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The world’s first true paper tablet

Interesting new product to the hit the market “reMarkable” for reading, writing and sketching. For people who prefer the experience of handwriting on paper, this product can help you do it digitally without any social media, instant messages or email to distract you). Costs around 500 euro. https://remarkable.com

Just as an FYI, the Tax Office take a great interest in companies’ filing habits – poor systems suggest poorly prepared tax returns. Great care and filing suggest good tax citizens. No one likes to annoy the Tax Office.

Best practices for filing

The other day I was given an SOS by one of my clients – they had got their filing and document storage into a BIG pickle! So I considered that the tips I gave them and the systems we set up together may be useful for your businesses.

Whilst there’s no perfect answer to the question ‘what’s the best way to file?’, there are some basic guidelines we recommend.

Just as an FYI, the Tax Office take a great interest in companies’ filing habits – poor systems suggest poorly prepared tax returns. Great care and filing suggest good tax citizens. No one likes to annoy the Tax Office.

How to set up your files

We’ll use a Mac this time to walk through how to set up your filing system but the method is the same for both Windows and Mac PCs.
Step 1 Firstly, pick between 5 and 10 folder titles (depending on how in depth your filing needs to be) that will broadly cover all possible aspects of your work, business or whatever it is you are trying to organise – you might need to take a step back to get a birds-eye view of your data so that the categories you decide upon will cover absolutely everything. These titles will become the top level folders of your filing system. We suggest writing them all in upper case for greater clarity. Here’s an example

Note, each folder encompasses one key aspect of the business called ‘ABC Widgets’.

Step 2

Once these are all in place, add your subfolders (using capital letters again) to further break down your top level folders.

Here are two more examples

See above that ACCOUNTS is broken up into the subfolders BUDGET, CASHFLOW, INVOICES, PURCHASE ORDERS and TAX. Anything that relates to any aspect of ACCOUNTS can be filed in one of these sub-folders.

MARKETING here is broken up into the subfolders ADWORDS, EMAIL, FACEBOOK, LINKEDIN and TWITTER.

Step 3

For some, the primary folders and subfolders will suffice for your requirements, but if you need to break down the way you organise things further, you can always add deeper subfolders as required… and/or they can be added at a later date also.

Real life example

One of my clients who is very accomplished in business operations and logistics understands the key to their success is through an extremely well organised company filing system where everything is accounted for, nothing is left out, and anyone can find whatever it is they need with relative ease.

On a practical level, what it meant for them was when they were audited by their professional industry body for an international accreditation, they were able to pass with flying colours because their documentation was all in the one place.. now that’s how a great filing system should be.

Great record keeping is essential for any successful business. If you require further help with your filing, or need to review the way you organise your data, then please get in touch.

8 Ways to stay ahead of cybercrime

Over the past month alone, several thousand Australians were scammed out of more than $800,000 via an ATO tax hoax that contacted its victims by phone and demanded that they immediately pay an outstanding tax debt or face Federal Police action.

Cybercrime can affect anyone at any time. Online scams, phishing attacks (where criminals masquerade as a trusted entity to steal user data), fake phone calls, texts or instant messages and other forms of tech-crime are on the rise and we need to better understand the new cyber-threat landscape.

Rather than getting fearful or paranoid, it‘s important to learn how to read the warning signals to improve your understanding of cybercrime so that you can mitigate potential risks and know how to deal with a cyberattack should it happen to you.

8 Ways to stay ahead of cybercrime

1. When someone contacts you unexpectedly.

When someone you don’t know contacts you out of the blue via text, email or on social media always approach it a healthy sense of caution. Consider the context of the message and if it feels a little weird or out of character, then chances are it’s not real.

2. Deciding whether or not it’s actually a scam.

If you do get a call or text that sounds like it might be legitimate, an outstanding bill for example, always give yourself some extra time to investigate… so hang up the phone and do some research before making any payment. We recently received an electricity bill asking for a large than usual amount and earlier in the billing cycle than usual, so we logged onto our online account and found we had already paid our bill – this was a hoax.

3. Scammer tactics.

Scammers will often try to convince you that the situation needs resolving right now. They do this so that you feel pressured to act and so you don’t have the space to look into the matter and review at your own pace. Fear and bullying are common tactics to get you to act faster but also be aware of the patient scammer who is happy to engage you via a polite email with a lengthy story about a charity cause needing your money.

4. Spotting a fake.

You can spot a fake email by looking out for some noticeable giveaways like a generic name (‘Dear Madam’ or ‘Dear Client’ for example) rather than a personal greeting, poor quality presentation (like grainy images or unprofessional looking text), an unofficial email address or bad spelling or grammar.

5. Requests to disclose passwords or banking details.

Legitimate companies will never ask for your password or request money via unconventional methods like clicking a link and asking you to enter your bank details.

6. Keeping data securely backed up.

Keep multiple backups of your data – preferably at least one in a physically different location to your computer and another encrypted in the cloud. Backup does not mean putting important information like priceless family photos onto a single hard drive and storing that in the cupboard or safe. If that’s the only copy of your photos and your hard drive happens to fail or disappear, your photos are gone.

7. Keeping software up to date.

Ensure that your software is kept up to date. Leaving software ‘unpatched’ greatly increases its vulnerability to being hacked, particularly with operating systems like Windows and MacOS and also any smart phone and tablet.

8. What to do if you have been scammed.

If you are unsure something is a scam:

  • avoid clicking on links or opening attachments;

  • if you think you have been scammed, change your email and banking passwords immediately then notify your bank to investigate whether any unauthorised transactions have been made;

  • if you’re sure that it is a scam shut down your computer immediately and avoid any further risks;

  • do a computer scan / review to make sure you are secure and haven’t been hacked;

  • you can securely report instances of cybercrime to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN), a national policing initiative of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as follow the Australian Tax Office’s guide to verifying and reporting a scam;

  • and finally, if you have been asked to pay a ransom, talk with an IT professional first and weigh up your options sensibly though in general, if you are prepared enough, you may not have to pay anything.

If the tech side of things gets all too daunting (understandable in such a complex space) you can always ask for help or hire an IT specialist.

Whatever you do though, it’s important to develop an awareness and understanding of cybercrime. Online fraud attempts are ever increasing and anyone can be a potential target, so get yourself educated and prepared for what could happen so that you can work confidently working online and navigate the digital world with greater ease.