Weekly Digest – 15 July 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

Tightening restrictions as COVID-19 cases top 10,000

Restrictions have tightened back up in some states in an attempt to contain a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 in the country’s southeast, which pushed the total number of cases in the country beyond 10,000. While Australia has avoided the high number of COVID-19 casualties of other nations through strict measures, an increase in community-transmitted cases in Victoria and new cases in New South Wales is a cause for action.

South Australia cancelled plans to reopen its border to New South Wales on July 20, while Queensland introduced a mandatory two-week quarantine for those who have visited two areas in Sydney’s western suburbs.

COVID-19 Restrictions Guide for Each State

Since the government announced a three-stage plan in May to ease restrictions across the country, Australians have been slowly emerging from COVID-19 lockdowns. However, from midnight on 8 July, the Melbourne and Mitchell shire returned to stage three lockdown for six weeks.

As COVID-19 restrictions vary across the different parts of Australia, it can get confusing for some. This guide will help you navigate through lockdown rules, including how far you can travel, what types of businesses are open, and guidelines on social gatherings for each state.

Australian Made and eBay Partner Up to Grow Aussie Brands Online

Australian Made and eBay have partnered to support local manufacturers grow their online business through a dedicated ‘Australian Made on eBay’ hub. This will allow eBay Australian small- and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to be discovered by 174 million international customers. The hub will feature accredited products across a range of categories, including fashion, health, beauty, automotive, and home and garden.

With the return to lockdown conditions in some parts of Australia, online sales will likely continue to be increasingly important throughout the remainder of 2020. If you want to re-evaluate your business model and strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more personalised business advice.

Payment summaries have changed

Last year’s introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP) means that tax time this year will be a little different.

Employers are now required to report pays, taxes and superannuation information directly to the ATO each payday through STP.

Employers that do report this way will not have to give you a payment summary as they usually would at this time of year. Instead, employees will get an end-of-year income statement in ATO online services through myGov.

All employers will eventually report in this manner.

Employers that do not report to the ATO in this way will still need to provide a payment summary at the end of financial year.

ATO Tax Time Toolkit

The ATO’s Tax Time Toolkit has some useful guides for small businesses on topics such as: home-based business expenses, motor vehicle expenses, travel expenses and pausing or permanently closing your business due to Coronavirus. Ask us if you have any questions.

Boosting Your Digital Capabilities

Small businesses across Australia can access individual support to grow their digital capabilities through the Australian Small Business Advisory Services Digital Solutions. This program offers small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time employees and sole traders with high quality advice on a range of digital solutions to meet their business needs at a subsidised rate. More information can be found here.

Running a business in a post-pandemic world

They say the worst of times can bring out the best in people– and this is also true for businesses. Last week, we put businesses showing resilience in the face of adversity in the spotlight, and shared the creative ways they serve their customers and communities amid the COVID-19 crisis.

This week, we talk about the hallmarks of an organisation designed for speed, as outlined by McKinsey & Company (see page 40). Below is a list of characteristics of operating models they’ve identified that result in faster speed to market, increased customer responsiveness, greater efficiency, and enhanced employee satisfaction. These characteristics will help companies stay competitive in the post-pandemic business environment:

  • Flatter organisations with less hierarchy and streamlined decision rights
  • Faster information flows and decision-making, powered by embedded data and analytics
    • As number-crunchers – we love this one!
  • Cross-functional teams collaborating to tackle common missions through test-and-learn approach
  • Flexible ways of working, including affinity for hybrid remote/ in-person teams
  • Dynamic allocation of talent deployed against mission-critical priorities
  • Agile, resilient talent able to move fast, adapt to change, and continuously learn

This Forbes article also shares tips on how to future-proof your business for a post-pandemic workplace, including:

  • Making flexibility as a core benefit
  • Upgrading equipment and investing in technology
  • Prioritising employee health and wellness
  • Increasing communication
  • Investing in management development
  • Creating a sustainable company culture

The future of businesses will no longer be determined by what has worked, but instead, what will work in the post-pandemic world. While the “when” and “how” of the end of the pandemic remain unknown, reimagining your organisation and re-evaluating the way you work can help you rise to the occasion and lead your business as the “new normal” we hear so much about takes shape.

If you want to talk about your specific situation, please get in touch with us and we’ll help you work out a strategic plan.

Second Round of Cash Flow Boosts

If your business has received initial cash flow boosts, you’ll automatically receive additional cash flow boosts when you lodge your activity statements for each monthly or quarterly period from June to September 2020. The amount will be equal to the total amount of initial cash flow boosts you received and will be split in either two or four installments, depending on your reporting period.

If you lodge:

  • quarterly – you will receive 50% of your total initial cash flow boosts for each activity statement
  • monthly – you will receive 25% of your total initial cash flow boosts for each activity statement

You can find more information here, or alternatively, you may contact us if you have a question.

State grants and support programs

Along with national assistance, each state and territory has announced various grants and assistance packages which you may be eligible for. You can find a roundup of these grants on the Government’s Business website. Alternatively, you can also contact us so we can discuss which options are most suitable for your business.

Minimum Wage Increase

The Fair Work Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages. This will apply to all award wages and the increase will start on 3 different dates for different groups.

You can find the complete list of awards in each group here.

For those not covered by an award, the new national minimum wage will be $753.80 per week or $19.84 per hour. This applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020. If you’re not sure which award applies or if you have any questions, get in touch with us.

Instant Asset Write-Off Expanded

The Instant Asset Write-off has been extended to 31 December 2020, which means Australian businesses with less than $500 million annual turnover will have more time to take advantage of the write-off and invest in assets to support their business. This government initiative is designed to help the economy reopen and boost economic growth. The instant asset write-off applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets provided they each cost less than $150,000.

Contact us so we can walk you through the different thresholds, exclusions, and limits.

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

SafeWork Australia has put together useful guidelines for a range of industries. The guidelines provide clarification on WHS laws, workers’ rights, risk assessments, hygiene, emergency plans and more.

What’s next?

We’ll keep you updated if anything changes but now we’ll shift to helping you get a plan in place for the future. Please get in touch to discuss what’s next for your business.