Selling online?

Flor- Hanly - Monday, September 21, 2020

Here’s why you need an accountant if you're selling online

Going online is a great opportunity for small businesses. It can help expand their offering and grow their customer base (including their international reach). However, setting up a successful ecommerce platform comes with its own challenges. 

With many businesses still closed and everyone spending more time online, it’s no surprise that there’s been an explosion in demand for online shopping. 

It’s essential to have your financial house in order before you start expanding into new areas. It’s also vital to implement best practices from the beginning of your ecommerce journey to avoid headaches down the line. Fortunately, accountants can offer expert guidance through the world of digital sales. 

Breaking down reports

If you don’t know your numbers, you’re flying blind – but Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and other online sales platforms all use vastly different reporting methods. If you’re using multiple platforms, this can quickly become tricky to manage. Fortunately, accountants can interpret the various reports and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

It’s vital that ecommerce businesses understand the options available for reporting provided by the various selling platforms to obtain correct information. For example, there are so many different Amazon reports. An accountant specialising in ecommerce can make sure that you’re using the right one.

Management reporting is essential for any business launching in a new industry. Financial reporting allows you to view the areas of your business that are profitable and make relevant business decisions. eCommerce is fast-moving and requires sellers to quickly adapt to remain profitable. Entrepreneurs require transparency and easy access to their accounts so they can make quick business decisions.

Juggling tax regulations and legislative changes

eCommerce business leaders have the luxury of storing and sending goods from wherever they like. That can mean keeping costs down, faster delivery times or boosting supplier relationships. However, there are hidden tax implications to where you choose to store your stock if you’re selling in multiple countries. 

Choosing an accountant with a sound knowledge of currency, import and export rules, and the compliance issues around that are vital for ecommerce businesses.

Currency conundrums

One significant benefit of ecommerce is the ability to sell globally. However, this means that foreign income needs to be considered. While losing amounts to currency transactions can seem minor at the time, these losses can quickly add up. Accountants are in the best position to advise on ways to minimise exchange losses.

Setting up a currency account will enable you to hold funds in a certain currency and then make relevant payments in that currency also, meaning no exchange into your domestic currency needs to take place. 

Bring on an accountant

Expanding your business onto an ecommerce platform is a great opportunity. It’s important to work with accountants like Flor-Hanly who understand online sales and cross-border tax implications to help you avoid any pitfalls along the way. Call our team in Mackay on 07 4963 4800.

Source: Xero


Grant to realise ag ideas from young rural innovators

Flor- Hanly - Monday, September 14, 2020

2021 Science and Innovation Awards

Applications close 5pm AEST Friday 2 October 2020.

Grant applications are now open for the 2021 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. If you’re 18-35 and want to make a difference in agriculture, this is your chance to apply for a grant of up to $22,000 to fund your project that will benefit Australia’s primary industries. 

The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, has launched the 2021 Awards – read more here.

The Science Awards encourage young scientists, researchers, innovators, farmers, fishers, foresters, extension officers, industry advisers and others actively engaged in the agriculture sector who have an original and innovative project that will contribute to the ongoing success and sustainability of Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.  The Science Awards have already helped 261 young Australians make their ideas a reality and showcase their talent to the world.

There are ten industry Science Award categories open for applications: biosecurity and digital innovation; cotton; eggs and poultry (layers); forest and wood products; grains; horticulture; meat and livestock; red meat processing; viticulture and oenology; and wool. Each category includes a $22,000 grant, and is generously supported by the research and development corporations and industry organisations as our Science Award partners.

Winners of the industry category Science Awards are then invited to apply for the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management’s Award, which provides additional funding for an extended research project.

Interested in how you can make a difference for agriculture? Here are the next steps:

Need support or advice? Contact the team at Flor-Hanly in Mackay on 07 4963 4800.

Source: Dept of Agriculture, Water and the Environment ABARES


SMEA Digital Transformation Grant

Flor- Hanly - Monday, September 07, 2020

Grant can help you reach more customers online

Many small businesses lack the technical resources to thrive in the competitive digital sphere – especially during a recession.

The SMEA Digital Transformation Grant supports your online marketing goals, using the best tools available. Successful applicants run a targeted three-month digital campaign with an award-winning Australian agency.

Grant Eligibility

Does your business tick all these boxes?

  1. Small business based in Australia and registered for GST.
  2. Less than 15 staff.
  3. A turnover of $3 million or less in the last financial year.
  4. You’ve declared if any business owners or directors are undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.

Successful applicants can expect this financial support:

  • A 50% funding contribution of up to $10,000 (excluding GST) for a project worth $20,000
  • The minimum matching contribution is $1,500 for a $3,000 project

The Digital Transformation Grant can be used for:

  • Setting up a CRM system
  • Setting up marketing automation
  • Website updates
  • Online reputation
  • SEO services
  • Paid Marketing Services (excludes paid media spend)

Ready to apply for the digital transformation grant? Visit or call the team at Flor-Hanly in Mackay on 07 4963 4800 for assistance with your application.


JobKeeper extension

Flor- Hanly - Monday, August 31, 2020

The government has extended the JobKeeper Payment scheme

Changes from 14 August 2020 mean:

Further changes, once legislated, will take effect from 28 September 2020. For more information on those changes, visit the Treasury website and read JobKeeper extensionExternal Link.

Key points:

  • From 3 August, the eligible employee test has been extended to include individuals who were employed on 1 July 2020 and are not currently nominated for JobKeeper by another entity, see Eligible employees.
  • For the fortnights commencing on 3 and 17 August 2020 only, the ATO is allowing employers until 31 August 2020 to meet the wage condition for all new eligible employees included in the JobKeeper scheme under the 1 July eligibility test.
  • On 21 July, the government announced proposed changes to JobKeeper including an extension through to 28 March 2021. These changes do not impact JobKeeper payments until after 28 September 2020.
  • You can enrol for the JobKeeper Payment until the program closes if your circumstances have changed (eg Victorian businesses closed due to restrictions). Check if you are eligible at Enrol for JobKeeper.

The ATO regularly updates their JobKeeper information. For a summary of changes please see their JobKeeper timeline of content updates or call the team at Flor-Hanly in Mackay on 07 4963 4800.

Source: ATO


Taxable payments annual report (TPAR) reminder

Flor- Hanly - Monday, August 24, 2020

COVID-19 business changes and TPAR

You may need to lodge a Taxable payments annual report (TPAR), under the Taxable payments reporting system (TPRS) by 28 August each year if you pay contractors to provide:

  • building and construction services
  • cleaning services
  • courier, delivery or road freight services
  • information technology (IT) services
  • security, surveillance or investigation services.

If, in response to COVID-19 restrictions your business is offering new or expanded services that include these services, and you pay contractors to provide these services, you also may need to complete a TPAR.

For example, our client may be a restaurant that has delivered meals to their customers during the COVID-19 restrictions. If they charge a delivery fee and engage contractors to deliver on their behalf, they may need to lodge a TPAR. If the restaurant uses their own employees to make the deliveries, they do not need to report payments to employees on a TPAR.

The ATO has resources to help you understand your TPAR obligations, including a series of short webinars for each service sector. The webinars provide a three-step guide on how to prepare, record and report.

Flor-Hanly operates throughout Mackay, Clermont and Central Queensland. Our accounting team works with you to help you determine, focus on and achieve your personal and business goals. Call us on 07 4963 4800.


Changing business structures

Flor- Hanly - Monday, August 17, 2020

Thinking about changing business structures?

If you are looking to sustain or even grow your business, you may need to think about changing your business structure.

There are four main business structures:

  • Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Company
  • Trust.

Each structure has different reporting requirements, so it's important that you understand the obligations for your business type.

In particular, if you change from a sole trader to a company or trust, your business becomes a separate legal entity from you. Make sure you:

  • report income for the correct entity, especially in the year that the structure changes
  • account for private use of business assets, such as the company car
  • keep private expenses separate to business expenses
  • maintain separate business and personal bank accounts.

You must keep records of any decisions you make that affect your tax or super affairs, including if you change business structures.

Remember, as registered tax agents Flor-Hanly can help you with your tax. Call us in Mackay on 07 4963 4800.

Source: ATO


Own a rental? What you need to know this tax time

Flor- Hanly - Monday, July 27, 2020

Reduced rental income

The Australian Taxation Office is aware that residential rental property owners may be concerned about how COVID-19, floods, or bushfires have reduced their income. 

Own a rental? – what you need to know this tax timeThis may be a result of tenants paying less or entering deferred payments plans, or travel restrictions which have affected demand for short-term rental properties. New legislation also affects the tax deductions that owners of vacant land can claim.

Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat explained that whatever the circumstances, the most important first step was to keep records of all expenses. “Without good records, you will find it difficult to declare all your rental-related income in your tax return and work out what expenses you can claim as deductions.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed property owners and tenants in unforeseen circumstances. Many tenants are paying reduced rent or have ceased paying because their income has been adversely affected by COVID-19.

You should include rent as income at the time it is paid, so you only need to declare the rent you have received as income. If payments by your tenants are deferred until the next financial year you do not need to include these payments until you receive them.

While rental income may be reduced, owners will continue to incur normal expenses on their rental property and will still be able to claim these expenses in their tax return as long as the reduced rent charged is determined at arms’ length, having regard to the current market conditions.

This applies whether the reduction in rent was initiated by the tenants or the owner.

Some owners may have rental insurance that covers a loss of income. It is important to remember that any payouts from these types of policies are assessable income and must be included in tax returns.

Many banks have moved to defer loan repayments for stressed mortgagees. In these circumstances, rental property owners are still able to claim interest being charged on the loan as a deduction- even if the bank defers the repayments.

Short-term rentals

In circumstances where COVID-19 or natural disasters have adversely affected demand, including the cancellation of existing bookings for a short-term rental property, deductions are still available provided the property was still genuinely available for rent.

If owners decided to use the property for private purposes, offered the property to family or friends for free, offered the property to others in need or stopped renting the property out they cannot claim deductions in respect of those periods.

To determine the proportion of expenses that can be claimed for short-term rental properties impacted by COVID-19 or bushfires, a reasonable approach is to apportion expenses based on the previous year’s usage pattern, unless you can show it was genuinely available for rent for a longer period of time in 2020.

If you or your family or friends move into the property to live in it because of COVID-19 or bushfires, you need to count this as private use when working out your claims in 2020.

Deductions for vacant land no longer available

For the 2020 year, expenses for holding vacant land are no longer deductible for individuals intending to build a rental property on that land but the property is not yet built. This also applies to land for which you may have been claiming expenses in previous years.
However, this does not apply to land that is used in a business, or if there has been an exceptional circumstance like a fire or flood leading to the land being vacant.

So, if you are building a rental property, you cannot claim the deductions for the costs of holding the land, such as interest. However, if your rental property was destroyed in the bushfires and you are currently rebuilding, you can claim the costs of holding your now vacant land for up to 3 years whilst you rebuild your rental property.

Common Mistakes

Travel to rental properties

Residential property owners can't claim any deductions for costs incurred in travelling to residential rental property unless they are in the rare situation of being in the business of letting rental properties.

Incorrectly claiming loan interest

Taxpayers that take out a loan to purchase a rental property can claim interest (or a portion of the interest) as a tax deduction. However, directing some of the loan money to personal use, such as paying for living expenses, buying a boat, or going on a holiday is not deductible use. The ATO uses data and analytics look closely to ensure that deductions are only claimed on the portion of the loan that relates directly to the rental property.

Capital works and repairs

Repairs or maintenance to restore something that’s broken, damaged or deteriorating in a property you already rent out are deductible immediately. Improvements or renovations are categorised as capital works and are deductible over a number of years.
Initial repairs for damage that existed when the property was purchased can’t be claimed as an immediate deduction but may be claimed over a number of years as a capital works deduction.

Short term rentals

We often see people with short term rental properties claiming for 100% of their expenses when they actually use the property for their own use or provide it to family and friends for free or at a reduced rate. Properties need to be rented out or be genuinely available for rent to claim a deduction.

Factors such as reserving the property or leaving it vacant over peak periods, not charging the market rate and the types of terms and conditions of the bookings are all taken into consideration when deciding if active and genuine efforts are being made to ensure a property is available for rent.

If a property is not genuinely available for rent, you need to limit your deductions to the days when it is.

If you are allowing friends or family to stay in the property at a reduced price, you need to limit your deductions to the amount of rent received for these periods.

Remember to include all your rental income, especially from sharing economy platforms. We are matching data received from these providers to information in tax returns and will be following up discrepancies.

Poor record keeping

The number one cause of the ATO disallowing a claim is taxpayers being unable to produce receipts or other documents to support a claim. Furnishing fraudulent or doctored records will attract higher penalties and may also result in prosecution.

Source: ATO

10 things to know this tax time

Flor- Hanly - Monday, July 20, 2020

Tax time is here 

The ATO has developed a list of important things you need to know this year. 

10 things to know this tax timeThey recognise 2019–20 has been difficult for many. We will provide support where we can and help our clients with information you can use to get things right, to ensure an easier tax time.

  • We have resources you can use to help understand your obligations for example the ATO's Tax Time Toolkits:
  • To reduce the risk of mistakes and amendments to tax returns, wait until your income statements are ‘Tax ready’ before lodging. Pre-fill information should be finalised for most of our clients by the end of July.
  • Employers no longer need to give their employees payment summaries or lodge a payment summary annual report to us for information reported and finalised through Single Touch Payroll (STP). Instead, employees' income statements will be available to them in ATO online services through myGov. 
  • After the last pay event for the financial year, employers need to make a finalisation declaration. They must do this by:
    • 14 July if you have 20 or more employees
    • 31 July if you have 19 or fewer employees.
  • If you receive JobKeeper payments, these are treated as assessable income and will be included in the pre-fill data. If you are a sole trader, you need to include the payments as business income in their tax return.
  • Funds received through the COVID-19 early access to superannuation measure are not assessable income and do not need to be included in a tax return.
  • The cash flow boost amounts are non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income and should be included in your tax return the same way as other NANE income. Employers are still entitled to a deduction for the pay as you go withholding paid.
  • The ATO has introduced an optional shortcut method for employees working from home during COVID-19. Employees can claim 80 cents for each hour they worked from home between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, to cover all deductible expenses.
  • The instant asset write-off threshold increased to $150,000 and eligibility was expanded to cover businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million from 12 March 2020 until 31 December 2020. To claim this tax time, assets must be first used or installed ready for use by 30 June 2020.
  • If you are unable to make a payment by the due date, we can submit a payment-only deferral request form on your behalf until 14 September 2020 for eligible obligations.
Source: ATO

Helping your farm team make the best decisions

Flor- Hanly - Monday, July 13, 2020

Introducing Xero for farming

The farming industry is ever-changing. And with a growing global population, farmers and their resources are feeling the pressure. 

xero figured pay sauceAdvancements in technology have improved the way farmers operate, but have also added layers of complexity. Today, farmers have to be skilled at everything – both on the farm and in the office.

And they can’t do it alone. It takes a team with the right tools to run a great farm. We want to equip farmers with the best technology, so you can take ownership of your farm business and achieve your goals.

That’s why Xero, Figured and PaySauce have come together to offer a fully integrated farming solution for farm owners and operators, and their farming team. Xero for farming is a solution for the whole farming team – from the farmer, to their accountant, banker and consultants.

Working together, this team can bring different perspectives to the table to make better business decisions. We’ve realised the power of bringing together real-time data to form a bigger picture of a business. It’s how we use that data to inform decisions that’s going to continue to make a real difference to farming.

Having a team around you who all have visibility of the accounts means you can figure it out together. Having multiple minds looking at the same thing allows you to identify what’s going well, what’s not, and what needs to be done to head in the right direction. 

How Xero, Figured and PaySauce can help you

Plan ahead with confidence

With accurate, up-to-date data from Xero, farming teams can easily make adjustments when farming conditions change.

Team effort

You, your farming team and your accountant can all input data into the same place. So, there’s less time spent on data entry and collating multiple spreadsheets.

Simple, easy-to-use software

Working online means you don’t have to download information and email it to your accountant. It’s an easier and more efficient way to work, with a user-friendly and intuitive experience.

Save time, get lending and get paid faster

Reduce admin, create invoices and pay bills on time. Plus, allow your financial services access to evidence forecasting in order to secure lending.

Stress-free payday

Ditch the paperwork and confusing calculations with an accurate and efficient payroll system. Digital timesheets, minimum wage top-ups, automated payments and IR filing.

With Xero for farming, farmers can see the complete picture for all their business operations. You can use scenario tools to plan ahead, budget and forecast efficiently and save time on manual data entry. You can also have peace of mind knowing that HR compliance and regulatory requirements are met. Xero, Figured and PaySauce want you to create a more sustainable, profitable business that you can pass on to future generations. 

What does this mean for Flor-Hanly?

Xero for farming enables rural accountants to become a valued contributor to the farmer’s business decisions. This partnership gives our clients data to drive proactive conversations with your farming advisers, so we can talk less about the numbers and more about how you can meet your strategic objectives.

Flor-Hanly Commercial and Agribusiness Accountants in Mackay QLD are Xero Platinum Certified Partners. Call us on 07 4963 4800 for any help with setting up or optimising how you use Xero on your farm or in your business.


Shifting from retail to E-tail post COVID-19

Flor- Hanly - Monday, July 06, 2020

If you sell tangible, non-perishable retail products, you’ve likely been impacted by COVID-19

You’ve probably read about the thousands of businesses shifting their focus to online sales during COVID-19. There is a process that goes into getting your business online. However, it’s not as difficult as you might think – and you’re not too late.

Here are 10 simple steps to help you transition to eCommerce, so when we come out of this, your business can thrive.

NB: While this post is related to retail small businesses in North America, it may not be applicable to all retail small businesses. It may also be applicable to non-retail small businesses. 

Transitioning your business to eCommerce

Today, there are many eCommerce platforms to choose from (Wix, Square Space, Magento, BigCommerce), but in this example, we’ll use Shopify, and assume it’s a small business that sells books locally.

  • The first step to getting online, is opening up an online store. Shopify, one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, is a Xero partner and integrates with Xero through A2X. You can sign up for Shopify, A2X and Xero here.
  • After setup, you’ll want to configure (add) payment processors like Stripe, Square, Apple Pay, Amazon and/or Google, and link them to your bank accounts. Shopify makes this easy and has Apple Pay, Amazon and Google Pay by default. It also allows you to accept credit cards.
  • Next you’ll want to set up shipping. Shopify also has shipping arrangements (i.e. deals) and integration in place. This means you really only have to select from the available options as to what shipping courier you’d like to use.
  • To manage your revenue seamlessly, you’ll want to sync your accounting software with Shopify. Once you’ve signed up for Shopify, A2X and Xero, you can then connect Xero to your store as well as your bank accounts, and you’ll be in sync, financially. Fun fact: Xero offers over 800 integrations from their marketplace – everything you’d need to run your business from CRM to POS, to HR applications.
  • Next, you’ll have to add your products to your store. Shopify offers a great guide with video to help with this.
  • Once your products are online, you’ll need to get the word out. Marketing, and where you decide to market, is very important.
  • Share your story and newly available products with your current customers, ideally within an email campaign (I’d suggest MailChimp for email marketing).
  • Next, go through your personal/professional social network, whether that be Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or any of the others, and share your new products. You can run ads on each network, but choose carefully and base your decision on your target demographic. Alternatively, if you have a limited budget, you can post ‘organically’ (or create ads) on each network and ask your friends to share.
  • CPC ads are a good option if you have the budget – consider Google Adwords to start. You can advertise on all the search engines you desire, or try your hand at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). However, be prepared to produce a lot of content to be relevant.
  • Now you’re ready to sell and start shipping out orders. Using Shopify’s shipping integration, you’ll be able to quickly print shipping labels and simultaneously send tracking to your customers. If you need boxes and packaging, check out Uline.

Take a leaf out of this small business’ book

To give a real world example of a small business quickly shifting to digital, take Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boulder, Colorado for instance. Andrew Hyde, one of the owners, thought up a creative idea to generate revenue during the crisis. He created an online store and listed a product called the ‘Stay At Home Books and Coffee Mystery Bag’, which includes 4-6 randomly-selected books and a package of coffee or tea. He delivers them to local customers within biking distance and ships the others using USPS.

Originally, this was to keep the lights on during the slowest time in Trident’s history. However, it’s turned into a revenue generating wonder. Andrew has even had to hire back three employees that were furloughed to help him. Andrew followed similar steps as above to open his eCommerce store and expand his product offering to the digital world. He also loves Xero. Without his innovative idea and savviness to go digital, Trident may have been in trouble. Instead they’ve avoided closure, which makes many locals happy.

While setting up and running an eCommerce store can be a big task, it’s easier and more important than ever. Simply follow the steps above. Alternatively, there are eCommerce startup guides online if you need a more detailed approach or a second opinion. Good luck!

Flor-Hanly Commercial and Agribusiness Accountants in Mackay QLD are Xero Platinum Certified Partners. Call us on 07 4963 4800 for any help with setting up or optimising how you use Xero in your business.

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