Posts Tagged 'Salary Packaging'

Importance of salary packaging to the NFP sector

Last week, Pro bono Australia released a study on the remuneration and demographic details of the workforce in the Not-For-Profit sector.  The Not-For-Profit sector employs 1 in every 15 working Australians – the group comprises experienced, hard working and well-educated workforce, a large percentage of whom are female (see graphic below).  Salary packaging plays an important part in these people’s lives by increasing their effective take home pay.

Click on the graphic to go the summary of the study released by Pro bono Australia.

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The salary packaging concessions available to the Not-For-Profit sector have come under scrutiny recently, take a look at our customer blog to see why these concessions are so important to the NFP industry.

Smartsalary Client Breakfast . . . Check Out the Short Video!

Every year, we host a series of client breakfasts across capital cities in Australia.  It’s a great opportunity for us to share our story with all of our clients, both longstanding and new ones. We host these breakfasts at the end of the year so it is an opportune time to recap on the year past, shed some light on the year ahead, and thank our valued clients for their continued support.

Our clients span a broad range of industries, so it’s also a good opportunity for them to meet each other and share their own wonderful stories.

We’ve condensed our presentation to a few minutes below . . . hope you enjoy it!

For your reference, our 2012 breakfast presentation stars the following fabulous team members!

  • Houda, Lebbos, our Chief HR Officer, speaking about our innovation initiatives
  • Simon Ellis, our Senior Tax Advisor, updating us on the rising popularity of novated leasing
  • Michael Ellies, our Chief Operating Officer, touching on recent and future service enhancements
  • Dave Adler, our Chief Commercial Officer, highlighting our initial foray into social media

Looking Back On 2012

2012 has been a busy year for us at Smartsalary, here’s a look back at the highlights.

We are excited about the progress we’ve made on our three longstanding capabilities – Staff Engagement, Lean and Customer Loyalty – and are equally excited about the two new additional capabilities we’ve added: Agile and Innovation.

Staff Engagement
We’re thrilled that we once again achieved a 72% score, and proceeded to the 2nd round of consideration by Aon Hewitt for their Best Employer Award.

Lean
We commenced the deployment of Lean at Smartsalary back in 2008. Since then, we’ve improved our Lean capability maturity score from a 1.0 up to our 2012 target of 4.0, on a 5-point scale. This means that Lean principles are well ingrained and that we are approaching best practice.

Customer Loyalty
To measure customer loyalty we use the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This year our NPS was in the mid-40s, which is one of the highest ratings in the country. Our efforts were recognised by the Customer Service Institute of Australia (CSIA).  We are thrilled to have won both the State and National Service Excellence Awards for the Medium Business category.

CSIA-2012-NationalWinner-PNG

Agile and Innovation

When servicing our customers we want to ensure that we’re at the forefront of technology and innovation.  As such, we added Agile and Innovation as two further capabilities.

Agile enables tasks to be broken into small increments that typically last for just a few weeks. Each increment involves a company-wide cross-functional team that takes part in planning and executing new initiatives. Some examples of where we’ve used Agile in our Innovation initiatives include:

  • foray into the social media space, including facebook and twitter
  • introduction of an industry-leading smartphone application
  • award-winning implementation of a new customer management platform.

Each of these Innovation initiatives will be the subject of a future blog post in 2013.

As always, we thank you for your continued support. We’d love to know what sorts of things you enjoy reading about and would like to see more of in 2013 – please leave us a comment below.

Building a culture of collaboration

Chatter is an internal social media tool used at Smartsalary. Think of it as a company-wide Facebook wall. Employees can share news, plan events and even report on sales statistics – all in an informal and collaborative manner.

On June 14 I was asked to speak about the way Smartsalary has embraced Chatter at a Cloudforce conference in Sydney. Watch the video of my keynote speech below.

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What’s salary packaging all about?

Sometimes it’s easy to forget just why salary packaging plays such an important part in Australian community life. We tend to see it only in terms of what it can do for us – i.e. provide an opportunity to save money – and we forget the valuable (even critical) contribution it makes to Australia’s public hospital and not-for-profit sectors.

By using the tax-free cap salary packaging concessions hospitals and not-for-profits are able to take money that would otherwise be required to fund salary and use it instead to increase service provision. “What sort of services?” you might ask – well we’ve asked The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA, one of our new packaging clients, to give you an idea . . .

About The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA

Through our vision of uncompromising care, The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA will bring hope and empowerment to help improve the lives of everyone living with cancer, no matter who they are or what type of cancer they have.

All of us will be touched by cancer in some way, whether it’s our own diagnosis or that of a family member, friend or workmate. The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA will bring together all elements of cancer research, treatment, care and support within one centre of excellence. We will offer the latest research and technology, advanced medical and complementary therapies, as well as emotional support and sanctuary in one place. We will turn new discoveries into better cancer care for our patients. We want to make things easier for people with cancer, their friends, families and carers. We aim to put people first so that those diagnosed with cancer no longer feel alone negotiating the many confusing elements in dealing with their illness.

In addition to building the new cancer centre, The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA continues to support the activities of the existing Sydney Cancer Centre. Over the next three years, whilst our new organisation and facilities are being built, the Sydney Cancer Centre at RPAH will treat several thousand patients living with cancer. These people need and deserve the best possible care and support. Donations made to The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA will help to make this possible, by providing funds for research and clinical programs. Donations are also used to help with the construction of the new facility.

Significant progress has been made on The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA. Demolition work commenced on site in early 2010 and construction of the new facility will commence later this year. The new facility will open its doors in 2013.

So while salary packaging does help you to save money, it also helps Lifehouse to provide care to Australian cancer victims. Now that’s what I call a ‘win-win’ situation.

If you want to know more about Lifehouse then I’d encourage you to have a look at their website and see some of their inspirational videos . . .

Salary packaging iPads makes the news!

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For the latest information about salary packaging iPads & Tablet computers, please click here.

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The Australian’s IT section has just run an article (quoting Simon Ellis, our Senior Tax Advisor) outlining the salary packaging industry’s general response to the question of iPad packaging. The article makes clear that the industry is broadly following SmartSalary’s lead, and exercising a fair amount of caution before adding iPads to the menu of available packaging items.

As the article notes, it is only where an individual‘s employment duties involve regular tasks requiring access to an iPad (or similar machine) that the ATO will accept salary packaging. We interpret this to mean that the ATO is not going to test packaging arrangements by looking at the actual use of the machine – it’s going to test them by looking at your ordinary employment duties, and deciding whether those duties justify access to an iPad.

Simon tells me that this approach is consistent with ATO guidelines on laptops, as set out in ATO ID 2008/127.

Thus SmartSalary’s cautious approach to packaging iPads seems to have been warranted. We will, of course, continue to liaise with our employer clients in this regard but for the time being iPads are likely to stay off the menu for many of our packaging customers.

iPad and the ATO

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For the latest information about salary packaging iPads & Tablet computers, please click here.

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Will the tax man take his tablet?

iPad fever is gripping the globe, and SmartSalary customers are certainly not immune! We’re getting more and more queries about whether our customers are allowed to salary package these machines so I thought now would be a good time to offer a quick reminder of how the salary packaging rules work when it comes to devices such as tablet computers.

Since I’m not the expert in this field I have, once again, asked our Senior Tax Advisor to pull together a quick summary of the rules . . . . take it away Simon!

Thanks Deven – the first thing to note is that it doesn’t really matter whether tablet computers are considered laptops, PDAs or even mobile phones as the salary packaging concession no longer revolves around the definition of these items. Any “portable electronic device” can now potentially access the concession as long as two requirements are met:

1. The device must have been acquired for the primary purpose of use in your actual employment duties, and
2. You must not have salary packaged any similar items earlier in the relevant FBT year.

Employers who see ipads as potential work tools for their employees are starting to instruct SmartSalary to include them in their salary packaging menu, and we’ll be sending comms to those employees as this benefit comes on line. We’ve asked the ATO to clarify what devices it considers to be ‘similar’ to tablet computers for the purposes of requirement 2, but for now, while we wait to hear from the ATO, SmartSalary is taking a conservative view and packaging tablet computers as though they are laptops (i.e. we won’t allow both in the one FBT year).

So keep your eyes and ears peeled for further updates from us or your employer!


Deven Billimoria
Chief Executive Officer
Smartgroup

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