Introducing Vanessa Chow - Practice Administrator

Hi, I’m Vanessa and I’m an office professional with over 15 years experience, across financial services, education, hospitality, retail and event management in Australia, London and Dublin. Throughout these different roles, I have been really passionate about helping my teams and clients to achieve their goals.

With a good attention to detail and a love of organising and planning, I will be helping the IA Melbourne team to better service our clients more efficiently and effectively. As Practice Administrator, I will be onboarding our Melbourne clients - making your experience at IA a seamless one, managing all things related to ASIC, sending out compliance as well as organising Ryan and the Melbourne team.

Before Interactive Accounting, I was an Executive Assistant at the Commonwealth Bank for 9 years within Institutional Banking & Markets. I supported the Head of Loan Markets & Syndications and her team based in Sydney and Melbourne. I wore many hats as the problem solver, event manager, gatekeeper, super organiser, formatting queen, designer, technology whiz  and holder of knowledge. I was always known as the go to person in the office and built a reputation with clients and internal stakeholders for getting things done and doing them well.

I am curious and love a great many things - I like to travel, learn new things, explore new places, have new experiences, sample new food and wine and do things that make me happy and push my comfort zone. As someone who loves design and architecture, I was part of the founding Volunteer Committee for Open House Melbourne - I love that Melbourne can share the love of the city. I have always enjoyed volunteering, mentoring and helping/teaching others and have recently finished teaching English to migrants and refugees at AMES which is something I found extremely rewarding. My personal learning challenges for 2015 are to learn the ukulele, hula hoop and machine knitting.

After working for a number of large corporations, the opportunity to work as the Practice Administrator for a small, growing, innovative company with a focus on technology and vibrant culture really appealed to me. I was ready for the change. I love that the IA team wants to bring accounting into this century and embraces change and technology.

I joined Interactive Accounting in November 2014 and my first month was challenging and a steep learning curve of new processes, different apps and adjusting from a PC to completely MAC environment. The team have been so encouraging and made me feel so welcome which made the transition so much easier than I could’ve imagined. I also love that there isn’t a suit in sight!

I look forward to working with my team and clients and being able to give our clients the best service and experience possible. I am also looking forward to learning new things from my team and being able to contribute to the continuing success of IA.

Interactive Team Thursday, February 05, 2015
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Final Bitcoin Ruling

During December 2014, the ATO issued two separate documents pertaining to the tax treatment of crypto-currencies in Australia. The main target in these documents was Bitcoin, as it’s the most prevalent crypto-currency in the marketplace at present.

Throughout this blog, we’ll attempt to demystify the confusion surrounding the tax treatment of these crypto-currencies.

For the purpose of these documents, it is assumed that the business is connected with Australia. Should the supply not be connected to Australia, these documents are not relevant as they wouldn’t be taxable regardless of the outcome.

Goods & Services Tax (GST)

The first key document was GST Ruling 2014/3. This is a public GST ruling explaining the ATO’s GST rules regarding these crypto-currencies. The key outcomes of this ruling are as follows:

  • Bitcoins are not considered to be supplies of money as they are not considered a form of currency in the eyes of the ATO. Therefore, they are not entitled to the exemption that applies in the GST legislation for supplies of money.

  • A transfer of bitcoin from one entity to another is considered a ‘supply’ for GST purposes. This means that if the seller is registered for GST and they are supplying to a tax resident of Australia, GST must be charged on the transaction.

  • Normal GST rules apply in that if you are supplying to a non-resident, no GST is applicable on the transaction.

The ruling itself, including a number of examples can be found here: ATO GSTR2014/3

Income Tax

Around the same time as the above ruling, the ATO issued a Guidance Paper to provide an overview of the tax treatment for crypto-currencies from both a GST & Income Tax perspective.

  • Sales: If you receive bitcoin for goods or services you provide during your ordinary course of business, the value of these bitcoins need to be recorded in Australian dollars. This will form part of your ordinary income. This is similar to the barter rules. More information on these can be found here: Tax Ruling IT 2668

  • Purchases: If you use bitcoins to pay for goods or services during your ordinary course of business, a deduction is allowed based on the actual value in Australian dollars of the goods or services acquired.

  • Investment: If you have acquired bitcoin as an investment, much in the same way as someone would acquire listed shares or bonds etc, you will not be taxed on any gains or losses under ordinary income. Instead, you may be liable for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any gains.

  • Personal Transactions: Should you acquire bitcoin to simply purchase goods or services for personal use, and you aren’t in the business of Bitcoin trading, any gains or losses can be disregarded provided the original cost of the Bitcoin is $10,000 or less.

Further guidance can be found here:

Record Keeping

In order to comply with the ATO’s record-keeping requirements with regard to crypto-currency transactions, the following details are required to be kept:

  • Date of transactions

  • Amount in Australian dollars

  • What the transaction was for

  • Details of the other party

This is quite a complex tax topic. There are many other forms of crypto-currency transactions as well as many conditions which can affect individual circumstances. If you require further help, or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Interactive Accounting.
Interactive Team Thursday, February 05, 2015
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Introducing Sandy Nicholas - Intermediate Accountant

A bit about me

Hi I’m Sandy and I recently joined the Sydney team. I am currently finishing up my Bachelor of Commerce in Professional Accounting at Macquarie University and working as an Intermediate Accountant.

Before Interactive, I began working as a Junior Accountant at a firm in Parramatta. Over the four years, I learned so much about the accounting industry and how to apply my technical knowledge in practice. Throughout that time, I gradually moved into the role of Intermediate Accountant. My focus was mostly compliance based, dealing with tax affairs for individuals, partnerships, trusts, companies and some superannuation funds, as well as minor audits and tax planning.

From the frustration of using PCs and MYOB, I was ready for a fresh start with an entirely new outlook on the accounting industry.

What are you passionate about?

Working with numbers has always been something I enjoy, but technology has also played a significant role. I appreciate new technology, whether it’s a device or software. Increasing efficiency by cutting unnecessary processing and admin is probably my favourite thing to do. The bottom line is; the more efficient the software, the more time I have to work with you and improve your business.

Fun fact: Before studying to become an accountant, I had always wanted to be an IT professional focusing on software design. I may also take this on after my CA, using the most up to date technology and great software is a priority for me.

What attracted you to Interactive Accounting?

To put it simply, the cloud was always the way to go. Not only from an efficiency perspective, but also the convenience of working anytime and anywhere. I have always been a Mac user and the fact that I can now use one at work is awesome! From researching the companies out in front on the Xero adviser charts, it really outlined which accounting firms were moving in the right direction, but IA was the one that caught my attention due to their innovative practice. Their internal culture promoted a relaxed working environment and a mobile office. Some of the highlights for me were a no suit policy (who wouldn’t want to come to work in jeans and converse?), Mac OS based, a friendly co-working space and of course, beer Friday’s.

My IA experience so far

During my first few months, the team in both Sydney and Melbourne have been so supportive and welcoming. Although across different states, we work as a team and chat everyday. I have already been exposed to a number of clients and worked with them to meet their compliance obligations. If one sentence were to summarise the past two months, it would be that the cloud has completely changed the way I do my job and I love it.

Being an accountant, there is always more to learn. I am keen to start my CA towards the end of this year and furthering my knowledge within the IA team. Most of all, I look forward to working with you!

Interactive Team Wednesday, February 04, 2015
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February Tax Update

We’re into a new calendar year, and with that comes the time to reflect on the last year as well as what’s on the agenda for 2015. There have been no real developments in the past month due to the Christmas & New Year holiday period. Federal Parliament is in recess until early February.

Instead, we’ll get our crystal ball out and gaze ahead to try and predict what is in store for us in 2015.

Budget Outcomes

We are all well aware by now of the Federal Budget handed down last May and it’s severe spending cuts. However, what you may not be aware of is that only a few of the measures have actually been enacted into law. It’s almost impossible to keep track of where each of these announcements are in the process, so below is a quick summary of the key measures announced last May:

  • Carbon Tax - this has been successfully abolished.

  • Mining Tax - this has also been successfully abolished. Along with this action came the removal of business initiatives such as the loss carry back rules for companies, as well as accelerated depreciation for motor vehicles.

  • 2% ‘Debt Tax’ - This applies from 1 July 2014 - 30 June 2017 for people with an annual taxable income greater than $180,000.

  • GP Co-Payment - This has been defeated in the Upper House of Parliament.

  • Superannuation Guarantee - This has been altered along with the mining tax rules. The rate will now be 9.5% until 1 July 2021.

Tax Policy

With regard to tax, the government’s Tax ‘White Paper’ is due out shortly. It is a formal review of our entire tax system and is expected to outline that major changes are required. It is likely to be suggested that the government needs to move away from reliance on personal and corporate tax and instead broaden the base and increase the rate of GST. This is a hugely controversial topic, so it’ll be an interesting space to watch!


As mentioned above, the superannuation guarantee rate has been set in stone at 9.5% until at least June 2021. This helps to give employers certainty around their obligations. Of course, this could be altered as early as the next Federal Budget in May 2015.

Another significant development is the reform of excess contributions tax. At present it’s currently before Parliament, with a positive outcome expected early in 2015. Once passed, it will allow for the withdrawal of any excess non-concessional contributions. This will help to avoid any excess contributions tax on amounts paid into the fund by mistake.

The crackdown on SMSFs will continue in 2015. If your retirement savings are located within this environment, take extra care to ensure you are complying with the rules. Key issues include:

  • Borrowings

  • Interactions with related parties

  • Overseas members & residency

  • Pension payments

As always, if you would like any further information on anything included here, or need tax advice for any matter, don’t hesitate to contact the Interactive Accounting team.

Interactive Team Wednesday, February 04, 2015
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Introducing Sean Minetti our new Business Services Manager in Melbourne

I’m a CPA with over fifteen years experience working with small businesses and their owners, managing their tax compliance and helping them achieve their business goals.

Starting in the year 2000 as a co-op recruit at Morrows CPA in Melbourne via RMIT’s College of Business, I received a solid grounding in the fundamentals of tax compliance.

In 2002 I accepted an opportunity with a growing practice in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne - The Field Group to join their compliance team.  During the four years I was with the practice, I managed my first portfolio of clients working with businesses from a range of industries including agriculture, medical, trade, and retail.  Most importantly I also completed my CPA studies whilst at The Field Group achieving very pleasing results.

After a period of overseas travel I took a role with CHN Herold Ross in early 2007 where I again managed a portfolio of clients and took on greater responsibility in the running of the practice.  This included sitting on the board of management and managing and enhancing the quality assurance program for the practice.  In early 2012 I spent six months in a manufacturing business as their accountant giving me a taste of the challenges facing small business at the coal face.  Realising that my passion was working with a range of small business clients I returned to CHN Herold Ross in May June 2012.

Being a conscientious person with great attention to detail and a keen eye for new technology, I was attracted to the work the team at Interactive Accounting were doing.  Now joining this innovative team I have the opportunity to embrace the two major accounting passions that have evolved for me over the last fifteen years.  

  1. Compliance Management

Australia’s tax and legislative framework can be extremely challenging for all business let alone smaller operators.  I love helping owners ensure they meet their compliance obligations in a cost effective manner so that they can carry on doing what they do best, running their business, with as little distraction as possible!

  1. Proactive Accounting

The traditional accountant client relationship has been a reactive one as information has rarely been readily available.  Technology now provides the opportunity to have a collaborative relationship with clients, helping them to make important decisions on the basis of accurate real time data that can make a real difference in the success of their business.   

The manner in which Interactive Accounting both embraces third party technology and also looks to develop inhouse solutions means the opportunity is there to join these two ideals like never before.

In my first month I was struck by the absolute dedication the team here has to getting the job done, something they are extremely good at.  More impressive though is the knowledge sharing, drive to improve the practice through innovation and the fun the team has whilst doing it!  

I am looking forward to meeting with and working closely with many more clients, continuing to share ideas, learning from, and teaching the great team here what I’ve learned in fifteen years in practice.  

Interactive Team Tuesday, January 06, 2015
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