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  • 14-Dec-2017 17:06 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    WSA Co invites suitably qualified parties to submit a Registration of Interest for the Western Sydney Airport Early Earthworks package.

    Any parties interested in tendering for the Early Earthworks package, must register to receive Request for Tender documents which will be released in late February 2018.

    A copy of the Registration of Interest documentation is available on the WSA Co website at www.wsaco.com.au/business.

    The Invitation to submit a Registration of Interest will close at 4:00pm (AEDST) on 21 February 2018.

    Please forward any enquiries to tenders@wsaco.com.au.


  • 13-Dec-2017 16:02 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Macquarie Bank’s, Martin Lakos reflects on the key economic and market take-outs from 2017, and what to expect in 2018 – with an interest rate rise on the horizon. Click below to see his presentation.


    Macquarie has been providing Business Banking solutions for over 30 years and provides SME clients with tools and strategies to grow and develop their business. You can get regular updates by subscribing to the monthly newsletter, Strictly Business by visiting macquarie.com.au/businessbanking. If you would like to find out more about how Macquarie can support you to take your business further, call Sam McCarthy at our Parramatta office on 0417 518 724 and be connected with one of our banking specialists in your region.

    This information has been prepared by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502 (“Macquarie”) for general information purposes only. This information does not constitute advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. No member of Macquarie accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, consequential or other loss arising from any use of this information.


  • 08-Dec-2017 17:06 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    UPDATE: A copy of the presentation given at the Western Sydney Airport Industry Information Session on Tuesday 5 December is now available on the WSA Co website at www.wsaco.com.au/business

    **************************************************************

    The main airport works program for the Western Sydney Airport will be divided into three primary works packages.

    An Expression of Interest for the first package which will cover all Stage 1 earthworks, drainage and utilities will be released to market in early February 2018. More information about what constitutes the first package is now available on the WSA Co website.

    On Tuesday 5 December 2017, WSA Co will hold an Industry Information Session on the Western Sydney Airport procurement approach and upcoming tender opportunities.

    For more information on the first works package or to register for the information session please visit the WSA Co website.


  • 23-Nov-2017 11:04 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    By Mark Petrucco and Megan Scott

    Restraint of trade clauses are found in business sale agreements, shareholders’ agreements and employment contracts. In most cases the restraint clause will come into effect on execution of the sale agreement. However in some cases the clause will come into effect after the particular relationship ends. The restraint clause prohibits the vendor of the business, the former shareholder and/or the former employee from certain conduct or activity (such as solicitation of customers or former work colleagues) and depending on that person’s role the restraint will operate for a period of time and possibly within a geographic area.

    The general principles of the clause to restrain a person’s freedom to conduct business are well established. The courts have long said that a restraint of trade is contrary to public policy and the clause is void unless it can be proven that the restraint is reasonable, in the circumstances of the particular case.

    However in New South Wales the position is different and it is not entirely correct to say that a restraint is void, in the first instance. The Restraints of Trade Act 1976 (NSW) approaches the position on the basis that a restraint is valid to the extent it is not contrary to public policy, even if it is not in severable terms. The effect of the Act is to allow a restraint that is too wide to be read down so as to be valid to the extent necessary. Whilst the court is empowered by the Act to read down a restraint clause it cannot redraft it.

    The party contending that the clause is reasonable will need to demonstrate the restraint goes no further than is reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate business interests of the entity in whose favour the clause operates. The concept of legitimate business interests is broad and includes customer contacts, customer business practices, the employer’s pitch or pricing models, the employer’s business plan and target markets and the employer’s confidential processes and trade secrets. It is not uncommon that the former employee will argue that the restraint is unreasonable and contrary to public policy and it will be up to them to argue that defence.

    The courts will look closely at what the parties negotiated and the terms of the particular clause at the time of entering the agreement. The test of reasonableness of a restraint is measured as at the time the parties entered the agreement, not at the time the restraint is sought to be enforced or is challenged, and by reference to the interests of the parties concerned and the public interest. Therefore the restraint must afford no more than the adequate protection of the legitimate business interests of the entity that has the benefit of the restraint clause.

    An employer is not entitled to protection against competition. Such a restraint clause would be unreasonable and contrary to public policy. However an employer is entitled to protection against the use by the former employee of certain information or knowledge acquired by them with regard to the employer’s business affairs, in the ordinary course of trade. The relevant information or knowledge needs to be something more than mere skill and knowledge required by the employee to perform work (and become a possible competitor). The particular information or knowledge is of a kind that enables the employee to have influence over the employer’s customers, or knowledge of the employer’s confidential processes or trade secrets. This could enable them to take advantage of the employer’s business connection with its customers or the misuse of confidential information.

    In most cases an employer’s customer connection is an interest which a reasonable restraint clause can protect in circumstances where the former employee was the face of the business to that customer.

    The above is a general summary and not intended be legal advice.

    For further information or advice contact Mark Petrucco or Megan Scott. Mark is a partner and Megan is a senior associate in the Litigation and dispute resolution team at Hall & Wilcox.

    www.hallandwilcox.com.au


  • 23-Nov-2017 10:03 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)


    By Rainer Ahrens and Domenic Molluso

    The role of the CFO has changed. No longer purely compliance, a CFO has valuable skills, qualities and insights that converge with the CEO. The modern CFO is faced with the challenge of a role with many hats and not enough time to wear them.

    Through a number of conversations with clients and working closely with numerous CFO’s across our network, we’ve identified six key areas that have helped today’s CFO be successful.

    The Strategic Lens

    Over half of the CFO’s we spoke to, indicated that their company’s strategy wasn’t part of their board meetings during the last 12-18 months. We also found that it’s common for the ‘strategy’ to be confused with the organisation’s goal or vision. It’s important to understand that strategy is the practical game-plan that sets the team up to achieve the business goals.

    Today’s CFO is playing more of a partnership role and providing valuable input in shaping and driving wider business strategies. As the keeper of the company’s data, the CFO plays a vital role in assisting the board to refine action plans and clearly articulate objectives to all stakeholders.

    Successful CFO’s are strategists. They influence the direction of the company and provide financial leadership to grow the business.

    Conquering Cash Flow Management

    The key to business success is a proactive approach to cash flow management. Research tells us poor cash flow management is one of the leading causes of failure in otherwise successful organisations.

    Generally, those at the executive level understand the importance of cash flow management, however, it can be lost on operational staff. There is a clear distinction between companies that prioritise cash flow management and those that do not. From working with CFO’s, the common themes we’ve identified within organisations who manage their cash flow successfully include:

    Frequent communication about the importance of cash flow management with staff, at all levels, to ensure that staff understand the impact of their actions (or inactions) on the organisation’s cash flow position;

    • Providing training to all staff, tailored to their role within the organisation, in order to support sound cash flow management practices; and
    • Regular reporting of the organisation’s cash flow position against targets and identification of the causes of significant variances from expectation.

    Culture of Risk Awareness

    Besides the basics of risk management such as reviewing insurances, having key-man policies and possibly conducting outsourced internal audits, it’s crucial to evaluate risk in terms of the organisation’s culture. Risk management is not tangible or static, it’s always evolving and can be impacted by constant changes.

    Developing a risk-managing mindset can become a key competitive advantage for your company. By embedding risk awareness directly into the culture, it will significantly impact business performance and decision making at all levels.

    Different parts of the organisation generate and are exposed to alternative forms of risk including financial, reputational, strategic and operational areas. Don’t underestimate the power of your staff’s unique insights and knowledge, in particular the short-comings of your organisation’s controls and systems. A CFO can tap into this knowledge more readily when assessing and collating the overall risk framework with the assistance of those around them – they do not have to do it alone!

    Rethinking Performance Management

    An effective Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is paramount to managing the performance of any business. The ERP system needs to be scalable, accessible and easy to use but most importantly it needs to produce timely, accurate and relevant information for decision-makers.

    Most ERP systems have the ability to produce large amounts of data, however the short-coming often lies with their inability to easily convert that raw data into relevant information.

    Today’s CFO needs to have a clear understanding of the goals, strategies and key business drivers of their organisation in order to tailor the reports the ERP system generates to ensure the specific needs of the organisation’s various stakeholders are met.

    Effective Change Management

    CFO’s are well positioned to evaluate the success of potential changes and transformations. In today’s world, change is constant and a company’s ability to adapt and be agile is key to succeeding.

    When analysing change, it’s important to evaluate if the change is necessary and fundamental to the business. The best starting point is to proactively research the pro’s and con’s of the change and consider all alternatives, including preparing an own cost-benefit analysis to ensure there is a clear understanding and reason for the change.

    The most important part of any change is the communication strategy. By taking ownership of the conversation, you can control the underlying message and clearly communicate the value and reasoning behind the change.

    The Right People in the Right Roles

    One of the largest and most important assets an organisation has is its people. One of the most common challenges facing organisations today, is having to manage a multi-generational workforce with different values and motivations.

    In order to attract, employ and retain the right people for your organisation, today’s CFO needs to work with their HR specialists to:

    • Develop reward & recognition programs to align staff behaviour and expectations with the organisation’s strategy and objectives: the appeal and effect of for non-monetary recognition is often overlooked.
    • According to our CFO feedback, an honest thank you and an occasional day-off has boosted productivity more than an additional cheque;
    • Introduce training and development programs to ensure skill gaps are filled: up-skill training should not be seen as a substitute for hiring correctly in the first place. Your team is your foundation for good results, ensure that you have the right candidates by being a tough recruiter.
    • Implement structured performance review processes to provide timely and constructive feedback to staff: we all benefit greatly from timely and honest feedback, which is best administered within an “open and direct” environment. Strong CFO’s encourage upward feedback to be provided from below in order to better understand their own focus areas.
    • Identify opportunities to increase staff engagement: staff want to be part of the organisation – hence make a point of inviting them into the process and offer an open ear. You don’t have to agree or follow with all suggestions – but you should encourage participation.

    The role of today’s CFO continues to grow and evolve. Responsible for much more than finance, the modern CFO has a greater focus on strategy and business leadership.

    An effective and successful CFO:

    • needs a clear game-plan that is articulated and understood by everyone;
    • has an ERP system in line with their needs, which provides information on a timely basis;
    • has KPI measurements in line with cash flow targets;
    • embeds risk management as part of their culture; and
    • controls any messages of change.

    Throughout our conversations, we’ve learnt that the greatest challenge for CFO’s is time.

    Time needs to be “won” by critically self-assessing the daily routine and working with your staff, superiors and other stakeholders to identify areas of importance.

    When overbearing control processes appear to take up most of your day – perhaps the reason is to revisit the underlying processes and identify if, for example, enhanced staff empowerment, improved up-skill training for support staff or delegation ahead of final review are better suited to address the initial reviews.

    In addition, it is a process of small steps. You will not be able to change everything at once – but you have to start somewhere. Identifying the list of priorities can be a function undertaken within the finance team and should also include the buy-in from other members, such as:

    • commitment to prepare for meetings ahead of time, by having an agenda;
    • investing that little bit of extra time to clearly articulate the objective / task required, as this will often cut down on review and follow-up time later on;

    Focusing on these six key areas and investing time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your team and systems, will make it a lot easier to wear the many hats of today’s CFO.

    Domenic and Rainer recently presented their insights at the NSW CFO Symposium, to view their presentation click here.



  • 23-Nov-2017 09:39 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    It’s finally here! Introducing Room Sponsorship at the New Ronald McDonald House Westmead.

    The new, 60-room Ronald McDonald House Westmead is set to open in early 2018, and with the help of genuine partnerships with Western Sydney businesses, the doors of the new House will stay open for seriously ill children and their families well into the future.

    Room sponsorship is a vital program that sees corporate groups engage directly with the House and families, while providing much-needed financial support.

    The impact of room sponsorship is real and lasting: it determines how the House will operate and will ensure we are able to provide important services to families.

    For businesses, it offers real benefits while also meeting corporate social responsibility. And for the families who need Ronald McDonald House Westmead’s services, the support of corporate groups is life-changing.

    A child’s illness can have a devastating effect on families, and along with the uncertainty and fear comes medical bills, missed work for parents and the added stress of not being close to the medical care your child desperately needs. How will we be there for our child? How will we make ends meet?

    For a sick child, sometimes what they need most is to have their family nearby for more hugs, kisses, and “I love yous”.

    Ronald McDonald House Westmead supports over 600 families each year, but in the last 12 months it has been forced to turn away 400 more due to lack of space. The new House will increase capacity to support 1,360 families a year, which is why room sponsorship is so vital.

    Without Ronald McDonald House Westmead, those families would have to travel long distances, sleep in waiting rooms, in bedside chairs in hospital wards, in their cars, or find a way to pay for expensive hotel rooms.

    With corporate support, our home can be their home, offering warmth, security and a place to make new friends who are on a similar journey. From warm beds to hot showers, laundry facilities, family-friendly kitchens and play areas, Ronald McDonald House Westmead has all the essentials of a family home.

    Taking up room sponsorship in the new Ronald McDonald House Westmead carries a range of wonderful sponsor benefits that begin when your plaque is fixed to the door. Room sponsorship packages are limited, so don’t hesitate.

    To find out more about Room Sponsorship, please contact Amal Maait on amal.maait@rmhc.org.au or 0404 826 403.



  • 23-Nov-2017 09:13 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Just like that, it's less than 30 days until Christmas!

    Can you believe it?

    What most people do NOT realise, is how crucial the next 30 days are for almost any business, whatever industry you're in.

    Christmas is VERY QUIET in many industries. (I know it is in ours!)

    And it usually stays that way until mid-February.

    Are you prepared for that?

    What are you doing in the next 30 days to set yourself up for success in 2018?

    What you do will usually define how you perform over the entire next year!

    Did you catch that? This is important...

    THE LAST MONTH BEFORE will define your 12 months AFTER!

    Of course, most people wait until the predictably quiet January period to start their planning.

    Don't do that!!

    The best leaders know what they want to achieve. They plan.

    And they start making it happen... NOW.

    One of our Great Managers mantras is: "Do the Front-end Really Well!"

    So will you be chasing your tail in February, wishing you had more time to plan?

    Or will you be smooth sailing into the new year? Feeling totally on top of everything?

    I don't know about you, but I prefer the less stressful path. ;)

    That's why I'm planning now.

    2017 was a fantastic year for Great Managers.

    Enrolments in our Great Managers Academy were full, with a record-breaking number of managers on board.

    Over 500!!!

    We welcomed  2 new team members.

    One of our valued partners who deliver our program into Government departments, commissioned an independent auditor to review the quality of their training providers.

    Great Managers were described by this L&D expert as...

    "the Exemplar; the Benchmark for Blended Learning & Leadership Development...”

    It's the first time I remember our program being called the "Exemplar" so I'm not afraid to shout it from the rooftops! :)

    As you may know by now, we are on a MISSION to fill the world with Great Managers.

    I want to help give you reasons to celebrate in 2018.

    We are taking enrolments for February start dates, and beyond NOW. Although February is nearly full, as I write this, with businesses who missed out this year.

    If you are sick of spending money on training that changes nothing in your business, it might be time we connected.

    Great Managers are the industry leaders in behavioural and cultural change.

    We are all about making positive change in your business and ultimately, making your life easier.

    Our training has been proven to deliver time & time again with thousands of leaders across organisations of all shapes and sizes, that we're not only confident you and your team will get better results...

    We guarantee it.

    It's time to decide.

    A) Make Great Managers part of your strategy next year or...

    B) Keep doing what you've always done

    So, what will it be?

    Joining is on an application-basis as we only work with those who are 100% committed, so this is your invitation to apply.

    CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GREAT MANAGERS ACADEMY

    To a successful 2018!


    Sandra Wood, Managing Director

    Great Managers®



  • 20-Nov-2017 10:37 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    A key part of the Westmead-based Children’s Medical Research Institute’s ProCan® project is closer to being realised, following the announcement of a research equipment grant from Cancer Institute NSW last week.

    ProCan is a world-leading project aimed at changing how we diagnose and treat all types of cancer. In 5-7 years, it will be possible to give a patient a precise diagnosis and tailored treatment plan within 36 hours of receiving a cancer biopsy.

    The $910,000 boost will go towards a high-performance computing platform for cancer proteogenomic research – which is needed to make the whole ProCan project possible. ProCan General Manager, Dr Brett Tully, who is also lead of the ProCan Software Engineering Team, said the funding will go towards their “super computer’’.

    “Very few institutes get a piece of equipment for one particular project like this,’’ Dr Tully said. “This has been designed primarily for ProCan, but it is a real collaboration among many partner organisations.’’

    ProCan needs to analyse the proteins, or proteomes, from tens of thousands of cancer samples. They will then be compared with profiles from patients where outcomes of treatment are known. This will allow predictions of which treatments work, or won’t work, for a particular patient. In order to do this, CMRI needs a high-performance computing platform.

    “This will allow us to get that data into a format for clinicians to look at, without it the whole project would be very difficult.’’

    CMRI has been working closely with Harbour IT, Canon, HP, Red Hat and Intel to design the unique system. Canon Managing Director, Yusuke Mizoguchi, visited the Institute’s Westmead head office earlier this month to get an update on the ProCan project.

    Dr Tully said they were planning to start the next phase of ProCan work, and hope to put the super computer to work in January, 2018.

    “We’ve been working on getting the Standard Operating Procedures established, and now we can consider the next phase,’’ Dr Tully said. “Next year we will be ramping up what we’re doing. Getting the funding for this computer infrastructure is really key.’’

    CMRI has also received funding from the Ian Potter Foundation for this project and is hoping that, through its annual Christmas appeal with support from donors, the remaining funds can be raised.

    Photo: Canon management visiting Children’s Medical Research Institute in Westmead








     


  • 20-Nov-2017 10:29 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Lawyers see all sorts of businesses and deal with the effects of human nature in business on a daily basis. They document business ventures, estate and succession plans and we are often brought in to clean up the mess when things don’t go smoothly.

    Planned Succession

    Planning assumes there is time to plan. Often the business is closely tied to the founder who has a significant bank of knowledge which should be documented and communicated during the planning and handover process.

    There are many issues to consider when preparing a succession plan:

    • Will the owner leave completely or will the owner have some future involvement with the business?
    • Who is to be the successor? This doesn’t matter if the business is being sold at arm's length
    • How will the owner conduct discussions with the preferred successor? Is there a backup successor?
    • Will the owner appoint an independent person to lead the discussions and to chair meetings?
    • Owners should set a realistic timeframe for planning, documenting, mentoring, transition, handover
    • What are the risks to the business that may arise?
    • How will the organisation structure change and how will other people’s jobs change as a result?
    • What training is required for the successor and other people in the organisation
    • What documents should be drawn up?
    • What advisors will be involved – accountants, lawyers, spouse?

    Put something on paper! It’s a start!

    Unplanned Succession

    This is a critical issue in smaller businesses. Who will turn the lights on in the morning after unexpected death or incapacity?

    Whilst the ownership of the business may be covered in the will or shareholders agreement, an operations manual or statement of wishes may assist those who will be running the business.

    Unplanned succession can still involve elements of a succession plan, for example, mentoring a preferred successor, putting a shareholders agreement in place where there is more than one owner and having a will and/or power of attorney.

    Family Businesses

    These have their unique planning challenges including dealing with the expectations of family members who may not be the best people for the business. Owners should:

    • Aim for family harmony – do the children want to be involved in the business?
    • Aim to instil business skills and experience in those family members that are interested to hopefully build wealth across generations
    • Assess the financial capacity of the business to support these changes
    • Encourage communication between family members, don’t assume
    • Formalise the process with a timetable and adequate resources

    Takeaway

    This is very much an area of long term focus and vision, implementation and common sense rather than the application of strict legal principles. The early involvement of key people (whether family or not) and trusted advisers is essential to effective business succession planning.

    More Information

    For practical friendly advice on business succession planning contact please call Matthews Folbigg Lawyers in Parramatta on 9635 7966 to speak with Phillip Brophy or Natalie Gosper.



  • 13-Nov-2017 17:11 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Tips to sharpen your sales skills

    Are great sales people born or made? Whether you need to sharpen your own sales skills to build your business or you’re thinking about your next sale hire, it’s important to know what sets top sales teams apart.

    So we asked three leaders in their fields to share a few sales secrets.

    1. It all starts with the right attitude

    For Mark Churchill, Managing Director with commercial broking firm Allfin Financial, attitude is the first thing he looks for in a new sales recruit. “You need to be able to talk with people. Every sale starts with a conversation.”

    He believes this attitude comes naturally for a good salesperson – but those with a strong product knowledge base can learn it and do well.

    Jennifer Carr, Principal at Louis Carr Real Estate in Sydney, learned her trade with her grandmother – also a real estate agent – who sparked her interest from a young age.

    “Grandma would say, ‘there is no secret’. She genuinely loved talking with people, and everyday I look forward to meeting new people and hearing their stories,” Carr says.

    Click here to read the full article.


    Macquarie has been providing Business Banking solutions for over 30 years and provides SME clients with tools and strategies to grow and develop their business. You can get regular updates by subscribing to the monthly newsletter, Strictly Business by visiting macquarie.com.au/businessbanking. If you would like to find out more about how Macquarie can support you to take your business further, call Sam McCarthy at our Parramatta office on 0417 518 724 and be connected with one of our banking specialists in your region.

    This information has been prepared by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502 (“Macquarie”) for general information purposes only. This information does not constitute advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. No member of Macquarie accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, consequential or other loss arising from any use of this information.

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