It often takes a trip overseas to reinforce how fortunate it is to live in Australia.
Having just returned from Egypt, and observing how challenging daily life can be for the people living there, Donald Horne's description of Australia as The Lucky Country is just as relevant today as it was in the 1960's. With a population of 24 million in Cairo alone and over 40% of the population of 80 million living on less than $600 per annum, it certainly put Australia's challenges during the global financial crisis in better perspective.
Even government employees and professionals earn, I was informed, an average income of just US $50 to $100 per month!
Back home, however, the news appears a lot brighter this month. The sharemarket is up, the exchange rate has improved, Australia recorded a record trade surplus in April...and the unemployment rate has dropped. Is this really the end of the Great Recession...or are we just in the eye of the storm? Every commentator seems to have a different opinion. We review some of the contradicting commentary below.
What we can be 100% sure about, however, is that a Federal Budget will be handed down on 12 May, and that the new Fair Work Act will commence on 1 July 2009. Both these events will directly impact every business in Australia - and businesses need to be prepared to meet the challenges they will create.
All this news simply reinforces the need for business to have a good management team, to remain flexible, and in the case of the Fair Work Act, to consider engaging a Part Time Professional contractor as a more flexible solution than full-time employment.
Now with over 250 members of our CFO Network™ , Part Time Professionals is in a great position to help you and your business navigate all these changes. Just give us a call on 1300 79 1946 to find out how we can help.
Despite those winter chills, Canberra will be "hotting up" over the next few days and weeks.
The Federal budget will be released at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 12 May. For those keen to get a "first look" the budget papers will be available here on the night. Wayne Swan said the budget would contain "hard choices, unpopular decisions and no easy options".
As with every Federal budget, rumours abound. Here are the top five predictions being circulated this year:
1. Reduction in the limit of concessional superannuation contributions (currently $50,000 pa for those under 50 years and $100,000 pa for those over 50 years)
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released its April unemployment estimate on Thursday. The seasonally adjusted figures showed a reduction in unemployment from 5.7% to 5.3%. This result surprised most commentators, and even the Federal Governments Employment Minister, Julia Gillard, said that the government was not getting carried away by one month's employment figures.
It would, after all, be most inconvenient if unemployment had peaked only twelve days before a predicted "horror" budget!
So, how reliable are these ABS figures and are they merely a temporary "blip" in the data?
Commentator Gary Morgan has noted that, although the "seasonally adjusted" figure showed a decrease in unemployment, the unadjusted figure showed an increase in unemployment (from 5.4% to 5.5%). In addition, he advises that the ABS method of measuring unemployment is wrong as it ignores the "underemployed".
"If a person works only an hour in the survey week they are classified as employed - a nonsense!" he says.
Adrian Rollins, the Financial Review's economics correspondent has a different view. He suggests that the reduction in the unemployment rate was the result of a fall in the participation rate. In other words, increasing numbers of potential workers are discouraged from entering the labour market. The participation rate has previously remained high as older workers stayed longer in the workforce due to shrinking retirement savings and weaker house prices.
Other commentators have suggested that as the survey period straddled Easter, it therefore provided unreliable results.
But both Citigroup's and ANZ's economists have said that these employment figures are correct, and are the result of increased March retail sales, interest rate cuts and large government handouts that have helped stabilise conditions in the economy.
Confused? You should be.
What every commentator agrees upon, however, is despite the reliability of these numbers, unemployment will continue to rise in May.
But their predictions were wrong in April too...
It is a common misconception that the Great Pyramid at Giza was built by slave labour. This huge structure stands about 146 metres tall (about the height of a 45 story skyscraper) and consists of over 2.3 million stones weighing up to nine tons each. But Hollywood movies are not always true!
In 1999 Mark Lehner (an Egyptologist from Harvard University) discovered the workers' city and found that the labourers were not slaves, but well-fed citizens who were proud to be part of a national project.
Most workers, it was discovered, were part of a rotating population of up to 20,000 people. These were often farmers who were drafted from villages when the Nile was in flood - and when they could not undertake their regular 'full time" rural employment.
In fact, they were the Pharoah's part time professional workforce!
So imagine, if up to 20,000 part time professionals could build the Great Pyramid at Giza over 3,000 years ago, imagine what one Part Time Professional could do for your business today! Give us a call on 1300 79 1946 to find out more!
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!
We are constantly updating our website, so take a look at www.ptprofessionals.com.au for more information or call us on 1300 79 1946 to discuss your needs.
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