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.

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.

Bench Accounting

Four ways automated accounts receivables improve your cash flow

Ask any small business owner what keeps them up at night, and many of them will answer: the stress of cash flow problems. Recent research from Xero found while cash flow fluctuates over the year, two things remain constant. A predictable swell in December as businesses register their Christmas sales and a deep deep dive in January, where just 48% of Xero small businesses report positive cash flow.

The New Year brings holiday closures, reduced trading hours and more outstanding invoices languishing in idle inboxes. For the small business owner, it’s a stressful time, especially with fewer hands on deck to chase overdue debtors.

Small Business Insights

Enter automation.

According to Jamie Davison, Partner at Carbon Group

most business owners will neglect to follow up their accounts receivable on a regular basis. Either they get busy running their business, have other things on their mind or they choose to avoid the uncomfortable conversation. By automating this process through technology, you avoid these issues because you create predictable schedules and routines which in turn brings cash into the business.

Here are four ways automating your accounts receivables can improve cash flow:

1. Easy Reach

If your business is issuing a high volume of invoices each month, it’s almost impossible to manually contact every overdue debtor with reminders to pay. A time-poor business might prioritise chasing their high-value customers, leaving hundreds of small-value debtors to slip under the radar. With many debtors requiring multiple reminders, the burden of chasing quickly becomes tedious.

With automation software like ezyCollect, all open invoices in your accounting system, regardless of value, enter a schedule of reminders when they become overdue. Allowing you to contact every overdue debtor with reminders, hands-free.

2. Multi-Channel Approach

While email may be your preference to communicate with debtors, it is easy for your reminders to get lost in a bursting accounts payable inbox, especially if you’re one of many demanding payment. A good approach is to mix up your communications with a workflow that includes multiple channels. Doing so significantly increases your chances of reaching your debtors.

Did you know: SMS messages have a close to 100 percent open rate!

Multi-Channel Approach

3. Consolidation

It’s easy for your customer to feel bombarded if they receive reminders for every overdue invoice individually and it becomes time consuming for you to chase and accept each payments. Automation software like ezyCollect groups all outstanding invoices into a single reminder, so your debtor is prompted to pay the total overdue amount.

Consolidation

4. Escalation

Ageing invoices often become bad debt write-offs when business owners stall in the collections process. Software like ezyCollect outsources stubborn payers to a third-party agency who can keep the ball rolling. Integrated with debt collectors, the software gives you single click access to agencies who can go about collecting the debt on your behalf.

So before the stress of fluctuating cash flow becomes too much to bear maybe you should consider automating your accounts receivables. It could be just the tap that turns the trickle into a tide!

ezyCollect and Carbon Group are joining forces in a fantastic (and free!) webinar to empower you with the tools to streamline, schedule and personalise your collection activities in just minutes. As an added bonus, if you save your spot online today you will receive a free copy of ‘5 proven reminder templates’ to boost your business’ cashflow. Register Here.

When-Should-I-Prepare-My-Business-Tax-Return-Carbon-Group-Accounting-Perth-Xero

When Should I Prepare My Business Tax Return?

Many of us have our tax returns prepared through a registered tax agent. As a result, the due date for your return to be lodged can often be pushed back well into the following financial year. Agents get concessions that allow you to lodge your returns from March through to June of the following year. Consequently, a lot of business owners have to wait, and just like it was when you were at school, you try to get everything done at the due date in a mad panic.

There are however benefits to avoiding this approach, and attempting to have your return done in the first half of the year.

Cashflow Planning

Preparing your tax return in the first half of the year doesn’t mean you have to lodge it in the first half of the year. Seeing your accountant early may bring you some bad news (the dreaded tax bill), but at least you know where you stand, and you can start putting money aside for when it is lodged later in the year. The flip side of this is, maybe you are entitled to a refund that you weren’t prepared for, so now you can lodge your return early, and get access to those funds within a few weeks.

Possibly reducing your instalments

When you are prepaying tax liabilities, often you are basing this on prior year tax results. If you are entitled to a tax refund based on overpaying, these instalments can be reduced, meaning more cashflow for you in your business over the course of the next year. Alternatively, if your instalments are going to increase as a result of your increased tax liability, holding off lodging until later in the year will keep your instalments low in the short term, and understanding what they will move to will allow you time to put money aside, to stay in line with your future tax liabilities.

If you want to know more about the benefits of preparing your tax return early, contact the team at Carbon Accounting. Arrange a complimentary 30 minute consultation by calling (08) 9446 8588.

Use online rostering apps such as Deputy with cloud based accounting software Xero to streamline payroll. Carbon Group Perth

How Can I Use Rostering Apps To Streamline Payroll?

Spending too much time getting manual timesheets and punch cards into your payroll system? Sick of getting scanned pieces of paper with a messy scrawl that’s nearly impossible to read? Fear not, there is a way to make your life easier! More and more cloud-based applications are being developed to assist with these everyday problems that bookkeepers and payroll officers are having.

To put things into perspective, imaging that it takes on average five minutes to input one person’s timesheets into the likes of Xero’s payroll feature. 10 staff = 50 minutes. Assuming you process pay weekly, that is a total of 2600 minutes a year, or a little over 43 hours. That’s if there are no errors, and if the timesheets are relatively straightforward.

But what if the award your staff are on, isn’t so straightforward?
• What if for every staff member who exceeds 40 hours they are entitled to 1.5x overtime?
• Penalty rates for Saturdays (1.25x) and Sundays (2x)
• What if they work past 7pm, it’s 1.25x

Suddenly what was a seemingly simple task of putting hours into the payroll package, just got a whole lot harder. This could mean each person’s timesheet takes closer to 10 or 15 minutes each. Taking the average of 12.5 here and for 10 staff, this bumps up the required time to 125 minutes to input. That equals 6500 minutes a year. That’s a crazy 108 hours of manually inputting hours into the payroll package.

Now imagine that a prebuilt application if readily available, and can automate all of this for you:
• Staff simply need to clock in and out at their correct times on a shared device, or their own if required
• These timesheets entries are all electronic now, and once completed get sent to the manager to approve. This can be easily done the next morning, or at the end of the week if needed
• Once approved, the payroll officer now only needs to export the timesheets into an online accounting program such as Xero, and process, and your staff are ready to get paid

What could take between an hour or two per week, can be dropped down to a mere 15 minutes for all your staff. Think about the time saved and what this could mean for your business. Reduced administration time (remember time spent doing administration work, is less time that can be spent bringing in more money for the business). Some businesses find their payroll officer can double as their internal accounts as they have more than enough time now, or alternatively simply outsource this to a payroll company saving the business money and time. Less headaches that you as a business owner needs to worry about.

The best application available right now to be able to provide your business with these benefits is Deputy. Deputy was actually built by an entrepreneur in Australia, as he had massive growth in his business back in 2000, and was struggling to manage his team. As the business grew, there was less time to manage staff, and he needed something to reduce his administration workload as he could no longer grow his business. And Deputy was born! The owner’s business over the next eight years grew to more than 1,500 people.

Deputy is built for the small business owner, but is designed to grow with your business and help you succeed. What’s great is that it can be integrated into your online accounting software Xero, streamlining processes even further.

If you want to try out this awesome application get in touch, so we can discuss.