INPRACTICE is a monthly resource for public practitioners providing industry news, technical updates and important dates. View all articles in the current edition below.


Why director accountability is on the regulator radar
The resignation of directors will be scrutinised under amendments to anti-phoenixing laws. Here’s what your clients need to know.

How accounting practice teams are changing in 2021
2020 changed the way many accounting practices manage staff and client contact. Here are some key takeaways from a year working from home.

Professional indemnity insurance costs set to rise
Practitioners are being urged to re-examine their risk profiles in the light of increasing insurance costs.

ATO runs the ruler over SMSF audits
With a 1 July deadline looming, the ATO is preparing to step up its scrutiny of accounting firms that prepare accounts while also providing audit services to their SMSF clients.

Failed JobKeeper applicants may get second chance
The Full Federal Court has instructed the Commissioner of Taxation to exercise his powers of discretion regarding JobKeeper. Here’s why lack of an Australian Business Number by a certain date need not be the end of the road.


What the end of special purpose reporting means for your clients
Which of your clients will be affected by the removal of the special purpose financial reporting framework? Read on to find out.

5 tips to get your accounting practice ready for anything in 2021
While businesses were forced to become “pandemic-proof" on the fly last year, unpredictability in 2021 is something to be expected. Here are the best ways to implement rock-solid contingency plans and ready your firm.

ATO’s data matching ramps up and focuses on SME reporting
The environment is hardening against those who seek to hide or extract income tax-free. Here’s how to ensure your clients are correctly accounting for their income and use of assets.

How to help small business clients understand insolvency options
While the economy has seemingly rallied since the onset of the global COVID pandemic, there are still signs that many SMEs remain vulnerable. Here’s a lowdown of restructuring options for affected clients.

New Zealand’s Inland Revenue targets tax compliance burden
The tax regulator is actively seeking input from tax practitioners and professional bodies as part of its bid to improve service.


New cash flow management help for SMEs
COVID-19 created cash flow headaches for many SMEs. The ATO has now released a digital Cash Flow Coaching Kit designed to help them get back on track. Here’s how it works.

How new measures safeguard cloud computing data
Cloud computing and the use of outsourcing are on the rise. What do practitioners need to do to ensure the security of clients’ data?

Major changes ahead for CPA Australia’s Quality Review Program
Our Quality Review Program has been transformed to ensure member support is at its core. Here’s what you need to know about the Best Practice Program.

TPB review: What it means for tax practitioners
The final report of the Review of the Tax Practitioners Board has many noteworthy recommendations but more consultation is needed on how they should be implemented.

Key dates and reminders

Sunday 21 February
Lodge and pay January 2021 monthly business activity statement.

Sunday 28 February
Lodge and pay quarter 2, 2020–21 activity statement for all lodgment methods.



Delivering mental health support to accountants and clients
It’s taken a combined effort, but multiple parties have now committed their expertise and resources to ensure accountants and their clients do not have to deal alone with the mental traumas many had to endure in 2020.

Lenders put practitioners in the due diligence hot seat
Loosening lending rules in tough economic times may encourage creditors to further rely on “capacity to repay” certificates. Should accountants be complying with these requests?

Small business trends 2021: Advisers prove the key to survival
Practitioners were under the pump in 2020, and their efforts paid off in helping many SME clients. Here’s a look at what 2021 forecasts.

Jobkeeper eligibility: Test case opens the door to claims
If you have clients that were rejected for JobKeeper payments in 2020, a landmark AAT decision and a tax ombudsman’s report shows their plight deserves a second look.

Key dates and reminders

Friday 15 January
Lodge tax return for taxable large/medium entities as per the latest year lodged (all entities other than individuals), unless required earlier.

Thursday 28 January
Make quarter 2, 2020–21 super guarantee contributions to funds by this date.



How to build a team in tricky circumstances
One positive development to come out of 2020 is near-universal acceptance of remote working. However, it has also forced practice heads to develop new ways of team building.

Financial advice: giving clients what they need
Professional advisers could have a clear pathway to offering a host of advice to consumers and small businesses if the Australian Government and regulators listen to the needs of clients, CPA Australia research has found.

Why business advisory is a key future service offering
2020 has changed the way many practitioners are servicing clients, with business advisory central to the new mix.

How will a two-tiered insolvency regime work?
The insolvency regime may have changed, but practitioners will still play an important role, whether it is upskilling or guiding clients in distress towards the right solutions.

Lessons from 2020 for accountants and SME clients
There has never been a year like 2020, but out of adversity comes knowledge. What has been learned during this tumultuous period?

Key dates and reminders

Friday 4 December
Employer deductions payment due for 16 to 30 November for large employers.

Monday 21 December
Lodge and pay November 2020 monthly business activity statement.



Accountants as executor: Will I or won’t I?
While professional indemnity insurance usually covers accountants working in an official capacity, that is not the case should they accept an executorship privately. So, think long and hard before accepting what may be a challenging and time-consuming role.

Top tech tools for a flexible workforce
As accounting firms rely on employees to work from home or remote offices in a post-COVID-19 world, are they providing them with the tools needed to work well?

Healing the cracks in your workplace culture
It is no surprise that practitioners are reporting low morale among staff and a decline in productivity. However, there are ways to heal the wounds 2020 has wrought. Two culture experts tell us how.

Casual leave entitlement ruling could hit SME cash flows
A Federal Court decision has set a precedent for casual employee work entitlements. Here’s how practitioners can help their clients assess the potential impact.

ATO payment plans come with strings attached
The Australian Taxation Office is likely to be sympathetic to struggling businesses and those that wrongly expected to qualify for JobKeeper. However, it will need convincing documentation to justify its decision-making.

Tax compliance issues still a priority for ATO and TPB
Tax practitioners were at the frontline of the response to business lockdown, report tax regulators.

Key dates and reminders

Saturday 21 November
Lodge and pay October 2020 monthly business activity statement.

Wednesday 25 November
Lodge and pay quarter 1, 2020–21 activity statement if you lodge electronically.



CPA Australia peer-to-peer platform launches
Staying connected with colleagues is vital for many practitioners. A new platform that makes keeping in touch with peers much easier has just been launched.

Mental health and small business: Supporting SME clients in tough times
These are unprecedented economic times and small businesses are suffering. Accountants are not mental health professionals, but what can they do to support their clients?

“One extreme to the other”: how accountants and their clients are faring
Public practitioners and their clients share how they’ve navigated the ups and downs of a tumultuous year.

What’s new in JobKeeper 2.0?
The JobKeeper extension is welcome news for many practitioners and their SME clients but there’s time and effort involved in navigating the two-tier payment system.

Government throws small business an insolvency lifeline
The government has scrapped it’s one-size-fits-all insolvency regime. What does this offer for small businesses in trouble?

Key dates and reminders

Wednesday 21 October
Lodge and pay September 2020 monthly business activity statement.

Saturday 31 October
Final date to add new clients to your client list to ensure their 2020 tax return is covered by the lodgment program.

Lodge tax returns for all entities if one or more prior year returns were outstanding as at 30 June 2020.



ASIC announces ‘no action’ on right-of-use lease assets
The regulator’s temporary move is good news for AFS licensees.

SMEs urgently seek cash flow advice
Cash-strapped small businesses are suffering revenue shortages but still have bills to pay. INPRACTICE talks to two practitioners about how they are advising clients in financial difficulty.

Making sense of business valuations in tough economic times
For many cash-strapped SMEs, the burdensome impost of commissioning a valuation will be an inevitable prelude to post-COVID-19 survival measures.

How to connect with clients using good website design
The COVID-19 crisis has transformed how consumers interact with businesses. Here is how your accounting practice can enhance its website to enable even closer client engagement.

ATO scrutinises superannuation early access
Taxpayers are discovering that tapping into their super early is not without risk.

Government grants and other assistance available to businesses in Victoria
This article summarises the grants and other assistance available to Victorian businesses impacted by COVID-19. It is updated regularly.

Key dates and reminders

Monday 21 September
Lodge and pay August 2020 monthly business activity statement.

Wednesday 30 September
Lodge PAYG withholding payment summary annual report if prepared by a BAS agent or tax agent.



Navigating recession and recovery in the ‘new normal’
There is no doubt that many businesses are still on shaky ground. INPRACTICE checks in with two practitioners in the emerging states of Western Australia and Queensland to discover how they and their clients are going about business renewal post-COVID-19.

ATO’s Phoenix Taskforce ups the ante on illegal phoenixing
During times of economic turmoil, illegal phoenix scheme promoters come out of the woodwork. Enter the ATO’s Phoenix Taskforce, which has a brief to unearth shonky liquidators who impact the professional standing of reputable advisers providing sound advice on legal business restructures.

Helping clients navigate New Zealand’s business support packages
Dealing with the fiscal year-end, lockdown and raft of COVID-19 support packages became the tip of the iceberg for two New Zealand-based practitioners.

Young accountants ponder future job prospects post-lockdown
What will be the job prospects for younger accountants post-COVID-19 lockdown? Two 30-something New Zealand-based practitioners talk careers, working from home and what the future may hold.

Accountants’ insurance premiums on the rise
As the severe economic downturn creates a steep rise in professional indemnity claims, practitioners must be vigilant and have appropriate mitigation strategies in place. Here are some steps you can take.

What makes an award-winning accountant?
What makes an award-winning accountant?

SME grants available for solving environmental issues
The Australian Government is turning to small businesses to help with environmental innovation.

Key dates and reminders

Friday 21 August
Lodge and pay July 2020 monthly business activity statement.

Tuesday 25 August
Lodge and pay quarter 4, 2019–20 activity statement if you lodge electronically.



How accountants can help with their clients’ exit strategies
Australia’s return to normalcy from the COVID-19-led twilight zone of corporate relief measures makes for an ideal segue into delicate wind-up discussions with clients.

New help for NZ businesses facing insolvency – but with strings
In the game Monopoly, there is a ‘get out of jail’ card. Despite the efforts of the New Zealand Government to give a leg up to companies struggling because of the coronavirus, in business, there is no such card.

Tax time in a post-COVID world
Face-to-face interaction is hardly an option during lockdown. Three practitioners reveal how they are interacting with clients during tax time in 2020.

Bushfire recovery: A hard and slow rise from the ashes
Two CPA Australia public practitioners discuss how their clients are coping following the devastating bushfires that swept through swathes of Australia earlier this year, only then to be confronted with the COVID-19 crisis.

Restructured Code of Ethics clarifies SMSF audit independence issues
Public practitioners with SMSF clients will need to review engagements where the firm conducts the accounting and audit. Here are some of the new requirements coming out of changes to the restructured Code.

Emerging from lockdown: Recovery, and then business renewal
Two CPAs in New Zealand reveal how they and their clients are rebuilding their businesses as the country emerges from lockdown.

The key to managing remote work, staff and clients? Be prepared.
Shifting work conditions can adversely impact the performance of any team. Here, two experienced CPA Australia public practitioners share their views on how to manage the team and clients when times are tough.

Key dates and reminders

Tuesday 21 July
Lodge and pay June 2020 monthly business activity statement.

Tuesday 28 July
Lodge and pay quarter 4, 2018–19 activity statement if lodging by paper.



More businesses rely on accountants to salvage their future
The dilemmas clients face because of the COVID-19 lockdown are not going away any time soon. Here is how two prominent CPAs are dealing with the challenges.

Understanding rent relief for commercial and retail leases
Can the legislation for rent relief under commercial and retail leases affected by COVID-19 deliver the right balance between landlords and tenants? Here is what we know so far.

Sounds of silence: Australia’s live entertainment sector struggles
Even as the Australian Government injects funds to bolster the country’s ailing live entertainment sector, there are growing calls for more help to rescue what was once a thriving – but now dying – industry.

New Zealand insolvency law: The times they are a changin’
It may have been a decade in the waiting, but a new licensed insolvency practitioner regime in New Zealand could well see CPA Australia members playing far more active roles. Here’s what to expect.

NFP reporting and audit obligations – regulatory responses during COVID-19
Not-for-profit (NFP) entities are subject to different regulatory reporting and assurance requirements, depending on the legal form they take, their registration status with different regulators and the licences they hold. Here’s a breakdown by jurisdiction.

Key dates and reminders

Friday 5 June
Lodge tax returns due for individuals and trusts with a lodgment due date of 15 May 2020 provided they also pay any liability due by this date.

Sunday 21 June
Lodge and pay May 2020 monthly business activity statement.



How accountants can care for themselves when caring for clients
The coronavirus crisis is placing a high degree of stress on practitioners working long hours to help distressed clients. CPA Australia has teamed with two pre-eminent mental health services to offer much-needed supportive resources.

The challenges of trust account audits during lockdown
Help is at hand for trust account audits and examinations during lockdown.

Accounting technology: Closing the client gap
Technology has the distinction of being both the greatest business challenge and the greatest source of opportunity for public practitioners. Here are the keys to success.

Key dates and reminders

Friday 15 May
Lodge 2019 tax returns for all entities that did not have to lodge earlier (including all remaining consolidated groups), and are not eligible for the 5 June concession.

Thursday 21 May
Lodge and pay April 2020 monthly business activity statement.



Commercial rent relief under new code aims to spread the burden
It’s early days for the commercial rent relief scheme and there are significant issues yet to be answered. Here’s what we know to date.

Practitioners feel client cash flow concerns
These are unprecedented times for SMEs as they try to navigate their way through the current COVID-19 crisis. Two CPAs with very different client bases reveal how tourism and franchisee clients have been affected.

How the JobKeeper initiative will affect clients
The Australian government is providing a wage subsidy – the JobKeeper Payment – for entities whose revenue has been significantly affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Here’s a look at the who, what, when and how of the JobKeeper rules.

Navigating government support for New Zealand SMEs
With COVID-19 providing the biggest challenge to the global economy since the global financial crisis, two New Zealand CPAs respond to the government’s relief package for business and comment on what it offers clients.

Staying close to clients while social distancing
In these tough times, while we maintain our social distance, clients need to know their practitioner is right by them.

Supporting clients through COVID-19
Never has good advice been more valuable. Take care when guiding businesses through these challenging circumstances. 

How accountants are coping with lockdown and slowdown
Finding a bright side to look on in the current economic environment may not be easy but, if you look hard enough, there just might be some upsides. 

Key dates and reminders

Tuesday 21 April
Lodge and pay March 2020 monthly business activity statement. 

Tuesday 28 April
Make super guarantee contributions for quarter 3, 2019-20 by this date. 



Are you ready to fly solo?
Think you're ready to run your own practice? Here's what to do before taking the plunge.

ATO modifies its stance on access to deceased’s taxes
Why the ATO is amending a change it initiated with regards to the disclosure of a deceased person’s pre-death tax affairs.

NZ determined to stamp out rogue insolvency practitioners
Fed up with so-called “debtor-friendly” liquidators failing to protect the interests of creditors and undermining public trust, New Zealand has taken considered but far-reaching legislative action to eradicate the problem.

Quality reviews: Don’t fear them, embrace them
The prospect of a formal quality review can seem intimidating, but the process is specifically designed to improve the health of a practice and to better protect clients. Here's what you can do to prepare for one.

Time ticks towards myGovID
What practitioners need to know about an imminent change to logging into the Australian Taxation Office.

CPA Australia weighs in on aged care abuse
In wake of what has been branded a “shocking tale of neglect” of the elderly, CPA Australia has thrown its weight behind finding a solution to Australia’s increasingly maligned aged care sector.

Audit guide sets context for inquiry
Auditors are under the microscope, but is a wholesale overhaul of the profession necessary?

Key dates and reminders

Saturday 21 March
Lodge and pay February 2020 monthly business activity statement.

Saturday 28 March
GST returns and payments due.



How to create shortcuts in your accounting practice using technology
Embedding effective technology systems may take time and investment, but the decision to do so is a no-brainer for practitioners wanting to grow their firms and improve customer satisfaction.

Professional Standards Scheme offers benefits to CPAs and clients
Abiding by and promoting CPA Australia’s new Professional Standards Scheme not only strengthens your relations with clients, it’s also a vital risk management tool.

FASEA Code of Ethics sets a new bar
Financial advisers, supported by their AFS licensees, need to review their current processes, client documentation and any existing referral arrangements to ensure they comply with the FASEA Code of Ethics.

New Public Practice Program features learning on-demand
A key strength of the new program is that it has been developed with insights from CPA Australia public practitioners themselves.

Key dates and reminders

Friday 21 February
Lodge and pay January 2020 monthly business activity statements.

Friday 28 February
Quarter 2, 2019-20 activity statement for all lodgment methods.



Take the superannuation guarantee contributions test
It pays for all employers to be reminded of their super guarantee contributions obligations. Think you’re up to speed with the most recent changes and when they come into effect? Take the quiz to find out.

Is it time to bring contractors in from the cold?
Although contractors may be able to hit the ground running and provide businesses with on-demand flexibility, employees often possess a greater sense of commitment. Discover the pros and cons of hiring a contractor, and the role accounting practitioners play in determining an employer’s obligations.

The perils of giving credit assessments for banks
Accountants providing written assurances about whether their clients have the financial capacity to service loan applications are placing themselves at serious risk. Here's what you should watch out for.

10 inspiring accountants who volunteer
Accountancy skills are often sought out by people and organisations who know they need help but can’t afford a professional or find one locally. Many accountants step up as volunteers to help fill these needs, joining organisations at home and abroad. These 10 volunteer stories showcase how CPAs have lent their accounting skills in surprisingly varied ways.

Key dates and reminders

Wednesday 15 January
Provisional tax instalments, student loan interim payments, GST and employers’ returns and payments due.

Tuesday 21 January
Lodge and pay December 2019 monthly business activity statements.



Technology for accountants: Practices focus on the future
Three public practitioners talk about the forward planning they are doing, their plans to utilise accounting technology and how clients will benefit.

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan flags ATO systems challenge
The ATO is embarking on a round of IT upgrades that it hopes will let it deal with new torrents of data – and make its often-criticised public systems easier to use.

Teaching verbal communication to millennial staff
How can you encourage Generation Y to pick up the phone? Walking the talk may be the best way to do it.

Labour Hire Licensing Scheme: What you need to know
The new Labour Hire Licensing Scheme means stiff penalties for businesses dealing with unlicensed suppliers. Here's who it affects.

How to sell your business without losing business: Assembling your A-team
From internal staff to external advisers, find out who may be involved in the sale of a client's business – and when to bring them in.

Key dates and reminders

Saturday 21 December
Lodge and pay November 2019 monthly BAS.

Wednesday 15 January
Provisional tax instalments, student loan interim payments, GST and employers’ returns and payments due.



Clients under pressure: How to help their mental wellbeing
Asking your clients “are you okay?” could be more beneficial than cost savings. This new online resource from Beyond Blue will help guide conversations on mental wellbeing.

Your practical guide to behaviours that improve audit quality
This new guide aims to address shortcomings in audit quality from within audit firms. 

Regulatory Burden Report: Impact of complex regulatory frameworks
Listen to a podcast on the five key recommendations from the research and key insights on how they will impact you.

TPB roots out bad behaviour with tax compliance
According to the TPB's 2018-2019 annual report, sanctions against tax agents soared this year. Here's an update on what the TPB is doing about tax compliance.

FASEA: Key financial adviser requirements
Financial advisers face a series of steps to meet new education and ethical requirements. Find out what they are.

Key dates and reminders

Thursday 21 November
Lodge and pay October 2019 monthly BAS.

Friday 25 November
Lodge and pay Q1 2019-2020 activity statement if you lodge electronically.



How to reduce the impact of regulatory burden
A new report reveals that changes to the accountants’ regulatory regime would help consumers and business. Find out how regulatory burden can be reduced.

“Don’t panic!”: ATO letter rattles SMSF trustees
The message from the profession is a very loud and clear “Stay calm!” for CPAs and their clients who have received a stern letter from the ATO about SMSF diversification. Find out why you shouldn't be panicking. 

Divorce and business ownership: What happens when spouses split?
Here are some things accountants, as advisors, should keep in mind with divorce and business ownership cases.

Capital distributions from foreign trusts: How do I prove they aren’t taxable?
An Australian tax resident who receives a distribution of capital from a foreign trust must include the amount of the capital distribution in their assessable income. Learn about the exclusions in section 99B of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and how to manage them.

New how-to guides for landing small business loans
Help your small business clients navigate the minefield of obtaining loans with these two new initiatives.

Lost in the cloud: What you need to know about changing IT systems
A cautionary tale for any business owner contemplating a move to the cloud.

What the new tax whistleblower laws mean for disclosure
New tax whistleblower laws came into effect on 1 July. Here’s what you need to know about disclosure.

7 mistakes that lead to staff underpayments
Nearly every week, news breaks of yet another employer in Australia underpaying employees. The penalties are high and the public shaming bad for business. Learn how employers can ensure they comply with the law.


New research reveals high cost of regulatory burden for public practitioners
It’s no secret that regulatory complexity is placing a hefty burden on public practitioners, but new research reveals the costs can be in the tens of thousands of dollars a year, with flow-on effects for clients and the public.

How to make your practice more attractive to job seekers
How can a small or medium-sized business be seen as a good workplace and stand out to job seekers? First, create an environment where people want to work. 

Read this before you offer an accounting internship
An accounting internship can provide a wonderful opportunity for on-the-job training, but employers need to understand their responsibilities to interns. Here are six tips to avoid the accounting internship trap.

Client engagement letters: Your questions answered
Engagement letters are a basic building block of the practitioner-client relationship and a key requirement of CPA Australia’s quality review process. Here’s what you need to know.

Best accounting practice management tips
Impress clients and enhance your business with these tips from leading CPA Australia public practitioners.

New push to stamp out illegal phoenix activity in Australia
Accountants are at the frontline as the government introduces tough new laws to stamp out illegal phoenix activity.

How to manage audit risk and improve your processes at the same time
New guidance reveals that investigating the root cause of audit anomalies is more straightforward than you think.

Selling your business: 5 common dangers to avoid
Is a client considering selling their business? These are the risks they need to consider.


8 things to do during an ATO outage
Outages: No one likes them, but they happen. Here are some useful tips from practitioners who’ve found productive ways to use their time during an ATO systems outage.

Improving the audit process
Australia’s auditors are under pressure but there is an opportunity for small and medium-sized practices to influence auditing standards for the better.

6 tips for tax agents
Tax professional? Here are six timely tips to help agents do their jobs.

Accounting internships: What you need to know
An accounting internship can provide a wonderful opportunity for on-the-job training, but employers need to understand their responsibilities to interns. Here are some of the challenges.

Warn your clients: 7 mistakes that lead to employee underpayments
Inadequate training for payroll managers is often the reason behind underpayment errors. Here are seven of the most common mistakes to avoid.

Dealing with vulnerable clients suffering from financial abuse
Accountants are in a unique place to guard against elder financial abuse and other threats to the financial interests of their clients. Here are some of the signs.

New tax rules for government tender bids
Businesses tendering for Australian Commonwealth Government contracts valued more than A$4 million now need to provide a statement proving they have a satisfactory tax record. Here are some of the key points.

Franchising under scrutiny: What practitioners need to consider
Australia’s franchising industry is in the spotlight following a March 2019 parliamentary inquiry report that called for a total overhaul of the sector and the code of conduct under which it operates. Here are some key considerations if you have franchising clients.