It is 4 weeks until Christmas and we can hear you asking where has the year gone? In this time, we will be starting an exciting new fitout of our office. For the period of 11 December 2015 through to 5 February 2016 we will be located on level 7 of our building, otherwise it will be business as usual. Our Christmas closure period is from 5pm 22 December and we will re-open in the new year on 4 January.
Coleman Greig Challenge
14 of us braved the early morning of Friday 23 October to participate in the Coleman Greig Challenge at Parramatta Park. Whether is was walking, running, riding or helping behind the scenes we helped raise over $57,000 for St Gabriel's School and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. Thanks to those that made the event possible and to those that donated to these great causes.
Government Grants for SMEs
Export Market Development Grant Helps Exporters
If you exported products or services, or planned to export products or services, in the year ended 30th June 2015 and you spent more than $15,000 on export market development activities, then you're probably eligible to apply for an Export Market Development Grant. That's the good news. However, the bad news is that you have to have that grant application lodged with Austrade by 29 February 2016 if lodged by an approved EMDG consultant.
The Export Market Development Grant is available for businesses with turnovers under $50M, irrespective of the type of business structure relative to exports or planned exports to every country in the world, except New Zealand, Iran and North Korea.
The Export Market Development Grant pays an amount of up to $150,000 (depending on the quantum of applications for the grant, there's a monetary limit in the amount of money allocated for this grant) on a 50% of eligible expenditure basis. Please note that there are some sub-limits for some of the eligible expenditure categories.
The types of expenditures that are included are:
- Overseas representations
- Marketing consultants – utilised to market your business' activities overseas
- Overseas market visits – incorporating airfares (only 65% of first class airfares may be claimed), accommodation, taxis, etc
- Communications costs
- Product samples being dispatched around the world
- Trade fair registration fees
- Promotional material
- Bringing overseas buyers to Australia
- Registration and insurance of eligible intellectual property
To claim this grant, you must have spent the funds to seek out, create demand for or develop an export market for your products. You must be the intended principal in the export transactions. The expense must have been paid by you during the financial year (ie 30th June 2015). The services must have been provided for your business and you must have evidence for the expenses, invoices, travel diaries, etc.
The Industry Skills Fund
The Industry Skills Fund (fund) is a key element of the Australian Government's strategy to boost business productivity and increase competitiveness across the economy. The fund will provide over 250,000 training places and support services for industry.
A highly skilled workforce that is able to adapt to rapid technological change, structural change and new business opportunities is a priority for Australia. The fund will support business to upskill and train employees to meet these future challenges and take advantage of new business growth opportunities.
The fund prioritises Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including micro businesses, and is delivered through the single business service, which streamlines access to essential information for all Australian businesses.
The fund assists industry to invest in training and support services, and to develop innovative training solutions.
To view the fact sheets for further information click here.
- The business' internal system relative to undertaking due diligence on all new customers should be undertaken prior to a sale being finalised with any new customer.
-Mercantile check should be undertaken on any new applicants for credit.
-A "new customer letter" should be sent to all new customers, confirming the business' terms of trade, payment terms and, if a business is a private company, an indication that the Director's Personal Guarantee should be supplied.
-The Terms of Trade Agreements and the Retention of Title Agreements drafted by a commercial solicitor, in accordance with the Personal Property Securities Act (PPSA), should be sent to the "new customer" for signature and return.
Risk Mitigation Strategy
-Management should check that the new client system ensures the business' system for monitoring sales contracts for new customers are being abided by.
-Management should ensure that copies of the Terms of Trade letter, Retention of Title letter, together with a copy of a signed new customer letter and a Director's Guarantee received from directors of private companies are filed in a permanent file that is able to be located when it might be required at some future date.
-Management should ensure that, as far as they can ascertain, the new client is not a potential "litigant in waiting".
-Management should be satisfied that the services being offered to the new client would be of sufficient standard, that there's no reasonable expectation that would cause legal action by the client.
-Management should ensure that there's a clear understanding of the services to be provided for the client.
-Management should ensure that there are procedures for disputes/complaints resolution as soon as practical, after any disputes/complaint issue is raised.
A calculation of "potential exposure" for the new customer should be prepared so that a decision on whether to register on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) can be made by management.
Company Director Chased Over Non Payment Of Superannuation
Superannuation salary sacrifice has taken on a more concerning aspect and employers need to beware.
In a recent case in Victoria, a company director was charged with theft in regards to an employee who had been salary sacrificing superannuation for 3 years and the company had not put any of these funds into the relevant superannuation fund. Upon the discovery of this, the employee contacted the police who then laid charges. The company director was convicted and now has a criminal conviction even after personally paying the employee's unpaid salary sacrifice superannuation contributions.