Prosperity feature in Australian Accounting Awards

Fast-Growing firm of the year 2East Coast accounting and financial firm, Prosperity Advisers has won the prestigious ‘Fast-Growing Firm of The Year’ award at the Australian Accounting Awards 2015.

AAA_SEAL_2015_Fast-Growing-WINNERThe Australian Accounting Awards are the only industry awards designed to showcase excellence right across the accounting profession. With a broad range of categories that examine excellence across the breadth of the profession, the Australian Accounting Awards provides a platform for all industry leaders to be recognised.

Prosperity recognises that the rate of business change continues at an increasing pace and invests considerable time and resources in a disciplined planning process that keeps them at the forefront of those changes. Prosperity regards its vision as ‘true north’ as they continue to evolve their advice offering. Prosperity’s innovative approach to advice have resulted in two year revenue growth of 29% in a period where research house IBIS have reported accounting firm growth to average just over 3% per annum.

Prosperity Director of Business Services and Taxation, Megan Faraday-Bensley accepted the award on behalf of the 150 strong team. She thanked Prosperity’s clients for their continued support and added “Our strategy of embracing industry change and disruption as well as developing a culture that has enabled us to attract and retain good people has enabled us to continue our double digit growth.”

The success comes just after winning a prestigious Edge Award for HR and Cultural Innovation in Miami, USA last month. The award was conferred by the Leading Edge Alliance, the second largest international association of accounting firms with 220 member firms globally.

Prosperity CEO, Allan McKeown said “We are very proud of the collective efforts of our people across our Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane offices. The Fast-Growing Firm of the Year Award is a wonderful recognition for the tremendous effort our team has put in supporting our five point growth strategy. Our focus is on value added service rather than number crunching tasks means our clients receive advice that is more holistic and forward looking to assist them to drive innovation and make better decisions.

Prosperity named as Best Integrated Offering

We are delighted to close out 2014 by announcing specialist accounting publication; Accountants Daily has named Prosperity Advisers as the winner of the Australian Accounting Awards 2014 Best Integrated Offering.

We are proud of our team that has worked closely with our clients during this year to deliver a 360 degree view of their financial landscape and the smart advice that has resulted in this national recognition.

It gets even better with our Lilian Luu also taking out the Young Accountant of the Year Award after a stellar year.

Thank you to our clients and other friends for your support during 2014 and we look forward to an exciting 2015.

Senior appointments cap 25th Anniversary Year

With Australia still coming to grips with this week’s terrible tragedy in Sydney and in a world littered with discontent the holiday season is a time to spend with family and

friends and reflect on the abundance of riches around us.

Researcher IBIS World reminds us why Australia should be smiling in 2015 (but not complacent):

  • We have one of the highest standards of living (7th) in the world
  • We are one of the most confident nations (consumer sentiment)
  • We are part of the world’s fastest growing region – the Asia Pacific
  • Our population growth is as fast or better than the world’s
  • Our unemployment is among the OECD’s lowest
  • Our national debt is the lowest in the OECD as a share of GDP
  • We are the lowest taxed nation among the OECD rich countries
  • Our deficits are chronic but low within the OECD, and fixable
  • Our interest rates are low
  • We have low levels of racial tensions or terrorism
  • Things surely won’t be as dysfunctional as the Rudd/Gillard years.

Prosperity Advisers is proud to be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Strong support from our clients and friends along the way has contributed to shaping Prosperity Advisers into a leading professional service business offering expertise through our Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane offices.

Beginning as an accounting firm in 1989 with a single staff member, Prosperity has diversified to offer holistic advice in wealth management, salary packaging, payroll and employee benefits services alongside the more traditional business and tax advisory, SMSF, accounting and audit services.

From the outset, our firm has displayed a willingness to grow and innovate to set Prosperity apart from competitors.

This strategy continues as we sought new and better ways to be of service to you this year including:

  • Launching our Asian desk joint venture with Fountainguard to bolster our expertise and Mandarin speaking team, to showcase Australian investment opportunities and to further cement our on the ground relationships with this ever burgeoning region.
  • We have built further resources and expertise in our Prosperity Health division as we enhance our position as a specialist adviser to medicos, dentists and the allied health profession.
  • Our efforts have been recognised by our peers. Internationally, winning an Edge Award from our Global network LEA and domestically, being short-listed as one of the three national finalists in the Hillross Practice of the Year Award to be announced next month.

As a further boost to our service capability the firm celebrates four senior appointments.

Steve Gagel, Business Services Director, Brisbane

Siobhan Sellick, Business Services Director, Sydney

Dan Cawthorne, Business Services Associate Director, Newcastle

Lynley Hukins, Head of Employee Benefits, Sydney

Next year we will build on the experience gained and lessons learned over the first 25 years as we continue to create the advisory firm of the future. In the meantime, thank you again for your much appreciated support and we look forward to working with you in 2015.

Allan McKeown and the Prosperity Advisers Team

 

Our offices will be closed from 5:00pm Tuesday 23rd December 2014 until 8.30am Monday 5th January 2015. For urgent matters during this time, a priority message service is in place.

Government initiatives to further boost inward investment

Prosperity Fountainguard Advisers welcomes the Federal Government initiatives announced under the Industry and Competitiveness Agenda that will expand the Investor Visa Programme.

The Government will reform the programme to encourage more high net worth individuals to make Australia home and to better direct additional foreign investment, while maintaining safeguards to ensure the migration programme is not misused. The changes to the programme will:

  • streamline and enhance visa processing, further promoting the programme globally and strengthening integrity measures, to both increase the attractiveness of investing and settling in Australia while ensuring Australia’s interests are protected;
  • align the criteria for complying investments with the Government’s national investment priorities. The investment eligibility criteria will be determined by Austrade in consultation with key economic and industry portfolios;
  • introduce a Premium Investor visa (PIV), offering a more expeditious, 12 month pathway to permanent residency than the SIV, for those meeting a $15 million threshold;
  • and task Austrade to become a nominating entity for SIV (complementing the current State and Territory government’s’ role as nominators) and to be the sole nominating entity for PIV.

We led a nine city investor roadshow throughout China in June, and saw that although there is strong interest in Australia as an immigration and investment destination, and there is a reasonable pipeline of SIV applications, we face strong competition from other jurisdictions. Recent changes in NSW have made this State more attractive with the removal of the need to invest $1.5m in Waratah Bonds recently removed and the Commonwealth measures will only assist to further attract high wealth investors in the future.

Discussions with potential investors in China revealed certainty and clarity of the process were issues that are front of mind for potential SIV applicants when considering which country to pursue.  While the initial detail is scant, it appears the initiatives proposed will assist on those fronts. There is uncertainty in other countries SIV programs at the moment and the Government’s focus to enhance the scheme and encourage investment in the right areas as well as remove red tape will continue to make Australia an attractive destination.

Prosperity Fountainguard have a second investor delegation en route to Shanghai at the moment and they will present to over 20 potential investors in the higher net wealth category who are looking to invest $20m plus in Australia.  The proposed Premium Investor Visa will no doubt assist that group with their decision making and the revised program commencing in 2015 that allows an applicant to gain residency after twelve months is likely to be highly attractive.

We are eager to understand the detail of the new investment eligibility criteria.  These are no doubt designed to temper some of the strong interest in property development.  However, if the measures are too prescriptive, it may serve to stifle investor inflows or move them away from areas that Chinese investors are typically attracted to.

Prosperity’s China Investor Roadshow featured in AFR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on link to view article http://tinyurl.com/l93fxz8

 

 

Watch our Federal Budget Briefing live

Prosperity Advisers’ National Tax Practice Leader, Stephen Cribb and Director of Financial Planning, Gavin Fernando talk about the real impacts of Federal Budget. 

With so many of our clients so busy running businesses, and in locations all over the country we have this year put together a recording of our Federal Budget Briefings in a video recorded on Google Hangouts.  If you were unable to attend these briefings, click on the image below to watch it live on our blog site.

PART ONE

PART TWO

National Commission of Audit: Clearing the way for another golden age?

Click here to view the full National Commission of Audit Recommendations

The sun has risen on first day after the release of the National Commission of Audit (NCOA) report on the efficiency of the Commonwealth Government. Despite the frenzy of cries of disadvantage reacting to specific recommendations, my bet is that the sun will continue to keep rising. The only people at risk of imminent injury are people who try to lift the entire report in one movement.

I read several kilos of the Report last night while I watched the TV news reports tallying up how much I am going to lose when my share of the ‘kick in the guts’ is delivered. But the overall message of this document is actually positive. Australia is not yet a fiscal basket case and if some things are changed we will avoid the distress some other developed countries find themselves in.

Put specific recommendations aside, there is a lot of good common sense. The Report draws focus on massive inefficiency and duplication of activity across tiers of Government – poor fiscal management where taxpayer’s money on the expense line is being wasted on what a small business operator or a pensioner would call a profligate scale. This report is all about trimming this out of the expense line of the Government’s profit and loss statement.

In return, a massive dividend is on offer. If some of these measures are adopted, the budget bottom line could improve in our time by $60-70 billion per annum.  Please re-read the last sentence. That’s a lot of money – and a very big pot of gold to benefit the country to be reinvested in its future.

There are some gutsy moves.

  • Giving States the power to levy income taxes could put an interesting cat amongst the pigeons and cause mass migration to ‘tax haven’ States.
  • Pension and retirement measures feature heavily. For existing pensioners and retirees there is good news. The most significant changes are designed to take full effect by 2027-28 when the pension age is expected to rise to age 70 and the access age for private super will rise to 62 (then ultimately 65). The Report is raising the ladder to access the Government pension and gaining early access to private superannuation for Gen X and Gen Y. Pain for current and imminent retirees looks limited.
  • The most immediate health care initiative is the $15 medicare co-payment and extension of the existing obligation for high income earners to obtain private health insurance for basic services.
  • The Government’s Paid Parental Leave policy takes a hit with a proposal to limit it to average weekly earnings. However there is a proposal to reinvest the saving in expanded access to childcare to services including nanny style at home care.
  • Family Tax Benefit B would get removed completely and Family Tax Benefit A becomes more tightly means tested.
  • Exporters will be disappointed with the proposed removal of the Export Markets Development Grant and significant reforms to the administration and allocation of grants and research and development which looks to a key target of efficiency reform.

Not all of these measures will succeed.  They may not be designed to succeed in their present form.  Australia has a poor record of adopting recommendations from reports by eminent Australians. The authors who assume the burden of responsibility – whom I have no doubt are passionate enthusiasts for our country – must surely push some measures to the limit in the expectation that a less severe mid-point will ultimately be chosen in the tug-of-war of the political process.  A ‘kick in the guts’ is much more likely to be a dull ache.

Prosperity’s Steve Cribb warns of ATO ramp up on TEN eyewitness news

Prosperity’s Steve Cribb warns of ATO ramp up on TEN eyewitness news

View interview

 

 

 

Is the Australian Mining Boom Over?

Reading the newspaper, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Australian Mining economy had stopped cold.  Just a week ago, the Reserve Bank came out with their minutes from the September meeting that spoke of weakening commodity prices and more general concerns around the mining sector.  This was the key reason behind the central bank’s decision to cut rates.
“It seemed likely that mining investment would peak a little earlier and at a somewhat lower level than had previously been forecast,” the RBA said.

But is the mining boom over, or are the dynamics of the mining boom just changing?

Over the last two years, the cost of mining construction has skyrocketed throughout Australia as miners charged in willy-nilly looking to confirm production figures, build facilities and lock in supply contracts before their competitors.  High commodities prices across the board for over a decade led a race to production that has caused many companies to get a little carried away.  We can see this in their willingness to pay way over benchmark prices for unskilled labour and supply.  This didn’t matter too much while commodity prices remained high.   But recent weakness in the price of iron ore and coal, both of which fell over 30 per cent in August and September before recovering slightly, has led firms to review their costs, operations and plans for viability.

Behind the boom
Let’s look at the facts that sit behind the boom.

It is just over a year since resource commodities prices peaked in the second half of 2011, around a decade since the resource boom began.

According to the September 2012 report from the Bureau of Resources and Energy (BREE), the latest forecasts of volumes and prices show two distinct trends. Firstly, the prices of many resources have moderated from historic highs in 2011 and further declines are expected over the medium term in US$ terms. Second, Australian export volumes, especially in terms of bulk commodities, have grown rapidly and are expected to hold these levels for several years to come. The net result is that the value of resource and energy exports in 2011–12 are expected to be 8 per cent higher than in 2010–11 and to total $193 billion.

The projection for the value of resources and energy exports in 2012–13 is for a year-on-year decrease of about 2 per cent, with the total value of resources and energy exports expected to total $189 billion.

“Is mining investment approaching its peak? Yes. But mining investment still has some way to run”.

“The first phase of the mining boom, the sustained rise in commodity prices that boosted growth in national income, probably has ended,” suggest the JP Morgan economists in the International Times this month. “But the more durable and arguably more important volume phases of the mining boom have much further to run”.

In other words, data shows China has grown very rapidly to a point and is now plateauing. This means that while China initially demanded more and more iron ore, copper, and coal, now it is expected China will settle at a more consistent demand level.

At the same time, the development of our mining and energy industry projects are now well underway, with the value of resource projects currently under development in Australia worth $264bn to the construction pipeline.  According to a range of economists, advanced minerals project construction is expected to peak in 2013-2014.  But the really interesting point of note is that of this project construction pipeline, two-thirds is represented by “very major” LNG projects, the National Bank economists note, and their development extends though to 2017.

What comes after production is the period of operation, where many of our mines and facilities are expected to operate at near capacity for ten to twenty years, depending on their mine lifecycles.  During this phase, the large capital expenditure budgets of initial engineering and construction go away, but the export impacts and economic benefits continue to be reaped as we extract our natural resources and continue to contribute to our nations Gross Domestic Product (GDP), although at a lower level to the period in which the engineering pipeline is at its strongest.

The impact on labour forces
The estimated capital expenditure on the rollout of resources projects amounted to about $32 billion in 2010-11, rising to $56 billion in 2011-12 and $78 billion in 2012-13. The estimates suggest that spending will peak in 2013-14, at about 6 per cent of GDP committed projects. But, as the projects are completed, capital spending is estimated to fall by 80 per cent to about $17 billion by 2016-17. Construction employment on these projects, as inferred from the project totals specified by the companies, is expected to peak at about 80,000 in 2013-14 but to fall sharply after 2014-15.   What will happen to this labour force after the construction boom is over?  Will we have other industries for our workforce to move to or will we face a classic case of Dutch Disease that has been known to occur in other countries when natural resource exploitation increases the currency and punishes industries like manufacturing that are dependent on competitive export rates. For this, only time and our currency will tell.

Deferrals and deletions of projects
The market is somewhat panicked by the number and level of recent project deletions or deferrals, but CommBank notes such deletions do not actually make up a large proportion of all projects. Data suggests the value of all projects deleted over the past 13 months (including Olympic Dam and Outer Harbour but not, as yet, the FMG final phase) adds to $51bn or 11% of all advanced and less advanced projects.  The impact of this is expected to add up to a 2% decrease in mining exports in the financial year to June 2013.

The deletions and completion of the construction phases will undoubtedly take the pressure off costs in coming months and years, allowing the labour market to settle down and provide a bit of natural selection to the projects that are indeed the most financially viable.  But a 2% fall in export values does not signify the end of the mining boom… not yet anyway.

Article by John Manuel, Director, Prosperity Wealth Advisers Pty Ltd. John and our other Advisers provide Financial Planning and Family Office services to our clients from offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Newcastle.