Saturday, 26 November 2011

Where we live

Day after day passes by and often all we see is our house, our car and our office. A walk today in my neighbourhood enlightened me that there is so much natural beauty surrounding us. We need to take the time to step out and appreciate it.

I remember as a child rollerskating in the streets, playing hide and seek until well after dark. Now our fear seems to make us hide away in our holes. I wonder, if we all spent more time out on the streets together then there might be less to worry about.

I think it is time we took back our streets, prayed about our streets and took the time to enjoy them again.

So this Christmas, think about dusting off those old roller skates. Have fun, meet your neighbours. Have a blessed and safe Christmas.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Liquidity is defined as, a state of being able to meet financial obligations. Business owners should make sure that the business is able to pay outstanding debt. The ability of a business to continue honouring debt, is a good measure of the strength of the management.

So how can we consistently maintain a good liquidity? In our last few articles, we discussed managing debtors and creditors, and saving. These principles are useful and we encourage you to read them. In addition to these articles:
1. Costing products and services correctly. Include all fixed and variable costs;
2. Budget to understand all the costs and plan ahead;
3. Expect some delays in payment and plan accordingly;
4. Plan to make a profit and work hard at achieving it.

A common measure of liquidity is the liquidity ratio. This ratio measures the ability of a business' current assets to pay for the current liabilities. A good ratio is between 1.5 and 2.

Keeping an eye on liquidity and maintaining a sound ratio will build confidence in your business and integrity.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Cash Flow Management - Creditors

In the last issue we discussed saving and the stabilising factor it is for a business. Saving is often hampered by overdue Creditors.

A general perception is that, creditor's payments should be delayed for as long as possible. Although delaying creditors sounds like a logical solution to helping cash flow, the benefit is only realised in the first few months of a business. 

In professional entities, there is very little affect on cash flow. Only disbursement creditors could be delayed, within reason. Once a client pays, the disbursements can be paid for without impacting on the business overdraft.

If a product is manufactured from parts purchased from creditors and then sold as a finished product, there is worth in delaying the payment of the creditor until such time as the product is sold.

Business' are declared insolvent when they are no longer able to pay there creditors. They are technically insolvent when the current liabilities are higher than there current assets. Maintaining a balanced creditors ledger and paying creditors regularly will:
  1. Improve credibility with creditors;
  2. Open the opportunity for early payment discounts;
  3. and place the business in a strong financial position to build credibility with the bank.
The creditors ledger should be updated regularly. This will help identify what is due. The expenses on the income statement will be up to date and profitability can then be reviewed accurately. A good system will include the monthly review of creditors to determine the cash needed in a month for creditor payments. Planning for early payment of creditors will alleviate pressure on the bank overdraft at certain times of the month.

Creditors should be paid sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cash Flow Management - Saving versus loans

In the last issue we discussed debtors and the importance of keeping debtors accounts current. Top of the mind awareness is the key to being paid on time.

As individuals, we are taught to save. An old adage is, one should save three times there monthly salary in cash equivalents, before embarking on further investments. This will allow one to have three months of recovery in tough times.

We should apply the same saving principle to our business. There is a tendency to draw every last cent out of a business for personal use. Often business expenditure is too high to allow for saving leaving our cash flow in a much to be desired state. With the additional funds collected from debtors, above monthly expenditure, there may be a window of opportunity to save.

The way forward:
  1. Pay off unnecessary loans both business and personal.
  2. Save in your personal capacity so that you have three months income in a money market account or the like. These savings will cover unexpected personal expenses and thereby reduce the impact of personal drawings from the business.
  3. Save three times your fixed business costs. (fixed costs are those monthly recurring costs that will not vary with changes in income.) This will ensure business stability and reduce the bank overdraft substantially.
  4. Save monthly for VAT by reviewing the VAT Control ledger often. A VAT return payment will then have a minimal impact on your cash flow.

Saving improves the cash flow and stability of your business. Saving builds credibility. Banks will look favourably on a business that handles financial affairs wisely. Business' need to start receiving interest and not continuously under the burden of overdrafts and heavy interest charged.

E.g. An individual with a monthly income of R50,000.00 should have savings of R150,000.00 in cash equivalents. If 10% of the individuals monthly income is saved, R5,000.00, it will take less than 30 months to achieve the target of R150,000.00. Interest will obviously speed this process up. 10% interest on R150,000.00 is R15,000.00 p/a.

If a business has an overdraft of R50,000.00. The interest on the overdraft facility at say 20% is R10,000.00 p/a. A loan from the bank for R50,000.00 with an interest rate of 12% will cost R6,000.00 p/a. Using a bank loan instead of a bank overdraft will save R4,000.00 p/a. Reducing your expenditure by R5000.00 per month or generating further income will ensure the loan is repaid within the year. Most often the facility will remain in tact for emergencies. In fact, if the R15,000.00 from the savings account plus the R4,000.00 saving from changing from an overdraft to a loan will mean there is an additional R19,000.00 available in year one to repay loans. In year two, There will be an additional R25,000.00 available from interest saving on not using the overdraft facility and interest earned on savings. This simple example illustrates the value of not having a bank overdraft.

Plan ahead to determine what your financial needs will be in the year. Save whenever you have the opportunity to.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

PAYE Interim Reconciliation

The PAYE interim reconciliation, EMP501, period is about to commence. We would encourage all readers to check that there payrolls during August 2011, for accuracy and detail.

The employee details are becoming more important and the South African Revenue Services (SARS) are tightening up on controls. All employees will need to be registered for income tax, whether or not they need to submit an income tax form. Employee address and contact details need to be accurate.

The submission period is from 01 September 2011 to 31 October 2011.

This interim reconciliation will be for the payroll period 01 March 2011 to 31 August 2011. 

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cash Flow Management - Debtors

No cash in the bank! Scrambling around on the 25th of every month to find money to pay Salaries and VAT! The Income statement shows a profit every month and year but still the cash is not there to pay these crucial amounts due to keep your business alive.

Cash flow is a crucial element in every business. Constant management is essential. Over the next few Newsletters we will discuss a few tips to help improve cash flow in your business.

To do the work and invoice a debtor does not mean the business has earned the money. Generating a turnover of five million a year from debtors who will not pay, is not worth any "money in the bank". Bad debtors impact on cash flow. When viewing the age analysis monthly, make sure the ratio on the 60 days plus is below 10% of the total debtors. If possible do not allow debtors go over 30 days. If a debtor is consistently over 30 days without a prior arrangement in place, consider whether the debtor is worth keeping.
  1. Screen clients before commencing work. Make sure they have a good credit record.
  2. Obtain full clients details early.
  3. Invoice the debtor. (How often has a debtor not actually been invoiced?)
  4. Send statements regularly. Most debtors forget they owe money. Remind them regularly. Twice a month if necessary.
  5. Know who the contact person is. In some companies or government departments there may multiple contacts. Keep their phone numbers.
  6. If a debtor has not paid within 30 days phone them. Chase up the debt straight away. The longer a debt is left outstanding the harder it will be to recover.
  7. Debts that are older than two years are generally prescribed. Write them off. You have very little chance of recovering it. Concentrate on debtors where you can recover the funds.
  8. Review bad debts annually. Consider whether they should be written off.
  9. Do not do new work for a debtor who will not pay unless there is an arrangement in place. If they are not paying now it is unlikely they will pay later.
  10. 150 day debtors should be handed over to a collections department to recover. The debt should be written off in your accounting and placed on the collection debtors account for recovery.
  11. Consider an early payment discount.
A good debtors book will give an accurate reflection of what is expected in cash flow over the next few months. Knowing debtors and there ability to pay on time helps to plan cash flow.
Debtors that pay regularly and on time are the debtors worth keeping.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

PAYE EMP501 Submissions

The EMP501, PAYE reconciliation, should be submitted to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) by 3 June 2011.

Penalties could be imposed by SARS for late and incomplete submissions of the PAYE reconciliation. A request for remittance of the penalty is possible, if you can prove the circumstances causing the non-compliance were beyond your control.

The submission experience has improved this year. There were some hiccups. For example, the numerous upgrades of e@syFileTM. Users of e@syFileTM look forward to the smaller upgrade bursts which are quicker to download and don't require a complete uninstall and reinstall of the program, to make sure upgrade is complete. The hours and gigs used downloading e@syFileTM software this year at least made internet service providers happy.

The income tax synchronisation system was faulty. Registration of new income tax numbers could be done via e@syFileTM but often the numbers did not populate the income tax number field.

There is a drive on to have the PAYE reconciliation completed monthly. This will be phased in over the next few years. We have experienced the mid year and end of year submissions. Tax payers will need to make sure that good systems are in place to keep up with accurate submissions on a monthly basis.

Review for more information.

Budget 2011/2012

BUDGET 2011/2012

South African budget speech 2011, presented by Finance Minister Pravine Gordhan, did not hold many surprises. There are positives for the country with a strong focus on job creation, improving education and health systems.


  1. R10 billion for job creation, small enterprise development and youth employment;
  2. R10.4 billion for public transport, roads and rail infrastructure;
  3. R9.5 billion to increase enrolment at FET colleges and skills development;
  4. R8.2 billion for upgrading school facilities;
  5. R7.9 billion to improve primary health care, revitalise hospitals and combat HIV and Aids;
  6. R7.2 billion for human settlement upgrading, municipal services and water infrastructure;
  • Taxable income (R)
  • Rates of tax
  • 0 – 150 000 18% of each R1
  • 150 001 –235 000 R27 000 +25% of the amount above R150 000
  • 235 001 –325 000 R48 250 +30% of the amount above R235 000
  • 325 001 –455 000 R75 250 +35% of the amount above R325 000
  • 455 001 –580 000 R120 750 +38% of the amount above R455 000
  • 580 001 and above R168 250 +40% of the amount above R580 000
Rebates of Tax
Primary R10 755
Additional (Persons 65 and older) R6 012

Tax Threshold
Below age 65 R59 750
Age 65 and over R93 150


GDP for 2011 is expected to be 3.4 per cent, while 4.1 per cent is projected for 2012.


Headline inflation rate January 2011 is 3.7%. (Key findings: P0141 - Consumer Price Index (CPI), January 2011 ) The Finance Minister expects inflation to remain within the 3 – 6 per cent range, increasing to the upper end in 2013 tracking the strengthening economy. Increasing Oil and food price are a concern to consumers.

Forex, Rand Strength

The strength of the Rand in the past year has affected manufacturing and other business sectors. Measures to moderate the potential affect of capital inflows have been implemented.

Division of Revenue

With all the emphasis on the poor service delivery in many communities in South Africa, it is disappointing to see that municipalities will only receive less than 9 per cent of nationally raised revenue allocation.

Creating Jobs

“development first, and not dependence on welfare.” is the statement of the President emphasised by the Finance Minister. A budget to accelerate employment has been set.
Points that could affect us:
  1. Expanded public works, including community based projects, environmental and social programmes and maintenance of roads and infrastructure;
  2. Tax incentives for manufacturing, focus job creation;
  3. Small enterprise development initiatives, including a focus on employment activation;
Keep an eye on dividend tax proposed for April 2012.
In closing, there is stability and a long term growth path in the Finance Ministers plan, with high expectations. We will be affected positively and negatively in the next year by these decisions. More importantly, how can we affect the community around us, with the resources we have. We can assist by creating employment and helping those in need.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Travel Allowance – Application of amendments to tax

If you receive a travel allowance or use a company vehicle, you need to check that the tax is being applied correctly. Amendments, to tax on travel allowances and right of use of motor vehicle, have been made by the South African Revenue Services (SARS) from 01 March 2011. This article will review the tax implications of the various applications.

Travel Allowance

A basic travel allowance pays the employee the amount expected and calculated, as a reasonable estimate of what the employee is expected to travel in a month, given the nature of the job. This travel allowance is expected to cover the fuel and repairs and maintenance cost of the employees vehicle that is used for business travel. As from March 2011 travel allowances will be taxed at 80%. The employee is then expected to maintain a Travel Log Book. The log book will be used to prepare the employees income tax return. On assessment by SARS the tax could be reduced and refunded to the employee. If at least 80% of the use of the vehicle will be for business use, then 20% tax could be used. If unsure, use the 80%.

Log Book

A log book is a record of an individuals business travelled kilometres. There is an opening and closing odometer reading, for the year, and the details of all business travel. Private travel is not needed unless one wishes to prove private travel. Even so it is possible to prove this by calculating the total difference of opening, closing and business kilometres.

Right of Use of Motor Vehicle

A vehicle owned by a business and used by employees will result in a tax on right of use of vehicle. This applies to both the employees and owners of companies. The right of use is a taxable perk. The perk is calculated as follows: 
  • 3.5% of the determined value of the vehicle at the time of the commencement of use. This includes the purchase price including VAT and the value of the maintenance plan. This value excludes finance charges;
  • If the determined value includes a maintenance plan then 3.25% may be used;
  • No reduction can be claimed if the employee carries the cost of fuel and maintenance.
  • Where the company leases the vehicle, the retail market value of the vehicle, including VAT will be used.
The perk is then taxed at 80% or if the personal use of the business will be less than 20%, then the perk can be taxed at 20%.

The right of use of vehicle does not apply to pool vehicles.

Make sure you:
  • Keep a log book of all business travel;
  • Check that the correct tax is being applied;
  • Don't forget to tax the fringe benefit, right of use of motor vehicle.

Business Soul Accounting Blog

Business Soul Accounting Blog will be used to update clients on changes in accounting, tax and business management.

We hope to reference clearly to relevant articles and information to point readers in the right direction.

Enjoy the read.