team meeting

Business health front and centre

Keeping health front of mind in every transaction will help make things more comfortable for your customers.

Thanks to the pandemic, health and hygiene are now front of mind for all of us.

We have become more aware of our own health, infection risks, and the precautions needed to protect ourselves and loved ones. Common sense behaviours, like staying home when unwell and frequent hand washing or sanitising are now everyday considerations.

Making it safe to do business

This focus on health and hygiene is here to stay. Your customers are likely to remain vigilant about potential sources of infection and will want to stay safe.

The new reality is a desire for a hyper-clean experience. For small business owners, this means customers will want to know that it’s safe to shop from you, and staff will want to know that it’s safe to work with you.

Taking healthcare in new directions

Beyond threshold issues of health and safety, we’ll also see a growing desire to spot the warning signs of illness, monitor our own health, and seek medical advice.

This means growing opportunities for small businesses to accelerate adaptation to emerging models of healthcare, including home testing, wearable self-monitoring health devices, and home-delivered medicines.

If your small business operates in the health and wellbeing sector, you’re in the driver’s seat to help us all adapt to the new world of healthcare. For others, it’s about keeping things clean, hygienic and safe for everyone who works and shops with you.

Consider your customer

Are your premises ultra-clean and super-safe for customers, and compliant with government health advice?

Do you need your customers to access your products and services differently to keep them healthy?

How can you help your customers take better care of their own health and adapt to new models
of healthcare?

Consider your business

Should you broaden your view of occupational health and safety to include more ventilation, hand-washing stations, or barriers for the protection of staff
and customers?

How will you monitor the way people adhere to new health and hygiene requirements?

How will you check the health of your own staff and ensure they’re okay?


  • Regularly track your compliance with government health regulations.
  • Review the frequency and rigour of the cleaning services for your premises.
  • Encourage the use of sick leave for your staff. No more ‘soldiering on’ if unwell!
  • Streamline transactions to reduce unnecessary waiting times and contact points.
  • Clearly communicate the steps you’ve taken to keep staff and customers healthy and safe.

Notch Above Bookkeeping is a team of Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. Based in Brisbane we help small business clients right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Call us to find out how on 1300 015 130 today.

Source: Xero

Three young women preparing and decorating a table outside in a huge garden for a dinner party

Can Christmas parties go ahead during the coronavirus pandemic?

The office Christmas party might not look the same this year

However, it’s still possible to inject some fun into end-of-year celebrations without putting anyone at risk.

Take your party outdoors

This is the safest option, given most coronavirus infections are contracted in indoor spaces, where air currents mean that people generally end up breathing in other people’s exhaled air, even with physical distancing and air conditioning.

With some venues, it will be necessary to book your space. In Canberra, for example, the National Capital Authority (NCA) is promoting the idea that organisations could hold their function in the Old Parliament House Rose Gardens or on Aspen Island. In the spirit of holiday giving, the NCA will waive hire fees, so plan ahead and get in early.

Physical distancing is still important, even outdoors, so dancing, singing and close-up mingling should not be part of the plan. And the ground rules for the event should make it clear that anyone who is unwell, particularly anyone who has any respiratory symptoms such as a cough or cold, must not attend the event.

Hand sanitising stations should be readily accessible, and any hand hygiene risks anticipated and avoided as far as reasonably practicable. For example, you may consider asking people attending to bring their own plates and cutlery, and their own food and drink.

Contact tracing

In addition, public health requirements in many jurisdictions mean businesses and undertakings need to keep a record of everyone attending, the name, phone number, the date and time they attended the venue.

This information is important for contact tracing, in case it later emerges someone at the event subsequently tested positive for coronavirus and may have passed on the virus without realising it.

To properly guard personal information, paper-based collection of contact tracing information should be done on a form that is kept private from other patrons, and secure from unauthorised access over the following weeks. The information can be destroyed after 28 days.

Collection of electronic information (e.g. on an iPad) must also maintain the privacy of personal information and must be done in a way that does not create a hygiene risk. For this reason, devices should not be handed to people attending, but rather collected by a staff member holding the device.

Keep your event small

The scale, nature and venue for your event should be chosen in the light of the local situation. Find out whether you’ll need a COVIDSafe plan, check maps of hot spots for active cases in the areas of potential venues, and make your plans accordingly.

Numbers of people attending will have to be within the allowable limits. Check your local health department to find out what restrictions apply in your area.

Think about using technology

A solution for some businesses may be a hybrid event where some employees are on site and others join in via Zoom or other platforms. This is an ideal way to include vulnerable individuals who may be at risk, for whatever reason.

While ‘virtual mingling’ might not have quite the same zing to it, if you’re joining in from home you can still relax and chat with colleagues, and at least you won’t be having to balance a drink and a plate in one hand while using a fork with the other.

Live, interactive games that online attendees can participate in are limited only by the imagination. Invite staff to make suggestions, and you might be surprised by what people come up with.

As long as it’s safe for everyone, a celebration can be a positive influence on workplace morale and a well-deserved relief, after such a difficult year.

Source: Can Christmas parties go ahead during the coronavirus pandemic? (2020). Retrieved from

cafe counter front of house

Are you following these cybersecurity basics?

We’ve all heard the cybersecurity buzzwords – phishing, botnets, malware.

You might be thinking, are these real and am I really at risk?

The truth is, cybercriminals don’t tend to target businesses or individuals in particular. They target weakness. Cyber attacks are automated, they constantly probe for weaknesses, which is why it’s important to get into good security habits.

Xero has put together some practical tips on the basics of cybersecurity to help protect yourself and your business.

Password security

80% of web apps are using brute force to compromise passwords. Protect your personal information with unique passwords that are long and strong.

Password managers are particularly useful in letting you use multiple strong passwords, as they can generate these for you and sync them across your devices to make it even easier to log in. It’s like an online safe that stores your passwords so that you don’t have to. You only need to remember one password to access the manager, which securely stores all your usernames and passwords.

For more tips on creating a safe password, read this article on Xero Central.

Two-step authentication

Two-step authentication (2SA) provides an extra level of security, by requiring an authentication code as well as your email address and password. This verifies that the person logging in is who they say they are. Adding another level of security with 2SA is like adding another barrier – making it harder for an attacker to get access to your accounts.

It’s especially important to set up 2SA on your email account, since this is often used as a method for resetting your passwords for other services. Once someone gets access to your inbox, there is potential for them to gain control of your linked online accounts.

If you’re a small business owner, 2SA can also help you keep your business systems and data safe. In Xero, there’s no limit to the number of users in your organisation, so ensuring each user has their own Xero account with 2SA set up on their own device will help to keep your information secure.

To learn how to set up 2SA in Xero, check out this article.

Keep your devices updated

Keeping on top of updates to software and devices is a simple and effective way of protecting yourself from a cyber attack. As well as changes to features or bug fixes, they’re also about fixing weaknesses, or vulnerabilities. It’s these vulnerabilities that attackers target to gain access to your device and data.

Developers are always looking for these vulnerabilities, and once identified, they change the code to fix the issue and send it to your device as a software update. Remember the sooner you update, the less time an attacker has to find and use these weaknesses. A good way to stay on top of updates is to set your system preferences to install updates automatically so you don’t have to remember each time.

If you’re a Xero customer, the Xero Checkup tool gives you a real-time snapshot of your security settings and makes suggestions on where you could improve your protection.

Check your privacy settings

While we all love sharing photos and updates with our friends online, it’s important to be aware of how much you’re sharing and who you’re sharing it with.

Check your privacy settings on social media to make sure you control who sees your information, and only allow people to connect with you if you know them personally. Find out more about protecting your privacy on social media and other websites here. Speaking of sharing, why not share these tips and resources with your network to help keep others safe too?

Another way to protect yourself from privacy or phishing attacks is to be aware of how the organisations you communicate with normally contact you and the kind of information they tend to ask for. Look out for strange email addresses, mis-spellings or dubious-looking formatting, and think twice about opening any attachments.

Xero has a security noticeboard where they let Xero users know about phishing attempts that are pretending to be Xero.  They’ve included some examples of things to look out for on the Xero security noticeboard.

You can learn more about security at Xero by talking with Notch Above’s team of Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. We help small business clients right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Call us to find out how on 1300 015 130 today.

Source: Are you following these cyber security basics? | Xero Blog. (2020). Retrieved from

woman florist with ipad

Low contact and cashless

Cashless transactions with low human contact make things quicker, easier and safer.

The switch towards faster, easier ways to shop is accelerating every day.

Contactless cards, digital wallets, even tapping your watch – they all bring new levels of convenience that customers have grown to love. Now, these cashless solutions are popular for an all-important new reason: hygiene.

As businesses reduce their use of cash for health reasons by embracing tap-and-go payments, they also benefit from quicker reconciliation, reduced theft risk, and lower storage, transportation and security costs. Basically, it’s the best of both worlds.

Finding new ways to delight customers

With some big thinking, you can go even further. For instance, if you can deliver a favourite product to your customer’s door in a contactless drop- off, that provides yet another layer of safety, convenience and delight.

Perhaps you might use the move to cash-free living to reward your customers through a loyalty program? Cashless payments open the window to digital receipts, where customers provide an email address so that an electronic receipt can be sent straight to their inbox. That’s an easy opportunity for you to grant reward points and offer special deals just for them.

Taking the low contact idea even further

The driving force behind cash-free purchases is also changing the way we produce goods and services. Having fewer points of human contact during your production process not only slows the spread of illness, but also delivers greater speed, efficiency and accuracy through automation.

The low contact principle might also extend to the shopfront, where your customers’ wish for safe transactions could see you installing practical hygiene options like door sensors, touchless soap dispensers, or voice-activated appliances. It’s all part of the new low-touch economy which is also likely to ramp up the appeal of do-it-yourself products.

These are just some of the ways that customers are changing how they buy, and reducing points of contact along the way. For your business, going cashless and trimming back the points of human contact along the production journey will help you save costs, save time, and meet changing expectations.

Cashless solutions are now popular for an all-important new reason: hygiene.

Consider your customer

What contact-free doorstep delivery or click-and-collect options would your customers value?

How can you fulfil customers’ growing preference for more home-made or self-assembled items?

Could reward programs help entice loyal customers back?

Consider your business

Could you minimise queuing and contact points during the sales process through automated orders, vending machine points, or self-service options?

How can you reduce the volume of manual handling of materials, cash, and documents by your staff?

How can you remove contact points in your production process?


  • Consider moving all your transactions to cash-free, tap-and-go.
  • Explore new checkout options, including digital wallets and mobile payments.
  • Offer low contact or contact-free ways for your customers to access your products and services, including home delivery where possible.
  • Start eliminating unnecessary points of contact in your production process.

Notch Above Bookkeeping is a team of Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. We help small business owners right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Call us to find out more about our Xero remote business bookkeeping on 1300 015 130 today.

Source: Xero Stronger and smarter: a small business handbook. (2020). Retrieved from

Xero Payroll

Making the move online

Having an online presence has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have.

If ever we doubted the power of the internet, the pandemic has confirmed it once and for all.

Not only have we seen an increasing number of people looking online in search of accurate information, but they’re also embracing the convenience and comfort of online shopping as never before.

While this was already a growing trend, having an online presence has become essential for all businesses.

Matching your customer expectations

Now is the time to ramp up your online presence and give your customers the ultra-helpful information they seek. Things like having products on hand and immediately available, easy online bookings and speedy payment options all help to make for a smooth and enjoyable user experience.

To make this work, you may need to boost your back-of-house technology as well. Replacing manual counting of stock with more automated inventory management, for example, is an essential step to providing real-time product information.

The benefits to your business also include quicker order processing, less time wasted on back-end administrative tasks, and cheaper fulfilment costs. A win for your customers, but also a win for you.

Making it social

Taking your business into the virtual world can open you up to a wider audience, far beyond the foot traffic in your local neighbourhood, into interstate and international markets. A good social media strategy can also help you target your marketing more accurately.

Customers increasingly see social media as a customer service desk – an easy place for them to send a query by instant message instead of making a phone call. Resolving queries online is usually simpler for them, and often quicker for you too. As more and more businesses make the switch online, growth in at-home purchasing is set to keep increasing. Rather than fearing your customers’ growing hunger for faster, easier ways to buy online, you can fuel it. Making the move will not only help you to sell in their world, it’s likely to see your business grow in turn.

Consider your customer

How will you stand out from your competitors in an online environment?

Can you personalise your customers’ online experience by tailoring special offers based on their purchase history?

Do you need fewer staff on the shop floor and more online, answering customer queries or reaching out on social media?

Consider your business

Can you modify or remove some of your paper-based systems and use cloud services instead to provide a faster experience for your customers?

Can you use digital tools, such as workflow and collaboration apps, to help your staff work together and plan more efficiently?

If online traffic increases, will you need as much shop floor space? Can you repurpose some of your real estate?

Tips for moving your bricks-and-mortar store online

1. Choose the right platform for you

Rather than looking to a third-party site to sell your product, create a brand and business asset that you have full control over. We recommend going with a self-hosted e-commerce website platform like Shopify – it’s user friendly, so even a novice can set up their own site.

2. Replicate your in-store sales assistant, online

When shopping online, people only have what you give them through their screen. That’s why you need to replicate the in-store experience as best as you can by providing quality images, great product headlines and detailed descriptions. Be sure to answer any frequently asked questions people may have in an easy-to-find FAQ section.

3. Have a follow-up strategy in place

Although people may not buy from you straight away, not only do you have the opportunity to build a relationship with them, you can also retarget them later when they may be ready to buy. Make sure you have automated email sequences and Facebook retargeting ads set up ready to follow people up.

4. Don’t forget about your existing customers

Getting someone to purchase from you again is much cheaper and easier than getting a new customer. Thanks to the customer relationship management system (CRM) within Xero, you can reach out to your entire customer database directly. Connect with your audience by producing engaging, unique and magnetic content.

Four apps to help move your business online

These tools from Xero’s app marketplace have everything you need to streamline and simplify your businesses’ move online.


With Hubdoc and Xero, manual tasks like document collection and data entry are automated, making bank reconciliation and financial document management a breeze. We outline 2 easy ways to do that in this instructional video. Talk with your Notch Above consultant for specific advice about setting up Hubdoc in your business, which is free for most Xero users.


This global commerce company enables you to begin selling online easily. Better yet, it easily connects with Xero via popular app A2X and comes complete with a bunch of handy resources to help you get started.


Say goodbye to clumsy spreadsheets and make paying your staff a seamless process thanks to this clever app that also takes care of scheduling, rostering and processing leave requests.


Thanks to the Stripe and Xero integration, your customers can pay your online invoices using their preferred credit or debit card. This means you get paid easily and on time.

Notch Above Bookkeeping is a team of Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. We help small business owners right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Call us to find out how on 1300 015 130 today.

Source: Xero Stronger and smarter: a small business handbook. (2020). Retrieved from