Now our tax relationship is physical

In my illustrious career, I’ve worked with many tax officials: from city, county, state, to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the US and also with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) down under.

It started as people dealing with people, discussing paperwork, then people talking with machines and now your relationship with your tax authorities can be machine to machine. With no human interaction, your home computer can upload your tax return to tax office, their computer receives that data and then hopefully there is an electronic bank transfer for a refund coming your way!

IMG_4865I currently reside in Australia, but still do my own tax return for the US (IRS) and Australian authorities (ATO). Just the other day, I was thinking about the best ways to communicate with a large bureaucracy such as the ATO when my phone started vibrating. I reached into my pocket and was surprised to see it was the ATO texting.

Biometrics
This year, my relationship with the ATO went deeper: first texting, then it turned to biometrics. The text arrived conveniently during my lunch hour. It was a nice, helpful text message telling me that new pre-fill information was available for my e-tax. To end our texting relationship, I simply needed to reply STOP. To report SMS scams I should contact 13 28 61.

Read the full story here

How much is my time worth?

Photo motorbikesA few years ago, one of my first business coaching sessions was with an entrepreneur who had spent a year and a half in development. He’d given up a well-paid job and spent about $25,000 on developing an App. He had no real business plan. When I pointed out that he had notionally invested about a quarter of million dollars on the App, he drew a deep breath of entrepreneurial fatigue, and said disheartenly, “Well, I suppose so.”

This back of the envelope calculation was done as follows: see calculations and read more here.

A CEO start-up guide to personal taxes

Communities

People depend on the CEO to get things right. A failure to manage your personal taxes may see you damage your reputation, send your startup belly up and let down all those people looking at you as an inspirational start-up CEO.

A chance to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a startup company can be one of the most exciting, challenging, inspiring, risky and adrenalin-filled periods of your life. Particularly for young innovators and entrepreneurs, the dynamic and fast paced environment can leave little time to reflect on your own tax position or obligations to any new employees.

A lot of great startups come undone by neglecting the mundane — but essential — regulatory or compliance functions. So while I would love to write an inspiring story of innovation and success, Why? Because you are the CEO and it is your job to get it right.

Read my full blog here.

Will your business expenses trigger a personal audit?

phone deer horns

Are you worried your business tax deductions will make you stand out? New techniques and ever evolving technology, may make you more obvious than you think. Photo © Andrew McIntosh CPA

Some of us went crazy with the Game of Thrones grand finale, with the show becoming the most pirated program in history. Australians were the worst offenders. Digital piracy is illegal; so too is tax evasion.

If you have cheated the tax system, it may not impact you now as a struggling entrepreneur or business owner, but perhaps years later when you are held to account for your actions. Long after the moment of greed, or seeming need, you may have a partner, child and a thriving business by then.

Do you participate in the cash or hidden economy? Read the full article here.

I am a 90 year old one man band because I am also underfunded but resolute!

After being surprised by the stat that “the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity is in the 55-64-year-old group” in a recent article by Jim Dougherty, I was posting my own blog about single operator businesses and was surprised yet again to get this comment back:

“I am a 90 yr. old one man band because I am also underfunded but resolute! There are services that one can sign up for that begin in a free stage and I definitely use them, have to. But this digital business needs advertising money, lots of it. One SBA volunteer told me since I didn’t have money I’m dead in the water. But I got an order the other day.” David Lambert

Amazing: especially after you read his bio of life experiences, I could not help but try to encourage a few followers, likes, views for him. Because you can do digital business at no or low cost and not all entrepreneurs are young, Jim rightly says. And maybe he’ll get the odd order or two; I know I became his second order from #socialmedia.

All this links social links are from his webpage, so anyone feeling socially generous, please give David’s Delicious Chocolates a like, follow or even an order (via PayPal, here’s on that too)!

I live in Australia and David is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have never met David until he reached Melbourne via LinkedIn and now I’m ordering chocolate from some guy called David in Pennsylvania!

http://davidsdeliciouschocolates.com

 

How do you get business inspiration (and keep it)?

Go!

Go!

Think

Stop. Think. Get inspired.

The gardening crew has arrived outside my office. I hear a clunk and a bump as their truck and trailer bounces into the lot. I watch for a few minutes, and I’m inspired by the efficiency. They quickly rev up the ride-on mower and begin trimming the edges. It’s like a well-oiled pit stop team — every worker knows his place. Someone hands me the bill and everybody leaves as smoothly as they came in. In business, it’s important to be creative. Here are five sources of inspiration. See full article: Here

Victorian Indigenous Remembrance Service 2014

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Victorian Indigenous Remembrance Service 2014

It is National Reconciliation Week 2014! What does your business do to encourage, celebrate or contribute to diversity?

Optimize Business will at be the Melbourne Shire of Remembrance on Saturday 31 May 2014 for the Victorian Indigenous Remembrance Service from 11am. Optimize Business Director, Andrew McIntosh CPA, is an Honourary Committee member that helps organise the Service.

Come and learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ service in Australia, from the Boer War to present day 10:30 for an 11am start.

Entrepreneurs: are you running a one person show?

TVF

Many entrepreneurs start out as a one-man (or woman) show. While this can be challenging, exhausting and incredibly rewarding, ultimate success may not be determined by your business idea, but by how organised you are.

Experienced freelancers and small businesses that are single person operations need to be ultra-organised. Whether you are flying solo for the first time or well established, technology can improve your efficiency and performance. Here are some pointers based on my own experience running a one-man show.

See full article here: The Pulse

 

Optometrists, war, hot cross buns and death

Andrew McIntosh CPA, Optimize Business:

WW1medals&cardsBusiness owners often ask me about how to create content that is interesting and relevant for social media and blogging: “but I don’t have anything to write about” they say.

Firstly, we have all probably have heard a hundred times that it is about creating valuable “content” and “story telling.” Social media (which includes blogs like this one you are reading now), can just talk about what you care about or what you are doing as a business or passion. No-one has your life, it’s unique and your business is also unique.

Here are some tips to draw out some relevant:

  • Have an annual calendar of events is a great starter – plan in advance
  • How does your business relate to the local, state or national event?
  • Link social media to real life. Easter? Maybe have hot cross buns for customers over lunch. (e.g.Photograph the buns in advance and let people know its coming);
  • Use social media to share the event when it is happening (e.g. photo and text of staff and customer eating piping hot cross buns right now, hurry in);
  • Send out a thanks for coming post. A picture tells a thousand words so: I am alway big on using images.

Last week was ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand and I have been helping a local optometrist network in content creation and story telling. For those unaware, ANZAC Day is national day of military remembrance held on the 25th of April each year.

So what can an optometrist do for a day like remembrance day, apart from being shut? Well, like any profession, retail or trade, Australian and New Zealand optometrists made a huge contribution during First World War and other conflicts. With a few hours research we had a relevant and respectful ‘social media campaign’ ready to go.

  1. Advertising was minimised during the period;
  2. We shared photos and stories of opticians, optometrists and optical dispenser to high the service of the profession;
  3. While some stories were amazing (a single optometrist at an Army Hospital able to examine, cut and fit lenses in 16 minutes during #WW2), some were heartbreaking & heroic.

I have summarised the story of four #WW1 opticians we found and reposted here. On ANZAC Day, we will, and did, remember them.

Lest we forget:

Originally posted on museumandhistory.com:

AWMP08299.007

An outdoor portrait of the 9th Training Battalion at Perham Downs, Wiltshire. Victorian optician Gordon Heathcote from Kew is seated on the far left, sporting his new Corporal stripes he earned in England.

Cpl Gordon Roy Heathcote, 24th Company Australian Machine Gun Corps.

Cpl Gordon Roy Heathcote was an optician of Kew in Victoria. Single, twenty-three years old and living with his parents comfortably in Melbourne’s inner eastern suburbs, he enlisted in August and set sail from Melbourne on 20 October 1916. Seated on the left above, the machine gun is not just a prop for the photo – this optician had landed as a non-commissioned officer in an Australian Army Machine Gun Corps. Single, living with his parents comfortably in Melbourne’s suburbs. he enlisted in August and left Melbourne on 20 October 1916. In was promoted to Corporal while in England and completed his physical and bayonet training courses there before landing…

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