Is your business analysing the rise in data to better understand customers?

The COVID crisis has prompted businesses to become more customer-centric

Those that don’t go down this road may struggle to compete.

Is your company collecting data that helps you understand your customers better and putting it to use when you engage with them?

If the answer is ‘no’, you’re behind the eight ball and it may be to your commercial detriment, perhaps catastrophically so, in the months and years to come.

That’s because the worst pandemic in a century didn’t just up-end economies and societies, it also transformed the way consumers acquire goods and services and interact with organisations.

Last year’s cyber surge

Australia, for example, saw an unprecedented surge in e-commerce activity as stuck-at-home shoppers let their fingers do the walking during April and May’s nationwide shutdowns and through the remainder of that strange, socially distant year.

NAB’s Online Retail Sales Index: January 2021 revealed Australians spent $45.61 billion on online retail between January 2020 and January 2021; a whopping 49.1 per cent increase on the previous year’s figures. That number, which represents around 12.9 per cent of the total retail trade estimate, is expected to continue growing, as shoppers eschew bricks and mortar experiences for the convenience and safety of digital browsing.

Australians aren’t just spending their hard-earned online. Increasingly, they’re using digital channels to research goods and services and interact with organisations before, during and after the purchase process.

For many organisations, that’s necessitated the adoption of additional digital channels – think web chat, SMS and apps – to allow customers to connect with them, whenever and wherever it suits.

Organising with the data deluge

The upshot of this dash to digital? A deluge of customer data pouring into organisations via multiple channels.

In many enterprises, that data is stored in a series of silos where it can be accessed and analysed, to obtain an understanding of a customer’s dealings with the company, via the channel in question.

Savvy businesses, however, are doing things differently. They’re using new generation customer data platforms (CDPs) to aggregate customer data from across all channels and sources – web, mobile, server and cloud. And they’re analysing it to create a complete picture of individual customers’ motivations, preferences and behaviour patterns.

So much so that Twilio Segment’s Customer Data Platform was processing over a trillion API calls a month by the end of 2020 – a 100 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of 500 billion.

Keeping the customer satisfied

So, what are those ahead-of-the-curve businesses doing with the insights they’re amassing about their customers?

For most, the overarching goal is to create seamless, compelling customer experiences in real-time, in both the virtual and real-life realms. That’s because, in a crowded market, customer experience can be the only significant point of difference between an organisation and its competitors – and enough of a reason for one-time buyers to become loyal, repeat customers.

Hence, we’re seeing businesses use their aggregated data to inform digital advertising campaigns via Facebook, Pixel and Google ads, email marketing mailshots via Mailchimp and Braze, and interactions with customers via platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot and Zendesk.

Laggards lose out

And businesses that don’t take this data-driven approach to interacting with customers and delivering experiences that meet and exceed their expectations? Increasingly, they’ll find themselves left behind; struggling to remain relevant and compelling, at a time when cash-strapped and cost-conscious consumers have every reason not to spend.

Investing in a customer data platform is the starting point for every enterprise that’s serious about doing more with digital. For Australian businesses yet to take this high-tech step, the stakes are high and the clock is ticking.

Get onto cloud bookkeeping in your business

Xero is Australia’s most popular cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting software. Transform your business with real-time financial reports by making the switch to Xero.

Notch Above Bookkeeping are Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. We help small businesses across Australia to prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records using cloud technology. Call us to find out how on 1300 015 130 today.

Article first published by Dynamic Business on 4 May 2021 at

masked grocery shopper

Understand customer mindset to respond to buying patterns

Volatile demand

Responding to fluctuating buying patterns all comes down to understanding customer mindset.

As the government restrictions to protect our health eventually ease, people will adapt to the changes at different speeds.

Those variations will, in turn, have big impacts on sales for small businesses.

For those supplying household basics, spikes of panic buying are still happening at times – and threaten to reemerge whenever lockdown restrictions return. In contrast, if you’re a small business owner helping people plan their international travel, things are likely to be quiet for some time to come.

When customers purchase can fluctuate and change at short notice, because planning horizons have shifted – all the more so while the risk of the crisis escalating again remains. Where once they might have scheduled a car service, beauty treatment or a B&B room weeks in advance, they now book only a few days out, due to shifting restrictions. For some businesses, like restaurants, it’s exactly the opposite, with limited spots being snapped up well in advance. It’s all part of the volatility of the times.

Experiencing recovery in different ways

As the recovery gathers pace, economic progress won’t always seem orderly, predictable or linear. In some small towns, for example, it may feel like not much has changed since before the pandemic. In cities, however, it may take longer for a new rhythm to become apparent, and this might change the forecasts you make for sales in different parts of the country.

On the international front, some countries aren’t likely to pass out of the pandemic crisis phase at the same rate as Australia, so supply shortages of foreign-sourced materials may continue even if our nation is thriving again.

Making your customers feel safe

You may notice in your own local community that people of different age groups choose to socially distance for longer than others. Older people, for example, may remain more cautious about gathering in large groups. If they’re a big part of your customer base, you might need to think about how to reach out to them.

Ultimately, we may hope that instances of panic buying and hoarding will disappear, but we can expect some levels of volatile and patchy demand to continue for small businesses for a while, as communities recover at different speeds.

That’s why it’s important to stay on top of what your customers need and how they’re changing their spending. Coping with volatility is much easier if you have up-to-date data and insights, and keep a close eye on changes you can see in your customers’ buying patterns.

Consider your customer

  • How will you monitor the volatility in your customer buying patterns and get access to more accurate demand data?
  • How can you create flexibility in your booking procedures to match the shorter horizons in customer forward planning?
  • If customer demand dips, can you try bundling some of your products with other complementary offerings, or find new referral partners and offer commissions?

Consider your business

  • How can you best respond to rapid rises in customer demand?
  • If customer demand falls, will you consider clearing stock, pivoting to new product lines, or diversifying your range to spread your risk?
  • If your production needs to fluctuate, could you reduce some fixed costs and make them variable?


  • Monitor customer demand changes frequently.
  • Minimise new overheads and examine ways to convert fixed costs to variable costs.
  • Develop plans to scale production up or down in quicker ways than you used to.
  • Shorten lead times for product development and production where you can.
  • Streamline order fulfilment in advance of customer demand surges to help get products out the door when sales shoot up.

Getting cash flow savvy

Cash flow management can seem somewhat elusive, and even impossible to forecast at the moment. But, with help from your bookkeeper, you need to make your best assumptions to work out on a weekly basis over the coming two or three months, how much cash is coming in, and how much cash will need to be paid out.

The Government’s stimulus has focused on assisting businesses with cash flow challenges get through the toughest times. But when JobKeeper and other stimuli end your business may require additional finance or significant changes to accommodate a reduced turnover and become cash flow positive. When you know you’ve got enough cash to keep going, you can then focus on longer-term plans.

Stay on top of your numbers with Xero’s short-term cash flow tool

If you’re using online accounting software like Xero, you’ll have access to features designed to provide the visibility and insights you need to manage your cash flow. Xero’s short- term cash flow tool visually projects your bank balance 30 days into the future, showing you the impact of existing bills and invoices if they’re paid on time. This not only provides clarity, but helps you work out which invoices you should follow up, and see how your cash flow will change if you pay a bill next week rather than this week.

Now more than ever, having financial visibility is key. The team at Notch Above Bookkeeping can be a helpful source of advice on your specific circumstances. Contact us on 1300 015 130.

Source: Xero




Xero Payroll

Future proof your small business with cloud technology

The next chapter for small business: How to thrive in a changed world

A couple of months ago, Xero introduced a study that they commissioned through Forrester Consulting.

The study explores the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and identifies some strategies that have proven successful in helping small businesses survive and even thrive.

Today, using the insights gained from this study, we want to take a closer look at how small businesses have weathered the storm brought about by the pandemic and how the behaviours of consumers have played a role in their response.

Consumer spending behaviours before, during and post COVID-19

Forrester Consulting asked more than 1,000 consumers about their spending behaviours before, during and post COVID-19 and uncovered three key findings:

  1. Consumers significantly reduced, or even stopped spending their money with small businesses altogether, since COVID-19 hit. But, they do expect to pick this up again once the situation improves.
  2. Although they are spending less overall, consumers have actually increased their spending through digital channels. Digital spending during COVID-19 has increased significantly across all product categories that were surveyed, including goods we don’t usually buy online, such as groceries, and
  3. Consumers aren’t just buying more from these digital channels, they’re also more interested in using virtual communities to engage with small businesses.

The small business response to changed consumer behaviours

So, the overall spend is down, but the digital spend is up and consumers are feeling more engaged than ever with their virtual communities. How have small businesses responded to this change in consumer behaviour? Well, it appears that they’re mostly aligning their practices with these new consumer behaviours.

One of the most significant findings from the study is that small businesses have really increased the speed at which they’ve adopted digital at the front end (consumer-facing, such as online stores) as well as the back end (business operations, such as cloud hosting).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the businesses that are more proactive in using digital technologies report earning a much higher proportion of revenue online, as opposed to through physical stores. And perhaps even less surprisingly, the businesses that are thriving through this period are the ones that started their digital journey before the pandemic hit – they were more prepared and resilient than the businesses that shifted to digital because of the pandemic. However, it is clear that it’s not too late for others to catch up. What’s more, the research suggests those that rely on their support network of advisors – be it accountants, bookkeepers, financial advisors and/or technology advisors – are more likely to perform in a changing environment.

A shift in mindset towards digital

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated the speed and frequency at which businesses have embraced digital technologies. The types of tech investments or adoption that used to take years, now only take a couple of months – even a couple of weeks in some instances.

Before COVID-19 hit, 32% of the 1,000+ small businesses that Forrester Consulting surveyed reported using cloud solutions. Merely six months later, that number had increased to 49%. That’s an increase of 17% – a rousing endorsement that small business owners believe that embracing the cloud leads to better outcomes.

And small businesses are adapting their practices beyond just accepting digital payments. They’re taking it a step or two further. They’re investing more in online marketing and ad spending and using more digital services to improve their operation and increase their agility to be more resilient in their operations.

They’ve started creating e-invoices and embracing value-added services like spending analytics to understand where they are spending, how much they are spending, and how they can better manage their expenses going forward. Many are also recording and submitting their tax digitally.

It’s clear that the trend towards cloud technology has accelerated, and this acceleration is going to continue post-COVID. Small businesses that are open to change, are embracing this trend, and are supporting their customers’ buying preferences through this disruption, are the ones that are thriving.

If you’d like to learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted small businesses, read the full study to learn more about its recommendations, top actions to take and to dive into the details.

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

Source: Xero




small business bookkeeping notch above bookkeeping brisbane

Your wellbeing in 2021

Bringing physical and mental wellbeing into focus allows for a happier, more considered lifestyle.

Some are labelling 2020 as the ‘great pause’ because it has given us more time with family, less time at the workplace, and more time to relax.

And while it has certainly been a stressful and challenging period for many, others (with the means to do so) have come to appreciate a slower, simpler lifestyle.

This slowdown has highlighted just how beneficial it is to take care of our own wellbeing in times of stress. As your customers focus inwards and make more time for loved ones in response, it’s a chance for you to think about how they want to live their lives, and how your business can help.

Helping your customers to take care of themselves

Many customers are now aspiring to be physically fitter, healthier, and want to take better care of their emotional wellbeing. If you’re providing fitness and wellbeing services, or can partner with someone who does, you might boost sales and reach new customer niches.

Looking out for what’s happening outside

As a local business owner, you may notice an uptick in foot traffic as customers change their daily habits and opt for a more leisurely routine. Outdoor boot camps and exercise classes have become more visible, as small business owners in the fitness sector adapt to the trend.

As more of your customers slow down to boost their health and wellbeing, the opportunity is there for small businesses to motivate, inspire and encourage them. Promoting the positive health benefits of your products and services, and raising the feel-good factor, will help your business adjust to your customers’ new health-conscious needs.

Consider your customer

Can you capture the imagination of customers wanting a slower lifestyle by pitching your products differently to inspire them in their quest for wellbeing?

Are there products and services that complement your existing offering that would help customers to feel fit and healthy?

If there’s more foot traffic on your street, how can you reach more of the people who are out and about?

Consider your business

Are you looking out for how your staff are coping with the lifestyle changes and will you know if team members working from home are OK?

How can you help your staff to find the boundary between working hard and having permission to switch off for family time?

Are you taking the time you need to ensure you are personally recharged and energised to focus on your business?


  • Update your advertising to promote the health and wellbeing benefits of your products.
  • Consider how to reach out to any increased crowds walking past your door.
  • Check in with your own team and ensure they are coping, particularly if they’re working remotely.
  • Share successful stress-relief techniques amongst your team so that everyone can improve their personal wellbeing.

Staying resilient in times of change

Running your own business takes a lot of focus and energy, both of which tend to get depleted during times of rapid change. In the wake of the pandemic, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed at the challenges your business might face. Fortunately, there are some simple tips you can follow to keep yourself in good shape during the recovery.

Prioritise sleep: Rest helps the body to recover from long workdays and sharpens your decision-making.

Keep moving: Exercise as regularly as possible to spark those positive endorphins, whether that’s a morning swim, lunchtime gym session or an evening run.

Try meditation: Learning some simple breathing and relaxation techniques can help restore a sense of calm and confidence.

Nurture relationships: Having supportive friends and family around you keeps things in perspective.

Calm your surroundings: Your work environment matters, so listen to your favourite music, and reduce clutter and noise to minimise unhelpful stimulation.

Get some fresh air: Being out in nature keeps you grounded, so try not to stay cooped up at work all day – even a short walk outside can help clear
the mind.

Say no sometimes: Forgive yourself for not doing the things you don’t have capacity for, and be prepared to limit your activities to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Talk it over: Ease the sense of burden by putting problems into words, and talk over any worries with someone who cares about you.

Reward yourself: Celebrate the good days and take a moment to acknowledge your progress.

Thriving into the future

The last year has been incredibly challenging for Australia’s small businesses. Across the country, we’ve witnessed the strength and capacity for reinvention that being a business owner not only fosters, but demands.

Now more than ever, resilience will be your key asset. As you adjust to changing day-to-day, it’s time to take all that you’ve learned so that you can work towards coming back stronger and smarter. This guide is designed to help you do exactly that.

Adapting and innovating

Throughout history, it’s often the most challenging times that spark innovation. We saw this in action during the global financial crisis, which fuelled the launch of Uber and Airbnb, pioneered file storage in the cloud through Dropbox, and saw the rise of WhatsApp.

Out of this tumultuous period came new tools that we now use every day, new business models the economy embraced, and new ways for customers to fulfil their needs. This crisis will be no different. You too can take hold of pockets of opportunity and find fresh ways to succeed. That means seizing the chance to test new products, explore new services, and reach new customers – in ways you hadn’t imagined until now.

Respecting the process

As you adapt to your surroundings, it’s okay to recognise that progress may not be smooth or perfect. It’s entirely normal for there to be phases of rapid recovery and plateaus – especially in light of changing restrictions. But by drawing on your own experience, you can uncover how to move forward despite the challenges.

We encourage you to be bold, creative, and above all, open to change. Of course, anticipate that there will be obstacles, but also welcome the chance to test imperfect ideas and experiment quickly. So dive deep, take what you need from this guide, and ask yourself, “What can I do so that my business thrives into the future?” The decision is yours.

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

Buy local first this festive season

Broadening your supply chain and buying local dramatically lowers your risk when things get tough.

If you’re a small business who is dependent on a single supplier for your materials, you will have probably noticed just how hard it is to source what you need during a pandemic.

During our first nationwide lockdown, importing materials from overseas was a squeeze, with restrictions placed on goods moving across borders. And when panic buyers caused some product lines to sell out, cascading surges in demand for inputs meant that certain materials were simply impossible to get your hands on. In turn, production couldn’t ramp up quickly enough to meet the volumes required.

Diversifying to lower your risk

To avoid risk, many businesses are now reducing their dependency on single suppliers, especially those located overseas. Whilst international suppliers may have delivered cost savings for your business in the past, the possibility of disruptions in the future might now cause you to think twice.

In response, a trend towards near-shoring is emerging as a replacement for off-shoring. By looking for Australian manufacturers where possible, you not only reduce the chances of interrupted supply, but also cut your transportation costs. Plus, lining up multiple homegrown suppliers helps to keep the local economy thriving.

Using the buy local trend for good

Customers are also embracing the buy-local trend, supporting their neighbourhood businesses and buying Australian-made goods.

Increasingly, they are planning to holiday locally as well. Australian travel routes are now set to reignite well before global ones, meaning people will be venturing interstate and exploring our own backyard first – and needing the services of local businesses along the journey.

Ultimately, the local-first trend is positive for both small businesses and their customers. Why? Because reducing the risk of supply shortages while supporting your neighbourhood favourites is a win-win. As customers continue to buy local, your business can too, all the while reaping the rewards of a more stable supply of materials.

Consider your customer

What locally sourced products are your customers demanding most?

What does ‘local’ mean for your customer – does it mean from their neighbourhood, from their home state, or from Australia?

How can you support your customers’ desire to travel domestically in the short to medium term?

Consider your business

Can you diversify the range of suppliers you rely on and support more suppliers who are local?

Can you rapidly source extra components if demand surges?

Have you got access to back-up stockpiles if shortages emerge?

Are offshore providers suitable for your back-of- house operations or should they be run locally?


  • Review your list of suppliers with an eye to reducing your risk. Check that they can ensure continuity of supply and quick boosts to production if needed.
  • Proudly highlight local sourcing in your product descriptions.
  • Tell your customers the stories of how their food came to be on the plate, or how you are supporting other small businesses in the neighbourhood.
  • Pivot your attention temporarily from incoming international tourists to domestic holiday-makers.
  • Embrace the challenge of selling in your own community – build your local profile and connect with neighbours.

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

Continuity planning

In uncertain times, having a business continuity plan is more important than ever

One of the big lessons of 2020 has been the need to have a robust business continuity plan in place.

This learning has become all the more pertinent in light of the fast-moving nature of lockdown restrictions, which could change from one week to the next.

For many business owners, the impact of a succession of multiple shocks has made for anxious times. Bushfires, smoke pollution, wild storms, a global pandemic and economic shutdown have taught us that businesses need the capacity to withstand a range of challenging scenarios.

Nobody could have expected this chain of events, and it’s forced small business owners to entirely rethink their approach to planning.

Understanding business continuity plans

A business continuity plan is an outline of the steps you’ll take to help your business be prepared for events that could cause disruption. It’s a strategy to keep you strong in the face of a range of potential future scenarios, whether that’s natural disasters, equipment failure, or a cyber attack. In a crisis, people feel compelled to focus on immediate pressures – the here and now.

As we move through phases of recovery and growth, it can be easy to remain stuck in that mindset, and lose sight of the medium to longer term.

While you work through the current challenges facing your business, it’s a good idea to also keep an eye on future goals and the risks on the horizon. That’s where a business continuity plan can help.

Building a plan that’s right for you

Working with your team, think through which disruptions your business is most likely to face, and which would have the biggest impact. Then write down the actions you’ll take to avoid damage, maintain productivity, and recover. Importantly, your plan should include steps you can take now to prevent business disruption, as well as response strategies that would only be used in the event of an emergency. You might also incorporate the lessons you’ve learnt from the pandemic.

Whichever way you look at it, building some advance planning into the ongoing core work of your business is smart thinking. It provides that little extra peace of mind, knowing that your team has the strength and resilience to keep things moving, even if emergencies arise in the future.

Consider your customer

How will you communicate and connect with your customers during a crisis?

How can your customers best access your products or services during different types of disruptions?

Are there ways you can help your customers meet their urgent needs during future emergencies?

Consider your business

Do you have a way to enter ‘hibernation mode’ and recover afterwards

Are there opportunities to partner with other businesses during a future crisis to ensure mutual survival?

How can you build in time to evaluate and adapt your plan and your regular business reporting as you learn more about the new operating environment?


  • Develop contingency plans to deal with the most likely risks and those that would have the most impact.
  • Review and update your plans regularly to ensure they remain current.
  • Rehearse how you would handle the most probable threats, so that your team is clear on how they can help should the need arise.
  • Reach out to your network to learn from the experiences, insights and advice of other small business owners who have faced disruption before.

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

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

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