Newsletter - August 2020 Edition 2

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Cents & Sensibility | Tax News | Views | Clues 

 

28 August

Our People - by Norman Same

 

All too often I hear business leaders say, “Our people are our most important asset!” The first time I heard this, I was taken aback as I consider, being an accountant, an asset as something valuable owned by a company. Companies or businesses do not own people. However, what I think the message attempted to convey was that without good people working within companies, great outcomes are difficult to achieve.

 

Right now, many people are experiencing mental health issues because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Australian Government Department of Health website, “The impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, physical distancing and isolation can make us feel anxious, stressed and worried.”. For many businesses, regular workplaces are closed, or operations have relocated to employees’ homes. An oft heard phrase now is that “my team is working from home.”

 

Given the isolation and confinement currently facing most Victorians, what can employers do to assist their staff during these difficult times? A friend and colleague of mine helped me reframe and focus on this by suggesting that rather than say our team is working from home, say to yourself, “my team is now living at the office!”. As soon as I did this, I realised that we must constantly reach out to our team to see how they are coping and just to make sure that they are OK! Whilst not sleeping in a sleeping bag behind their office chair, it is not far off it for many workers.

 

Routines and habits have been turned on their heads. What was once taken as a given is no longer, with quick changes required to adapt to the new “normal”. The five biggest challenges people have encountered whilst working from home are(1):

 

  1. Feeling disconnected from colleagues
  2. Limited or outdated technology
  3. Too many distractions
  4. Lack of focus
  5. Feeling disorganised.
     

The article that produced that survey, went on to suggest the following routines to assist in combating the above challenges:

 

  1. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. For me, I am fortunate enough to be able to set aside a separate room at home for my work. I work from 8:00 until 5:30, taking regular bathroom breaks in the downstairs bathroom, and meal breaks in our upstairs kitchen. At the end of the day, I shut down the PC, close the office door, and go upstairs for dinner, reading, TV or just plain chill time. Whilst I am fortunate to have this space at home, whatever your arrangement - find a way to separate work and private life.
  2. Break often and well. Regular breaks, even if it is just a walk around the house, a stretch, plank for 2 minutes, just move every couple of hours.
  3. Arrange an office space. Try and avoid doing anything else but working in the designated “office space”, even if it means moving to another chair or couch when you want to read or watch TV.
  4. Dress for the job. No doubt we have heard about folks having their “work PJ’s” and their “sleep PJ’s” but it may be best if you attempt to dress the part. One of my partners makes sure he dresses in a business shirt, even though he is not leaving the house.
  5. Connect Consistently. The coffee machine no longer has our colleagues nearby for a quick chat so reach out to these people regularly, just to see how they are doing and let them know how you are doing. How you do that, whether via video or telephone does not matter. Right now, there is no such thing as over communicating!
  6. Have a “To Do” list and tackle it. Checking off your list as you complete a task offers a sense of achievement! Ranking the list helps you stayed focussed on the important tasks.

 

In a recent article produced by Occupational Therapy Australia(2) The author, Lorrae Mynard, suggested using this time of disruption to rethink what we do. Especially during a period of lockdown, with curfews and restrictions to how far you can move from home, a good use of your time can help refocus.

 

Mynard suggested using this time of reflection to Start, Stop or Continue.

 

  • Is there something new you would like to commence?
  • Are there things that you were doing before that you no longer want to continue?
  • What things were you doing before restrictions do you want to continue doing?

 

She also suggested reflecting on our daily life by considering:

  

  1. Roles
  2. Self-care
  3. Productivity
  4. Leisure
  5. Our spaces
  6. Routines.

 

Clearly there are some similarities to the first mentioned article.

 

Whilst these are all great ideas to focus on and teaching our team these reflections and skills right now is vital, nothing can replace the human contact that most yearn for. At knp, we are constantly aware of the need to stay in touch with each other. Some of the ideas we have implemented are:

  

  • Our leadership group meets at a minimum of twice a week.
  • Our teams meet a minimum of twice a week. Once for workflow management and once to catch up for virtual drinks after work involving online games.
  • Once a fortnight we have a full staff meeting that have involved virtual quizzes, Uber Eats meals (funded by knp) and mindfulness exercises.
  • The leadership team makes a concerted effort to call each staff member, just to check in and see how they are doing and if there is anything we can do to make life easier whilst they are “living in the office”.

 

No, people are not knp’s greatest asset! It is our team of dedicated, smart, friendly, and capable people that make knp Solutions the successful firm that it is

today. Now more than ever, we need to look after them.

 

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(1). Work-From-Home-Habits of Effective People. How to be productive When Your Routine Changes by VitalSmarts

(2). The New Normal. Navigating everyday life during COVID-19 by Lorrae Mynard, Occupational Therapy Australia.

Making sense of it all by Ali Roshan - 5 tips for taking control of your finances

 

We all have been incredibly busy over the past few months. Working from home, schooling from home, exercising from home- The rate of disruption since mid-March has been overwhelming. With the continuing threat of the virus, we have all been navigating considerable change and upheaval.

 

With so much uncertainty, never before has it been so important that we focus on the things that we can control. It is time to take stock of your financial situation and look at proactive ways to manage this uncertainty.

 

As a financial adviser, I will continue to work with you to ensure that you make smart decisions with your money and provide you with the peace of mind that comes from having an expert on your side.

 

These are my favourite 5 easy tips to take control of your finances:

  1. Budget…the "dirty" word. There has never been a more important time to become more aware of your finances. This doesn't mean you have to manage a massive spreadsheet with every expense. However, it does mean being more aware of how you can curb spending that is putting your financial well-being at risk.
  2. If there is assistance, take it. Take stock of your current fixed expenses and see if there are opportunities to lighten the load. Many utilities, insurance, and other financial service providers are offering various levels of Covid-19 relief.
  3. Consider doing your tax return ASAP! If your income was impacted at the end of the 2019/20 financial year, you may find that you are entitled to a larger tax return than you would ordinarily receive. It is well worth discussing with your accountant. In the event you have tax payable, your accountant can develop a plan to help you make the required payments.
  4. Review your debt. Not all debt is equal. Spend the time to look at your current credit card, buy now-pay later, mortgage and other debt. Which has the lowest interest rate? Is it possible to roll debt into this lower interest facility?
  5. Superannuation withdrawals and mortgage pauses should be a last resort. Of course, the ability to access up to $20,000 of your superannuation in this and last financial year ($10,000 per financial year), could potentially be the lifeline that helps you to survive the next few months. However, early super withdrawal will have a long-term impact on your retirement savings. A $20,000 superannuation withdrawal could mean the difference of $55,603 at retirement for a 40-year-old with an $80,000 balance*
    Source: – 21/05/2020

    Putting your mortgage on hold could take the pressure off for a short period of time. Please be aware that your interest will continue to accrue during this period, and once you re-start your mortgage, your repayments will be increased to reflect these continued interest charges. Some banks are offering to extend the loan period.

 

We are here for you. We are currently meeting with our clients virtually. If you would like to book in a time to discuss how you can take control of your finances, or simply for a review of your personal situation, please contact us.

 

Ali Roshan is an Authorised Representative (ASIC No. 000378611) of Lifespan Financial Planning

 

ABN 23 005 921 735 AFSL Number 229892

 

No Advice Warning / General Advice

 

The purpose of this article is to provide general information only and the contents of this website do not purport to provide personal financial advice. knp Solutions strongly recommends that investors consult a financial adviser prior to making any investment decision.

 

The contents of this knp Solutions article does not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any person and should not be used as the basis for making any financial or other decisions.

 

The information is selective and may not be complete or accurate for your purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to invest in any particular product, investment, or security. The information provided on this website is given in good faith and is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation.

Personal Service Income - by Ronald Cheng

 

What is Personal Service Income?

 

Income that is produced mainly from the personal skills or exertion of an individual or individuals would be classified as Personal Service Income (PSI) by Australian taxation law. It is when more than 50% of the consideration you receive for a particular contract or transaction is for your labour, skill, or expertise. Some common examples of people who earn PSI are accountants, lawyers, business and IT consultants, construction workers and medical practitioners.

 

PSI rules - limitation on tax deductions

 

Running a business or providing services in a contracting arrangement that produces PSI could be affected by the PSI rules. The PSI rules could limit the allowable deductions against the PSI earned. To determine if the PSI rules would apply, there are various PSI tests which are quite complex.

 

PSI profit attribution

 

Even though the income was derived through an interposed entity e.g. company/trust, the net PSI would still need to be attributed to the individuals deriving the PSI and taxed on their marginal tax rates.

 

If you are uncertain about whether you are deriving PSI and would like to discuss your circumstances, please contact our office.