In this Issue

November 2009 Newsletter

From the desk of our CEO, Andrew Blunden

How many conversations have you had this weekend about the Federal Government's Emission Trading Scheme and the leadership challenges within the Federal Opposition? If only they could utilise the hot air being generated by these subjects, we would have an excellent (and non-carbon emitting) alternative energy resource!

Back to the real world, however, and Part Time Professionals is delighted to support Father Chris Reilly the founder of Youth Off The Streets who is speaking at a breakfast for our sponsored business association, Pittwater Business Limited, this Wednesday 2 December. For anyone wishing to attend, simply click here.

Youth Off The Streets is a community organisation working for young people who are chronically homeless, substance dependent or recovering from abuse. Youth Off the Streets support these young people as they work to turn their lives around and overcome immense personal traumas such as neglect and physical, psychological and emotional abuse. Hearing these kids' stories really puts the newspaper headines into their proper perspective.

This edition, we thought we'd provide some background behind Australia's official unemployment statistics (so, can you trust the numbers?); a word of advice to business owners and directors before you go on holidays; and a public relations perspective on marketing post the GFC.

As this is the last newsletter before Christmas, together with Jennifer, Yvette, Brenton and the team at Part Time Professionals, I wish you all the Very Best for Christmas and the New Year. We would also like to thank you for all your support throughout the year.

Our offices will be open until 24 December and will re-open 11 January. We know that business doesn't stop over this period so for any after hours assistance or urgent requirements, our office lines will still be operating on 1300 79 1946 throughout the break. We will attend to any queries.


Can We Really Trust the Numbers?

In October 2009 Australia's official unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.8 per cent. Of the 24,500 new jobs that were created during the month, 21,500 were part time.

This is good news for those companies, like Part Time Professionals, who have been advocating the value of part time resourcing for years - even before it became a financial necessity for many businesses. But  how reliable is this official data and where does the Federal Government gets its numbers from?

Craig James published an article in Smartcompany this month that explored the question.

Monthly labour force estimates are compiled by a survey. Each month the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey people from 29,000 dwellings, and some hotels and motels, to gauge the sample. How small is that sample? The ABS says that it covers 0.33% of the population. That is, one third of one percent.

And it is this small sample that policy makers, such as the Reserve Bank, rely upon when making their decisions. Over 99.5 percent of the population are neither surveyed nor consulted.

The ABS therefore recommends that, instead of focussing on monthly movements in the data, that we focus on the trends. And based on these trends, hours worked have moved sideways since April.

For numbers that you can rely upon, give us a call on 1300 79 1946 and we will introduce an Accountant, Financial Controller or Chief Financial Officer to your business for both contract or part time assignments. We now represent over 280 contract Accountants, Fianancial Controllers, CFOs and other Executives Australia-wide.

A Holiday to Remember

"Its holiday time again. I've confirmed the flights, booked the accomodation, packed the bags...But, what have I forgotten? I'm sure there was something!!??"

Company directors often have no real understanding of the extent of their personal exposure for tax, explained lawyer Derek Hilliard in My Business magazine. Director Penalty Notices (DPNs) can be served to the directors of a company by the ATO rendering them personally liable for unpaid company taxes.

The tax office issued 6,966 DPNs in 2008-09, a 29.6 per cent increase on the previous year. These figures are a measure of the economic downturn, but they also reflect the tax office’s increased focus on early intervention.

DPNs are sent out by Australia Post and action must be taken within 14 days from the day they are posted. Once the 14 days have expired there is no discretion to extend the period. Some of the dangers associated with this delivery method and the stringent time frame include a director going away on business or on holiday and missing the time frame.

The director of one small business in Sydney was recently served a DPN while holidaying in his South Coast house. He was unable to respond in the required time so was deemed personally liable and now finds himself bankrupt. Now that was a holiday to remember!

"So, what have I forgotten? That's right. I needed to redirect my mail to someone I trust whilst I'm away with clear instructions to open any correspondence from the Australian Taxation Office and let me know of any issues. Not a problem. I'll just give my part-time CFO from Part Time Professionals a call to organise... Another cocktail please, waiter!"

Promoting Your Business After the GFC

When and how should you promote your business in the aftermath of the GFC? Although there is never ‘one size fits all solution’, Dennis Rutzou from Dennis Rutzou Public Relations  has a few suggestions for our readers:

There has always been a popular belief that the most prudent approach to an economic downturn is to cut all expenditure, but most specifically, marketing costs.

However, many people now strongly disagree with this approach and argue that if your competitors have followed this approach, there is a great opportunity to put your foot on your marketing pedal as you will acquire market share more cheaply than in times of prosperity.

But where should you allocate your promotional dollars?

Many make the mistake of putting promotional activities into separate silos and do not see the big picture. In fact, the discipline that I come from, ‘public relations’, is the umbrella that looks over all the communication activities of an organisation and how they can synergistically work with each other.

Many believe that public relations only aims at generating favourable media coverage. Although this is an important component, public relations involves much more. I define public relations as the ‘management discipline of communication’, which means that the communication function of an organisation must be carefully planned to ensure that it is working towards achieving defined and agreed objectives.

In addition to media coverage, the online environment is one of the tools of communication, which must also be integrated within public relations planning. This includes looking at how the communication value of your website can be improved, social networking (including Twitter, Linked-In, Facebook etc), regular e-newsletters and other means of improving the effectiveness of online communication.

A PR program is built around the credible key messages that describe the organisation, its services, experience and expertise. They are the phrases that are used in media releases, articles, websites, brochures, speeches and presentations. The repetition of those credible key messages is aimed at building recall by the target audiences.

So my advice about when and how you should start promoting your business is: now! And more precisely, consider public relations as one of the most potent tools in the tool box.

About Part Time Professionals

Part Time Professionals™ is wholly owned and operated in Australia. Our principals together have over 40 years experience in public accounting and as CFO's and Directors in multiple companies - both listed and unlisted. They are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, CPA Australia, the National Tax Agents Association, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Financial Executives Institute and the National Institute of Accountants.

Our aim is to help companies source the most experienced CFO, executive and corporate accounting talent, in the most cost-effective way!

In short, we provide both contractors and part time Accountants, Financial Controllers, CFOs and other Executives to businesses throughout Australia.

We are constantly updating our website, so take a look at for more information or call us on 1300 79 1946 to discuss your needs.


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