Accounting Services
Browse the latest accounting developments, trends, standards and opportunities in the Australian Accounting industry from accountants and accounting associations on Top4 News.
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Westpac posts $354m drop in capitalised technology

Westpac posts $354m drop in capitalised technology | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Westpac has reported a $354 million net impact from a reduced capitalised software balance after it last month decided to change how it calculates its technology investment spend.


The bank - which today posted a 6 percent jump in net profit to $8 billion - recently reviewed its accounting policies for IT investment and decided to directly expense more technology project costs.

It also decided to move to an accelerated amortisation model for capitalised software, affecting most of its existing software assets that have a useful life of more than three years.  The accounting change mean the bank's capitalised software balance dropped by $505 million pre-tax for its most recent fiscal year.


The figure had previously been reported as an expense.

The bank now has a capitalised software balance of $1.65 billion compared to $2 billion last fiscal year.  As a result of the accounting change, software amortisation and technology depreciation costs went up $70 million in the second half of the year.

Top4's insight:

With Westpac's decision to change their accounting method, the single change made a very material impact on the bank's financial position.

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Chevron loses long-running battle with ATO, faces multimillion-dollar tax bill

Chevron loses long-running battle with ATO, faces multimillion-dollar tax bill | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Multinational oil giant Chevron has been hit with a tax bill of about $300 million after losing a landmark profit-shifting case that could have global implications for the way tax is assessed.  The Australian Tax Office's case in the Federal Court case has been closely watched by the tax and business community, and will give the ATO greater confidence to challenge other multinationals about their tax affairs.


The decision comes as the ATO has another audit underway relating to a $35 billion loan that Chevron has used in relation to the Gorgon gas project.  Chevron is considering whether it will appeal the Federal Court decision. A spokesman for the company said. "Chevron does not intend to comment further while appeals are being considered," he said.


Labor senator Sam Dastyari, who has been outspoken about profit shifting by multinationals since the Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance, said: "This is good news for Australian taxpayers and the Australian tax base."

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Major accounting firm defends negative gearing

Major accounting firm defends negative gearing | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

International accounting firm Deloitte has supported the controversial negative gearing tax break, refuting claims that it favours wealthy investors and drives up house prices.
 
In their second Shedding light on the debate: Mythbusting tax reformreport, Deloitte has defended negative gearing as being no different to the other methods used by people to reduce their tax burdens.
 
“Negative gearing is seen as a loophole, with the rich making out like bandits from it,” the report said.
 
“Yet the ability to deduct expenses incurred in earning revenue is an accepted principle of our tax system – and most other tax systems too.
 
“It is standard practice to allow taxpayers to claim a deduction for a real economic loss that they incur to earn their income."

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Future-proof Jobs: Accountants, Architects and Salespeople

Future-proof Jobs: Accountants, Architects and Salespeople | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Hays, a recruitment expert says that professional accountants, salespeople and architects are some of the professions that can expect a long career.


While supply for such professionals are short, demand for their skills is very high. They can be at ease that there will be future job opportunities for them, provided that they keep their skills up to date.


Demand for accountants experienced in high-volume payroll processing and skilled with ADP Payforce, Meridian and Chris21 are up. Also in demand are those experts in Accounts Payable and highly skilled in SAP. Accountancy firms are also short of experienced accountants, especially seniors, intermediates and supervisors in business services and also audit seniors.


Demand for Architects are also on the rise in most states. With the current focus on residential projects and commercial redevelopments, mid-level architects, project architects, revit documentors and interior designers are all seeing high demand for their skills.


As businesses are focused on selling, the pool of proven and experienced sales candidates has reduced. Skilled outbound telemarketers, sales representatives, sales managers and business development managers, sales professionals are in high demand.

Top4's insight:

Choosing a career in this fields is very clever as they are proven to be "future-proof".  For accountancy, even with the advent of computers and big accounting systems like SAP, the need for a skilled accountant is constant as they add value to the work.  To keep up with a very demanding industry, accountants must continuously expand and update their knowledge and skills with continuing education.

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The Risks of bundling accounting fees

The Risks of bundling accounting fees | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Business solutions provider Reckon warns about potential risk of bundling the cost of software into accounting fees. Problems may arise when software providers increase the costs of their products and therefore the bundled fees for accounting might also increase. Reckon also suggests that maintaining a commission and partner model would be ideal when offering accounting software to prospective clients.

Top4's insight:

Accountants must study well the costs related to their engagement which includes software fees. They should also consider the fact that the software cost might be increased without their prior knowledge.

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A Conclusion of Court Case NZICA vs CPAA

A Conclusion of Court Case NZICA vs CPAA | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

The Decision for the case filed by CPAA (Certified Practicing Accountants Australia) against NZICA (New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants) was welcomed by CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand). The incidents happened between two and five years ago concerning student flyers and advertisements distributed. In conclusion, New Zealand court rejected the claims by CPAA for damages as the statements made by defendant NZICA did not cross the required threshholds of seriousness in relation to the Fair Trading Act aspects of the case. NZICA was awarded NZ$124,058.

Top4's insight:

It is a breathe of fresh air that disputes between the two accounting organizations are finally settled and is now over. Accountancy is a noble industry and organizations within the industry should help each other rather than compete.

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Australia - a soft target for cyber security

Australia - a soft target for cyber security | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

World Economic Forumn and Deloitte discusses with financial institutions on cyber security. As Australia transitions from a product to a services economy, the country needs to further enhance its agility, responsiveness and resilience to safeguard itself from potential threats.

Top4's insight:

As Australia embraces its future in FinTech businesses, continuous learning on security is vital in building a stronger and more resilient economy.

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IPA, CPA calls for continued reform

IPA, CPA calls for continued reform | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Both the IPA and CPA have responded to Malcolm Turnbull’s appointment as new Prime Minister, calling for continued reform and communication with professional bodies. They're hoping for continued reforms on small business matters.

Top4's insight:

Small businesses in the services sector plays a big role in the economy as they provide services to other small businesses and to individual consumers. The state should do its part in protecting the interests of small businesses especially in the accounting industry.

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Offshoring and Data Privacy

Offshoring and Data Privacy | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Accountants who offshore work must be aware of their privacy obligations regarding the exchange of client information, according to law firm The Fold Legal.  Accountants who pass on information to overseas organisations that subsequently breach privacy protections will themselves be liable for the breaches.

Top4's insight:

As data is crucial to all businesses, an accountant, whether outsourced or not should be very careful in handling it.  All accountants should be wary of data security and risks.  

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Time sheets no longer for billing, cloud accountant says

Time sheets no longer for billing, cloud accountant says | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Jamie Johns, CEO of Sky Accountants, has argued that in the accounting services industry, time sheets used as basis for billing is an ancient process. Time sheets provide valuable information regarding efficiency but billing for services should be done at fixed rates as is drives efficiency.

Top4's insight:

Services like accounting or assurance or consulting are measured by its output and the range of services agreed by the parties. Practitioners should be able to determine a price for their services instead of billing based on the actual time they spent on the work.

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Sydney suburbs in $2 million club double

Sydney suburbs in $2 million club double | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

After a $39 million dollar sale, Point Piper has become the suburb where the average housing price is on its highest in Sydney. The buyer of the $39 million dollar "Cottage", a Chinese business man.


Nowadays the amount of Sydney suburbs that have a median value in excess of $2 million dollar has nearly doubled in just a year as the prices of property dramatically increase. It is seen by foreign buyers a great investment.

Top4's insight:

Looking for an interesting investment opportunity? Already have enough of your Malibu beachhouse? What about Australia's luxury housing market?

 

With 40 out of 48 Sydney suburbs, already reached a median value of 2 million AUD. Which is almost double compared to the 22 suburbs of last year.


So if you are looking for new investment opportunities, why not have a look?

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A Testament to Australia's Stellar International Reputation in Accounting

A Testament to Australia's Stellar International Reputation in Accounting | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

The Australian Accounting Standards Board has won the battle to keep a coveted role advising the most powerful global financial reporting and accounting standards setting bodies.

Top4's insight:

It's been said that Australia is really advanced when it comes to accounting practices -- and here's proof of that.

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Apps and the age of automation

Apps and the age of automation | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Joining the app economy not only maintains your relationship with clients, but an app will ensure your business is an indispensable financial partner long into the future. Businesses such as accountants and bookkeepers who see advancing technology as the death knell of their businesses, are actually in a very strong position if they act now.


Automating a task has been for decades a means to improve efficiency and, of course, reduce costs. Today the automation of financial tasks is increasingly being achieved with an app.


Personalisation is of course where accountants and bookkeepers can wield their expertise via their own app.


Your practice’s app can deliver a number of benefits including:

1. more convenience to your clients
2. intuitive user interfaces
3. offline working
4. access to native features of the phone or tablet
5. apps are purpose-built for their devices – websites are not.


Proven to be a tested means for leverage expertise and knowledge, developing an app for your practice enables you to tap into the burgeoning app economy and place your practice at the forefront of your sector.

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IGT outlines terms of reference for ATO audit overhaul

IGT outlines terms of reference for ATO audit overhaul | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

The Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT), Ali Noroozi, has detailed the terms of reference for his review into the ATO’s employer obligations audits.


The IGT has called upon stakeholders for submissions regarding key areas of concern relating to the taxation and legal obligations for employers at both federal and state levels.


“Employers play a vital role in the economy, including [by] collecting taxes from their employees and paying their entitlements,” Mr Noroozi said.


“It is important to provide them with as much support as possible with these obligations so that their main focus continues to be on their core commercial goals."


Key areas of concern have already been flagged by stakeholders, such as the presence of different tests at federal and state level that determine the employee and contractor distinction.

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Accountants must reach out to their clients 12 times yearly

Accountants must reach out to their clients 12 times yearly | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Accountants are encouraged to "touch' their clients 9 to 12 times a year and also employ different marketing strategies for different audiences.


Martin Pike of Verve group, a finalist a finalist in the best Marketing category at the 2015 Australian Accounting Awards, emphasised the importance of maintaining a relationship with clients throughout the year.


Human conversation is very valuable so regular contact with clients rather than just seeing them around tax season is a great marketing strategy as it engages the clients on the work. Educating clients on tax tips and accounting matters is also a marketing strategy as the more clients are educated, the more work for accountants.

Top4's insight:

Even if accounting services is scheduled and is needed usually on ta seasons, it is a good idea to connect tp clients as it builds good relationships that will encourage the client to engage the accountant year after year.    

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Technology’s impact on Infrastructure’s Future

Technology’s impact on Infrastructure’s Future | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Chartered Accountants ANZ NSW Regional Council commissioned a panel of experts to discuss technology’s impact on infrastructure requirements.  The panel consists of:


  • Paul Foxlee,  KPMG

  • Phil Davies, Infrastructure Australia

  • Chris Voyce,  Macquarie Capital

  • Susan Rudland, Urbis  

  • Dr Louise Camenzuli,  Corrs Chambers Westgarth


Relating to Australia’s recent Infrastructure Audit, the panel discussed that technological innovation has changed and will continue to evolve the way infrastructure optimises and utilises businesses and people. New skills are also needed for dealing with new trends.  The panel also stressed that our current regulatory framework is not keeping up with the rapid pace of technological advances.


Further discussed is on how communities are valuing the “hard infrastructure” and it to result on the government favoring delivery of new physical projects while better solutions can be provided with technological updates on the existing infrastructure.  Finally, the panel agreed that community education and engagement ensures to ensure that infrastructure investments are directed with best solutions.  

Top4's insight:

Infrastructure audit is a huge factor in a nation's development as it helps identify issues and rooms for improvement on the services supported by it.  In this digital age, we rely on a strong infrastructure to support our needs.

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Tax agents vs ATO's automation push

Tax agents vs ATO's automation push | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

According to a research conducted by H&R Block, tax agents are holding their own against ATO's push for taxpayer's use of myTax and e-tax systems, online tax filing tools. H&R Block argues that taxpayers who use the myTax and e-tax were more likely to make mistakes in their tax returns, leaving them susceptible to tax audits.

Top4's insight:

It is good to engage services of a tax agent especially if the taxpayer doesn't know how to classify income as to its taxes. If online tools are used, taxpayers must pay attention to the data they enter as no one checks their tax returns except ATO.

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Of Taxes and the Sharing Economy

Of Taxes and the Sharing Economy | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

ATO describes income as a receipt resulting from personal exertion (that means work) or from an investment.  In the advent of the sharing economy and its popularity on mobile apps however, the definition of income the issue on its taxable nature has reached new dimensions.  Recently, ATO focused its effort in monitoring Airbnb and UberX users.  But as many other platforms of sharing economy thrives, it becomes more and more difficult for ATO to track an individual's income derived from it.

Top4's insight:

This article has a very good description of income, the Australian Tax Office and the Sharing Economy.

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Licensing app for accountants launched

Licensing app for accountants launched | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

GPS Wealth released a fee app that helps accountants in determining the appropriate licensing for their different needs. This web-based application can help educate the accountants on the new regulatory framework set to come into force on 1 July 2016.

Top4's insight:

This app is will help accountants as it cuts time for analyzing and research on what licensing is needed for their specialization.  

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RoboAudit vs Auditors

RoboAudit vs Auditors | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

As technological advances continue to impact our lives, it also makes huge impact on the practice of audit. As auditors no longer need to examine and photocopy physical documents, what auditors of today is to see and examine the accounting systems of their client. However, despite technological advancement, observation and enquiry to the cllient remain as core audit procedures.

Top4's insight:

The work of human auditors will never be replaced with technology. As humans both observe, analyse and assess, they are the only ones who can provide assurance on whether the systems and processes in management, operations and governance, works and if their financial reports and information is correct and reliable.

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Cloud safety threats are real

Cloud safety threats are real | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Software provider Acronis urges accountants to not sacrifice data security when using cloud technology in their business operations. While threats like data theft and hacking are real, cloud solutions should not be avoided, and that risk reduction was a strategy that needs to be incorporated, noting the costs that could be incurred as a result of a data breach.

Top4's insight:

Accounting practitioners must take extra steps in ensuring that all data and information they have is safe. All accounting data is confidential and critical thus it is a target of cyber attacks.

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Empty houses in Sydney could be in trouble?!

Empty houses in Sydney could be in trouble?! | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Vacant homes in Sydney would be hit with a substantial rate increase, as a result of the latest plan of the city Council. Certain council members think that the vacant houses could be the problem salvation for the City's housing shortage.


What would this mean?


Well if you have a house that has been empty for over a year, there might be a chance you have to pay an additional fee, or even have to rent it out to someone while it is not occupied.

Top4's insight:

Sydney's housing shortage may come to an end with the introduction of new council rules. No more empty houses in Sydney.

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Here's What You Should Know About the Toshiba $1.2B Accounting Scandal

Here's What You Should Know About the Toshiba $1.2B Accounting Scandal | Accounting Services | Scoop.it

Toshiba is in a tough spot after their latest scandal.


Same principle for any business, anywhere else in the

world:  If your organisation fails to implement appropriate corporate governance, you could lose market trust,


Misreported earnings have placed Toshiba in the middle of a huge scandal and drove its president and CEO Hisao Tanaka to quit. An investigation revealed that the company's executives were aware and complicit with the inaccuracies done by top management.


Top4's insight:

Sydney businesses can learn a thing or two from this scandal on the importance of finding an accountant or accounting services that upholds integrity and accuracy.

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