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  • 15-Jul-2020 11:30 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    “What you have to get ready for is surfing the disruption, as opposed to expecting the ‘new normal’”.

    In this video, Michael Maness, Co-founder of Subculture and Harvard Business School’s first ever ‘innovator in residence’, explains how COVID-19 is challenging traditional assumptions across industries – sparking innovation and lasting change. Watch here.

    Macquarie has been providing Business Banking solutions for over 30 years and provides SME clients with tools and strategies to grow and develop their business. You can get regular updates by subscribing to the monthly newsletter, Strictly Business by visiting If you would like to find out more about how Macquarie can support you to take your business further, call Sam McCarthy at our Parramatta office on 0417 518 724 and be connected with one of our banking specialists.

    This information has been prepared by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502 (“Macquarie”) for general information purposes only. This information does not constitute advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. No member of Macquarie accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, consequential or other loss arising from any use of this information.

  • 15-Jul-2020 11:07 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    In this two-part series, William Buck Manager Business Advisory, Eric Flammang provides his recommendations for monitoring and managing cash inflow and outflows effectively during COVID19, using a three-way forecast.

    Part One: Assessing your options and scenario testing

    A recent survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that 50% of all Australian Businesses have been adversely impacted as a result of the coronavirus – cashflow (and the lack thereof) being the major issue according to these businesses.

    Around 86% expect to be further impacted in the coming months and while a business may not have been directly impacted, its customers or suppliers may have, and the impact may just be delayed. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business and it is even more critical in times of uncertainty for ALL businesses.

    Gaining visibility and control over cash flows and working capital is the most fundamental activity businesses should undertake during a time of crisis. Your business should prepare and regularly update a 13-week rolling cash flow forecasts to realistically assess its current situation and take corrective actions as and when required. The question is how?

    Well, the best forecasting format is what we call in the industry a “Three-way forecast” as it combines three key financial reports into one neat summarised package. It links your Profit and Loss (P&L), Balance Sheet and Cashflow reports together giving these reports greater credibility and allowing you to predict your future cash position and the “financial health” of your business.

    Forecasting will assist your business to stay “agile” in this rapidly changing environment in the following two major ways:

    1. It will provide you with a framework to assess and re-assess your business’s current position and available options; and
    2. It will provide you with a powerful tool to assess your options and compare alternative course of actions your business could take to come out of this difficult time as strong and financially stable as possible.

    Assess your position

    - Understand your cash flow and working capital requirements: Consider the three working capital elements – receivables, payables and inventory. You will need to work out a balance between these three areas so that there is sufficient use of cash to keep your business running.

    - Manage your Receivables: It is critical to ensure that your collection process is working efficiently by considering the money owed by your customers, the recoverability of these and the ultimate impact on your cash flow. It also crucial for your business to regularly review its turnover projections, based on new business trends resulting from COVID-19.

    - Manage your Payables: Review the amounts owed to your suppliers and forecast when these payments are due. Review all other non-trading contracts / commitments that have a cash requirement over the months ahead and reconsider their necessity. For the remaining commitments, your business should consider extending the time taken to pay its suppliers to preserve cash. However, bear in mind that delaying payments may damage the relationships with your suppliers, so it is important to negotiate with them to establish mutually beneficial agreements.

    - Manage your inventory: Look at your business’s supply chain and consider if there may be any disruptions such as ability to obtain materials and delivery. It is critical to balance the need for buffer stock and holding cash in excess inventory. It is important to do a calculation/forecast of stock requirement needs for the future by considering the lead time, the time it takes to order and provide the goods/services to customers.

    - Review your overhead structure: Make an accurate assessment of all expenses and outgoings needed to continue operating to sustain your revenue forecast. This may lead to pursuing alternative actions such as deferring large capital expenditure, reducing fixed costs, changing your staffing levels and switching to variables such as lease equipment instead of purchase. Like the above, it is important to note that this analysis should be done bearing in mind that these costs reduction(s) should not risk a decrease in your ability to generate revenue. Nor should they damage your business reputation. The long-term consequences would largely outweigh the short-term cashflow impacts.

    Assess your options

    Once your three-way forecasting model has been established, it is important to understand the options available to drive your business through the crisis and their impacts on your cash position and ability to remain solvable (also referred to as Scenario and Sensitivity analysis).

    Scenario analysis utilises several tools and concepts that are relevant to COVID-19. These include identifying potential scenarios, critical assumptions, leading indicators, and potential mitigating actions.

    The main available options during COVID-19 fall under the following three pillars:

    - Understand the government and ATO assistance packages that can assist with cash flow: The Federal and State governments and ATO have announced various assistance measures such as job support loans, payroll / land tax relief and small business measures to support businesses during this time (JobKeeper, apprentices’ wage subsidies, Cashflow Boost and tax payment deferrals). It is important to understand and consider the different options available and forecast how the use of assistance will impact cash flow.

    Negotiate lease arrangements: Contact your landlord and negotiate your rent terms including a reduction, variation to existing lease terms, or pause on rent for a short period of time. When doing so, you should outline the impact on your business including how rent relief will assist. Forecasting different scenarios will assist in demonstrating this to your landlord. Note that a outlining a set of good faith leasing principles has recently been released and should be taken into consideration when negotiating with your landlord.

    Negotiate finance options: In this current environment, it is important to understand available financing options available if required. A reminder that previous options may not be available now so it is crucial to communicate regularly with your bank or finance provider. Some banks are offering deferral of loan repayments for a six-month period. This is also an opportunity to use forecasting scenarios to better understand how additional or new financing options available would be of use to your business.

    Sensitivity and Scenario Analyses

    The different scenarios should then be tested by ensuring you consider your variables and assumptions in the context of best and worst-case scenarios (e.g. what does it mean for my business cashflow if we only achieve X instead of Y?). This is called a “sensitivity analysis”

    It is important not to confuse Sensitivity Analysis with Scenario Analysis. Although similar to some extent, the two have some key differences.

    A Sensitivity Analysis is used to understand the effect of a set of independent variables on some dependent variables under certain specific conditions. For example, a financial analyst wants to find out the effect of a company’s net working capital on its profit margin. The analysis will involve all the variables that have an impact on the company’s profit margin such as the cost of goods sold, workers’ wages and managers’ wages, etc. The analysis will isolate each of these fixed and variable costs and record all possible outcomes.

    A Scenario Analysis on the other hand, would require your business to describe a specific scenario in detail. Scenario Analysis is usually done to analyse situations involving major shocks such as a global market shift or a major change in the business’s operating environment (very relevant in the current economic context).

    After specifying the details of the scenario, you’d then detail the variables so that they align with the scenario. The result is a very comprehensive picture of the future (a discrete scenario). The analyst would know the full range of outcomes, given all the extremes, and would understand what the outcomes would be.

    Advantages of Sensitivity Analysis

    There are many important reasons to perform a Sensitivity Analysis:

    Sensitivity Analysis adds credibility to any type of financial model by testing the model across a wide set of possibilities.

    1. Financial Sensitivity Analysis allows your business to be flexible with the boundaries within which to test the sensitivity of the dependent variables to the independent variables. For example, the model to study the effect of a 5% change in interest rates would be different from the financial model that would be used to study the effect of a 20% change in interest rates.
    2. Sensitivity analysis helps one make informed choices. Decision-makers use the model to understand how responsive the output is to changes in certain variables. This relationship can help a business in deriving tangible conclusions and be instrumental in making optimal decisions.

    You’ll then implement the best option and closely monitor the impact by regularly reviewing the results and comparing them to the forecasts made. You can then adjust plans as and when required (variance analysis of actual versus forecast cashflows should be carried out with variances robustly challenged).

    Please read part two for Eric’s top 10 tips on setting up a three-way cash flow forecast model in Microsoft Excel.

  • 13-Jul-2020 15:33 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Western Sydney Business Connection’s (WSBC) General Manager, Amanda Brisot, knows how vital small business is to the economy.

    “It accounts for a significant proportion of Australia’s employment and production and about one fifth of its GDP. It is also the lifeblood of the local economy and the local community,’’ Brisot said.

    Having run and owned her own small business, Brisot understands the freedom and opportunities that it presents, but also the tremendous challenges that come with it.

    “I remember the juggle of working with multiple clients, whilst trying to simultaneously win the next contract. At the same time you have to take responsibility for all the accounting and legal requirements, which isn’t everyone’s strong point, and it certainly wasn’t mine.”

    “Many small business owners I talk to struggle to find enough time to make the right connections to help grow and support their business. They also feel off track when it comes to their marketing execution and business strategy,” Brisot added.

    To assist with their challenges and to support their growth, WSBC has introduced a new 12-month membership package designed specifically for businesses with 20 employees or less. WSBC’s Small Business Membership offers a host of benefits including a one-hour marketing consultation, a business strategy session, access to training and development webinars and networking opportunities.

    Kathrine Holland took the leap to small business ownership earlier this year. Establishing a Marketing, Brand Management, and PR Consultancy, Holland is enjoying the flexibility and the ability to make quick decisions. She is now fully focussed on the project at hand as opposed to getting caught up in the complex mechanisms of working for a large organisation.

    Holland recently joined WSBC and is looking forward to utilising her membership to connect with liked-minded business leaders.

    “As a small start up, memberships are often out of reach. The small business membership is so affordable and offers great opportunities to network with other small businesses in Western Sydney. I also love the buzz around the growth of Western Sydney and surrounding myself with other people who believe in this region and supporting the businesses within it,” Holland said.

    WSBC’s Small Business Membership is available for $200 + GST for 12 months. Click here for further information. 

  • 29-Jun-2020 16:42 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    With the commencement of a new financial year, it brings with it important changes and new rates which will apply from 1 July 2020.

    NEW! High Income Threshold (HIT)

    With the HIT:

    • it increases to $153,600
    • it impacts:

    (a) who can make a claim for unfair dismissal (for those not covered by a Modern Award or to whom an enterprise agreement does not apply)

    (b) the maximum amount of compensation payable in an unfair dismissal claim

    (c) those on a 'guarantee of annual earnings' (a Modern Award does not apply to an employee whenever this guarantee is in place provided it continues to meet the relevant legislative requirements)

    NEW! Modern Award Increases

    With Modern Awards (including enterprise awards):

    • minimum wages increase by 1.75%
    • the date when this increase takes effect differs between the Modern Awards depending upon which group each falls into:

    (a) for Group 1 Modern Awards, the increase takes effect from the start of the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020

    (b) for Group 2 Modern Awards, the increase takes effect from the start of the first full pay period on or after 1 November 2020

    (c) for Group 3 Modern Awards, the increase takes effect from the start of the first full pay period on or after 1 February 2021

    • absorption of wage increases into over-award payments remain permissible (subject to the terms of the relevant employment agreement and what other amounts are being absorbed into any annualised wage)
    • increases to the minimum wages of junior workers, apprentices, trainees, piece workers and employees on the supported wage system will occur
    • expense-related allowances in Modern Awards will increase as set out in the Modern Award (eg, by the applicable CPI index figure)
    • annualised wage arrangements will need to be reviewed to ensure they can still properly absorb/include all relevant minimum Modern Award amounts and that they continue to meet technical notification and reconciliation requirements introduced into several updated Modern Awards

    NEW! National Minimum Wage (NMW)

    With the NMW:

    • this is applicable to employees to whom neither a Modern Award or enterprise agreement applies
    • the NMW increases to become $753.80 per week or $19.84 per hour
    • the increase takes effect from the start of the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020 (unlike the staggered increase applying to the Modern Awards)
    • in addition:

    (a) special NMW rates apply to employees with disabilities, junior employees, apprentices, and those on training arrangements

    (b) the minimum casual loading remains unchanged at 25%

    NEW! Impact on Enterprise Agreements

    With enterprise agreements:

    • they must always meet or exceed the minimum wage of:

    (a) the relevant Modern Award (ie, the Modern Award that would have applied had the enterprise agreement not been in existence)

    (b) the NMW (ie, where a Modern Award would not apply even if the enterprise agreement was not in existence)

    • thus, pay rates in enterprise agreements may need to be increased (even if the enterprise agreement has its own wage increase regime)

    NEW! The Sting

    Be mindful that wage increases may have flow-on effects such as increasing:

    • the value of leave loading, penalty rates, overtime and superannuation contributions
    • the value of accrued leave entitlements
    • the cost of wage related expenses such as payroll tax and workers compensation premiums

    NEW! Redundancy

    The tax-free component of a genuine redundancy payment increases to be:

    • a base amount of $10,989
    • an additional amount of $5,496 for each completed year of service

    NEW! Superannuation Contributions Base

    With superannuation:

    • the maximum superannuation contribution base increases to $57,090 per quarter ($228,360 per annum)
    • an employer is not required to make superannuation contributions on behalf of employees on earnings in excess of that maximum contribution base

    REMINDER! Annualised Wage Arrangements

    As the annualised wage arrangements in several Modern Awards have changed, it is critical that employers:

    • check whether the applicable Modern Award(s) contain such a clause
    • ensure they comply with the terms of the annualised wage clause
    • adjust relevant clauses within the employee’s employment agreement (by consent) and any template employment agreements in order to meet the new requirements

    REMINDER! 2020 Modern Awards

    Employers need to:

    • ensure they are using the correct (and current) version of the applicable Modern Award(s) as, over time, the 2010 editions have been replaced by 2020 versions
    • adjust relevant clauses within the employee’s employment agreement (by consent) and any template employment agreements in order to meet any new or varied Modern Award provisions

    More Information

    With the industrial landscape constantly changing and the interaction between various sources of rights and obligations often complex, please contact Matthews Folbigg Lawyers if you require any legal advice or assistance in respect of your workplace.

    Stewart Gough


    T 02 9806 7483  |  M 0458 586 444

    Peter Doughman

    Senior Associate

    T 02 9806 7412  |  M 0404 020 409

    Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. This article is provided to readers for their general information and on a complimentary basis. It contains a brief summary only and should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law.  

  • 29-Jun-2020 10:12 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Australia and the world have been profoundly affected over the past few months. A rare pandemic of scale and impact not experienced for a generation is likely to trigger a global recession far worse than the Global Financial Crisis. This is a crisis like none before it, and there remains uncertainty as to its further impact on human lives and livelihoods. Over the months ahead, as countries navigate the health and economic crisis, organisations will emerge from hibernation and be faced with the task of powering back up.

    Organisations and leaders have an opportunity during this recovery period to go beyond just getting back to normal. It is Deloitte's belief that leading organisations will seize the opportunity that this crisis has presented to reinvent their business and create new sources of advantage in what will inevitably be a ‘new normal’.

    What should leaders consider in shaping a new path for their organisation? How can they reinvent for the future and position themselves to create meaningful and measurable impact in the ‘new normal’?

    Reinvent to thrive helps to equip business leaders questions to consider as they prepare their organisations for the ‘new normal’.

    Learn more

  • 29-Jun-2020 10:05 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Applications for a new Service NSW Small Business Recovery Grant will open on 1 July 2020. 

    The grant will provide eligible small businesses with up to $3,000 in funding to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Click here for further details.

  • 29-Jun-2020 09:58 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    NSW small and medium exporters will benefit from almost $13 million in support programs aimed at growing exports and supporting the regions, including a $10,000 Exporter Assistance Grant.

    The $10,000 Export Assistance Grant will be available for up to 1,000 export ready or export capable NSW businesses, helping them access new markets or re-enter old ones where business has ceased. Grants will be provided on a matched funding basis.

    Find out more here

  • 29-Jun-2020 09:39 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Construction has begun on the Campbelltown Billabong Parklands, a game changing new water recreation and tourist attraction in the heart of the city.

    Mayor George Brticevic, Senator for Western Sydney Marise Payne and NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres turned the first sod to mark the start of construction on the $18.75 million project today.

    The project has been funded through the Western Sydney City Deal Liveability Fund and is expected to be complete by June 2022.

    “I’m delighted to see the start of what is a momentous project for our community and will provide the many families that live in Campbelltown with a place to gather, have fun and create many amazing memories,” Mayor George Brticevic said.

    “This is a unique attraction for our city that will not only benefit our local residents but also drive tourism from across the region into our city centre,” Cr Brticevic said.

    “Throughout the extensive consultation process, we heard how excited our community is for this project and we’ve put special attention into features like the main billabong pool which really captured the imagination of our residents,” he said.

    The design of the parklands strongly reflects indigenous themes and responds to the landscape and scenery of the nearby Dharawal National Park and Georges River.

    “The Campbelltown Billabong Parklands will pay homage to more than 60,000 years of Aboriginal history through the Dharawal people in our area and is representative of a billabong’s place in indigenous culture as an important place for gathering,” he said.

    The final design for the Campbelltown Billabong Parklands incorporates a variety of water experiences, open turf areas, pavilion buildings with change facilities and a café, picnic settings and seating, meandering pathways, shade structures, natural tree cover, and garden bed areas with native plants.

    It is located on a 4ha site at the corner of The Parkway and Moore-Oxley Bypass, Bradbury.

    The facility is anticipated to attract up to 500,000 visitors annually once opened. The centrepiece of the attraction will be the approximately 1600m2 main billabong pool which is supplemented by a smaller children’s pool, cascades and streams and a zero-depth splash play area.

    These interconnected recreational water experiences have been designed to reflect the local natural riverine environment and will cater safely for all ages and abilities.

    The project is expected to create about 80 construction jobs and more than 20 full-time jobs to support the ongoing maintenance and day to day operations of the Billabong Parklands.

  • 29-Jun-2020 09:34 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has led us to do a lot of things very differently, including your business’s strategic tax planning and financial reporting.

    With easy to follow sections, William Buck's practical guide will help you to:

    • Appropriately treat the unique transactions brought about by the Government economic response measures
    • Strategically work through year end issues to achieve a positive tax outcome
    • Ensure your financial reports are compliant, useful and accurate.

    Download your guide here.

  • 24-Jun-2020 14:53 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Have you been thinking about refreshing your skills? Perhaps you'd like to learn a new set of skills? Well, now is the perfect time.

    It is no mystery that there is going to be a lot of uncertainty for the next 6-12 months. The impact of COVID-19 has been felt globally with people having to adjust most aspects of their lives. From not being able to visit loved ones, to not being able to dine at your favourite restaurants, to literally having to dodge people on the street, our lives have changed unequivocally. One space where we feel it most? The workplace.

    Professionals across the world working in full time, contract and casual positions have experienced the devastating effects of being made redundant, having their hours cut or experienced a significant pay reduction. With unprecedented scenarios emerging daily, how do you remain 'relevant'? By upskilling and reskilling.

    First, we must explore the difference between upskilling & reskilling. To upskill is to update our current knowledge whereas too reskill is to learn new things.

    Now, let's explore why now is the perfect time to upskill & reskill...

    1. Reskilling & Upskilling can be done easier then ever via remote learning

    Thanks to companies like Zoom, GoToMeeting, GoogleHangouts etc, learning remotely has become uncomplicated. Attending virtual sessions combined with online self paced learning is an effective way of gaining new skills & updating existing ones. Virtual classrooms also allow you to upskill & reskill employees regardless of their location. Employees can work together in small breakout “rooms”, take surveys and polls, watch videos and more.

    ISM is offering a range of courses virtually, contact us on 1300 200 705 to find out more.

    2. Government funding

    Government funding is available for a range of different courses throughout the nation. Do your research and find out what you are eligible for and how you can make the most out of funding.

    Smart & Skilled funding is available for some courses in New South Wales. Also, check out the information on your eligibility for Traineeships.

    Read our recent blog on How To Benefit From Funding To Upskill Workers Over 45.

    3. Maintain your productivity

    In a time where things may be quieter, putting your focus on growing your skills, will keep your productivity levels high. It can also help us find new ways of working more effectively, whether we are working form our home or the office.

    Upskilling & reskilling delivers not only new and renewed skills but also renews enthusiasm and in-turn, productivity. By obtaining more skills under your belt, you will be able to take on more tasks and roles that you never would have previously accomplished before.

    4. Stand out & expand your range of offerings

    Continued education gives you the opportunity to enhance your value in the workplace. In a time where the future is so uncertain, to be able to diversify and expand your offerings by reskilling & upskilling, you are giving yourself the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

    ISM have over 25 years experience working with finance & business professionals. We would love to help you grow your business and your career.

    If you would like to find out more, ISM recently hosted a webinar on 3 Steps to upskill & reskill your staff and how you can benefit from government funding to do so! Watch the webinar here.

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