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Finding balance...

work, life and play

Rental property Q&A

FARMER WANTS A LIFE is back How can I invest ethically?



Money tipS for your Biz

$mart money moves for school leavers

Appreciating depreciation

Welcome Sometimes when we tell people that we work in an

accounting and financial planning firm, they look at us with a little bit of sympathy, their eyes glazing over at the misguided view that working with numbers and tax returns all day must be so boring. You might be surprised to discover just how exciting our everyday jobs can be and the role we play in so many different aspects of our clients’ lives and businesses. We work with school leavers taking that leap into their first job (p10), people investing and planning retirement (p4), those buying their first home (p11) or a rental property (p8). We help businesses create a happy culture in their workplace (p12) and look after their team’s mental health (p15). We see ourselves as problem solvers rather than number crunchers. It’s not just about spreadsheets and tax returns, we’re a sounding board for so many business decisions and life milestones. This job is a privilege and an honour, and for us as advisers, it can be both a courageous and rewarding role to play. We hope through the pages of this issue of “Every Step” magazine you will learn a few new tips, while experiencing just how proud we are to walk alongside our clients through every part of their journey. Best wishes,

The BMO Team


Get tips to help grow your business at our free Breakfast at BMO events. Sign up to our e-newsletter on our website to receive invites.


DATE CLAIMER: Wednesday 8 February 2017 - Dalby League’s Club Breakfast with Bruce Sullivan “Your Best You”

What’s Inside

About Us


Partner Profile


Financial Planning

BMO is an award-winning accounting, business advisory and financial services firm with a strong focus on building relationships and supporting growth for local businesses and wealth creation for individuals. We are based in Dalby, with a satellite office in Brisbane.


Business & Farming


Accounting & Tax


Finance & Super









Disclaimer – This magazine has been written and produced by BMO, 178 Drayton Street Dalby Qld 4405. Information provided in this magazine is general in nature. In preparing information BMO Accountants, BMO Financial Solutions and BMO Lending Services have not taken into account any particular person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Readers should, before acting on this information, consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to their objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend obtaining financial advice specific to your situation before making any financial decisions or investments. Principal Wealth Management Pty Ltd trading as BMO Financial Solutions is a corporate authorised representative of McPherson & Associates Pty Ltd. AFSL Number 229883.


BMO is a BRW Top 100 Australian Accounting firm, is highly ranked (at 58) in the ATO tax agents program, and has been awarded Dalby Business of the Year three times (2003, 2009 and 2015). With around 60 professionals on our team, BMO offers a full range of business and financial services. We don’t just ‘do your tax’, we’re your adviser and your sounding board. Whether you’re a student working your first part-time job or a multi-million dollar business, we’re with you every step of the way.

0 PO Box 180 Dalby Qld 4405 1 07 4662 3722 5 8

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Magazine Published: December 2016 Cover Photo: Adrian and Narelle Rasmussen with their children Harry, Sam and Emma at Lake Broadwater. Image courtesy of Fee Turner Photography.


Finding balance

Ten- year-old Emma giggles as she runs

along the edge of Lake Broadwater splashing her big brothers, the sun is setting over the water as a lone pelican glides serenely and two wallabies hop off in the distance. This is rural living and it’s easy to see why BMO Partner Adrian Rasmussen has chosen this way of life for his family. One of BMO’s longest serving team members, Adrian with wife Narelle and their three children Harry 15, Sam 13 and Emma 10, live on a small rural property west of Dalby. In 1988, fresh from Dalby State High, Adrian grasped the opportunity to work with a local accounting firm (that later became BMO). Adrian was BMO’s first trainee accountant, working full-time while studying his Bachelor of Business degree externally. Just ten years later, with tertiary studies under his belt, Adrian became a Partner. Today he works with a broad client base of clients including wage earners, primary production and small, medium and large businesses.

community. Adrian will rarely miss his childrens’ awards on parade, or watching them in eisteddfods or sporting events. He makes sacrifices to ensure that he can be there for those moments.

But don’t let his quiet steadfastness fool you into thinking he is completely straight-laced. Underneath this impeccable character, there is sense of humour and a talent for practical jokes.

“I love going to everything they do and if you love something you’ll find a way to be there for it.” “I come into work a couple of hours before the office opens to ensure I can be home to enjoy time with our family before the day is done. Evenings are our family time. Whether it be playing sport in the backyard, working around the farm, feeding cattle, teaching the kids to drive, or kayaking in the lake, we’ll usually do something together in the afternoons.” Adrian is also passionate about his local school community. He’s been president of the Dalby State School P&C for around seven years and in the last two years has also taken on a co-treasurer role at the Dalby State High School P&C. Adrian encourages families to become involved in the schools their children attend.

“I really enjoy working out the best solutions for clients. It really gives me a sense of achievement.”

“Our children attend school from the ages of 5 to 17. This is a lot of time - so we should share this journey with them.”

Finding balance with work and home life has been an important part of Adrian’s journey. For him it’s been about creating a blend of family life, farming, business and

When asked what they value most about Adrian, BMO team-mates said patience, kindness, understanding, loyalty and honesty.

So with a growing family enjoying the lifestyle of rural acreage, a community presence, a sense of fun, and partner in one of Australia’s leading regional accounting firms*, has Adrian managed to get the balance right? “It’s not up to me to say whether I have the balance right. Some people enjoy the city. Some people enjoy the country. Some people love sport, some love music. We all have different occupations, different challenges and family situations. The important thing is not to measure yourself against another but simply to work hard, do your best, be honest, treat others as you would like to be treated, and be happy in what you are doing.” *BRW Top 15 Australian Regional Accounting Firm (2013).



Thinking Retirement in your 30’s Chelsea Wyatt, BMO Communications & Events

According to a recent ABS study, Australia is one of just six countries where both men and women can expect to live until they’re 80. But instead of extending retirement, Australian’s have changed it. I’m in my 30s now: If this current trend continues, what will this mean for my retirement?

We are living longer, jobs that existed 10 to 20 years ago can now be done by computers or robots, and the aged pension continues to diminish. So it’s possible we might be stopping work sooner, being retired for much longer and having no pension to help us survive!

In the “olden” days it was more black and white: You’d work until you were 60, then you’d stop work and potter around home for a few years until you died (usually only a few years later). These days there is a trend towards “transitioning to retirement”. This is where you might continue working but go part-time, or take on a slightly different role for a few years to help you adjust to the new routine while still enjoying a steady income stream. So in thirty years or so when I reach 65 and the average life expectancy is 81 and rising: • Will I have enough to retire if I want to? • Will I be able to transition to retirement?

• What will I do for 20 plus years in retirement, which could be a quarter or more of my life? While it’s pretty hard for most 30 year olds to even imagine themselves retired, you have to start planning now or you could end up destitute. The most important message is - don’t put it off. If you are in your 30s and you haven’t yet been to see a financial planner, then you must put it on your “things to-do” list in 2017. Sure, you might not know if you’ll want to retire in your own home, relax in a cottage by the sea, or travel the world, but planning now will give you options down the track.

Ethical investing Mal Smith, BMO Financial Solutions Principal Over the last decade, the amount of money invested in ethical funds – sometimes called sustainable or socially responsible investments – rose 62 per cent in the year to December 2015, to $51.5 billion.

Today’s consumers are increasingly

demanding to know if their morning coffee is ‘fair trade’, their crispy-skinned fish is sustainably caught and their home can be run more efficiently on solar power, so it’s not surprising that many consumers are also choosing to align their money with their ethics.


So what is an ethical investment? It all comes down to your personal values. Here’s a snapshot of the investment styles on offer: • ESG integration – includes environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into financial analysis and investment decision-making by fund managers. • Impact investing – targets investments aimed at social or environmental issues while creating positive returns for investors.

• Sustainability – targets investments in areas such as clean energy, green technology, sustainable agriculture and green property or water technology. • Negative screening – excludes specific industries, sectors, companies, practices or countries that don’t align with ethical goals, eg. gaming, alcohol and/or animal testing. • Positive screening – selects investments with positive ESG or sustainability performance relative to industry peers. So if you want to put your money where your morals are, then talk to your financial planner about the investments that are right for you.


SUCCESS FACTOR Shane Lee, BMO Financial Solutions Principal

Some people think being successful means

having loads of cash in the bank, driving a flashy car, and having all the bling to go with it, but a new report has revealed that happiness trumps money when it comes to how Australians define personal success. The “Rethink Success” white paper released by NAB, found that the 77% of people measured success by how happy they feel in their personal life, rather than by how much money they have. The report said that “how Australians define success is evolving; It’s about personal fulfilment, wellbeing and relationships rather than money and materialism.”

develop a strategy that works for each individual person taking into account their definition of success and their stage of life. Contrary to what people might think, financial planners are not the fun police. I actually think that people put off seeing a financial planner because they think we’re going to tell you to save all your money. But that’s not the case. We don’t only focus on building your nest egg for retirement, we actually love seeing our clients living in the moment too.

“THINK OF US AS YOUR COACH” So, what did the NAB report reveal as the number one goal for the future? It’s probably no surprise to find that “improving personal health and fitness” was ranked as the top goal. If you’re serious about health and fitness you’d probably get a coach or a training partner to help you stay true to your goals. Financial Planning is the same. Think of us as your coach, someone who’ll work with you to achieve your own version of success.

“77% OF PEOPLE MEASURED SUCCESS BY HOW HAPPY THEY FEEL” People don’t necessarily aspire to have money for power or status but rather we seek money to feel secure and to enrich our lives with experiences that bring happiness. When those surveyed were asked about their goals for the future, nine of the top 20 goals were either about money specifically (build up savings, feel more financially secure, earn more money, buy a house, buy an investment property, pay off my mortgage, put extra money into super) or about experiences that requiring funding (like travel overseas). So while money might not be central to the average Aussie’s happiness, it’s still an important ingredient. Getting the balance right between being free enough with your money to have fun now and smart enough with your money to make sure your future is secure is a constant challenge for almost all of our clients. That’s why we don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to our wealth creation advice. It’s really important to




You’ve achieved your dream to own your own business. You have autonomy, you have freedom, you are your own boss. But when costs keep rising and competition heats up, the squeeze on your profit margin makes you start to wonder if it’s really worth it. Small business isn’t easy, but it can be rewarding and it can be lucrative. Here’s six tips to help you manage your money and boost your profits. Get your pricing right. Don’t be afraid to put your prices up. Sometimes a small tweak of your pricing is hardly noticed by customers, but can make a significant impact to your revenue. It’s also important to make sure you don’t only compete on price – offer customers an experience that will make them want to shop with you. Make sure you put in place a marketing strategy that differentiates your product or service from others. Review your overheads. Small businesses have a habit of thinking overheads cannot be changed. Shop around for better packages for things like electricity, telephone, internet and insurance. Go paperless with invoices to save paper and postage. Review the suitability of your office/shop space and find something more affordable or renegotiate your rent. If you’re not sure what you should be aiming for, engage


your accountant to benchmark your business and see if your overheads are on par with other businesses like yours. Timing is everything. When it comes to paying debt, ordering supplies, and collecting payments, be careful with your timing. Have strict terms and follow up debtors quickly. History shows the longer you leave a debt unpaid the less likely you are to ever recoup it. On the flip side, pay creditors as late as possible (within their terms) to ensure the least amount of pressure on your overdraft. Timing your cash flow can result in significant interest savings and boost your bottom line. Outsource your HR. Most small business owners don’t have time to get their head around the wads of regulations around employing people like the National Employment Standards and Modern Awards. Even running a payroll can take hours. It may be worth investing in timesheet and payroll software suited to your industry that can help you calculate hourly rates, overtime and other penalty rates. BMO’s HR division runs payroll for a number of our clients and we also offer other HR support services like development of employment contracts. Get to know your figures. Knowledge is power. Get into the habit of running monthly reports to analyse your

sales data and review your expenses. Look at your budget vs actual and work out where you are overspending or underestimating sales. Don’t wait until you’re doing your end of year tax return to review your financials. Regularly checking gives you a chance to do something about it before it’s too late.

“HAPPINESS IMPROVES BUSINESS OUTCOMES, INCREASING SALES BY 37%” Don’t forget the soft stuff. OK, so those who know me know I’m not really the type to focus too much on the “fluffy stuff”. But I have to admit, there is something to be said for the intangible profit boosters – like building good team morale, putting time into training your employees to sell more or increase productivity, and recognising and rewarding your team. Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage cites research that shows that happiness improves business outcomes, increasing sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%. Putting a smile on your employees’ dials can help your bottom line. Putting these tips in place will help you rediscover why you wanted to go into business in the first place and get you on the path to a secure future.


Farmers... Hang on for the ride! Farming is a roller coaster ride. It’s

important to know how to navigate the ups and downs and sharp unexpected turns. Some days you have to buckle up and hang on, and other days you throw your hands in the air with glee and squeal with delight. When you work on the land, being mentally strong and resilient in both good times and bad, will ensure that you can sustain yourself, your family and your business. That’s why we are pleased to announce that “The Farmer Wants a Life” will be back in 2017 and this time we’re bringing in reinforcements to help re-energise our rural communities and rediscover our passions. If you live within a 100km radius of either Taroom, Moonie or Dalby, we invite you to be enlightened by guest speaker Robyn Moore. You might not know Robyn Moore’s name, but her voice has been in your homes. A professional voice-over artist, Robyn has

made you laugh for 30 years in the longest-running radio show in Australia “How green was my Cactus” and on TV, her voice has also enchanted millions as Blinky Bill and other characters. Robyn grew up on the land. Her father was a stockman, drover, shearer, shearers’ chef and wool baler. He was also a great laugher and passed this gift onto Robyn. Her childhood was spent on sheep and cattle stations from Tassie to Queensland. She knows what it’s like to live in the isolation of the outback. She knows the challenges and joys that farming can deal out and the strain it places on relationships, and she has some powerful messages that will help renew your energy, reinvent your attitudes and restore hope and confidence in the future. Don’t miss this chance for a great evening out with friends where you’ll get to laugh, think, be moved, inspired and have a chance to re-engage with your own life’s purpose.

RE-ENGAGE with life RE-IGNITE passion RESTORE confidence in the future

What others said… “Robyn was outstanding. She showed an extraordinary ability to totally capture her audience, which comprised of farming men and women aged from 30 to 75...These drought affected families were totally inspired and entertained…We have never had such positive feedback from an audience.” NSW Agriculture Drought Relief “Robyn was the perfect antidote for our community. We really did go on a rollercoaster ride – a ride from cynicism, resignation, anger and procrastination to hope, belief, laughter, tears, joy, passion and love.” Greater Shepparton Council Drought Recovery Event “Robyn made us laugh, think, cry and open our eyes. For the first time in months we saw our farmers leave a meeting with a smile.” Victorian Farmers Federation



wants a LIFE

Taroom 21 Feb l Moonie 22 Feb l Dalby 23 Feb All Welcome l Free Event l Dinner & Refreshments

Robyn Moore is one of Australia's most in-demand speakers. She grew up on sheep and cattle stations (her Dad was a stockman). Her authentic Australian style, sense of humour and country insights help restore laughter, optimism, relationships and well-being.



Property Investing: Ask Dave

Your questions answered by BMO Partner, David Briese.

It’s my first time with an investment

property, what things I can claim as tax deductions? You can generally claim an immediate deduction for management and maintenance costs, interest on loans, advertising for tenants, cleaning, council rates, mowing, insurance, pest control, and repairs. Borrowing expenses (like loan application and mortgage broker fees), depreciation and capital works spending can be deducted over a number of years. It is also advisable to invest in a quantity surveyor report. This is a detailed report that shows the breakdown of the building construction costs and all plant and equipment item costs, along with the rates at which you can depreciate them and for how long. This report helps you to ensure we can maximise your deductions. Keep records of everything relating to your property; if you’re in doubt about what you can and can’t claim, please talk to your accountant. My husband and I flew to Sydney to check out a potential rental property, which we ended up buying. Can we claim the travel? Travel to inspect a rental property before you buy it cannot be claimed. Once it’s being rented, you can claim travel expenses to inspect and maintain it or collect rent. Be aware the ATO is using all kinds of data matching strategies (even social media!), so if you post pictures climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge on facebook when you were claiming to be repairing your property, the Tax Office might start asking questions!


I’d like to build a fence on my investment property. Can I claim as a deduction? If you are repairing an old fence to its original condition, then it is generally treated as 100% deductible. But if you pull down a wire fence (even if it was in need of repair) and replace it with a white picket fence then it would be deemed a capital improvement and you would be entitled to only claim 2.5% per year depreciation. We are moving out of our home to rent it out, is there anything we should be doing? If you move out of your principal place of residence to rent it, you should seek a market appraisal and request for a quantity surveyor report to be prepared. You should talk to your accountant to ensure you are aware of the possible capital gains tax (CGT) issues, and to discuss how you can maximise the use of the six-year rule to maintain an extended exemption from CGT. Our rental home is looking tired, so we are thinking of either putting in a new kitchen or painting the house, which would be better to do? It depends on your individual circumstances. If you are looking purely from a tax advantage point of view then painting would be an immediate deduction. This is handy for people who are needing to reduce their tax liability in that year. However, if tax isn’t your major motivation and the kitchen renovation will allow you to meet other financial goals (like increasing your rental return) then that might be the better choice. The key is to talk to your accountant before you make any significant changes to your rental property.

I’ve recently purchased an investment property and I’d like to rent it to my mother, is there any issue with this? It can often be advantageous to rent to family, especially if you know they will look after your place. However, be aware that if you rent a property at less than normal commercial rates, this may limit the deductions you can claim. I’ve bought a cottage and would like to renovate it before I rent it. Can I claim the costs? You can only claim deductions for expenses for the period your property is rented or is available for rent. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the repairs or improvements as it might help attract a better rental return on your property, which could be better for your long term goals. Talk to your accountant as sometimes it’s wiser to hold off on something, but it depends on your circumstances, your future goals and your tax position. BMO advises that readers seek professional advice relevant to their individual circumstances before making any financial decisions.

Appreciating depreciation Adrian Rasmussen, BMO Partner

Understanding how to ‘write down assets’ to reduce your tax liability can be valuable for those in small business. However, the complexities around depreciation can be quite confusing. The key to appreciating depreciation is to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

According to the ATO, a depreciating asset is an asset that has a limited effective life and can reasonably be expected to lose value over time, such as motor vehicles, computers, furniture, tools, machinery and equipment. There are currently two options for working out your deductions for depreciating business assets - Simplified Depreciation Rules and General Depreciation Rules. If your business has an annual turnover of less than $2 million you can go with the simplified rules. Under this regime you can: • immediately write-off the full amount of eligible items that cost less than $20,000. (Bear in mind the $20k threshold applies to items bought and installed between 12 May 2015 - 30 June 2017). • pool most other depreciating assets that cost $20,000 or more in a small business asset pool and claim.

other depreciation deduction – is less than $20,000. If you choose to use the simplified depreciation rules, you must: • use them to work out deductions for all your depreciating assets except those specifically excluded. • apply the entire set of rules, not just individual elements (such as the instant asset write-off). Word of warning: The simplified depreciation instant asset write off of $20k runs out in June 2017 after which it’s expected to revert back to the previous threshold of $1,000. No doubt in the lead up to the 30 June deadline, we’ll see a flurry of activity, such as motor vehicle and equipment dealers advertising to encourage businesses to take advantage of the tax break. While the immediate write off can offer advantages for reducing tax depending on your circumstances, it’s important not to make rash decisions about purchasing an asset. Always talk to your accountant first and make sure it fits with your cashflow and overall planning.

With the prime cost method, you depreciate the value of the asset evenly over its effective life. The diminishing value method allows you to depreciate the item more in the years immediately after purchase. If you want to minimise your tax deductions, then the prime method might be better for you. If you want to claim more deductions in the early years, then you might choose the diminishing value method. Appreciating all the intricacies of depreciation is not easy. The date of the purchase, the purpose of the item, the effective life of an item and your current tax position all have to be considered. The key is to work with your accountant to make sure that you purchase assets in the right entity, consider the right timing, and ensure that the way you claim suits your current and future taxation planning. The whole depreciation thing can be confusing, but there is one thing that is clear: If you’re thinking about buying, selling or disposing of an asset, call your accountant first!

• then apply a 30% deduction each year after the first year.

If you decide to stop using the simplified rules or become ineligible for them, you’ll need to apply the General Depreciation Rules. Although, if this happens, any assets in your small business pool will continue to be depreciated in the pool.

It’s not one-size-fits-all Did you know that under tax law a farmer can usually claim depreciation on a shed because it’s considered a piece of equipment, but a shed in town used for commercial purposes is considered a building and therefore falls under different rules.

You can then write-off the balance of your small business pool at the end of an income year if the balance – before applying any

Using the General Depreciation Rules, there are two ways to depreciate assets – prime cost method or diminishing value method.

Information in this article has been sourced from

• apply a 15% deduction in the first year, regardless of when you purchased or acquired them during the year.



$mart Money Moves for School Leavers Jemma Brown, BMO Financial Solutions Paraplanner

So you’ve just graduated from high school and are about to start your first real job earning real

money. Where to now? Unfortunately ‘Personal Finance’ is not a compulsory subject so you might be feeling a little in the dark about how to #adult. Here’s some Smart Money Moves to help get you on the right track: Create a Budget – and stick to it! A budget is a detailed summary of likely income and expenses for a given period. It helps you decide whether you can go out for dinner with friends or head home for two minute noodles. Budgeting will not only help you manage your money but will also decrease your stress levels. Beware of Credit Credit is both a powerful and dangerous tool. Borrowing money can really help you when purchasing a new car or your first home, but it can also be extremely risky for spendthrift people. If you rack up credit card debt, it can soon become unmanageable and before you know it you will be paying interest on a pair of jeans and Coco Pops. Invest in your retirement Money doesn’t grow overnight, saving for retirement requires a lifelong commitment. People in their teens or 20s have one distinctive advantage: Time. Putting money away for retirement when you’re young will mean your savings will have more time to collect interest and grow than if you were to start saving in your 30’s or 40’s. Protect yourself Your most valuable assets are your health and your ability to produce income. Protecting yourself against life’s uncertainties is so important. Having appropriate health and personal cover in place will provide financial protection for you and your family in the event that you were to suffer from an injury, illness or death. The best part is, the younger you are when you take out insurance, generally the cheaper it is.


Gap Year?

Do your will, get travel insurance/personal insurance.

A Studying?

Check out Centrelink allowances.

A Full time job?

Get an accountant to do your tax return, start collecting receipts for any work related expenses.

Self Managed Super Myths Michelle McVeigh, BMO Partner

From DIY home renovations to DIY car

repairs, Australians love to roll up their sleeves and have-a-go. With more than 30,000 self-managed super funds (SMSFs) started every year, it seems like DIY Super has also become a popular thing to do. Is it time you joined the trend and took control of your financial destiny too? I need to say from the outset, SMSFs are not for everybody. Sure, you can enjoy greater control over your money and greater flexibility in your choice of investments, but on the other hand having a SMSF means greater responsibility, both legally and financially. Here’s a few myths I’d like to bust about SMSFs:

1. You have to be rich to have one. You don’t need to be a multi-millionaire, but you do need to have enough to make it financially viable. A study by actuarial group Rice Warner found that it was not cost effective to have a SMSF with less than $100,000 to invest. 2. It’s easy to do. It isn’t overly complicated if you get the right advice, but it’s important not to barrel in and set up a SMSF thinking it’s going to be a breeze. You need time and knowledge to manage the fund, and understand the rules, regulations and administration requirements. 3. You can make a quick buck. In our experience using a self-managed super fund as a vehicle to build your wealth should be considered a long term plan. You should have an investment strategy and monitor it regularly.

4. Any accountant can help you with a SMSF. As of 1 July 2016, under the Australian Financial Services Licensing framework, accountants require a RG 146 compliance to provide advice in SMSFs. All BMO Partners and two of our specialist accountants are compliant. Before you talk to an accountant about the establishment or winding up of a SMSF, make sure they have the right qualifications. 5. You have to stick with traditional investments. Aside from cash, SMSFs can invest in managed funds, shares, property trusts and fixed interest as well as real property and other unconventional assets. Of course there are lots of rules around what you can and can’t invest in, so be sure to get advice, but don’t be afraid to explore non-traditional options.

$20k boost to buy your first new

home E

ligible Queenslanders can now access a $20,000 contribution towards a new home thanks to the First Home Owners’ Grant (FHOG). Lifted from $15,000 to $20,000 for a 12 month period from 1 July 2016, the grant is great way to get a start in property ownership. If you are buying or building a brand new home, unit or townhouse, valued under $750,000, and you’re 18 years or over, an Australian citizen or permanent resident and you or your spouse have not previously owned property in Australia, then you may be eligible. BMO Loans and Leasing Manager Paul Logan says that people who are house hunting, should try to get finance pre-approval so that it makes the loan application move quicker when you’ve decided on a property. “It’s important for anyone looking to make a major purchase and enter into a loan, to shop around for the best deal. You can use a service like BMO Loans and Leasing to find the best interest rates and package deals for you.”



Creating a culture

Alex Gee Kee, BMO Practice Manager

The phrase workplace culture has become

another piece of business vocabulary over the years. While it seems like just another “buzz phrase”, your workplace culture is the glue that holds everything together. It is what motivates your employees to come to work and do their best, but more importantly is your one true sustainable competitive advantage because it is unique to only your business.

such as rewards and benefits, social functions, team building events and community involvement.

teamwork but helps build their skills in overcoming adversity (and encourages employees to be fit and active).

The good news is encouraging a culture which is happy and healthy, doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. So here are some of my favourite workplace culture hacks:

Why so serious? Make sure you turn up for fun! Coming to work with a positive attitude and a smile on your face costs nothing. Ensuring your team enjoy coming to work is important and will help them deal with jobs and challenges in a more positive frame of mind.

Developing and fostering workplace culture, isn’t a short term project, rather an on-going one - as the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.

Build a story. Ensure your business has history and a story to tell, this helps to further cement your values and vision. It costs nothing and builds a sense of legacy into the business and makes your team feel a part of something bigger.

There are some aspects of culture that are embedded into the organisation such as the values, attitudes and beliefs displayed by the team. Some are more tangible and visible,

Encourage your team (and managers) to participate in local social sporting competitions, e.g. touch football, netball, triathlons. Not only does this promote

DIY parties and events. Not every social function has to cost an arm and a leg for venue hire and catering. Organise some afternoon nibbles and drinks at a local establishment or even just in your lunch room at the office. Socialising in an informal environment helps the team build rapport and relationships.

With the Sydney Morning Herald recently reporting that one in

Working from home

three workers now regularly work from home, it is worth making sure we approach this effectively. BMO embraces flexible work practices. Over one-third of our team works casual hours, part time and/or from home or from a remote office. Here’s some tips from two of our regular work-from-homers, Mary Bignell and Helen Ruddy: 1. Set up your office as a completely separate area. 2. Set some ground rules and expectations with your family. 3. Do not allow yourself to do personal jobs in work time – same as you would if you were in an actual office. 4. Be disciplined and stick to a routine. 5. Keep in contact with your colleagues. 6. See if your work can set-up video calling to keep in touch. 7. Make sure you get out of the house sometimes or you can get a little cabin crazy!


BMO in the Community


As a locally owned business, we understand the importance of community. We pride

ourselves on being connected to the communities in which our team and clients live and work in, through sponsorships both financial and in-kind. Over the past year BMO has been proud to support the following clubs, associations and events: Aussie Helpers, Dalby Bowls Club, Dalby Golf Club, Dalby Rugby Union Club, Wandoan Show, Jandowae Show, Condamine Cods Rugby Union, Bell State School, Dalby Swans AFL, Dalby Eisteddfod, Dalby Picnic Races, Bell Golf Club, Darling Downs Cotton Growers Association, Jandowae Pony Club, Kaimkillenbun State School Trail Bike Ride, Cecil Plains State School, Jandowae Race Club, Dalby South School, Dalby State School, Taroom Races, Football Dalby, Golden Acres Gala at St George, Eastern Rural Beef Bonanza, Blue Care, Meandarra State School, OLSCC Saints Race Day, Dalby Chamber of Commerce, Basin Sustainability Alliance, Dalby Lions Club, Dalby Daycare, Dalby Crime Stoppers, Moonie Yabbie Races, Delicious & Delightful Festival, Tara Polocrosse Club and Cancer Council Qld. Gala supporting Royal Flying Doctors.

Dalby Bowls Club.

White Ribbon Day Breakfast.

Qld Cancer Council.

Dalby Rugby Club.

Free Seminars.

Dalby State School.

Dalby Touch Football.

Meandarra State School.



The ONE marketing mistake most businesses make After 22 years working in the sphere of public relations, communications and marketing, there is one mistake I see businesses make over and over again.

Telling people about your product or service. The truth is you are wasting your time and your precious advertising space. I know it’s hard to believe. After all, we work long hard hours developing our products, finding our suppliers, honing our skills, finding the right employees; and when we finally have the product or service that we are proud of, we want to tell the world about it. However, I hate to break it to you…. your potential customers don’t really care. They just want to know how it will help THEM.

Megan James, BMO Communications Manager

The best advertising and marketing campaigns don’t list the features of the product or service, they tell the customer how the product will make them feel, how it will improve them, how it solves a problem for them. Nike’s ‘Unlimited You’ campaign features a series of videos that depict people achieving great things, and going way beyond their expectations. There is a little flash of a shoe or a shirt here and there but it’s not obvious. Nike doesn’t bother listing the durability of its materials, the percentage of cotton in their clothing, or the level of product testing they do. They know the customers would switch off. Simply, they communicate - with Nike your potential is unlimited.

We’re not all Nike. We certainly don’t have their budget or brand recognition. But we can apply the same principle in the way we market and advertise our small businesses.

“SELL THE BENEFITS NOT THE FEATURES.” You may have heard the old expression “Sell the sizzle not the sausage”. It means sell people the benefits not the features. So stop telling people about your product or services. Just tell them how doing business with you will change their life.

If you build it, they will come... Regional businesses often find it hard to

attract experienced workers who are prepared to move west of the range. While there is no simple answer, here’s some ideas that have helped BMO meet our human resourcing needs. Offering earn while you learn. We offer one of the best traineeship programs in the region where school leavers can work full-time at BMO while being supported to undertake their tertiary studies. Employees learn and develop faster as they are able to apply their studies on a practical level every day. Some of our best senior accountants have risen up through the ranks via our traineeship program. Building an attractive culture. We take extra care to treat our team well with mentoring, flexible work hours, uniforms, training, social club, sport, morning teas, values and even a pool competition. Our team tells us the opportunities at BMO to grow professionally, be involved in the community, and experience work diversity are ten times what you are able to access in


many big metro firms. Boosting our technology. Our secure paperless, remote access system allows team members, wishing to balance employment with family or lifestyle commitments - based in Dalby, Miles, Irvingdale, Toowoomba, Westmar and Taroom - to log in and seamlessly work from home. If they won’t come to you - go to them. While many businesses have their head office in the city and back offices elsewhere, BMO has reversed the trend by having our head office in Dalby and establishing a “satellite office” in Brisbane. Currently staffed with one senior accountant, this has given us a great meeting point for our existing Brisbane-based clients. Giving us the opportunity to hire accountants who don’t want to leave the city, should the need arise, while retaining those that want to leave the country for the city life. It’s a modest office suite in a great central

location only 5km from the city and across the road from Toowong Shopping Village. The Western Downs is our BMO home and we have no intention of diluting our commitment to our local region. We see this as an innovative way to address our client and human resourcing needs. The key to beating the skill shortage is to be prepared to think outside the square and be adaptive to ensure you don’t miss opportunities to attract the right team members for your business.

Our Brisbane satellite office is a great meeting point for city-based clients.


From Mayor to Man-About-Town


with Warwick Geisel Zipping around the front lawn on a ride-

on mower, waving as passers-by beep their horns, you could be mistaken for thinking that the BMO groundsman is somewhat of a celebrity, and you wouldn’t be far wrong. The familiar face, always wearing a beaming smile, is none other than former Dalby Town Mayor Warwick Geisel, a recent OAM recipient. ‘Every Step Magazine’ sat down with Warwick and asked him about life after politics, his role at BMO and the secret to keeping the gardens looking so great.

Tell us a little about your time as Mayor? My grandfather had been a councillor for 32 years and my great grandfather had been Mayor. But, when I was voted into Council

and elected Deputy Mayor, I had never even been to a meeting…not even so much as a tuckshop meeting! So it was a vertical learning curve. I ended up being Mayor for 20 years from 1988 until 2008. When I was defeated in the 2008 elections [after amalgamation], I was disappointed briefly, but then I realised this was my opportunity for a new stage of life.

Do you miss public life?

As Mayor you are on call 24-7, and I knew that’s what I’d signed up for, but I definitely like having less pressure these days. It was a great experience, but I wouldn’t go back to it now even if they paid me a million bucks. I’ve always been more comfortable being out the back making the sandwiches rather than up the front making the speeches.

What do you enjoy about BMO?

Great people to come to work with. I know a lot of the BMO clients and I love talking with them when they come in.

What does your role entail?

I’m a caretaker. I set up for conferences, general maintenance, fixing things, cooking on the BBQ, changing lightbulbs – you wouldn’t believe how often light bulbs blow in this place! But my main role is to look after the grounds.

How do you keep the BMO gardens looking so good?

Well I mow them and water them. Truly, that’s it! I do get good advice from a friend, Damien Cumming, who is very experienced in this area and he keeps me on track.

Managing Mental Health @ Work

Mental Health is finally coming out of the shadows and is getting the light it deserves. Given that about one in five Australians will

experience mental health in their lifetime, chances are you are working with someone who is currently going through a tough time. So what can you do in your workplace to help manage and assist those with a mental health issue. Read our full blog at Reduce the stigma

Increase Awareness

Support your team

Educate your team

Invest in support

Be courageous – speak openly about mental health conditions

Put some pamphlets in the lunch room on your staff notice boards.

Offer flexible working arrangements to help manage their health better.

Look for signs and how to approach someone doing it tough.

Benefit from spending $ on implementing workplace mental health actions.


No matter what size your business is.. With our full range of business and financial services, you can get all the help you need to grow your business and achieve your personal goals, under one roof. From business loans, to superannuation, employing staff, finding a life insurance policy, facilitating a family meeting, sending out a press release or running a training day in our conference centre,

we’re with you every step of the way. If you want to put your best foot forward, you need advisers you can trust to help guide you and stand beside you. We’re not just accountants. We’re your business adviser and your sounding board.

Accounting & Taxation l Financial Planning l Succession Planning Loans & Leasing l Human Resources l Self Managed Superannuation Funds Business Development l Marketing & Communication l Conference Facilities l 178 Drayton Street Dalby l 07 4662 3722

BMO Every Step Magazine 2016  
BMO Every Step Magazine 2016