Tips for the Holiday Season

With Christmas rapidly approaching we know many retailers are preparing (or more likely, in the throes of) their busiest time of the year. However, for many SMEs not in the retail space, the holiday period promises a slowdown that can be hard to manage. Here at Carbon Group we thought we’d tackle these two issues head on for you with a few tips and tricks to help guide you this festive season.

Top three tips to help retailers manage the busy period.

  1. Remember, large sales and high levels of staff typically mean larger than normal GST, PAYG and Superannuation bills due in February. Make sure you plan accordingly and put aside enough money to cover these expenses.
  2. It’s all about supply, demand and being prepared. Make sure you thoroughly track your stock, maintain a high margin and make sure you have high turnover stock readily available. This will keep sales turning over and more importantly, your customers happy.
  3. Manage your people. It is important for retailers to keep a close eye on, and accurately track labour during busy periods. It is very easy to over commit (or under commit) on labour without understanding the implications this can cause.

Top three tips SME’s can employ to manage the holiday slow down and actually enjoy the festivities.

  1. Run a cash flow forecast. It’s especially important to ensure you have enough money in your accounts to pay wages while your business is closing down.
  2. Chase your outstanding payments now. The closer you get to Christmas, the less likely you are to get paid. Remember other businesses will be closing over Christmas too and putting aside money for their own festivities, so it’s best to chase payments early.
  3. Avoid a slow start after the break. Have work lined up for you and your team as soon as you return. Manage your workflow, so it doesn’t take a month to get back into the swing of working.

We think it is important for all business owners to enjoy the festive season and all the happiness it can bring. Worrying about work shouldn’t be high on your list of things to do!

Hopefully these tips will help you manage the holiday season. It is important to note, no matter the size of your business the key things you need to focus on are being prepared, planning accordingly and to keep managing those accounts.

If you think you might need a little help, or would like some more advice, definitely get in touch with our super helpful Accounting team.

Carbon Group’s November Networking Event

Well that’s a wrap folks. Last Tuesday Carbon Group held our final networking event for 2017 and it was a full house of industry leaders. With a focus on ‘Tech & Your Business’ the event featured a line-up of excellent guest presenters including Chris Bates the Founder & MD at Checkside, Bernard Chia the Founding Partner at Alyka and Greg Riebe the Chairman at Perth Angels.

Chris Bates took attendee’s through the 8 Pillars of strategic HR and how leveraging HR technology can increase revenue growth by up to 150%. Chris managed to pack a lot of information into a short ten-minute timeframe including how SMEs can build great people management systems, recruit and train A-grade staff and how to drive a high-performance and engaged workforce. He also gave us a sneak peek at a few cool applications including bambooHR, definitive, Wrike and Trello.

We then jumped straight into the world of kick ass digital marketing with Bernard Chia. We were immersed in next generation programmic ads, artificial intelligence, real time add optimisation and EDM campaigns. Attendee’s came away with some smart tips on how to strategise content, measure the true value of their marketing channels and the right ways to attribute conversions.

The formalities were rounded out by a veritable ‘how to guide’ from Greg Riebe on investing in the tech start-up space. Greg’s pro-tip for assessing investment opportunities came in the form of 6 P’s: Pitch, proposition, proof, protection, people and plan. Perhaps the most important message taken away by attendee’s was the importance of understanding their investment focus and being open to networking with like-minded professionals.

It has been a fantastic year for Carbon Group and we have definitely enjoyed hosting these networking events for Perth’s business community. We feel it is through shared learning and networking with energetic like-minded individuals that we can better ourselves on both a professional and personal level.

Thank you to all of our speakers over the year, to the fabulous folk at Grazie Gifts for their door prize, and everyone who attended the events. It wouldn’t have been possible without you!

Carbon Group Expand Victoria Operations

Carbon Group is taking a huge step forward today announcing a merger with Melbourne based business BAS Attack Bookkeeping. Headed up by our new Carbon Bookkeeping Partner Allison Gardiner, the venture will expand Carbon Groups existing presence in Victoria.

Carbon Group views this new merger as an important step in our national expansion strategy and a way to consolidate our position as a leader in the accounting industry.

Allison, who has more than two decades of experience, this week made the bold decision to merge her business, BAS Attack Bookkeeping with Carbon Group. Knowing she could leverage off our existing infrastructure and that her customers would benefit from our award-winning brand was all the encouragement Allison needed to take on this new venture.

“We’ve identified Victoria as a strategic growth area in which we want to expand. We are excited to have merged with Allison who is like minded in her approach to helping businesses with dynamic systems solutions.” Says Carbon Group Co-founder Jamie Davison.

For her part, new Partner Allison is ‘thrilled with this new opportunity, for both the growth it will undoubtedly facilitate for my business and the considerable benefits it will bring to my clients’.

After three fantastic years of unparalleled success, Carbon Group have decided to take progressive steps in assertively expanding our business operations throughout Australia. In coming months, you will continue to see exciting advancements.

Puzzle Solved: Internal vs. External Bookkeepers

With so many small businesses failing in the first five years, finding the right bookkeeper can be instrumental for long-term success. Many SME’s fall into the trap of thinking they either need an internal OR an outsourced bookkeeper. But here’s an idea… why not have both?

The role of an internal bookkeeper

Typically, the role of a bookkeeper is to help your business with day-to-day accounts, i.e. recording sales and other transactions. Many businesses prefer to hire an internal bookkeeper, as they can be kept accountable and are accessible 24/7. Typical tasks for a bookkeeper would include:

  • Recording and tracking sales, purchases, payment and receipts
  • Collating and organising financial data on a day-to-day basis
  • Liaising with your accountant
  • Maintaining business processes

Hiring an external bookkeeper

The alternative is hiring an external bookkeeper, an option with a range of associated benefits:

  • Lower costs – as there is no annual salary, superannuation, training, annual leave, sick leave, etc
  • Access to additional expertise – external bookkeepers have often worked with a large client base in a range of industries.
  • Outside perspective – an external bookkeeper offers neutral advice on your business
  • Free up your time – hiring an external bookkeeper allows you to focus your time on what you love to do.

The benefits of bookkeeping firm who compliments the work of your internal bookkeeper

It is kind of like having your cake and eating it too. You have a great internal bookkeeper who is an asset to your business AND you benefit from the additional expertise and experience an external bookkeeper provides your business.

Your internal bookkeeper would be accountable for data entry, bank reconciliations, issuing invoices, paying bills, and answering telephone enquiries. Whereas your external bookkeeper can help with high-end business strategy advice and provide cost effective bookkeeping support and assurance.

Here at Carbon Group we liaise with a range of business owners on a daily basis, and understand the advantages of using both an internal and external bookkeeper. To give you an example, what we provide as an external bookkeeper includes anything from:

  • Preparation and lodgement of business activity statements
  • Preparation and lodgement of PAYG payment summaries
  • Review your internal bookkeepers’ work each quarter by a CPA/CA
  • As a registered bookkeeping firm, we’re granted an extra four weeks to lodge and pay your activity statements, removing some deadline pressure and assisting with cashflow
  • We’re Xero experts, and receive discount which we can pass on to you

Sounds good, right? If you think your business would benefit from a team of CPA qualified bookkeepers, then contact Carbon Bookkeeping for a complimentary discussion on how we can help your business grow.

Benefits of Customers Centric Accounts Receivable

As more and more businesses ride the cloud and hop on the automation bandwagon, a compelling question we find ourselves asking: Automation works for us, but how does it work for you, our customers? Our Carbonites are saved from many tedious routine tasks, but are we losing the personal touch you have come to expect?

Automated accounts receivable software, ezyCollect, has helped break the mould with software designed to meet your needs. We thought we’d create a quick list of how you can benefit:

Be the reminder system your customers rely on

Busy customers can lose track of time and forget to pay. Even though your business operates efficiently, your customers may not have the systems in place to stay on top of their accounts payables. You’ve probably had customers reply to your reminders with an apologetic “Sorry, I overlooked your invoice, thanks for the reminder.” Automating a series of reminders is good for you and your customers.

Accept payments online

When your business accepts payments online, especially via credit cards, it gives your customers more options to pay you: they can pay you at a time of day or night that suits them (not just during your business hours) and with a simple click from your invoice or reminder they can settle their debt with you.

Personalised and polite communications

If you’re firing off invoice reminders in haste or anger (which can happen if you’ve let overdue debts slide for too long), chances are you’ll be using language you’ll regret later. ezyCollect’s templates for reminders allow you to pre-write your email and SMS reminder messages, so they are polite, and brand aligned.

Send a thank you email

A “thank you for your payment” email is a really effective way to reinforce your customer’s prompt payment behaviour, but who has the time? ezyCollect’s software allows you to pre-set your thank you message so that as you receive payments, your customers are rewarded with your sincere thanks. It’s a nice touch that sets you up for the next transaction.

In our growing service economy, automation with the personal touch could just be your competitive advantage. If you like the sound of automating your accounts receivables but need a little help – why not get in touch with Carbon Business Systems – they’re our Guru’s and we’re happy to share!

Three Reasons to Evaluate Your Insurance Policy

It’s no surprise that SME’s change rapidly as they grow, whether it’s hiring staff, needing a bigger office, or purchasing new equipment. The thing many Business Owners loose track of during this time of change, is how adjustments to their business may impact their insurance needs.

Just like every small business re-evaluates their strategy for growth to accommodate an ever-fluctuating market-place and consumer buying habits, so too should they continually review their insurance policy.

To help you know what to watch out for, here are three common changes your business will experience that may necessitate a need to change your insurance.

Employing Staff. As a business grows, so does the need to employ people to help you get the job done. It doesn’t matter if you are operating as a sole trader, partnership, company or trust, it is mandatory for any business that employs staff in WA to have a Workers Compensation policy in place to comply with the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

Purchasing Machinery or Equipment. Businesses purchase new equipment and machinery for many reasons and rely upon them to keep the business running. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that Business Owners don’t alert their Insurance Broker about the purchase of new equipment which can leave them under insured following a claim. (In addition, insurance companies often include an “Under-Insurance Clause” which further reduces the settlement)

Moving Office. As cool as it is to move into a bigger and better office, part of the moving is being buried with paperwork. In-between the contracts, legal requirements and business documents, it’s easy to overlook your insurance policy. When moving it’s important to leave yourself a little extra time to consider if the move has changed your risk profile and update your policy accordingly.

The bottom line: As a Business Owner you need to reassess your policy options to see if the choices you’ve made in the past still make sense under the new business conditions. Before you break out in hives at the thought, remember, Carbon Insurance is always here to help. Contact us for a confidential chat 08 6444 6645.

Carbon Group Unveils Brand New Division: Carbon Advisory

Carbon Group today is announcing an exciting development; the launch of a brand-new business division, Carbon Advisory.

Whether it’s budgeting advice, organisational risk assessments, or cash-flow forecasting, Carbon Advisory will combine the best in technology and advisory services to bring their clients next level success.

Carbon Advisory will be headed up by new Partner Marc Wiriadisastra, who has extensive experience in helping clients build business empires.

The launch of the new division is yet another positive for Carbon Group, who have worked hard to achieve phenomenal levels growth and success in what has been a difficult few years for many WA businesses.

Carbon Group Co-Founder Nathan Hood is excited by this next step in the Carbon journey saying “rough economic conditions and an underprioritised accounting industry has left many small business owners overtaxed and struggling to gain a real understanding of their financial position and future strategy. What Carbon Advisory can provide these business owners is relevant and tailored support and advice from trusted advisors who have grown a business in the same conditions as them.’”

If you want to learn more about Carbon Advisory or what we could bring to your business get in touch today (08) 9446 8588  .

 

Carbon Business Systems Tech

Tech-ing Over the World

It’s easy as a business owner to get taken in by the hype surrounding every new tech trend, advancement or app release. Without being able to test them all (let’s face it, that would be expensive and time consuming) knowing what will increase your company’s productivity, efficiency and profitability is tough.

Our aim at Carbon Business Systems is to figure this out for you. Having gone through the rigors of testing out many of the solutions available in the market today we have narrowed it down to some very cool apps that are guaranteed to increase your efficiencies.

Other benefits?

How about being able to leave all your annoying paperwork behind and start spending more time doing the things you love.

With the advent of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications SMEs have access to the same level of technology as bigger businesses. The question left for many SMEs is ‘what applications will work for me?’

To help answer that question for you, we have decided to give you a sneak peek at a few apps our Carbonites use on a day to day basis.

To ensure fast invoice payments and simplify reconciliation, we use e-Way.

EzyCollect is great for handling debtors and credit management.

When it comes to enhancing business performance, we have our own reporting analytics powered by Fathom.

And, at the center of our business is our accounting software. We love Xero. But any cloud based solution like MYOB can work too – the awesome thing about cloud based solutions is they enable you to access, track and work on your accounts anywhere at any time.

When implemented correctly, these applications will enable to you to scale your business, keep overheads low, manage staff capabilities and increase efficiency.

If you’re finding it challenging to integrate your various business systems or even just figuring out the best technology option for you, give our specialised Business Systems team a call (08) 9446 8588

Carbon Staff Books

Should your staff know your books?

There are many schools of thought on how open you should be with staff around the performance and financial position of your company. Many small business owners find themselves stumped; How much information is useful and motivating vs. stress-inducing overload? Where does transparency end and overshare begin?

On one hand, staff need to know the business is viable and solvent to assure them of job security. It’s an important factor for their mental wellbeing, enabling them to plan their personal finances, mortgage payments, school fees, etc

On the other hand, managing staff perceptions and the resulting expectations is a tricky business. If staff see the business is performing well it might lead them to believe they are entitled to increased remuneration which ultimately impacts business profitability. If staff see the business is underperforming they might believe they need to start looking at other careers opportunities.

We understand the idea of financial transparency gives some Business Owners butterflies, and while we’re not proposing the wholesale distribution of sensitive financial information, there is some data you can share with staff.

What data you ask? The big picture.

Here at Carbon Group we have quarterly #carbonite networking events during which each division Partner tells staff about their results for the quarter; how it compares with last quarter; and what their commitment is for future growth. Why is this beneficial? It keeps staff on the same page, and encourages within them a sense of ownership and purpose.

As you move into the more sensitive financials of the business, the key is to be consistent and establish protocols early for who the information is communicated to.

We believe a good strategy for senior managers is to share only those financials relevant to their area of responsibility. All communication at this level should have a focus on areas they can control (gross profit, income, divisional cost of sales, divisional wages ect). A good incentive model for these managers is to tie performance related bonuses to their divisional gross profit numbers. This creates a win/win situation for both the company and the manager in question.

One crucial element, no matter how much you choose to share, is consistency in communication; consistency in frequency, in transparency and in detail. While senior managers might work better and smarter when they see the numbers, unless you are an ASX listed company, it isn’t necessary to share them with every member of staff. Not only can it be a distraction, it can be disadvantageous if they were to fall into the wrong hands.

Feeling overwhelmed? Carbon Bookkeeping manages the books for hundreds of businesses and can help you take control of your business finances. Give us a call 08 6444 6617.

Carbon Group New Business adVenture

We are pleased to announce Carbon Group is taking another big step forward today with the launch of a new business under our Carbon Partner Empowerment Model. Under this model, Gail Rogerson will be running her own Bookkeeping Business powered by Carbon Groups infrastructure.

Gail is not new to Carbon Group having sold her business to Co-Founders Jamie Davison and Nathan Hood in 2015 so she could explore different career avenues. Now two years on and with overwhelmingly positive reports from the clients she left behind about the Carbon Group approach, Gail has made the bold decision to launch a brand-new business under the Carbon Partner Empowerment Model (CPEM). Knowing she can run her new business within Carbon Groups existing infrastructure and leverage off Carbon Groups award winning brand was all the encouragement Gail needed to take on this entrepreneurial venture.

Jamie Davison is excited by the new business ‘Welcoming Gail back to the Carbon Group family and being in business with her as she launches her new business is exciting. A fantastic step forward for both Gail and Carbon Group’.

After three fantastic years of unparalleled success, Carbon Group has decided to take progressive steps in assertively expanding their business operations through their CPEM. In coming months, you will see quite a few exciting advancements.

The CPEM is a new initiative developed by Carbon Group, and targets the next generation of accountants and bookkeepers ready to advance their career prospects by building a new business. Launching under the model enables the new businesses to leverage off Carbon Groups reputation, brand and tech-savvy practises. Differentiated from other start-up’s, unrestricted access to fellow Carbon Group Divisions gives them a more holistic advisory service offering for clients.

If you are looking to take control of your future and start your own business, you should contact us to find out more about how Carbon Group can help through our CPEM. Simply email us jamie@carbongroup.com.au