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Cyber security tips for your business

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Cyber security tips for your business
Cyber security tips for your business

COVID has prompted businesses to go digital, making cyberattacks an easy job for scammers. Small businesses are especially at risk because of the lack of resources to purchase high security tools and software. Consider using the following strategies to avoid each type of risk to give your business the extra protection it needs.

Avoiding Phishing

Employees may receive emails that invite users to click on links attached to them. These emails can often mimic a casual interaction with a client or business partner, or even your electricity or telephone company. The most effective way to prevent phishing is to be more vigilant with responding to emails. Most organisations do not require personal information like bank details or date of birth over an email, and requests for these should raise a red flag. Checking email addresses for subtle misspells, pop-up messages and invoices for products you never purchased are common tactics to get you to interact with the link.

Anti-virus software

A traditional antivirus software can fail to pick up on newer forms of malicious codes that are used to steal passwords and your personal account information. Consider regularly updating your antivirus software to ensure that all firewalls are up (across all the computers used in your business). It can also be crucial to update your operating system and continually back up your folders and drives to make sure that you are able to access your information in case of data loss.

Securing your network

An unsecure network can cause a variety of security issues, including essentially granting access to anyone who wishes to join your network. Setting up a wireless network usually comes with a default password, and it is important to ensure that this password is changed. For heightened security, consider using multiple networks that separate guests, staff and contractors, for example, to complicate security breaches for hackers. It can be a great idea to use tools that generate random passwords to improve encryption across all your networks.

Multi/two-factor authentication

A growingly popular method of improving security is to use two different sources to identify the user trying to log into their accounts. This typically involves a combination of two types of verification like pins, passwords, fingerprints or a card. While criminals may have stolen one of these proofs, it can be harder to obtain your second proof of identity when being prompted to verify.

Tips to retaining your customers

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Tips to retaining your customers
Tips to retaining your customers

Acquiring new customers can often be simpler than retaining existing customers. However, loyal customers give your business a higher chance of succeeding.

Unhappy customers stop doing business with you, negatively affecting your business’ growth. The rate at which your business is losing customers is called churn rate. It can be crucial to address this churn rate to keep it from lowering your revenue and profits.

Consider using the following strategies to reduce churn and improve your customer loyalty.

Analyse churn causes

This is a simple but important step in understanding why your customers are leaving your business. A high churn rate can be explained by a variety of causes including being offered better value elsewhere or simply low levels of connection to your brand. Consider talking to customers who have not returned to understand why they cut ties. This can act as a double-whammy from not only finding out the reason, but also in then showing customers that your business cares about losing them. This can be through phone calls, emails, website and live chat interactions or even social media.

Accessible information

You may find that your customers are having trouble with the functionality of your website or your product. Consider providing free information, training, video tutorials and product demos that are easily accessible to your customer. This can make your product more user-friendly and help customers feel more comfortable – which can be the key to retaining them.

Categorise your customers

Some customers are more likely to leave than others, and need to be categorised into an “at-risk” segment. These are the customers who may have asked for a quote or more information, and were not given direct answers. These can prompt customers to lose interest in the business, so proactive communication with the ‘at-risk’ segment is crucial in retaining them.

Improve customer engagement

Customers wanting to contact you should have minimal trouble accessing your website or contact details. It can be beneficial to ensure that there are no broken links within your website, and that your address and contact information is updated. You may also want to consider setting up a live chat or a mobile app for your business to improve response rate with your customers. This makes it easier for customers to interact with your brand and purchase your products – which can give you the competitive edge.

Having exclusive promotions and offers can help inspire customers to purchase your products, but consistent communication efforts and implementing changes that address the root causes for leaving is key to keeping your new customers happy and onboard longer.

Tax implications of exceeding super contributions

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Tax implications of exceeding super contributions
Tax implications of exceeding super contributions

A great way to grow your retirement savings is by making regular contributions to your super fund. However, there are limits to extra contributions which when exceeded, may be subject to additional tax liabilities.

Concessional contributions

There are two kinds of contributions, concessional and non-concessional, which have different contribution caps. Concessional contributions are payments made before your income tax is deducted, and can include super from your employer and salary sacrificed contributions.

When these contributions are made to your super fund, they are taxed at 15%. This tax rate is increased to 30% if your relevant income is over $250,000.

Total super balance of less than $500,000 on 30 June of the previous financial year may permit you to carry forward unused concessional contributions under your cap on a rolling basis for up to five years. Members may also be subject to a Division 293 tax if their combined income and contributions are greater than the Division 293 threshold.

Excess contributions made over this cap are included in their assessable income and will be taxed at a marginal rate. Members are also entitled to a rebate equal to 15% of the excess contributions to account for the tax paid in the super fund. To offset any benefit received from making excess concessional contributions, an excess concessional contributions charge (ECCC) applies.

If members have been advised that they have exceeded their concessional contributions cap by the ATO, the member can choose to release 85% of the excess contributions from their super within 60 days of receiving the notice, which will then be used to pay the additional tax.

Alternatively, the member may also choose to not release excess funds and leave the contributions in their super funds.

These excess contributions that are released are non-assessable non-exempt income.

Non-concessional contributions

Non-concessional contributions are payments made after income tax has been paid, and includes all after-tax contributions and spousal contributions. Not unlike concessional contributions, non-concessional contributions are subject to an interest penalty to offset the investment returns from the concessionally taxed environment.

A concessional contribution cap that the member has chosen not to release will be treated as a non-concessional contribution cap. In this case, the member will receive an excess tax assessment and the excess contribution is taxed at 47%.

To mitigate penalties from breaching their caps, it is advised that members complete their tax returns at the earliest, which can bring down the period over which the interest is calculated. Adding back excess concessional contributions in assessable income may affect personal income tax and affect tax rebates like medicare levy surcharge and division 293 tax among others.

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