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A quick look at the results of a study conducted by the Australian Business Statistics depicts a clear connection between the size of Australian businesses and their level of interaction with innovative platforms such as cloud accounting. According to the study, the smaller the size of the company, the less likely it is to pursue modern finance and accounting solutions.

As a small business owner who has just recently dipped a toe into running your own business, it may seem wise to avoid cloud accounting services as it will likely strain your cash flow. But the reality is, using cloud accounting tools like Xero accounting software will improve your cash flow and increase the profitability of your business, among others. Not convinced? Check out these items to know how cloud accounting revolutionises your business accounting operations:

1. Smarter business decisions

It’s not easy to make decisions, especially those that will directly affect business performance. Through cloud accounting technology, you will have a better view of all the stakes involved, because you can have financial statements on hand to base your decisions on. Additionally, because you are making smart and savvy decisions about your cash flow, your business finances remain on solid ground.

2. Improved accessibility

Have you ever felt so irate about not being readily able to access your accounting records? Cloud accounting tools like Xero solve that issue for you. By opting to use these systems, your accounting records become easier to access, as they are available in real time. Of course, it also saves you the hassle of logging in to the desktop PC where your accounting software is installed. With cloud accounting, you can even check your records on your smartphone.

3. Convenient collaboration

Cloud accounting gives you the chance to work closely with your accountant or financial adviser without waiting for them to be on-site. So even if you’re on a holiday, you can still collaborate with your number cruncher. While doing so, you also have the guarantee that the records you are checking are up-to—date.

4. Advanced security

Modern cloud solutions automatically back up your files, helping to keep your accounting records safe and secure. It also keeps you from having to back up your files regularly - as the case would be if you are still a fan of desktop accounting software.

5. Enhanced efficiency

Simplified accounting – this is the power of Xero. It speeds up your bookkeeping and accounting processes extensively while helping you cut down on business costs. It also has the capability to integrate invoicing, payroll and bank account reconciliation functions with your business accounting processes.

No matter the size of your business, Start-Up or Established, business owners still think that cloud accounting services are not for them. But having read about the value of cloud accounting for small businesses, would you still keep yourself from joining the cloud bandwagon? Give this a lot of thought and get in touch with us here and schedule a free consultation.

By Troy Townley.

Starting from 1 July 2014, new superannuation data standards are being introduced. The new data standards will be introduced progressively over the next 2 years.

The new standards require many common super related transactions to be conducted electronically and will apply to both employers making super contributions for their employees and to self managed superannuation funds receiving employer super contributions.

The new rules, known as ‘SuperStream’ is a government reform aimed at improving the efficiency of the superannuation system in Australia.

The new rules are summarised in detail below.

We note that contributions sent to an SMSF from a related-party employer are exempt from SuperStream and that current processes for making and accepting contributions can remain in place.

Start Date

  • From 1 July 2014
    • Employers with 20 or more employees will start using the SuperStream standard to send contributions data and payments electronically
    • All superfunds (including SMSF) must receive any employer contributions sent to their fund in accordance with the SuperStream standard
  • From 1 July 2015
    • Employers with 19 or less employees will also be required to send contributions data and payment electronically

Employer super contributions
Employers will need to make the physical payment of super contributions for their employees, plus transfer the associated contribution data, to the relevant super funds electronically to comply with the new rules (All employer super contributions are captured)

In addition to new contribution standards, new default member registrations initiated by an employer and the ongoing maintenance of employee member details will also need to be conducted electronically.

How to comply

For most employers the practical way of ensure you comply with the new rules will be to use the services of a superannuation clearing house. A Superannuation Clearing House is a service that will pay multiple super funds from one data file and one payment received from the employer

The clearing house will then transfer superannuation payments to each fund using its own system.

A large majority of small business accounting packages (i.e. Xero and MYOB) have this technology built into their Payroll systems

We also advise that the Federal Government operates a free clearing house for employers with 19 or less employees called the ‘Small Business Superannuation Clearing House’

For those employers with 20 or more employees who do not have software available to provide the clearing service, we advise that there are service providers that operate on a fee for service basis (i.e. QuickSuper and SuperChoice)

Self Managed Superannuation Funds

SMSF’s that receive employer contributions (from non related employers) must be able to receive the electronic payment and data details their employer is required to send. A SMSF may need to comply with the new rules from as early as 1 July 2014 depending on the size of the employer making contributions to the fund. It is our recommendation that SMSF’s register for the new standard for the year commencing 1 July 2014.

How to comply – SMSF’s

Self Managed Superannuation Funds impacted by the new standard need to engage a SMSF messaging service provider. For SMSF clients of HTA Advisory we have recommend that Australia Post be used as the messaging service provider, as this is currently the only SMSF messaging service that can support SMSF’s.

Australia Post have a $25 cost for a 12 month subscription to its messaging service. We expect that as the new system is further implemented that additional messaging service providers will enter the market to assist SMSF with their new compliance obligations.

Where you do have a SMSF and the new standards apply it will be necessary to ensure that your employer is provided with the following information:

  • your SMSF’s Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • your SMSF’s bank account for receipt of contribution payments (BSB and account number)
  • an electronic service address for receipt of a contribution data message


To assist SMSF clients with this process we have linked to this article a template letter that can be provided to employers to provide them with the required details.

Additional Information

We understand that many employers and trustees of SMSF’s will not be familiar with the new rules so we ask that you contact HTA Advisory to discuss any questions you have regarding the new standards as well as the processes to be introduced to ensure your compliance with the new SuperStream standards.

Have you considered the hidden costs when an employees position is made redundant?

Most employers would assume it’s as simple as calculating an employees entitlements, withholding some tax and Bob's your uncle. Of course we wouldn’t expect the ATO to make it that easy for you.

There are some underlying matters that need to be considered, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need to pay superannuation?
  • Do I have to report these payments to WorkCover?
  • Do I have to pay payroll tax on these amounts?

Struggling for answers??? Here’s a brief overview to get you started.

Superannuation

  • If the ATO classifies any part of the payment as Ordinary Times Earnings (OTE), then superannuation will be payable.
  • Payments in lieu of notice given to employees must have superannuation paid on top of this amount. However, redundancy payments, including amounts of unused annual or long service leave do not require super be paid.
  • If a gratuity or golden handshake is paid, this amount will generally be free from any superannuation obligations; however there are some specific guidelines that need to be considered.

WorkCover

Termination payments are generally not included as part of your rateable remuneration, however all wages, allowances, bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits & super contributions earned by a employee up to the date of termination must be include as rateable remuneration.

***Have you accidentally included these amounts as part of previous years’ remunerations?***

Payroll Tax

The tax free component of bonafide redundancy payments are exempt from Payroll Tax. Amounts over this threshold, along with payments in lieu of notice and annual/long-service leave paid on termination are all taxable.

Given the complexity of the various legislation and its ability to be interpreted, remember your HTA Business Advisor is on the other end of the line to assist.