C.T. Harris and Company would like to congratulate Richard & Adele Acton from "Greenroc" Queensland who were awarded this year's Harris Award at the Executive Link meeting of RCS in Rockhampton. This award is for outstanding achievement in agribusiness and this year's winners have clarified their business' vision and goals, have sold properties and purchased a new property to consolidate their operation, as well as overcoming personal obstacles which arose.

As a business owner there is a tendency to focus on what jobs and projects are still to be completed, however we strongly recommend that from time to time you look back and recognise what you have achieved as well as what challenges you have overcome.

We started presenting this award fifteen years ago. It is our way of acknowledging outstanding achievement in agribusiness and w
e would like to thank Terry, Pam, David and the RCS team for allowing us to be involved in presenting this award.

This award is close to our hearts because although our family are often associated with our accounting business, we have also been heavily involved in agribusiness for many years and enjoy using this first-hand experience to help our rural clients grow their businesses. My parents Paul and Clare started their cattle business from scratch and it has now grown into a significant Wagyu operation. One of Paul's greatest sayings is that:

'If you are doing the same as you have always done, you'll always get the same results you've always got'.

By taking a risk to invest in genetics and change the composition of our herd, this has placed us in a much better position to service market demand. We have been involved with RCS for many years and have attended grazing for profit, graduate link and executive link programs. Through our own businesses, we have learned about the importance of working hard, listening to and acting on expert advice, and showing perseverance in the face of adversity. These are the qualities we looked for when deciding on the winner of the award for this year and we'd like to congratulate the winners and all nominees for their contributions to the agribusiness industry and the inspiration they provide. Well done.

Do you have a sounding board?

As a general rule everyone in business is trying to find better ways of operating their business. They want to know how they can service their customers better and how to generate better results from the resources they have employed in their business activity.

Step one is to review what the business currently looks like:
What is your turnover?
How many employees?
What outlays do they have for rent, equipment repayments, etc?
What time do they have available to put into their business and is the forecast for this to increase or decrease?
What funds do they have available to operate the business and what timeframe will it take to burn through these funds if sales reduce or dry up?

Step two is to examine the trading landscape.
Are they in a market where there are aggressive competitors everywhere stealing customers and causing their market share to dry up?
Are they in an economic backwater where the best outcome would be for the business to relocate to another area where the number of customers and the chance of success are better?

Step three is to review the business plan which should outline at least the one and three year goals. This should include a turnover target, estimates of costs and profit target. It should also outline the time commitment from the owner of the business to test whether the goals are achievable. For example: if the owner has to work twelve hour days seven days a week then chances are that they will burn out and the business may collapse.
Read more…

As you may be aware directors can become personally liable for the debts of a company if that company has been trading while insolvent. Insolvent means that the company cannot pay its debts as and when they become due. 

Some of the regular debts owing are:

Equipment finance loans,
Overdraft facilities,
Property or investment loans,
Pay As You Go Withholding,
Goods and Services Tax Payable,
Superannuation Payable.

The Australian Taxation Office currently administers a Director Penalty Regime. This regime gives the Australian Taxation Office the ability to issue penalties to directors of failed companies. The main penalty notices which are currently issued relate to unpaid Pay As You Go Withholding and unpaid Superannuation.

During the recent budget announcements it was proposed that this regime would be extended to also provide the Australian Taxation Office the ability to issue penalty notices for:

Goods and Services Tax,
Luxury Car Tax and
Wine Equalisation Tax.

This means that if a notice is issued the directors may become personally liable for these debts of the company. 

While there is no date of effect yet confirmed we recommend that all directors review the financial position of the companies they are involved with to identify the extent of their personal exposure to any of these current amounts and also any amounts outlined under the changes to the regime. 

If you are unsure about undertaking this review then we are able to assist by reviewing the financial information for the relevant companies and providing a report which outlines your position as well as recommended actions for your consideration.

Also, we recommend that directors review the twelve month cashflow forecasts for each company to identify if there are any potential problems on the horizon which need to be addressed at the board level.

If you are a director of a company which doesn't have a twelve month cashflow forecast then we are able to assist with preparing such a report so that the board of directors have a clearer picture of what issues may need to be discussed and resolved. 

Startup Weekend Judge

In early June there was a Startup Weekend held at the Smart Hub in Rockhampton There were around thirty participants in addition to the facilitators, mentors and organisers. It was great to attend and be one of the four judges whose job it was to review the six pitches which were presented on the final day.

Each of the teams had worked together really well to identify their business idea, validate with customer feedback and then refine their business model. The ideas aimed at solving a wide range of problems and it was really good to see the presentations which they had been working on all weekend. Once the presentations were completed the judges were able to have an open discussion about each of the pitches and determine which ideas were worthy of the top three prizes.

Overall it was another great event for the startup community in Central Queensland and being able to utilise the Smart Hub for this type of event was an excellent outcome.

Congratulations to the organisers, facilitators, mentors, fellow judges as well as those who attended as there was great positive feedback from all involved.

Smart Hub Video

The Smart Hub video has recently been released and we were happy to be provide some comments.
The Smart Hub provides a great focal point for startup businesses in the Rockhampton Region.
All businesses start with an idea and this facility aims to grow and nurture those ideas into real businesses which then create economic benefits to the founders, employees and region as a whole.
If you haven't seen it yet it is definitely worth dropping in to have a look around and see what is available.
Go to

Well done to Luke Geldard Productions for creating this video. It is another quality production.

Happy New Financial Year 1 July 2018

The team at C.T. Harris & Company would like to wish you and your family a happy and prosperous New Financial Year. As there are a number of legislative changes which come into effect on 1 July, 2018 we hope that you and your business are ready for these changes. We also hope that you have put in place the best plan so that you will end up with a good result for this new financial year. Best wishes.

Farewell to Beef Australia 2018

Another great event is completed. 

  • Over 100,000 people through the gates,
  • 1,200 registered international delegates,
  • 12 internationally renowned chefs,
  • Over 5,000 cattle entered into stud, commercial and carcase competitions,
  • 530 trade fair exhibitors.

The event is an interesting place where you can buy practically everything needed to run a beef producing business. Well done to Denis Cox and the organising team and we look forward to another great event in 2021.

There were many interesting discussions held during the Next Generation Forum at Beef 2018. This was an opportunity for up and coming rural business owners to outline what their business offers and the path they have followed to get to where they currently are.

It was very engaging listening to the story of Angus Barrett who is a modern day R.M. Williams who manufactures Australian made saddlery and leather goods. For more information about Angus go to: Angus' presentation was very entertaining while still highlighting the day to day issues that all small businesses face.

The next presentation was from Clare Dunne, Editor of Graziher magazine Clare told an interesting story about how her magazine first started and what she plans to undertake in the future.

Overall there were some great examples of what can be achieved when people have an idea and the passion to follow it through to completion. The crowd appreciated the honesty of the presenters and we hope that providing pathways for the next generation to follow continues to be something that Beef Australia can facilitate with similar events in the future.

Pitch in the Paddock at Beef Australia 2018

On Wednesday 9 May the 'Pitch in the Paddock' event was held at Beef 2018. This was a great event with eight pitches promoting solutions for common problems in the beef industry.

First up was All Quotes Direct which saves primary producers time getting quotes for everything used in the beef industry such as cattle yards, fencing, water tanks, troughs, supplement, vaccines, ear tags, vehicles, motorbikes and many other products.

Next was Farmgate MSU which focuses on humane and ethical on-farm slaughter of high quality beef and lamb using mobile service units (MSUs). 

Then there was Livestock Labs which is developing a system to collect biometric data for each animal so that the livestock manager can be notified if there are any critical actions which need to be undertaken to treat disease or other problems the livestock may encounter.

Next was Fluxx which is a peer to peer general freight platform. 

Then there was MEQ Probe which provides objective measurements by using next-generation laser technologies coupled with machine learning to predict the eating quality of meat in real time.

Next was ProAgni which focuses on animal nutrition using probiotic additives as a way to accelerate the removal of ingested antibiotics from animal feed.

Then there was Vence Corp which offers virtual fencing and livestock management devices which reduce the need for physical fencing and increase the real-time information available to graziers about their animals.

Finally there was Water Save which provides an autonomous watering system using LoRaWAN technology and field sensors to optimise water supply based on real time field data.

There were five judges providing feedback to the presenters and one of the judges was Glen Richards who is known for his participation in the Shark Tank series. All of the judges asked relevant questions and provided constructive feedback for the presenters.

Overall it was very interesting to see how innovation, technology and data capture and usage are all converging to assist primary producers to increase production and commercial outcomes.

Well done to the sponsors and organisers of this event.

Breakfast with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

During Beef 2018 it was great to attend the breakfast with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. He has a great deal of knowledge about a wide range of different areas and took the audience on a journey covering some very important topics. There were a lot of facts which we all learned about as well as some interesting forecasts for where we are headed.

Many thanks to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for organising this event.