Sunday, July 31, 2011

Accountants Wanted - More Accounting Job Opportunities in Australia

Accountants Wanted - More Accounting Jobs in Australia
The fraternity of accountants is blooming. This is despite the lingering uncertainties over the domestic economy and the worries over the status of the global economy.

Sentiment among finance, accounting, and banking professionals is high according to the research done by recruitment firm, Robert Half. According to the said research, 88 per cent of employers are confident about their company’s growth prospects for the next year.

Due to investment in new projects, the employees of companies are already feeling the buzz as two-thirds of their workload had gone up as compared to the same time last year.

The workloads of around 43 per cent of staff from the 1678 respondents had risen according to Robert Half’s research. This is due to the growth experienced by the companies; however, staffing levels have remained.

It is stated by a third of the employees that their workload had increased.

“It is great to see so much optimism and business growth in the market,” said Andrew Brushfield, Director of Robert Half, as the firm released its latest Financial Employment Report last week (July 28).

“However, if employers are taking on new projects and planning for growth, it is crucial that they pay close attention to their staff levels, to ensure that they have adequate resources in place,” he added.

Among the companies that are looking to hire more accountants, two-thirds are hiring for finance, accounting, and banking staff at an entry or junior level. Meanwhile, nearly half are going to hire middle-level staff while eight per cent will be hiring at a senior level.

“Given that business confidence is so high, companies need to make sure that they are ready for growth, and recruitment planning is a big part of this. More than half of finance, accounting and banking employers tell us that it is currently taking them over six weeks to fill mid-level positions, so employers also need to pre-empt future growth to ensure they are not caught short,” said Mr. Brushfield.

According to the Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations, engineers were the most difficult to find since only 41 per cent of vacancies were filled in 2010 and 2011. Accountants and school teachers have filled positions at above 80 per cent.

Source: Perth Now »

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Invoice Factoring - A Cash Flow Problem Solution For SME Businesses

Cash flow is what keeps any business alive. Be it a small, medium, or large business, it is what keeps the company operating and moving. When the expenses are growing, the cash flow should have to be made stronger. The expenses should never be made greater than the cash that comes in; or else the cash flow may not be able to cope with the situation. Expenses and cash coming in should be balanced to say the least. If the problem with cash flow is not addressed sooner, a company might go out of business.

The June 2011 Sensis Business Index aimed to measure the confidence and behaviors of Australian SMEs by handling quarterly surveys. In this survey, it was revealed that cash flow problems are among the top or main problems that impact businesses over the last quarter. This cash flow problem was ranked equally with those problems that are being caused by the current economic climate (source).

The solution seen to this problem of SME businesses on cash flow is Invoice Factoring. The Interface Financial Group (IFG, is able to provide short-term financial resources. Following the success of its New Zealand business in 2004, it launched its Australia operation in 2006.

Invoice Factoring: A Cash Flow Problem Solution

Factoring is also called “debt factoring”. This involves selling invoices to a third party. With this, the third party is the one who processes the invoices and allows the company to draw funds against the money that is owed to the business. Though it is used to help manage cash flow problems of small businesses, it can also be effectively used for reducing administration overheads.

How Does Factoring Work?

A fast repayment against a company’s sales ledge is provided by factoring. Flexibly increasing one’s working capital is allowed at a cost.

When Does Factoring Start?

Factors would want to visit prospective businesses, conduct reviews of their financial situation, and study their business plan to determine if they are suitable for factoring. These factors may include independent or subsidiaries of banks and financial institutions.

Credit limit may be required so it is important for the business to know and understand how the factor operates.

When the agreement has been signed, it is typical that the factor will agree to advance about 85 percent of the approved invoices. Within 24 hours, the payment becomes available.

The end of the service period has to be taken note of. This is because most factors require to be notified at least three months prior to the end of the service.

When an invoice is raised
  • When a business raises an invoice whose instructions are to pay directly the factor, a copy of the invoice is sent to the factor.
  • An agreed percentage of the invoice is made available by the factor for the business to draw.
  • Statements are issued to the customer by the factor on the business’ behalf. Credit control measures are implemented which may include telephoning the customer if necessary.
When an invoice is paid by a customer
  • The customer has to pay 100 percent of the invoice to the factor directly and the factor is the one to pay the balance of the invoice to the business or company.
However, if an invoice is not paid, two options may be applied. Either recourse factoring or nonrecourse factoring is implemented.

For every problem in any business, there is always a solution. The only thing that needs to be done is for the business owner to see and consider all of the options surrounding the business.

Source: Factoring and invoice discounting: the basics »

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Australian Workers Union Supports Carbon Tax

After the carbon tax was imposed on companies that belong to the Top 500 most polluting by having them pay $23 per tonne beginning July of next year, the Australian Workers’ Union has finally given its thumbs up. It has vowed to name and shame any company that uses the carbon tax as an excuse to sack workers.

The Union previously warned the government that it will withdraw its support the moment a single job is lost. However, it was stated by Paul Howes, national secretary of the union, that it is quite satisfied at present of the government’s package.

Treasurer Wayne Swan’s announcement that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will crackdown on any business that is caught increasing its prices while blaming the tax has prompted the Union to express its support.

Carbon Tax now backed up by Australian Workers' Union

Confidence was expressed by Mr. Howes saying that the tax will not lead to the sacking of any of the AWU’s members. There are around 135,000 workers in the different sectors including manufacturing, steel, aluminum construction, and oil and gas industries.

“We said quite rightly, and quite proudly, that our union would not support a price on carbon that costs the jobs of our members,” said Mr. Howes.

“We hold that position today. But we believe that the government has delivered a package which addressed the concerns we have,” he added.

If they do try and lay off AWU members under this tax ... we will name and shame them,” is his threat to those companies that will justify job losses.

The Union’s stance has stunned Stephen Cartwright, Chief Executive of the NSW Business Chamber.

“We are on the verge of GFC Mark II and we can't take risks with our manufacturing jobs. The concern of business is that the tax won't work - it will result in our jobs and emissions being exported overseas.

It seems a strange world where business groups are arguing for the livelihoods of manufacturing workers, and manufacturing unions are arguing the case for the accounting firms, legal firms and banking houses who want a new revenue stream,” he said.

However, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Labor government have gained record lows in the Fairfax Nielsen poll yesterday. Mr. Howes, on the other hand, believes that Gillard will lead Labor to the next federal election.

To help the steel industry move to clean energy, around $300 million will be set aside. Furthermore, for a Coal Sector Jobs Package, $1.3 billion will be saved.

As part of the carbon tax, July 10, 2011 was declared “Carbon Sunday” which meant that after July 1, a new set of rules have taken effect that will impact the business landscape.

Source: The Telegraph »

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Significance of Carbon Tax for SMEs

Carbon Tax: What it means for SMEs

The increase to the instant asset tax write-off from $5000 to $6500 was recently imposed by the government to make the companies that belong to the Top 500 most polluting pay a carbon tax of $23 per tonne from July next year.

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced one of the biggest changes to the Australian economy since the GST was introduced. This is ensuring that July 10, 2011 will become “Carbon Sunday”. This means that beginning July 1, there will be a new set of rules that will impact the business landscape. Carbon Sunday is believed to have tangible results in reducing emissions and positive effects on the environment.

“The direct impact of the announced policies will be positive for most businesses” is MYOB’s CEO, Tim Reed’s, belief in the new changes. The carbon tax will only be charged to the top 500 emitting businesses. Therefore, it will be business as usual for other small businesses.

This new tax serves as a welcome relief for small businesses as this is the first policy that is implemented in Australia that does not impose any extra paperworks for them.

With the influx of workers into the employment market, it will now be easier for small businesses to employ more workers where the workers may no longer need to pay taxes.

But the question is why small businesses have hit a 15 year low confidence in the federal government with the Carbon tax?

This is because SMEs did not fully understand the Carbon tax and have thought that it would impose negative impacts on them. The proposed change to an emissions trading scheme in 2015 made them also apprehensive.

The retail and travel sector are also moving with caution. Even though there is a threat by off-shore competition, retailers believe that they will have to pass on the higher costs to the customers. Bernie Brookes, Myer chief, suggests that operating costs for the retail giants will be likely increasing by between $3-6 million.

The domestic tourism industry is also facing the same thing. And again, the higher costs will be passed on to the consumers. However, it is also seen that this tax will boost the confidence of consumers that will likely result to spending more.

The government is also being accused by commentators of leaving small businesses to fend for themselves. Very little has been done to assess Australia’s 2 million SME and their impacts.

There are still two years left before the elections. That is why the carbon tax is here to stay. For SME’s, the best thing to do is to understand what carbon tax really means.

Source: DynamicBusiness »

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Accountants Welcome Instant Asset Tax Write-off for Small Business

Carbon Tax: Accountants Welcome Instant Asset Tax Writ-off for Small Business

The government’s decision to increase the instant asset tax write-off from $5000 to $6500 has been welcomed by accountants. The question now lies on how SME’s will be able to cope with the increase.

This increase has been seen by Gavan Ord, business policy adviser for CPA Australia, as a step in the right direction.

“It’s moving towards the Henry recommendation of $10,000,” said Ord.

This increase by the government is part of its move to make the companies that belong to Australia’s Top 500 most polluting pay a carbon price of $23 per tonne from July next year. Before an emissions trading scheme is introduced, this carbon price will be increasing by 2.5 per cent a year for three years.

A $6500 instant tax write-off for assets purchased later than July 1, 2012 will be accessed to companies with a turnover of less than $2 million a year. This was according to the plans released yesterday.

The decision to replace the Entrepreneurs Tax Offset with an instant tax write-off of $5000 in the May federal budget was followed by the said announcement.

“This could provide a tax benefit of $1800 (assuming a marginal tax rate of 30 per cent) in the income year the cafe owner first uses the freezer or has it installed,” the government said.

Business Minister, Bruce Billson, has doubts on the points of the plan stating that the increased cost does not balance the benefit.

“Even under the Government’s own example a cash-strapped café owner would need to find $6000 for some new equipment to receive a one-off earlier tax benefit of $1800. The café owner will still need to fund ongoing higher energy costs and more expensive stock and ingredients,” Billson added.

Robert Jeremenko, senior tax counsel at the tax institute, has the same question as the accountants. That is how the SME’s are going to cope with the increase.

“Big businesses will have relatively better bargaining power,” he said.

“If costs are trapped within small business I imagine we’ll start to hear about whether this is what the Government has intended. But the write-off increase is good news – it’s better to be increasing it than decreasing,” he added.

For Paul Drum, CPA Australia business and investment policy head, the increase is good news especially now that there’s nothing much one can get from $5000.

“It’s not profound or a show-shopper and it’s not a rebate either. But we don’t want to denounce it because it’s appropriate policy,” he said.

Source: »

Monday, July 11, 2011

Aussie Cities Among The Priciest In The World

According to a global survey, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane have gained the newest reputation of being among the most expensive cities in the world because of its strong Aussie dollar.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey found that it is now cheaper living in London, Hong Kong, Vienna, Rome, Berlin, and Beijing compared to most Australian cities.

From ranking 32nd in the last two years, Sydney is now the 6th priciest city in the world. Melbourne, on the other hand, moved from 38th place to 7th this year.

Ranking 13th and 14th, respectively, are Perth and Brisbane. This data show that the two cities are almost 25 per cent more expensive than New York.

The strengthening value of the Aussie dollar is partly the culprit of the skyrocketing costs of living of Australia, according to Jon Copestake who authored the survey.

In November 2010, the Australian dollar reached parity with the US dollar. And on May 3, it even hit a peak 110.11 US cents which was the highest since 1983. Today, the Aussie dollar is closing in at 107 US cents.

“Rising domestic prices, partly due to rising oil and commodity prices, have been compounded by the strength of the Australian dollar, which achieved parity with the US dollar earlier this year, compared to being worth around half that much 10 years ago,” said Copestake.

The survey further revealed that Australian cities are also among the most expensive cities for business trips.

Accommodation, meals, taxis, drinks, and a newspaper in Melbourne would cost one around US$760 a day. While in Sydney, it costs around US$627.

“Australia has long been an attractive destination, with Melbourne and Sydney becoming international cities in their own right. Whether the spiralling relative cost of living will dampen this appeal remains to be seen,” he added.

The cities of Tokyo, Osaka, and Oslo were named the three most expensive cities in the world by the survey. On the other hand, Mumbai, Tunis, and Karachi are the cheapest among the countries that were surveyed. There was a total of 140 countries included in the survey.

The Economist Intelligence Unit is UK-based and provides economic and business research, as well as forecasting and analysis.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald »

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Accounting is Inevitably Changing

How accountants cope up with technology in accounting
The technology sessions at the recent AICPA Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference in Las Vegas has raised one important lesson. That is the manner by which the accountant handles the business could mean the difference between staying in business and retaining clients or being lagged behind the competition and eventually closing the business for good.

However, no one can also put the blame on accountants for the slow response to change. The question here is not really with when they will accept the next wave of change, or if they ever will accept this change. It is how far lagged we will be when this happens.

Do cloud and mobile technologies really provide the answers for most firms?

The answer of AICPA is YES. Though, it has made no statements as to where the profession needs to go. If doubts of this notion arise, then the answer is nowhere else but in the statements and actions of the marketing arm, CPA2Biz, and its president.

The most obvious signal for the expression of the AICPA’s desire to make accountants embrace technology for their own benefits is the combining of Prac and Tech for the second year in a row. But if this is still not enough sign, then the message was drove home by the keynote address of AICPA President and CEO, Barry Melancon.

“We are facing a situation today where technology that relates to the profession and ensures the profession survives is coming to light. It is the most significant technological time since the microcomputer,” Melancon said. “Cloud computing is a fundamental circling back in the client accounting world as cost structure and profitability is changing. Mobile computing is going to change the way we do accounting and interact with our clients,” he added.

Other points that add to the statement of Melancon were those discussed in the information sessions. There were the usual representation of showcases of vendors including the general “how to” sessions. Cloud and mobile technologies were also looked at and how these practices may be improved.

There is already pressure on accountants to change. They however still need more evidence of the direct benefits. A frustration expressed by an attendee in the session entitled, “Create New Sources of Revenue with Cloud-based Accounting Applications”. He loudly said that “all I’m hearing is the cloud is here, and you are an idiot if you are not there. Where’s the ROI?”

Source: Information Management »