The Friday SMB wrap-up: The week in review

Happy Friday SMBs and entrepreneurs! Should you have missed any of the week’s most important business headlines, we’ve wrapped them up for you.

Making headlines this week, Fair Work Australia has granted the country’s lowest paid workers a salary increase of $17 per week,the RBA left the the cash rate unchanged at 3.5 percent and research reveals that although the majority of small businesses are seeing revenue falls, one fifth remain hopeful that the economy will recover.

Revenue falls cause SMB economic confidence to bottom out

Falling revenue is causing small business economic confidence to dwindle, according to new research. Despite these sales falls, a fifth of SMBs say they’re feeling optimistic that conditions will begin to improve over the next 12 months.

The July 2012 MYOB Business Monitor found just 18 percent of SMBs reported an increase in revenue in the past year, while 41 percent said revenue had fallen and 37 percent claimed to have experienced steady revenue.

The report revealed the lack of confidence among SMB owners, as less than one fifth expect the domestic economy to improve within 12 months, and almost one quarter believing any improvements were not likely in the next two years. Around 43 percent are feeling somewhat positive, believing the economy will remain steady for the next year.

Minimum wage rises, employers warned to comply

The national minimum wage increase has come into effect, following on from a Fair Work decision last month to boost the pay packets of the country’s lowest paid workers.

The 2.9 percent rise is due to impact the lives of 1.3 million Australians, with wages to rise $17 a week, to just above $606 per week.

This equates to almost $900 a year extra for a full-time employed minimum wage worker.

CBA launches new mobile banking innovations

The Commonwealth Bank is making mobile banking more accessible to small businesses, rolling out a number of new innovations to its social payments app CommBank Kaching.

Since launching Kaching for the iPhone last year, the app has been downloaded over 365,000 times and seen over $1 billion worths of transfer made. Now, the Commonwealth Bank has announced that the ‘peer-to-peer’ mobile payment app is now available for Google Android smartphones.

“As promised, today we gave Android users access to Kaching, which will particularly appeal to the youth market who are using Android,” Commonwealth Bank chief marketing and online officer Andy Lark said.

LAFHA changes: What they mean for SMBs

From October 1, 2012 the provision of a Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) will be treated as income to employees. If employees meet the criteria for LAFHA there will be no tax exposure for food and accommodation provided they can substantiate the expenditure.

It is expected that the Australian Taxation Office will put in place a PAYG-Withholding variation for employers, so they do not have to withhold tax  when an employee intends to claim deductible expenses against the allowance.

Where an employer pays the LAFHA costs directly on behalf of employees, there will be an exemption from fringe benefits tax (FBT) where the ‘otherwise deductible’ rule would apply to the employee.

RBA holds cash rate steady at 3.5 percent

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left the cash rate unchanged following its meeting this week, citing on-trend growth and inflation.

Following on from a 25 basis points cut when the board last met in June, Governor Glenn Stevens said international financial markets have stabilised somewhat in the last month, due to progress toward longer-term sustainability in Europe. Despite this, he said share markets have remained volatile.

Locally, Stevens said recent data suggests the economy grew more strongly than originally thought in the first half of 2012.

Payroll tax rebate – do you qualify?

Are you aware of the NSW Payroll Tax Rebate and do you know how to access it? Here’s how to know whether you qualify for this important helping hand of up to $4,000 in payroll tax rebates for each new job created in your business.

The NSW Payroll Tax Rebate Scheme (Jobs Action Plan) is designed to give businesses an incentive to create new jobs and employ new workers.

For businesses that maintain an increased number of full-time equivalent employees for at least two years, up to $4,000 in payroll tax rebates can be accessed for employees in positions that are new jobs.

2012 Sydney Business Awards launch

Media and VIP guests gathered in Sydney’s Town Hall for the launch of the 2012 City of Sydney Business Awards.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore was joined by long-term major sponsor ANZ and new major Sponsor Google Apps for Business to officially announce applications for the awards open for 2012.

Rob Anderson, general manager business banking NSW/ACT with ANZ, announced this year’s winner of the Fast Starter award, a special category in the awards, will also win a five day business trip to their choice of either Hong Kong, Indonesia, China or Vietnam. While there they’ll learn more about trading with the region in conjunction with ANZ business bankers on the ground.

 

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