for work purposes and private purposes, only the expense related to the work usage can be claimed as a deduction (see section 4 of this practice statement). In effect, a taxpayer can claim a deduction for the ‘additional’ expenses they incur,... read more

New Law Introduced To Prevent Casual Employees Double-Dipping: What You Need To Do Now

On 18 December 2018 the Government varied the Fair Work Regulations 2009 to allow employers, in certain circumstances, to offset the casual loading paid to an employee against certain entitlements that may otherwise be owed to the employee if they are found in the future to be a permanent employee. This change to the law has been introduced in reaction to the case of Workpac v Skene [2018] FCAFC 131  where an employee classified as a casual employee (and paid a loading) was later found by the court to be a permanent employee. In that case the court ordered the employer to back pay the employee the annual leave he should have accrued, despite the fact that he had been paid a casual loading to compensate him for not being entitled to paid leave. Casual loading offsetting NES entitlements For employers to benefit from the new law, certain criteria need to be met including that: “the employer pays the person an amount (the loading amount) that is clearly identifiable as an amount paid to compensate the person for not having one or more relevant NES entitlements during a period (the employment period)”. The reference to “relevant NES entitlements” are to those matters set out in the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009 which do not apply to casual employees and include entitlements such as paid annual leave and personal/carer’s leave, redundancy pay, etc. The new law acts retrospectively as well as going forward – so if an employee makes a claim in the future in respect of periods of employment in the past, the Regulations will still apply. In our view, there are two matters which employers will... read more

Hubdoc – How it Works

        Hubdoc is an online cloud-based service and mobile app for digitizing financial documentation. Designed to alleviate data entry for busy business owners and bookkeepers. With Hubdoc, your  key financial docs automatically flow into one place. Quickly view your receipts, bills and statements the moment they are sync’d or uploaded. Hubdoc captures, processes and syncs precious information between leading accounting applications. Simply snap paper invoices, bills or receipts using smartphone or tablet camera and the apps for iOS or Android scans those documents ready for upload. Single sign-in for associated online accounts and the ability to import pre-existing scans via upload or email also allows Hubdoc to automatically grab financial data. With copies placed in fully customizable folder structures, documents can then be archived and viewed anywhere and across multiple devices via app or browser. Cloud-based storage features bank-level protection boasting industry-standard levels of encryption and verification technology. Financial data from uploaded documents or linked accounts can then be published between leading accounting software such as Xero and Quickbooks. Vendor Rules allow how Hubdoc codes docs and data to be changed, ensuring seamless integration within existing systems and user groups. Try it for yourself.  ... read more

Moving towards a paperless office with Autoentry

  Benefits of a paper-free office Due to the nature of the job, there’s always a lot of paper, which can quickly stack up in the office. With even the smallest firms typically storing thousands of documents, going paper-free may seem daunting to start with. However, alongside the inherent environmental benefits, there are numerous operational and financial gains in transferring your physical files to digital records. Driving a culture of change When implementing a paper-free strategy, and whether your team is two or twenty, it will be important for everyone to be on board. Paper documents can easily get lost, or fall into the wrong hands, therefore digitising your records and implementing ‘a clear desk policy’, will not only better organise this data, but help to keep it protected. Digital tools are available to automate and streamline almost every line of business. With the strategic application of the right technology, firms can work more efficiently, whilst reducing their use of paper. Automating data entry is key    At Autoentry, their goal is to be part of the paper-free movement, by providing OCR-based software which helps businesses automate their bookkeeping data entry. Autoentry works by capturing and analysing details from scanned and photographed bank and credit card statements, bills, invoices, expenses and receipts and inputs them directly into a user’s accounting software; integrating with all major accounting software providers including QuickBooks, Xero and Sage. Available with a mobile app, Autoentry allows users to scan receipts on the move, and having posted the data to a user’s accounts software, the solution can act as your online filing cabinet, storing your documents... read more

Budget Announcement – Tax Cuts for Individuals and Family Partnerships for 2018-19

Income tax cuts are coming, according to the Government’s 2018 budget.   From next July, those who earn up to $37,000 will see their tax bill reduce by $200. The offset increases incrementally for those earning between $37,000 and $48,000, before the maximum offset of $530 is applied to those earning between $48,000 and $90,000. The benefit then gradually decreases to zero at a taxable income of about $125,000. There will also be a measure to combat bracket creep, introduced in stages. From July next year, people earning between $87,000 and $90,000 will move back into the lower tax bracket and pay 32.5 per cent instead of 37 per cent in tax. The plan still needs the support of the Senate before it comes into law.... read more

Why two-step authentication is essential for your business !

Large corporations get most of the publicity when it comes to cybercrime and hacking. But cyber criminals are also targeting small businesses. Security industry research shows that over 40% of cyber attacks last year targeted small businesses and this is increasing. That’s why Two-Step Authentication is an important security measure you need to take. Businesses get subjected to a constant barrage of phishing scams and malicious software attempting to steal user account names and passwords. So it’s vital that businesses everywhere ensure they have strong security practices to keep their information secure. Security is an issue that everyone needs to take seriously. Two-Step Authentication (2SA) is available to all Xero customers to provide an additional layer of security for your Xero user accounts. Using two-step authentication significantly reduces the risk of your Xero account becoming compromised if your password gets stolen by phishing or malware. Watch the video below to see how to setup and use Two-step... read more

Top 10 GST mistakes in BAS reports

It’s easy to make a mistake when preparing your BAS. The key is to be aware of common pitfalls so you can avoid them. Thankfully, with online accounting software , preparing your own Business Activity Statement (BAS*) is easier. Even so, the ATO has identified a number of mistakes commonly made in the BAS reporting form. Here are the top 10 mistakes that I see regularly. 1. Accidental ‘double dipping’ on GST Many business owners make mistakes in the Hire Purchase/Lease of Vehicle of Plant or Equipment area of the BAS. Initially, the client (or their accountant) will claim the full GST component in the first quarter that they purchase their vehicle. The confusion sets in when they record their regular monthly payments. The client will either continue to code it as a GST or as a Capital Expense. Both the tax codes GST and CAP appear on their BAS Reporting sheet, effectively causing them to ‘double dip’ on the GST. Always check your purchase invoice and BAS records to make sure you code your monthly repayments accurately. 2. Incorrect tax codes in your chart of accounts I would advise you to ask your accountant to provide a default chart of accounts or ask a BAS agent to set up your tax codes before you begin using your online accounting software. 3. Claiming GST against all expenses There are expenses that do not have a GST component. They include: Motor vehicle registrations Bank charges ASIC fees Paypal transaction fees Google Adwords Interest and director fees / drawings 4. Claiming GST against all sales Some services and products in the medical and health care areas also do not... read more

Starting a New Business – Here Are Some Tips !

  10 Tips on Starting a New Business   Starting a new business can be overwhelming. You have to consider what products or services to provide, which type of customer you want to work with, and how to earn enough money. These 10 tips help the small-to mid-sized business owners make the right choice. #1: Create your list of services. Don’t try to do everything. If you’re doing consulting, be specific about the type of consulting you want to do. #2: Find your jam. In other words, what niche do you want to work in, and how will it differentiate you? Your jam can be anything from your ideal industry, to the services you provide, to the software or apps you use. #3: Determine your business structure. Depending on what type of business you have, you may need to set up a sole proprietorship, partnership or company. Check with your accountant, or lawyer, to determine the best structure for the type of business you run. #4: Design processes.  Think about what processes would help you – lead tracking (essential), onboarding new clients, finances and weekly/monthly/quarterly processes. #5: Establish revenue streams. Plan for your revenue stream. To develop these, look at your core services and determine what other things you may provide. #6: Get out there. “Remember Field of Dreams,” where Kevin Costner kept hearing a voice saying, “If you build it, they will come?” That’s the mistake many small business owners make. They decide to open up shop, so they set up a website and expect to immediately have clients. To get clients, you have to work hard. Social media, in-person networking,... read more

Separating Personal from Business Finance

As a small business owner it can be easy to intertwine business and personal finances, but keeping the two apart is vital. To build long-term financial growth and keep track of ongoing expenses and taxes, making sure your business and personal capital are separate is essential. While as a growing small business it is tempting to save on as many costs as possible by claiming tax deductions, failing to see the difference between personal and business expenses could see you facing an audit or other legal consequences. Here’s how to keep your personal cash away from your business finances. Use Separate Accounts It seems like a no-brainer, but having two different accounts for your personal and business finances is fundamental. Even for those in the early stages of their business who see it as a one-man-shop, it’s all the more important to track business and personal incomings and outgoings separately, or risk facing a headache at tax time. Also, if you use accounting software , make sure you also have two separate systems for your personal and business financial activity. Keeping clear records all year long will provide you with proof of your business expenses in case the Australian Tax Office (ATO) queries any claims or you are audited. Have a Business Credit Card When it comes to buying stationery for the office or paying for transport to meetings, having a work credit card at the ready will help you separate your business financial activity from your personal purchases. No matter how big or small the expense, it’s important to keep your business finances on the company card so... read more