July, 2016

Self Managed Super Fund

Is a self-managed super fund right for me?

Many people have heard the term self-managed super fund (SMSF), but very few really understand what it is and whether it’s a reasonable option for them.  So we have shed some light on this for you to help answer the question.

Why do people choose a SMSF?

A SMSF will give you more control over your super and retirement planning, but it’s important to understand the responsibilities that come with being a trustee of a fund.

Do you have enough super?

You generally need a reasonable amount of super – or be looking to build up your super quite quickly – to justify the costs of having a SMSF.

Everyone has a different view of how much is enough to start a fund.  The ATO has indicated that to have a viable fund, you may need a minimum of $200,000.  An accountant or a financial advisor can help you work out if you have enough.

Do you have enough time?

There are many tasks involved in managing a SMSF, so it helps to be prepared for the time commitment.  As a trustee you’ll need to:

  • monitor your investment strategy
  • stay on top of your reporting obligations and make sure you meet relevant deadlines
  • keep up to date with changes to superannuation laws that could affect your responsibilities as a trustee
  • keep abreast of investment opportunities and performance and adjust your investment strategy accordingly.

You generally need someone to help you set up your SMSF.  An accountant, a financial advisor or SMSF solutions manager can help you work out if a SMSF is right for you.

How much will a SMSF cost you?

The cost will depend on your circumstances, super balance, investment strategy and how you choose to manage your fund.  The more complex you make it, the more it’s likely to cost.  Plus, SMSFs are required to be audited every year, which incurs a fee, so it’s important to seek good advice to assist you in setting up a SMSF.

What is the sole purpose test?

This is the central requirement for any super fund as set out in Australia’s superannuation laws.

In general terms, it requires that your super fund and its assets are used solely to provide benefits to you and other members during retirement, or to dependants should you pass away or become permanently disabled.

Who is eligible to become a trustee?

Individuals may not be eligible to be a trustee if they are:

  • classified as an undischarged bankrupt
  • mentally incapacitated
  • have certain criminal convictions

Age restrictions

An individual under the age of 18 can be a member of a SMSF, but not a trustee.

SMSFs are not suitable for everyone.  Their suitability depends on several factors, so before making a decision speak to an accountant or financial advisor.  Here are some advantages and disadvantages of having a SMSF.


  1. Control – You have complete control over how your funds are invested, however you must develop and maintain an appropriate investment strategy.
  2. Flexibility – this level of control allows you to invest in a wide range of assets from bank funds, property and managed funds.  Plus, you can switch and modify your investments to suit your needs and requirements.
  3. The benefits go on after your death – the fund can provide benefits to you, your spouse and even your children.  This means that the fund continues after your death which can allow for estate planning benefits and a better use of your benefits.
  4. Cost savings – generally the cost of managing and maintaining your fund does not increase as your investment grows.  So the greater the balance, the more cost effective the fund is.
  5. Tax concessions – the fund provides tax concessions such as the deferral of lump sum tax in the pension phase.
  6. Advantages to small businesses – many small business owners are able to utilise super rules which permit SMSFs to invest in business property and then rent it back.


  1. Responsibility – all decision making regarding fund management rests with you.  Plus, you have to comply with certain rules and deadlines.  As a trustee you are responsible for ensuring the fund meets all legislative requirements on time, so you need to keep up to date.
  2. Limited ability to diversify investments – although you are able to invest in a wider range of assets, you may not have the money to invest in them all.
  3. It can be expensive – depending on the types of investments you choose or the advice you receive, administration of the fund can be expensive.
  4. No access to the superannuation complaints tribunal – as a member of a SMSF you are not able to bring complaints to the superannuation complaints tribunal.  Instead, you must have matters heard by the courts which can become expensive.

Setting up a SMSF should not be a decision you take lightly or without professional advice.  BSN & Co are SMSF experts, so arrange a FREE no obligation meeting and we can review your personal situation and advise whether a SMSF is right for you.  We can then help you establish and manage the fund.

Call us today or complete the “Contact us” form (it only takes a minute) and book a FREE no obligation review.

Improve Personal Finances

5 ways to improve personal finances in the new financial year

The start of the new financial year is the perfect time to take stock of where you are financially to improve personal finances and take action to ensure that your personal finances are looking better by the end of the next financial year.

Check out our 5 top tips to improve personal finances

1. Review your mortgage

With ever declining interest rates there are some exceptional mortgage offers available, some as low as 3.75%.  As a rule of thumb, if you are paying over 4% or have not reviewed your mortgage for the last 2 years, there is a real opportunity to quickly and easily improve your financial situation.  Speak to a mortgage broker to identify some of the best deals out there.  If you can save $300 per month, that’s $3,600 over the year!

2. Start investing

If you are not already doing so, invest your money instead of just letting it sit in a savings account where it earns very minimal interest.

When it comes to investing, there are so many options to choose from that there is bound to be something that suits you.  So speak to a financial advisor today to discuss your options.

3. Pay off debt

Although interest rates are low now they will go up, so paying off debt is an important part of improving your overall financial situation.  Start by paying off debt with the highest interest rate (usually your credit card), then continue from there.  Doing this will improve your personal finances in the long run.

4. Ensure you really understand your financial situation

Take the time to review your finances thoroughly.  Look at how much money comes in every month and how much of that is spent on essential costs like your mortgage, bills, car, food etc.  Then set some aside every month for savings.  What’s left is your disposable income – what do you normally spend this on?  Monitor this for a couple of months so you really understand your spending.  This will help you make informed decisions about how you can improve your financial situation and how much you can really afford to invest.

5. Set goals and have a plan

The start of the financial year is a great time to set goals for what you want to achieve in this year.  Your goals need to be realistic and you need to break this down into monthly actions – i.e. if you have a $12,000 debt, consider whether you can afford to pay $1,000 per month along with all your other essential expenses.

Also, by keeping up to date with your tax return lodgements, you’ll know exactly where you stand financially.  Plus, we are offering some great deals and early bird specials which run from July to September CLICK HERE to find out more.  So get in early to beat the rush.  We can also make some recommendations as to how you could reduce your personal tax and improve personal finances.

Call us today or complete the Contact form (it only takes a minute) and book a FREE no obligation review.

Setting Business Targets

Setting business targets to achieve better business success

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are targets you set for your business to help you track and monitor the performance of key functions that will help lead to the achievement of your business goals.  It is essential that you select your KPIs carefully to ensure you are targeting the best aspects of your business, the ones that are critical if you are to achieve your business goals.  Below are some possible KPIs that will help you achieve business success this financial year.

What are KPIs? 

They are the tools businesses use to define their goals, and establish quantitative measurements designed to determine whether any progress is being made towards those goals.  They provide data that can be used to spotlight performance characteristics across a variety of matrixes such as financial performance, customer relations, marketing efforts and even employee productivity.

Financial Performance

At the end of the day, understanding how well your financials are doing is like knowing what is going on under the bonnet of your car.

For instance, if you are losing sleep at night over whether or not your latest marketing plan was worth the investment, you will want to explore your Return-on-Investments (ROI) with a detailed ROI KPI.  Conversely, a KPI can highlight underperforming net profit margins, or lacklustre revenue growth rates, and the information obtained can present valuable information to ensure the company’s original financial goals are met.

Customer Relations

A profitable bottom line is the ultimate goal of most businesses, and customers are the key to this.  As such, understanding what motivates your customers provides inestimable advantages to the business owner who knows what they are looking for.  Utilizing customer relations-focused KPIs, business owners can track levels of customer engagement and subsequent retention rates.  If customer satisfaction scores are sagging or turnover rates are high, the worried business owner can target their reports to help develop meaningful responses to address these lapses.

Marketing Efforts

Without a viable marketing plan, few businesses can expect to prosper.  With KPIs designed to highlight marketing performance, you can break down your cost per lead, brand equity positions, conversion rates, social networking footprint, and more.  Get the most of every marketing dollar by discovering what is working and what is not moving you towards your sales goals.

Employee Productivity

While your marketing functions are designed to capture the customers that you are hoping will add to your bottom line, your employees are typically tasked with closing the deal.  Indeed, when you are tallying up your operating expenses, many of which will relate to hiring and training employees, using KPIs to measure their performance just makes sense.

By setting and regularly monitoring your business KPIs you will be able to track your business progress throughout the year.  If you would like help with this speak to the experienced team at BSN & Co.  We are business specialists who have helped lots of businesses just like yours to save time, money and generally improve their performance.

Call us today or complete the Contact Us form (it only takes a minute) and book a FREE no obligation business review.

Kick start the new financial year

Kick start the new financial year

Setting goals is a great way to kick start the new financial year and is a great way to maximise your business success.  It gives you a clear direction and helps you to focus on what’s important.  However, when you run a small business it can be very easy to lose sight of your goals as you get pulled in different directions.

Check out our simple tips below to maximise the efficiency of your goals this financial year.

Align personal and business goals

Trying to do this can deliver more benefits than you might have anticipated.  For example, suppose your goal is to take a month’s holiday in September of this year – perhaps the first real holiday you’ve had in years.

If you’ve booked your tickets in advance, your goal has a fixed deadline and you’ll need to have the business ready by then so it operates without you.  So what do you need to do?  You might decide the critical steps are:

  • Start delegating more tasks to employees, beginning gradually to test their competence.
  • Create an operating manual so everyone can follow clearly defined procedures on all business processes.
  • Improve the accounting system so you can check the health of the business while you’re away.
  • Monitor the key performance indicators in your business so senior staff can quickly take action on any issue such as a dip in the gross profit margin.

Notice how aligning your personal goal of a holiday with business goals provides both purpose and motivation to empower your original resolution.  Your goal was simply to take a real holiday this year, but achieving it will deliver extra personal and business benefits:

  • Learning to delegate to others means the business becomes less dependent on you, so you can take more leave.  Plus, the business will seem more valuable to others when the time comes to sell or pass it on.
  • Improving the accounting system, such as moving to a cloud-based program, will lead to better money management, allowing you to monitor cash flows in real time from anywhere in the world.
  • Capturing business processes in an operations manual should lead to greater efficiency, cost saving and more consistent customer service. Documented processes will also make it easier and faster to train new staff, allow employees to cover for those away from the business and allow you to franchise the business in the future if this is your aim.  You’ll also add significant value in the eyes of a future buyer.


When it comes to setting the actual goals for your resolution, use the SMART system (Specific, Measurable, Realistic and Time-bound).  It’s a timeless oldie but a goodie.

  • Specific:  Be precise about what you want to achieve, because vague or abstract goals such as “I’ll get fitter this year” are destined to fail.
  • Measurable:  Adding facts, figures or percentages to your goals allows you to track your progress.  What is measurable tends to get done.
  • Realistic:  Your goals need an element of challenge to them, taking you out of your comfort zone, but they should also be attainable.  Lofty goals are usually the first to be discarded.
  • Time-bound:  Deadlines are how we get things done.

Two more tips

1. Keep it simple

Break goals down into simple, smaller steps.  For example, to complete your operations manual by the time you leave, you should aim to complete one section a month for each process in your business, such as customer service, shipping, order follow-ups, credit management or inventory control.  Break this down further into smaller steps of what needs to be done this week/fortnight.

2. Use graphics

Creating some kind of graphic for each goal, such as a chart, a calendar or graph, allows you to see progress.  The visual impact of a graphic tracing your progress is a powerful motivator that keeps everyone on track towards the finish line.

If you would like help and support to ensure you achieve your business goals this financial year, speak to us today.  We help businesses just like yours to achieve more, save time and money.

If you want to kick start the new financial year, call us today or complete the “Contact us” form (it only takes a minute) to book a FREE no obligation business review.