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Press Release : Joint media release with the Hon Dan Tehan MP – More help to keep Aussie shelves stocked

Press Release : Joint media release with the Hon Dan Tehan MP – More help to keep Aussie shelves stocked


The Hon Alan Tudge MP is currently acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs

Australia’s major supermarkets will temporarily be able to offer more hours to international student employees to help keep shelves stocked.

International students currently employed at the major supermarkets will be able to extend their working hours to help meet the high demand for essential items because of the coronavirus. Ordinarily, international students are subject to a maximum of 40 hours a fortnight during the term.

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the changes would help supermarkets meet the immediate high demand.

“Supermarkets across the country are struggling to keep shelves stocked with essential items, such as toilet paper, tissues, rice, and pasta,” Mr. Tudge said.

“To keep up with this demand, supermarkets have told us they need to give extra hours to current staff to stock shelves and serve Australian customers. While many of these will be Australian workers, international students will also be able to increase their hours,” Mr. Tudge said.

The measures will be administered by the Department of Home Affairs and are available to major supermarkets including Woolworths and Coles, and only for existing employees in their existing roles. Other supermarkets are able to register with the Department if they believe the changes will assist them.

“The changes are short term and will be reviewed regularly to ensure they are working and that they are still required,” Mr. Tudge said.

“We will continue to listen to businesses as the coronavirus situation develops and may consider expanding these measures to assist other sectors if and when required. We will also consider providing flexibility with other temporary visas should the need arise.”

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the changes would help supermarkets meet immediate demand with their existing workforce and allow international students to support themselves.

“Our government is working to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in the higher education sector, this includes the impact on students supporting themselves while they study,” Mr. Tehan said.

“This initiative will give international students more flexibility to work while studying and also allow employers to meet demand during a busy period.”

Employers are still required to abide by all relevant Australian workplace laws. Students have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees.

More information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website or the Global Service Centre on 131 881.

5 tips to enhance your accounting skills this year


Good news: accounting professionals who offer the tech, data analysis, and communication skills that employers are looking for will be in high demand this year. Here are some steps to enhance your accounting career.

By Johanna Leggatt

“It is always difficult to find good accountants, and that hasn’t changed,” says Benjamin Jotkowitz, director of an accounting recruitment firm, Benneaux.

“Across the industry, skilled accountants are in high demand.”

Acquiring these accounting skills, however, takes effort and a positive attitude towards change. Here are some tips on what accountants can do to ensure they enjoy a long and rising career in accounting.

1. Don’t fear technology

There is no escaping the fact that software skills are vital, says Jotkowitz.

“Back in the day, employers would nominate software proficiency as something they desired, but technical prowess is more of an expectation now,” he says.

This translates into fluency with accounting-specific software, such as Hyperion or Xero, as well as the software used by a broad range of business professionals.

“A lot of things are cloud-based now,” Jotkowitz says, “so accounting professionals who are very proficient in data-based applications and ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] programs are well regarded.”

Regional Director Australia and New Zealand at Skillsoft, Rosie Cairnes says rather than fearing the onset of automation and technology, accountants need to embrace it.

“Automation frees up the talent pool to focus on business insights and work that adds value,” she says.

A healthy amount of curiosity is also vital for ambitious accountants, adds Cairnes.

If accountants have curiosity it puts them in a good position to grab hold of what new technologies offer, she explains.

“Accountants should also look at what the emerging technologies in their industry are. What are the productivity and collaboration tools that can be introduced?”

2. Learn to analyze data

It’s not enough to operate the systems that manage data – you need to be able to interpret that information as well.

This is especially pertinent if you are mid-career or at the senior level where there is a greater expectation of strategic analysis as part of your role.

“You need to be able to tell the story that the data presents,” says Jotkowitz.

“This leads to the importance of critical thinking in accountancy. When you look at a spreadsheet, do you see a bunch of numbers or is there a deeper story?”

Cairnes agrees that accountants who are able to think creatively and draw solutions from data are in high demand.

“Long-term planning and analysis are very important,” she says.

She argues that this can apply to junior accountants as well. Younger people, and those who are relatively new to the profession, should not underestimate their ability to contribute new thinking.

“If you have a good handle on these technologies and if you’re coming up with solid business recommendations, then that can provide a new way of doing things. Creative solutions are what people are looking for.”

3. Hone your communication skills

As repetitive tasks become increasingly automated, accountants need to offer the kind of skills that cannot be easily replicated by algorithms.

“This means the ability to relate information to clients who are not across jargon, and to display excellent written and verbal communication,” says Jotkowitz. “Clients want more of service now.”

The ability to communicate is important, whether you are an experienced accountant or new to the profession, says Cairnes.

“The most in-demand skills across many industries are often professional development skills like communication,” she says.

“Communication means not just what you say, but your ability to listen and understand what the organization is all about.”

4. Learn how to lead

An accountant with strong leadership skills is highly regarded, says Cairnes.

“There is a lot written about poor leadership and how it causes churn and lack of productivity, so strong leadership is really an evergreen skill.”

However, the kind of leadership skills accountants need has changed over the past two decades.

“Thanks to technology changing the way in which we work, leadership is more about collaboration and managing virtual teams,” Cairnes says.

“Our organizational structures are much flatter, too, so inevitably it’s not just executives that need leadership skills, it’s almost everybody in the organisation.”

If you want to brush up on leadership skills, Jotkowitz recommends management courses or seeking out a mentor.

“Put up your hand for that leadership role and see what happens,” he says. “Keep on pushing yourself.”

5. Seek sector-specific experience

Jotkowitz has noticed that many employers are looking for accountants with experience in their own sector.

“If they are recruiting in FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods, such as soft drinks, toiletries], then the employer will want candidates who have worked in that sector,” he says.

“So think strategically if you want to work in, for example, pharmaceuticals.”

While candidates are often convinced they can apply their skills across many sectors – and they’re often correct – employers value sector-specific experience.

“So, if you have an aged care role, it helps to have to have aged care experience,” says Jotkowitz. “That is the preference we are noticing.”

Top 4 productivity apps for small business


Productivity equals profitability.

I bet you’re already using a range of modern apps to run your business in various ways to be as profitable as possible. But do you have everything you need to stay productive?

Are you stuck with lesser, outdated software? Is there a new way of doing business out there or simply a better way?

Check out the following productivity apps that will make your small business hum.


This well-known app is a direct competitor to the likes of Trello and Monday. It’s also one of the best things you can do for your business’ productivity.

“Asana is the work management platform teams use to stay focused on the goals, projects, and daily tasks that grow business.” – Asana

What’s the point? Managing tasks, time and people. It’s the perfect business tool to grow with your business and ensure your entire operation works smoothly and productively.

Using Asana, you can create cards for tasks, assign employees, set dates, add files and move these cards through a workflow or calendar to ensure visibility, timeliness, and delivery.

Benefits and features:

  • Project management
  • Workflow management
  • Task monitoring
  • Calendar
  • To-do lists


Handling social media accounts is a sneakily time-consuming task. With multiple accounts all needing content and multiple threads of comments to reply to, you could spend all day switching from Instagram to Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn and back again – never getting anything done.

Enter Agorapulse.

With competitors like Hootsuite and Buffer, this extremely useful app is used by the likes of McDonald’s and Pepsi and co-ordinates all of your social accounts into one easy panel, with full access and control.

Would you like to:

  • Post the same message across all channels in one go?
  • Reply to different social media threads on one screen?
  • Create reports on social activity?
  • Schedule and automate social posts ahead of time?

Of course, you would. As social media marketing becomes even more widespread and essential, you can find yourself wasting time through a lack of automation.

Professionalize your approach to social media. Save inordinate amounts of time and automate as many unnecessary actions as possible with a tool like Agorapulse.


This one is a lifesaver for those who work remotely in teams and need access to people, remote files, shared screens, and video chat.

It’s an all in one super tool perfect for virtual meetings, sharing and communicating between disparate teams of up to 300 people. Rare for such a tool, it doesn’t even matter if your team is working from different devices and platforms such as Windows, iOS or various mobile devices – you can all still work seamlessly together.

Some key functions of TeamViewer:

  • Full access to remote devices
  • Screen sharing
  • Virtual whiteboard
  • Web meetings with audio, video and text chat
  • Record meetings for later
  • Compatible with a wide range of devices and platforms

So, if you’re doing business with colleagues or collaborators in different locations, on different devices and with separate files, do yourself a favor and upgrade from the ‘Skypes’ of the world to a more comprehensive productivity app like TeamViewer.


Ok, here’s to all the procrastinators out there: your time needs to be rescued!

The crux of productivity, in any arena, is time management.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” – William Penn.

If managing your time effectively and efficiently is an issue (or even if you think you have this dialed) you should consider grabbing an app like RescueTime to ensure you are spending your minutes wisely and productively.

RescueTime is a time management app that maps and tracks exactly how you spend your time on your digital devices.

Everything you do online, on projects and in apps will be automatically logged and categorized in order for you to see, at a glance, exactly how you really spend your time – not just what you think you spend your time on.

You may be surprised. This is an excellent way to gauge true productivity.

Rescue time will help you understand:

  • Where you’re spending your time across your devices
  • Which apps and websites are most distracting
  • How much time you spend in meetings, answering emails, and on social media
  • At what time you’re at your most and least productive
  • How your smartphone usage impacts your true productivity

Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

The World Health Organization has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Find out how we are monitoring and responding to the outbreak, how you can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, and what to do if you have symptoms. We also report the latest official medical advice and case numbers.

How to protect yourself and others

Everyone must practise good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading.

If you have a confirmed case, you need to isolate yourself to prevent it spreading to other people.

What you can do

We can all help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.

Read protect yourself and others for advice on:

To help protect people most at risk, follow our advice on public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.


Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.

When to get tested

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case or of returning to Australia, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will tell you if you need to get tested.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.


Confidence at Work Is the Soft Skill on Everyone’s Mind

We’ve all seen the stats: The job market is the strongest it’s been in decades, investments are up and the economy is booming. While such good news is always welcome, Indeed wanted to know how this impacts employees on the ground. Do workers feel confident in their abilities and career paths? And why should employee confidence levels matter to employers?

We’ve been thinking a lot about confidence at work as part of our new Indeed Job Market, an experience that helps job seekers boost their confidence while on the job search. The Job Market will support job seekers throughout their career journey, and kicks off with eight in-person events at cities across the U.S.

As we prepared for this exciting launch, we wanted to see how job seekers felt on the ground. To find out, we surveyed nearly 800 U.S. workers from a variety of industries and professional stages. Read on for a closer look at career confidence levels, why they’re important and how employers can nurture confidence to boost company-wide performance.

Confidence is key for success

What do we mean when we talk about confidence, and why is it so crucial? Confident people believe in themselves and their abilities. When we feel better about ourselves, our performance and our career prospects, our work tends to thrive.

While confidence is often thought of as a fixed trait (something you either do or don’t have), it’s actually a soft skill that changes over time. There’s ample evidence that happier employees are more productive — and our research reveals that confidence brings similar benefits. While confidence may ebb or flow depending on circumstances, it’s something we can work to build up, and it’s in employers’ best interest to help.


Our survey respondents overwhelmingly agree that confidence is key to professional success. This holds true at all stages of the job search and after starting a new role. Virtually all workers (99%) believe confidence is vital in finding a job, and 95% say it’s an “important” or “very important” factor in securing a position. When it comes to interviewing, 97% agree confidence is a critical skill, and 98% consider it crucial when negotiating a hiring package.

But confidence matters long after getting the gig: It’s “important” or “very important” to completing daily work for 94% of respondents. Meanwhile, 97% say confidence matters when securing a promotion, and 94% believe it’s a major contributor to overall career growth.

Interestingly, this soft skill helps people avoid poor choices: 90% of workers say confidence clarifies whether a job is a bad fit. As in any part of life, trusting ourselves lets us know when something isn’t right for us.

Workers believe in themselves and in the market

Clearly, confidence is important — but how is this playing out with workers? Our research shows confidence levels are rising in two key areas: belief in themselves and in the job climate.

Respondents feel good about their skills, with over 90% confident they can perform their jobs at a high level. Workers also report feeling better about their ability to find a new job today than they were either two or five years ago, and many are optimistic about their company’s future.

When it comes to available positions, workers are confident there are jobs that match their skills and experience (91%); meet their desired work-life balance (88%); and fit their long-term goals (84%).

Despite murmurs of a possible economic downturn, respondents are overwhelmingly confident in their ability to meet milestones, with 93% believing they can achieve their one-year goals. Meanwhile, 88% are confident they’ll meet their five-year goals, and 90% believe they’ll meet career-long objectives.

Confident employees make stronger, happier companies

The real impact of confidence stretches beyond the individual; confident workers also bring big rewards for employers. Nearly all workers (98%) say they perform better when they feel confident. This makes sense, since many foundational workplace skills, including work ethic, are driven by confidence.

What’s more, 96% of respondents are more likely to stay at a company when they feel confident. Teams and companies that support this skill and nurture it among employees can help reduce turnover.

Better yet, our survey suggests confident employees can boost morale across the organization: 94% of respondents say they’re happier when they feel confident at work, and happiness can have a major impact on workplace culture.

Today’s confidence boom brings big benefits for employers

We are in the midst of a confidence boom, with most respondents reporting overwhelming confidence in their abilities and career outlook. Since confident workers are happier, more productive and less likely to leave, the rising tide benefits teams and companies, too.

Employers can — and should — nurture this quality across the workforce. Promote a company-wide culture of confidence by hiring and promoting strong managers, recognizing and supporting employees, prioritizing clear communication and offering opportunities for professional development and advancement.

We do our best work when we believe in ourselves, our work and our futures. Confidence is key to long-term success.


How to work productively from home during a health scare

Don’t Panic! But anyway, how do you work from home during a health scare?

Your health (and everyone around you) should always be taken seriously. But this advice is certainly not medical, this is for people who are indirectly affected and either choose to, or are told, to work from home.

Google has just announced that all of its North American staff need to work from home until April 10th 2020. That’s a big move.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and for the protection of Alphabet and the broader community, we now recommend the you work from home if your role allows” – Chris Rackow

This is likely not to happen to you, but on the off chance it does – are you prepared to work from home?

Do you really need to?

Probably not. But there are a growing number of businesses in Australia and certainly around the world who are advising to do just that. So, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

If you are a small business owner or sole trader, you are in charge here so act with a level head and if you’re at a genuine risk of infection (which is rare) think about isolation. But how do you work from home?

The right tech

Do you have what you need to work from home? For some roles this will be rather easy – for others, not so much.

You will need:

  • A laptop
  • A phone
  • Internet access
  • Business software
  • A webcam
  • File access

Not only will you need to make sure you have the requisite tools to perform your job, you will also need a workflow and calendar setup in advance to keep you on task. Make sure to decide on which messaging platforms you’ll be communicating through and which apps need to be downloaded and setup. You will also need to think about Skype meetings and how you’ll access your files (make sure you have a cloud folder as opposed to local files that are wed to a certain device).

Quarantine yourself… from distractions

Not just from germs, (although that’s pretty useful in this context) but from distractions – the disease of the workday.

The best way to do this without going insane is to block out your hours and breaks. You will, of course, need to refresh, feed yourself and get some fresh air at some stage.

What we mean here is insulation from distraction:

  • Leave the TV off – Netflix is your enemy when trying to work from home
  • Only have one browser tab open at a time on your computer
  • Silence your social notifications or turn personal devices off
  • Inform your friends and family that you’re at work and not off work

Get out of the house

A mixed message perhaps. Didn’t we just tell you to quarantine? Yes, but balance is key. We aren’t robots. If you’re not infected, of course…

Once you have conscientiously worked uninterrupted all morning, block out your lunch time and get the heck out of the house! You will go mad if you don’t.

Get out and go for a walk, take your lunch to the park, go out to eat at a local cafe, have a swim, go surfing, or do a few quick errands. This is subject to your personal circumstances and health concerns – only you and your doctor will know.

The point is to leave the work-space, refuel and preferably get some light exercise in. Hitting the reset button is key to all-day productivity.

Now all you have to do is get back in the zone, pump out your afternoon session as efficiently as you can and you’re free for the day to indulge in all the distractions you desire.

Where can you setup? A proper workspace is essential

You need dedicated space free from distractions.

If you don’t have a spare room to make into an office, make sure to set up a specific workspace at the very least. Even a sunny corner near a window with a simple small desk, a good chair and your laptop can do it.

The point is you should not be doing work in a shared space.

Not only should you associate work and the mindset of being ‘in the zone‘ with a particular space to promote the right mindset, you also shouldn’t have to pack it up or have competing associations within your work space.

What the Australian government’s $17bn coronavirus stimulus package means for you

There are four elements of the stimulus package targeted at different areas of the economy, but Coalition says it may spend more ‘if more is needed’

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has announced a $17.6bn economic stimulus package, equivalent to 0.9% of GDP.

The package is “front loaded” to ensure as much money as possible flows into the economy as quickly as possible, with $11bn of the package to be “out the door” by June.

There are four elements of the stimulus package targeted at different areas of the economy, but the Coalition says it may spend more “if more is needed”.

Who gets household stimulus payments?

Around 6.5 million lower income Australians will receive a one-off $750 payment aimed at boosting domestic demand in the economy, costing the budget $4.76bn.

The payment will be made to all social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. This includes those on Newstart, those who have commonwealth seniors health cards, and families receiving family tax benefits.

Around half of those that will benefit are pensioners.

Full details of which payment recipients are eligible are available here.

What if I get more than one social security payment? Will I get more?

No. There will be one $750 payment per eligible recipient.

The payment will be tax-free and will not count as income for social security, farm household allowance and veteran payments.

When will I get it?

The payment will be made from 31 March this year.

What if I am an employee and not receiving any social security benefits? Will I get anything?

No. The government has focused most of the package on supporting business, with wage subsidies for small and medium-sized business and support for apprentices.

It has targeted the household stimulus at low-income earners, as they are most likely to spend it.

What does business get?

Small and medium-sized businesses will receive up to $25,000 to cover the costs of employee wages and salaries, paid by the Australian Taxation Office based on tax withheld.

This measure will cost $6.7bn and will happen automatically based on the business activity statements lodged by business.

About 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people are expected to be eligible for this payment.

What about apprentices?

Again, the government has focused its funding to employers, with the aim to keep people in jobs.

This will see $1.2bn made available as a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.

Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be made available to a new employer that employs that apprentice, whether that is a large business or a registered training organisation.

How many people will that help?

The government estimates that up to 70,000 small businesses will access the incentive to support around 117,000 apprentices.

What if I am a sole trader? Will I get anything?

No. The government says those who don’t employ anyone will benefit indirectly from the money flowing to low-income earners that they expect will quickly enter the economy. They will also be able to access business investment incentives.

What are the business investment incentives?

The government is allocating $3.9bn in incentives to encourage businesses to spend.

This includes increasing the instant asset write-off, by lifting the threshold to $150,000 (from $30,000) – and making more businesses eligible to use it.

It will also introduce a time-limited 15-month incentive to invest, by accelerating depreciation deductions.

Who is eligible and how do these incentives work?

Businesses with a turnover of less than $500m will be able to deduct 50% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.

The investment measures are expected to support more than 3.5 million businesses (over 99% of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees.

What is the point of this?

The government wants business to keep spending by offering incentives to buy things such as cars and industrial equipment. The aim is to bring forward planned spending in the economy to help stave off recession and hopefully boost consumption to ensure people stay in work.

What is the fund for severely affected regions?

The government has also announced a $1bn fund to support regions most significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

It says that those “disproportionately affected” include those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

How will this be spent? Can I apply to the fund?

The government says details still need to be nutted out with the states, but has outlined a number of things that it will be used for.

First, it will be used to waive fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and for waiving entry fees for commonwealth national parks.

It will also include additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains.

Targeted measures will also be developed to further promote domestic tourism.

The Australian Taxation Office is also providing administrative relief for some tax obligations for people affected by the coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis.

The ATO will set up a temporary shop front in Cairns within the next few weeks with dedicated staff specialising in assisting small business.

In addition, it will consider ways to enhance its presence in other significantly affected regions, making it easier for people to apply for relief. The ATO is considering further temporary shopfronts and face-to-face options.

When asked how the fund would work, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said he envisaged that affected small businesses may be able to access grants similar to those provided to businesses in bushfire-affected regions.

When will this fund be operational?

The fund will be discussed with state and territory leaders at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments on Friday, with money to be spent “as soon as practicable”, according to Treasury.

Is that it?

For now, yes. But the government is flagging that more stimulus may be necessary, with most of the measures “scaleable”.

Morrison has flagged that the package could be updated in the May budget, depending on how the coronavirus plays out, and how severely the economy is affected as a result.

 On 13 March 2020 this article was amended to clarify that it is holders of commonwealth seniors health cards – rather than seniors cards – who will get the $750 payments.

ATO Tax incentives in response to COVID-19

Article 1

Instant asset write-off increased

For new or second-hand assets first used or installed ready for use from 12 March until 30 June 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold will be increased from $30,000 to $150,000 for
businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from the current $50 million threshold). The threshold applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can
immediately write-off multiple assets. The threshold will revert to $1,000 for small businesses (turnover less than $10 million) from 1 July 2020, however businesses not entitled to the instant
asset write off from 1 July 2020 may be entitled to the 50% investment incentive as below.

Backing business investment incentive

The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating
depreciation deductions. Businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million per annum will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset upon installation,
provided it was acquired after 12 March 2020 and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. There is no asset value threshold for this 50% investment incentive. Existing depreciation rules
applying to the balance of the asset’s cost


Article 2

Cash flow assistance for businesses

Up to a $25,000 tax-free payment to small and medium-sized businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million that employ workers, between 1 January 2020 and 30
June 2020. These eligible businesses will receive a payment equal to 50% of their PAYG withheld, delivered as a credit in their BAS from March to June 2020, with a minimum $2,000
payment and up to a cap of $25,000.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

Eligible small business employers will be able to apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentice’s or trainee’s (in training as at 1 March 2020) wage for up to 9 months from 1 January
to 30 September 2020, up to $21,000 per apprentice. Employers can register for the subsidy from early April 2020 with final claims for payment due by 31 December 2020.

Stimulus payments

A one-off $750 payment will be available from 31 March 2020 to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders including pensioners. There
will be one payment per eligible recipient. Assistance for severely affected regions The Government has set aside $1 billion to support those regions and communities that have
been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

Assistance for severely affected regions 

The Government has set aside $1 billion to support those regions and communities that have  been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, including those heavily 
reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

Article 3 

ATO relief 

On 12 March 2020, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced a series of administrative  concessions to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19, which include: 
deferring by up to 4 months the payment of tax amounts due through the BAS (including  PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise by affected  businesses; 
allowing affected businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST  reporting to get quicker access to any GST refunds; 
allowing affected businesses to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the April 2020  quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters; 
remitting any interest and penalties, incurred by affected businesses on or after 23  January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities; and 
allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilities. 
The ATO assistance is not automatic, taxpayers must first contact the ATO to request assistance, and if eligible, the ATO will ‘tailor the assistance package for the relevant taxpayer. Legislation to give effect to these measures will be introduced into Parliament, which resumes on 23 March 2020. It is expected that it will be passed urgently. As certain incentives in the 
economic package will only be available for a short period of time, businesses should consider taking action as soon as practicable. State Governments are also anticipated to release their 
own stimulus packages in the coming weeks. 

Best Payroll Interview Questions for Job Candidates

Source –  Robert Half

You’re in the hot seat during job interviews. To avoid being tongue-tied on the big day, rehearse your delivery of answers to all the payroll interview questions you can think of. Here are some you may encounter:

Informational questions. Managers often start interviews with these queries as a way to get to know you and gauge your interest in the position.

  • What can you tell me about yourself?
  • Why did you choose payroll as a career?
  • What interests you about this position?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?

Functional questions. After finding out who you are, the next set of interview questions may deal with your knowledge base.

  • Which payroll systems have you worked with?
  • What are some differences between an employee and contractor?
  • Can you describe Fair Labor Standards?
  • What is FICA, and how is it calculated?
  • What are some examples of voluntary deductions?
  • What are some examples of involuntary deductions?
  • What benefits are taxable?
  • What Excel skills do you use as part of your payroll duties?

Behavioral questions. How you’ve handled work issues is a good indicator of future performance, so interviewers will want to know more about situations in your past jobs using behavioral questions.

  • Have you ever had to deliver bad news to someone? How did you approach it?
  • When have you make a mistake on the job, and how did you resolve it?
  • How do you manage your time so that you meet payroll-related deadlines?
  • Can you describe a time when your ethics felt challenged?
  • How do you stay current on regulatory and compliance changes?

Situational questions. These are similar to behavioral questions, but with a hypothetical component.

  • An employee is angry because payroll made a withholding error. What are your next steps?
  • An employee asks for reimbursement for a questionable business expense. How do you handle it?
  • What would you do if you discovered a mistake on a coworker’s year-end report?
  • Due to something that is not your fault, payroll will be late this pay period. How do you deliver this news company-wide?

Questions about workplace fit. To avoid a bad hire, organizations want to make sure new employees will get along well in their corporate culture.

  • How would your colleagues describe you?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  • What is your pet peeve at work?
  • What do you do to beat stress in the payroll department?
  • How do you prefer to communicate with colleagues? With management?

Curveball questions. Some hiring managers like to see how you think on your feet, which is the rationale behind questions that have nothing to do with the job itself.

  • Which Hogwarts house would the Sorting Hat place you in?
  • How many Peeps are made each year?
  • If you could be any animal for a day, what would you choose and why?

There’s no good way to prepare for wacky questions, and that’s OK. Just relax and give a creative answer. A sense of humor can definitely help. The worst response is to go silent or get flustered.

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