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The Power Of Praise In The Workplace

The latest research by Gallup indicates that workplace engagement is as low as twenty-five percent.

This figure is alarming because it means that a significant amount of employees are not motivated, productivity is low, and they are more than likely willing to ‘jump ship’ if they believe a better opportunity is available.

When employees resign it means organisations have to go back to square one - interview, hire and train which is a timely and costly exercise.

Meanwhile, research by Psychometrics found that 58 per cent of respondents believed the most effective way for leaders to improve engagement was by giving recognition. In fact:

  • 69 per cent of employees suggest that they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated;
  • 50 per cent of employees say being recognised would enhance their relationship with their manager and build greater trust; and
  • Those employees who didn’t feel adequately recognised are three times more likely to say they will leave in the following year.

Managers and leaders can improve engagement by giving recognition to employees when it is due. There is a growing body of literature that suggests that employees will work harder if they felt like their efforts were appreciated. Praise and recognition would enhance the relationship between the employee and manager. However just saying ‘great job’ is not going to increase workplace engagement.

Employees would like to be recognised for their effort and contribution. To show that a manager values an employee, and for the praise to have maximum impact, explain precisely what the employee did well. Praise and recognition that is specific will lead to higher levels of workplace engagement and productivity.

See original article here

SMSFs Investing In Cryptos

When people look to run an SMSF rather than invest their super into an industry or retail fund, there are many investment classes that are available depending on the individual's appetite to risk.  

However, with the rise of cryptocurrency as an alternative payment mechanism over the past few years and its subsequent crash in the later stages of 2017 and 2018 proved that this asset class is volatile, unpredictable and in essence a high-risk investment.

Digital currency exchange providers in Australia are now required to register with AUSTRAC and follow new guidelines in relation to keeping customer identity records and reporting suspicious transactions. The principal aim of this increased regulation is to reduce money-laundering and combat terrorism, rather than reducing the risk for investors.

At the SMSF Association National Conference in February 2018, the ATO’s  Australian Taxation Office’s Deputy Commissioner of Superannuation James O’Halloran stated that “while the regulatory and tax laws that apply to SMSFs don’t specifically prohibit investment in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, in addition to the tax considerations that arise, there are also super regulatory matters that must be considered by anyone contemplating investing in cryptocurrencies in their super fund". 

While not illegal, not only are cryptocurrency investments highly speculative and risky, they are set to be scrutinised come tax time.

With many investors in the crypto space only ‘investing what they can afford to lose’, some individuals have made it big, while others have lost it all. SMSF Trustees are strongly encouraged to seek independent professional advice before undertaking any new type of investment in their fund.  

 See James O'Halloran's SMSF Association address & full speech here

Time Management 101 For Accountants

Accountants are often seen by society as organised and meticulous. The reality is most accountants are managing a huge amount of tasks, clients, meetings, reporting and deadlines for both their clients and their own businesses.  

When it comes to task and time management, there are five easy hacks to help you get on top of your action.  

Project management software 

Using project management and collaboration software –may cost you $10 to $20 per user per month however it will allow you to plan, organise, delegate and execute all deadlines within your business. These are the ultimate to do list! 

Make yourself scarce  

Phone calls, emails, meetings, more emails and your day is gone. To make your time matter, allocate set times where your phone is diverted, where your emails are not pinging in your inbox, so you can be ‘out of office’ while in the office. Being mindful of your tasks and avoiding the temptation to get distracted can add hours to your day, as you can focus, complete a task, then start again. 

Add a productive hour to your day 

Business owners and professionals need to keep informed, read industry articles and undertake professional development, but it takes time. Why not add a productive hour to your morning – rather than sitting up late streaming Netflix? Why not get into the office, gym or coffee shop for an hour to get your fix and set up ready for the day with no distractions.  

Set up recurring tasks 

By running project management software or your calendar, you can set up recurring tasks. We are creatures of habit, but we do need reminders from time to time. To ensure you don’t miss the important things in your personal and private life, it's important to set up reminders.  

Focus on deadlines and to-do dates 

Don’t set up your ‘to do’ date as the deadline, leaving you no room for error – even as accountants, life happens. Ensure you are giving yourself enough breathing space should anything unforeseen happen. Planning prevents poor performance.

QBCC Compliance Audit? Respond or Lose Your Licence 
In the last year, the team at SAAS Audit have noted an increase in cases where the Queensland Building and Construction Commission have notified licensed contractors that they will be subject to a compliance audit. Failure to respond to a QBCC audit request can result in cancellation of a contractor’s licence.

If a licence is suspended or cancelled, a contractor must cease any building work and can’t provide quotes or tenders for building work or sign a building contract.

New Regulatory Regime Encourages Complacency

The current Minimum Financial Requirements (MFR) Policy commenced in 2014. A key change from the old MFR was that licensed contractors were no longer required to provide financial information on a yearly basis as part of the renewal of their licence.

There is no doubt that the QBCC’s objective of reducing the cost of maintaining a licence would have been achieved in most cases. There is, however, a significant risk that contractors will see the annual renewal as a box-ticking exercise and focus on compliance with the MFR will be lost.

QBCC Compliance Audits – What to Expect

QBCC Audit notices we have seen are in writing and advise the licenced contractor that the QBCC has reasonable grounds for concern that the contractor does not satisfy the MFR. Contractors have only 21 days to provide all relevant information which includes the following:
  • MFR report & financial statements
  • A copy of the QBCC review control sheet prepared by the independent accountant conducting the review together with all other documentation prepared when conducting the review
  • Specific supporting documentation such as aged debtors, creditors, bank statements, work in progress workings, ATO portal statements, credit facilities, loan agreements & information on legal claims
No extensions are available to the 21 days. Failure to respond will result in a ‘Show Cause Notice’ being issued by the QBCC if this is not responded to within a further 21 days the contractor’s licence will probably be suspended or cancelled. In addition, QBCC indicate significant financial penalties can be incurred.

When information lodged has been assessed by the QBCC they will contact the party who lodged the information and the licensee with either an outcome or a request for further information. At SAAS Audit we have had a good recent track record with the QBCC, even in cases where it was evident that contractors may not have historically complied with the MFR.

Risks for Independent Reviewers

QBCC Audit notices also include a warning for accountants signing the MFR reports. We are reminded that “it is an offence for an accountant or any other person to provide QBCC with information that is false or misleading in circumstances where the person providing the financial information has not taken reasonable steps to ensure the information was not false and misleading”. The maximum penalty for getting this wrong is $11,385 or two years imprisonment.

Given that QBCC will essentially be provided with the reviewer’s work papers during an audit it is therefore essential that adequate procedures are undertaken and documented. Accountants should ensure that the relevant standards on such engagements, being ASRE 2400 Review of a Financial Report Performed by an Assurance Practitioner Who is Not the Auditor of the Entity and ASAE 3100 Compliance Engagements, are complied with.

Advice to QBCC Licensed Contractors & Accountants

There are some simple steps that contractors and their accountants can take to minimise the risks associated with a QBCC audit:
  1. Accountants with QBCC licensed clients should read and understand the MFR and ensure their client is also aware of the regulations and the consequences of non-compliance.
  2. Clients should ensure that quality internal management accounts are prepared at quarterly intervals as a minimum.
  3. The client's Net Tangible Assets (NTA) position and current asset ratio should be documented and considered each quarter with reference to revenue requirements and the existing NTA declaration provided to QBCC.
  4. QBCC Licensed Contractors should ensure that an independent examiner submitting a review report to QBCC has adequate experience of conducting such reviews. Accountants conducting reviews need to follow the relevant standards on review engagements.
  5. Start the review process quickly if contacted by the QBCC. This will allow adequate time for a review to be undertaken and the collection of information to submit to QBCC.
SAAS Audit is happy to work with accountants or directly with QBCC Licensed Contractors, either in response to a QBCC audit request or for contractors who need an MFR report undertaken to increase their allowable revenue.

Please note - the above article is general in nature, it was written without taking into account any individual contractor’s situation or needs, and is not intended as professional advice.

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