Powerline - Summer 2019

As I was wondering what to write for the final newsletter of our 50th year, I thought I would look at what was trending on Google. After smoke, water restrictions,  England V New Zealand, and Matthew McConaughey (who knew!!), the word resilience came up (interesting that, for 2018, it was World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Meghan Markle).

Resilience is a word that is being used a lot, but what does it mean?  Resilience is a person’s mental ability to recover quickly from misfortune, illness, or depression. Having resilience allows people to develop a mental capacity that permits them to adapt with ease during adversity.  Resilience is about self-care, being mindful and self-aware, and having positive relationships and purpose.

Leading up to Christmas and 2020 (which in itself can be a challenging time for some) while also dealing with some of the devastating effects of the drought and recent fires is tough, and we need to build resilience.  Tips for how we can do this include:

  • Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems
  • Accept that change is a part of living
  • Move toward your goals
  • Take decisive actions
  • Look for opportunities for yourself
  • Nurture a positive view of yourself
  • Keep things in perspective
  • Maintain a positive outlook
  • Surround yourself with family, friends and community
  • Look after your physical health

Think of the positive things that have happened this year, and how 2020 will be even greater.  Remember the Power Tynan team is here to help in many ways - we are here as your support network, so please give us a call whenever you need.

We also have our Employee Assistance Program in place that is now also open to our clients (details below), so please take advantage of this offer if you need to talk to someone.

Thanks for being a part of our 50th year and for helping to make 2019 the year it was. The Power Tynan team wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year!

At Power Tynan, we have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place through Acacia. This is a confidential counselling service to help all employees deal with personal or work related issues in a positive way, to assist in overcoming life’s challenges and return to a better state of emotional well-being.

Given the extremely difficult circumstances many of our clients are facing in relation to the drought and recent bushfires, we have spoken to Acacia to offer these services to our clients as well.

If you wish to use this service, you can book online via www.acaciaconnection.com or call 1300 364 273, and please quote the code 3871OSR. 

Alternatively, our team members are able to arrange for someone from Acacia to contact you at a time that suits you best - just let us know.

 

From 1st November, an estimated 2.6 million Australians could find a welcome gift from the ATO in either their bank account or superannuation account, thanks to some new changes to superannuation laws.

Designed to reunite people with their lost super, the changes mean people with inactive super accounts with balances of less than $6,000 can have that balance automatically transferred by the ATO into their active super account.

If the balance is less than $200, that sum will automatically be sent to their bank account, and if a person is aged over 65, the cash will be sent to their bank account regardless of the total.

For further information, visit the ATO website: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/In-detail/Growing-your-super/Inactive-low-balance-super-accounts/

 
 
 

From 31 March 2020, AUSkeys will officially be decommissioned as part of the Australian Government's ongoing commitment to security.

Together, myGovID and RAM will replace AUSkey to provide a quick, easy and secure way for you to prove who you are when you access selected government online services.

For further information, please refer to the fact sheet below or visit the ATO website: https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Business-bulletins-newsroom/General/AUSkey-replacement-coming

In early November, the Government announced it will provide concessional “drought loans” for small businesses dependent on agriculture, as well as improving the terms of loans under the existing scheme for farmers.

The business drought loans will be up to $500,000 per business, with a small business defined as one with 19 or fewer employees. The loans will include a two year interest free period and interest only payments for years three to five, with interest and principal repayments in years six to ten.

For further information, visit https://theconversation.com/government-sets-up-concessional-loan-scheme-for-drought-hit-small-businesses-126529

 

The countdown to Christmas is now on and we’re in the midst of the headlong rush to get everything done and capitalise on any remaining opportunities before the Christmas lull. Busy period or not, Christmas causes a period of dislocation and volatility for most businesses. This dislocation and volatility mean that it is not ‘business as usual’ and for many businesses, it is the change that causes the problem.

Most business owners cope well with consistent trading conditions, where trading and business conditions are predictable as are the solutions to issues that arise, but it is a different story during periods of disruption. Here are some things to watch out for:

1. Ho, Ho, No. The trading stock headache.

If business activity spikes over the Christmas period and you sell goods, then there is a temptation to increase stock levels. That makes sense as long as you don’t go too far. Too much stock post the Christmas period and you will either be carrying product that is out of season or you will have too much cash tied up in trading stock. Try to work with suppliers who can supply on short notice. Better yet, see if some of your suppliers will supply you on consignment where you only pay them once the stock is sold. It might be better to miss a few sales than carry a trading stock headache into the New Year.

Managing your trading stock is not just about managing cost, consumers will go online if they cannot find what they need in store. Some savvy retailers are capitalising on this with opportunities to purchase online while instore if stock is not available or providing free shipping codes.

2. The discounting trend

Consumers now expect a bargain and can generally find one. The attraction of the Black Friday sales is that stock is generally available. Those waiting for bargains in the week immediately prior to Christmas, can only choose from what’s left.

If you choose to discount stock (or the market forces you to), it’s essential to know your profit margins to determine what you can afford to give away. A business with a 30% gross profit margin that offers a 25% discount (certainly nothing unusual about that in today’s market) needs a 500% increase in sales volume simply to maintain the same position. The result generally is that often businesses trade below their breakeven point and generate losses. So, think carefully about your strategy and what you can sustain.

3. The Christmas cost hangover

Costs tend to go up over Christmas. More staff, leave costs, downtime from non-trading days, as well as increased promotional costs all mean that the cost of doing business increases. Keep an eye on them. It’s great to get into the Christmas spirit as long as you don’t end up with a New Year hangover.

Many businesses also bring on casual staff. It’s essential that you pay staff at the correct rates and meet your Superannuation Guarantee obligations.  Under the Retail Award, the rate for adult casuals (21 and over) start at $26.76. There is also a 3 hour shift minimum for all casuals regardless of whether you send them home early. Check the pay calculator to find the correct rates.

4. New Year cash flow crunch

The New Year often leads into a quieter trading and tighter cash flow period. The March quarter tends to be the toughest cash flow quarter of the year. You will need a cash buffer going into the New Year. Don’t over commit yourself in the run up to year end and end up in trouble in the New Year.

5. Take a lesson from Scrooge

If you work with account customers, start your debtor follow up now. If your customers are under any cash flow pressures, the Christmas period will only increase that pressure. The creditors who chase hard and early will get paid first. Don’t be the last supplier on the list; the bucket may be empty by then.

Christmas is a great time of year. Just don’t get caught up in the rush and let things get out of control.

 

The Salvation Army is working together with St Vincent de Paul Society to deliver the Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI) for eligible drought affected households, commencing Monday 25th November.

If you're a farmer, farm worker or farm supplier/contractor who is struggling financially because of the drought, you may be entitled to receive a one-off payment of up to $3,000 funded by the Australian Government’s Drought Community Support Initiative Round 2 (DCSI).

To be eligible you'll need to be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and live/work in a specified Local Government Area (LGA).

Payments can cover numerous expenses such as groceries, vehicle maintenance, energy & utility bills, health & medical expenses.

Please note that assistance might be provided by either The Salvation Army or Vinnies, depending on your Local Government Area (LGA).

To apply, please visit https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/need-help/disaster-relief-and-support/drought-community-support-initiative/#

 
 

Amendments have been made to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to provide protections for gift card consumers across Australia. These national changes apply to gift cards supplied to consumers on or after 1 November 2019.

Cards and vouchers sold before 1 November 2019 continue to have the same expiry period and applicable fees as at the time of purchase.

Fundamentals of gift card legislation

With some exclusions, the fundamental changes relating to gift cards sold on or after 1 November 2019 are:

  • a minimum three year expiry period for gift cards;
  • gift cards must display expiry dates; and
  • most post purchase fees on gift cards are banned.

Three-year minimum expiry period

The new legislation requires most gift cards or vouchers be sold with a mandatory minimum expiry period of three years.

The three year requirement does not apply to gift cards that are:

  • able to be reloaded or topped up
  • for a good or service available for a limited time where the card or voucher expires at the end of that period (eg. entry to a concert or museum exhibition)
  • supplied to a purchaser of goods or services as part of a temporary marketing promotion (eg. a wine voucher valid for one month that is mailed to a consumer as a free bonus with a purchased item and was not part of the purchase offer)
  • donated free of charge for promotional purposes (eg. a local shopping centre has a one-day marketing promotion where each visitor to the centre on that day is handed a $20 gift card that is valid for use at any store in the centre for that day only)
  • sold for a particular good or service at a genuine discount (e.g. $50 card for salon service valued at $100)
  • supplied as part of an employee rewards program
  • given as a bonus in connection with a purchase of a good or service for use in the same business (customer loyalty programs)
  • second-hand gift cards.
  • part of a temporary marketing promotion (e.g. customers buy a certain product from Business A, which provides a $50 voucher to use at Business B)

The period begins from the date a gift card is sold to a consumer. Businesses can choose to apply an expiry period longer than three years, and no maximum expiry period applies.

Expiry details must displayed on cards

Gift cards must prominently display the expiry date as either the full date or as a period of time. For example:

  • Supply date: March 2020. This card will expire in 3 years
  • This card expires 5 years after supply. Supply date 15/8/20
  • Valid for 3 years from 11/19

If the expiry date is shown as a period of time, it must also include the date it was supplied or purchased so the expiry date can be determined.

A gift card must also state if there is no expiry date.

Ban on post-purchase fees

Once a gift card has been issued, there is a ban on charging any post-purchase fee, including:

  • activation fees
  • account keeping fees
  • balance enquiry fees

The ban does not cover fees that a business can charge as part of a sale to cover the cost of processing a payment. Post purchase fees do not include:

  • overseas transaction fees
  • booking fees
  • payment surcharge fees
  • fees charged for the reissue of a lost, stolen or damaged card

Businesses are able to charge an upfront fee when a consumer purchases a gift card.

Preparing for the changes

In readiness for the changes, businesses should:

  • update gift card terms and conditions on their website and other promotional material, including on physical gift cards 
  • update internal systems, training and compliance manuals
  • place signage on gift card displays and at the point of sale
  • make note of the changes on any receipt issued when a gift card is purchased.

After 1 November 2019, if terms and conditions of a gift card do not comply with the new legislation, they will be void and the new requirements will be applied regardless of what is written on the gift card.

Penalties for non-compliance

A breach of the laws could attract a $30,000 fine in the case of a body corporate, or $6,000 for individuals.

In addition, the ACCC has the ability to impose infringement notices. Each infringement notice is 55 penalty units (currently $11,500) for a body corporate and 11 units (currently $2,420) for persons other than a body corporate.

More information

Further information can be found in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Gift Cards) Act 2018 and the Explanatory Statement to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Gift Card) Regulations 2018. The regulations set out exemptions to the arrangements and a small list of allowable post-purchase fees.

 

Recently the Power Tynan Charitable Trust presented Granite Belt Drought Assist with a cheque for $3,000, just in time for Christmas.

Granite Belt Drought Assist offers immediate and practical help to the residents of the Granite Belt who are enduring droughtandthe after effects of the recent bushfires.

To make a donation, or for further information on how you can assist, please visit https://www.gbdagroup.org.au/ 

 
 
 

Recently the Palaszczuk Government passed legislation to establish a part-day public holiday on Christmas Eve, starting this year.

The Holidays and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 was passed by the Queensland Parliament, making amendments to legislation for a part-day public holiday for six hours from 6pm on Christmas Eve.

To read the official media statement, please visit http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2019/11/27/christmas-eve-partday-public-holiday-becomes-a-reality

If you require any assistance in determining whether this announcement affects you and your employees, please contact our office.

 

The ATO has provided relief from lodgement compliance and payment obligations for those impacted by the bushfires. An automatic two month deferral for activity statements lodgements and payments due has been provided to those in affected postcodes (visit https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-with-disasters/In-detail/Specific-disasters/Bushfires-November-2019/#impactedpostcodes).

Taxpayers can also call the ATO directly to request further assistance, such as requesting extra time to manage tax debt or lodgements, help finding lost documentation such as Tax File Numbers, reconstructing tax documentation, fast tracking refunds, interest free periods, and remittance of penalties or interest charged during the crisis.

Business Development for GP’s

Our CEO Amanda Kenafake recently presented the Business Planning & Strategy session as part of the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN and Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise's Business Development for GP's Series.

Today’s business environment is that of constant change, volatility and competitive pressures. This "learn through doing" workshop provided attendees with a clear picture of how to develop a "living and breathing" documented business plan, to guide future business direction and provide clarity on strategies and actions.

 

 

League of Lemons Rally

This year, PT proudly sponsored the League of Lemons Rally.

The League of Lemons Rally is an annual charity drive from Weipa to the tip of Cape York via the Old Telegraph Track, in ‘Lemons’ worth no more than $2,000.

 

In 2019, the League will be raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Weipa Community Care.

To find out more, visit https://www.facebook.com/Theleagueoflemons/

Movember

For the month of November, a few of the PT lads sprouted a mo to raise funds and awareness for men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide.

Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men.

As part of the Movember festivities, we handed out some awards:

  • Mr Movember (best mo): Stan Moffatt
  • Miss Movember (worst mo): Damon Goodwin
  • Mo of the People (best fundraiser): Ben Tansky

The PT Mo Bros have raised a total of $1,420, but it’s not too late to donate! Please visit https://moteam.co/pt-mo-bros

 

Swing to Success: Future Leaders Golf Day

Power Tynan sponsored the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce Future Leaders Golf Day, held at Middle Ridge Golf Club on Thursday 21st November.

Thanks to Pete and Damo who represented PT out on the green (not sure how well!)

 

 

And that's a wrap for the PT team!

Our Roma office will be closed from 5pm Friday 13th December, with our Stanthorpe and Toowoomba offices closing from 5pm on Thursday 19th December, all re-opening at 8:30am on Monday 6th January.

We wish you & your loved ones a Merry Christmas, and a safe & happy New Year!