Nurture Accounting XERO GOLD Partner – what does it mean for my business?

Nurture Accounting XERO GOLD Partner – what does it mean for my business?

GOLD GOLD GOLD!!

We’ve got some great news

Now here’s some great news you’re going to want to stay tuned for, because it could mean money back in your pocket, thanks to, well – us. Hot off the press, it’s official – Nurture Accounting has just been awarded GOLD Partner status by Xero.

We’re confident that the Xero brand needs no introduction to savvy small business people such as yourselves. However, just in case you’ve been living under a rock, they boast that “online accounting with Xero opens up a world of opportunities to increase efficiency, streamline the way you manage your business, and add moments of beauty into your working day”.

Now, it’s no secret that the Nurture Team are Xero junkies. We fell head over heels, it was love at first reconciliation – and the relationship is still going strong 7 years later. And now, Xero has finally proposed to us – with our shiny new GOLD status.

“Online accounting with Xero opens up a world of opportunities to increase efficiency, streamline the way you manage your business, and add moments of beauty into your working day”

GOLD status doesn’t just mean discounts for you

Yes, we know, a 25% discount is AWESOME. But you should also know that it’s pretty much the same as saying that as far as accountants go – we’re the bees’ knees. GOLD status basically means we can get you set up and running with Xero easily and efficiently. It also means we can help you with learning the software, as well as support you if you come across any issues along the way.

We can also help with advice about implementing and integrating the incredible range of add-on software apps available to Xero users. In short; we can help take your business to the next level and beyond.

“The reason emailing can take us so long is because we need two different mindsets – processing & thinking”

Hurry up and tell me how this benefits ME?!

The main benefit is as a Xero Gold Partner, we have access to a 25% discount on the Xero subscriptions we control (Xero Business Plans). What’s more – we’ll be passing on 100% of this discount to ALL our clients new and old.

We decided it’s about time we put Xero’s money where our mouth is – and show you that we really do care about you guys.

Oh yeh, so what’s the catch?

No catch, no up-sell, no special fine print. Our only requirement is that fees are set-up to be paid monthly OR your subscription is paid 3 months in advance. That’s it!!

Existing business edition clients will be receiving communication from our office later this month about how this will impact them.

Existing partner edition clients (Xero Cashbook) will also receive communication from our office on if upgrading to a Business Edition plan with the discount may be of benefit to them.

How did Nurture become a Xero GOLD Partner?

Through blood, sweat and tears. Ok, but seriously, Xero GOLD status basically reflects our level of experience with Xero, and the success we have achieved for our clients. It’s an achievement we are not too shy to boast about, because we have been intensely working towards this goal as a team for quite some time.

At Nurture, we have not just one, but an entire team of Xero certified advisors. This means there is always a team member available to guide you in how to use the functions in Xero, to better understand how your business is performing.

A 25% discount still hasn’t convinced you to switch to Xero?

As I always say, real-time figures are your secret weapon – your best friend. Xero delivers on this and more. So why don’t we share with you just a few of the reasons why we think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Main pro’s to Xero:

  • Run your business anytime, from any internet-connected device – phone, tablet or computer
  • Understand your real-time cash position
  • Collaborate with your accountant, bookkeeper and team in real-time
  • Get paid faster for better cash flow
  • Protect your business data

“Real-time figures are your secret weapon – your best friend”

Not using Xero and want to know more? Using Xero but not getting the love and support you are seeking? New to business and need help?

Your inbox – who manages who?

Your inbox – who manages who?

Imagine going to check your home letterbox, only to find 300 unread items of mail sitting there, waiting for your attention. This may send a shiver down your spine, however, having 300 unread emails seems to have become the norm.

Most of the research on email efficiency suggests batching and checking emails 2-3 times a day at most. Scheduling in a regular email management time, instead of letting it take priority over your to-do list is vital.

The following is the most common methodology for getting emails under control:

WHEN EMAIL TAKES OVER

  1. Turn off your email notifications
  2. Have calendar/task list on a second screen
  3. Close your inbox (however hard this may be)

You may like to take advantage of some technology apps and programs which can help alleviate your email-to-task-list nightmares. A fan favourite for turning emails to tasks is Trello. The beauty of Trello is its ability to sync with Outlook, G-mail and most of other popular emailing systems. This means importing the entire email into your task list – without taking up valuable space.

MORE MAIL = MORE STRESS

Whether you’ve worked out a way to sift through your emails efficiently or not – it’s clear we’ve become email junkies. From checking several times per hour, to late night emailing. It’s become an issue which is taking over our lives. We become too used to butterflying with our emails, checking one without actioning it. Only to then butterflying to another – without doing much on that either.
Poor email management creates stress, wastes time and reduces our performance. An important email which could have been done quite easily can become a big crisis if left undone. Deadlines can be missed, delays can be created and stress builds up.

“Poor email management creates stress, wastes time and reduces our performance”

If you feel like you can identify with more than one of the above sentiments, it may be time for an email detox. When starting your email cleanse, why not consider the following items:

  1. Don’t spend too much time on non-value adding emails. Set a timer for 5 minutes to make sure you’re not wasting your precious time, and delegate wherever possible
  2. Unsubscribe from mailing lists, they will only waste your time
  3. Create a rule to ensure any emails you are CC’d in, go to a separate folder.

TIME FOR A DETOX

Creating a rule to automatically move all emails you are CC’d in to a specific folder. This means you are then able to prioritise other emails, and come back to check CC’d emails all at once. Alternatively, have a conversation with the people who tend to CC you in a little too often. Take the opportunity to discuss curbing their habit to only those items you really want to see.

When the time comes to check your inbox, be sure to caffeinate prior. Aim to process as many emails as possible during a set amount of time. The reason emailing can take us so long is because we need two different mindsets – processing & thinking. With your inbox, add any emails which will take more than 5 minutes to action to your task list.

Also make sure your task title includes enough information for you to be able to prioritise it accordingly. An example of this may be “Email Lydia about her new accounting software purchase”.

“The reason emailing can take us so long is because we need two different mindsets – processing & thinking”

Once you have sifted through the emails which need to go on your task list, go back and reply to all the quick 5-minute emails, ensuring you keep an eye on the time. Once those are done, you now can return to your task list, make sure the emails you’ve added are ordered alongside your current to-dos, and then get cracking on the most important item next.

Last but definitely not least – if you are finished with an email – be sure to delete it or move it to an appropriate folder. This is so that you can get the dopamine release related to completing a task, and perhaps even one day soon, the beautiful reward of an empty inbox.

REMEMBER, YOUR INBOX SHOULD NOT BE:

  • A filing system
  • A task management system
  • A contact management system
  • A bin

OUR FINAL ADVICE ON EMAIL COMPOSITION:

  1. Emails should be short and to the point, otherwise you’re just perpetuating the system
  2. Leave the subject line until you have completed your email, and be sure to label it with the most accurate subject title
  3. Leave white space so that your recipient can easily scan to the items which they are most interested in
  4. Be clear on the purpose of the email, and what you are expecting in return (if anything)
  5. Avoid CC-ing the whole world, keep it on a need to know basis only
  6. Proof-read your email before sending, including checking you’ve attached everything and labelled it with the right recipient.

    Sick of wasting time emailing your accountant – only for them to ignore you? Why not experience the Nurture difference, with support you can access when it suits you.

    Employer Guide to Christmas – Part 2

    Employer Guide to Christmas – Part 2

    Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is deductions!

    Okay, so we don’t have to be Santa to know what’s on every business owners list this year – deductions.

    Each Christmas business owners big and small ask us what they can deduct from work Christmas parties and gifts. Sound like a question you have? We thought so, keep reading!

    So here’s what you need to know.

    FBT

    FBT stands for Fringe Benefits Tax and it’s important to understand that there is no independent fringe benefits tax (FBT) category for Christmas parties. However, certain aspects of your Christmas party may be exempt from FBT if they can pass as a minor and infrequent benefit.

    A minor benefit is defined by the ATO as a benefit that is ‘less than $300 in notional taxable value’ and ‘unreasonable to treat as a fringe benefit’. Under this definition, you may be eligible for relief from FBT as long as the cost per head does not exceed $300. To calculate this simply divide the total cost of the party by the number of attendees.

    “Always remember that if an item is exempt from FBT then it is not tax deductible nor can you claim the GST credits.”

    Gifts

    The $300 limit also applies to Christmas gifts you provide to your staff however the deductibility and GST treatment is based on whether the gift is “entertainment” or “non-entertainment”. To get the best outcome we recommend providing “non-entertainment” gifts (e.g. skincare & beauty products, flowers, wine, perfumes, gift vouchers and hampers) costing less than $300 and you will be able to claim a tax deduction plus claim the GST.

    Deductibility

    For the entire cost of a Christmas party to be a deductible expense the Christmas party must meet the following criteria:

    • Held on your business premises
    • Held on a working day
    • Held for current employees, volunteers, customers, and suppliers only
    • No alcohol
    • Only finger food or a light meal provided
    • No employee associates (e.g. spouses, children, etc.) present

    If a Christmas party includes any of the following elements, the entire cost in non-deductible:

    • Alcohol is served
    • Employee associates (e.g. spouses, children, etc.) attending
    • Held at a location other than your business premises

    The Christmas Deduction Wrap-up

    In summary, you can avoid FBT during the festive season by keeping the per head costs below $300 but the expenditure will be non-deductible entertainment.

    Some may argue that ensuring your Christmas party is tax deductible by complying with the above criteria is not in the best interests of staff moral and certainly not inductive to building strong relationships and fostering a positive work culture within your business.

    Wanting Jingle Bells to sound more like Jingle Coins? Sounds like you need a good accountant! Speak to Nurture about Christmas Deductions Today!

    Employer Guide to Christmas – Part 1

    Employer Guide to Christmas – Part 1

    Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is well-planned payroll!

    As a business owner, it often feels once November hits, time just flies and before you know it, you are locking the doors for Christmas. Among the talk of parties, and which in-laws you are having to spend Christmas with, there are many things that must be planned when it comes to payroll for your staff.
    Here are a few points to consider which may help you in preparation for the silly season.

    Awards check

    Check the relevant Award your team fall under. Some Awards state that annual leave cannot be deducted for the non-public holidays your business is closed for. Most of the Awards state that annual leave can be deducted when adequate notice is given to employees. It is imperative that the Award is followed and that you are familiar with the rules.

    Did you know that some Awards state that annual leave cannot be deducted for the non-public holidays your business is closed for?

    Calendar check

    Whilst it may sound basic, have a calendar in front of you and look at when the public holidays fall. Highlight what would be the normal days for payroll to be paid. You may choose to prepay before the Christmas break, or schedule the payments to be transferred during your closure. A little bit of planning can ease the stress.

    Christmas bonus check

    Take a look at the numbers. Whether you are shutting shop for a few days, or just closing for the public holidays, a little bit of a reward can go a long way. Perhaps you have new employees with minimal annual leave accrued or casual employees with no entitlements to be paid public holidays.

    Consider paying your team for what would be the two normal working days between Christmas and New Years Day. These dollars may be a small amount to pay, yet be very rewarding, increasing productivity and motivation.

    The Christmas Payroll Wrap-up

    In summary, Christmas is stressful enough as it is, especially for small businesses trying to keep their books balanced during the slow-down period. By planning ahead, employers can gain some much needed control over their ghosts of Christmas payroll’s past. They can also ensure their employees come back happy, rested and with enough spare change in their pocket that they’re willing to work as hard as ever in the new year.

    We wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!

    Wanting Jingle Bells to sound more like Jingle Coins? Sounds like you need a good accountant! Speak to Nurture about Christmas Payroll Management Today!

    Small Business winter is coming

    Small Business winter is coming

    The cold weather may be making its way (finally) out of our lives, but the fact of the matter is that this time of year can be one of the hardest for small businesses to survive. Just when we thought there wasn’t enough to deal with as a small business, here comes the after mid-year slump. It’s important to realise that our ability as small business owners to increase profit doesn’t simply rely upon the quantity of sales or price of sales. It is also greatly dependant on your expenses and the spending you’re left with at the end of the month. Of course, there are plenty of ways to cut corners, but let’s focus on the ways you can do so without affecting your business’ efficacy or productivity. Here’s a few tips to warm your business soul as you suffer through this spring slump.

    TIME TO GO BUSH WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR EMPLOYEES

    When trying to decrease operating costs, the first thing you may wish to do is start hiring remote workers. Sure, the stigma may be that only ‘digital’ businesses can do this. However, it may be surprising how many tasks can be achieved by someone only a few towns over, or perhaps even ‘out bush’. Combine this with not having to rent a large office space or pay for things like electricity and someone’s morning tea. You’ll quickly find a hidden stash of money you’re not having to spend. It also means you have the ability to search within a much larger talent pool for the best workers.

    IF YOU’RE NOT PAYING ONLINE, YOU’RE LIVING IN THE DARK AGES

    It may seem simple in today’s digital world to suggest you pay your bills online instead of in line. Did you know that it costs a small business between $12 and $30 in costs to pay for a single bill? In contrast to this, paying online means fewer missed bills and more time saved. If you have the ability to automate a whole heap of your bills as well with direct debit – why not take advantage of this. The amount of time you save not having to pay bills will also save you money – winning!

    GET YOUR BARTER ON

    Sometimes it’s very tempting to not make the situation awkward, by not asking any of your suppliers, or even your landlord, if they can do you a better deal. Well it’s time to get down and dirty so that your business can be more sustainable in the long run. Think about the fact that if your supplier is doing an average of 10 hours a week work for you. If they’re willing to lower their rate by just $10, that’s already $5,200 a year you’re saving.

    BULK BUY LIKE IT’S ARMAGEDDON

    Well we did say that winter was coming. So why not stock up on all of the items you’re always going to need more of. This could be your most sold products, most used tools, or perhaps is as simple as toilet paper and tissues. There’s a lot to be said for buying items when there is money to spare and therefore making a saving. Versus leaving it until the last minute and having to buy the more expensive version.

    LISTS ARE FOR LOOSE CHANGE

    Yes, this step is the most boring, and the least often task a small business embarks upon. When it comes to stretching every dollar to its maximum capacity, it’s important to write down all your business costs. This may be something as simple as the amount spent on coffees out of the office. You may think it’s not going to save you very much, but then be pleasantly surprised when the process leads to finding a subscription you’d completely forgotten about – leaving more money for the essentials. If you’re not sure about cancelling a service – best to attempt going without and see if you miss it.

    Hopefully these few tips can act as your winter woollies against the iciness of the coming business dip. Be sure to also stock up on comfort food and caffeine to make the long nights at work more bearable. Alternately, if you’re sick of barely surviving month to month, why not book in for a business advice session with one of our awesome team? We’re accountants who just happen to know a bunch about business, and we’d love to help you grow. Call me for a chat any time!

     

    LISA – 07 3491 3458 – LISA@NURTUREACCOUNTING.COM.AU
    Decluttering Work

    Decluttering Work

    Work Smarter

    Most people work hard every day, are committed and perform well – but do not work smart.

    This is because most people, regardless of education level, have never been taught how to work. Instead, they have developed work habits that are not the most efficient and effective ones.

    We are not born naturally effective, although in my research there are studies that show some have a default setting enabling them to ignore the chaos and just get on with it. The rest, however, must learn the principles and practice them until they become habits.

    I hear constantly from my team and clients that one of their biggest frustrations is finding themselves at the end of each day having worked hard on a lot of small crises but having not had the time to focus on any of their big-ticket items. They appear to be extremely busy and stressed but in reality, have not done much at all. If this is you, then it’s time for a change.

    The impact of our lack of efficiency and effectiveness does not stop in the workplace. When I talk to people about what they would like to do if they were more in control of their time, most of the items are personal. Common responses are:

    • Come home earlier to see my kids
    • Have more time to look after my health
    • Avoid bringing my work stress home
    • Avoid waking up at night thinking about what I forgot to do

    I find it interesting that none of these reasons for wanting to be more productive are profit or business result driven. As workers I believe that our general goal is to get our work done so we can spend time doing other things. If you are struggling with motivation, make the change personal not business related.

    There are two steps to making a change:

    1. Own it – realise and take note of inefficiencies & ineffective practices
    2. Fix it – work on simple ways to improve performance and work life balance by challenging work habit
    EFFICIENCY VS EFFECTIVENESS

    Efficiency – doing things right (how)
    Effectiveness – doing the right things (what)

    WHERE TO START? – GET ORGANISED

    There is so much literature and media showing different methods to ‘declutter’ and organise your personal items. For someone like myself these are a nightmare to read and watch. The copious number of items these people have is just mind boggling and no organising system is going to sort out the behaviour behind this type of clutter. They need a therapist, not little boxes.

    A close friend suggested I write about how to minimalize, considering my place looks like we have just been robbed! The book wouldn’t be very long – declutter (donate or dump) and then don’t accumulate more things. If you need to buy products to help you organise (boxes, storage items etc) you have too many things.

    I am aware that this is a very simplistic view and I can hear all the ‘what about my kids’ artwork from 7 years ago’ and other comments coming but it is just that simple.

    Moving on, lets focus on decluttering the workplace.

    A cluttered desk and Inbox, a cluttered mind

    My desk has a phone, computer peripherals, lined notepad, water bottle and my pencil case. No trays, no work from months ago or random stationery you use once a blue moon. Admittedly, we are a paperless office, so I rarely have client files or documents on my desk as they are scanned into the system. Because of this I have multiple screens. If you have something electronic don’t print it, learn to utilise multiple screens. Try and get through your workday with a little less of a footprint on our amazing planet. Is that report that important? I bet you printed it and binned it in the same day. I can empathise as a ‘40 something’ how adjusting to not having paper is difficult. When we started our working lives, it was all paper based – but seriously, just get with the times and move on.

    Having a clean desk policy not only makes your work environment look nice it helps you remain focused on the tasks in front of you. The same policy goes for having 50 windows open or a drive overloaded with documents.

    Get into the habit of setting up your physical and electronic environment to be inducive for productivity.

    Electronic Filing Mayhem?

    Your electronic filing system should be so logical and make sense for you and your business, that it will be easy to respect and maintain. Your filing system should relate to how you see your role and the different hats you wear in your job.

    Be honest Will I need it?

    Be ruthless When was the last time I used it? What is the worst thing that can happen if I throw it out?

    Be smart Can I find it easily somewhere else?

    When naming a soft document, give it a label so clear and simple that you don’t have to open the document to know exactly what is inside. Also, consider that you may need to use the explorer search feature in the future, so don’t label 100 documents ‘client workpapers’ use the clients name and year as well.

    If you are an employee or in a position where you are not in control of the electronic filing system in your workplace and it is inefficient, be the one to instigate change. I guarantee you that there will be countless others that feel the same way, but no one is bothered to do anything about it. Make it your project!

    Also, keep in mind these types of changes take an investment of time and energy. At Nurture, the transition to paperless (which was my baby a few years ago) took a good 4 months of my time standing in the filing room opening and sorted every single client paper file. My staff supported me with the archiving and scanning yes, but I touched and decided on every piece of paper. This was tough, not only was I riddled with papercuts, but I felt very unproductive. Skip forward to now, we don’t generate or create the paper in the first place and will never have to go through this process again. We have less risk of losing documents, spend less time locating documents and have less storage requirements (two spare rooms to be exact).

    THE BIG THREE TIMEWASTERS

    TIME WASTER #1 – MANAGING WORKFLOW

    Stress is not linked to the amount of work we have.

    Stress is linked to the way you manage your workload.

    5 Minute Rule

    The 5 Minute Rule (sometimes referred to as the One Touch One Decision Rule) is a workflow method I personally use on a day to day basis at work and at home. This is a method that not only is easy to implement but can have a significant impact on your productivity and stress levels almost immediately.

    If you can practise this principle until it becomes second nature this will be extremely valuable.

    The logic is simple:
    You need to make a decision as soon as you touch an email or a document or think about an idea. It does not mean you need to do it, you just need to decide what you will do and when.

    Less than 5minutes? Do it immediately.

    More than 5minutes? Decide when you will do it and schedule. Estimate amount of time you will need, go into your calendar, task app or notebook and schedule the tasks for a specific date and time.

    Once you have decided to do it now or schedule it now, remove the email/piece of paper and advise the person of your intention (quick response with your timeframe can stop future headaches).

    Make the decision and either delete or file the document. The only items in your inbox or in-tray, should be items you have not yet applied this rule to.

    When you arrive home do you check the letterbox, open the letter, read it and then put it back in the letterbox thinking ‘I’ll deal with this later’ no!

    TIME WASTER #2 – LACK OF FOCUS

    It is important to take notice of the difference between interruption and distractions.

    Interruption is caused by someone else and distraction is caused by you.

    Reduce interruptions:

    YOU decide. Ask the person to come back later or make a time to go through things with them. Start a list (batch communication). Daily, weekly or monthly set up calendar items and add items to the meeting during that time.

    Create non-interrupted time:

    If you are working on a key project or doing something which will have a high impact on your business, turn off your phones, close your inbox and focus.

    Reduce Distractions:

    1. Capture/write it down.

    We start to work on something and suddenly remember a phone call we have to do. We either make the call and completely break our focus or decide to do it later and keep the idea playing in the back of our mind.

    As soon as you think about something you need to do, simply write it down. Don’t let the thought go back into your subconscious. Use a mini notebook you carry everywhere or an app in your phone. On a daily basis, review your list while in your office. Apply the 5-minute rule.

    2. Clean desk policy

    Outlook is a much better task manager than your desk. Your desk doesn’t tell you when to do something and how long it will take.

    Apply the 5-minute rule to your incoming work and remove.

    TIME WASTER #3 – INEFFECTIVE MEETINGS

    Eliminate unnecessary meetings. You need to be protective of your time and carefully select the meetings you will accept.

    Assess the right amount of time required. We so often book one-hour meetings when they are not required.

    Have an agenda and stick to it.

    After a meeting make sure you take five minutes to plan your next steps so everyone knows what they are doing. Remember the 5minute rule.

    HOMEWORK!

    Be honest with yourself – Write down which time wasters are the most applicable to you.

    You can do this for home and for work. Identify the biggest 2 or 3. Once you are clear on this, write down what do you need to do to improve. Improvement does not need to be complex. Simple strategies often get big results. In 21 days’, time, see how you are going and if you notice changes to you stress and productivity.

    If not, then go back and review the strategies and perhaps what is stopping you from improving. Make sure that you inform those around you of your intentions, colleagues, friends and family. Having support is the key to making any changes to behaviour. Good Luck!!

    Need help with your business? Speak to the team at Nurture Accounting