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Paying down debt

Debt can be a crippling problem for small businesses wanting to grow or just break-even during difficult times. By reducing debt you'll improve the value of your business, its financial situation, and its ability to continue operating into the future.

Assess your debt situation

Take a detailed look at all of your debts – both current and long term. Evaluate which ones are more urgent and which can be parked until some progress is made.

The key determining factor should be the interest you're paying on your debts. For example, those with the highest levels of interest should be paid first.

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Is technology making you less efficient?

"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three." ~ Alice Kahn

If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of technological gadgets out there, never mind apps and other digital "solutions", you're not alone. Technology sprawl and the rabbit hole of more and more information, available all the time, is making productivity-and healthy downtime-a real challenge for many of us.

Although we may be quicker at completing redundant tasks, more time is wasted managing all our different apps and technologies-and more of us live in a near constant state of distraction.

End of Year Tax Tips

Ever feel you're the meat in a tax sandwich?

Are you worried about paying your terminal tax bill on 7 April?

We understand how terminal tax can sometimes put pressure on your business' cashflow. Even more so, if it's worked out that you also owe Inland Revenue (IRD) for interest and late payment penalties on the unsettled liability. And, if you add into the mix that looming provisional tax payment due on 7 May (the final instalment for the 2018 year)… well, it can add up to a few sleepless nights, right?

If this describes your situation, stop losing sleep and pick up the phone. Let's look at the issue squarely, run the numbers on your options and take prompt action before your tax bill escalates.

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10 Daily Habits of the Rich and Powerful

It's the little things that make up the big things. Here's a list of ten traits of some of the movers and shakers in the world today (and from the past).

1. They Stay Healthy
Health is make-or-break. If you have it, your life will take on meaning like you couldn't otherwise know; but if you don't have it, you will only accomplish a comparatively small percentage of what you otherwise would be able to. Like a dedicated runner who sees the need to count calories, log miles, and track their monthly progress when it comes to hitting the pavement, a good leader has to stay on top of their health to unlock those higher abilities to make good business decisions and wise choices. It all starts with managing your health. 

2. They Value Down Time
The greatest leaders have always known how to make time for themselves. They went home after work and enjoyed time with their families. They understood priorities being properly managed. They perfected the art of relaxation and were thus able to push forward much harder, despite their imperfections and vices. If you are constantly running out of steam, you won't be able to build a solid, long-lasting business.

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So you've got a great idea for your business, but you don't have the funds right now to get it off the ground.

You could try applying for a government grant, but it's often a long and arduous bureaucratic process of form filling and there are of course no guarantees you'll get the money. Some governments also offer tax incentives for research and development, but usually you need to spend the money before you can get it back.

And there are private investors-'business angels'-too, if you have the contacts and know how to structure and negotiate a good deal that you won't regret in the years to come.

'Bootstrapping' is the most common way that businesses fund their startup phase. This is where entrepreneurs fund the startup business out of their own savings and even from their credit card limits! High risk, but the bootstrapping advantage is that the founders don't have to give away equity or control to other investors. 

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 If a business owner said to you that they run their business without a budget, what would you think? You'd think they were incompetent. Or perhaps lazy? Or both?

But what do most families do?

When you think about it, a family is actually a mini business. There is income, there are expenses and there is, hopefully, something left over to invest and to enjoy.

So why don't most families operate to a budget?

After all, a personal budget helps you to see your financial direction and helps you stay (or get back!) on track. It's a great comfort.

One reason some people don't put together a budget is the feeling of being  overwhelmed, of being too busy, of feeling like life is too complex to keep track of all that.

Well the good news is we can handhold you through the process and make it easy for you.

But before we look at the 'how' aspects, let's consider 3 more reasons why a personal budget is such an important tool to help you achieve your financial goals and dreams.

  1. Most of your money is already spoken for long before you get it

The money you earn has already been promised to keep the electricity on, make the loan repayments and pay for the insurance. Most of what many people think of as budgeting is really honouring the commitments you have already have.

Now since we are all honest people and plan to pay these bills, the first step is to track these bills and see what is left over for your day-to-day living.

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Most businesses will give to employees, clients and often charities at Christmas time. From morning teas to elaborate Christmas functions, from cards and calendars to hampers and the latest gadgets, Christmas is a season of giving.

When it comes to claiming tax deductions this Christmas season, there are very specific rules that apply. We have put together this simple guide about tax on Christmas entertainment and gifts to help you through the festive season.

1. Entertainment

There are rules and conditions when it comes to tax deductions with Christmas parties, year-end functions and other client/customer or employee entertainment expenses. Some entertainment expenses are fully deductible, while some are not. Here are some quick tips to help you:

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Cloud computing and web-based apps have undoubtedly improved business efficiency. But once you and your team start using various online apps, one aspect quickly becomes inefficient (not to mention downright annoying): having to repeatedly enter usernames and passwords to log in.

It's bad enough having to enter a multitude of login credentials when you first open the apps each morning. But many apps automatically log you out if you haven't been using them for a few minutes. And while it's a nice security feature, it means you have to repeat the entire process whenever you take a breather.

Wouldn't it be great if a 'master control' app could automatically enter your username and password whenever an app asked for them? Of course, you'd have to log into the master control app first, and that login process would have to be very secure. But just imagine how much time and frustration it could save.

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electronic-signatures

"Signing on the dotted line." It wasn't all that long ago that phrase meant signing pen-on-paper. Increasingly these days it can also mean signing on-screen with a stylus-or even with your finger tip!-or by using your computer and keyboard.

So why have many businesses (including Paul Martin Chartered Accountant Ltd) moved to using electronic signatures? What are the advantages over using pen-on-paper for signatures on agreements?

In a word, efficiency. Electronic signatures provide efficiency gains at every point of the legal document process: from distribution, to storage, security and retrieval.

Why are businesses now finding the use of paper-based contracts and legal documents so inefficient?

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Isn't Twitter a waste of time? Isn't Facebook for the kids? 

Not anymore.

It's true that Twitter and Facebook started out with very 'non-business' objectives. The founder of Twitter actually did invent it so you could tell everyone you were going to the shop to get some milk; and anyone who has seen the movie The Social Network knows about the very lowbrow origins of Facebook.

Other social media platforms include LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Foursquare, Quora, Tumblr, Vine, Flickr and MySpace, among others.

In recent years savvy marketers and business owners have worked out how to use social media VERY effectively for communicating with the market place, in a new way.

Traditional marketing, like advertising, is a monologue. A one-way conversation, coming from the advertiser. There's no interaction in a TV or newspaper ad.

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