Work. Sleep. Eat. Repeat?

Find a better balance with these helpful hacks.

Working harder is not always smarter. Burnout is common among business owners and staff who are pushed to the limits.

Acuity Magazine recently published this ‘burnout checklist’ to help you recognise when you’re heading for burnout:

The burnout checklist

  • Do you feel exhausted all the time?
  • Are you finding it hard to remember things?
  • Do you have problems concentrating or making decisions?
  • Have you started to feel emotionally detached from others?
  • Does your work seem pointless?
  • Are you experiencing depression?
  • Is your sleep disturbed?
  • Are you experiencing headaches, nausea, changes in appetite, decreases in immunity?

If you this checklist has you nodding in agreement, it’s time to take action.

We know it’s not good for business or your personal life to be burning the candle at both ends. But how on earth are you expected to fit it all in?!

Here are some useful ways to create a crystal clear line between work and the rest of your life, and help avoid burnout.

  • Draw the line: Switching off at the end of the day requires discipline. When you get home, turn off your notifications (Slack, Facetime, everything!) and make a point of saying to yourself: ‘I’m going home and I’m going to be me.’
  • Prioritise: Write down what you do each day, week, month and how long it takes you. You’d be surprised how many opportunities you’ll find to manage your time better.
  • Set ground rules: It’s way too easy to ditch the gym/friends/family to finish off that ‘last thing’ at work. Make a list of unacceptable personal actions and check it often to make sure you’re respecting your own boundaries.
  • Get your ‘om’ on. Meditating, or stopping to take five deep breaths does wonders for your stress levels. Next time you’re waiting for something (traffic, coffee, a creative idea to emerge), just breathe.
  • Delegate at work AND at home: The more time you spend working ‘on’ your business, the better – so delegate the repetitive, time consuming jobs or the admin/accounts work to other staff members or outsource. Are you spending precious weekend hours doing things you don’t enjoy? Could you hire someone else to take them off your hands?
  • Schedule breaks: Personal life suffers if you don’t make time for it. Schedule in your exercise/relaxation/downtime as if it were another work responsibility. Soon enough it’ll be your favourite ‘appointment’ of the day.
  • Lead by example: Striking the right balance between your work and personal life will inspire your staff. And, research says employees with a good work/life balance are more motivated, productive and satisfied. Win-win!

Livestock Special Alert

The IRD have recently announced this year’s livestock Herd Scheme Values and we think this is a great opportunity to update you on the latest movements. The Herd Scheme Values are the National Average Market Values as determined by a process involving a review of the livestock market as at 30 April.

Dairy Cattle

Late last year we saw some large increases in dairy cattle prices – however this eased back in the last few months so the resulting values for Rising two-year heifers and Mixed Age Cows were lower than what we were seeing late last year. The herd scheme value for a mixed age dairy cow has increased from the low in 2016 to $1,649 – a definite rise from the $1,356 (21.6%) in 2016. Rising two-year heifers are now valued at $1,421 – up from $1,077 (31.9%) last year.

The biggest rise is however in Rising one-year heifers – these have increased from a low of $530 to $819 – an increase of 54.5%. In talking to clients, this should come as no surprise as there seems to be a high demand for this age group of livestock.

Dairy bulls and steers have seen modest increases from last year with breeding bulls now valued at $1,887.

There was an opportunity last year to move some clients from the National Standard Cost scheme to the Herd Scheme. This was because the 2016 values were at historic lows and were the closest to National Standard Cost values than they had been for quite a long time. The rise in values in the 2017 year and the recently announced dairy pay-out increases for the 2017/2018 year mean that the decision to move was the correct one.

There may be an opportunity for clients who signed up to buy herds late last year at reasonably high prices to move into the Herd scheme this year – assuming a 31 May settlement. This is something that can be considered at the time of completing your 2017 annual accounts. Each case will depend on the facts and of course we have to consider the long term implications as we will then be in the Herd scheme for the foreseeable future.

 

Beef Cattle

Beef values have once again increased markedly – Mixed Age Beef cows are now valued at $1,431 – up from $1,273 (12.4%) last year. Breeding Bulls increased to $3,095 – up from $2,571 (20.4%) last year. Commodity prices for beef products are at an all-time high. This has been strongly reflected in the beef market and in the prices farmers are receiving for their animals.

Beef prices have been steadily increasing since the lows of 2013 when a Mixed Age Cow was valued at $872. The question is of course – how much longer will this upward trend continue. We have now seen four years of successive increases and as we all know this is a commodity market which inevitably has lows as well as highs. Food for thought!

 

Sheep

Sheep values have seen an overall average increase of 17.4% with two-tooth ewes now valued at $150 – this compares to $133 last year. Still some way to go to catch the most recent highs in 2012 when two-tooth ewes were valued at $191!

Deer

Deer values are continuing their upward movement with Mixed Age Hinds increasing by 20.1% from $438 to $526 per head. We understand that the deer market is a little erratic at times but hopefully these values are reflecting more maturity in the market and the demand for a quality product.

General

Careful consideration needs to be given to your livestock election choices. Even though changes were made to the Herd scheme in recent years, there is still flexibility around how to value increases in numbers – if you increase your numbers during the year you are able to choose an alternative valuation option to value that increase. Whether you take that option or you elect to value the increase using herd values will depend on a number of factors – such as:

  • where we are in the cycle of livestock values (e.g. at the bottom, or at the top)
  • if the increase is a permanent or a temporary one
  • your longer term intentions

As the decision is clearly one that should be made on a case by case basis, we will naturally discuss your valuation options with you on review of your 2017 Financial Statements and Taxation Returns.

Home Office

There is a new alternative option for calculating home office applying from 1 April 2017 (for standard balance date taxpayers).

Under the new option, home office deductions can be determined by using a 2-step calculation. The first step involves taking the ratio of the area of the premises used for business purposes to the total area and multiplying this by a specified rate set by the IRD.

The second step then requires the mortgage interest, rates and rent paid for the year to be multiplied by another specified rate set by the IRD and adding this to the amount calculated in the first step. Depending on your circumstances, this new option may be beneficial to you and we will discuss this with you if it applies to you.

Miles to go – changes proposed for motor vehicles

Currently close companies (such as LTCs and QCs) providing a motor vehicle for the private use of shareholder-employees must pay FBT on the value of the benefit provided. This value is based on the availability of the vehicle rather than its actual private use and this means higher FBT compliance costs for close companies.

New option for close companies

The recently introduced legislation changes this for the 2018 tax year (i.e. from 1 April 2017 for standard balance date taxpayers).

Under the new rules close companies which provide one or two vehicles to shareholder-employees could elect to use the motor vehicle expenditure rules instead of paying FBT. This would mean that, like sole traders and partnerships, close companies could measure the business use of a motor vehicle and calculate the tax deductions allowable for motor vehicle expenditure based on business use.

New method for calculating business use to claim deductions

Also introduced is a new simplified method of calculating business use for vehicles. The new option would allow you to choose to calculate your business usage and resulting deductible expense differently. The new method does not have a ceiling (currently the ceiling in place is 5,000 kilometres of business use).

What you need to know

If you are self-employed or if you operate through a close company and this applies to you, you would need to know the total mileage travelled each year and be able to work out what proportion of that is business use. The actual requirement would be for you to keep a vehicle logbook for three months every three years.

When it comes to calculating the tax deductible amount, the calculation is ‘two tier’:

 for the first 10,000 kilometres, the rate is calculated on the proportion of business use for the vehicle (say 60%) multiplied by Inland Revenue’s first tier rate (for example 75 cents/km but the IRD will advise the rates each year)

 for every kilometre after that, the rate is calculated on proportion of business use for the vehicle (e.g. 60%) multiplied by Inland Revenue’s second tier rate (for example 25 cents/km but again subject to change)

What you need to do

To gear up for the change, at close of business on 31 March, record your odometer reading. Diarise to do the same thing next year.

You want to be able to tell us the total number of kilometres travelled in the tax year when you bring in your records. And, sometime during the year starting 1 April 2017, keep a logbook for each vehicle for a three-month period to record mileage, costs and when the vehicle is being used for business or private purposes.

If you’re in any doubt as to whether this affects you, please contact us.

Tandem Presentation series – “helping you achieve more”

These presentations by Steve Connell & Robert Miller from Tandem are providing great value.

Our monthly presentation series helps our clients achieve success and feel motivated, more relaxed, more proud, and more excited about their businesses.

The first session was all about the importance of Vision in providing focus and motivation in your business.

In the second session, they cast some light on a big challenge in business – dealing with the next generation.

In the third presentation, they’re looking at Business Culture.  It’s your organisation’s Culture (how everyone behaves) that delivers your bottom line so this is an event not to be missed.

We’ve been working with Steve Connell and Robert Miller of Tandem for some time now.  Tandem are the business coaches and trainers who do the things we don’t do…. like hands-on implementing change, getting people operating more functionally, getting business culture right, dealing with communication and staff problems, dealing with sales & customer service issues, and improving leadership skills. In short, becoming more effective, more efficient and more profitable.

We would love you to join us on:

Thursday 27th  of July 2017

How to Design & Build a Bottom Line Driven Business Culture –  practical strategies

Cost $20 (includes refreshments)

5:00pm: Arrive

5:15: Presentation starts

6:15: Questions/Drinks/Networking

7:00: Home time

Please register online here or contact our office 06 8788824

 

We aim to run 1 presentation per month, later sessions will include:

Building profit now – creating value later – 5 things you need to have in your business

Dealing with people problems – what you need to be good at

Get ready, get set – End of year tax checklist

Work through the points below to straighten things up for the end of the tax year. Ask us if you would like more information.

Think about Deductions

Bad debts: Write bad debts off in your debtor ledger before balance date so you can claim a deduction. Make sure your records show you have taken reasonable steps to recover the debt prior to write-off. Note the details so we can check the GST adjustments.

Employee expenses: You can claim deductions for holiday pay, bonuses, redundancy payments, long service leave etc., if you commit to them before year end and pay them within 63 days of balance date. Check holiday pay has been calculated correctly.

Expenses: Can you pre-pay expenses such as stationery, postage and courier charges before 31 March? You may be able to claim for them. Check with us. There are limits to how far some prepaid expenses are claimable, such as on rent, insurance, plant and equipment maintenance contracts, travel and accommodation.

Fixed assets: Are you still using all of them? Can some be written off?

Discounts: If you offer prompt payment discounts to debtors and maintain a discount reserve, this may be deductible. Make sure your records are clear. In the first year a deduction of the actual discount percentage is allowed. In subsequent years, the deduction is calculated as an approved percentage. Different rules apply if the credit period offered to customers is more than 93 days.

Repairs/maintenance: Complete planned maintenance or repairs before year end for a tax deduction. Ask us if you aren’t sure whether the expenditure is classified as repairs and maintenance (which would be deductible) or as a capital expense (which wouldn’t).

Stocktake: Dispose of obsolete stock by year end or write it down to its net realisable value (the lesser of cost or market value). If your stock is worth less than $10,000 and turnover for the year less than $1.3m, you won’t need to include your stock movement for tax purposes.

Vehicles: Don’t forget to note your odometer reading at year end. If you keep logbooks noting business and personal use, mileage and costs, ensure these are all in order.

Think about Income

Credit notes: Look for credit notes issued to customers after balance date but related to sales made prior to balance date. Note these so you can reduce your taxable income for the current year.

Increased income: Is this year’s income a lot higher than last year’s? If so let us know. It might be a good idea to consider making a voluntary provisional tax payment.

Losses: Did your group of companies have losses in 2016? Groups of companies may offset profits and losses against each other if you make loss offset elections and subvention payments by 31 March. We can help you with this.

Retentions: Check contracts for the terms on retentions owing. Have you invoiced retentions but they are not payable till work is complete in a subsequent tax year? They won’t count as assessable income for this year. However, If they are payable this year they are assessable income. Note retentions you have invoiced which are not receivable till the next tax year.

Think about Penalties

Dividends: Review planned dividend payments. Your imputation credit account must be in credit at 31 March or penalties arise. Contact us before 31 March so we can help you.

Questions for your 2017 Vision

How do you want 2017 to be?

It starts with a dream and then becomes a Vision…

Here are a few areas to think about, contemplate, visualize, feel.

Write down what comes up……then make a plan, communicate the plan, get support.

Personal Vision

Financial

What will my financial picture look like – income, savings, assets, investments?

House/Home

What’s my home look like? Where? How big? Who lives there?

Relationships

Who will be important to me? How will I engage with them?

Family

How am I going to spend my time with them? Do more of? Less of?

Personal Growth

How will I grow and learn? Business skills? Interests?

Physical

What shape will I be in? How will I do that? Who will support me?

Business Vision

  • What will my business look like? – Products, market, customers, staff, premises?
  • How will my business look financially? – Sales, profits?
  • How will my business feel? Atmosphere? Culture?
  • How will my business serve my personal goals?
  • How will I feel about my business? Proud? Happy?
  • What do I need to change? Who will support me?

Mileage Rates 2016

Inland Revenue announced in May that the Commissioner had reduced the mileage rate from 74c to 72c/km for the 2016 tax year (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 for standard balance dates).

If you rely on the standard mileage rate when reimbursing your team for travel, make sure your payroll system is updated to reflect the reduced rate.

Party Party Party – Christmas Entertainment and Tax issues

Are you planning a Christmas function for special clients and/or suppliers and business contacts? Be aware that this will come under the entertainment regime for purposes of tax deductibility. Any expenditure on food and drink that your business provides off your business premises will be 50% deductible. This extends to any incidental expenditure on things like hireage of crockery, glassware or utensils, waiting staff, and music or other entertainment provided for the function you’re planning.

If you’re thinking of a more public event to promote the business during the festive season, expenditure on food, drink and all the necessary incidentals could be fully deductible. However, be aware that the event can’t cater for your VIPs alone. It must be open to the public on the same footing as clients or business contacts. Its primary purpose must be as a marketing event for the business.

If you’re planning an event and you’re not sure which tax regime it will fall under, please contact us for information.