5 legal tips for the new financial year:
Review your business terms and conditions. Throughout the year, a business’s systems and processes may change, and typically businesses review and increase their prices each financial year. It is therefore important to review terms and conditions to ensure they are accurate and current, and reflect any amendments.
- From 1 July 2017, the minimum wage increased by 3.3%. This rise applies to all employees covered by the National Workplace Relations system. It is therefore important to check the pay rates of employees. If this change applies to your employees, then you need to adjust their wages accordingly in the next full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2017.
- Do an intellectual property health check. Proper management of IP is essential in today’s business environment. IP can be a business’s most valuable asset. IP is much more than just about copyright, trademarks, patents and designs. It is also about a business’s methodologies. Important to identify your IP, ensure it is protected (through, for example, trademark registration or non-disclosure agreements/deeds of confidentiality), and then monitor IP assets to protect against infringement.
- Update or create a business will. Just as you should have a will for your personal affairs, you should have a buy/sell agreement, also known as a business will. This is a legal document that helps businesses plan for the future. Puts in place a mechanism that allows a nominated purchaser to buyout the interests of a partner or shareholder to accommodate certain events such as disability or death. If you have one, you should review it to make sure it is up to date. If you don’t have one, you should consider putting one in place.
- Put systems in place to recover monies owing to you in a timely manner. Cashflow is important to any small business. If you need to be paid on time invoice clients soon after doing the work, or on a regular basis (if continuing work) e.g. monthly. Set trading terms i.e. 7, 14, 21 or 30 days. Make sure to follow up with reminders either by telephone or email if your clients do not pay on time. If you tell a client that you will take certain steps to recover monies owed to you by them, then do it, otherwise clients will call your bluff. Make sure your clients are aware of your billing and payment terms, and the fact that they are liable for any costs associated with recovering outstanding monies. If you do not, you cannot claim these costs.