Category Archives for "Accountant’s Minute"


Benchmarking is a comparison of a business’ operating Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and financial ratios with best practice and average performance data relating to similar businesses.

The utilisation of benchmarking tool is an integral part of an accountant supplying a business advisory service to his/her business clients. It’s very difficult for small businesses to find authentic data against which to compare their performance to that of their peers, as this information is generally not known or released.

Now is not the time to be faint-hearted!

There are many challenges facing accountants and, indeed, the whole business community. These could be summarised as:

  • The economy – interest rates are not at the current level to assist borrowers. They’re indicative of an economy that has significant problems.
  • There are depressed business situations in some areas around Australia. This leads to businesses closing or making significant staff retrenchments.
  • “Digital disruption” keeps on affecting businesses in all sorts of ways.
  • Standard Business Reporting (SBR) – the Australian Taxation Office intends to implement this strategy from 1 July this year, which the ATO believes, will have a significant “red tape reduction” effect on accountants, even though the government will maintain that it’s good for business.

Stock shrinkage is a big cost!

Millions of dollars are lost every year through stock shrinkage in retail and many other types of businesses. Shrinkage is a very expensive loss. Shrinkage occurs whenever the business fails to sell an item at its full price. The difference between the selling price of a product and the actual selling price is shrinkage.

Accountants can effectively recover their fees by proactively advising clients on shrinkage reduction strategies.

Priority Industries

12 months ago, we had hardly heard the term “priority industries”. However, the term is very applicable to the Australian government’s newest grant, ‘Industry Skills Fund’.

The government has once again elected to show preference to priority industries. These are the industries that the government believes enjoy a competitive advantage and are likely to exploit favourable market conditions or have a significant impact on the Australian economy.

Challenges For 2015

There are a number of key challenges facing the accountancy industry in Australia that are going to have significant effects on operations in 2015. Now is the time for accountants to finalise strategies to overcome these challenges.

Which include:

  • Digital Disruption
  • The Australian Taxation Office’s “Red Tape Reduction”;
  • Australian Economy;
  • Turbulence in Politics – The Effects on Business Relationships.

Business Plans Are Important For Businesses

It’s nearly the start of a new calendar year and it’s an appropriate time for accountants to be encouraging small/medium enterprise clients to prepare or update their business plans for the forthcoming calendar year.

Business plans are like ‘maps for tourists’. If you don’t know where you’re going to go, how will you know when you get there?

All members of the team should be involved in the business plan process. It’s important that stakeholders have the courage to express their true feelings and opinions on various items and that the team then works together, on an overall basis, to explore the goals of the stakeholders and try to develop an overall plan.

The planning process requires real honesty. Does the review of the goals of the various stakeholders align?

Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program Fully Operational

Last week, the Australian government’s Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program released the details of the final grant, Accelerating Commercialisation.

Accelerating Commercialisation assists entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors, start-ups, commercialisation offices (associated with universities and research centres) and small/medium enterprises address the challenges associated with commercialising novel intellectual property, in the form of new product, process or service.

Even the ATO is advising accountants to become business advisors

Speaking at the Australian Technology Showcase for Accountants (ATSA) Conference, held in Melbourne in October, the Second Commissioner of the ATO, Geoff Leeper, outlined the ATO’s policy relative to Standard Business Reporting Strategy (SBR Strategy). Mr Leeper indicated that the ATO had advised the Productivity Commission that the ‘Red Tape Saving’ from the introduction of the SBR Strategy would be $500million a year. Mr Leeper also said that “a lot of this would come from professional fees. This is the ‘digital disruption’ for accountants.”

Mr Leeper then added, “This is all going to change the role of accountants beyond compliance. Accountants have to become business advisor, rather than tax compliance experts for SMEs.”

ATO’s ‘Red Tape Reduction Strategy’ will reduce accountants’ income

According to Geoff Leeper, Second Commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the ATO’s ‘Red Tape Reduction Strategy’ will reduce accountants’ income. Mr Leeper was speaking at last week’s Smithink 2020 ATSA Conference in Melbourne.

“The ATO’s Red Tape Reduction Strategy will reduce the cost for SMEs, from the Small Business Reporting (SBR) strategy, by $500million a year. A lot of that will come from professional fees. This is the ‘digital disruption’ for accountants.”, Mr Leeper said.

PPSR: Insolvency events

Understanding incidents relating to insolvency practitioners, the Personal Property Securities Act (PPSA) and the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) will assist accountants in their services to businesses.

There’s been a steady flow of incidents, which relates to ‘insolvency events’, the PPSA and the PPSR, including: