Current as of February 2015
Time has marched on and we are already almost 2 months into the new year. Business activity has kicked into action after the normal hiatus from mid-December until early February. We thought we would give you an update on what is happening at S & W and for our clients – sort of like a state of the nation.
- Business activity has increased but in a subdued fashion. Our business clients, while in the main doing well, are tentatively pushing forward with trying to grow their businesses. We have good operators in the building and property sector (and related industries) who have plenty of work on and expect a good year. Retail experienced a good Christmas period but again the operators with good, sought after products, were doing much better than the run of the mill product. Buyers are very discerning and are very picky. The product has to be first class, and customers are waiting for the inevitable sales to get the product for the right price.
- We have noticed a number of potential business sale transactions starting up with purchasers only interested in our client’s businesses that have something different (i.e. a product or service that is different to what else is out there or has synergies with the purchaser’s own product range). With the subdued confidence around at the moment it is only the very good businesses that are attracting attention from purchasers. Average businesses for sale with low to average profits or no point of difference are being left on the shelf and are getting limited enquiries.
- For professional services, good projects are hard to come by and consultants are always worried about where their next engagement is going to come from.
- Manufacturing is travelling well if the client has a point of difference. There is increased competition from rip-off products and while all businesses try to protect their products with patents and the like, enforcing this protection is very difficult and costly with no guarantee of being successful especially when the copied product is developed overseas.
- In general, the troubled passage of last year’s budget through Parliament, along with the leadership dramas of the last few weeks means businesses do not have a lot of confidence with the environment at the moment. Most businesses are cautiously moving forward but are ensuring they don’t take too many risks and are definitely not stepping outside their comfort zone. The next few months will need to clarify the situation and try to instil confidence back into the business environment. Here’s hoping, for all our client’s sakes. What we are seeing though is that good businesses are still doing very well even in the difficult times.
- On the tax side of things with our clients we have noticed over the last few months an increase in the number of audits being conducted by the ATO and Payroll tax and Workers compensation authorities. Responsibilities when engaging contractors is especially a focus for the above authorities. The industries looked at were building, landscaping, cleaning and other industries which tend to use a lot of contractors to meet their projects. There is nothing to fear if your paperwork and procedures are place and you have met your tax responsibilities (as all our clients had) but be aware that they are active. There has also been some audit activity with our clients in GST on property transactions and we are aware the ATO will be looking closely at any CGT Small Business Concessions claims.
S & W
- We have hit the ground running with a lot of activity already in the new year and plans for the year to come.
- Our new website is now finished and has a new look to it with new content and more information for clients and associates alike. Feel free to visit it and have a look and give us some feedback on any likes or dislikes.
- We will have a survey coming out in the next few weeks about our newsletter, asking about what you like, what you don’t like and how it could be improved. Please help us to improve our communications with you by taking a minute to answer the short questions on the survey online.
- We have had some additions to our team, especially in the Measured Success bookkeeping division and the Momentum Business Growth management accounting division. These areas are growing well and provide clients with an online solution to their bookkeeping and accounting needs as well as integrating with our year-end compliance and tax planning service as it is all under one roof.
- We have a couple of client events coming up in the next few weeks. We have invited who, we believed, were the potentially interested clients to each of the events but if we missed you, and you are interested in coming to the following events, please let us know.
- Xero Bookkeeping Workshop – Thursday 5 March at 12.30pm at the Kirribilli Club. Details here.
- State of the Economy and Investment Markets – Thursday 26 February at 7.15am in our Boardroom on the Ground Floor at Burton Street
- There will be other events of interest during the year so watch this space.
That’s it for now. Hope this update on our clients general state of affairs and what is happening with us has given you some guidance on the year ahead.
This newsletter has been produced by Stanley & Williamson as a service to its clients and associates. The information contained in the newsletter is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas contained in this newsletter, it is imperative you seek specific advice relating to your particular circumstances. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.