Monthly Archives: November 2018

Long service leave calculator

Not sure how much long service leave an employee is entitled to? That’s a common question as the rules are quite complex, particularly when an employee changes their hours of work over the entitlement period.  Thankfully, the government department Business Victoria has a long service leave calculator which you can use.

You can go to and work through a series of questions so have your employment records to hand.

You also need to mindful that the governing legislation was replaced on 1st November 2018.  At that time the Long Service Leave Act 2018 came into effect.  This Act has a number of significant changes that all employers need to be aware of.  For more detail, please refer to our November 2018 edition of Tips & Traps (that being our monthly client newsletter).  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like a copy forwarded to you.

We welcome your contacting us should you require any guidance or assistance in respect of this or any other employment matter.

WorkCover – avoid a fine

WorkCover requires that the If you are injured at work poster in each workplace.

You can download the poster at

Cash flow – getting paid quicker

If you want to get paid quicker by your customers make it easy for them. One way to do so is to provide credit card facilities.  Yes, you may be charged merchant fees but that is usually cheaper than the costs incurred in carrying your debtors.

Call us if you would like help with this.

How do I get a Tax File Number?

You can apply for a Tax File Number by:-

  • Completing an online form and then booking an appointment at Australia Post. The appointment must be held within 30 days of completing the form. You must take the completed form and proof of identity documents with you to that meeting.
  • Department of Human Services customers can apply in person.
  • You can also order an application form and mail it to the ATO.

Our clients have tended to prefer the Australia Post option. A Tax File Number (TFN) should issue within 28 days.  You can access the Australia Post TFN application form here –

You can apply at any age for a TFN.

Common reasons for young people to apply are:-

  • Required for part time work.
  • To be able to register for a university course (and the HELP system).
  • Notifying bank of your own TFN rather than your parents’. Banks will withhold tax at 47% where interest is more than $120 and a child is over 16. The limit is $420 where a child is under 16.

In reality, it’s never too early to apply for a TFN.

A TFN is a most sensitive personal identifier.  Extreme care should be taken to protect it.  If you believe your TFN has been stolen, you should report the ATO’s Client Identity Support Centre on 1800 467 033 (open between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday).

You may also wish to watch the ATO’s YouTube video on applying for a Tax File Number.

Be careful with industry benchmarks


Be careful with industry benchmarks for I have two problems when measuring against industry benchmarks:-

1/.   Are you really comparing apples with apples?

How many businesses make up the benchmark and just how comparable are they to each other and indeed to your own business?

Are they big & small, metropolitan &/or country based, new & old, running the same funding and operational structures and so on.

One can place faith in more common and the more identifiable businesses but otherwise, great care should be taken. Data from well know franchises can reliably be compared against each other, but thereafter, beware.

2/.   I have found over the years that clients who focus on their industry benchmark fall for the trap of thinking that as they ahead or close to a benchmark, that all is OK. Laziness and mediocrity tend to creep in (it reminds me of one of those great lines from Jim Collins seminal book Good to Great – good is the enemy of great).

More successful business owners however are more focused on improving any system and process in their business.

It’s amazing how often little changes have big results (see our blog titled Greater profitability is closer than you may think).

So should you refer to industry benchmarks? The answer is yes but a qualified one. Just make sure you know what you are comparing yourself to and more importantly.  Also, place greater emphasis on improving the processes and systems within your own business. In this regard, it is amazing how some businesses have come to dominate their industry by employing systems and processes from different industries.

The one benchmark though that you should not avoid is any applicable ATO’s small business industry benchmark. Like many accountants, I question how they derive their numbers.  For example, it is a blight upon my profession that many public accountants lazily declare cost of goods sold items within overheads so this must greatly distort the ATO’s gross profit margin numbers. Questionable as these benchmarks are, they can’t be ignored as they are the ATO’s greatest business audit selection method and they target those businesses operating outside the ATO’s industry benchmarks.

We have software that reports on your business’ performance in real time.  Some of the measures are leading indicators so you can understand what will happen next.  We can also play with the key drivers to see what will be the result of making changes to your key drivers.  We welcome the chance to demonstrate this to you in a free meeting.

What GST to charge on food and drinks?

We often get asked by our food and hospitality clients what GST to charge on food and drinks.

Sounds easy but its frequently not.

Thankfully the ATO have created a search tool which you can find at:-

ATO GTS food and drink search tool

We help a number of clients within food and hospitality and would welcome the opportunity to uncover the ways in which we can help you.  We can also show you our real time reporting food and hospitality dashboard (which is full on financial and non-financial KPI’s).