Accounting News & Blog

This week we say an incredibly sad goodbye to Sue Press who is retiring from Rowe Partners after 36 years’ faithful and dedicated service.

Sue has been with us through thick and thin, through great times and sad times, from the very start when we were Inglis & Rowe in Port Augusta. She’s even been with us through a pandemic! Her love for her work, her high regard for our clients and her colleagues has shone through every day. We respect and admire her and will miss her greatly.

We asked Sue to look back and help us capture and share more of her Rowe Partners story. It’s a great read. Please also take a moment to watch the little video we put together too about Sue's time and career with us.

As the CBSS Manager, Sue has worked mainly with our clients in Indigenous Communities and other Not-for-Profits in administration, payroll, bookkeeping, accounting and as a supervisor.

As you’d expect, we’ve been part of Sue’s life and she’s been part of ours. She’s seen the nature of work in our industry change over the years as well as the way we work, technology, options for working women, flexibility in the workplace and improved career opportunities. Sue has seized and embraced every professional opportunity within our business. She’s helped to grow those opportunities and carve a path for women in our business.

Over the years, as a busy working mum, we’ve seen her raise a beautiful family. Back in the day, childcare wasn’t an option so once the kids were off to school she came back to work. Juggling sick kids was harder back then too.

During the time that Sue has worked with the business, we’ve grown from 5 staff in one office to over 40 across 4 sites. Sue has worked with clients in the Riverland, Mt Gambier, Coober Pedy, Flinders Ranges, Ceduna, and Far West & Northern SA. Sue has been mentored by Peter and Jenny Rowe, Robert McDonald and Chad McKnight and she’s been a mentor to many staff along the way too.

Early Days (1984-1995)

Sue started working with the company as a cleaner under Partner Peter Rowe and Jenny Rowe, Office Manager (Sue’s sister). Her hatred of cleaning inspired her to go on to bigger and better things in general office work (reception, typing and administration). She has worked with many wonderful people over the years but has worked most closely with Jenny, Marnie, Sue Whiting and Sylvia Hartman.

Fun Facts

  • Sue once typed non-stop for 2 days on a manual typewriter.

  • Tax returns all had to be typed and duplicated with carbon paper and could take up to 3 months to come back.

  • All payments from the ATO were in the form of cheques and distributed from a Trust Account (the team once wrote 200 hundred refund cheques in one day!)

  • Deductions were processed manually and cheques had to be written and sent by 3pm every day.

  • Working 50 plus hour weeks, nights and weekends was commonplace during tax season.

  • When the office got its’ first computer in 1987, there was only one and everyone wanted to use it so they had to set up a booking system.

Middle years (1995-2009)

Robert McDonald became Partner and Sue moved into bookkeeping and then management of the Indigenous Not-For-Profit bookkeeping and accounting area. Sue and Robert established and grew this side of the Rowe Partners business doing many site visits to clients in remote South Australian communities. During these years Sue worked mainly with Chad (who became Partner in 1999), Jenny, Marnie, Marcia, Kacey, Cheryl, Sylvia, and Pam.

Fun Facts

  • Sue says she thinks that Robert thought she drove too fast.

  • Sue hit an eagle on one of these trips!

  • Sue and Robert worked in the car all the way to where we were going. If Robert drove, she had to make notes for him (She says she doesn't think he could read them though as some of the roads were rough).

Later years (2009-2020)

Sue was appointed to the role of Bookkeeping Manager in 2009, a role she job shared with Marnie Smith. They’ve developed a great working relationship and wonderful friendship over the years. We’re sure that though they’ll miss each other at work, they’ll be in each other’s lives forever. At this point, Sue also started doing solo trips to clients in remote communities. Over the past 9 years, Sue has worked most closely with Chad.

Fun Facts

  • The longest trip away was 2000 klms return – most times she flew to and from by light aircraft but there was the occasional road trip. On one trip, she was injured at the Oak Valley Airstrip and had to be carried on and off the plane.

  • Sue has seen and had to adapt many times to changes in the way we work from manual systems to working in the cloud, and new tech that facilitated the ability to work from home during COVID.

  • In the early years, clients provided everything by mail, then fax, then e-mails, now it’s all directly uploaded via computer.

Best thing about working at Rowe Partners?

  • Sue really values the clients she worked with in Indigenous Communities. Working with them has been enriching and rewarding. It has been a privilege to share in their history, see their families grow, listening to stories of the old days. She specifically wants to acknowledge and thank them all for their friendship and support over many years.

  • Great team environment – great CBBS Team/Chad and Robert.

  • Age has never been a problem or a limitation at Rowe Partners.

  • She's always enjoyed and appreciated the respect she's received from her colleagues.

  • Enjoyed working with younger staff and learning from each other.

  • The work is always interesting, varied and dynamic.

Greatest professional achievement?

  • Successfully reconstructing archaic Not-For-Profit accounting and payroll systems and processes.

Most frightening thing about working at Rowe Partners?

  • Once on an outback trip, the plane Sue was travelling on had to make an emergency landing at Maralinga Airstrip as the door came open while they were up in the air!

The biggest challenge?

  • Changes in IT over the years.

  • Overcoming the health challenge of a brain bleed 9 years ago.

What are you most thankful for?

  • Support of husband Barry as he has been Sue's driver when going away on long trips and looked after the family during tax seasons when she was working long hours.

What are you looking forward to most in retirement?

  • Sue was planning another trip to Europe, but with COVID that’s be been put on hold.

  • Travel in Australia when safe.

  • Sue is from a large family (9) so she'll spend more time and travel with them.

  • Some volunteer work.

  • Run grandkids around, take over from Barry.

Thanks again for everything Sue. We'll miss you but Chad says that if you get bored, you can always go back to cleaning work you loved so much. There might be a regular cleaning gig going at his house!

By now most Australians realise that COVID-19 is not going away any time soon. Until scientists have an effective vaccine, restrictions of some kind are here to stay. Economic recovery will depend in large part on consumer confidence. How we all choose to move forward from here is important.

At the height of the pandemic, we saw what was taking place in Asia, Europe and America and we were rightfully afraid. Where once distance was considered a curse, the beautiful oceans surrounding this country provided an advantage. Shutting borders to international travellers protected us and though some argue that the initial response was too slow, it’s clear that Australians have overall, been extremely fortunate.

Even our worst time here in Australia was so, so much better than it could have been. We saw a lot of fear and confusion, received contradictory and at times incoherent messaging from our political leaders and public servants that led to the Ruby Princess mess in NSW, devastating outbreaks in aged care facilities, healthcare worker in Burnie, Victoria’s hotel quarantine debacle, the Cedar meats cluster and sadly we did see some significant loss of life as a result.

After the initial “Team Australia collaborative effort” we saw our various State Premiers forging their own paths, tussling it out with each other and with the Commonwealth to the point where at times you’d be forgiven for wondering if we’re still all part of the same country. We’ve endured heavy lockdowns, heartbreak, hard border closures, travel restrictions, competition for loo paper, mass job losses, financial hardship, seen business interrupted and thousands close. But while most of us have supported the actions taken on our behalf and complied with directions, we’re a bit fed up and eager to get the show on the road. It’s been hard on so many.

Where to now?

It’s easy to get fixed on the downside of COVID. This thing knocked us all for a six. Now, as things begin to settle, businesses have their COVID-safe plans, we’re generally ok with social distancing (but we miss hugs) most of those still with jobs are back at work, most of those without having access to financial support, we’ve got masks (just in case we need them) and plenty of hand sanitiser and our health authorities are quick to jump on to contain outbreaks, we’re starting to relax and nervously accept this new norm.

Looking for the good

In case you haven’t noticed, South Australia has so far managed this crisis extremely well and we’ve been enjoying many freedoms as a result. Our risk management and damage control have been comprehensive. NSW has had a tougher job but they too have done incredibly well at juggling health responses and social needs without killing their local economies. When we compare any Australian State or Territory to the COVID responses in the rest of the world, we should all be shouting a collective Hallelujah!

We can all be forgiven for wondering if this day would ever come but this month has seen Melbourne reopening to something closely resembling normal. Now that Victoria has their outbreak under control and a whole new set of management processes bedded down, this should bode well for our economic recovery, retail Christmas spending and consumer confidence generally as well as for those hoping to reunite with interstate loved ones for Christmas. There is much work to do and while not trying to be insensitive to those who have suffered a personal or financial loss, this is a really good time to pause and see the positives. Let's take a look at some.

12 reasons to be positive!

1. South Australia's management of COVID-19 and borders has been second to none.

2. In South Australia, we’ve been able to get about mostly as normal within the State for some months now. Amazing!

3. South Australia is open for business to the ACT, NSW, QLD, NT, TAS and WA with all but WA reciprocating.

4. South Australia’s employment growth is going gangbusters adding over 13500 jobs in September alone. Consumer confidence and retail spending continue to improve and we’re leading the nation in the growth of apprentice and trainee commencements.

5. Richmond beat Geelong! haha (though we all know the game should have been in Adelaide, not Brisbane)

6. Restrictions continue to loosen and we’re seeing a steady increase in interstate travellers. Australia is COVID-safely receiving an increased number of travellers, international students and seasonal workers into the country although the one-way travel bubble New Zealand is a bit odd.

7. There seems to have been a shift in values generally in Australia to balanced position and a clearer idea of what really matters. We’re prioritising, appreciating the little things and stopping to smell the roses.

8. The Commonwealth is working to bringing more and more Australians’ home in time for Christmas and as numbers improve nationally, more domestic border restrictions are easing. WA is opening to all States from the 14th with some restrictions still in place for NSW and VIC. NSW is opening to Victoria on the 23rd of November.

9. For most, enjoying a bit of Christmas cheer will be made possible through Government support such as JobKeeper, JobSeeker etc. and for those doing it particularly tough, communities appear to be more sensitive to each other and be more charitable.

10. Though most regional Christmas pageants aren’t going ahead, the Adelaide Christmas Pageant is still set to bring joy and cheer going ahead on the 14th November in a modified form as a ticketed event at the Adelaide oval with restrictions on visitor numbers.

11. Lobethal Lights will switch on from the 13th December to the 23rd December 2020. The opening celebration will include a fireworks display at 9.00 pm. There is opening night entertainment including the Living Nativity and there is a Pageant Night on the 23rd December at 7 pm.

12. Rowe Partners Accountants & Business Advisors have not taken our eye off the ball once in 2020. We’ve worked tirelessly to support all our clients through COVID-19 and we’ll be here providing more next year! What an amazing team we have.

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

We’re living in a sharing economy. Even with the advent of Covid-19, people are using sharing services such as AirBnB, Uber, Car Next Door, Camplify, WeeShare, Swimply, Toolmates and GetMyBoat to make some extra money from assets that might otherwise be sitting idle and not being used. Putting aside the challenges around managing health hygiene, the negative impact on our economy resulting from the pandemic we will likely see these sorts of platforms will continue to grow in popularity with people along with other ways to conserve resources and generate cash such, as garage sales and cottage industries.

As we work our way through to the “new normal” those who own items (or assets) and who are willing to share the enjoyment, convenience and lifestyle advantages they bring may well find themselves able to generate a supplementary income. However, it’s important not to let the enthusiasm get in the way of good judgement. There are several risks to consider including; insurance i.e the potential for damage, theft, injury claims, fraud, managing difficult people and the possibility of inadvertently creating a tax problem.

According to Nathan Thiele, Associate here at Rowe Partners Accountants and Business Advisors, it's important to understand the risks, particularly as it pertains to future tax liability. "As accountants, the risks we’re most concerned about are financial. We like to balance the pros and cons with an eyes wide open approach. We encourage clients who are considering entering the sharing economy to do their homework and approach it in a business-like fashion," he said. "Ensuring your decisions are based on current ATO legislation is critical. The advantage of seeking our advice early is that we're across that detail and can steer interested clients in the right direction and head off potential problems in the future."

*Note laws change. This article was written [8.9.20] with consideration to ATO legislation at the time. It is ALWAYS necessary to seek qualified advice from your accountant before making finance and investment decisions.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) says that “…the sharing economy is the economic activity through a digital platform such as a website or an app where people share assets or services for a fee.” They say that “…if you provide services or assets through a platform for a fee, you need to consider how income tax applies to your earnings.” Yes, this money is considered earnings. It is deemed assessable. Even if you consider it just a side hustle, the funds earned through these activities are added to any other revenue source as combined income. You’re able to claim expenses against them but in the case of renting a room in your home on AirBNB for example, you’re potentially also exposing yourself to Capital Gains Tax on the property. Capital Gains Tax has the potential to come back to bite the over-enthusiastic AirBNBer. It’s important to weigh up the costs vs benefits beforehand.

Considerating Tax Implications

Start by looking at the percentage of the space or item to be rented – personal use vs time or amount rented. If an entire property is rented through AirBNB then all running costs will be deductible. If you’re renting the use of a backyard swimming pool, we’d consider the size in proportion to the whole property and then calculate income and running costs proportionate to personal use. The same method applies to other rented items that are separate from the home. Every person’s situation is different, which is why we strongly advise making an appointment with your Rowe Partners accountant before embarking on any new venture in the sharing economy.

The amount of tax you will pay depends on what you earn and the allowable deductions. If you’re an AirBNB host renting out a bedroom in your home, then you’re not likely to be earning much from it alone, but if you’re also working earning an income of $80k plus, the extra cash could push you into a higher tax bracket and increase the tax you must pay.

When you’re renting out part of the home e.g. one or two bedrooms or a granny flat, we determine what percentage of the home is rented and then associated costs such as insurance, rates, power, phone and internet, depreciation on furniture and appliances need to be allocated. Capital Gains Tax which might be due on a future sale will work the same way – on a percentage basis.

Watch out for pitfalls. It is common for AirBNBers to rely on the ATO’s “six-year rule” that allows homeowners to be absent from their home for up to six years without losing Capital Gains Tax exemptions. In order to benefit from the six-year rule, your home must cease to be your principal place of residence, not just for a few weeks or months, or Capital Gains Tax will be calculated based on the property value at the time and you’ll be required to all keep records of future expenditure from the date you rented the property. Again, there’s more to it. Call to arrange a consultation with your Rowe Partners accountant before deciding. We can ensure you’re better informed.

Ensuring it’s not more trouble than it’s worth.

Once you’ve talked to us and decided to proceed, the key point to remember is to keep good records and always aim to be transparent about earnings. The ATO uses a range of sophisticated data matching tools and strategies to keep people honest. They can identify people who earn income from the sharing economy. Banks, employers, and health insurers are all legally obliged to report to the ATO. The ATO also cross-references with information held by other Government agencies using the data to check tax returns and calculate the correct amount payable.

Our aim here is not to put you off, just to ensure you’re going about it in the right way. Give your Rowe Partners accountant a call for more information on 1800 04 7693.

Level 1, 4 Smart Rd

PO Box 570

Modbury SA 5092

33 Florence St

PO Box 639
Port Pirie SA 5540

8 Church St

PO Box 2247
Port Augusta SA 5700

Murray Bridge

Ground floor, 30 Seventh St

C/- PO Box 570
Modbury SA 5092

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Rowe Partners Pty Ltd (ACN 105 365 688) as an agent for Rowe Partners Partnership (ABN 65 250 711 759). Directors: R P McDonald FCPA, C R McKnight FCPA, P J Connolly MIPA, F B Cammarano AIPA, M R Nutt CPA. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation other than for the acts or omissions of financial services licensees.

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