Merry Christmas from Brett and the Team

As we head towards the end of another year at Hansens I’m feeling completely bemused as to how we could possibly be in December already?  So let’s take a look back at some of the issues that our clients, and all small businesses, have faced over the last 12 months – and ponder where the future of Australian small business is heading.

I have seen 2015 as the year the banks talk the talk, but don’t (or can’t) walk the walk.  I remember when I first became a partner of Hansens Accountants in 2001, the banking industry loved to help Australian’s prosper, where our clients were able to borrow money on the strength of their business (yes cashflow lend) to buy more stock, employ more people, and generate growth within their business.  Oh how times have changed, now the top tier banking institutions love to advertise that they have $2B to lend to small business, but don’t like actually making any transactions…… unless you have property to burn and guaranteed income to secure it with!

APRA in the last few months have tightened the noose on bank lending, so we wait to see how things develop.

Conversely, the Tax Office haven’t been too bad this year – I think they may be starting to realise the struggles some small businesses (and their owners) are going through, and working with us to help clients out of any unwanted mess.  Maybe they have discovered the importance small business has on our economy and are looking to help rather than hinder…?

We’ve got a US election campaign to look forward to in 2016 – so that will be interesting to see what (if any) impact it has on the Australian economy, and especially our see-sawing stock market that is now at a 2 year low.  But what will it do to the property market – will the government further regulate against overseas investment, or will the strong Chinese dollar continue to drive demand, and prices in a number of Melbourne suburbs?

And will it be Mr Trump who is influencing such decisions???

Some economists are saying we may be heading to a recession – what does this mean for Mum’s and Dad’s who are already struggling with cost of living pressures even though our interest rates are at a record low? Is it inevitable that rates will again rise? I see and hear of many examples where small business owners are using the growth of their family home (or other assets) to keep the business growing – increase in a line of credit against the home or securing a business facility because again the banks want more!  So what happens when the market flattens or interest rates finally do rise – can we afford it?

The power of the internet continues to shape business today – our own industry has changed significantly over the last 5 years with the introduction of online accounting systems, and enables clients to understand and monitor their business in real terms, today, not in 6 or 12 months’ time.

Many innovative new businesses are being formed solely off the back of the internet and creating new thriving industries that were not around only a few years ago – and means the hugely successful business that I grew up with in the 80’s and 90’s are now a thing of the past..

What happened to Kodak and Blockbuster Video???

As noted by Tom Goodwin “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate”.

So how many of you will grab your smart device, reconcile your receipts on Xero and log into Netflix to watch your favourite Christmas classic?

As we head off for a well-earned break, we would like to take a moment to thank our loyal clients for their support throughout the year, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas, enjoy the time with your family and friends, keep safe, and we look forward to working with you again in what promises to be a challenging, but extremely rewarding 2016!


Brett Hansen


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