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Estate planning - more than just a will

Estate planning: more than just a will


 Estate planning is something everyone should consider.

Since no one knows when they will pass away, estate planning should be on everyone's agenda.

If you pass away without a valid will, state laws determine how your estate will be administered. And it may not necessarily be as you would expect.

Blended families

Early estate planning is even more important for people who have a blended family, have been divorced or have children from more than one relationship. In these situations, there are a range of competing interests.  You may want to make different provisions for family members and those family members may have quite different expectations 

Whilst not always easy, it may help to discuss your plans with members of your family. Later disputes may be overcome by setting expectations in advance. 

Not just a will

An effective estate plan includes more than a will. A substantial part of your estate may not be subject to your will. If you do not allow for this then distribution of your estate may be very different from what you expected.

Jointly owned properties go to the last surviving owner, so it's important to understand how such assets are held. Assets held in trusts and superannuation funds are not included in the estate that is covered by a will and need to be dealt with separately.

There are about 600,000 family trusts in Australia. People who have a family trust need to understand who takes control of the structure after their death. Often the key here is who is the appointor of your Trust?

And now with more than 570,000 SMSFs, controlling more than $600 Billion in assets there is a huge build up of wealth in these funds. So a smart estate plan will include your will and a plan to manage and deal with your interests in Family Trusts and superannuation.

Many superannuation funds carry life insurance policies, causing even funds with relatively low member balances to have significant value in the event of death. People need to approach their superannuation fund and complete the right paperwork to identify who should receive the fund's assets when they die. For self-managed superannuation funds, a death benefit nomination form must be completed to direct how assets will be distributed. 

Life cover

Insurance can be used as an estate planning tool. 

People with a policy outside of superannuation should check with their financial adviser to make sure the payout will be directed to the intended beneficiaries. Life insurance payouts from policies held outside of a superannuation fund may go directly to the person named in the policy, bypassing the estate.

An estate plan can also include an enduring power of attorney or living will, which appoints someone to make financial decisions for you if an illness or accident renders you incapable of making those decisions.

Some people might want to consider leaving a charitable legacy in their will, while business owners should address succession planning issues in an estate plan.

Each person's situation is different and estate planning is a complicated area. It pays to seek specialist advice on what will work best in your personal circumstances.


Is Wearable Technology about to Disrupt the Health Care Industry?

Digital disruption is something to be aware of in all professions at the moment and the Health Care Industry is certainly no exception. Medical Practitioners will need to be considerate of the impact of this technology on their practice models. How will doctors interact with patients into the future? what will be the effect on doctors remuneration, patient care, and care plans? How will health funds react to all this new information and patient interaction with their medical professionals.


According to Medical Daily, wearable technology was predicted to be the top fitness trend of 2016. But is wearable technology just a trend or does it have the potential to transform the medical industry? Are doctors the next sector to experience a major disruption at the hands of tech?

Wearables are already making their mark in the tech world. Fitbits, or their counterparts, are being worn on one in every five Americans, and Apple has a Health app. Self monitoring is becoming more mainstream than ever before. This means just about anyone can become health obsessed while still being attached to their phones. This is already having a positive impact of overall health and productivity. Researchers at the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies found that there's already been a 44% decrease in sick days for employees that were daily users of wearable technology.

Wearables will provide valuable information to doctors

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, a top doctor in the UK, believes wearable technology will revolutionize the monitoring of patients' health. Especially for those patients with a serious condition. He explained to The Guardian that wearables are now being actively used by doctors when dealing with patients. Technology has advanced so rapidly doctors are already seeing patients with a previous history of heart failure benefiting from using a wearable monitoring system. By using an unobtrusive sensor device, medical staff can remotely track a patient's health and predict if they are at risk of slipping into heart failure again. This means a doctor can bring a patient in and begin treating them before the condition becomes serious.

This is a brand new way of doing things for the medical sector. Doctors are used to patients coming to them with problems, and they have to trust the information they're given. With wearable technology, doctors don't have to rely on our (usually faulty) information about our activity and how we feel. Now they can use verified data when assessing our health. This could also lead to more preventative care and less hospital stays. This not only benefits the patient's health, but could save us a ton of money on health care. He predicts a huge decrease in patient admittance rates to hospitals due to the early warning signs wearable technology can detect.

The future of wearable technology for medicine

The market for health care wearables already extends beyond smartwatches and fitness trackers. In fact, Tractica predicts that by 2021 health care wearables will be worth $17.8 billion. It's no surprise when you look at the products already on the market. Things like posture monitors, movement sensors, heart straps, wearable patches, wearable cameras, and pain management tools.

So what does the future hold for wearable technology and health care? IBM Australia is running clinical trials on a piece of software that could be implanted into your brain to prevent seizures. There are also tests in motion on ingestible computers that collect and send data straight to your doctor using wifi. There's also talk of stomach acid being used to power batteries. In reality, there is no telling where this rapidly paced industry will head to next.

So what does this mean for doctors? The way our health care system is set up is surely going to change. Rather than rushing to doctors in an emergency, we will most likely head to the doctor anytime our devices alert them to a problem. Rather than learning how to diagnose a patient by sight and sound, doctors are going to need to be adept at spotting trends in our health data. In fact, we could get a whole new kind of medical professional, a data analyst. One that can link certain statistics and anomalies to serious health conditions. Oddly, this could have us seeing our doctors more frequently instead of less. It will also increase our doctor's value. If you're being seen, it's because they've spotted something potentially dangerous. The near future could have doctors studying both medicine and statistics.

For a confidential discussion to review and discuss the direction of your medical practice contact our office and arrange a time to meet with John Clarke. Book an appointment time online via or phone our Sunshine Coast Office on 07 54754300  or Brisbane Office on 07 38423128 to arrange an appointment.

Is Your Business Income Personal Service Income?

Personal Service Income (PSI) is income received from your personal efforts or skills through an ABN and can be earned in almost any industry, trade or profession. If you have earned income from contracts and sales for which more than 50% of the income was for your labour, skills or expertise, then all of that income can be considered to be PSI. If 50% or less of the income received for a contract was for your labour, skills or expertise, then none of the income is considered to be PSI.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) now provides a tool on their website for you to easily ascertain if you are receiving PSI income or not. This tool can be found at 

With recent changes it is fair to say that everything the ATO has previously accepted from a tax perspective in relation to taxing income generated by professional practices was now 'under fire' from the ATO.

Traditionally, the ATO had a rule of thumb that income generated by a professional practice was not regarded as personal services income where there were 'at least as many non-principal practitioners as principal practitioners'. It was then accepted that all income generated by these practices did not have to be included in the assessable income of the principal practitioner. It is important to note that this approach had been accepted by the ATO for decades.

The ATO has undertaken a complete backflip in relation to this issue. In Taxpayer Alert TA 2013/3 and the draft guidelines titled 'Assessing the risk: allocation of profits within professional firms', the ATO has changed the long standing principles highlighted above. In particular, TA 2013/3 and the guidelines make it clear that income generated by a professional practice may effectively be regarded as personal exertion income even though there are as many (or more) non-principal professionals as principal professionals (i.e. owners). As such, the ATO will require some professional practitioners to include greater amounts in their assessable income under these new guidelines. 

Always keep in mind that the ATO has 3 audit risk tests for PSI income for professional firms. The guidelines outline 3 tests that must be considered when assessing whether a professional practice will be classified as 'high' or 'low' risk from an audit perspective. If a professional practice satisfies at least one of the 3 tests highlighted below, then it will be classified 'low risk' for audit purposes. 


1.Satisfying the equivalent remuneration test

Under this test, a professional practitioner must basically ensure that their assessable income from (or in relation to) the professional practice includes an amount that is at least equal to the highest band of professional employees providing equivalent services to the firm. A professional practice is entitled to use comparable firms or relevant benchmarks where the firm has no such employees.

2. Satisfying the 50% remuneration test

Under this test, 50% or more of the income the practitioner and his/her associated entities are collectively entitled to receive from the practice (whether directly or through the associated entitles) is included in the assessable income of the professional practitioner

3. Satisfying the 30% effective tax rate test

Under this test, the effective tax rate of the professional practitioner and their associated entities must be at least 30% in relation to the income received from the practice. 

High risk heightens the likelihood of audit 

It is made very clear from TA 2013/3 and the guidelines that any professional practitioner who is unable to pass any of these tests will then be assessed as high risk, and there is therefore a "greater likelihood of ATO compliance action being undertaken". In what can be viewed as a seismic shift in attitude by the ATO the changes seem to have occurred with very little support from case law in what can be seen as none other than a direct attack on professional practices by the ATO. 

If you have any concerns with how your professional practice income is being attributed for tax purposes then please contact us for a confidential meeting to discuss your circumstances at or phone our Sunshine Coast Office on 07 54754300 or Brisbane Office on 07 38423128 or email

Virtual CFO Services for Businesses and Professional Practices


 Virtual CFO Services - The role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is about to change.

If you want to take your business to the next level of financial control and profitability, you need a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). A CFO is a financial coach and mentor who can help a business grow and stay on track with your finances. In the corporate world, full-time CFO's can be very expensive. A virtual CFO service can provide these services for a fraction of the cost of otherwise having to employ a full time CFO in your business.

From our clients perspective we encourage businesses to embrace the changes in technology and allow us to be more involved in their do to day business activities and decision making processes. As your accountant we can be called in online to look over the latest up to date  figures and then discuss with the business owner what those numbers mean and how they relate to the current business decisions and direction that needs to be taken. As accountants we have a vast array of knowledge from helping many businesses with similar issues over a number of years so  rather than try and reinvent the wheel technology allows you easy access to these resources far more economically and efficiently than before. To be able to dial in to real time information and discuss the consequences and what they mean in real time is a very powerful process once only available to the big end of town. These types of services are now available for all business to implement into their day to day operations for a fraction of the cost of what a full time CFO would normally cost.

In the following article MYOB review the technology advances and what they mean to the traditional role of the CFO as follows ......

There's no crystal ball in business. But if the rise in mobile and cloud usage is anything to go by, you can count on one thing: the role of the CFO is about to change.

Are you prepared?

Over the past hundred or so years, we've has seen such an amazing amount of innovation that it's only natural to wonder what the future holds.

But today's technological advances actually offer us a glimpse of that future. Mobile devices are fast becoming the norm for employees rather than a desktop computer. People are now actively pursuing lives with greater connectedness and mobility across multiple screens. As business leaders this requires a shift in our thinking.

We now need to recognise workplaces as flexible entities and accept that office locations may soon become a thing of the past, as more employees unchain themselves from the desktop.

Add the fact that working in cloud has made it much easier to do business on a global scale, and it's clear to see that we're entering the era of hyper connectivity.

Yes, doing business in this always on, always connected world will present certain challenges, but the many new opportunities on offer are undoubtedly exciting.

Be future ready

Across both SMEs and bigger business, the cloud continues to break down our old notions of capability across business sectors.

One thing is for certain, if you want to be part of this future, you need to act now.

According to Adrian Wong, MYOB Enterprise Solutions Product Manager, businesses can get ready by enabling and embracing an 'always-on workforce'.

"At MYOB we're definitely seeing a growing demand for a company's employees to have access to any system – anywhere, anytime," says Wong.

"Generationally more millennials are coming into the workforce, and they are used to the 24/7 connected world just like consumers," he continues. "Operationally, the challenge for the CFO is how to get control over their business processes, as the number of people connecting to these critical systems expands."

What you do today will define tomorrow

Being tied down with the day-to-day running of a business is the number one reason CFOs feel that they are not 'future ready'.

So what exactly is 'future ready'? Simply put, it's the capacity to be agile. To be aware, to be predictive, to be ready to adapt to new and emerging challenges, to implement tech innovations, and to spot trends and changes in business, population, and social environment.

For John Moss, MYOB Chief Strategy Officer, one way the CFO can be 'future-ready' is to begin reviewing current processes.

"Every business needs to have a good handle on their finances, and how the economics of their business work in order to take advantage of opportunities, and respond to challenges," says Moss. "To be set for the future, the CFO should consider implementing an online system with mobility options, a powerful financial engine, plus virtual dashboards that provide insights behind the financial detail. It's about taking decision-making to the next level."

Adrian Wong agrees.

"Increasing automation through your software suite can change the finance role, and the role of your finance team, for the better. In the old world, a finance department would act as the gatekeepers of transaction processing, reviewing and approving them, and enforcing policy and process.

"With an online system, a sales rep can submit an order on their smartphone in real time, rather than doing things manually with the finance team," says Wong.

"Of course, the CFO will still need to consider how they manage policy and process effectively and how to keep control of the transaction flow," continues Wong. "Rather than chasing paper, automation gives staff freedom to deliver value that leads to business growth."

And if you're set on future-proofing your business that's what it's all about, isn't it?

To integrate an affordable CFO service into your business today call John Clarke on 07 54754300 or email us on


Why Choose a Self Managed Super Fund



Thinking of moving to self-managed Super? Money editor Caitlin Fitzsimmons outlines the things to watch out for.

To read the article please click here

SMSF's - Peace of mind for small business

 SMSF's - one of the main reasons people establish an SMSF is for Peace of Mind.

Click to read the article here

7 Entrepreneurial Traits to Teach Your Child

 These are the skills kids need most now to succeed when they grow up. -


I own an international PR firm and my brother is an artist, writer and naturalist. We both became entrepreneurs in our early 20s. People often ask if our parents did anything special in raising us. When I had my daughter in 2007, the question took on new meaning-I wanted to know if parents could influence their child's entrepreneurial IQ.

To help answer the question, I contacted Richard Rende, Ph.D., who studies child development, and together we identified a number of areas where parents can have a great impact.

Why does it matter? In our fast-changing world, kids need a whole new set of skills to succeed. Helping children gain entrepreneurial traits will give them a solid foundation for defining, pursuing and achieving their own success.

Here are seven entrepreneurial traits well worth cultivating in your child:

1. Openness to Experience

Babies and children are born to explore. They are open and curious about the world around them. Free form "playful learning" is a proven way to advance academic readiness and lifelong curiosity. Let your kids follow their instincts and discover-and reinforce that with enthusiasm and wonder. Adults who are open to experiences have their "radar screens" on all the time. They see opportunities where others don't and welcome challenges, hallmarks of success in the workplace and in life.

2. An Innovator's Perspective

Innovation isn't just for people who will create new technologies or businesses. Kids growing up today will need to be perpetual innovators, devising new solutions and approaches to problems. Permit kids to test out their ideas when playing or doing schoolwork (without critique). Coming up with their own solutions helps develop and reinforce creativity and critical thinking skills. And make sure to cultivate an environment where failure is tolerated. Innovators embrace experimentation and know that you must fail in order to succeed.

3. Optimism

If there's one trait associated with entrepreneurs, it's optimism. Successful entrepreneurs believe they can change things for the better through their own efforts. Being optimistic confers real life, career and health advantages. To encourage optimism, frame the day in a positive way, model optimistic thinking and problem solving and cultivate gratitude. And remember that optimism is contagious. If Mom and Dad's outlook on life is positive, it will rub off on the kids.

Related: What Separates Chronically Positive People from Everyone Else

4. Industriousness

Whether they're children or adults, successful people get their hands dirty, sometimes literally. To help kids develop a strong work ethic, they need to learn the intrinsic rewards of a job well done. Parents should resist the urge to smooth their child's path or do for them what they can do for themselves. One time-tested way to build industriousness is by giving kids chores. Researchers have found that participating in chores early in life was strongly associated with personal and academic success 20 years later.

5. Opportunity Seeking

Children need to feel comfortable seeking out opportunities-academic, social, personal and physical-without fear of negative consequences. When children feel secure and supported, they develop the self-confidence they need to trust their judgment and instincts and are free to embrace opportunity when they see it.

6. Likeability

Likeability in childhood translates to success in adulthood. It's important to note that likeability is not the same as popularity. Likeability is about getting along well with the people around you. Parents play a big role in helping kids develop social proficiency. They can help them negotiate conflicts without becoming disagreeable, model how to collaborate with others and boost their communication skills.

7. Empathy

There is one tendency above all others that entrepreneurs endorse as key to achievement: serving others. In any endeavor, if people don't contribute something that is wanted or needed, they can't succeed. Kids today can have extraordinary "résumés," but having a sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy will ultimately hinder them. Talk about your emotions and help your child understand that the feelings of others matter. Compassion and empathy will change their world and their lives for the better.

Not every child will grow up to be an entrepreneur but every child can benefit from having entrepreneurial skills to help navigate our complex world. As traditional life and career paths disappear, children will have to be able to adapt and learn at every stage of life. Like entrepreneurs, they must make their way in the world with no roadmap to guide them. Parents can help set them on a path to use their talents and abilities to create success for themselves and others.

- See more at:


Imagine a world in which it's easier to grow your business than you thought. Imagine a world in which just ten simple steps could help you take your business to the next level starting today.

Thanks to Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local and Cofounder & Chairman of Likeable Media, you don't have to imagine. Because he has 10 proven business strategies that have brought him massive success over the last seven years. And Kerpen shared these insights with Chad Cooper in a Tony Robbins webinar. 

Here's a look at Kerpen's 10 key ways to building a $10 million business:

Find trustworthy partners

Whether it's a close friend or family member, partner with people you can trust. Most of the time, we focus on the character and virtues of those we are legally partnered with. But vetting other people and entities that you are associated with - including your vendors and advisors - is equally critical. 

Create a strategy and focus

One of the biggest mistakes young business make is over-committing. They end up saying yes to almost everything and lacking a clear focus. But if you try to be all things to all people, chances are you will fail. Start with making a one-page strategic plan that forces you to focus on creating and doing one thing for one target audience. Verne Harnish's one-pager provides an ideal framework to help structure this thought process. With a singular focus, you can harness all of your energy and effort and direct it towards a specific outcome. 

Say no to what's off focus

Saying no to anything that isn't in your direct line of fire may be difficult to do at first, but can actually be one of the smartest business decisions you make in the long run. Even if it means firing your own customers. Why? Because it frees you up to focus on your target, it allows for more space and bandwidth to grow, and makes you available for the yes's. 

Find peer support

If you're a business owner, you know what's at stake and how much risk is involved in running a company. But how do you handle the fear of failure? Where do you go for advice and guidance? That's why finding a peer community is so important. Not only can this provide a confidential atmosphere where you can find support and valuable insight, it can be instrumental in the process of learning the most efficient and effective ways of taking your business to the next level. 

Form a board of advisors

Coordinate a group of trusted mentors to counsel you on key issues in growing your business. While an advisory board may not seem like a critical component of business success, it can actually become one of your most important assets in business development - providing the strategic advice and complementary skills to take your company to the next level. 

Hire slow and fire fast

The sooner you part ways with employees who aren't the right fit, the better. Most of us, however, do the opposite. We hire quickly to fill the position when we really should be taking our time to determine if the candidate has the right nature, the right personality and whether or not their core values align with those of the company. Then we are quick to let the person go, even though we know in our gut that it isn't working. By hiring slow and firing fast, you will find that it is more efficient and effective for you, your business and for that person. 

Build great values and culture

Take the time to create a space where your employees want to spend their time. Think about it - you spend more of your waking hours at work and with fellow employees than anywhere or with anyone else. So isn't it worth taking the time and money to create a place that people enjoy working? What is the culture at your company? Do you have a strong set of core values and do your employees value these standards? Building a company where people want to go to work is one of the most pivotal ways to building a growing and sustaining company.

Build your brand

With social media at your fingertips, this is the single best time to build a brand online. It wasn't that long ago that you needed to hire a PR agency to create brand identity and awareness. But now, if you are determined and diligent enough, you can build a brand by creating quality content every single day and leveraging social media outlets to attract and engage an audience. 

Ask for referrals

The best form of marketing is through your current customers. While this may seem obvious, most of us just don't do it. We may feel uncomfortable asking existing customers for referrals or we may not realize how powerful a marketing asset this can be. But if you don't try you won't reap the benefits. And it's actually quite simple to do, if you know how to present your products or services with certainty, and can go a long way towards building your business .

It's the people

The single most important factor in your success is your people - your partner, your advisors, your staff, your peers. All of these individuals will help you do the work to take your business to the next level. That means you don't have to do it alone, but you do have to find the right people, and empower them, so you can harness the power and potential of their talent, skill and drive.


Tips to help you recruit a GP - GP Practice Management

Tips to help you recruit a GP

 The GP shortage that pretty much all practice managers will have experienced in some form or another during their careers has been described as the "biggest challenge facing the NHS since its formation". As there's no miracle cure out there and no one person can fix the problem overnight, when a practice needs to recruit the problem often falls into the already bulging in-tray of the practice manager. So what can you do to successfully recruit a new GP?

Earlier this month Carol Charles, the practice manager at Park Surgery in Great Yarmouth, was praised by the CQC for her role in the proactive approach to GP recruitment implemented at the surgery. The recruitment plan helped the practice achieve an outstanding rating, so what was it that the inspectors liked so much?

Vision and strategy

The CQC inspectors praised the fact that a five-year business plan was in place, which included a supporting action plan demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning, development and recruitment. For example, succession and professional development plans for the GPs and practice manager were in place and well-managed.

"The practice involvement in training medical students and GP registrar training had not only secured development and recruitment of new GPs and GP partners at the practice, but had been constructive in securing GP recruitment to other practices in the area," the report read.

Moreover, staff said they felt respected, valued and supported, particularly by the partners and the practice manager at the practice, which aided both staff retention and recruitment – reputation really does matter.

Job share

While long term planning is one thing, what about if you need to recruit in the short term? Recruiting salaried GPs might be easier than looking for partners, so perhaps it's time to consider changing your practice structure?

Val Hempsey, practice manager of Bridges Medical Practice in Gateshead, was quoted in the media last year outlining her solution to the problem. While she is aware of the recruitment problem in her area, the practice has no problem recruiting, partly down to the unusual structure – she is the only partner – and therefore needs to only recruit salaried GPs.

Despite this model working for this practice, Val admits that her doctors are up still against it. As a result some of her salaried doctors don't want to work full-time in the practice, protecting their work-life balance. As has been well-publicised, the GP workload is constantly increasing, not just because the number of patients are on the rise but because of the admin burden practice staff are faced with too.

Prevention is, of course, better than cure, so perhaps it's time to consider a more flexible approach to working. GPs, being in short supply, hold the upper hand when it comes to recruitment and many are opting for part-time hours. Could a kind of job share work for you? Are two GPs better than one when it comes to filling the hours? This isn't ideal and comes with some major pitfalls, but might be the best of a bad situation.

Don't hang around

Another tip that a practice manager gave us is to not hang around when recruiting. As doctors tend to apply to several surgeries, don't waste time when it comes to interviews. "As soon I get an application I pick up the phone and call them," is the advice. "I'll invite them in informally for a look around the practice and let them ask their questions and just generally have a chat. This works well as it breaks the ice, gets the GP onside and is far more effective than scheduling interviews in four weeks' time. We've definitely benefitted from this approach and believe that speed is everything."

The power of advertising

Another tip we've picked up talking to PMs is to make sure that any advert is appealing. In a crowded market full of practices recruiting, there's plenty of competition. Go big or invest in a premium listing – it's worth the extra expenditure in the long run – and talk up the plus points of your practice. Is your feedback five-star? Have you had an outstanding CQC rating? You need to sell your practice as much as the job.

Here are some more handy hints to remember when producing an ad for your practice:

Where are you?

It may sound obvious but don't forget your practice name and address or location at the top of your advert is really important as it helps create a good first impression and makes it very clear where the job is.

Practice description

Give a brief overview of your practice to allow candidates to imagine what it might be like to work there. Remember to sell your pros!

What are you looking for?

Be specific about any additional skills required for the role, for example, if an interest in teaching is required as you are a training practice. Too many ads use generic terms such as 'dedicated' and 'hard-working' – who will admit to being uncommitted and lazy?!

What you can offer

As well as salary and benefits, talk up the type of working environment on offer, for example, a practice that values a good work-life balance, flexible working or a supportive working environment.

Important dates

Many good adverts fail to include a closing date, which can make it difficult for candidates to know whether it's worth applying or not. You may also find that your advert is listed after the closing date and you continue to receive applications for a vacancy that no longer exists.

How to apply

Be clear about what you want info you need candidates to supply. Some practices like a handwritten covering letter, others are happy to receive applications by email. Asking for preferred working hours here could help you work out a flexible work programme.


Contact Clarke McEwan