In this Issue

February 2009 Newsletter

From the desk of our CEO, Andrew Blunden

Reading the newspaper this month, you could be forgiven for being completely confused about the state of the labour market.

If you compare the news that Pacific Brands laid off over 1,800 staff  with the report in the Australian Financial Review of 13 February that 50% of firms are still worried about finding suitable labour and are therefore reluctant to sack good workers, the messages are very mixed.

The reality is that every business is different - and where some companies are facing difficult times, for others 2009 is already providing some great opportunities.

I had a good example this week...

After having read about several recent building company failures, I spoke with the CEO of a local home renovation business. There was real optimism in the air. Why? The building industry is in the doldrums isn't it? And people are saving their money not spending it on home renovations?

Possibly - but this company has an exciting new project it is focussing on.

The recent Federal Government stimulus package has just released up to $3 million to every school in NSW and 20% of these schools must submit project proposals to the government by 10 April. This company is planning to help schools with their project submissions - and do you think there will be a lot of work for them if the projects are approved? You bet!

2009 could be their most profitable year ever!

So how did this company come across this idea? One of our CFO Network members suggested it to them!

As Jim Collins wrote in his book "From Good to Great" (Collins, 2001 p. 64) "The old adage "People are your most important asset" is wrong. People are not your most important asset. The right people are."

And the right people don't have to be full time employees!

There are no excuses for companies not to get the best people on their team this year. Just give us a call on 1300 79 1946 and let us help.

Can your business really afford not to? See what others have had to say...

Underemployment - myth or reality?

Over the last few weeks there have been many media reports exploring the issue of underemployment. Underemployed workers are generally defined as part time workers who want, and are available for, more hours of work than they currently have.

An Australian Bureau of Statistics report titled "Underemployed Workers" was released on 24 February and this found that the number of underemployed stood at 655,000 (or 6% of the workforce). Added to the current 4.8% unemployment rate, one may be tempted to conclude that Australia's real unemployment rate is 10.8% - dire economic news indeed.

It is always important, however, to dig beneath the headlines. How great is the unemployment problem in Australia and how underemployed are part time employees generally?

Here are the facts, based on the ABS survey:

a) Of the 3.0 million part time workers in Australia, 2.3 million (77%) were not looking for any more hours.

b) Of the remaining 23%, the average number of extra hours they wanted was 13.4 hours per week. Two thirds are looking for between 1 - 10 hours extra work a week.

c) Based on a 35 hour full-time week, the underemployed represent the equivalent of 260,000 full-time  workers (or about 2.4% of the workforce). A notable number, but a lot less than the 6% headline figure quoted.

d) Of those part time workers looking for additional work, less than 7% have a University Degree or above.

So, can the underemployed hide the real effects of the recession on the labour market? Yes. But not always to the extent that the headlines may suggest. And the degree qualified and experienced underemployed are an even scarcer commodity.

A statistic that should be of greater interest to every business in this economic climate is the number of full time roles that could be undertaken in a part time capacity. Staff who are not fully productive are also 'under-employed', but never show up in the published statistics. In these cases, the business is paying for the 'down-time', not the taxpayer.

Could any full time roles in your business be undertaken in a part time capacity? If so, rather than immediately terminating jobs, offer them as part time roles - until the economic situation improves.

Part Time Professionals is a leading advocate of the part time solution. We provide companies with a cost effective solution to meet their accounting, finance and executive staffing needs. And hours can be scaled up as the economy improves. Representing over 220 accountants, financial controllers, CFOs and other executives, we can introduce the right part time professional to your business today.

Just give us a call on 1300 79 1946.

Now is the time to review company valuations

Company market values have dropped sharply and deeply in the last year and there is increasing pressure for company boards, management and their investors to understand the basis of a company's value and of its individual assets.  Changes in company values can also trigger questions from regulators and shareholders about possible impairment of assets.  

You need to approach this process carefully.

In this economic climate, mergers and acquisitions can look attractive (or imperative) to some companies and many will restructure as the global financial crisis continues. However, the difference between a company’s share market capitalisation and the value of its underlying assets is often the reason why mergers fail.

Valuing companies that have mostly intangible assets requires additional skill. This is particularly the case with technology-rich companies that have not made a profit and are unlikely to do so for some time, as intellectual property is built into products or into strengthening the company’s strategic market position.

In most of these cases, a valuation by an independent third party adds real credibility.  This is because valuations of such assets call for expert skills in the relevant business models as well as the technology itself.  APES 225, the new Australian accounting standard for valuations, requires that any valuations must include a statement as to whether the valuer was acting independently in completing the valuation.

For more information on valuation of technology-based companies Part Time Professionals is pleased to introduce Dr Kelvin Hopper from Innovation Dynamics (AFSL 295107). Take a look at his website ( or give him a call on 02 9209 4231.

The Bottom Line

And the news from America:

If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago, you would have $49 left. With Fannie Mae, you would have $2.50 left of the original $1,000. With AIG, you would have less than $15 left.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling refund, you would have $50 cash.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink a lot of beer - and recycle (Hic! - Ed.)

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 for more information or call us on 1300 79 1946 to discuss your needs.


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