Monthly Archives: February 2016

How we will get back a huge amount of tax for a client

It never ceases to appal me how most accountants do so little for their clients. Too many accountants’ role starts and ends with lodging historical documents such as BAS’s and Tax Returns.  They are important documents in themselves and they should be prepared with care and diligence.   However, what an accountant should do is to use their years and wide array of experiences to show a client how they can better run their business.

We met a new client late last year. Their accountant only prepared historical documents.  Worse still, the accountant didn’t understand the client’s business.  The client has a very good understanding of what services they provide and what market they operate in. They are however not an accountant. Put this together and the accountant was treating sales orders and sales invoices. The orders weren’t income!  The end result was that they have over paid a bucket load of income tax – which we will now get refunded for them. They could do with it – they were paying tax on profits they didn’t have!

Moreover, we have changed their accounting system so that they issue orders and then convert them to invoices at the time their customer will proceed with the order.

We will also segment their profit and loss so that it reports on how each part of their business is performing. We are going to have costs of new customer acquisition as a segment – our client has always wondered what it cost.  We can now put that information at his fingertips.

Going forward, our client will know where his business at any time.  More importantly, with some advanced analysis tools, we can help him better manage his cash flow, understand the outcome of making any change to his business, understand how the banks view his business amongst other insightful exercises.  But this is all a conversation for another day. …

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.

The value of an expense?

It always amazes me how many businesses view an expense as a negative. This is far from the case.

I would argue that there are three types of expenses:-

  1. One type of expenses are those that are uncontrollable but necessarily incurred – such as a company paying its annual review fee to ASIC. You can’t control it. It doesn’t provide any benefit (other than staying registered). They are just costs of opening the doors every day (and therein lies a discussion for another day).
  2. There are also those expenses that don’t provide much benefit and/or are controllable. You might be able to get a supply that is the same at a cheaper price (such as electricity). You might also choose to buy things in bulk or buy cheaper quality items that may no difference to a firm’s ability to do what it is does.
  3. And then there are those expenses that are in reality investments. They may be treated as an expense and reduce profit but they determine the long term health of a business. You spend money on them and they provide a return. It could be advertising. It could be buying basic tools that make employees life more enjoyable and productive. One wise man once said to me that such expenses aren’t expense at all – they are resources necessarily incurred to generate a result. Such expenditure should be seen as positives not negatives.

It is amazing when meeting with clients to discuss their business to see what comes out of asking them to address which expenses are in effect investments. It is amazing how the focus on their activities changes – and their results improve.  No truer is this across the board than with employees.  They are the biggest or second biggest expense for most businesses – yet it is often an area not monitored and/or subject to cost cutting.

So now I ask the question is what value to do you get from your expenses?

So what are the key investments in your business? Do you focus on them and monitor and track what is happening?

The reality is most public tax accountants just prepare Tax Returns and BAS’s. They are focused in the past and not on the potential of their clients businesses.  If you would like a forward looking accountant focused on your long term success and security, why not call us to make a cost and obligation free meeting.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.


Running out of cash – and what to do about it

Summer is a great time of year isn’t it?

Most people think so – but not all business owners.

Rent, wages and other fixed expenses all must be paid whilst most businesses see their sales fall over the holiday period. Just because everyone is back at work, doesn’t mean the ship rights straight away. And then there is the December BAS quarterly payment due by month end!  Running out of cash is stressful and can break even successful businesses.

There a few things that can be done now to get through these times. But the real lesson here is not to let it happen again.

We have a great tool that can generate a workable cash flow from a cloud accounting system within 15 minutes.  Our client’s that use this tool have a clear idea of what their future looks like – which allows an analysis of how they can control it.  And if it is projected to get tough, they can go the bank and ask for help in advance of the problem (and not when the house is burning down).

For those larger business, we also have a program that generates four way budgets – in addition to cash flow, it generates at the click of a button a Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, and Funds Flow Statement all of which are backed up by supporting schedules. These reports blow away most bank managers.  In fact, during the week I received glowing feedback from a franchisor as to the detail and reliability of the budgets I prepared for a prospective franchisee.

We would welcome the opportunity to help you take control of your cash flow and business. Why not call me and arrange a free initial meeting.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.

Effective e-marketing for SME’s

When I first started work there was a saying that 50% of advertising works, one just doesn’t know which 50% it is. That was even largely true 15 years ago.  Not today though.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) tools allow one to accurately test and track what is working and not working. Campaigns can be targeted and altered as necessary.  The results (sales generated versus dollars spent) can be accurately measured.  And much of this can be done quite cheaply by historical standards.

These SEO tools are amazing.

What is even more amazing though is just how little advantage small businesses take of these opportunities. May be 10 years ago, modern advertising tools still were the domain of big firms who could afford what was once costly.  Now though even the typical mobile phone has a camera with quality good enough to post video on a web page!

Not all businesses need a web page to survive and/or grow. However it has been interesting, or should that be alarming, to note that our retail clients who have struggled or shrunk have had no or little effective e-marketing.  Often what is not considered is that even though customers used to find them, customers are now looking for what they want by largely different means.  If you don’t exist in the new forms, then you are invisible.

To have an effective e-marketing campaign, a small business needs to address 10 common issues:-

  1. Who is my customer?
  2. What do they want?
  3. Where are they?
  4. How do they want to deal with me? Do I have a mobile responsive web page (by the end of 2014, half of all web searches were made on a mobile phones).
  5. Does your web page include the features that Google ranks highly? You’d be surprised how effective videos are in this respect.
  6. Does your web page enable customers to order on-line?
  7. Does your web page enable customers to pay on-line?
  8. Does your web page look fresh and up to date or tired and out of date?
  9. If your industry doesn’t rely on selling on-line, does your web page clearly set out the call to action you would like your customer to make? If you want them to call you, is your phone number prominently stated? Does it provide the articles and matters of interest that your existing and potential customers are looking for?
  10. Is your web page supported by integrated forms of social media? Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are the most common forms; they may not all be relevant to your business but one can’t disregard the lot.

One size/approach doesn’t suite all. To begin with, is your best approach pull marketing (advertising and direct marketing) or push advertising (such as positioning as an authority and leader as well as sharing of knowledge).

The businesses that handle all of this well have a documented marketing plan and systemised approach. The process of documenting the marketing plan ensures all key matters are considered and properly evaluated.  The systemised approach ensure that it gets done and done properly.

It is now 5 years since we ran an e-marketing workshop. Please register your interest by e-mailing and we will re-run it if we have sufficient interest.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.


An undervalued benefit from business planning

Last week I attended a business planning workshop with a number of clients. Yes, I could have created the content myself – but that would have taken a lot of time whereas Peter Knight and Kate Groom have rolled out their interactive workshop (with workbook and action plan) to thousands of businesses around Australia.  The best and most efficient thing for me to do was to extend the offer for their course to my clients.

During that workshop, it was interesting to watch and hear my clients’ questions and observations. It reinforced the point that business owners so often focus on what they are good at and ignore and pay too little attention to what they are not good at.

Proper business planning requires one to address areas such as marketing & sales, admin & finance and employment & process/operations.

With the possible exception of Rick Charlesworth (state cricketer, Australian hockey player, Olympian, state parliamentarian, doctor, author and coach of Australian women’s and men’s hockey teams through periods of their greatest success), we are not good at everything. And people being what they are, business owners are good at one or two of these areas, not all three.

An undervalue benefit from business planning is that it forces one to address what one often tends to ignore.

So what should you do to avoid this common trap? You should use someone who is good at these areas to guide or deliver what is needed in these areas.  Obviously, we as accountants can help you with the finance areas.  We also have a panel of other professionals who we can recommend to help you with other areas.

A business can be strong in some areas. But so often the weakest link can detract from or even destroy the overall performance.  Don’t let that happen to your business.

At MRS, we will spend today planning for your success tomorrow.