Originally founded in 1986, Aquamate manufactures, supplies and installs large-volume, polymer-lined steel tanks across Australia and around the world. The company has established itself as a leader in the industry and has ambitious plans for further growth.
Build a great business
With the third round of hearings by the financial services Royal Commission commencing this week, we’re learning about some of the questionable lending and other practices that some of our major financial institutions have engaged in.
It’s clear that the management teams within these institutions are largely responsible for what has transpired. However, one commentator has also suggested the internal audit profession needs to ‘lift its game’ by being more independent and courageous in raising red flags.
In one of the hearings, we learned that the auditors identified issues and highlighted these with management – but was this enough?
Russell Schmidt began working in the family quarry and earthmoving business when he was 15 – a point where the business included his parents and one other employee. 34 years later, the business employs more than 30 people and produces high-quality road construction material that’s highly sought-after in the mid-north of South Australia.
Ben Willington from Accru Harris Orchard has been shortlisted as a finalist to win Auditor of the Year and Superannuation Auditor of the Year at the 2018 Australian Accounting Awards, hosted by Accountants Daily.
Now in its fifth year, the Australian Accounting Awards, in partnership with Thomson Reuters, recognises the exceptional contribution of individuals and accounting firms across 31 categories. Winners from the individual categories will automatically be shortlisted for the coveted Accountants Daily Excellence Award.
Managing Director, Jim Whiting, was one of seven founders of BADGE in 1983, and after the others left in 1988 he took over the whole operation with the help of another seven people – this time his brothers.
The change meant totally rethinking the company, redefining the brand and deciding what it was going to do, at a time when interest rates were high. Jim said that planning was vital at that point: “I had to sit and write a big new plan – a kind of business epiphany. With new people and new ideas, I was set to develop a great business.” BADGE has since become a commercial construction company that works across Australia with a turnover of $400m and around 280 staff in Perth, Brisbane, Maryoochydore and Adelaide.
In the May 2016 Budget, the Government announced new measures to receive real-time payroll information (including salaries and wages, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding and super information) directly from employers at the same time they pay their employees. This reporting change is known as Single Touch Payroll.
From 1 July 2018, these reporting requirements will be mandatory for all employers with 20 or more employees, and may become mandatory for ALL employers from 1 July 2019. Therefore, many businesses will need to update their payroll systems to comply with the new law.
Will your business be ready?
Many pinch points can create financial stress – like debts, tight budgets and major life events such as kids, marriage or retirement. It can also add to your stress when you see neighbours with the latest cars, and their children with the latest toys, and wonder why you’re not able to keep up (not always easy to admit those feelings to yourself). Of course, the reality is that there’s no way of knowing how they are affording those things, and many will actually be in worse financial shape than you are.
Small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s) are the backbone of the Australian economy – they constitute over 99% of all Australian businesses.
Many SMEs have plans in place for day to day operation of the business, however very few have any form of Strategic Plan in place – and many can get ‘stuck’ without long-term goals. A recent report ion corporate insolvencies released by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) found that 44% of failed businesses suffered from poor strategic management and planning.
Our last blog talked about our survey that asked clients: ‘What does a great business look like to you?’
We also asked clients a second question: ‘What will help you in making your business great?’ Responses were just as fascinating, and the most popular answer was ‘developing strong systems and processes’.
Our new Secure Client Portal prompted us to note some of the most important precautions that can help everyone to avoid hackers and stay safe online.
One of our own directors experienced the problem on a recent overseas trip. Simply checking his email over a public wifi network – combined with less than perfect oversight by his bank – led to an unauthorised transfer of funds (now refunded by the bank). In this case, the scammers were able to set up an email divert, and emailed the bank who subsequently failed to examine properly a forged signature sent to them by the scammers.
We asked our clients a simple question: What does a great business look like to you? The responses were fascinating – with no answer the same. Nobody mentioned being ‘the biggest’, the ‘most innovative’, or even the ‘most profitable’. In fact these business owners hardly mentioned finances, beyond wanting the security of strong cash flow and no debt.
Getting the best performance from your people and tapping into their talent isn't complicated.
All business owners need a great return on their investment in people. As a leader of those people, you want to motivate them and make them productive. They are the largest expenditure for most businesses, and with the right management they can generate higher profits and create a fun place to work!
As we return to the office for the New Year, it’s a great time to plan financial strategies and budgets for your business. As a business owner, it can be very useful to also think about succession planning. This is particularly important for farmers, a group of business owners who can often be overlooked.
As a graduate accountant, or even as someone who doesn’t come from an accounting background, entering the business world and understanding its complexities can be overwhelming. Where possible, it is important to obtain as much relevant information as possible to further your career or improve your business. There are three key elements to focus on when building your career, these are; experience, growth and presentation.
Australia’s tax system has operated on a self-assessment basis since the mid 1980s under which the ATO at first instance accepts and processes tax returns on the basis of disclosures made by taxpayers. The nature of self-assessment carries an inherent risk of non-compliance that must be managed by the ATO.
Most people have heard of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) and are familiar with their role in retirement planning, as well as their potential tax advantages. A continually growing market, the SMSF industry now includes over 550,000 funds in Australia and is valued at approximately $2 trillion.
When I tell people that I’m an auditor, people often respond with a joke about me using a green pen. This is because in the past, auditors in banks used green pens so everyone knew they had ticked/marked a document.
Today, the auditing world is completely different. The old part-time auditor (usually a tax professional who dabbled in audit) has been replaced by bright, young, career-oriented people with unique skills.
Watch my video on how to transform a good business into a great business by adopting Jim Collins' "hedgehog" concept - a process that encourages business owners to focus on the area where they are strong and stop doing things they are not good at.