Project Management

Managing Project Time

Managing Project Time

Project managers know that the iron triangle of project management are constrained by three elements – time, cost and scope. Each project is given a set timeframe for the project deliverables or goals to be achieved and many struggle to meet this timeframe.  

Estimation techniques

Expert judgment is often used to assess task durations and efforts. Expert judgment is gained often through experience allowing comparison to previously completed work in order to allow a prediction of future work. An example of this would be in estimating duration for a task such as laying bricks. An expert in the field would be able to assess the duration of such a task by utilizing a rule of thumb quantity per day per bricklayer. Assessing how many bricklayers would be expected to be operating in the space available and therefore be able to ascertain a time length and effort involved in the task. Expert judgment may also extend to specialists in the field, consultants and sub-contractors are often consulted to determine task durations and efforts in-fact many sub-contractors or specialist consultants may drive task and/or project duration. It is important during the use of expert judgment that schedules are produced that are neither too conservative or optimistic and that they can constantly change as required when new information is presented. View course details for the Diploma of Project Management.   Published estimating data is also frequently used. Books such as Rawlingsons are published and sold to construction companies the world over. These books go into quite a significant amount of detail in how they should be used and read. They have a very large range of material and labour quantities and costs through many facets of construction. Often the data can be used independently or with alterations. For instance, data may publish a rate which you may discover is old or outdated, particularly with items that are subject to large price increases. Therefore, the costs may be able to be adjusted, or the labour component used to determine time and the material costs discovered from another source. Publications such as these can be very helpful but certainly cannot be used in isolation as there are dangers in relying solely on works such as these. There is always a gap between existing and new construction techniques as often newer construction techniques do not make their way into these publications until they have proven themselves in the market.  

How do you identify a project’s critical path?

The critical path is determined by following the path generated by the longest durations. It is the sequence of all activities that must be completed for the entire project to be completed. If there are multiple tasks occurring at one time, the task that will form the critical path will be the task with the longest duration. For this to be successful all tasks must have at least one predecessor and one successor except for the first and last tasks. If a task is deemed to on the critical path and it is delayed by one day, then the project will have delayed by one day.   Critical paths have either zero or negative float, if a task can be delayed without an impact on the project than it will not be on the critical path. Units covered by Diploma of Project management.    A manual way of determining the critical path is via the use of a schedule network diagram. Once this is plotted you can determine all possible paths available and calculate the duration for each individual path. If the schedule has been plotted on a software system such as Microsoft Project, the critical path can be determined by the software. It is important however, for this to be reviewed and sometimes adjustment may need to be made, as the programmed critical path line may not go where you would like. Adjustments would be made to other tasks in this case to reduce float.  

How to manage project baselines, establishment and variance

Once a schedule has been fully developed, a schedule baseline is created and accepted by the project managing team. This schedule provides the project start and finish dates, identifies the critical path and provides a fixed point on which the project performance can be measured against. The critical path established may change throughout the project due to tasks completing early or running late. Often multiple baselines can be created dependant on the scope of the works or unknown or latent conditions which could drastically alter the original schedule baseline where it becomes unpractical to measure changes. Schedule control is required to ensure that the project schedule is updated when events require it. Often such a review period would occur at major milestones, change of personnel that impact the program such as key staff, completion of deliverables and finalisation of the project. The project manager works with the stakeholders and clients to ensure that changes are agreed upon, the project manager examines the results and conditions on site to determine if such changes have occurred. The project manager will also implement these changes into the program.   A schedule control system could be used for managing the mentioned changes and facilitates the tracking of changes, approval processes and does this considering the conditions of the change requests, reasons, costs and risks of these changes. Alterations to the schedule can also be driven by poor performance, this is needed to be monitored using performance review which considers actual start and finish dates, percentage complete and remaining durations. Part of the project management process is identifying when corrective action could be required dependant on the overall impact of poor performance on an activity. Performance of this analysis is key in controlling the schedule, the comparisons can be often viewed in a comparison bar chart where the baseline and the schedule changes can be reviewed side by side and slippage can be visually identified. At these points the schedule can be reviewed for potential forecasting changes that could be implemented into bringing the schedule back towards the baseline. What if scenarios, resource levelling and adjusting leads and lags can be used to identify the changes that would be required to reduce delay to the project.   Schedule variance and schedule performance index values for the WBS components are documented and presented to stakeholders, schedule variance analysis and progress reports may have impacts to other components of the project management plan. Learn how to mangage project budget by clicking here.   The importance of discovering the root problem of the delay or schedule variance cannot be overlooked. This can often be tracked using document and records such as site diaries, incident records and occurrence reports, scheduling charts, evaluation of options, variances, records of analysis and review of work breakdown structure. A big part of managing a project is ensuring you will learn how to manage cash flow.  

By user23395, ago
Accounting

Bookkeeping | Accounting – BAS agents requirements

What are the requirements for me to register as a BAS Agent?

Navigating the BAS Agent registration requirements can be confusing, especially the primary qualification criteria, since the TPB website does not specify exactly which qualification comes under the Certificate IV in Financial Services in bookkeeping or accounting.

Which qualifications are accepted?

According to the TPB website, an applicant must hold at least:   Higher qualifications are also accepted – meaning if you hold a Diploma of Accounting, a Bachelor of Accounting or a Master of Accounting, it will satisfy the primary qualification requirement.

BAS Agent Registration Requirements

To register as a BAS Agent as an individual, you must satisfy a certain set of criteria, not just holding the accounting and bookkeeping certificate:
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be a fit and proper person – this takes into account:
    • whether you are of good fame, integrity and character;
    • whether you have been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty;
    • whether you have been penalised for being a promoter of a tax exploitation scheme;
    • whether you have been penalised for implementing a scheme that has been promoted on the basis of conformity with a product ruling in a way that is materially different from that described in the product ruling;
    • whether you are an undischarged bankrupt; and
    • whether you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, or served a term of imprisonment in whole or in part.
Click here to find out more about this requirement and the definitions that apply.
  • You must satisfy the qualification and experience requirements – you must have:
    • successfully completed a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping (or one of its superseded qualifications or higher) from a registered training organization or an equivalent institution;
    • must have completed a board-approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles (which may be included in the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping); and
    • completed 1,400 hours of relevant work experience in the past 4-years.
  • You must maintain, or will be able to maintain, professional indemnity insurance cover that meets the TPB’s requirements.
  • You must complete an online application and provide the required supporting documents.
 

What happens after I submit my application with the TPB?

After you have submitted your application, the TPB will respond with a decision to either grant or reject your application for registration. You will usually hear from them within 30-days of submitting your application. If your application is approved, details of your registration will be recorded and published on the TPB register, you must inform the TPB of your professional indemnity insurance details within 14-days of approval, and the Australian Taxation Office will be notified that your registration has been approved. Alternatively, if your application is rejected, you will be advised of the reasons and of your appeal rights; and the ATO will be notified of the TPB’s decision to reject your registration. Important: This information is current as at the 19th of September 2018 and as available on the TPB website.  

By user23395, ago
Accounting

Accounting student Tax Guide to superannuation.

What is Superannuation?

Superannuation is payments made by your employer to a designated fund meant for your retirement. Your employer is required to pay 9.5% of your ordinary time earnings once you earn more than $450 in a calendar month, and up to $54,030 per quarter. This payment is a tax effective way for you to save up for your retirement and these funds can only be accessed once you have met preservation age.

Preservation age

Preservation age is the age you need to be before you are able to access your superannuation funds. If you were born before the 1st of July 1960, your preservation age is 55. This means when you reach the age of 55, you can access your superannuation benefits. If you were born between the 1st of July 1960 and 30th of June 1961, your preservation age is 56. If you were born between the 1st of July 1961 and 30th of June 1962, your preservation age is 57. If you were born between the 1st of July 1962 and 30th of June 1963, your preservation age is 58. If you were born between the 1st of Jul 1963 and 30th of June 1964, your preservation age is 59. Finally, if you were born after the 30th of June 1964, your preservation age is 60. There has been a lot of talk amongst the members of parliament to increase this preservation age right up till 70. However, this is not yet law and the change may never eventuate.

Can I add additional funds to my superannuation?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. You, as a superannuation account holder, can utilise several ways to add funds onto your super – pre-tax salary sacrifice, personal after-tax contributions, government contributions and by transferring funds from any of your foreign superannuation accounts. There are caps that you should be aware of before contributing extra funds into your superannuation account so be sure to take note of them and do not over-contribute or risk being penalised.

What are contribution caps?

Contribution caps limit the amount that can be added to your superannuation account each financial year. These caps are indexed annually and should you contribute more than the allowable cap, you may be liable for additional tax on the excess contributions. Learning more about contribution gaps and other related finance topics  by studying a Diploma of Accounting Online by visiting edna.edu.au to find out more about diploma of accoutning qualification Contribution caps vary depending on the type of funds you are adding to your superannuation account. For example, the concessional contributions cap from the 1st of July 2017 onwards is $25,000 for all individuals regardless of their age. From the 1st of July 2018, you can make ‘carry-forward’ concessional super contributions if you have a total superannuation balance of less than $500,000. Any unused concessional contribution caps can be rolled over for 5-years. With non-concessional contributions, from the 1st of July 2017, if you are between the age of 65 and 75, you have a yearly cap of $100,000. If you are under 65-years old, you are entitled to contribute up to $300,000 over a 3-year period. You can refer to the table at the bottom here for more information. If you exceed this cap, there is a tax of 47% levied on the excess contributions and will be personally liable for this tax. Speak to your accountant or financial adviser for individual advice.

Concessional contributions (pre-tax contributions)

Concessional contributions, or pre-tax contributions, are funds you or your employer make into your superannuation account that are taxed at a concessional rate of 15%. The most common type of concessional contributions are employer contributions, such as your superannuation guarantee (which is currently at a rate of 9.5%) and salary sacrifice contributions. These salary sacrifice contributions are not taxed before they are remitted into your superannuation account, this means you are not double-taxed for these funds. Salary sacrifice is a way for you to save up for your retirement and reduce your taxable income. For example, if you earn over $180,000 a year, instead of paying the highest tax bracket for your income, you could salary sacrifice a certain amount each month to reduce it. The funds salary sacrificed into your superannuation are then only taxed at a rate of 15% and not the highest tax rate. Be sure to observe the caps applicable for concessional contributions!

Non-concessional contributions (after-tax contributions)

Non-concessional contributions, also known as after-tax contributions, are funds you contribute into your superannuation account where no income tax deduction is claimed. Many people add more funds into their superannuation accounts through this way to ensure they have a sufficient amount of savings in retirement to live comfortably off. Please note, the information on this page is for educational purposes only and not served to be a guide or advice. Speak to your accountant or financial adviser for individual advice, another option is to become an accountant or bookkeeper yourself by taking accounting courses at edna.edu.au to learn the techniques and skills yourself

By user23395, ago
business

Managers leading by Example

Leaders Have to Walk the Talk

Most leaders we know of are not the type to listen to their own advice, I myself am guilty of this. We constantly hear that we need to reinvent the company and we have to find ways to get the entire workforce living and demonstrating the core values through their decisions and actions, but most of us leaders would rather not and would rather just mouth the words to our employees.  

Employees expectations

A lot of employees are not motivated to live up to the company’s values because their own leaders don’t lead by example. They constantly hear that they need to do this, they need to do that, they need to be this, they need to be that. But this embodiment is greatly lacking in upper management.   Take the banks for example. Upper management is constantly telling their employees to be honest and conduct themselves in utmost integrity to preserve the reputation of the bank. However, the leaders themselves don’t conduct themselves in this manner and they develop targets that does not resonate with conducting oneself with honesty and integrity. They make it a focus that targets are met at all costs. This tells the employees that even though the bank’s values are to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity, they don’t actually have to do so, just as long as targets are met. Some companies even send their management personnel to special leadership and management training - (course information here) to try and improve the company’s bottom line, but not on employee relations.  

Open the channels of communication

As Reliant’s senior leaders opened the channels of communication, people throughout the ranks of the organization began to emulate their behavior. For example, Mike Kuznar, the director of Reliant’s Customer Care group, held a series of Meals with Mike, modeled after the Tuesday Talks. Learn the basics of leadership by going to the website or you can learn the basics of managing staff by going to this website.    The meals were open to any member of the customer service team. Mike fielded their tough questions and gave frank answers. For employees who were anxious about losing their jobs, this was an opportunity to learn about the company’s performance at the local level. Mike helped them understand how their everyday work fit into the bigger picture of the company’s challenges. In the end, Reliant survived. Its share price bounced back. The company retained most of its customers. And the informal organization grew stronger than ever. In a turnaround like Reliant’s, leaders are tempted to rely on formal mechanisms and measures. They want to cut costs, keep tight control, deliver messages and directives from the top. Reliant did all these things, but its leaders differ from their counterparts at other companies in that they complemented the necessary formal actions with a values-driven effort that bolstered important and visible behaviors throughout the informal organization and accelerated its recovery. Unfortunately, Reliant’s challenges did not end after the turnaround. As the company geared up for growth, it was struck by a perfect storm of external factors beyond anyone’s control. In 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed Galveston, one of Reliant’s major markets. Later that year, the global credit crisis struck, wiping out critical financial support that Reliant needed in the wake of Ike.   At last, in 2009, Reliant was bought by NRG Energy. None of this, however, negates the turnaround accomplishment that preceded it. Ultimately, the company’s recovery story is one of success. Its ability to survive the tremendous challenges it faced by using values as a driving force in the journey sets it apart from companies that espouse values but do not live them.  

How would leaders walk the walk

Managers have to be more aware of their actions and speech. Everything they do and say are watched and listened to intently by others around them and will influence the way the team functions.   Managers should also try to do the work of their employees so that they understand the challenges their employees face and can develop policies and processes that can help and motivate the employees to embody the company’s values.   Managers should also have regular catch ups with their teams and hold an open forum for employees to share their thoughts and opinions. They should not be judgemental and should think of ways to address their concerns and have idea sharing conversations instead of being highly critical of them.    

By user23395, ago
Accounting

Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping qualification

Is the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping enough for me to register as a BAS Agent?

There have been many questions asked as to whether the new FNS40217 Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping meets the primary qualification requirement for one to register as a BAS Agent. The answer is, yes. However, there is more to the qualification requirement than simply the completion of the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping course. There are more to the registration requirements than just the primary qualification factor. Details available here -www.edna.edu.au/online-courses/certificate-iv-in-bookkeeping/ In February, the Department of Education and Training announced the changes it has decided to make which affects, amongst other qualifications, the Certificate IV in Accounting and the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping. They have decided that, after thorough consultation with the industry, to combine the two qualifications and from the 14th of February 2019, the two qualifications were superseded by the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping. You can also study the Diploma of accounting by clicking on the following link https://www.edna.edu.au/online-courses/diploma-of-accounting/  

Primary Qualification – BAS Agent

The Tax Practitioners Board is yet to update the information on their website to reflect the new qualification, although it has been confirmed that it is accepted as a primary qualification.

BAS Agent Registration Requirements

To register as a BAS Agent as an individual, you must satisfy a certain set of criteria, not just holding the accounting and bookkeeping certificate:  
  • You must be 18-years of age – you cannot be under 18 years old to apply.
  • You must be a fit and proper person – which takes into account whether you are of good fame, integrity and character; whether you have been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty; whether you have been penalized for being a promoter of a tax exploitation scheme; whether you have been penalized for implementing a scheme that has been promoted on the basis of conformity with a product ruling in a way that is materially different from that described in the product ruling; whether you are an undischarged bankrupt; and whether you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, or served a term of imprisonment in whole or in part. Click here to find out more about this requirement and the definitions that apply.
  • You must satisfy the qualification and experience requirements – you must have successfully completed a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping (or higher) from a registered training organization or an equivalent institution, must have completed a board-approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles (which may be included in the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping), and completed 1,400 hours of relevant work experience in the past 4-years.
  • You must maintain, or will be able to maintain, professional indemnity insurance cover that meets the TPB’s requirements.
  • You must complete an online application and provide the required supporting documents.
  Now that you know what the requirements are, you can a) start working towards achieving them, or b) register if you already meet the requirements!  

What happens when I finally lodge my application with the TPB?

After you have lodged your application, the TPB will respond with a decision to either grant or reject your application for registration. If your application is approved, details of your registration will be recorded and published on the TPB register, you must inform the TPB of your professional indemnity insurance details within 14-days of approval, and the Australian Taxation Office will be notified that your registration has been approved. Alternatively, if your application is rejected, you will be advised of the reasons and of your appeal rights; and the ATO will be notified of the TPB’s decision to reject your registration.   Important: This information is correct as at the 19th of September 2018 and as available on the TPB website. This information may change at any time. Please refer to the TPB website for more information.    

By user23395, ago