In this Issue

August 2010 Newsletter

From the desk of the CEO, Andrew Blunden

As I am writing this newsletter, the fate of the Federal Government, and the next Prime Minister, is yet to be decided. It is all in the hands of four independents. We must go back to the Menzies' government of 1940 to find a similar "hung parliament" in Canberra - and that government only lasted 11 months. It looks like we may be voting again very soon!

But what does the Federal political situation really mean for Australian business? Commentators are divided - some believe that an unstable parliament is the last thing business needs now, with ever continuing global economic uncertainty. Others say that it could be the best thing to happen, as it will create a more conciliatory environment for better governance and responsible legislation. I think that the jury is still out!

In the meantime, the country still keeps running along and, until supply is blocked, the Federal Treasury can still function. And that is great news - for the topic this month, in this series on raising cash for your business, is Government Grants.

This month we will look at some easy ways you can find out about what Grants are available and how to give your business the best chance to obtain them.

Of course, expert assistance is always helpful. And having a good accountant working within your business will always make the job easier! Part Time Professionals represent over 280 accountants and other executives Australia-wide who are seeking part-time and contract roles today. Whatever your industry or your executive needs, Part Time Professionals can introduce you to the right person, right now.

Just give us a call on 1300 79 1946 to find out how we can really help your business grow.

Best regards,  Andrew

The Best Government Grants for your Business

Grants are an income stream for your business - just like capital raising or obtaining bank finance. Unlike capital raising, however, you are not introducing new shareholders. And unlike bank finance, with most grants you generally do not have to repay the money (as long as you abide by the rules).

So it is not only a good idea to keep a watch out for grants that can help your business, you also need to keep up-to-date. Governments change around the country nearly every year and budgets are regularly revised - both the grants and eligibility criteria are therefore updated all the time.

Information on available grants is listed on the internet - you just need to know where to look. And as grants are issued by both the Federal and State Governments, if a Federal grant is not applicable, take a look at your state government website.

An excellent website to find information on grants is GrantsLINK. This site provides information on both State and Federal grants, so it is a great "one stop shop".

Some grants reimburse your company for 50% of eligible expenditure, others reimburse 80% and some even pay 100% of eligible costs up to an agreed amount. In most cases, grants are aimed to encourage innovation and business growth.

One of the best grants available to small business is managed through the Enterprise Connect Network. For companies in the manufacturing, clean energy, creative, defence and mining technology industries they follow a two stage process:

Stage 1 - A free business review carried out by one of their experienced business advisors. This review takes a holistic look at the business, identifies key issues, makes recommendations and develops an action plan around these issues;

Stage 2 - is a Tailored Advisory Service where the government contributes up to $20,000 in matched funding to assist firms with the cost of engaging specialist providers to work on recommendations identified in the Business Review Action Plan. These specialist providers may even include members of the CFO Network!

Another Grant worth considering is managed through Commercialisation Australia. Aiming at researchers, entrepreneurs and innovative companies to convert intellectual property into successful commercial ventures, this grant is divided into four parts:

Skills and Knowledge - up to $50,000 to access specialist advice and services (80% cost reimbursement)

Experienced Executives - up to $200,000 over two years to engage an experienced CEO, CFO or other executive to help develop the commercialisation of a project (50% cost reimbursement).

Proof of Concept - Between $50,000 and $250,000 to assist with testing the commercial viability of the business model or idea for a product or service (50% cost reimbursement)

Early Stage Commercialisation - provides repayable grants of between $250,000 and $2 million to develop a new product or service to a point where it can go to market.

When applying for this Grant, companies must provide evidence that they have a need for the funding; have a plan of commercialisation and potential for their product; clearly specify the market opportunity; explain their management capability; and describe how the product would improve Australia's "participation and competitiveness in the global economy". As this Grant is competitive, it is very important that your company can tick all the boxes.

Having an experienced management team, accurate financial records and reliable business processes will certainly help your grant application.

If you would like to discuss how an experienced part-time Chief Financial Officer, Financial Controller or Accountant can really assist your business, just give us a phone call on 1300 79 1946. Representing over 280 experienced accountants and executives who are seeking part-time and contract roles throughout Australia, we can help your business find the person it needs today.

Happy 10th Birthday to the GST!

The introduction of the GST took place on 1 July 2000 - 10 years ago! For many of us I'm sure it seems like only yesterday. Of course business practices haven't been the same since, as the following list of changes required by the introduction of GST show:

1. Record Keeping: Businesses now have a monthly or quarterly tax reporting requirement

2. Timely Reporting: Accountants, software providers, banks and advisors to business had to hone their skills to produce meaningful financial data within a week of month’s end.

3. Cash Flow Management: Businesses now collect GST and have an obligation to “hold funds in trust” for the Tax Office. Consequently, for many businesses, cash inflows have increased, albeit only temporarily. These funds then need to be remitted to the Taxation Office and various practices have emerged to ensure that the funds are available to meet the obligation to the tax office

4. A Regular Strategic Review of Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet items: The accuracy of transactions recorded during the reporting period need to be checked to ensure that GST due is reconciled to amounts collected and paid, and ultimately remitted to the Australian Taxation Office

Of course the introduction of the GST also introduced its risks and temptations. In times of financial difficulty some SME operators have fallen into the trap of using GST collected as a means of funding their business. The GST owed as well as other employer obligations such as tax on employees’ wages and superannuation are often in arrears when SMEs get into financial difficulty. One of the bi-products of this practice has been that banks are checking to see whether SMEs are up to date with their GST obligations before approving finance or when monitoring the financial performance of their customers.

The days of annual reporting and no Business Activity Statements are certainly long behind us and, like the introduction of a temporary Federal Income Tax on 13 September 1915 and the introduction of Payroll Tax in July 1941to fund child endowment, it will outlast all of us!

If your business needs help with its accounting and BAS requirements, remember you don't always need a full-time employee. In many cases an experienced part-time Accountant, CFO or Financial Controller is the most cost effective solution. Part Time Professionals represents over 280 CFO Network members throughout Australia. Qualified accountants with over 2,800 years of GST experience between them!

Give us a call on 1300 79 1946 and let us help you find the right accountant for your business!

The Bottom Line

And on the topic of the GST...

An accountant is walking along the sand when he finds an old lamp.  He picks it up, rubs it and suddenly a genie appears.

The genie says, "I am the most powerful genie that ever existed. I have done wonderful things in my time and I can grant you your dearest wish. But only one wish."

The accountant is a deeply caring person.  He pulls out a map of the Mediterranean and says, "My dearest wish is that you solve the Middle East problem".

The genie strokes his beard and looks worried. "Oh dear, that's a bottler.  Those people have been fighting each other for centuries.  Everybody has tried to solve that problem without success.  I'm not sure I can do any better.  You'd better have another wish."

"All right," says the accountant. "The Tax Office has asked me to redesign the Business Activity Statement so that everyone can understand it.  Can you help me with that?"

There is a long silence.  Finally the genie says, "Let's have a look at that map again."

About Part Time Professionals

Part Time Professionals™ is wholly owned and operated in Australia. Our principals together have over 40 years experience in public accounting and as CFO's and Directors in multiple companies - both listed and unlisted. They are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, CPA Australia, the National Tax Agents Association, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Financial Executives Institute and the National Institute of Accountants.

Our aim is to help companies source the most experienced CFO, executive and corporate accounting talent, in the most cost-effective way!

We are constantly updating our website, so take a look at for more information or call us on 1300 79 1946 to discuss your needs.


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