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Cloud technology

Cloud technology – 10 very good reasons to embrace it

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Cloud technology used to be the ‘systems of the future’, but the reality is that the cloud is ‘here and now’, allowing businesses to beef up their data security, streamline their operations and concentrate on growth. How?

The traditional method of managing IT systems is running applications such as accounting, payroll and even word processing applications from software installed on a computer or server located onsite.

Cloud technology, on the other hand, allows you to access the same kind of applications through the internet. Think of it as a host of computers in different locations, secured and working together to allow to access any data that you own at any given time, from any connected device.

Most of us use cloud technology every day. When you update Facebook or Instagram or send an email from your Gmail account, you’re using the cloud. When you use the cloud for work-related tasks, the process is exactly the same. You login securely and perform the tasks that you need to.

Pretty cool right? Cloud computing increases efficiency, helps with cash-flow and offers many more benefits. Here are 10 of the best:

1. Disaster recovery

Your computer hard disk fails, the dog chewed up the external backup and you have lost every single bit of data from leads to stock inventory. You need to pay a technician to recover the data and you then need to invest in a proper backup server, while at the same time trying to salvage your business. It sounds like a nightmare situation, but it is one that happens all too often.

Big business usually has this covered with its own IT Department, but it’s not that easy for smaller businesses. This is where the cloud comes in handy. Cloud technology will backup your data and have it ready in the event that something should go wrong. It can be transferred back to you in a matter of minutes. It is also cost-effective and avoids the need for expensive storage servers and IT experts allowing you to concentrate on growing your business.

 

2. Cloud computing is much cheaper

Using cloud computing services slashes business costs because you do not need to shell out on expensive hardware. You simply pay as you go each month, quarter or financial year and subscribe to a model which fits into your cash-flow revenues.

You also do not have to pay for an IT guru to service and maintain your network and everything will be looked after by the company that you subscribe to. Space is also at a premium, so that’s something to consider too. If you migrate to the cloud, you suddenly have more available floor space.

 

3. Cloud solutions are flexible

Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses which are still in the growth stage, or experience fluctuations in activity, such as those that are seasonal. Using cloud services allows you to scale up or down your activity and save money as a result. The ability to respond to changing business scenarios with agility is the hallmark of a successful enterprise.
 

4. Work from anywhere at any time

With cloud computing, if you’ve got an internet connection you can do work. Most cloud services also offer apps so you can even use your smartphone or a tablet to do what you need to do if you are not at a computer terminal.

Not only can you have more flexibility, but you can also offer flexible hours to your employees so they can enjoy a better work-life balance without an impact on productivity. Studies have shown that on average, workers are willing to take a 6% pay cut in return for working remotely and saving money on commuting.

 

5. Being on the cloud offers security

If you lose your work laptop with all your sensitive data, you are facing a massive problem. Not only have you lost an expensive piece of equipment, you have also lost priceless data.

Cloud computing gives you greater security when this happens. Because your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it no matter what happens to your machine. And you can even remotely wipe data from lost laptops so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

 

6. Document control

The more employees and partners collaborate on documents, the greater the need for document control. Before the cloud, workers sent files back and forth as email attachments to be worked on by one user at a time. Before long, things get messy with people sending the wrong drafts, different formats and different documents on titles. When you make the move to cloud computing, all files are stored centrally and everyone sees one version of them. Greater visibility means improved collaboration, which ultimately means better work and a healthier bottom line. If you’re still relying on the old way, it’s a good time to get more streamlined.

 

7. Automatic software updates

The beauty of cloud technology is that you just don’t have to worry about maintenance. Suppliers take care of it for you and roll out regular software updates – including security updates – leaving you free to focus on the things that matter, like growing your business.

 

8. Increased collaboration

When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to do more together, and do it better. Cloud-based work and file sharing apps help them make updates in real time with full visibility to others.

 

9. Competitiveness

Moving to the cloud gives access to enterprise-class technology, for everyone. It also allows smaller businesses to act faster than big, established competitors. Pay-as-you-go service and cloud business applications mean small outfits can take on big business and disrupt the market while remaining lean and nimble.

 

10. Environmentally friendly

Cloud technology is kinder to the environment too.  When your cloud needs fluctuate, your server capacity scales up and down to fit. So you only use the energy you need and you don’t leave oversized carbon footprints. You also use less paper and you also use less hardware which eventually needs to be disposed of.

 

Not moved to the cloud yet?

Any one of the above benefits will give your business a better position to work from, but when you look at all 10 of them, then the decision should be a no-brainer. Free yourself from clutter, needless tasks, and time-consuming practices and move to the cloud. You will feel the benefits from Day One!

 

 

Futrli – Making better business decisions 

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Futrli is an all in one forecasting and reporting tool for business owners and accountants which allows you to keep your eye on the ball and plan for, you guessed it – the future.

 

Cash flow forecasting

With Futrli, you can create detailed cash flow forecasts in seconds based upon historical business trends over any custom period. You can also build projections from scratch or import existing budgets and turn them intothree-wayy cash flow forecasts. You can model accurately and fast with automated sales tax, creditor, debtor and cash calculations, custom payment terms and split payments.

 

KPI dashboards

With Futurli, you can build tailor-made dashboards either from scratch or from pre-built templates. Futurli lets you create business specific Key Performance Indicators referencing actual, forecast, financial and non-financial data. Include custom formulas and commentary. Live dashboards update actuals automatically and can be shared with clients and colleagues.

 

PDF reporting

You can easily produce PDF reports from existing dashboards, pre-built templates or create your own from scratch with Futrli.The software allows you to customise display with flexible page layouts, charts, table and data options. You can add company logos, executive summaries, commentary and annotate on the charts and tables.

 

Budgeting

With Futrli, you can upload existing budgets, create forecasts from scratch or use historical business trends to quickly and easily generate projections for up to 10 years. You can combine actual and forecast data to monitor business performance versus budget on live dashboards which can be shared with clients and colleagues.

 

Business planning

Futrli also allows you to plot business expansion or model business start-up using advanced, flexible forecasting methods. You can combine actual data to monitor business performance against forecast. You can also export bank ready business plans to PDF and share live versions with investors and stakeholders.

 

Alerts

Futrli’s smart software allows you to monitor key changes in business data with financial, non-financial, KPI and predictive alerts. You can also set warning thresholds and be notified before an alert would trigger, giving you time to adjust. You can also receive notifications in-app or offline via email.

 

Consolidation

With Futrli, you can consolidate and group organisations from any accountancy package, for top-level reporting and forecasting. The tools allow you to maintain financial accuracy with inter-company eliminations. You can also benchmark businesses within the group across any financial metric or KPI.

 

Scenario Modelling

Futrli allows you to explore base scenarios and explore numerous “what-if” permutations by linking multiple scenarios together. You can duplicate any forecast to model projections and visualise to compare possible business outcomes side by side in easy to read dashboards.

 

White Labelling

This tool is specifically designed for advisors. Futrli allows you to style every PDF report, dashboard, forecast and alert with the accountancy firm’s logo and colour. You can also reflect company branding across the entire app with customisable charts, tables, fonts and icons, reached via a tailor-made, branded domain and landing pages.

 

 

Dexterous Employee of the Month

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Cory Macatumpag

At Dexterous, we believe in a peer-based system where our team votes for the employee of the month. The votes for September have been counted and the winner is our highly talented Cory Macatumpag.

Cory is a Certified Public  Accountant with almost 10 years experience across Auditing, Accounting and Finance. Prior to Dexterous, she maintained the books for various audit clients.

She is an accountant who provides efficient management reporting and regular insight in relation to best practice through the simplification of processes and identification of ways to improve processes to ensure our client’s meet and exceed their financial and operational objectives.

Cory is based in the Philippines and has only been with us for nine months, which makes her performance even more impressive.

“What I really enjoy about working with Dexterous is the teamwork and the mentoring by the management to help me drive change and achieve positive work results for personal and professional development. Working remotely has also helped me to have a better work-life balance.”

In her downtime, Cory enjoys reading books, watching her favourite shows and spending time with her family and friends. Congratulations Cory!

Xero announces Projects – A new time and job costing feature

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Xero ProjectsXero’s accounting software developers have just announced a new time and job costing feature to its suite of products called Xero Projects.

Xero Projects is focused on the financial side of project management, integrating with contacts, invoicing, and very shortly bills and bank rec in Xero. You’re able to easily invoice within a project including fixed price, time and materials billing as well as the ability to issue deposits for a project. You’ll also be able to track time, monitor budgets and get insights by running the new projects reports.

Xero has produced this explainer video about Projects.

 

Get your billing right every time with Xero Projects

Track your time, enter expenses and record any deposits against each project so you can accurately bill on time. Cost projects and track budgets with ease.

 

Gain the insights you need to succeed

Monitor project performance with real-time tracking and key insights. Simple reporting gives you the information you need to keep on budget.

 

Enjoy the simplicity and savings of Xero Projects

Get everything you need to manage your project’s financials with one Xero login.  Xero Projects is available at no extra charge through your accountant or bookkeeper until the end of 2017.

From January 2018, an introductory price of AU$7 per month will apply to the first user including all the features and reporting for projects. Additional users can added for AU$7/month per active user. When the introductory period ends an AU$10/month per user rate will apply for the first user and AU$10/month per user rate for each additional active user.

You can find out more and register your interest to access the product here.

 

New features in development for Xero Projects

Xero takes feedback from its clients very seriously and uses it as material for development of features.

Projects is a work in progress and Xero said that over the next few quarters it will implement new features and make improvements based on feedback. Some items on the list include:

  • Integrations with Quotes, Expenses and Payroll and later Purchase Orders
  • More flexible user permissions, timesheet insights and reporting, and project templates.
  • iOS and Android App versions.

Xero said that Projects has been a huge undertaking, spanning many teams to get all the moving parts together. The development team said Projects would not have been possible without the feedback that’s helped shape this initial release.

Projects will be available at no extra charge until the end of 2017. After this, a monthly per user charge will apply – you can find out more on Xero’s website.

Xero will issue periodic updates on Projects and Dexterous Group, as a partner, will report as things develop.

If you need more assistance, get in touch with Dexterous Group today by visiting our website, dropping us an  email or calling on 61 2 8072 0695.

Business activity statement

What is a Business Activity Statement?

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If you own a business that is registered to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) then you must lodge a Business Activity Statement (BAS).

When you register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and GST the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will automatically send you a BAS form when it is time to lodge. The frequency of your lodgement depends on the size of your business.

Your BAS will help you report and pay your:

  • goods and services tax (GST)
  • pay as you go (PAYG) instalments
  • PAYG withholding tax
  • other taxes

Your BAS is broken up into sections, called ‘labels’, and you need to fill out different labels depending on how you choose to report and pay.

 

Due dates for lodging and paying your Business Activity Statement

Lodging and paying your BAS on time helps your business run smoothly.

The due date for lodging and paying is displayed on your BAS form which is sent by the ATO. You can access extended due dates if you are with a registered BAS or Tax Agent.

If the due date is on a weekend or public holiday, you can lodge and pay on the next business day.

 

Quarterly reporting

If you lodge your quarterly activity statements online you may be eligible for a two week deferral. If you use the services of a tax agent, you are given more time concessions. The due dates are explained in the table below:

Quarter Due date Due date through tax agent
1 – July, August and September 28 October 25 November 2017
2 – October, November and December 28 February No lodgment concessions for Q2
3 – January, February and March 28 April 26 May 2018
4 – April, May and June 28 July 25 August 2018 

*to be confirmed by ATO later this year

 

Monthly reporting

The due date for your monthly BAS is usually the 21st day of the month following the end of the taxable period. There are no time concessions on monthly reporting.

 

How do I lodge and pay my Business Activity Statement?

You can lodge your BAS electronically, by mail or for nil lodgments over the phone. You can pay electronically, by mail or in person at Australia Post.

To avoid penalties you need to lodge and pay on time. You can also take the stress out of the situation by appointing your tax agent to do it on your behalf. If you can’t lodge or pay by the due date, you must contact the ATO to notify them of the issue.

 

Think you might qualify for a refund on your Business Activity Statement?

If you have an ABN the ATO will pay refunds directly into your nominated financial institution account.

Generally, this account needs to be at an Australian branch and held either:

  • in your company, business or trading name (this can also be held jointly with another business or individual)
  • by your registered tax agent.

If you don’t have an ABN, the ATO will generally pay your refund by cheque.

 

Keep your records in order

You must keep a copy of your BAS along with the records you used to prepare it, until the latest of:

  • five years after the transaction was completed
  • four years after you lodged your BAS
  • if your assessment has been amended, four years after the date you received the notice of amended assessment.

All records should be in writing and in English. Information stored electronically must be in a form that is readily accessible. You can also task your accountant with keeping records, but you must provide detailed information to make sure everything is watertight.

 

What if you can’t pay or lodge your Business Activity Statement on time?

You must get in touch with the ATO or your tax agent to act on your behalf if you can’t lodge or pay by the due date.

A penalty may apply if you fail to lodge on time, so even if you can’t pay, do your best to lodge on time to avoid this extra cost.

Usually, you can enter into a payment plan. Your tax agent may advise you on such matters and can work out a suitable payment scenario based on your circumstances.

 

What if you have made a mistake in your Business Activity Statement?

When completing a BAS you may discover that you have made a mistake, or left something out of a previous BAS.

You can correct some mistakes you made previously in your current BAS or you may need to lodge a revised BAS to correct the mistake.

Correcting a mistake on current BAS is different from making an adjustment. You make an adjustment because the price of a sale or purchase changes, but you make a correction because you have transposed figures incorrectly or accidentally left amounts off your earlier activity statement.

More information on correcting GST mistakes can be found here.

If you need more assistance, get in touch with Dexterous Group today by dropping us an email or calling on 61 2 8072 0695

 

 

Dexterous Group finalist for prestigious Optus My Business Award

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optus my business awards

Dexterous Group has been shortlisted as one of 10 finalists for the Professional Services Business of the Year at the 2017 Optus My Business Awards, the premier event of the year for SMEs.

Founded in 2015, Dexterous offers bookkeeping, accounting and taxation services to small and medium businesses throughout Australia.

The Optus My Business Awards, which covers 28 categories, acknowledges best practice within a particular industry sector, as well as individual business leaders, excellence in customer service and achievements in innovation, corporate social responsibility and workplace culture.

Winners from all categories will be automatically shortlisted for the highly coveted Business of the Year Award.  

Adam Zuchetti, editor of My Business, said Australian SMEs are at the leading edge of innovation and customer service excellence, as represented by this year’s Optus My Business Awards finalists.

“My Business is extremely proud to showcase those companies and their leaders that are thriving by pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo across a diverse spectrum of industries,” Mr Zuchetti said.

“Determining this year’s finalists was no easy feat, with our selection panel working through an outstanding calibre of entries and the highest submission rate for the awards to date.”

He added: “On behalf of the My Business team, I would like to congratulate all of this year’s finalists and wish them the best of luck for the big night”, he said.”

Co founders and Directors Nick Urry and James Iliffe at Dexterous Group said they are both humbled and honoured by the nomination. “That Dexterous Group has been recognised for its progressive approach to finding cost effective solutions for the accounting industry reinforces the strength of our brand in connecting with our target market and customers,” they said.

Both added: “None of this would be possible without our dedicated and highly capable onshore and offshore team.” Both said that the firm was based on progressive methods of accounting that keep things simple, without compromising thoroughness and attention to detail.

The winners will be announced at a black tie awards dinner on Friday, 10 November at The Westin Sydney.

You can read more about the awards here.

Dexterous Employee of the Month

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Caris Belardo Dexterous

Caris Belardo

At Dexterous, we believe in a peer based system where our team votes for the employee of the month. The votes for August have been counted and the winner is our highly talented Caris Belardo.

Caris is a Certified Management Accountant who has an in-depth knowledge of accounting processes and procedures is extremely diligent in dealing with client’s concerns and day-to-day business operations. She is an ace accountant who will help you keep your books and records in order.

Caris has been with Dexterous for almost two years and is based in the Philippines.

What I enjoy most about working for Dexterous is that we are being shaped into flexible and proactive accountants. It’s been nearly two years now and I have come to realise how passionate I can be when I know what I do can to drive positive changes for our clients as well as towards my personal development,” she said.

“I am happy to be part of a solid team who inspires you in every way. The firm’s founders, Nick and James have been very supportive since day one – they have always emphasised how we should never just wait around for something to happen, we should make things happen!”

In her downtime, Caris enjoys watching her favourite television shows, hanging out with her friends and going for runs to keep fit. Congratulations Caris!

excessive surcharge

Excessive surcharge ban on card transactions effective from 1 September

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All businesses across Australia are now banned from charging excessive surcharges for using certain types of EFTPOS, Mastercard, Visa and American Express cards.

The announcement was made that the ban was effective from Friday 1 September by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

The ACCC said that the concept of the ban is simple: You can only charge what it costs you to process any payment.

The ban on excessive surcharges was enforced on large businesses last September and has now been extended to all businesses that are either based in Australia, or make use of an Australian bank.

If your business does charge clients a surcharge, you can only charge the bank fees and terminal costs. 

If, for example, your cost of acceptance for Visa Credit is 1.5%, you can only charge a surcharge of the equivalent amount on that Visa credit card transaction.

The Reserve Bank of Australia provides detailed information for businesses, including how the costs that can be passed on to a consumer as a surcharge are identified and quantified. The RBA states that surcharge rates for credit cards are between 1 and 1.5%, 0.5% for debit cards and between 2% to 3% for American Express cards.

 

What are the penalties for excessive surcharge?

The ACCC is responsible for enforcing the ban and will investigate complaints relating to excessive payment surcharges.

The ACCC can issue surcharge information notices, and these will require a business to provide evidence of their costs of processing a payment, in comparison to the surcharges they are applying.

If the ACCC has reasonable grounds to believe that a business has breached the ban, it can issue an infringement notice:

  • 600 penalty units ($126 000) for a listed corporation
  • 60 penalty units ($12 600) for a body corporate
  • 12 penalty units ($2 520) for a person other than a body corporate.

 

The ACCC can also take court action against a business:

  • 6,471 penalty units ($1 358 910) for a body corporate
  • 1,295 penalty units ($271 950) for a person other than a body corporate.

The ACCC can also seek redress on behalf of a group of consumers who have been charged an excessive surcharge, as well as seek injunctions and various non-punitive orders (including community service and probations orders).

In addition to ACCC enforcement action, an individual who suffers loss or damage due to a breach of the ban can bring an action seeking damages.

If you need more detailed information about the process, you can refer to the ACCC media release or its online guidance material for businesses.

You can also contact Dexterous Group by logging into our website or by email or by calling on +61 2 8072 0695.

Tax scam

Beware of scam phone calls claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office

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Australians are being targeted in a tax scam through threatening automated phone calls in which scammers ask for bank details or demand payment to the Australian Tax Office.

The biggest giveaway is the fact that the voice on the other end of the line is robotic and automated, but the calls can be convincing because the scammers use internet technology to replicate legitimate ATO phone numbers.

The voice will tell the person on the other end of the line that there are irregularities in their tax statements and that they should call a particular person on a particular number.

The voice will aggressively tell the person that the issue is very time sensitive if they do not get in touch with the ‘ATO’, that action will be taken against them.

The ATO says scammers increase their activity around tax time and that this year has seen a five-fold increase in scams. If there are any problems with your tax status, the ATO will normally contact your registered accountant first. There are other scams that are also doing the rounds claiming to be related to retirement plans, grants and tax refunds.

If such phone calls are received, the safest thing to do is to put the phone down immediately and report the matter to the ATO.

The ATO will never:

  • threaten you with immediate arrest
  • ask you to pay money to receive a refund or payment
  • ask you to pay a debt via iTunes vouchers, or prepaid credit card or store gift cards
  • ask you to provide personal information, such as your tax file number (TFN) or credit card number, via email or SMS
  • ask you to pay money into a personal bank account
  • direct you to download files from the internet, or open attachments in unsolicited emails

Once they have your information, scammers may use it to:

  • access your bank accounts
  • take out loans in your name
  • lodge false tax returns or BAS statements
  • claim Centrelink or other benefits.

How to report a scam

If you think you are a victim of a tax scam, you should call the ATO on 1800 008 540 (8.00am–6.00pm, Monday–Friday) as soon as possible.

If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the ATO, do not click on any links, open attachments or respond to the sender. Forward the entire email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au without changing or adding any additional information and delete from your inbox and sent folder.

If you wish to report a tax scam outside ATO working hours, you can do so via Scamwatch. If you have been impacted by cybercrime you can report this through the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

You should also contact your bank or financial institution if you think a scammer has your credit card details. The ATO has a set of guidelines published on its website to help identify a tax scam.

Find out more about Dexterous Group.

 

 

Dexterous

Dexterous co-founder features in influential LeadershipHQ magazine

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Dexterous co-founding partner Nick Urry has featured in the influential LeadershipHQ magazine. You can read the full interview here: Leaders interview.

Speaking to LeadershipHQ CEO and founder Sonia McDonald, Nick talks about his leadership style, which has helped Dexterous Group grow quickly and sustainably.

He also speaks about the satisfaction of Dexterous winning the Best New Accounting Firm Award in the 2017 Australian Accounting Awards.

Nick also speaks of approachability and giving staff ownership of their tasks to encourage accountability, employee satisfaction and helping with personal and professional development.

He speaks about his love of building a business while managing and leading his highly capable team, who he acknowledges as playing a big part in the Dexterous Group success story.

Nick started out relatively late in getting his accounting degree, preferring to gain experience and learn from the university of life in his younger years. He said that in the transition to co-owning his own business, a very early lesson learned was that focusing on your team ultimately leads to a better wellbeing and a better service offered to clients.

He emphasises the importance of two way communication and, more importantly, proactive communication in any business environment. Leadership is a complex concept and Nick defines it as: “Empowering my team to grow professionally and personally and it’s my role to provide the framework and the guidance for this to happen.”

He is also a firm believer in keeping employees motivated, satisfied and happy.  With so many hours people spend at work, it’s very important to create an environment where team members can flourish and enjoy what they are doing. This philosophy, he says, translates into benefits for clients because the Dexterous team is always ready to go the extra mile to ensure that their needs are met.

Nick also believes in speaking in simple and easy to understand terms. He acknowledges that accounting jargon can seem like Double Dutch to the vast majority of people, which is why he always makes sure that he explains things to them in language that they can understand. “I want them to leave knowing that they have a better understanding of their accounting situation,” he says.

His words of advice to any budding professional are to be patient, remain true to themselves and to focus only on what they can control, being diligent and striving to reach their full potential.

Visit Dexterous Group’s website for more information about the company and the services it can offer to help you grow your business.

You can also visit the LeadershipHQ website.