Small Business Instant Asset Write-Off Made Simple

INSTANT ASSET WRITE-OFF INCREASED TO $30,000

There is still time to buy your new equipment and benefit from the small business Instant Asset Write-Off before June 30. And yes – you can finance it!

It’s official:

The Government in its Budget proposed an increase and extension to the Instant Asset Write-Off scheme to assets valued up to a threshold of $30,000, and increased the threshold of company eligibility to a turnover of up to $50M p.a.

What does this mean and how does it work?

If you acquire and install a new or used asset between April 2 2019 and June 30 2019 of $30,000 or less you can instantly write-off the TOTAL asset value this financial year.

For example, if your business is on track to deliver a $100,000 taxable (net) profit this financial year and you purchase two pieces of equipment, say one for $30,000 and the other for $25,000 (GST exclusive), you “write-off” a total of $55,000 reducing your taxable profit to $45,000. This means you pay tax on $45,000 rather than $100,000.

At the company tax rate of 27.5%, that means a tax saving of $15,125 on top of having two new pieces of income generating equipment!

Additional Instant Asset Write-Offs:

  • For businesses with turnover of $10 million, you can instantly write-off the asset value of new and used equipment costing $25,000 or less, if it was acquired and installed for use between 29 January and 1 April 2019. **Yet to be legislated.
  • For businesses with turnover of $10 million, you can instantly write-off the asset value of new and used equipment costing $20,000 or less, if it was acquired and installed for use between 1 July 2016 and 29 January 2019.

Read more

How Equipment Finance Benefits Your Business

Here are ten good reasons why equipment finance helps you to grow your business, and gives you the extra peace of mind you need to run your business, or just get a good nights’ sleep!

1. FINANCE IS A RAW MATERIAL

Just like you need an ink cartridge for a printer – you purchase ink to generate a product that delivers you an income. Finance is no different, it helps you get the equipment you need, when you need it.

2. CASH IS KING

Hang on to your cash for your everyday operations, this helps keep your business flexible and agile, and gives you added peace of mind knowing you have cash available.

3. FIXED PAYMENTS, EASIER BUDGETING

Equipment finance is fixed term and fixed rate, so you will know exactly what you will pay for the life of the loan.

4. REDUCE YOUR TAX BILL

By claiming rental payments, depreciation and interest charges as a tax deduction, you may pay less tax. No nasty surprises.

5. YOUR HOME IS NOT THE SECURITY

Equipment finance is a “stand alone” agreement, using the equipment as the security. Relax, we don’t use your home.

6. $20K INSTANT WRITE OFF

You can finance your equipment and still benefit from the governments’ $20k Instant Asset Write Off.

7. IMPROVE STAFF MORALE & PRODUCTIVITY

You can acquire equipment today for the amount of one monthly repayment. No more outdated equipment, break downs or unreliable contractors. You can also buy new equipment that will help you create new products and services and that will grow with you business.

8. MULTIPLE LENDERS

By spreading your equipment finance across multiple lenders, you leave your lines of credit with your bank open and available when you need cash.

9. SIMPLE APPROVAL CRITERIA

Not all transactions require you to provide financial statements – ask us how.

10. DEMO EQUIPMENT

Yes, you can finance used and demo equipment – ask us how.

With over 10 years experience financing equipment across various industries, Ecolease are equipment finance experts. Everyday, we help businesses like yours, to get hold of the equipment they need to take their business to the next level and facilitate growth.

So give Ecolease a call today on 1300 322 092 to discuss your finance needs, or to learn more about how finance can benefit your business.

Download the ‘Ten Reasons’ flyer

Going Paperless

Becoming a paperless office makes complete economic, practical and sustainable sense. Traditionally in business we use LOTS of paper; from quotes, purchase orders, invoices, and all the other documents that may be unique to your business. With new regulation in many industries too, the paper trail just seems to be getting longer and it may be hard to get your head around taking all that paper out of the system, but it is possible.

Each business will be different depending on their business model and size; however there is no reason that any business could not reduce paper consumption. At Ecolease we reduced paper by 95%, the 5 % being printed contracts for signing.

For me the biggest benefit is knowing we run a truly contemporary & nimble office ready to handle the rapid pace of business. The paperless system without a doubt has made us incredibly efficient and productive and enabled our lean little organisation to handle a high volume of transactions.

I encourage you to give it a go if you are not already, it really isn’t that hard and the benefits are worth it. Imagine the reduction in your stationery bill every month!

Here are some of the other benefits we have found:

  • Flexibility to do business wherever you and your clients are
  • Faster delivery of information and service
  • Faster time to completion of each transaction
  • Better Access to information 24/7
  • Reduced cost of print, post, handling
  • Reduced costs associated with storing files including fewer filing cabinets and less floor-space
  • Better staff “head space” means better productivity due to neater desks and less office clutter
  • Better document security means you can control who has access to files and comply with privacy laws
  • Better disaster recovery and mobility means your business is much less vulnerable to such things as fire or flood. An entire firm’s files can be backed up on a laptop or in the cloud.

MAKING THE CHANGE

In our experience at Ecolease, the conversion to becoming a paperless office required a “paradigm shift” around how we delivered our service and most importantly, around deep seated work habits (mostly mine!).

Once we sat down and really looked at where we could strip back the paper trail and replace it with a digital one, it didn’t take much to incorporate new work practice. The main thing is everyone has to be on board and open to change (scary!)

Without going into huge amount of detail, here are some hints on how to do it.

Invest in good technology

Software:

  • PDF Converter package (must have)
  • Online Accounting Software such as XERO (handy to have)
  • Mobile/Internet Banking (handy to have)

Hardware:

  • Dual monitors for all staff (must have especially for processing staff) – this alone improves productivity and efficiency 10 fold, you won’t look back once working from dual extended monitors
  • Good quality scanner (initially there will be lots of scanning of old files)

Plan with the team

Sit down with the team and look at every step and every document used to complete a single transaction: from initial enquiry to post sale care.

Work out what document really needs to be printed and what doesn’t. Be ruthless. Less paper means less handling and more time spent on delivering good service and getting on to the next transaction. It also means better margins in possibly a shrinking margin environment.

Here is a good article on going paperless by Xero Software which is quite comprehensive and helpful.

Strategies To Improve Your Profit

Profit is at the core of success for any business, so it follows that all business owners, directors and CEO’s are constantly thinking about how they can improve their profit – or at least they should be! Improving profitability requires looking at business performance on a far wider perspective than simply growing revenue.

Although there are a range of different factors which come into play when looking for opportunities to increase profit, fundamentally there are four major strategies that a business should consider:

  • review pricing strategy;
  • reduce direct costs;
  • reduce indirect or overhead costs;
  • increase sales volume (selling more without significantly impacting on pricing, direct costs or overheads).

Within this framework the following initiatives may be useful and effective to help make your business more profitable:

  • Analyse every area of gross profit to understand where the biggest opportunities lie, and to determine how to reduce or eliminate less profitable activities;
  • Analyse profitability by customer, product, revenue, SKU etc. to gain the best understanding of what is driving the business and where profits or losses are being generated;
  • Increase prices – for example assuming a company has a GP of 15%, and prices are increased by 5%, sales volume would have to decrease by 25% or more before the company would be generating less profit;
  • Systematically and continuously measure, report and analyse KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to identify negative trends at an early stage, and then determine strategies to combat these trends;
  • Review pricing arrangements with existing suppliers;
  • Research alternative suppliers across all areas of the business;
  • Research sources of grant funding;
  • Determine eligibility of R&D (Research & Development) tax incentives;
  • Develop effective incentive schemes for staff to encourage productivity and to manage risk;
  • Analyse competitor activity;Review significant overheads and non-productive processes to identify opportunities to reduce expenditure;
  • For exporters and importers, Investigate exchange rate hedging;
  • Create a realistic and achievable business (action) plan and communicate this plan to all employees;
  • Investigate online selling;
  • Explore cost effective ways of marketing (social media etc);
  • Continuously forecast where the business is heading (and compare to business plans to identify reasons for key variances);
  • Develop customer relationship monitoring systems and customer retention strategies to prevent any potential loss of revenue.

As you can see, there are many strategies and initiatives to put in place to help increase your profit, and in fact almost every area of your business will somehow impact that bottom line. Small changes can sometimes make drastic differences to profit, so it is definitely worthwhile to looking into some of the above strategies and see where you can apply them to your business.

– Tips by Camryn Turner (Director of Finance Free TV Australia Limited)

When and How to Spend Money to Make Money

Marian Taggart-Holland’s article which was featured in Digital Image Magazine’s Oct/Nov 2014 edition.

Watching a recent episode of MasterChef, I was fascinated by a challenge in which teams were to set up shop at the Melbourne Queen Vic markets and sell their meals.Teams were given seven hundred dollars each, and the team that finished the night with the most money in the till would be the winner. Pretty simple. 

One team figured that if they spent less of their start-up cash they would be ahead of the game before they even started, with cash already in their till. Another adopted the strategy of spending every cent on the raw materials and making as much food as they possibly could. That team also decided to focus on cooking only one product well, to make lots of it and to spruik hard. No guesses who won the comp. Not only did the latter team win, they made nearly three times more money as the first team.

As simplistic as it may seem, the principle can be applied to any business. “One must spend money to make money” after all. This also relates to the upgrading and maintenance of equipment and technology utilised in the delivery of products and services.

Access to income generating equipment is vital

Capital equipment and technology are essential tools in the graphics, signage and print industries. For many businesses, the equipment itself is the “engine” of the business. The most successful businesses we see are those whose owners keep up to date with the latest industry trends, products and equipment and have an internal equipment upgrade policy. This may be as simple as setting specific finance or leasing periods for each item of equipment, and adopting as “usual practice” an upgrade at the end of that term.

For these owners, it’s the way they keep their business running smoothly. Staff can do their jobs with minimal frustration, greater creativity and satisfaction, customer requirements are met and hopefully exceeded, and goods and services are produced at a profit! Happy Days.

So when is the best time to upgrade? being proactive vs reactive

The reactive business considers the time to upgrade equipment is based on the condition of the existing equipment. Does is it “fire up” when the start button is pushed?

The proactive business tends to make decisions based on advancements in technology and maintaining business competitiveness in the market place. “After all, does a business want to be left behind?”

These days upgrading equipment means not only making cost savings to improve profit margins. It usually opens up new services and products a business can offer its existing and potential customer base.

When asked to write this article I sat down with Bruce Scott of Composite Images to get first hand advice on the equipment upgrade puzzle. Bruce has been running his own businesses since 1994. He had this to say of his flatbed printer:

“It’s a massive labour saving machine and it helped remove a log jam in the production process. But it has also produced areas of sales that were not really predicted, such as the ability to produce short-run custom packaging.This allowed us to easily produce products that would have been prohibitively expensive to manufacture using more traditional – by hand – methods.”

Some points to consider when upgrading

Is the existing equipment reliable? This is key in any organisation’s decision making process, as it is so closely linked to customer satisfaction and overall company profitability.

Watch out for increasing maintenance & servicing costs. This includes the cost of consumables such as inks, or availability of spare parts. Is the new machine still within manufacturer’s warranty period?

Does the equipment meet with customer specifications and requirements? If your major customers want a particular product that you can’t supply profitably they may just go elsewhere.

Is the equipment meeting your production requirements? When the equipment can’t meet production requirements in terms of either throughput or manufacturing cost it should be replaced.

What new technology is available in the market? Does it produce larger sizes, greater volume, operate faster, reduce running costs, or use new technology to produce new products?

Government regulations may also require a business to meet certain environmental or occupational health and safety standards. Make sure you comply.

Sometimes we get calls from customers who urgently need finance to purchase a new printer. Their existing one has just died and production has all but halted. Businesses will put up with faulty, unreliable or outdated equipment on the grounds of “saving money”.

Failing to calculate the associated and often extensive costs to their business is an area that small business operators may overlook when holding off from equipment upgrades or purchases. Additionally, they are also undervaluing the efficiencies and savings new equipment offers. Not to mention the frustrations suffered from working with outdated equipment including time and energy lost from costly break downs. The damage eventually will trickle down to the bottom line.

So what to consider when buying new equipment

There are various models a business can use to determine costs and benefits of potential equipment purchases. Standard TCO (total cost of ownership) and ROI (return on investment) calculators are provided by most reputable suppliers of equipment.

In my dealings with the small business operator, I have found that they usually know their businesses intimately. Although they may not go through the specific calculations, most know the numbers in their head and just need to step back and take the time to consider them. Obviously the larger the investment, the more time would be dedicated to crunching numbers.

When assessing if a business can service a new equipment finance loan we normally review historical financial statements. In some cases we need to take into account future income and cost savings that will be achieved with the integration of the new equipment. Figures are calculated on a number of assumptions that are based on considering the factors below.

List the benefits of the new investment

Write a list of benefits associated with the new investment over the coming year (s). Consider this over the projected life of the new equipment such as;

  • What are the potential increases in sales? Does the equipment allow you to produce something you can sell to your existing client base or open up new markets? Calculate the numbers in terms of units sold and convert to dollars.
  • What savings will you make in the production process? Can you produce more without having to increase staffing levels? Or does the new equipment reduce waste, person hours or production time?
  • Does the new equipment mean you can produce in-house instead of outsourcing? What savings will you make here? Remember to include cost of production.
  • Include in the additional income, depreciation and interest (or Rental payments) that the business can claim on the new equipment (you may require your accountants assistance here)
  • Add any additional income received from the sale of the old equipment

Then weigh them against the following costs

  • The cost of purchase, installation and training of new equipment.
  • Cost of any down time until the equipment is running at full steam.
  • Cost of rental/leasing repayments or interest on loans.
  • What repair, service and maintenance costs are you incurring or likely to incur with existing equipment. How much money should be put aside to cover increasing costs?
  • How much time, money, morale and custom has outdated equipment cost the business to date?

As Bruce comments,
“The calculations are always a bit fluid as I have found with a lot of new equipment that it can open up markets that you hadn’t already thought of. Once again it is dependent on the type of equipment, some

you can calculate the savings in man hours ie the equipment may not add to your sales but the cost offsets the labour saving. What traditionally (for example) required 2 people and took time to setup will be able to be done by 1 and with minimal setup time and far less wastage.”

Ways businesses can acquire new equipment – to finance or not?

One of the biggest issues for small business is cash flow. Too often small businesses, particularly in growth phase, run into trouble when they can’t pay bills on time or can’t get credit to buy materials to fill a new contract. Growing businesses require cash to operate.

Finance gives you choice and flexibility, allowing you to retain cash, whilst obtaining the latest equipment and technology needed to run your business efficiently and profitably. At today’s interest rates, the cost of money (finance) is probably one of the cheapest raw materials a business can buy to make up products and services.

Conversely, profitable businesses can also benefit from financing equipment. Whilst the equipment generates income, the finance repayments are reducing income tax payable. Available cash can then be invested in assets that appreciate (i.e increase in value, such as property) rather than depreciate (i.e decrease in value, such as most equipment and technology).

Some business owners may choose to avoid debt and hold off investing in new equipment until they have cash to pay for it outright. When they do so, a number of factors are overlooked, as mentioned previously, not the least being the ability to produce the goods and services that customers want.

So what type of finance should you use?

The type of equipment finance that suits the business will depend on its circumstances at that time. Consideration should also be given to the type of equipment being purchased and its expected useful life. Chattel Mortgage and Rental are the most common methods.

While competing on MasterChef is a little – or possibly a lot – different from competing in the broader market that most small businesses target, the need to effectively utilise key resources, whether financial, technological, or human, remains the same.

It’s important to take time to work on your business outside the time you work in it. A hard discipline, but worth it in the end.

##

Download a PDF of the full article