Twelve months ago, we were all concerned about severe droughts and fiery infernos sweeping large parts of Australia. Then, in Australia’s usual climatic not enough/too much approach, 2020 kicked off with floods in many parts – but not enough to extinguish the effect of droughts everywhere. Our friends in Stanthorpe are still getting water trucked in from neighbouring Warwick.
But then the world got ‘real strange’. Come early March, we were all trying to comprehend this virus thing [it’s worse than a bad winter flu – like the Spanish Flu but maybe even worse]. Consequently, we all had to adjust to the strangest year – effectively under house arrest unless you were an essential service worker while everyone adjusted to living with COVID-19.
Businesses were disrupted in unimaginable ways from having to shut their doors, to emergency workers having to quickly learn new skills. Toilet paper and sanitiser became the currency of the day! For Infoware Services we were in the fortunate sector of the workforce where we could, and continue to, work remotely from home.
Never could you have imagined a Liberal government handing out money for businesses who were struggling to survive – in real proportions like WW1 and 2. Given dramatically worse ongoing battles in many countries overseas, both in contracting the virus and fatalities, Australia to date has been less affected in the ‘war against COVID-19’. This is not to trivialise the effects on all states, especially Victoria which has remarkably fought back to reverse the increasing spread of the virus. This effort will be continuing into the foreseeable future.
With adversity rises opportunity.
While most businesses took savage hits to their revenue – for some Infoware clients it was a time of opportunity. Those businesses who are either an essential service or who have a strong web presence have actually grown through this COVID period. The Cleaning industry had to be agile during this time as their customers suddenly demanded sterilised work places; ‘deep cleans’ etc. Specific industries were not consistently affected across the board – hospitality suppliers who focus on cafés and restaurants where hit hard as their customers were shut down; others who sell similar products to either contract cleaners or other commercial premises had an initial rush followed by incremental increases for product. Businesses who have an online focus have seen significant increases in turnover.
For Infoware Services, there was a 3-month lull in activity as we all adjusted to a COVID world. During this time we put extra effort into our continued focus of ‘making complex look simple’ i4 applications. The i4 Purchasing App was completed during this time and is now being rolled out – and it is another significant point of difference now available to Infoware users’ advantage. The Purchasing App removes a lot of the mundane repetition from purchasing. Purchase orders can be generated by the number of weeks stock on hand (SOH) plus lead time, then allowing for you to edit, tick a box to email and done. ‘All things purchasing exceptions’ are covered from the one place with a single click to handle the unusual (update a product with unavailable to a nominated date; see 24 months sales history; enter notes for a line; toggle indent flag or as runout etc).
We have not quite completed migration of all apps to the web as hoped but are well on the way. To accelerate this process, we have employed an additional programmer to maintain this impetus.
Working from home has been beneficial for most of our employees – removing travel time to work and adding other personal pluses from a home environment. Most staff will continue to work from home 4 days a week, being in the office on Mondays only or other days by appointment. Some staff prefer to work full time in the ‘office environment’. Our office is attended during business hours for answering calls with support continuing as it has, uninterrupted during COVID.
Going forward changes to handle legislative requirements on the short term horizon include:
- Single touch payroll 2 (STP2) for July 2021. STPv2 entails some significant changes from the old Group Certificate/Payment Summary/STPv1 categorisations of Gross. Instead of categorising allowances as Gross, they will be broken down (disaggregated) and the ATO will do the calculations of what constitutes the taxable Gross. This is to allow the sharing of data with other government agencies correctly as they calculate peoples’ entitlements differently. For example salary sacrifice will be reported separately instead of a reduction of the Gross (G) total.
As usual, this is being rushed through with a mandatory date of 1 July 2021 so will be a lot of work to do to push through on time.
- Another new initiative from the federal government for 1 July 2022 in conjunction with New Zealand is a standard for electronic invoicing called PEPPOL. To encourage adoption of electronic invoices using PEPPOL, any supplier who submits invoices to the government electronically will have shorter payment terms. This should eventually result in all Antipodean businesses sending and receiving invoices to other businesses in a standard electronic format.
We sincerely thank you for your continued support. Without it our job would be a little harder.
May you have a safe and happy Xmas and New Year break and remain COVID free during 2021.