BeLLCORP BLOG

Proud to be multi-award winners

Newcastle-based boutique accounting firm BeLLCORP Accountants added to its list of accolades at the end of 2019, picking up a total of three awards at two award ceremonies hosted in Sydney. Manager, Bernadette Smyth won two awards at the CPA Australia Annual President’s Awards. Bernadette was the winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Finance and Business for 2019, an accolade presented to a Certified Practicing Accountant who has “significantly contributed over the course of their career to the accounting profession.” The Outstanding Contribution to Finance and Business award was designed to recognise a leader who has demonstrated a significant and unique impact to the New South Wales business community. She also received a NSW President’s Award for Excellence in recognition of her service and leadership as the Chair of the CPA Newcastle & Hunter Branch for the years 2018 and 2019. Bernadette said she was humbled to have received two awards; “It is an honour to receive two awards in the one night, particularly as a regional representative. I take great pride in these awards because they indicate the greatness of the Newcastle business community – we’re really making our mark in NSW and nationally.” Across the Sydney CBD, Director Jeff Bell took out the Accountants Daily 30 Under 30 Award for Accountant – Boutique Firm. This national award recognised accountants who most effectively drove revenue growth and shaped their firm’s success in the financial year 2018-19. From 500 entrants nationally, Jeff was shortlisted as one of 125 finalists last month. Taking out the Accountant – Boutique Firm award Jeff reflected on his journey to date; “It has been an incredible year for BeLLCORP and I’m extremely proud of our collective achievements. I am greatly honoured to receive this award as a young business leader and I hope to see more regional winners in national and state awards in the future.” The awards cement BeLLCORP’s position as a leader in the business community and sets the tone for the year ahead. The business has plans to expand their service offering into unique start-up services, as well as broadening their virtual CFO offering.
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What’s a BAS and what do I do with it?

If you are a business registered for GST, you need to lodge a business activity statement (BAS) regularly. The BAS will help you report and pay your: goods and services tax (GST) pay as you go (PAYG) instalments PAYG withholding tax other taxes including wine equalisation tax (WET) Many of our clients report and pay GST quarterly. If your GST turnover is greater than $20 million you will be required to report and pay GST monthly. If your GST turnover is less than $10 million you will use the Simpler BAS reporting method in most cases. What does this mean? This means you will report amounts against the following items: G1 Total sales 1A GST on sales 1B GST on purchases BAS due dates for quarterly reporting are typically 28 days after the quarter end (with the exception of the December quarter where an extension is given). If you have a registered tax agent, you have a longer time frame to report each quarter. Just another of the many benefits of having a registered tax agent like BeLLCORP Accountants.
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How does BeLLCORP add value to my business? Part 1.

The team at BeLLCORP Accountants pride themselves on their value-add approach. We aren’t simply a team of accountants, we are your trusted advisor, here to help you on the path to brilliance be it in business or personally. How do we add value? We don’t narrow our focus on accounting and tax only. Last week we completed the essential workplace update hosted through the NSW Business Chamber. Some of the key takeaways for our clients include: The role of employment contracts in work places where Awards don’t apply, such as lawyers and accountants. Important items to be included in an employment contract, often overlooked, are notice of termination provisions and compliant workplace surveillance clauses. Know the relevant Award that covers your employees and check it regularly. Awards are constantly reviewed and updated. Company policies should be lawful and reasonable in their terms, as well as practicable and meaningful. The key policies a business should have include Code of Conduct, Information Technology Policy, Discrimination, Harassment & Bullying Policy, Social Media Policy, Drugs & Alcohol Policy. This list is not exhaustive. A Fair Work Information Statement must be given to new employees before commencement or ASAP after they start. Pay slips must contain a certain level of detail and be given to employees within one working day. If you are a member of a local business chamber you can access similar workplace updates online. We encourage you to check it out!
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What Is Benchmarking?

The definition provided by E Demming of benchmarking is “the practice of being humble enough to admit that someone else is better at something…and wise enough to try and learn how to match and even surpass them at it.” In essence, benchmarking is a standard of performance (best practice) against which others aim for. It is an item of comparison and the starting point for improvement by learning from others and then applying that learning to your own situation. The steps of benchmarking look like this: In other words, you are constantly reviewing the process and making refinements in order to keep improving. Important questions to ask are: PROFIT: How can I improve profitability? PRODUCTIVITY: Are my people productive and efficient? CASH FLOW: What areas of cash flow can I work on to improve the cash cycle? FINANCIAL STRENGTH: Can my business withstand a downturn? Remember, the key to benchmarking is to compare like against like. Identify a leader in your field, in the same region and operating the same size of business to compare against.
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Substantiation – It’s all about record keeping

In a world of electronic communication and the paperless society, it’s important to remember that in order to meet your tax obligations, you must hold certain records. Thanks to digitalisation, you no longer need to keep a shoe box full of receipts – rather, you can use an app to track tax receipts. Thanks to MyGov, you likely won’t have received a paper PAYG Payment Summary (now called an Income Statement) either. It’s really important to keep all your tax records, both electronic and paper, to support the contents of your tax return. The guidance from the ATO is that you must keep your tax records for 5 years from when you lodge your tax return, just in case the ATO audit you. The ATO advises that the records you need to keep include: payment summaries, including your employer and the Department of Human Services statements from your bank and other financial institution showing the interest you’ve earned dividend statements summaries from managed investment funds receipts or invoices for equipment or asset purchases and sales receipts or invoices for expense claims and repairs contracts tenant and rental records. If your total claim for work-related expenses is more than $300, you must have written evidence to prove your claims. If you acquire a capital asset (property, shares) you are advised to collate records from the outset because if you sell the asset in the future, capital gains may apply. As your accountant, we may need you to share your records with us from time to time. We’ll let you know when and what is required in advance.
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The Importance of Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a set of critical measures that an organisation uses to gauge its progress towards an intended result. What’s so important about the concept of KPIs? As management “guru” Peter F. Drucker famously said, “what gets measured, gets done.” KPIs generally sit within a broader performance measurement system which enables managers to define and track performance of strategic objectives and make more informed decisions. In order to maximise the impact of a performance measurement system, consider the following: Engage key stakeholders in the determination of KPIs eg employees Clearly define the KPIs and set achievable milestone dates to meet them Set an appropriate accountability and rewards system which is then communicated across the business Find balance between lagging (historical) and leading (future focus) indicators Regularly report on the progress against KPIs Continually review and adjust where required To expand on the concept of lagging and leading KPIs, here are some examples of each: Lagging: gross margin, EBITDA, consumer confidence Leading: customer satisfaction, % growth in new markets, number of website views As your trusted advisor, we can help you implement a KPI framework and work with you to help ensure success in meeting your business goals.
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Q: Why can’t I access your pricing structure from your website?

A: BeLLCORP Accountants are not a “chain store accountant,” in fact, we’re nothing like those shop-front companies. We’re here for the individual client and their particular needs. We’re not here to churn through tax returns at lightning speed because we’d never gain the valuable insights into who you are and what your goals are, both personally and professionally. All new client inquiries are handled on the phone initially and then in person, preferably. We don’t hide behind computers at BeLLCORP – we encourage you to come in, meet with us and start a long-term relationship with us as your trusted advisor. To us, that’s what brilliant client relationship management is all about – embracing the human in all of us.
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Q: I have work-related deductions in my personal tax return, what should I watch out for?

A: The ATO suggests there are 3 Golden Rules of work-related deductions: 1) You must have spent the money yourself and not been reimbursed 2) The expense must be directly related to earning income 3) You must have a record to prove it. The ATO is cracking down on substantiation – if you don’t have a physical document to support the claim, you must be able to demonstrate how you calculated the deduction and how it relates to your work. The message is simple – claim what you are entitled to claim, nothing more.
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Q: Have I priced my product “right”?

A: This is always the trickiest of conundrums! Recently we had a client with a business in the hospitality sector who was concerned about their pricing of their catered platters. The key recommendation we provided is never skimp on the “winning products” that is, the important stuff that people value most. Look to make savings where you can source the less important products, for less. Also look for competitive wholesale pricing – it pays to shop around. Furthermore, there’s no harm in trialling a 5% price increase and testing the reaction of the market.  If you don’t hear any complaints, or notice any drop in inquiries or sales, then you know you are on the right path. There’s much value to be leveraged in your customer service and brand presence too. Competition isn’t solely about price. Consider sourcing client testimonials in order to instill confidence in your product, regardless of the price.  The customers you want to attract are the ones who are happy to pay for quality, so make sure they know you have a quality product available to them.  Aim to build a presence around your quality of product and outstanding customer service, and no one will even care if you are $20-$30 dearer than a competitor. 
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The Great Productivity Challenge

Productivity gains in knowledge and service work have long been harder to achieve than productivity gains for the production of goods. The term work smarter, not harder is particularly relevant in addressing productivity in knowledge and service work. But how do we work smarter? Back in 1881 Frederick W. Taylor kicked off a productivity revolution, the underlying principles of which, are still relevant today. They are as follows: – Define the task – What is the task? What are we trying to accomplish? Must we do it at all? There is great productive value in eliminating that which does not need to be done at all. – Concentrate on the task – An important question to ask when trying to focus the allocation of effort is “what value is this job supposed to add?” – Define performance in qualitative and/or quantitative terms. – Engage the people who do the work and ask how they think productivity could be improved. This creates a sense of ownership in achieving productivity outcomes. – Commit to continuous learning and improvement by training staff and then encouraging good performers to teach other staff. By following these principles, productivity gains are accessible to all businesses.
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