Best Services! Best Relationships!

QuickBooks, hosted by Reckon Online

QuickBooks, hosted by Reckon Online is an online version of Quicken’s QuickBooks Enterprise desktop accounting software and is hosted from two data centres operated by the licensee for Quicken in Australia. It is not related to the five cloud versions of Quicken available in the US.

QuickBooks, hosted by Reckon Online is the only online version of QuickBooks available in Australia. Reckon Online is an arm of Reckon Limited, a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange which owns the Australian licensee of Quicken software, Quicken Australia.

Because QuickBooks, hosted by Reckon Online is the hosted QuickBooks Enterprise desktop version, users can buy QuickBooks Enterprise for their laptop and download the company file for working offline.

Reckon Online has integrated QuickBooks with tools that let it access information on remote hard drives and print reports to local or remotely networked printers. Payslips, invoices and remittance advices can be emailed directly from a linked email address.

Other Australia-only features include real-time BAS lodgement through Reckon GovConnect, which pre-fills your lodgement form with data direct form the Australian Taxation Office. Users receive real-time feedback and lodgement confirmation. QuickBooks “hosted” also has a tool to calculate payments for paid parental leave, in compliance with the Federal Government scheme.

Business performance can be monitored by using a customisable company snapshot tool. Customisable fields and graphs allow you to design a ‘snapshot’ that presents the most significant information that impacts business decisions, down to transaction, customer or supplier details.

Activity-based settings control which areas of the software a user has access to based on their role. The data file is backed up daily, and updates occur automatically to keep the software in line with changes to legislation.
Another security feature is an audit trail to help a business’ accountant identify trouble spots and mis-postings within the accounts.

QuickBooks “hosted” has detailed inventory management that can track expenses, inventory and component levels for assembled products. Payroll management includes the ability to create and schedule payments, email pay slips to employees, and split pay into multiple bank accounts.

QuickBooks “hosted” can work with multiple currencies and has multi-company reporting which combines reports from subsidiaries, divisions or branches.

Reckon Online charges $295 a year for every PC user. Mac users pay $415 a year, a 40 percent premium, which covers the cost of special software (a virtualisation tool by Citrix) that Reckon requires to display the hosted QuickBooks on a Mac computer or mobile device.

Source: http://www.boxfreeit.com.au/component/option,com_doc/pid,32/view,product/

Advertisements

Why set up a trust?

In the past trusts tended to be the investment vehicle of the rich, however in recent times many Australians from all walks of life have begun using trusts to hold their assets. So why do people invest using a trust?

Tax benefits: You be able to reduce your tax bill by distributing income to family members with lower taxable income. We recommend that you seek financial advice from your accountant to find out what benefits you may receive.

Asset protection: Trusts allow you to control & receive income from assets without having them in your name. This may protect these assets in the event that you are sued or go through a divorce. Specialist asset protection lawyers can assist you to structure your assets correctly to prevent losses.

Estate planning: Some trusts may allow you to effectively pass assets on to future generations without paying excessive taxes or going through estate disputes.

How do you set up a trust?

You can set up almost any standard trust (Discretionary, Family, Unit) online using Cleardocs, Shelfco, Law Central or Corporate Express. You may be able to set up a Hybrid trust, SMSF trust online however many people prefer to use an accountant.

Once the trust deed has been created and signed the settlor places a nominal sum (usually $10) in the trust. The deed can be sent to the state government for stamping and then the trust is fully operational.

We strongly recommend that you see an accountant and seek financial advice before setting up a trust. Online trusts are a cost effective way to set up a trust, however they will end up costing you more in the long run if you don’t set up the trust in the right way.

How can a trust own assets for someone else?

Assets are held “in trust” for beneficiaries who receive income and other benefits from these assets without actually owning them. The trustee is the one who manages the trust for the beneficiaries.

For example if you buy a property in a trust then the title deeds may show “ABC Pty Ltd As Trustee For The Smith Family Trust”. In some states such as QLD only the name of the trustee is shown on title e.g. “ABC Pty Ltd”.
Understanding Trust Jargon

Here is a list of trust related terms & jargon that you might come across:

Appointer: The appointer has the power to fire the trustee and appoint a new trustee. The appointer is specified in the trust deed.

As Trustee For (ATF): This is a legal term meaning that the asset is owned by one entity as trustee for another or that the entity is acting as trustee.

Beneficiary: The person(s) that receive benefits from the assets held in trust. Generally this is in the form of trust distributions.

Company constitution: If the trustee is a company then there is a company constitution guiding how the company is to be run and what rules it must follow.

Corporate trustee: A trustee that is a company.

Director of trustee: The director of the trustee company.

Held in trust: Assets owned by the trust on behalf of the beneficiaries.

In Its Own Capacity (IIOC): A legal term meaning that a trustee is acting on behalf of itself. For example a trustee may apply for a loan in the following name “ABC Pty Ltd IIOC & ATF The Smith Family Trust”.

Individual trustee: A trustee that is a natural person, i.e. not a company.

Settlor: The person who settles (opens) the trust by depositing the first money in it.

Stamp duty: A fee paid to your state government when opening a trust.

Trust deed: The legal document governing the operation of a trust. The trust deed names the trustee, beneficiaries, settlor and appointer and contains the rules that they must follow when dealing with the trust.

Trust distributions: Income or assets distributed from the trust to the beneficiaries.

Trust registration: The act of stamping and registering the trust with the state government.

Trust: A legal instrument used by one party (the trustee) to hold assets on behalf of another (the beneficiaries).

Trustee: The person or company that runs the trust and manages the assets on behalf of the beneficiaries.

Unit holder: The owner of units in a unit trust.

Unit: A share of a unit trust which denotes entitlement to a share of the assets within that trust.
Trustee duties & powers

The powers that the trustee has are listed in the trust deed, and so may vary from trust to trust. Generally the trustee has few limits on its powers as long as it is following its duty by acting in the interests of the beneficiaries.

Lenders will always check your trust deed to make sure that the trustee has the power to apply for loans for the trust.

As a general rule trusts are required to lodge a tax return just like a company or a person. Trusts are charged the highest possible level of tax which is why income is usually distributed to the beneficiaries at the end of each financial year.

Taxation rules for trusts are complex and vary between different trust types. Contact your accountant for specific financial advice for your trust.

Source: http://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/borrowing-with-a-trust/trust-information/

Accounting & Bookkeeping Group Australia

07 3102 5860, 0403595274

Whether you are a physical or digital business, accounting is necessary; it is in analogy similar to the heart of an organism. From payroll taxes to sales tax and income tax; it is essential the documentation is in order. And such documentation will allow you to gauge your organization’s standing at all times and assist in reporting and paying the appropriate amounts of various taxes. Accounting allows for the receiving of revenue, paying of debts and the balancing of books. When done right, it will accurately predict your businesses’ financial position and be able to assist on future profit projections for your company.

Knowing your accounting methods is simply being able to distinguish between the two kinds that are frequently utilized. And what are these two methods? Well, the two standard methods of accounting are the accrual and cash method. How do they differ? Simple, the accrual method of accounting requires you to record all income as soon as a sale is made; regardless of whether or not payment was received. Likewise, it requires you to every expense when incurred regardless of when the expenses are actually paid. The IRS promotes the accrual method because it more accurately matches income with expenses..

The second type of accounting method is the cash method. Unlike the accrual method, with the cash method, transactions are only recorded when money is paid or received and expenses are recorded when actually paid. The cash method is not recommended in business settings as it may misrepresent the finances of a small business. As an example, a company that was paid by all its customers, and is yet to pay its debts, will be construed as having more than it does (when in reality it is not the case). By the same token, if a company paid its debts, and is yet to receive payment from its customers; the books would show negative.

While the accrual method may be more accurate, the cash method is much easier for the lay person to understand and accomplish. For this reason, the Internal Revenue Service allows most small businesses to use the cash method of accounting. By knowing your accounting methods, you know exactly what to look for in an accountant. You are able to come together and make financial decisions that affect your business as a whole, e.g., whether or not to use an accounting program like Quickbooks or Peachtree. Although the issue of manual versus electronic accounting still presents itself every now and then, electronic record keeping beats manual record keeping in efficiency and speed. In general, know and comprehend the methods you use in accounting.

As we all know, doing too many things at once reduces the effectiveness of such an outcome, which is why you need a highly skilled CPA with a track record of helping business owners improve their businesses. Certified Public Accountants and Certified Quickbooks Pro Advisors are the preferred choices to provide first-rate support on your accounting needs. These professionals will take care of your accounting needs, while you take care of business needs.

Artical Source: http://www.desertrosetax.com/blog/Know+Your+Accounting+Methods

The small business owner often wears many hats including that of company bookkeeper. But, running a business is never easy especially for the small business person whose time would be better spent out getting more business and not trying to keep the company books up to date.

The steps involved with basic bookkeeping can be overwhelming and errors costly.

A few of the more common errors that must be avoided:

Trying to do it all yourself and save money. At first it seems easy but as your business grows the bookkeeping tasks take up more and more of your time, leading to the second error.

Forgetting to update the books on a regular basis so that income and/or expenses may be under-stated and other information inaccurate.

Not reconciling your bank statement with your books.

A lack of proper organization of financial information for easy reference.

Co-mingling business and personal transactions in the same bank account. It is good practice to have separate business and personal bank accounts.

Those and other errors can be avoided by hiring a bookkeeper and/or an accountant on a full or part-time basis depending on the requirements of your particular business. What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?

Basically a bookkeeper is someone who records financial transactions, balances the books, and understands financial statements such as the balance sheet and profit and loss statement well enough to answer most questions a boss or the dreaded IRS auditor may have. An accountant is the person who takes the balanced books from the bookkeeper and analysis the numbers in order to help the business owner improve profitability

Unlike accounting, bookkeeping does not require a college and ongoing educational’ requirements. For that reason, it generally costs less to hire a bookkeeper than it does to hire an accountant. And, for most businesses, especially small businesses, it makes the most sense to use a bookkeeper on a regular basis and an accountant as needed.

Should you hire an in-house bookkeeper or use an outside, independent bookkeeper? That depends on what works best for your business. If you have a great many daily financial transactions to record an in-house bookkeeper, either full or part-time might be your best solution. The disadvantage is that you are responsible for all payroll and tax requirements required for employees where you conduct business. So, especially if your needs are more limited an independent bookkeeper might work best for your company.

Artical Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-Hire-a-Bookkeeper?&id=6333388

Personal Tax and the Flood Levy

As expected, the Government did not make any changes to tax rates, despite calls for a reduction in personal tax rates. The Government has declined to change to the three rates of 15%, 30% and 40%, which it has previously supported. Instead, the budget has kept tax rates the same for this and subsequent years, with one exception. For the 2011-12 financial year individual taxpayers – both resident and non-resident – who have a taxable income over $50,000 will have to pay the flood levy, varying from 0.5% to 1% depending on the income threshold. Exemptions may apply to those personally affected by the disasters.

Low Income Tax Offset Charges

From 1 July 2011, the proportion of the low income tax offset (LITO) that is delivered through week-to-week pay packets will be increased by the Government from 50% to 70%. What this means is that instead of getting a refund after putting in a tax return at the end of the year, lower income earners will be taxed less during the year. The remaining 30% of the tax offset will be paid as a lump sum upon income tax return assessment. The Government has not implemented the Henry Review recommendation which was to remove the offset and incorporate it into personal income tax rates.

Families – Cuts and Increases

Minors will no longer be entitled to low income tax offsets on unearned income. The reasoning behind this, says the Government, is to discourage income splitting between adults and children. In other words, taxpayers will not be able to reduce their tax by allocating some of their income to their children. With respect to the Medicare levy, from the 2010-11 income year the low-income thresholds will be increased for singles to $18,839 and for members of a family up to $31,789. The Government has also announced that it will phase out the tax offset for dependent spouses below 40 years of age from this July, with the stated aim of encouraging more Australians into paid employment. In other family news, the Family Tax Benefit for 16-19 year olds will be increased with a new maximum rate of $214.06 per fortnight (up from $52.64) to a total of around $4200 per year. For 18-19 year olds in school this rate will be $3,741. Maximum age of eligibility for the FTB Part A will be lowered to 21 years of age. Families will also be able to advance a maximum of 7.5% of their FTB payment from July.

HECS

The Government has said that it will reduce the discounts students receive on paying particular up-front and voluntary payments towards their student contribution and/or HECS debt from 1 July 2012. Originally, students who elected to pay up-front received a 20% discount on their contribution. However, the budget has reduced this discount to 10%. Voluntary payments of $500 or more to the tax office to repay a HECS debt will now only receive a 5% bonus instead of the previous 10%.
Superannuation Excess Contribution and the Over 50s
The Government has announced that individuals aged 50 and over with total superannuation balances below $500,000, will be able to contribute an extra $25,000 above the general concessional cap. This means that those eligible over 50 years of age will be able to make up to $50,000 in total concessional contributions per annum from July next year. Unfortunately, the Government did not heed calls for contribution caps to be restored to their previous levels, so while some older Australians will benefit from this measure, many others with low superannuation levels (for example, mothers who have taken time away from the workplace to raise children) may end up with insufficient retirement savings.

Small Business

Changes to FBT

The statutory formula 4 percentage rate scale method for valuing car fringe benefits is to be replaced with a single statutory rate of 20% regardless of kilometres travelled. The flat 20% rate will benefit those who drive less than 15,000 kilometres. Those who use their vehicles for a significant amount of work-related travel or travel more than 25,000 kilometres might find the alternative operating cost method (or “log book”) method more beneficial. The single 20% rate will simplify the statutory method of valuation and remove the incentive to drive more kilometres to achieve lower a FBT amount. This change can have some flow-on effects as cars are included in the reportable fringe benefits amount that is shown on an employee’s payment summary which could affect eligibility for certain tax concessions.

Upfront Tax Deductions and Write-Offs

Small businesses will be eligible for an instant tax write-off of the first $5,000 of any motor vehicle purchased from 2012-2013. This will effectively replace the Entrepreneurs Tax Offset (ETO) which will be abolished with effect from the 2012-2013 income year. This was another of the Henry Review recommendations, as the ETO proved to be a disincentive to businesses due to high compliance costs and poor targeting. This reform and other tax reforms for small business will be available to small businesses, sole traders and businesses operating through trusts, partnerships and companies. The Government has also announced other tax reforms including an immediate write-off of all assets valued at under $5,000 (up from the current $1,000) and a write-off of all other assets (except buildings) in a single depreciation pool at a rate of 30%.

Reduction in Company Tax Rates

A reduction in the company tax rate to 29% for small businesses will be included as one of the Government’s tax reforms to be introduced in 2012-13. These reforms were previously announced as part of the Government’s response to the Henry Tax Review, however there has been no legislation introduced to implement them so far. Details have yet to be determined as to which small businesses will qualify.

Reduced PAYG uplift

Tax instalments paid under PAYG will be reduced using the GDP adjustment method for one year. Instalments in 2011-12 will be set at 4% above a small business’ taxable income for the previous year, half the statutory rate that would have previously applied. Taxpayers may still vary their quarterly tax instalments if they believe their income is going to be lower or higher than the amount determined by this method, which bases calculations on the previous year’s taxable income, uplifted by a GDP adjustment factor. From 2012-2013, normal statutory rates will once again apply.

Independent Contractors

The Government will require certain businesses to report annually on payments made to contractors in the building and construction industry. This is information that businesses should already be collecting under existing tax arrangements. The measure also includes an increase in funding to the ATO of $46.4m to allow undertaking of data matching and audits, as well as the reviewing of contractors’ tax liabilities. Funding will also go towards assistance and education for the industry. The Government plans to consult with the public on options to introduce similar reporting regimes for payments to contractors in the commercial cleaning industry. There has been general speculation that these measures could be extended to other industries.

Many new small business owners take on the role of accountant during their startup efforts. As there are already numerous demands on the owner’s time, this may or may not be a smart move.

An accountant can be an important member of your business team. Not all accountants are created equally, however.

A capable accountant focuses on the relationship. Find an accountant who is interested in your success and in building long-term clients, and he or she will be even more advantageous to your team. Your accountant should be interested in both your personal and professional financial success. Unfortunately, some accountants aren’t interested in this kind of relationship, and their clients are simply numbers in their practice.

Moreover, some accountants have little or no hands-on business experience and, therefore, lack a broad knowledge base. They may be excellent at crunching numbers but very weak in practical application. Even high-priced firms can make the mistake of choosing an accountant with little input toward the success of the business. For example, they may take profit and loss numbers and produce tax returns with no questions asked. There could be glaring mistakes, but someone who doesn’t care about the well-being of your company may plug them in without any thought.

What role do you need your accountant to play in determining the success of your business? Ask yourself the following questions:

* Do you need assistance determining your business structure — sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation?
* Do you need guidance in establishing your accounting systems for quarterly and year-end reports?
* Would you like to use a software program for accounting and year-end reports?
* Are you clear about which taxes you need to pay and when you need to pay them?
* Do you need assistance with payroll?
* Will your business require year-end paperwork completed, such as Annual Tax Return Forms?
* Do you understand tax laws well enough to represent yourself if you are audited?
* Do you know how to depreciate your startup costs?
* Do you know how to roll personal property into business property for taxation purposes?
* Will you use your personal home or automobile for business purposes?
* Do you know what expenses are tax deductible?
* Do you know how to keep personal and business expenses separate for tax purposes?
* Will you require assistance in determining how best to equip your new business, whether it be purchasing or leasing?
* Do you truly understand financial statements?
* How will you handle retirement for both you and your employees?
* What health insurance is best for you and your employees?

It’s vital to have not only an accountant on your team but the right accountant. If you are a small business owner who wants to do it on his own, without the involvement of a tax or financial specialist, you may wonder how difficult it is to stay abreast of tax law changes. Moreover, what’s the real cost to the small business owner to do this work on his own?

The longer you’re in business, the easier this gets. However, when a business owner is just beginning, many of the accounting details seem like a foreign language. If you would eventually like to perform accounting functions on your own, find an accountant who’ll teach as he or she smoothes out the financial details.

The better informed client has a much higher success rate. Tax laws do change, but the basic principles of keeping business records remain the same.

If effective recordkeeping is put in place from the beginning, tax law changes are easier to accommodate. Many small business publications, such as the Kiplinger Report, cover tax law changes that pertain to the small business person.

Carol Parenzan Smalley is an educator, innovator, and entrepreneur. She is the creator of and instructor for Creating a Successful Business Plan an online course offered by colleges and universities around the world.

Artical Source: http://dnbsmallbusiness.com.au/Cash_Flow/Outsourcing_small_business_accounts/indexdl_7448.aspx

Like many small business owners, you engage a Chartered Accountant and probably view your accounting fee as “normal”. It’s important for you to consider what you’re getting for your money. Before shopping around to reduce your accounting fees, compare the value that you’re receiving from your accountant.

Consider the following two examples:

Example 1: Your accountant prepares monthly management accounts for you, as well as end of year tax returns, etc and charges you $3,500 throughout the year. During that time, they give you regular business advice and advice on how to legally reduce tax (via an on-line newsletter like we do). You gladly adopt a few of the tips and you see a dramatic improvement in your business. And now you work less and fish more!

Scenario 2: The only time you talk with your accountant is at tax time and your accounting fee is $1,750. You receive no monthly management accounts to identify any early warning signs and you receive no advice at all.

Would you choose accountant 1 or accountant 2? Which one will provide you with more value?

Business owners often seek my advice on how they can receive a value added service from their accountant. Here are a few of my tips:

* Ask them to show you a way to organise your accounting records and if they recommend suitable accounting software.

* The majority of accountants charge an hourly rate (rather than fixed fees) so if they need to call you to get a missing bank statement or payroll return, you’ll be charged more. Keep your bank records, deposit books, cheque stubs and invoices tidy and in some kind of order.

* Don’t over complicate your needs. Often, you’ll only need a set of basic financial statements. Clients regularly instruct us to code hundreds of transactions to dozens of separate account transaction codes. This additional work adds to accounting fees and is often unnecessary for most small businesses.

* Separate your personal and business spending. Open a new account with your bank and pay all business expenses from that account as much as possible. Many people forget cash expenses for the business and then forget to claim for them. Try to remember to keep receipts and write on each one a brief description of what you spent your cash for. Think about adding yourself to your payroll, rather than taking irregular cash drawings.

* It’s ok if you hate accounting – hire someone to do your book-keeping. Recruit a part-timer or see if your accountant has book-keeping staff. Your accountant probably has junior accounting staff who can help you and their fees will be less than senior accounting staff. You should find that they’ll be able to do the job quicker and better than you which will ultimately save you time and money.

* Before making big business decisions or investments, consult with your accountant first. Poorly considered business decisions that affect your business’ financial performance may be very costly to rectify after you have made them.

File your GST & PAYE returns ahead of time or if you are falling behind your accountant should be able to negotiate a repayment plan for you.

* Speak with your accountant every few months or so to establish feedback on your business’ performance. You don’t need me to tell you that your business is far too important to ignore early warning signs and proven business methods.

You may view a “cheaper” accountant as a short term solution but longer terms consequences can often be overlooked. If it’s just number crunching you want, there are plenty of accountants out there to help you. But you should view your accounting fees as an important investment.

If it’s value for money you’re after, I hope you’ll use these tips to ensure your Chartered Accountant gives you more than bean counting.

Extra 5 Tips:

1. Use Accounting Packages

Learn to use your accounting package correctly and understand the effects of processing transactions to the Profit and Loss (P&L) or Balance Sheet. The better you understand these figures and what can impact on them, the easier it will be to spot when you have made an error in your allocation. If you are not confident with this, or you do not have the time to do it properly, then make sure you engage the services of a reputable and qualified bookkeeper.

2. Does It All Add Up?

Reconcile as many of your balance sheet accounts as possible, e.g. your transactional bank account and credit card account. Make sure your balances match your bank statements, ensure your GST accounts match your final BAS for the June quarter, reconcile your wages accounts and make sure they match the PAYG payment summaries you have compiled.

3. Be Prepared

Present your information in an organised and methodical way. Ask your Accountant for a checklist of what they require and have these items prepared for them. Ensure things are totalled and clearly labelled. The more time an Accountant has to spend adding things up, or searching for things and then waiting on you to provide them, the more it ends up costing you.

4. Shop Around

Find an Accountant that suits your budget and requirements. Many small businesses don’t need a top end Accounting firm with expensive offices in the city — and often these large Accounting firms are not in touch with all of the issues relevant to small businesses. Your local Accountant can probably provide you with more cost effective services, without compromising on quality. Also, some Accountants are moving towards packaged fees. Ask your Accountant if they are willing to lock in an annual price that you can pay in monthly installments. Your Accountant may also provide free email or telephone advice – this may be something of great value to you. Lastly, consider working with your Accountant’s staff rather than the owner directly – they will often be cheaper but just as knowledgeable on small business issues.

5. Maximise Meetings

Before meeting with your Accountant, take some time to prepare. Think about any business issues and questions you might have – and write them down! Talk to your Accountant about any challenges you are having or opportunities that you would like to explore. Use the time wisely and minimise personal chit chat.

Most Accountants prefer to spend their time actually helping their clients to grow/impact their businesses, rather than filling out the required tax forms for the year. They enjoy helping you utilise the money you spend with them to your maximum advantage. Ensure you are prepared and organised before you visit your Accountant to facilitate this. Don’t dump a disorganised mess on your Accountant as this makes them a very expensive data processor.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mark_Gwilliam