Business Startup Advice
We know from experience, that starting a business is a very exciting, though daunting experience. There are a large number of issues the small business owner must be on top of simultaneously. Each of these issues in isolation are not terribly difficult to deal with though when you add them all together, the volume can be a little overwhelming.
We have prepared a list of 21 things to consider when starting your own business.
This is not designed to be an exhaustive list of every single issue you need to deal with, though we hope it gives you something to get started with.
Different business structures suit different businesses and business owners. There is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Tax issues are important though they should not be your only guide when setting up or adjusting your business structure. Other issues to consider include asset protection, ownership & control, ability to admit future investors, ongoing costs and ease of wind up.
Each available structure has its own advantages and disadvantages which you need to weigh up before you decide which structure is right for you.
We have put together a comprehensive guide which will help in this process. We can guide you through the process of choosing the right structure and then set up, register and maintain this structure on your behalf.
Property Development Tax Advice
Property development is a very different business to property investment. The tax rules surrounding each type of business are also vastly different.
Having spent several years within the internal tax group of one of Australia’s largest developers, I am well placed to guide you through the various tax issues which developers face.
Tax Planning Advice
Tax planning generally falls into one of three broad categories:
- Timing differences – involve measures which defer tax liabilities to a later period. Eventually, the tax must be paid and these timing differences only delay the inevitable, though you get the opportunity to do something meaningful with the cash in the meantime.
- Permanent differences – occur when income is taxed at a lower rate (sometimes 0%) than it would otherwise have been, had no action been taken. This type of tax planning is usually more involved and is often linked heavily to the type of business structure you have in place. Permanent tax differences can also be obtained through taking advantage of specific benefits available to certain groups of tax payers under the law e.g. small business tax concessions, research and development incentives etc.
- Highly complex and structured arrangements aimed at distorting the way funds are being used, to enable a taxpayer to claim deductions they would otherwise not be entitled to. These arrangements are usually highly technical and high risk. They also usually live up to the old adage ‘if it looks too good to be true…’, and I’ve seen plenty of examples in the past, that have ended in ‘tears’.
We can assist you with the first two categories, and will steer you well clear of the third.
Accounting Software Advice & Support
Many accountants and accounting software providers try to sell accounting software by focusing on the features and power of the software, and expect users to adapt to the technology. We believe that this is approach is misguided. The capability, motivation and personality of the user should be the primary guide when determining what technology is used.
Some people love ‘playing’ with the latest software and want a powerful package that can perform a large number of functions. Others would prefer to sit through a root canal (no offence to the Dentists who perform this delightful procedure), than learn how to use an accounting software package, and outsource this function to their accountant.
Wherever you sit between these two extremes, we can help you find a solution that is right for you.
Company Secretarial & Maintenance
Owning a company comes with certain formal responsibilities. Minutes and statutory reports need to be prepared each year, the company registration needs to be maintained and any changes to company directors and shareholders formally notified with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
We can perform all these tasks on your behalf and act as the company’s formal ‘registered office’.
Company Secretarial & Maintenance
Sometimes tax issues arise, outside your normal day to day tax compliance, which require specific advice.
We can provide advice where required and/or give you a second opinion on a particular issue which may be troubling you. More importantly, we can refer to a large network of specialist advisors at some of the country’s leading firms, when an issue is beyond our expertise, or carries a risk great enough to warrant a specialist opinion.
Financial Analysis, Cash Flow Analysis & Budgeting
Accountants often prepare financial statements which report the necessary information to determine annual profit, provide a summary of assets and liabilities at year end and disclose enough information to support the income tax return, but little more.
The next level of financial analysis can move past examining what has happened, to determine why something has happened.
We can assist in providing financial analysis over different trends within your business, different business units, profit and equity margins etc and provide business owners with quality information, to enable them to make much more meaningful decisions.
Payroll & Employer Obligations Advice
Employing staff carries a large amount of responsibility and obligation for the employer. Employers must withhold and report Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax from their employee’s salaries, though also contend with other regulations such as superannuation, workers compensation insurance, awards & entitlements, unfair dismissal etc.
We can assist employers meet these obligations and ensure they minimise their business risk.
Finance Applications & Support
Anyone who has ever applied for business finance will know that lenders require a large amount of information in order to process finance applications.
We can assist in getting you ready for finance applications by compiling everything you need and presenting it in a clear, complete and concise manner.
Purchasing a Business
Buying a business is one of the biggest financial decisions most people will ever make. Doing your homework before you buy is essential.
This homework process, known as ‘due diligence’, should include reviewing relevant financial and non-financial aspects of the business to make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Sometimes, what seemed like a great offer initially, may not look so great after performing a due diligence, and you may decide not to buy. If so, you could have just saved yourself from the biggest financial mistake of your life.
We can help you review and understand the financial position of the business.
Accountants are often required to add things up and examine them after they have already happened. As well as examining the past however, we can also help shape the future by providing Business Development assistance.
Our approach involves putting aside one day per year, offsite and away from distractions, where we spend the whole day talking about your business and planning how to improve it during the coming twelve months. We then setup a process to monitor progress, make adjustments as necessary and measure success during the year.
Business Tax Compliance
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have to pay and report a number of different taxes such as Income Tax (PAYG), Withholding Tax, PAYG Instalment, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Fringe Benefits Tax, Payroll Tax, Land Tax etc.
We ensure that we are on top of all relevant tax reporting and that the process runs smoothly, efficiently and without nasty surprises. We also help you manage your tax payments during the year, in order to avoid large tax bills at year end.
Motor Vehicle Tax Advice
One of the most common questions a small business accountant is asked is, ‘What type of finance should I use to buy a new vehicle’?
Each person’s circumstances are different and it is best to answer these questions on a case by case basis. To assist with this process, we have prepared a comprehensive guide which explains the various options available and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each option.