Accounting Business

Why Bookkeeping is Crucial to Your Success

Keeping track of sales, earnings, expenses, and purchases is fundamental to the overall health and sustainability of your business. Effective bookkeeping produces the data you need to evaluate your current practices, anticipate challenges, and set attainable future goals.

But despite their proven importance, many business owners dread and avoid accounting tasks. In fact, 40% of surveyed entrepreneurs claim that bookkeeping is one the worst parts of running a business!

Wondering if it’s really worth the aggravation?

Here are four reminders of how effective bookkeeping is the cornerstone of small business success.

Keeping track of reimbursable expenses

A reliable system for tracking reimbursable expenses ensures you reap all the benefits you’re entitled to when filing your taxes. Expenditures sorted into categories, such as “food”, “travel”, and “office supplies,” can be catalogued quite simply with online bookkeeping software.

Using a dedicated credit card for business expenses, and updating your records on a monthly basis, will put money back in your pocket come tax time.

Measuring profitability and planning for the future

In order to grow your business, you must be able to track and compare its finances from one year to the next.

In addition to reconciling the books and bank statements every month, effective bookkeeping generates records you can use to gain a comprehensive overview of your business. This data can help you:

  • measure year over year profits;
  • identify opportunities to cut costs;
  • plan for major expenses (such as new office space, equipment, or staff); and
  • develop data-based strategies for expansion.

Preparing for tax season

Few things are more stressful for business owners than scrambling to get poorly maintained financial records ready for tax season. In addition to the panic of last-minute filing, inaccurate or incomplete documentation can lead to serious penalties, fines, and even an audit.

In the United States alone, 40% of small businesses pay an average penalty of $845 per year for late or incorrect filings!

Save money and get peace of mind with sound bookkeeping. You’ll be assured of compliance with regulations, and will receive a reliable estimate of amounts owing long before your tax bill is due.

Final tip: ask for help

Most entrepreneurs are passionate about developing new business ideas – not crunching numbers. Employing a professional bookkeeper, even on a part-time or as-needed basis, can help optimize your accounting and increase overall profitability.

There’s a good reason 71% of small businesses outsource at least one accounting function to help manage tasks like payroll, closing the books each month, and managing accounts receivable.

It’s well worth it. Invest in effective bookkeeping and you’ll build a solid foundation for a resilient, forward-moving small business.


Email: The productivity killer

Remember when email was new and novel, and everyone thought it would vastly improve communication while freeing up time? It did improve communication on some levels and freed up employee time at first. Now, however, email has become a productivity killer.

Workers have to wade through hundreds of emails in their inbox each day, and many people choose to deal with email as it comes in rather than all at once. This takes the focus off their work and makes it difficult to concentrate on their tasks.

So why is email such a productivity killer?

The problem with email

A significant issue with email is that workers tend to feel that they have to read and respond to every work email immediately. This means that they never stay fully focused on any one task because they’re often waiting for more emails. When emails do come, employees stop their work, focus on the email, deal with the content it contains, and craft a response. Then they go back to work, but it can take time to switch their brains back and forth between email and their previous task.

Ever heard of attention residue? That’s a phrase coined by Sophie Leroy after two experiments showed people’s productivity dropped when they moved back and forth between tasks, rather than focusing on one at a time. It refers to the tendency to have thoughts about a previous task in your head even as you move to another task, which makes it more difficult to complete the new task.

So what can a small business owner do?

Switch to other communication methods

Not everything that needs to be said should be communicated through email. Issues that require back and forth should likely be dealt with either in person or through the phone. Likewise with topics that require an immediate response. Documents that are being reviewed by multiple people should be done through Google Drive, Dropbox or another format. This ensures everyone sees the most recent version of the document each time they open it.

Create a list of the types of communication your organization uses and develop guidelines for using them. List the circumstances under which each method of communication should be used and follow it. Be very clear about when and how those communication methods can be used.

Get email under control

By setting limitations to when email can be used within your company, you’re already limiting the amount of emails your workers deal with. That’s a great step.

Encourage employees to set aside dedicated email time during the day—say once in the morning and once in the afternoon—to deal with their emails, rather than checking on an ongoing basis. If that’s not practical for your company, encourage them to check every so often (once every two hours, maybe) or only between tasks. This limits attention residue and encourages them to focus on the task at hand.

Have your workers turn their email notifications off so they aren’t distracted as each new email reaches their inbox.

Final thoughts

Email can be a productive and useful means of communication, but not if it’s constantly pulling your employees’ attention away from work and draining productivity. Setting guidelines for its use, finding other effective methods of communication, and decreasing the risk of distraction will help your employees better deal with their inbox.


The pros and cons of standing desks

By now many people have heard about standing desks and maybe even read reports on their potential to change lives. Many articles focus on the negatives of sitting: sitting at a desk is as bad as smoking, people who sit at their desks have shorter life spans, or sitting all day promotes terrible posture. The solution? Standing desks. Desks that allow workers to stand so they can improve their health, productivity and quality of life.

People are turning to standing desks more and more, but are they really better than sitting desks? Here are the pros and cons of standing desks.


Researchers at Cornell University cite recent studies that suggest sitting for too long is potentially linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease and kidney disease. While that sounds scary, those studies don’t prove that sitting all day causes those health problems, just that people who sit all day tend to have a greater risk of such issues. There could be other factors at play.

Still, standing all day does change a person’s posture and takes more energy than sitting, so it burns more calories, though there is disagreement about how many calories. For those who use exercise workstations (desks that combine a treadmill component, for example), even more calories are burned and workers are exercising while working.

Some workers say they enjoy standing desks. They cite increased energy and alertness, greater engagement with co-workers, and better core strength as positives.


There are some concerns about standing desks, however. Standing is more tiring than sitting and can negatively affect productivity. People tend to have more difficulty with tasks that require fine motor skills when they stand than when they sit. Standing is also linked to varicose veins and puts pressure on a person’s circulatory system.

If your employees work longer than eight-hour days, a standing desk can be exhausting, not to mention hard on the legs.

As far as exercise work stations go, studies show that computer work performance decreases while the number of errors made increase when a person walks on a treadmill while working.

While sitting all day has been linked to heart disease, so has standing. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that standing for long periods throughout the day is linked to two times the risk of heart disease.

Final thoughts

Sitting and standing at a desk for too long both appear linked to increased health risks. If you’re looking to science for answers about standing desks, you may have to look further.

Some workers might prefer a standing desk but if their concerns are about getting enough movement in a day, not hurting their posture, or improving their health there are more effective routes to go.

Provide ergonomic desks and chairs that properly support their heads, necks, and backs.

Encourage your workers to get up at least every 30 minutes to stretch their bodies or walk around for a few minutes. This will stop them from sitting in the same position for too long and will give them some vital opportunities to move in a day, which will also help their circulation and improve their health.

Instead of sitting at your desk when you have one-on-one conversations with employees, encourage a short walk around the office or outside if the weather is nice.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with providing employees the option of a standing desk at work and seeing how much people use them if that’s what you want to do.

Accounting Business

Three ways to speed up invoicing

Everyone likes making money, especially small business owners. Invoicing, however, is typically one of the tasks that small business owners like the least. Chores like creating and sending invoices get set aside for other duties that are seen as more enjoyable or even more urgent.

You tell yourself you’ll get around to it tomorrow, but tomorrow becomes next week, next week becomes next month, and suddenly you realise your client hasn’t paid you in a while and your bank account is lower than expected.

The issue, of course, is that clients can’t pay you until you’ve invoiced them. You need an invoicing system that makes the process less painful—or even takes it out of your hands entirely.

Hire a bookkeeper

Bookkeepers handle your company’s day-to-day financial transactions and records. That includes invoicing and following up when invoices aren’t paid.

A bookkeeper creates the invoices and ensures they’re sent out on time. They record all payments that come in and follow up on unpaid invoices. By having a full view of your company’s financials, they’ll even be able to tell you if you’re charging enough for your services.

Think about how much easier it would be to get paid if someone else was responsible for ensuring that happened.

Use invoicing programs

Cloud-based invoicing programs make creating, sending, and collecting on invoices much easier. You set up an invoice template and for each client or project fill in the necessary information. The invoice is sent out, either as an attachment or as a link to the invoice online.

With some systems you can see when the invoice was sent and when the client viewed it. You can set up different deadlines for each client and you can often accept payment through the system. Not only will invoicing itself be faster, but it’ll be easier for clients to pay you.

Make sure your invoices are going to the right person – sending invoices to the wrong department can create massive delays in getting paid. A cloud-based system can also keep track of when your invoices are overdue and send out reminders without you thinking about it.

Set up a payment schedule

If you have regular clients who require the same amount of work from you over a set time—such as a month or two months – set up a regular payment schedule with them.

This is easier if done along with a cloud-based system, which can automatically be set up to send out recurring invoices. You set up how frequently the invoices go out and your client gets used to expecting those invoices and paying them quickly.

Final thoughts

The only way for your business to bring in money is to invoice your clients. Unfortunately, invoicing is one of those boring tasks that constantly gets put off.

Finding ways to make that process easier for you and your clients means you’ll be paid more quickly. Isn’t that every business owner’s dream?

Firm News

2019 Federal Budget Summary

Below is a link to the summary of the 2019 budget delivered by the Government recently.

This year’s federal budget has a few sweeteners, which was to be expected with the next federal election only about a month away and the Coalition Government trying to make up ground in the polls.

The welcome news is the forecast return to surplus for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Also note that proposed changes to Division 7A will be deferred from 1 July 2019 to 1 July 2020, and that there are some useful changes to superannuation that will benefit older pre-retirees.

Please contact us for clarification, or further advice, regarding any of the topics covered in this newsletter.



Great reasons to shorten your workweek

Okay, there probably aren’t a lot of people who need to be convinced that a shorter workweek is a great idea. Small business owners, however, might be on the list of people who need a little encouraging. After all, every day they take off could mean a longer day to make up for the missed hours.

There are some very real benefits to working a shorter week and those benefits aren’t just about the long weekends—though who would complain about those?

Here are some great reasons to consider shortening your workweek.

Your employees will love you for it

In 2018, a company in New Zealand allowed its employees to work four regular workdays instead of the usual five. The employees kept their regular salary and weren’t required to lengthen their other days. The experiment lasted for eight weeks and at the end, the company found that employees reported lower stress levels, improved job performance, increased work engagement, and a better work-life balance.

The key? With a shorter workweek, employees were more careful about how they managed their time. Meetings tended to be shorter and workers were careful to keep noise and disruption to a minimum, to allow other workers to also get their tasks done.

It attracts talent

If you’re looking to hire only the best employees—and who isn’t—what could be more attractive than earning a decent wage while working fewer hours? Offering an extra day off a week is sure to attract the attention of highly skilled workers without breaking your bank.

It can save you money

If you’re not already offering a shorter week, consider it in place of a raise for employees. It saves you money, makes workers feel valued, and will improve employee morale and satisfaction. Some may even prefer it to a raise.

In an ideal world, you could pay your employees the same while giving them a shorter workweek. Your company may not be able to afford that, but some employees might gladly take a pay cut to have an extra day off a week.

If you want to offer a shorter workweek but can’t afford to keep the pay the same, give your employees a choice.

Final thoughts

If moving to a shorter workweek permanently isn’t practical for you, there are still ways to give employees extra time off. You could run summer hours, where every Friday in the summer people leave early, or every weekend people take a Friday or Monday off. Or you could give employees the option of choosing what day to leave early. You could consider having every second week throughout the year be a flex week.

If you really can’t give up the hours, offer your employees a compressed workweek or see if your business is set up to allow working from home one day a week. Cutting out that commute saves them time.

Or you could be like some companies—including Netflix and Groupon—and offer unlimited vacation days.

Study after study has found numerous benefits to shorter workweeks, with none of the drawbacks that business owners often fear.

Offering a shorter workweek won’t prevent staff from doing their work, it’ll encourage them to do the same work in less time—provided, of course, each person isn’t already doing the work of two people.