Some post budget commentators fail to understand the benefits of the small business instant asset write off

I write this as the owner of an Australian POS software company serving several specialist retail channels, as a newsagent and as the owner os a couple of other businesses serving small businesses in Australia.

I am disappointed at some of the commentary about the instant asset write offannounced in the federal budget this week. I have heard media commentators call it a tax break, a gift, a hand out, a return to the age of entitlement and a more. I have also heard commentators question whether small business owners will do the right thing and spend the money honestly.

These comments are ignorant, they do not reflect the thinking of small business owners. Small business owners are a passionate breed, usually putting the needs of our businesses ahead of much else in our lives. We don’t engage in tax schemes to avoid paying Australian taxes, we don’t domicile in tax havens to avoid tax, we don’t use visa programs to import workers ahead of Australians.

Most small business owners are too busy in their businesses to even dream of the schemes we read others use.

Small business owners work long hours, usually for below award rate wages – because they love the independence of working for themselves and, yes, the feeling of making a genuine contribution. I happily work a minimum of 80 hour s a week and have done for decades.

Let’s look at what the instant asset write off actually is. Check out this from the federal government’s budget website:

ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION
All small businesses will get an immediate tax deduction for any individual assets they buy costing less than $20,000. (Currently, the threshold sits at $1,000).

This $20,000 limit applies to each individual item. Small businesses can apply this $20,000 rule to as many individual items as they wish. These arrangements start from Budget night and continue until the end of June 2017.

There is no extra money, no grant or gift. All that is being done is speeding up the writing off of the expense. The budget measure improves cash flow.

A small business owner wanting to buy a new TV, to take one comment I heard several times, will still have to fund the TV – meaning they will want a business purpose for the TV.

I own a few businesses and while none is eligible for the instant asset write off, they serve small businesses which will be eligible for the instant asset write off.

Based on comments from small business owners to me since the budget, I am confident the instant asset write off is a valuable step needed to get many small business owners thinking about their businesses, considering what investments they could make knowing they get a deduction in the year of purchase and not spread over time.

Yes, I am conflicted as I stand to benefit. I mention this in case it has not been clear up to now. The economy benefits too. Take my POS software company:

  1. More small business owners like newsagents, bike retailers, pet shop owners, jewellers, gift shop owners and others will purchase our POS software.
  2. Used how we train them, our POS software will help the businesses:
    1. Cut costs.
    2. Increase sales.
    3. Reduce theft.
    4. Make better quality business decisions.
    5. In short, their businesses will be worth more. I have seen newsagents do this and hire more staff. Others have paid off loans sooner – making more funds available to banks for more lending.
  3. My software company benefits from more revenue and more customers. More customers = more staff. We benefit, the new staff benefit and the economy benefits.
  4. The software we sell is Australian. Any support for this is good for the country.
  5. The tax we pay is higher as a percentage of sales than the big companies in the news recently. Boos us and you boost the economy. You boost us by supporting our customers. You support our customers by encouraging them to invest in their businesses.

To the commentators making noise about a possible surge in TV and car sales, take a moment to think that there are ethical Aussie companies with productivity tools servicing small Aussie businesses – and that together we can deliver measurable economic benefits.

Commentators: stop talking us down.

Now, to my politics. I voted Greens at the last election as I thought their small business policy was better than the major parties. I have not voted Liberal for many elections. While this is none of your business, I felt it important to say to show I am not writing this as an ideologue.

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New POS software website launched

Quietly, earlier today, we launched a new website for our POS software company: http://www.towersystems.com.au. delivering a fresh face for our business and packed with new content, the website accurately represents us – what we do, what we stand for and how we make a difference.

This is not just a re-skin, it’s a fresh sight including new content management facilities and a new e-commerce integration.

The launch is the culmination of work from a team of dedicated, skilled and creative people we are proud to call colleagues.

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Love in the POS software

loveWe have included a nod to Valentine’s Day with the breakfast on offer at our POS Software co. head office this morning. The heart shaped donuts are a bit of fun for Valentine’s Day tomorrow, a retail season important to many of our customers.

Every day here at Tower Systems the love flows as we develop and support software that helps independent retailers run better and more enjoyable businesses. We love what we do.

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Hiring new POS software staff in QLD

We are about to hire a new POS software installation and training person to work out of Brisbane. Key to the role is a love for retail, small business retail in particular. Excellent training and guidance will be provided to help them be of value immediately.

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A day in the life of our POS software company

Here’s a candid look at a day in the life of our POS software company. The video was shot just before Christmas. It shows real people working passionately for our small business customers.

We’re a diverse, engaged and professional bunch of people who love small business retail and the technology we make to serve businesses in this sector.

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Tower Systems at CES in Las Vegas

intelFrom in-home innovation to retail innovation to tech trendy to geekery, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year is proving to be an exciting playground for the Tower Systems representatives we have there.

While CES is an opportunity to meet with hardware suppliers, it is more about spotting trends and considering these in the context of what we do with small and independent retailers and specific marketplaces in which we serve.

The trip is proving to be a good opportunity to network with some Australians attending this year.

Taking time out of the day to day to consider future possibilities is useful, especially at the start of the year.

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Busy lead up to Christmas for this POS software company

The team at Tower Systems has had a busy lead up to Christmas 2014 with new installations being completed even this week, new software plans being finalised and fresh training opportunities being workshopped and retail business help being dispensed in good measure.

There has been no slowing to our efforts for our independent and small business retailer customers as we serve their needs of today and plan for great things for tomorrow.

With many staff not on leave at the moment, we have taken the opportunity to make a series of moves that position us well for 2015. We’re excited this last day before Christmas.

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Christmas party for the POS software team

xmaspoartyA week ago today we had a terrific company-wide Christmas party at the Royal Yarra boat shed on the banks of the Yarra in Melbourne.

We flew team members in from interstate for a sumptuous BBQ lunch before people kicked on to smaller group events around Melbourne.

It was a good weekend of catching up with friends and colleagues … celebrating Christmas.

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Christmas in the POS software office

xmasIt’s not all tech talk and business this time of the year in the head office of our POS software company. Being Christmas time, we enjoy more Christmas cheer at lunchtime and during breaks thanks to more diverse food choices including tasty mince pies.

The office is decorated too – bringing some festive colour into our workplace.

The photo shows some of the decorations at our reception desk.

So while we may be all business on the phone during calls, we’re chilling out and enjoying the Christmas season in between. We draw the line at singing Christmas carols though – no one wants to hear that.

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Tower Systems Christmas party next weekend

We are bringing the team to Melbourne next weekend for a terrific Christmas party in a boat shed by the banks of the Yarra. We’d have a lamb on the spit roast, delicious salads, a selection of tasty Aussie desserts and an open bar. As a consequence our office staffed Saturday support will end at 11:30am instead of the usual 3pm.

Always with a mind to customer service our after hours numbers will be working all through.

We will also email our customers so everyone knows the plans.

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POS software company shows off the value of operating a retail business

2.6POS software experts Tower Systems have produced a video on the latest facilities in its POS software and in the video you can see the benefits of owning a POS software company and a retail business. In one scene you see some of developers behind using the software in a live environment. This is gold for users – showing developers learning retail from the other side of the counter.

The latest video offers more training and insights for Tower Systems customers.

The bigger the distance between POS software development and retail businesses the less likely the software is to serve needs. This is where Tower Systems shines through its ownership of retail businesses.

 

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POS software launch video

posvideoTower Systems has produced a professional video to introduce the 2015 edition of its software. Hosted by our Software Development Manager, this video calls out the highlights of the most comprehensive POS software update from Tower in years.

Representing a year of professional software development and consultation with customers, the update release is supported by this overview video, training videos, written materials and fresh advice accessible online.

The YouTube video is another way Tower Systems presents itself in a fresh and unique way to its retail partners.

This is best practice POS software support.

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Preparing POS software users for a confidential trial

Tower Systems has started contacting customers to invite them to be part of a trial group to play with something completely different. In return for confidentiality, early adoption and detailed feedback, participating retailers will be given free access to software that breaks with tradition.

Two years in the making, this project is another example of Tower Systems investing in software for small businesses. Leadership in action will be clear when the software steps into the public eye, soon.

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Throwback Thursday at the POS software company

beginningsThis is where it all began for Tower Systems – back in 1981 – before we sold our first system. This photo shows the first computer in which we started developing small business applications.

This tiny Apple II+ with dual floppy drives was our first development platform. It was new and exciting and fun to develop on. While storage on the Apple II+ was limited we made the most of the opportunity to provide small businesses with tools that cut labour intensive data related tasks.

While the software we sell today is generations beyond what we developed in 1981, the principles are the same – to offer our customers software facilities through which they can save time and money and on which they can rely to make better quality business decisions sooner.

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A behind the scenes look at how our POS software company rolls our a major software update

Here is an internal communication sent by our Managing Director to all Tower Systems team members last week in advance of wider release of a major POS software update. We share this here to show how internally we are committed to the quality and engaged customer services we promote in our marketing pitch:

The next two months will present us with many challenges and opportunities as our customers load and engage with 2.6. For many in the company you will face new experiences as this is the biggest update ever in the history of the Retailer product.

There will be people who blame things on the update that have nothing to do with the update.

Many will not read the instructions prior to loading the update.

Most will be nervous.

Plenty will be happy with what’s in the u0date and some will want more changes urgently.

Others will say their systems are slower as a result.

Some will realise that they need to upgrade their hardware.

Please actively listen to what people have to say, make sure they know you are listening to them – even if what they are saying has been said to you many times before by others. People calling about the update is what we are here for. We promise them we are not your average software company. We promise to listen to them and serve their needs. This is where your contact, each contact, is vital.

While Ben owns 2.6, it is on all of us to serve our customers as they install, learn and start to use 2.6. Their experience will depend on each of us. What they think about Tower Systems for the future will depend on each of us.

Thank you in advance for your commitment through what will be a busy and challenging time.

We are committed to providing an enjoyable experience for our customers. This email and the considerable training of our team which preceded it is further evidence of that commitment.

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While Apple gets all the attention real innovation for small business happens much closer to home

Apple has received extraordinary attention for its announcements last week as is always the case when the tech giant announces new models and new products. While we applaud Apple’s innovation and its ability to engage people all around the world with its technology, there are many businesses and individual innovators who receive little or no attention.

Take POS software, the spare we work in. It’s not glamorous or fashionable. However, if we get it right and engage appropriately with our customers, we make small retail businesses more profitable.

This coal face work with small and independent retailers is more important economically to Australia and New Zealand, the two main countries in which we trade, than Apple selling its devices and paying minimal tax.

We help people into business by making it easier for them. We help people find work by providing a skill they can learn and that is transferable.

What we do in our small and independent software company is economically valuable.

Later this week we release a software update that takes what we do to an entirely new plane. We won;t get Apple like hype but we do hope to help our customers enjoy their businesses more and make more money from them.

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Tower Systems POS software PayPal integration excites retailers

paypknxHaving briefed retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software at user meetings in recent weeks one of the most exciting features in our new software is the PayPal integration.

Being first to market and with a solution developed in close consultation with and at the request of PayPal, we are positioned to help retailers leverage the marketing and management opportunities available.

At our user meetings we demonstrated PayPal live to our customers, making it easier for them to understand how it could be useful to their businesses.

The PayPal integration is an excellent point of difference in our software compared to others. The user meetings are an excellent point of difference in the service we offer compared to others.

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Tower Systems announces national user meeting tour

usermeetTower Systems earlier this week announced details of a national capital city newsagent user meeting tour to provide newsagents with wonderful learning opportunities, marketing insights, newsagency management advice and other content that will add value to the Tower relationship with newsagents.

While travelling on the national roadshow, Tower will make its leadership team available to other users for one on one discussions and assistance as the company demonstrates its commitment to meet with customers.

Access to the user meetings is open to any newsagent. It’s free, breakfast included.

Numbers are limited. Booking is essential.

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All POS software has bugs – it’s how the company responds that matters

All POS software, and all software for that matter, has bugs. Some are known and others are yet to be discovered. Having bugs is a function of the human involvement in software development. Bugs are, usually, not deliberate and users of the software are often the first to discover bugs.

What is most important about software bugs is how software companies react.

At Tower Systems we have a structured approach for investigating bug reports and dealing with bugs. We have several checkpoints in the company for proving a bug and ensuring its is resolved. We also have escalation points where team members and users can take queries about a bug to ensure it has the level of attention they want.

Through a structured process of research, development and quality assurance, Tower Systems takes bugs seriously. With thousands of businesses relying on our software we understand the importance of software quality.

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Tower Systems expands team

Tower Systems last week added a new full-time role to its Head Office team. With a title of Product Marketing Associate, this new role has a broad remit within the business to research and develop opportunities and services in existing and new marketplaces.

The new role will also benefit existing customers with some exciting enhanced resources being developed in training and support areas.

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Tower Systems team members on Linked In

The Tower Systems team makes itself accessible and contactable in a range of ways including through LinkedIn profiles. Click on the name to check out the profiles of some of our team

We have many more team members than this. Inclusion in this list was optional.

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When a software company competitor runs out of steam

You can tell when a software company you’re competing with runs out of steam when they use truckloads of words targeting your business and people in your business. The announcements here in recent weeks about Paypal, Xero, Plants Plus, Transactor, Postec fuel integration and other developments speak for our innovation and focus. We are loving customer responses.

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