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Hitesh Mohanlal
Top 10% Business Growth

Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants

Member Since January 2013

Underwood, QLD, 4119

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I am known as Australia’s Number 1 Business Growth Strategist (profit increase and owner lifestyle improvement specialty), and have been recognised on CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC.

I am also a Chartered Accountant in the UK and Australia and have been practicing for the last 22 years. I run three businesses.

I have worked with over 3,500 businesses in Australia, America, UK, Japan and Europe.

I work with small to medium enterprises to improve their profits by up to a staggering 2000%

Business Growth

How to work fewer hours, do more and enjoy life

Human beings love the hype of working non-stop and striving for the easier life thinking they will achieve it through working too many hours per week. Is that true, though? What will you miss out on if you dedicate 70% of your everyday life to work? Will you regret it when the time comes? There are a few very important things you should think about that will help you be more productive and truly...

Business Coaching

How to Get What You Want! And I Mean ‘Really Get’ It: Part 2

Are you not happy with your life? Do you constantly ask how you can get the life you actually want, but can never seem to get it? You're not alone. But money is not what you actually want. It's just the means to the end. So don't focus your life solely on the money. Figuring out the lifestyle you actually want is the first step. So answer the questions at the end to check how you're doing and wh...

Business Coaching

What Do You Want From Your Life? And I Mean ‘Really’ Want?

It's time for a reality check. One that actually answers the questions, "What are we doing?" and "What are we going to do to change?" The first thing to change has to be our priorities if any of the changes we want to see will become manifest. So it's time to ask yourself this life changing question: "What kind of lifestyle do you want?"                   It's the end of the...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

What pitfalls or issues did you look for if you bought your company?

Very good question. Generally, the first question I always ask my clients who come to me about purchasing a business is 'how much does the business rely on the person who is selling?' If a lot (ie all the sales go through the existing owner or customers like to talk to them and them alone) then the business relies on the owner. If you then purchase this business there is a risk that customers will not wish to transact with you because the relationship has changed. The second question I ask is'How good are the systems or procedures that run the business'For example if all the know how is in the head of Norris and Norris is 72 years old and about to retire when you go in it is going to take you a long time to run the business. If on the other hand they have a systems or procedure manual it makes life easier.

Budgeting and Forecasting

2017/18 Budget – In Plain English

Okay, another year and another budget. My inbox is full of very intelligent people and well-established companies explaining it all in very correct technical and (typically) boring accounting and tax language. Some of it is so complicated even I have a hard time trying to work out what it means.  I am reading a paragraph right now under the heading 'Tax Integrity'. Here's what it says: 'Integ...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Would you recommend employing cheaper offshore workers?

Depends. If you are willing to train and teach then it can work. If not it will not work. Also it depends on what you mean cheap. If you pay rock bottom prices then the chances are you are not going to get great quality out of them no matter how much you train.I have 3 staff overseas and have been outsourcing for a long time. One thing i have learnt is that you have to spend a lot of time training and then controlling the work they do for you. We go out to visit our team and we fly our team into Australia too - specifically for training. If they understand exactly what you expect from them they will get it right. You also have to be patient. It takes time for them to learn and understand you so do not expect to give out work and think it will get done. It won't. We have found that using an agency is best but home workers can work if you find the right one. The issue with homeworkers is control, cyber security and privacy.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Any recommendations for businesses who do company valuation?

Yes - we use Biz Valuations for all our valuations. They are very competitive and their response times are excellent. They work on a fixed fee basis. You will need to provide financials and info and also the reason for your valuation.Their websitehttp://www.bizval.com.au/?gclid=CJKT3r-OjM8CFcErvQ...Tel 1300 916 973Speak to Lee Barrett

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

How do you know what you should outsource?

Excellent question Nancy. I have been outsourcing since 2004 so if there is a mistake that can be made in outsourcing I have probably done it. I currently have three full time staff outsourced. One in Phillipines and 2 in Fiji. The first thing to note is that whatever issues you have with Australian staff you will have with outsourced staff. Now add in culture differences and the issue is a lot bigger. With contractors control is much harder and making them accountable to you is very hard. I have learnt for example that with contractors you take them on full time. If you have them part time they work for others and your work gets done last.Also the work you give out has to be controlled, systemised and procedurised. If this is not done your contractor will get lost no matter how good they are. If you can break the task down in little parts with full instructions you will do well. My admin team does a massive amount of work off shore but this is only possible because every task is either in a video or is a document. You need to talk to them regularly. Not only on email. Physically on the phone. We do it daily and they join in our Australian weekly meetings. You need to make them feel part of a team.We give access to our team to our server, they have passwords to websites and my administration person has a dedicated credit card as well. I have never had an issue with security. If you use an agent then you are quite safe. If a contractor you need to be careful at first but generally you should be OK. Trust your gut but yes be carefulWhen it comes to choosing someone do your research, try to get reviews or testimonials. Give a trial job, interview them. If using Upwork etc then make sure they have experience.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

If working with a business coach, what questions would you ask?

As a business coach myself the questions i ask are really about my client. If you want business growth then my questions are going to be different than if the business owner is working 90 hours a week and wants to reduce time. They cannot really be written down as all my questions are generated on the spot. It is all about the business owner and what they want. What the coach wants is actually irrelevant and it is sometimes difficult not to judge. If you are looking to take on a coach you need to discus with them in detail what you want and what you are after. Trust your gut and only take them on if you feel comfortable. If they promise you grow and profit ask them exactly how much? If they cannot answer they are not for you. If you want to reduce hours ask them how many hours they will reduce for you. If you do not do this your coach is not accountable. Generally i always say that a coach should help you grow your business by at least $100,000 a year.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

How do you ask for payment from a client before the work's done?

Excellent question. As business owners we are afraid that asking for money means we lose the project/ job. What we sometimes forgot is that if we walk away our business will be OK but if we run out of money our business dies. If clients have an issue with paying fees they are usually not a good customer.Customers don't like paying in advance because they want assurances that the work will be done and that there are safeguards in place that should there be a problem it will be fixed. Solve this problem and the resistance falls down. We always ask for a % of money up front if it is one off engagement. In my accounting and bookkeeping business we help the client by spreading payment over 12 months. If they do not pay we stop working and ask for payment. We always give a full money back guarantee. That way the customer feels that if anything goes wrong they is recourse back. If a potential customer refuses we politely tell them that is our policy not to start work without payment and it is included in all our engagement letters. The key i think is to be clear and explain why you are asking for payment in advance and also try to work out why they are not prepared to pay in advance.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Are You Coached For Marketing Yourself As Business Owner?

Hi Michelle.I hope you are well.Yes i use someone who doubles up as a marketing person and coach though i do not refer to her as a coach. She deals with marketing and goes into coaching mode when i need it.Prior to her coming on board i was a good accountant, consultant and business growth strategist but it all happened through one brand (an accountancy firm). Also no one really knew what we did. We have successfully given all three parts their own brands (one of which is me) and started promoting them individually.This took time and we are still working on it - I have a lot of medical clients so we decided to specialise into this. So I have also written a published book on the subject.Although i am a business coach myself none of the above would have been achieved if i did not have someone to push me along.My advice would be for you to decide what you want. Coaches are great at showing you what needs to be done then leave it up to you to do it. Unless they have marketing experience and really know how to market the two might not go together. So you might need a business coach to advise you on what to do and then someone else to actually implement it. I am fortunate that i have someone who can do both.Hope this helps

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

When paying my company’s bills, should I take advantage of early payment discounts or pay late?

Good question. Yes if you have the funds it is worth taking the discount because on an annual basis the discount can save you money. I once did a calculation for one of my clients which showed that it was worth him increasing his overdraft and take the discount. Paying late can also work but this generally affects goodwill. If you pay on time and then find you are in a tricky position, suppliers will give you a bit more time to pay. If you are constantly late it can affect your relationship. You need to do some quick calculations but i usually take advantage of early payment arrangement.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Can I claim a home office as a legitimate business expense?

This is probably to most common question asked by my clients. It generally depends on the circumstances and exactly what you use your home for. Friends will tell you they have claimed for many years and not had a problem and that may be true but friends generally do not understand the entire consequences of claiming home expenses as business expenses.Firstly, if you own the property you could, without realising it, end up paying capital gains tax on you home when you sell it. If you live in a home you own it is your principal private residence and is not subject to capital gains tax. When you start claiming home expenses like mortgage interest and electricity what you are saying is that it is no longer 100 % private use. So if you claim 25% expenses are business you have converted your home to 75% private and 25% commercial and when you sell you have to calculate 25% as a capital gain. The next issue is if the cost is genuine business use. So if you use a small desk in a room which is also used by your son to sleep in then the ATO will say that the small office is just incidental to the home - even if you spend 24 hrs a day in there. The same would be if you spend 4 days out on the road and spend 1 day at home in the office. The ATO is unlikely to allow you to claim significant costs relating to running the home.At the other end if your garage and spare room is full of stock there is a genuine claim that a bigger home is required in order to run the business and you may be able to claim expenses. My advise would be to talk to your advisor and do some calculations. I have done this for my clients and sometimes it make sense to claim home expenses and for others it does not.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

What is the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper?

LindsyAs Lauren said bookkeepers deal with the day to day accounts processing. They process all receipts,expenses and reconcile you bank account.They might prepare your monthly or quarterly submissions to the tax authorities too. Generally bookkeepers give basic GST and payroll advice but they cannot give tax advice in Australia unless they are a registered tax agent. An accountant will generally reviews the work of bookkeepers and prepare year end taxes.If the accountant is good they will also provide tax minimisation advice and also business advice too.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

How do I do business in the Philippines?

HarryGood question. There is an abundant supply of labour in the Philippines but the issue will always be quality control and culture. I had a couple of people there and all my admin work is still done there. Once they know what you are after they generally deliver - it is a time consuming exercise and it can be very frustrating.You really need to understand how the people and culture work. I recommend you contact Mike O'Hagan. He runs tours there for people like yourself and is a good introduction. He can be contacted via his assistant - assistant@minimovers.com.au

Business Growth

It's Stars Wars Madness -But You Could Make Thousands by Following It's Wisdom

According to the best financials brains in the stratosphere of our world, Disney will generate approximately $5bn of merchandise from its latest installment of the Star Wars franchise. I am not sure that is correct because if you look around my house I am convinced there is a $1bn worth of Star Wars goods there. If a thief comes to my house they would ignore the laptops and iPads and instead go fo...

Business Growth

New Year Resolutions Are Crap! Detox Your Business Instead and Save Thousands of Dollars

I am not really into New Year's Resolutions - they have never really worked for me. I once made a resolution that I would eat good healthy food and remove all alcohol whilst nursing a hangover on New Year's Day. But at the time my IQ levels are about the same as my goldfish because any brain cells left in my brain were still swimming in the alcohol I had consumed a few hours earlier. This meant th...

Business Growth

It's A Wonderful Life - Your Riches Are Closer to Home than You Think.

There are some films that have meaning and are timeless. "It's a Wonderful Life" is such a film. But it teaches us so much about our business and our personal life. It could, in fact, make you much richer. I know what you are thinking. How can a film made in 1946 be relevant to your personal or business life? This is, after all, the age of Facebook, Apps, Uber, Google and YouTube. Well, believe i...

Business Growth

You think you're having a hard time this Christmas? Spare a thought for Santa

If everyone is to be believed Christmas this year is already becoming a disaster. Mothers and chefs around the world are running around like headless chickens working out ways of making sure the turkey does not become dry and the stuffing remains as moist as possible. Supermarket trolleys are being filled to the extent that it would appear there will be no food available to buy for the next month...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Mary Mai
Mary Mai, Business Intelligence Analyst at Savvysme

Customer Retention

How do SMEs manage customer relationships?

I have a lot of clients who don't meet their customers at all. All sales are done online. If communication is to be done online speed and knowledge is key. Speed of response is absolutely critical and the ability to be willing to solve the problem even if you are wrong because a bad review cause lose sales like you never believe. If you also have a sales/ inquiry phone number then make sure it is manned and response times are quick.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

How do you know when it's time to let an idea die, rather than pursuing it?

If it is a business idea then I always say it needs to make money. You may have a great idea but if there is no market for your service or product then you could be wasting your time. You need to do market research. Will it sell? If there is a market the next thing you need to ask is if you are passionate enough about the product/ service to make it work.

Business Growth

Is Your Team Costing You Tens of Thousand Dollars?

There is a lot of material on the internet about team building and getting a team together. Yet I believe it is one of the major downfalls of business because most teams do not operate like a lean mean slick machine. And that normally means you are leaking thousands of dollars at best. Tens of thousands is probably normal. But if you have a larger team it's likely to be a few hundreds of thousands...

Business Management

Employees Are There to Make You Money - Thousands of Dollars In Fact

We sometimes forget this. The only reason I have a team of people is because I think I will make money out of the team. We also have a team because we think they will do the job we want them to do. Yes over the years your team will become your friends and I actually have a lot of time for my team. I will do almost anything in my power to help them. But the reason I hired them was so that I make mo...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

What is the main difference between successful SMEs and franchises?

I agree with Lisa above. The main difference between successful small businesses and successful franchises is control and freedom to do as you wish in your business.If I own a Subway and decided I wanted to stock Cola made by my brother in law the men in suits at Subway might have a few words to say about that. Not only do you have to use a Franchiser's systems and procedures you have to use their suppliers too. A Nando's store costs $400,000 to fit out. For that money you can build a four bedroom home but at Nando's you get a Kitchen a few ovens, tables and some chairs. Its the same if your till breaks down. On the upside, good Franchises will give a brand, great systems and procedures and this is where the real value is as it has the ability to save hours of time.I could never operate as a franchisee simply because If i want to change something i do it. Getting approval from a man in a suit would drive me insane. When I get into conversations with people considering buying a franchise i talk about the above and if they don't mind being restricted then buying a Franchise makes sense.Also those in small business tend to be more innovative and are looking for ways to improve and change their business. When your in a franchise you are hoping the big guys on top are doing it for you.It is also worth remembering that not all franchises are successful. At the end of the day, it is down to the owner and how well they operate the business.

Business Growth

It's Not About Service - It's About Honesty and Integrity

Oh dear. Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you will know that Volkswagen has been caught with its pants down. If you are feminine minded, it is the same as being caught with your knickers at your ankles. The amount of fines alone has the potential to put the business on its knees. And that's before we get to the tricky issue of customer trust and damage to the brand. If everyone is ...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Darcey Pollard
Darcey Pollard, Retail Capability and Product Trainer at

Leadership

May I turn your team development questions into new articles?

DarceyGood question. I am fortunate that i have a great team in place so i do not have any specific issues.However, I do work with a lot of businesses where issues within team arises. In this fast moving world I am finding more and more that employees want flexible arrangements and are willing to sacrifice pay to get it. This creates issues such as remote access, possible conflict with other teams etc which if not properly addressed can cause issues. Also how to keep your team involved and willing to follow the values of your business is a permanent problem. And finally how do you deal with key employees who have a lot of information in their head and what happens if they decide to leave.Just a few to think about

Business Coaching

My Story: I Come First - My Business Comes Second

I am an entrepreneur who has set up 8 businesses, selling two of these, currently running three and helping my wife run a further 3. I have been fortunate that have never found my business to be tough or been in a situation of despair. I have never had to close down a business due to cash flow issues or lack of business and I have never been in a situation where business has proved to be so dif...

Business Management

Are You An Uber or a Taxi? The Answer Could Predict Your Time In Business

How would you react if I tell you that if I asked just one question -- the answer could potentially tell you if you are going to be highly successful or if your days in business could be numbered? Well, I think I have just cracked it. Over the last month or so, I have been undertaking a very detailed, precise scientific experiment and survey. Well to be quite honest, no science was involved an...

Business Management

Inefficiency in Business: Don’t Lose a Ferrari or A House Through the Back Door

What's the worst thing that could happen if there is inefficiency in your business? Every business has some form of leakage. Even my own. All business people know this, but sometimes it is just too hard to fix. You see, if we knew how big the leakage is we might start crying like a baby and actually do something about it. So here are a few questions for you: Do you know what leakages you have...

Taxation

How To Avoid Jail Time When It Comes To Tax

Attached is "Stay Out Of Jail Card" There are some days (very few) in my life when I hate what I do. It does not happen very often, but when it does -- I have a heavy heart. Normally, I write my blogs with a bit of humor, but this week I am going to be a bit more serious. But read on and the advice you will get will guarantee to keep you out of jail. We hear all kinds of horror stories about how...

Business Growth

Is Cash Pouring In Or is It Just A Trickle?

As many of you who read my blog last week know I was on holiday in Fiji, a place that I can relax like no other. I love the place. So while I was relaxing and observing life I asked the question which is the nuts and bolts of my blog this week. What products or services are losing you cash? When was the last time you asked your customers about what you charge? You see whilst relaxing and observ...

Business Management

Hard Work Is Not Normal! Doing This is Normal …..

I have spent the last couple of weeks in Fiji, which was a lot of fun. But I find that everyone goes bonkers when they are on holiday. Let me explain. You see I have always believed that the human race is bound in shackles by the money system. We wake up every day spend hours travelling to go to work or our business, to earn money to pay for the car that gets us to work and pay for the house that...

Assembling Mentors, Advisors and Board Members

Find the Right Advisor & Make $100,000

Before I start where I left off last week, I need to clear something. You see last week I suggested that a number of attendees at my seminar may not have taken action. This it seems may have upset a few people. I received a few emails explaining they had taken action and one person actually sent me his business plan, which was impressive. It was also great to see that action was being taken and I ...

Business Management

Is Your Business A Pushbike? How To Become An Aston Martin

A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to prove a point at one of my seminars so I jumped onto Google and typed the words "Advice Business Growth" and was astonished at the number of results I got. In 0.48 seconds, Google told me there were 330 Million (yes, you are reading correctly) page articles relating to business growth. It only proved to me what I knew. There is a massive amount of information ...

Business Growth

Is Your Reputation What You Want On Google?

In the good old days when Google and Facebook were not invented, your reputation was based on what people thought of your business and who they told. Who they told was based on who their friends or colleagues were. If they were popular, they might have a bigger circle but in the whole scheme of things, unless their were the BBC or the Prime Minister, the circle tended to be rather small. So if Jo...

Business Growth

What has Traffic Control Got to do With My Business? More Than You Might Think!

Inefficiencies drive me nuts. We have a rule in our office. If it is inefficient we change it. Immediately. Inefficiencies mean more cost and wasted energy - to us and ultimately to the end customer. The problem is that sometimes it is staring us in the face, but we either ignore or refuse to see it. Let me explain a bit more. Last week I was in Fortitude Valley, an inner city suburb of Brisban...

Business Growth

Will You be Saying – ‘Yes! We had a Great Strategy!’ Or ‘Crap We Messed That One Up!’

As a business growth strategist, it is not unusual for me to see excited businesses jumping up and down about an opportunity or new direction it is about to undertake. They may have undertaken a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities & Threats) analysis where management and team have come up with a great idea and everyone in the room thinks it is going to be fantastic. The Boss has already ...

Business Growth

We Know We Shouldn’t Do This Yet We Still Do!

Earlier this week I was visited by an uncle of mine from Melbourne. He is a highly successful businessman and runs a large business in Fiji and Melbourne. We began discussing business over coffee. Generally, I get asked questions like what makes a successful business and the traits of successful entrepreneurs but my uncle asked me a different question. In theory, the answer should have been easy...

Business Growth

Just Listen To Me. Fix It & Make Me Feel Special! Ignore At Your Peril!

The last couple of months have been very frustrating. We are partners with MYOB and over the last 4 years, have paid them a significant amount of money. As partners, we were supposed to get support, help and have an account manager who keeps in touch with us. This never actually happened. However, as we had a number of clients using MYOB, we just put up and paid. As the number of clients using...

Insolvency

We are not insolvent! ..... Are You Sure?

Sometimes when I talk to clients about insolvency it is a bit like talking about death. They just don't want to do it or believe it. Last month a client of mine was put into liquidation. The difficulties started about a year ago and I started to advise the company about 8 months ago. My discussions with the directors was always about cash flow and what we were going to do to keep the company...

Business Growth

Customer Service – How Getting it Wrong Can Cost You Thousands of Dollars!

We all know that customer service is not just important, but probably the cornerstone of a business. Everyone knows that bad customer service will cost you lost customers, but what really is the cost? And why is it that Australian businesses still don’t get it? Even if you have a great product, bad customer service will kill your business. Statistics tell us that if you give great customer ser...

Cashflow Management

Lack of Cash Flow? – Prepare for a Heart Attack!

When I discuss cash flow issues, losses and profits with many of my clients, I usually try to put things into perspective. You see if a business makes losses, it can continue to do so for a number of years. A business can be profitable yet, still run out of money – and that is a real problem. Let’s put it this way – making losses is a bit like your business having cancer. If you ignore i...

Business Growth

Forget New Year Resolutions – Let’s Detox Your Business

I am not really into New Year’s Resolutions – they have never really worked for me. So on New Year’s Day whilst nursing a hangover, I got asked the ‘what are your resolutions this year’ question by my nephew. After hearing that they were not for me, he asked an interesting question which went something like this: "Ok, but there must be some things you will do differently in your busine...

Business Coaching

If Today Is Your Last Day What Would Your Regrets Be?

If today is your last day, what would your regrets be? This is an interesting question, isn’t it? You would think that the answers from each person would be varied and very different. In fact, research suggests otherwise. I started thinking about this question over 10 years ago and it has totally transformed my life. You see, my cousin died at a tender age of 38 and one of the last conversat...

Business Growth

Success in Business: Like It or Not, it’s all about Money!

As a business growth strategist which has advised thousands of businesses over the last 20 years, I am fascinated at what drives people to success in business. I was so fascinated that I began to make a list. A few years ago, I read a book by Brendan Nichols which stated a similar list as mine, but his list was more refined so I now use his. I call the list ‘Things That Make Us Believe We Are S...

Business Growth

I know what I want going forward – so why do I need to know where I am?

As a business growth strategist, I often recommend undertaking a strategic planning day to work out where the business owner and their businesses are. When I say this, I often get a response that they know where they want to go so what’s the point in working out where they are now. Let me give you an example: You get in your car and use your satellite navigation to work out your route to wher...

Business Management

It’s All About Passion Stupid!!

For those old enough, we know that these were the famous words used by Ronald Regan (except the word was ‘Economy’ not ‘Passion’) but the result is the same. As a business owner who has advised a few thousand businesses, it ceases to amaze me what passion can do. I have seen business models that I think simply cannot work, but somehow they do. Then, I see a great business idea but it just...

Business Management

Importance of Setting Goals Towards Success

Setting Goals – Really? Boring and it’s Crap, Isn’t It? – Or is it? I can hear you moaning already. I get it all the time. I know you have heard this before and are sick to death with it. The thing is, every consistent success business or business owner I have been involved in not only has goals but have them WRITTEN DOWN. Ever heard about the Yale Survey? There was a study done at Ya...

Research and Innovation

What is Your WHY?

Last week I put up an article on the traits of successful business people. One of the things that I have found out is that successful business people also have a big WHY? What does that mean? It basically means they have a big WHY as to what they do and why they do so passionately. I have found that PASSION is one of the major ingredients of success. I usually concentrate on this early when I...

Business Management

Traits of Successful Business People

Does Sir Richard Branson Think Like This? As a Business Growth Strategist and a Chartered Accountant, I have been lucky enough to be involved in over 3,500 businesses over the last 20 years. It has allowed me to see what traits successful business people have and how they implement them in their business. I have never met Sir Richard Branson, but when I think about my business I often ask what...

Taxation

What the heck is an ato directors penalty notice – help!!

When a director gets one of these it can be really scary. So what are they and how can you avoid getting one? As a company director, or a director of a corporate trustee,  you normally have limited liability and debts of a company cannot be allocated to a director unless they have given personal guarantees. However, for certain tax debts the ATO can make a director personally liable if the co...

Bookkeeping

What would happen if your brisbane bookkeeper ‘died?’

Not a nice thought really. But if it has got you thinking then that’s a good start. It does not have to result in death either. I am sure you have heard stories about bookkeepers who can no longer work because of family commitments, because they have become ill, are just too busy with workload, or simply just disappeared overnight. Sometimes it is as simple as your Brisbane bookkeeper going a...

Bookkeeping

The perfect way to do your bookkeeping wrong!

If you are a business owner and do your own bookkeeping the chances are you have no real qualifications or have not been trained extensively to understand tax, accountancy and bookkeeping. In most cases, business owners have learnt by trial and error and picked up tips from here and there. I routinely speak to business owners who do their own bookkeeping. Most think their work is more than ade...

Taxation

How to know if your bookkeeper is minimising tax

For some reason historically, bookkeepers write up a business’s books during the year and an accountant many months after the end of the year prepares a tax return and tries to provide some tax advice. The bookkeeper does not really provide much advice but is effectively a data processor. Unfortunately, this never really works. Trying to give tax advice after the end of the year is a bit like...

Human Resources

I don’t need work place policies do I? I am only a small business

A recent decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission (previously known as Fair Work Australia) proves every employer needs some type of employment policies. Ignore them at your peril. Barwon Health dismissed a long-serving Specialist in Anaesthesia, Dr Mark Colson, on the basis of the employee’s alleged ‘serious misconduct’. According to Barwon Heath Dr Colson had: a)      delibe...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Robin Dickinson
Robin Dickinson, Owner at RAD International

Accounting

Is accounting software such as MYOB, Xero or Saasu an overkill?

Interesting comments everyone.

Every business is different and it really depends what you want from your accounting bookkeeping system.We use Xero and love it. But that does not mean it is what every business should use.

For some reason most business owners in Australia think they have to have MYOB, Xero or some other system in place. This is not necessarily so. It depends what information you want to get from your accounting system.

If you want it just to work out your GST, what your income and expenses are then we find that our customised spreadsheet does the trick. We give it to our clients for free because it makes our life easier at year end. It calculates your GST by quarter and gives you a basic P&L per quarter. This is normally good enough for a start up or a business which has turnover less that a few hundred thousand dollars. I have a client on it that has a turnover of $1.2m and this is all the information he wants and probably needs as he does not have any significant debtors or creditors. 

If on the other hand you do have significant debtors and creditors, need to control stock, etc you do need a more complex system like Xero. Remember most of these packages are not designed for the business owner - they are designed for accountants and bookkeepers which is why if you are at that stage you might want to consider giving your bookkeeping to a bookkeeper or your accountant. After all you did not get into business so you can write up the books!

 

 

Finance and Accounting

Have You Given or Recieved A Family Loan? Think You Don’t Need Any Paperwork? Think Again!

Family loans are not uncommon. They are normally given to help purchase a new business, purchase a home or overcome financial difficulties.  Why should I have a loan agreement? Having a loan agreement in place will provide you and your family members with certainty. This can prevent family disputes and put you at ease knowing that you can enforce your agreement. A recent case in the Family Div...

Risk Management

Why You Need a Small Business Buy Sell Agreement

Most people do not really understand what a small business buy sell agreement is. A simple question. - Do you want to retain control of your small business in the event that an existing business partner dies or are no longer in a position to fulfill their position – e.g. disability? Let’s take an example. Peter and Paul have been in business as business partners for the last 5 years. The bu...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Accounting

What Should Every Business Have/ Know?

Whenever I meet a potential client who is about to set up in business, I am often asked what as a business they need or should have. As part of any business set up, every accountant and business advisor will explain what kind of structure is appropriate, how to register business names, apply for trademarks, set up bookkeeping systems etc. These are basic things that all businesses must have. I...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Does every small business need an accountant ?

Unfortunately, yes any serious business will have and need an accountant to deal with their compliance matters. Tax rules and regulations are constantly changing and even we boring accountants struggle to keep up. Getting things wrong can cost thousands in additional tax and sometimes you will not even know it is costing you money unless you talk to someone who knows.
However, in today's business environment your accountant should be a lot more than a number cruncher. The reality is that most Australian accountants concentrate on Tax and they have been programmed to do just that.
If you have an accountant that says they are tax experts or they have 30 or 50 years of experience be a bit vary. As a client you would expect every accountant to know tax rules and be experts. If you think about it when you visit your doctor does he/ she tell you that they are a good doctor - you just expect them to be. In the same way you should expect your accountant to know what they doing.
What you want in an accountant is someone who can give you more. They should be able to give strategic planning advice, facilitate strategy days, work out what your business and personal goals are, talk to you about retirement and estate planning just to name a few.
We never really make a big deal about our tax knowledge or expertise. We do make a big deal about all the other stuff we can offer because most business owner surveys show the same thing - they all want their accountant to be more proactive and give real business changing advice.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Accounting

Do you think MYOB is the worst accounting package in the world?

Not my favourite. MYOB has been left behind by Xero and Quickbooks Online. Stay away from MYOB and look at the others

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

What accounting software package should a small business use?

As an accounting and bookkeeping practice we have to use and understand most major accounting software. The most popular are MYOB, Quickbooks and Xero. Having used all three we prefer Xero. In fact we have come to the decision that if a client wants us to do bookkeeping we will only do it on Xero. If a client insist we use anything else we will do so but we find that our prices are at least one and a half times higher.This shows how efficient Xero can be if used correctly.

It is very flexible, very easy to use and bank feeds make the process painless. We have found MYOB Live and Quickbooks online slow in comparison. 

The reports that advisors have access to is also good and we find our clients look forward to their monthly or quarterly management reports. They seam to understand them more. We struggle to get decent reports from MYOB or Quickbooks

Our problem with Xero is support - there is only online e-mail support even for advisors and this can be frustrating. We still think it is the best accountancy software at the moment.  


Taxation

ATO Audit: What To Do And How To Avoid It ⬅️

The Australian tax office and the ATO audit are usually 2 of the most dreaded phrases for the Australian SMEs.  However, there are a few tips and tricks, insightful, accurate, consistent and clear advice based on the experience we want to share with you to make the visit of the Australian tax office less stressful for you or avoid it whatsoever. Intrigued by that? Check out this article to kn...

Business Growth

How to work fewer hours, do more and enjoy life

Human beings love the hype of working non-stop and striving for the easier life thinking they will achieve it through working too many hours per week. Is that true, though? What will you miss out on if you dedicate 70% of your everyday life to work? Will you regret it when the time comes? There are a few very important things you should think about that will help you be more productive and truly...

Business Coaching

How to Get What You Want! And I Mean ‘Really Get’ It: Part 2

Are you not happy with your life? Do you constantly ask how you can get the life you actually want, but can never seem to get it? You're not alone. But money is not what you actually want. It's just the means to the end. So don't focus your life solely on the money. Figuring out the lifestyle you actually want is the first step. So answer the questions at the end to check how you're doing and wh...

Business Coaching

What Do You Want From Your Life? And I Mean ‘Really’ Want?

It's time for a reality check. One that actually answers the questions, "What are we doing?" and "What are we going to do to change?" The first thing to change has to be our priorities if any of the changes we want to see will become manifest. So it's time to ask yourself this life changing question: "What kind of lifestyle do you want?"                   It's the end of the...

Budgeting and Forecasting

2017/18 Budget – In Plain English

Okay, another year and another budget. My inbox is full of very intelligent people and well-established companies explaining it all in very correct technical and (typically) boring accounting and tax language. Some of it is so complicated even I have a hard time trying to work out what it means.  I am reading a paragraph right now under the heading 'Tax Integrity'. Here's what it says: 'Integ...

Business Growth

It's Stars Wars Madness -But You Could Make Thousands by Following It's Wisdom

According to the best financials brains in the stratosphere of our world, Disney will generate approximately $5bn of merchandise from its latest installment of the Star Wars franchise. I am not sure that is correct because if you look around my house I am convinced there is a $1bn worth of Star Wars goods there. If a thief comes to my house they would ignore the laptops and iPads and instead go fo...

Business Growth

New Year Resolutions Are Crap! Detox Your Business Instead and Save Thousands of Dollars

I am not really into New Year's Resolutions - they have never really worked for me. I once made a resolution that I would eat good healthy food and remove all alcohol whilst nursing a hangover on New Year's Day. But at the time my IQ levels are about the same as my goldfish because any brain cells left in my brain were still swimming in the alcohol I had consumed a few hours earlier. This meant th...

Business Growth

It's A Wonderful Life - Your Riches Are Closer to Home than You Think.

There are some films that have meaning and are timeless. "It's a Wonderful Life" is such a film. But it teaches us so much about our business and our personal life. It could, in fact, make you much richer. I know what you are thinking. How can a film made in 1946 be relevant to your personal or business life? This is, after all, the age of Facebook, Apps, Uber, Google and YouTube. Well, believe i...

Business Growth

You think you're having a hard time this Christmas? Spare a thought for Santa

If everyone is to be believed Christmas this year is already becoming a disaster. Mothers and chefs around the world are running around like headless chickens working out ways of making sure the turkey does not become dry and the stuffing remains as moist as possible. Supermarket trolleys are being filled to the extent that it would appear there will be no food available to buy for the next month...

Business Growth

Is Your Team Costing You Tens of Thousand Dollars?

There is a lot of material on the internet about team building and getting a team together. Yet I believe it is one of the major downfalls of business because most teams do not operate like a lean mean slick machine. And that normally means you are leaking thousands of dollars at best. Tens of thousands is probably normal. But if you have a larger team it's likely to be a few hundreds of thousands...

Business Management

Employees Are There to Make You Money - Thousands of Dollars In Fact

We sometimes forget this. The only reason I have a team of people is because I think I will make money out of the team. We also have a team because we think they will do the job we want them to do. Yes over the years your team will become your friends and I actually have a lot of time for my team. I will do almost anything in my power to help them. But the reason I hired them was so that I make mo...

Business Growth

It's Not About Service - It's About Honesty and Integrity

Oh dear. Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you will know that Volkswagen has been caught with its pants down. If you are feminine minded, it is the same as being caught with your knickers at your ankles. The amount of fines alone has the potential to put the business on its knees. And that's before we get to the tricky issue of customer trust and damage to the brand. If everyone is ...

Business Coaching

My Story: I Come First - My Business Comes Second

I am an entrepreneur who has set up 8 businesses, selling two of these, currently running three and helping my wife run a further 3. I have been fortunate that have never found my business to be tough or been in a situation of despair. I have never had to close down a business due to cash flow issues or lack of business and I have never been in a situation where business has proved to be so dif...

Business Management

Are You An Uber or a Taxi? The Answer Could Predict Your Time In Business

How would you react if I tell you that if I asked just one question -- the answer could potentially tell you if you are going to be highly successful or if your days in business could be numbered? Well, I think I have just cracked it. Over the last month or so, I have been undertaking a very detailed, precise scientific experiment and survey. Well to be quite honest, no science was involved an...

Business Management

Inefficiency in Business: Don’t Lose a Ferrari or A House Through the Back Door

What's the worst thing that could happen if there is inefficiency in your business? Every business has some form of leakage. Even my own. All business people know this, but sometimes it is just too hard to fix. You see, if we knew how big the leakage is we might start crying like a baby and actually do something about it. So here are a few questions for you: Do you know what leakages you have...

Taxation

How To Avoid Jail Time When It Comes To Tax

Attached is "Stay Out Of Jail Card" There are some days (very few) in my life when I hate what I do. It does not happen very often, but when it does -- I have a heavy heart. Normally, I write my blogs with a bit of humor, but this week I am going to be a bit more serious. But read on and the advice you will get will guarantee to keep you out of jail. We hear all kinds of horror stories about how...

Business Growth

Is Cash Pouring In Or is It Just A Trickle?

As many of you who read my blog last week know I was on holiday in Fiji, a place that I can relax like no other. I love the place. So while I was relaxing and observing life I asked the question which is the nuts and bolts of my blog this week. What products or services are losing you cash? When was the last time you asked your customers about what you charge? You see whilst relaxing and observ...

Business Management

Hard Work Is Not Normal! Doing This is Normal …..

I have spent the last couple of weeks in Fiji, which was a lot of fun. But I find that everyone goes bonkers when they are on holiday. Let me explain. You see I have always believed that the human race is bound in shackles by the money system. We wake up every day spend hours travelling to go to work or our business, to earn money to pay for the car that gets us to work and pay for the house that...

Assembling Mentors, Advisors and Board Members

Find the Right Advisor & Make $100,000

Before I start where I left off last week, I need to clear something. You see last week I suggested that a number of attendees at my seminar may not have taken action. This it seems may have upset a few people. I received a few emails explaining they had taken action and one person actually sent me his business plan, which was impressive. It was also great to see that action was being taken and I ...

Business Management

Is Your Business A Pushbike? How To Become An Aston Martin

A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to prove a point at one of my seminars so I jumped onto Google and typed the words "Advice Business Growth" and was astonished at the number of results I got. In 0.48 seconds, Google told me there were 330 Million (yes, you are reading correctly) page articles relating to business growth. It only proved to me what I knew. There is a massive amount of information ...

Business Growth

Is Your Reputation What You Want On Google?

In the good old days when Google and Facebook were not invented, your reputation was based on what people thought of your business and who they told. Who they told was based on who their friends or colleagues were. If they were popular, they might have a bigger circle but in the whole scheme of things, unless their were the BBC or the Prime Minister, the circle tended to be rather small. So if Jo...

Business Growth

What has Traffic Control Got to do With My Business? More Than You Might Think!

Inefficiencies drive me nuts. We have a rule in our office. If it is inefficient we change it. Immediately. Inefficiencies mean more cost and wasted energy - to us and ultimately to the end customer. The problem is that sometimes it is staring us in the face, but we either ignore or refuse to see it. Let me explain a bit more. Last week I was in Fortitude Valley, an inner city suburb of Brisban...

Business Growth

Will You be Saying – ‘Yes! We had a Great Strategy!’ Or ‘Crap We Messed That One Up!’

As a business growth strategist, it is not unusual for me to see excited businesses jumping up and down about an opportunity or new direction it is about to undertake. They may have undertaken a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities & Threats) analysis where management and team have come up with a great idea and everyone in the room thinks it is going to be fantastic. The Boss has already ...

Business Growth

We Know We Shouldn’t Do This Yet We Still Do!

Earlier this week I was visited by an uncle of mine from Melbourne. He is a highly successful businessman and runs a large business in Fiji and Melbourne. We began discussing business over coffee. Generally, I get asked questions like what makes a successful business and the traits of successful entrepreneurs but my uncle asked me a different question. In theory, the answer should have been easy...

Business Growth

Just Listen To Me. Fix It & Make Me Feel Special! Ignore At Your Peril!

The last couple of months have been very frustrating. We are partners with MYOB and over the last 4 years, have paid them a significant amount of money. As partners, we were supposed to get support, help and have an account manager who keeps in touch with us. This never actually happened. However, as we had a number of clients using MYOB, we just put up and paid. As the number of clients using...

Insolvency

We are not insolvent! ..... Are You Sure?

Sometimes when I talk to clients about insolvency it is a bit like talking about death. They just don't want to do it or believe it. Last month a client of mine was put into liquidation. The difficulties started about a year ago and I started to advise the company about 8 months ago. My discussions with the directors was always about cash flow and what we were going to do to keep the company...

Business Growth

Customer Service – How Getting it Wrong Can Cost You Thousands of Dollars!

We all know that customer service is not just important, but probably the cornerstone of a business. Everyone knows that bad customer service will cost you lost customers, but what really is the cost? And why is it that Australian businesses still don’t get it? Even if you have a great product, bad customer service will kill your business. Statistics tell us that if you give great customer ser...

Cashflow Management

Lack of Cash Flow? – Prepare for a Heart Attack!

When I discuss cash flow issues, losses and profits with many of my clients, I usually try to put things into perspective. You see if a business makes losses, it can continue to do so for a number of years. A business can be profitable yet, still run out of money – and that is a real problem. Let’s put it this way – making losses is a bit like your business having cancer. If you ignore i...

Business Growth

Forget New Year Resolutions – Let’s Detox Your Business

I am not really into New Year’s Resolutions – they have never really worked for me. So on New Year’s Day whilst nursing a hangover, I got asked the ‘what are your resolutions this year’ question by my nephew. After hearing that they were not for me, he asked an interesting question which went something like this: "Ok, but there must be some things you will do differently in your busine...

Business Coaching

If Today Is Your Last Day What Would Your Regrets Be?

If today is your last day, what would your regrets be? This is an interesting question, isn’t it? You would think that the answers from each person would be varied and very different. In fact, research suggests otherwise. I started thinking about this question over 10 years ago and it has totally transformed my life. You see, my cousin died at a tender age of 38 and one of the last conversat...

Business Growth

Success in Business: Like It or Not, it’s all about Money!

As a business growth strategist which has advised thousands of businesses over the last 20 years, I am fascinated at what drives people to success in business. I was so fascinated that I began to make a list. A few years ago, I read a book by Brendan Nichols which stated a similar list as mine, but his list was more refined so I now use his. I call the list ‘Things That Make Us Believe We Are S...

Business Growth

I know what I want going forward – so why do I need to know where I am?

As a business growth strategist, I often recommend undertaking a strategic planning day to work out where the business owner and their businesses are. When I say this, I often get a response that they know where they want to go so what’s the point in working out where they are now. Let me give you an example: You get in your car and use your satellite navigation to work out your route to wher...

Business Management

It’s All About Passion Stupid!!

For those old enough, we know that these were the famous words used by Ronald Regan (except the word was ‘Economy’ not ‘Passion’) but the result is the same. As a business owner who has advised a few thousand businesses, it ceases to amaze me what passion can do. I have seen business models that I think simply cannot work, but somehow they do. Then, I see a great business idea but it just...

Business Management

Importance of Setting Goals Towards Success

Setting Goals – Really? Boring and it’s Crap, Isn’t It? – Or is it? I can hear you moaning already. I get it all the time. I know you have heard this before and are sick to death with it. The thing is, every consistent success business or business owner I have been involved in not only has goals but have them WRITTEN DOWN. Ever heard about the Yale Survey? There was a study done at Ya...

Research and Innovation

What is Your WHY?

Last week I put up an article on the traits of successful business people. One of the things that I have found out is that successful business people also have a big WHY? What does that mean? It basically means they have a big WHY as to what they do and why they do so passionately. I have found that PASSION is one of the major ingredients of success. I usually concentrate on this early when I...

Business Management

Traits of Successful Business People

Does Sir Richard Branson Think Like This? As a Business Growth Strategist and a Chartered Accountant, I have been lucky enough to be involved in over 3,500 businesses over the last 20 years. It has allowed me to see what traits successful business people have and how they implement them in their business. I have never met Sir Richard Branson, but when I think about my business I often ask what...

Taxation

What the heck is an ato directors penalty notice – help!!

When a director gets one of these it can be really scary. So what are they and how can you avoid getting one? As a company director, or a director of a corporate trustee,  you normally have limited liability and debts of a company cannot be allocated to a director unless they have given personal guarantees. However, for certain tax debts the ATO can make a director personally liable if the co...

Bookkeeping

What would happen if your brisbane bookkeeper ‘died?’

Not a nice thought really. But if it has got you thinking then that’s a good start. It does not have to result in death either. I am sure you have heard stories about bookkeepers who can no longer work because of family commitments, because they have become ill, are just too busy with workload, or simply just disappeared overnight. Sometimes it is as simple as your Brisbane bookkeeper going a...

Bookkeeping

The perfect way to do your bookkeeping wrong!

If you are a business owner and do your own bookkeeping the chances are you have no real qualifications or have not been trained extensively to understand tax, accountancy and bookkeeping. In most cases, business owners have learnt by trial and error and picked up tips from here and there. I routinely speak to business owners who do their own bookkeeping. Most think their work is more than ade...

Taxation

How to know if your bookkeeper is minimising tax

For some reason historically, bookkeepers write up a business’s books during the year and an accountant many months after the end of the year prepares a tax return and tries to provide some tax advice. The bookkeeper does not really provide much advice but is effectively a data processor. Unfortunately, this never really works. Trying to give tax advice after the end of the year is a bit like...

Human Resources

I don’t need work place policies do I? I am only a small business

A recent decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission (previously known as Fair Work Australia) proves every employer needs some type of employment policies. Ignore them at your peril. Barwon Health dismissed a long-serving Specialist in Anaesthesia, Dr Mark Colson, on the basis of the employee’s alleged ‘serious misconduct’. According to Barwon Heath Dr Colson had: a)      delibe...

Finance and Accounting

Have You Given or Recieved A Family Loan? Think You Don’t Need Any Paperwork? Think Again!

Family loans are not uncommon. They are normally given to help purchase a new business, purchase a home or overcome financial difficulties.  Why should I have a loan agreement? Having a loan agreement in place will provide you and your family members with certainty. This can prevent family disputes and put you at ease knowing that you can enforce your agreement. A recent case in the Family Div...

Risk Management

Why You Need a Small Business Buy Sell Agreement

Most people do not really understand what a small business buy sell agreement is. A simple question. - Do you want to retain control of your small business in the event that an existing business partner dies or are no longer in a position to fulfill their position – e.g. disability? Let’s take an example. Peter and Paul have been in business as business partners for the last 5 years. The bu...

Accounting

What Should Every Business Have/ Know?

Whenever I meet a potential client who is about to set up in business, I am often asked what as a business they need or should have. As part of any business set up, every accountant and business advisor will explain what kind of structure is appropriate, how to register business names, apply for trademarks, set up bookkeeping systems etc. These are basic things that all businesses must have. I...

Taxation

ATO Audit: What To Do And How To Avoid It ⬅️

The Australian tax office and the ATO audit are usually 2 of the most dreaded phrases for the Australian SMEs.  However, there are a few tips and tricks, insightful, accurate, consistent and clear advice based on the experience we want to share with you to make the visit of the Australian tax office less stressful for you or avoid it whatsoever. Intrigued by that? Check out this article to kn...

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

What pitfalls or issues did you look for if you bought your company?

Very good question. Generally, the first question I always ask my clients who come to me about purchasing a business is 'how much does the business rely on the person who is selling?' If a lot (ie all the sales go through the existing owner or customers like to talk to them and them alone) then the business relies on the owner. If you then purchase this business there is a risk that customers will not wish to transact with you because the relationship has changed. The second question I ask is'How good are the systems or procedures that run the business'For example if all the know how is in the head of Norris and Norris is 72 years old and about to retire when you go in it is going to take you a long time to run the business. If on the other hand they have a systems or procedure manual it makes life easier.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Would you recommend employing cheaper offshore workers?

Depends. If you are willing to train and teach then it can work. If not it will not work. Also it depends on what you mean cheap. If you pay rock bottom prices then the chances are you are not going to get great quality out of them no matter how much you train.I have 3 staff overseas and have been outsourcing for a long time. One thing i have learnt is that you have to spend a lot of time training and then controlling the work they do for you. We go out to visit our team and we fly our team into Australia too - specifically for training. If they understand exactly what you expect from them they will get it right. You also have to be patient. It takes time for them to learn and understand you so do not expect to give out work and think it will get done. It won't. We have found that using an agency is best but home workers can work if you find the right one. The issue with homeworkers is control, cyber security and privacy.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Any recommendations for businesses who do company valuation?

Yes - we use Biz Valuations for all our valuations. They are very competitive and their response times are excellent. They work on a fixed fee basis. You will need to provide financials and info and also the reason for your valuation.Their websitehttp://www.bizval.com.au/?gclid=CJKT3r-OjM8CFcErvQ...Tel 1300 916 973Speak to Lee Barrett

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

How do you know what you should outsource?

Excellent question Nancy. I have been outsourcing since 2004 so if there is a mistake that can be made in outsourcing I have probably done it. I currently have three full time staff outsourced. One in Phillipines and 2 in Fiji. The first thing to note is that whatever issues you have with Australian staff you will have with outsourced staff. Now add in culture differences and the issue is a lot bigger. With contractors control is much harder and making them accountable to you is very hard. I have learnt for example that with contractors you take them on full time. If you have them part time they work for others and your work gets done last.Also the work you give out has to be controlled, systemised and procedurised. If this is not done your contractor will get lost no matter how good they are. If you can break the task down in little parts with full instructions you will do well. My admin team does a massive amount of work off shore but this is only possible because every task is either in a video or is a document. You need to talk to them regularly. Not only on email. Physically on the phone. We do it daily and they join in our Australian weekly meetings. You need to make them feel part of a team.We give access to our team to our server, they have passwords to websites and my administration person has a dedicated credit card as well. I have never had an issue with security. If you use an agent then you are quite safe. If a contractor you need to be careful at first but generally you should be OK. Trust your gut but yes be carefulWhen it comes to choosing someone do your research, try to get reviews or testimonials. Give a trial job, interview them. If using Upwork etc then make sure they have experience.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

If working with a business coach, what questions would you ask?

As a business coach myself the questions i ask are really about my client. If you want business growth then my questions are going to be different than if the business owner is working 90 hours a week and wants to reduce time. They cannot really be written down as all my questions are generated on the spot. It is all about the business owner and what they want. What the coach wants is actually irrelevant and it is sometimes difficult not to judge. If you are looking to take on a coach you need to discus with them in detail what you want and what you are after. Trust your gut and only take them on if you feel comfortable. If they promise you grow and profit ask them exactly how much? If they cannot answer they are not for you. If you want to reduce hours ask them how many hours they will reduce for you. If you do not do this your coach is not accountable. Generally i always say that a coach should help you grow your business by at least $100,000 a year.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

How do you ask for payment from a client before the work's done?

Excellent question. As business owners we are afraid that asking for money means we lose the project/ job. What we sometimes forgot is that if we walk away our business will be OK but if we run out of money our business dies. If clients have an issue with paying fees they are usually not a good customer.Customers don't like paying in advance because they want assurances that the work will be done and that there are safeguards in place that should there be a problem it will be fixed. Solve this problem and the resistance falls down. We always ask for a % of money up front if it is one off engagement. In my accounting and bookkeeping business we help the client by spreading payment over 12 months. If they do not pay we stop working and ask for payment. We always give a full money back guarantee. That way the customer feels that if anything goes wrong they is recourse back. If a potential customer refuses we politely tell them that is our policy not to start work without payment and it is included in all our engagement letters. The key i think is to be clear and explain why you are asking for payment in advance and also try to work out why they are not prepared to pay in advance.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Are You Coached For Marketing Yourself As Business Owner?

Hi Michelle.I hope you are well.Yes i use someone who doubles up as a marketing person and coach though i do not refer to her as a coach. She deals with marketing and goes into coaching mode when i need it.Prior to her coming on board i was a good accountant, consultant and business growth strategist but it all happened through one brand (an accountancy firm). Also no one really knew what we did. We have successfully given all three parts their own brands (one of which is me) and started promoting them individually.This took time and we are still working on it - I have a lot of medical clients so we decided to specialise into this. So I have also written a published book on the subject.Although i am a business coach myself none of the above would have been achieved if i did not have someone to push me along.My advice would be for you to decide what you want. Coaches are great at showing you what needs to be done then leave it up to you to do it. Unless they have marketing experience and really know how to market the two might not go together. So you might need a business coach to advise you on what to do and then someone else to actually implement it. I am fortunate that i have someone who can do both.Hope this helps

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

When paying my company’s bills, should I take advantage of early payment discounts or pay late?

Good question. Yes if you have the funds it is worth taking the discount because on an annual basis the discount can save you money. I once did a calculation for one of my clients which showed that it was worth him increasing his overdraft and take the discount. Paying late can also work but this generally affects goodwill. If you pay on time and then find you are in a tricky position, suppliers will give you a bit more time to pay. If you are constantly late it can affect your relationship. You need to do some quick calculations but i usually take advantage of early payment arrangement.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Can I claim a home office as a legitimate business expense?

This is probably to most common question asked by my clients. It generally depends on the circumstances and exactly what you use your home for. Friends will tell you they have claimed for many years and not had a problem and that may be true but friends generally do not understand the entire consequences of claiming home expenses as business expenses.Firstly, if you own the property you could, without realising it, end up paying capital gains tax on you home when you sell it. If you live in a home you own it is your principal private residence and is not subject to capital gains tax. When you start claiming home expenses like mortgage interest and electricity what you are saying is that it is no longer 100 % private use. So if you claim 25% expenses are business you have converted your home to 75% private and 25% commercial and when you sell you have to calculate 25% as a capital gain. The next issue is if the cost is genuine business use. So if you use a small desk in a room which is also used by your son to sleep in then the ATO will say that the small office is just incidental to the home - even if you spend 24 hrs a day in there. The same would be if you spend 4 days out on the road and spend 1 day at home in the office. The ATO is unlikely to allow you to claim significant costs relating to running the home.At the other end if your garage and spare room is full of stock there is a genuine claim that a bigger home is required in order to run the business and you may be able to claim expenses. My advise would be to talk to your advisor and do some calculations. I have done this for my clients and sometimes it make sense to claim home expenses and for others it does not.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

What is the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper?

LindsyAs Lauren said bookkeepers deal with the day to day accounts processing. They process all receipts,expenses and reconcile you bank account.They might prepare your monthly or quarterly submissions to the tax authorities too. Generally bookkeepers give basic GST and payroll advice but they cannot give tax advice in Australia unless they are a registered tax agent. An accountant will generally reviews the work of bookkeepers and prepare year end taxes.If the accountant is good they will also provide tax minimisation advice and also business advice too.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

How do I do business in the Philippines?

HarryGood question. There is an abundant supply of labour in the Philippines but the issue will always be quality control and culture. I had a couple of people there and all my admin work is still done there. Once they know what you are after they generally deliver - it is a time consuming exercise and it can be very frustrating.You really need to understand how the people and culture work. I recommend you contact Mike O'Hagan. He runs tours there for people like yourself and is a good introduction. He can be contacted via his assistant - assistant@minimovers.com.au

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Mary Mai
Mary Mai, Business Intelligence Analyst at Savvysme

Customer Retention

How do SMEs manage customer relationships?

I have a lot of clients who don't meet their customers at all. All sales are done online. If communication is to be done online speed and knowledge is key. Speed of response is absolutely critical and the ability to be willing to solve the problem even if you are wrong because a bad review cause lose sales like you never believe. If you also have a sales/ inquiry phone number then make sure it is manned and response times are quick.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

How do you know when it's time to let an idea die, rather than pursuing it?

If it is a business idea then I always say it needs to make money. You may have a great idea but if there is no market for your service or product then you could be wasting your time. You need to do market research. Will it sell? If there is a market the next thing you need to ask is if you are passionate enough about the product/ service to make it work.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

What is the main difference between successful SMEs and franchises?

I agree with Lisa above. The main difference between successful small businesses and successful franchises is control and freedom to do as you wish in your business.If I own a Subway and decided I wanted to stock Cola made by my brother in law the men in suits at Subway might have a few words to say about that. Not only do you have to use a Franchiser's systems and procedures you have to use their suppliers too. A Nando's store costs $400,000 to fit out. For that money you can build a four bedroom home but at Nando's you get a Kitchen a few ovens, tables and some chairs. Its the same if your till breaks down. On the upside, good Franchises will give a brand, great systems and procedures and this is where the real value is as it has the ability to save hours of time.I could never operate as a franchisee simply because If i want to change something i do it. Getting approval from a man in a suit would drive me insane. When I get into conversations with people considering buying a franchise i talk about the above and if they don't mind being restricted then buying a Franchise makes sense.Also those in small business tend to be more innovative and are looking for ways to improve and change their business. When your in a franchise you are hoping the big guys on top are doing it for you.It is also worth remembering that not all franchises are successful. At the end of the day, it is down to the owner and how well they operate the business.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Darcey Pollard
Darcey Pollard, Retail Capability and Product Trainer at

Leadership

May I turn your team development questions into new articles?

DarceyGood question. I am fortunate that i have a great team in place so i do not have any specific issues.However, I do work with a lot of businesses where issues within team arises. In this fast moving world I am finding more and more that employees want flexible arrangements and are willing to sacrifice pay to get it. This creates issues such as remote access, possible conflict with other teams etc which if not properly addressed can cause issues. Also how to keep your team involved and willing to follow the values of your business is a permanent problem. And finally how do you deal with key employees who have a lot of information in their head and what happens if they decide to leave.Just a few to think about

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Robin Dickinson
Robin Dickinson, Owner at RAD International

Accounting

Is accounting software such as MYOB, Xero or Saasu an overkill?

Interesting comments everyone.

Every business is different and it really depends what you want from your accounting bookkeeping system.We use Xero and love it. But that does not mean it is what every business should use.

For some reason most business owners in Australia think they have to have MYOB, Xero or some other system in place. This is not necessarily so. It depends what information you want to get from your accounting system.

If you want it just to work out your GST, what your income and expenses are then we find that our customised spreadsheet does the trick. We give it to our clients for free because it makes our life easier at year end. It calculates your GST by quarter and gives you a basic P&L per quarter. This is normally good enough for a start up or a business which has turnover less that a few hundred thousand dollars. I have a client on it that has a turnover of $1.2m and this is all the information he wants and probably needs as he does not have any significant debtors or creditors. 

If on the other hand you do have significant debtors and creditors, need to control stock, etc you do need a more complex system like Xero. Remember most of these packages are not designed for the business owner - they are designed for accountants and bookkeepers which is why if you are at that stage you might want to consider giving your bookkeeping to a bookkeeper or your accountant. After all you did not get into business so you can write up the books!

 

 

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Does every small business need an accountant ?

Unfortunately, yes any serious business will have and need an accountant to deal with their compliance matters. Tax rules and regulations are constantly changing and even we boring accountants struggle to keep up. Getting things wrong can cost thousands in additional tax and sometimes you will not even know it is costing you money unless you talk to someone who knows.
However, in today's business environment your accountant should be a lot more than a number cruncher. The reality is that most Australian accountants concentrate on Tax and they have been programmed to do just that.
If you have an accountant that says they are tax experts or they have 30 or 50 years of experience be a bit vary. As a client you would expect every accountant to know tax rules and be experts. If you think about it when you visit your doctor does he/ she tell you that they are a good doctor - you just expect them to be. In the same way you should expect your accountant to know what they doing.
What you want in an accountant is someone who can give you more. They should be able to give strategic planning advice, facilitate strategy days, work out what your business and personal goals are, talk to you about retirement and estate planning just to name a few.
We never really make a big deal about our tax knowledge or expertise. We do make a big deal about all the other stuff we can offer because most business owner surveys show the same thing - they all want their accountant to be more proactive and give real business changing advice.

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Accounting

Do you think MYOB is the worst accounting package in the world?

Not my favourite. MYOB has been left behind by Xero and Quickbooks Online. Stay away from MYOB and look at the others

Hitesh Mohanlal answered this question

What accounting software package should a small business use?

As an accounting and bookkeeping practice we have to use and understand most major accounting software. The most popular are MYOB, Quickbooks and Xero. Having used all three we prefer Xero. In fact we have come to the decision that if a client wants us to do bookkeeping we will only do it on Xero. If a client insist we use anything else we will do so but we find that our prices are at least one and a half times higher.This shows how efficient Xero can be if used correctly.

It is very flexible, very easy to use and bank feeds make the process painless. We have found MYOB Live and Quickbooks online slow in comparison. 

The reports that advisors have access to is also good and we find our clients look forward to their monthly or quarterly management reports. They seam to understand them more. We struggle to get decent reports from MYOB or Quickbooks

Our problem with Xero is support - there is only online e-mail support even for advisors and this can be frustrating. We still think it is the best accountancy software at the moment.  


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