Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Australia, The New Frontier for Mature Business People


For many retirees with investment funds and mature business people who want to start a fresh venture, Australia holds all the promise of a new frontier. The country welcomes foreign investors and commerce, but there are strict policies regulating money and businesses coming into Australia. The steps for investors and entrepreneurs are similar.

Planning for investors is crucial. They should research the market including threats and future opportunities in the area of their intended outlays. To get a physical presence in the country for assessment purposes, investors should obtain a business and innovation visa in one of two areas. The “Investor Stream” is for people who want to invest at least 1.5 million AUD (approximately $134 million) in an Australian territory or state and who intend to maintain business activity there. The other investment visa avenue is the “Significant Investor Stream” which targets people who are investing at least 5 million AUD in a complying business and who intend to maintain business activity in the country.

Some investments may require submitting a proposal to the government. Depending upon the kind of investment and the monetary value, the proposal may have to be reviewed and approved by the Australian Foreign Investment Board. In addition, investors must understand the current Australian regulatory environment and abide by it. Professional investment corporations who keep abreast of the changing economic climate can offer assistance.

Those wanting to start a business in Australia need to plan as well. First, entrepreneurs should get an accurate picture of their finances, strengths and weaknesses. This includes assets such as available personnel as well as money. There should be a well-defined and realistic business strategy which takes into account several things. A business plan should be in effect, including anticipated startup time and the market potential. In other words, people who want to start a business in Australia need to evaluate personal resources and the financial atmosphere surrounding the industry they are targeting, just as they would in beginning a venture in their own country.

What may be different for foreign business people is the system of regulations and requirements required by the Australian government. Businesses may be registered as foreign companies or as subsidiaries of existing businesses. Business people may buy franchises or even purchase companies already in existence. An understanding of the registrations and their applicable requisites is vital not only to set up the enterprise, but even to get into the country as a business person. Many of these things can be found online, but there are also professional corporations that can be a help in interpreting them.

Just as investors, those desiring to start businesses in Australia must obtain a business and innovation visa. The first step is expressing an interest in bringing the industry to Australia. This can be accomplished online through the portal “SkillSelect” on the Australian Government website. The business person must be nominated by two state or territory government officials. Then, the business person must be invited by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to apply for the visa. Once procured, the Business Innovation and Investment Provisional Visa, which usually lasts six months, allows people with business skills to

  • Establish a new business or develop an existing business
  • Travel in and out of Australia for the life of the visa
  • Bring family into the country
  • Seek permanent residency.
The provisional visa can also lead to a permanent visa being issued.

Foreign businesses in Australia are covered by The Australian Fair Trade Law. This comprehensive standard includes unfair market practices, industry codes of practice, industry safety and consumer issues such as labeling. It applies to virtually every corporation or sole proprietor in the country. Penalties for violating the law can reach $1 million. There are other standards as well. Those wanting to begin an enterprise in Australia should be aware of the statutes and their obligations under them.

Australia is an inviting and beautiful “new frontier” with a vital and energetic business environment. Still, business standards and requisites vary by country so wise investors and entrepreneurs should do their research carefully.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Best Way of Buying Expensive Things

What is the essence of ‘salary sacrifice Australia’?

‘Salary sacrifice Australia’ is an innovative financial scheme that is prevalent in Australia, which gives good benefits to both the employers, as well as the employees. All monthly salaried employees can make use of this specific financial plan, for making valuable purchases. 

 This scheme is also officially approved by the ‘Australian Taxation Office’, and so, it is a legally valid method. This financial agreement, which is also termed as ‘salary packaging’ or ‘total remuneration packaging’, is a contract between the employers and the employees. 

As per this contract, the employee gives his or her consent for giving up a part of their monthly salary, as a replacement for some other equivalent benefit, which will be actually in par with the surrendered salary. This is indeed a great method, which enables the salaried class to buy expensive goods, without pumping the needed capital for the same from their existing savings, and just because of the constructive feasibility, this specific scheme is very much appreciated by all employees. 

As far as the employers are concerned, for sure they will be able to enhance the quality of their ‘Human Resource Management’ efforts, by offering this scheme; another positive side-effect of this salary scheme is that it will augment the productivity of the workforce, considerably, and thus the overall profits of the company can be amplified. The scheme will also increase the loyalty level of the workforce, thus helping the management in their ‘employee retention’ endeavors.

What are the fundamental requirements for ‘salary sacrifice Australia’?

There are some mandatory requirements that should be followed by the concerned parties, and only when these conditions are met in accordance with the set rules, the contract will become legally valid. Some of the main requirements are as follows:

  • The contract should be made into effect, before the implementation.
  • It should be noted that the agreement can be done by oral methods also, even though it is always advisable to get it done in black and white, as it will go on records.
  • Yet another significant matter that should be remembered by all employees who are preparing to salary sacrifice is that, they will not have any claims for the relinquished salary, until the contract with the company comes to an end.
  • The benefits that have got accumulated in the account of the employee before the enforcement of the contract will not be a part of the contract. 
  • In case the concerned individual is awarded a new financial benefit, outside the salary sacrifice scheme, then obviously that will come under the taxable income account. 

What are the general things that can be bought by the scheme of ‘salary sacrifice Australia’?

On the whole, many kinds of valuable goods, which in normal cases will need bulk money for buying, can be acquired by using this financial scheme, in an easy manner. Some of such items are ‘brand new motor vehicles’, ‘laptops’, ‘tabs’, ‘iPads’, ‘GPRS Units’ and ‘Income Protection Insurances’. Many more items can be added to the list, and so, whenever you decide to go for ‘salary sacrifice’, try to get hold of a reliable and professional finance firm, for making arrangements for the same.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Sugar Under Fire for Unhealthy Youth in Australia

As various substances and habits have come under fire for being unhealthy, sugar has merged as one of the biggest culprits when it comes to poor health. And, new data released by an investment bank shows that concern over excessive sugar consumption is mounting. And, they say this could impact on adversely on food manufacturers. One of the biggest concerns about the sugar craze is that children are being negatively affected. Processed foods, junk foods and sweetened beverages are being advertised all over the place and the country’s kids are getting unhealthier. This, in turn, is putting extra pressure on the already over-exerted public health system. Now, taking control of our health and of the health of our loved ones is one way to reduce our dependence on the public health system. While we all need to run a health insurance comparison in order to find a policy that will help keep our families safe and healthy, the less we need to use it, the lower our premiums are. And, of course, prevention is always better than cure. The best way to keep our kids healthy is to teach them right from a young age.

If you thought you did not have a sweet tooth you might be surprised to know that the chocolate and confectionary industries are responsible for generating $6.2 billion in Australia every year. Soft drinks pull in $35 billion. But, of course, it does not stop at chocolates and fizzy cool drinks. It is everything processed, including packaged pastas and cereals and biscuits that contain excessive amounts of sugar.

Those lobbying against excessive sugar content say that food products need to be branded with loud, visible warnings, just like tobacco products if they are going to discourage people from consuming them. They also say that, in the not too distant future, manufacturers of high sugar foods could be sued by public health providers. We might not be there yet but we could get there if the past suits on tobacco and fast food industries are anything to go by.

Of course the research shows that high sugar consumption is associated with an increase in body weight. It is also more likely to settle in the abdominal area and around the liver when it comes from sugar and may contribute to diabetes. Disturbingly, the door for extra sugar was left open by manufacturers selling low fat and fat free products, in an effort to make them tastier. The experts say that, to date, nutritional guidelines have not taken sugar consumption into account but that it is critical in managing public health going forward.

The youth are among those who tend to be taken in by sweeten foods and beverages, but the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia is using community members as ambassadors as part of its social media marketing campaigns. The Council says that social media platforms have become incredibly valuable for reaching out to younger members of the community and to promote good health. The Council has employed ambassadors to promote the merits of physical exercise, healthy eating habits and to abstain from smoking.

The Council has also gone to considerable lengths to select credible ambassadors who can connect meaningfully with communities. As well as being respected in their communities, the ambassadors also have to be committed to the cause they are supporting. Furthermore, they also need to meet the gender, age and social background criteria to be successful in their roles.

Some of the campaigns being used to target the youth include sexual health programs and anti-maternal smoking programmes. The Council encourages the ambassadors to talk about their own experiences when educating others, as teenagers tend to rebel against being told what to do.

Going forward, the council says it would like to focus on immunisations and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder within the Aboriginal communities and promote health check ups for kids and teenagers. The Council says good health can only be achieved in the Aboriginal communities if the community members remain in control of their health and are fully engaged in policies and campaigns. The Council says it would still like to see more Aboriginals employed as trained health workers and engaging directly in community health programmes.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Aussie Startups in Need of More Government Support for Success

The coming federal elections in Australia seems to have amplified just about every issue on the political agenda, while also making advocates of various causes all the more vocal and outspoken. Australia’s startups, for one thing, are expressing their intention of becoming a more central pawn, on the country’s economic chess board. This view is not without just reason, as Australia’s economy is a worthy topic for debate, especially in the face of an approaching election poll, set to happen in under three weeks, as of the date this article was written. Factor in all the recent talk about Australia becoming a major digital economy at a global level, by 2020, as well as the figures, which say some 60 per cent of the country’s workforce is employed by a company with 5 staff members or less. If there was ever a time for small, emerging companies to get their voice heard down under, then now seems to be it, by all accounts.

This view was also substantiated by a report published earlier in 2013, following research conducted by one of the world’s leading financial analysts. The report, paid for by the Australian branch of search engine giant Google, attested to the startup sector’s immense potential for growth. According to the research, in two decades, Aussie tech and IT startups might be able to rake in $109 billion for the country’s economy. That’s about 4 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product, a sizeable ratio further improved by the 540,000 new jobs tech startups stand to create by 2033. Optimistic as these stats might look, they are still dreams scribbled onto a piece of paper, without some serious effort from the educational sector, major corporations, the federal government, as well as the entrepreneurs themselves – the same report concluded.

Australia is known worldwide as fertile grounds for startups. Its Internet access rate is good, as is the tech literacy standard of its population. What’s more, local small businesses also have access to facilities that stand to lower their overheads. Several companies, for instance, now choose to rent out serviced office space in Sydney, in order to avoid paying long-term rent for no good reason. They only employ a small number of workers, outsource most tasks and only need a business location for meetings and conferences. The digital communication sector has also been awarding facilities for companies just starting out. All is well, it seems; so, then, why aren’t Australia’s startups doing better?

For some, that reason is to be found in current government policies. The serving Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, also spoke recently on this topic. Rudd explained that Australia needs to be ‘smarter’ about the facilities it puts at the disposal of entrepreneurs. The model does seem to work, if one were to judge by the example of a digital publishing startup which made headlines in recent weeks. The company managed to raise a massive amount of money for initial capital purposes, and the bulk of that partially crowd-funded amount came through as a government grant. The business, which bases most of its activity in the cloud and aims to serve as a quick publishing service for desktop and mobile devices, raised no less than $785,000.

Of course, the company’s managers are wiser than to place all their eggs in a single basket. News of receiving the government grant came in right after they had return from a Berlin accelerator program for startups. The rest of the money came from investors, with over 50 per cent of the remainder donated by a syndicate of Brisbane-based angel investors. The entrepreneurs say most of the money will go into scalability improvements, as they aim to have the company go global as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How Does a Novated Lease Work?

A novated lease is a type of car lease that an employer gets on behalf of the employee. The employee, in turn, pays for this lease with their income before taxes are taken out. Novated leases are incredibly beneficial for both the employee and employer, though of course there are certain disadvantages there as well. For jobs that need a lot of on the job travel, a novated car lease is likely the best way that the payments can be handled. 

How Does A Novated Lease Help The Employee?

With a novated lease, the employee never has to worry about making their car payments. The car payments are automatically deducted from their paycheque pre-tax. Not only does this mean they don't have to track the lease payments, but it also means that they can get a better car for less money because they don't have to pay tax on the amount. Employers also tend to have deals with automobile companies to lease cars by volume. That means that the employee has more savings because of the company's better rates.

Rather than other types of employer lease, the employee does keep certain rights over the car because the employee is making the lease payments. The employee gets more choices of car than in a traditional employee lease agreement, and the employee gets use of the car when they are outside of work. The employee can even keep their vehicle if they leave the company by transferring it to another company. 

How Does The Novated Lease Help The Employer?

On the employer's behalf, though the lease is financed through the company the employee still makes the payments. This means very little out-of-pocket cost for the employer. All the employer has to do is secure the lease, and manage the payments from the employee's paycheques. Because the employee is saving money on the lease, the employer can consider the lease a perk that the employee gets, and so save money on salaries.

Employers that need to have their employees travel during office hours save significant funds over providing company cars. Company cars would need to be purchased and retained by the company and not leased, or leased at a higher amount. The novated lease, by contrast, incurs no more cost on the behalf of the business. 

What Are The Drawbacks To A Novated Lease?

Because a novated lease is still a lease, the standard problems with this type of lease still applies; at the end, neither party will own the vehicle, which means that the employees are purely paying an expense and not gaining an asset. This said most novated lease companies will offer easy paths to ownership which will still work out as more cost effective for the vast majority of customers. This normally involves paying a fee at the end of the lease to purchase the vehicle outright

This article was written by the team at Novated by Fleetcare, independent Australian novated lease providers with offices all around the country.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Aussies Working Harder Than Ever Before

The Treasurer has announced that the government will finally be moving away from its commitment to budget surplus for this financial year, as company tax revenues have not met expectations and the strength of the local currency has made economic conditions more difficult to navigate through. Treasurer Wayne Swan said that deficit was now likely for the financial year ending June 2013, after months of opposition criticism and questioning about where the government intended to get the funds from. This announcement came after the Finance Department said that tax receipts for the year were nearly $4 billion below what had been predicted, at $17 billion. This sentiment goes against the promise that was delivered in 2010 when Swan earmarked Australia to be the first developed economy to see a return to surplus by 2012/2013. Many Australian banks lower rates and offering attractive promotions to clients to attract local investment. 

And as officials lament the departure of surplus and an economy that is being tried and tested through adverse conditions, workers are trying to correct their own financial situations by putting more hours in at the office, but in many cases are not being remunerated for their efforts.

Despite trying economic conditions, local workers are putting their heads down and getting more hours in at the office. This is according to census data that demonstrates how Australian workers are injecting an average of 52 extra days of overtime into the work schedule every year. According to the Australian Financial Review and 2011 census data many people are now putting an extra 10 weeks a year into their work but they are not all necessarily being compensated for it.

There are now 6.3 million full-time employees in the country earning salaries. Out of that figure 26% or 1.7 million people say they worked at least 49 hours in the week leading up to last year’s census. And it is employees, not company owners who are most likely to be putting that overtime into their working day.

If you were wondering which professionals are working hardest, surgeons top the list as putting the most hours in, followed by legislators and crop and livestock farmers who are mostly self-employed. The legal profession followers with more than 50% of people employed in the industry working more hours than average in a day. As far as industry is concerned faring and mining saw the biggest time investment but the figures did not take into account traveling or commuting to mine sites.

The statistics are enlightening considering the public’s love affair with credit and increasing household debt came to an end and was replaced with more conservative spending behaviour, longer working hours and a focus on saving in conditions that are becoming more difficult for the average household to survive.

In other news that will see more financial restrictions for some people, the 1st of January 2014 will see the introduction of FATCA or the Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act which will put foreigners under pressure to declare their earnings. The act has been drafted to address tax evasion by US residents living in other countries. This act will regulate offshore assets by forcing people to disclose any foreign financial transactions that affect their investments.

FATCA works on an opt-in basis wherein foreign financial institutions (FFIs) can collaborate with the IRS. FFIs need to agree to a reporting system, hold back on obligations to US account bearers and comply with due diligence requirements. It has been put down as optional but it is in FFIs’ best interests to sign an agreement if they want to escape the 30% withholding tax which includes income, dividends and interest payments if they do not sign the agreement.

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