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The Gap between Online & Offline.

I read with interest recently an industry article that suggested the gap between online-savvy small businesses and those which are online-cautious is widening. The article indicated both sales growth for the past 12 months and future projected sales growth was proportionately higher for on line savvy businesses than it was for those without an online presence. Almost 50% of SME's that use cloud technology (online shop/outlet) reported increased sales or work, whilst 40% of SME's with a website and social media presence reported similar growth. This contrasts to only 25% of businesses without some form of online presence reporting growth in sales or work.

The proportion of businesses willing to jump into the online arena continues to grow at some pace. The proportion of businesses with a website has increased 4% to 42% over the past 6 months with a similar increase in businesses using social media.

Interestingly females lead the charge in an online presence amongst business owners with 9% more female owners more likely to have invested in the resource than their male counterparts.

Certainly social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) has a very active role in online advertising and ultimately sales growth.  I am a strong advocate of businesses finding a way to embrace the trend if they wish to grow or even maintain their market share. It is interesting to see how different businesses face this challenge in recent times in particular the increase in sponsored celebrity postings. More and more businesses are turning to celebrities with large social media followings to promote their products and services. The question in my mind is how much further can product advertising - both direct and indirect- go on social media outlets before consumers numbed by information overload and disconnect or seek new social media platforms?



CoINVEST – Employers & Working Subcontractors obligations 

Under the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1997, employers & working subcontractors in the building, construction, electrical and metal works industries must register with Co Invest. Employers are required to provide details of their workers days & wages each quarter & contribute 2.7% of the total of their gross wages. Note this is not deducted from workers wages.

Working subcontractors can pay between $30 and $100 per month on behalf of themselves to gain service credits towards long service leave. You can recommence contributions for yourself to CoINVEST.

Please refer to the below link for additional information about your obligations, phone CoInvest on (03) 9664 7677 or contact our office for more info.


Friday Morning Tea is Serious Business

One tradition that we have at GMG is the Friday morning tea roster.

Each week a staff member has their turn to make or supply morning tea. We all have our morning break together in the tearoom to enjoy the food and time together. This has become an important part of the firm and is one of the first things that our new employees are made aware of - to prepare them for their turn.

A favorite that everyone enjoys is Toll House Cookies - The recipe is below:

250gms Butter or Marg

½ Cup Castor Sugar

½ Cup Brown Sugar

1 tspn Vanilla

2 Eggs

2 ¼ Cups Plain Flour

1 tspn Bi-Carb Soda

200 gms Choc Chips

1  Cup Crushed Nuts

Cream butter and sugars, add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Sift the flour and bi-carb soda into the mixture, then add the choc bits and nuts. Place small spoonful's of mixture on to a baking tray lined with baking paper, allowing room for them to spread. Bake at 190C degrees for 10-12 mins or until firm .


Money Matters

Feel like you don't know where your money is disappearing to?

As a 19 year old in my first year as a full time employee, I was often left wondering what my money was going towards. From not having to worry about what I was spending whilst at school to having to save money for the necessities such as rent, bills and food while still trying to spare some for weekends out with friends, the word 'overwhelmed' comes to mind.

Fortunately for me, GMG have started offering a "Money Matters" program to our clients. They suggested I download a handy app called 'Track my Spend' (free from the App Store). This app allows you to record each little thing you spend money on for a period of time and it's surprising how quickly the little things add up. From that I was able to have a go at our Money Matters Project – helping me to figure out where my money was going and redirect some of it into a savings account.

If you are tired of stressing about money and want to feel like you are in control of your finances, give us a call on 5032 9422 and make a "Money Matters" appointment.

Restart Wage Subsidy

Restart $10,000 Government Wage Subsidies

If you are employing or looking to employ mature aged staff on a full time or permanent part time basis you may be eligible for government assistance of up to $10,000 over a two year period.

The restart program is designed to deliver support to employers who employ mature age job seekers being 50 years of age and over and at the same time will assist mature age job seekers to re-enter the workforce.

In light of Australia's ageing population and the need to become a more productive nation, the contribution of older workers is becoming more crucial to the workplace. When older Australians lose their jobs, they remain unemployed for a much longer period than younger job seekers often because they face significant barriers to finding work.

Restart has been funded for $524.8 million over four years is expected to encourage business owners to give mature workers a chance.


An eligible job seeker is someone who:

  • Is 50 years of age or older;
  • Has been unemployed for six months or more and has been in receipt of any of the following income support payments for six months or more:

Newstart Allowance; Parenting Payment; Disability Support Pension; Bereavement Allowance; Widow Allowance; Carer Payment; Special Benefit; Partner Service Pensioners; War Widows; Age Pension; Mature Age Partner Allowance; Wife Pension; Widows B Pension;

  • Does not have any outstanding workers' compensation claims against the employer; and
  • Is not an immediate family member of the employer.

How to get started


Applications for restart wage subsidy can now be accessed online by visiting

Job Seekers

Job seekers can register with job agencies who are registered providers of the program. To find a provider in your area visit



Apprenticeships - Trade Support Loans

You may have missed it in the news recently, but on the 17th of July the new Trade Support Loans Bill was passed through both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

What does this mean?

Eligible apprentices can now access Trade Support Loans of up to $20,000 over the course of their apprenticeship.

The loans assist apprentices with everyday living costs while they complete their apprenticeship, and will replace the 'Tools for your Trade' Grants which were scrapped on 30th June 2013. Similar to the previous scheme, the loan income is able to be used for any purpose suitable to the apprentice's needs.

The programme provides apprentices with up to a $20,000 paid monthly in arrears adding to;

Year 1 - Up to $8,000

Year 2 - Up to $6,000

Year 3 - Up to $4,000

Year 4 - Up to $2,000

How does it work?

The Trade Support Loans will work similar to the Government HECS/HELP Debt scheme, being repaid by the individual through the taxation system when the minimum income threshold is reached; in 2014-15 the minimum repayment occurs at $53,345.

The notable difference is that unlike the indexation on HECS/HELP Debt which is set to be changed to the Government Bond interest rate and caped at 6% p.a. as of 2016, Trade support loans will be indexed from the 1 July 2017 in line with the much lower consumer price index (CPI).

Another feature of the Trade Support loans is that apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship receive a 20 percent discount on the balance of their loan, effectively meaning that the amount borrowed will be reduced by 20 percent.

Follow this link to find a list of Trade Support Loans eligible apprenticeships.

How do I apply?

Apprentices can apply for the loan through Australian Apprenticeships Centres -  Murray Mallee Training and MEGT Apprenticeship Centre located in Swan Hill. Once the application is complete, apprentices can then choose to opt-in every 6 months, and can opt out at anytime.

 For more information on trade support loans or if you would like to discuss whether they are right for your situation, call 5032 9422 and book an appointment today.

Taxable Payments Annual Reporting

Since 2012 the government has required that all businesses in the building and construction industry report the payments they make to each contractor for building and construction services.

The ATO uses this information as a cross matching services to ensure all contractors have lodged a tax return and included all their income on these returns.

What does this mean for you?

It means that if you operate in the building industry, including plumbers and electricians, you need to report all contractor payments for any work completed in the 2013-14 year to the ATO by 21st July, 2014.  

You will need to provide your details and the contractors details including their ABN, name, address, gross amount paid (only include amounts actually paid not any amounts still owing) and the GST.

Some accounting programs have a function that will allow you to create a report that can be lodged electronically to the ATO.

If you are using an accounting program, like Reckon, Xero or MYOB, make sure you have all the supplier information filled out for your contractors.

The ATO has made a fact sheet for the reporting which may help you to understand your obligations. 

If you would like any further information or help completing the report please feel free to give as a call anytime on (03) 5032 9422

Employee V Contractor Demystified

Often an individual may believe they are a contractor due to their engagement with an organisation being through the use of their ABN.

Equally a manager may presume the use of invoices for the receipt of income by an individual classifies them as a contractor. Although forming a portion of the framework these two assumptions do not by any means rule out the possibility that the individual is an employee in disguise.

Some factors that characterise an individual as an employee include:

Control over work â€" Does the organisation control the way the work is performed?

Work unable to be subcontracted â€" does the individual have the ability to subcontract or delegate work?

Commercial risk â€" Is the individual exempt from commercial risk? ie. is not responsible to rectify any defect in work or pay to have any defect rectified.

 Independence â€" Does the individual work within the organisation or are they considered separate to it?

Equipment & tools â€" Is the individual supplied with the tools required to carry out their duties?

An organisation may choose to engage individuals as contractors to save on such things as payroll tax and work cover. Once deemed as an employee however these individuals may be eligible for all entitlements reserved for wage-earners. The organisation may be required to foot the bill for the individual's superannuation guarantee payments, PAYG tax and annual & sick leave (if applicable).

The good news is that the ATO has provided a calculator to help in determining the basis of an individual's engagement Click Here For Access


From the desk of Doug Balcam.

Do You Reckon?

Last week I attended a Reckon training course and conference in Melbourne.

We covered many features currently available and also learned about some new features and programs Reckon is planning to release in the near future.

Did you know you can process credit card payments through Reckon Accounts? 
If you don't have a credit card machine, the credit card payment can be processed through PayPal.  All you need is an internet merchant account to subscribe to this service.

You can also process superannuation payment for your employees using SuperLink.  SuperLink gives you the option of processing and paying superannuation contributions for all your employees, eliminating the need to process and pay to multiple funds.

Reckon Hosted (commonly known as Quickbooks Online) is receiving an update soon.  This should provide easier connection and faster processing time.  An option will also be provided if your internet connection is slow.

Two new products to be released soon are Reckon One and Reckon Pay.

Reckon One will be an simple online accounting program, where users are able to select which modules they need (eg  payroll and invoices) and at what level or choice a package with a preselected range of modules.   Live bank feeds are also available to cut down on processing times.

Reckon Pay is another way of receiving and processing payments, but this time whilst working out in the field.

You will be able to purchase hardware (similar to a small EFTPOS machine) which will connect to their mobile phone or tablet.  Once you have downloaded the app, you will be able to process credit card or EFTPOS payment instantly.  If using Reckon One, this information will then integrate into the software.

If you would like any further information or assistance with the Reckon product range available please contact us.

There have been many changes to the program, with each update, and you may find some features that will make the processing and reporting work better for your business.

Friday At Spoons May never be The Same

Spoons on a Friday afternoon may never be the same!


Andy Millar was celebrating the end of his role as a partner in GMG accounting, with fellow partners, on his last day of full time work , when he was flash mobbed


He has been in public practice for 41 years, 34 of them as a principal in Swan Hill. Not one for ceremony, he was enjoying a celebratory afternoon tea with his partners when he was flash mobbed , by staff ,with a version of an old favourite , rejigged as the "Andy Man" . Check it out


Andy said it was "one of the moments of my career "


The Andy man's career continues though, his new role is a senior consultant with the firm, on a part time basis, specialising in superannuation, retirement, succession, auditing and associated issues


"The Andy man can

Cause he mixes fun with work

And makes us all feel good "

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