A New Year, A New Service!

2021 // A New Year, A New Service!  It’s a New year.  It’s time for a change.

 According to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus “there is nothing permanent except change”. Each year, as we welcome change in the form of the new year.  With that, we think about our goals for the forthcoming year.  Bigger, brighter goals than previous years. The things we want to change, the things we will change. Essentially goals are about change

Did Heraclitus foresee the National Disability Insurance Scheme? Although a philosopher, his quote could be considered a prophecy.  It certainly resonates with the NDIS’s constant state of change. NDIS Participants are experts in both goals and change.  They are adept at setting realistic and tangible goals in the everchanging landscape that is the NDIS.  As a new service, Canny Plan Management’s goals for 2021 centre around change: To collaborate with our plan management clients to assist them to manage their funding within the organic and dynamic parameters of the NDIS, and be the positive change for our plan management clients to help them achieve their goals.


“Real People, real walks of life” is not just a tag line.  It is our motto. We live by it.  We work by it. We focus on the real person, the individual, their life, their goals, their aspirations, their today and their tomorrow. Our clients are the fabric of our values.  We chat and collaborate with our plan management clients to focus on their needs and goals.  Our regular check-in with clients keeps us in touch and focussed on their goals. Our goal is that Canny Plan Management clients always know and feel that they are the centre of everything we do.


We are not just a tick the box accounts payable service.  Through our person-centred approach we work in collaboration with our plan management clients to help manage and maximise their current + future NDIS funding to support their needs, achieve their goals and live the life they want to live.  We monitor and advise on their funding expenditures and balances. Our goal is that our Canny Plan Management clients access all their allocated NDIS funding to purchase the products and services they need.


And we’re good at it!  The Canny Group have been trusted in helping people manage their money for over 60 years.  It just makes sense that we extend what we do and offer our expertise + experience to NDIS participants.  As financial intermediary specialists, we use our budgeting skills to deep dive into our plan management client’s NDIS plan and work with the client to develop a tailored budget that fits in with their funding and their needs + goals. We highlight areas of flexibility and adjust as the plan goes along. We take the responsibility of being independent plan managers very seriously and are always conscious of the fact that we are acting as a financial intermediary for our plan management clients, and that we are managing their funding on their behalf. We provide regular reports on expenditure and balances to make sure we are doing what our clients want us to do.  Our goal is to ensure accountability and transparency in everything we do.

We’re one of the good guys. We stand on our own. We offer an impartial service without any organisational conflict of interest that goes with providing other NDIS services. We’re not influenced or co-dependent on other disability services.  We are plan managers, and that is it. Our goal is to ensure an independent financial intermediary service for our Canny Plan Management clients and that they have choice and control for purchasing the best value support services and products.


Big or small, cashflow or provider, it doesn’t matter. As a business ourselves, we get the need for payment for services rendered – and payment sooner rather than later makes everyone happy, especially the accountants.  We don’t want any disruption to the support services delivered to our plan management clients, so we ensure providers are paid efficiently and quickly. Our goal is that all plan managed invoices and reimbursements are processed and paid promptly.


We all dream of a stress-free life and having time to do the things we enjoy and want to do.  Canny Plan Management helps to realise the dream.  By taking care of the invoices and reimbursements, we do the work.  Canny Plan Management clients do not have to spend time or stress over trying to or having to navigate and wrangle the NDIS portal. There are so many better things to do with their time. Our goal is to give time back to our clients so they can actively focus on their goals and what is important to them.


We didn’t go into this lightly.  We did our research.  We saw the need for focused and experienced plan managers who put the needs of NDIS participants first. We saw the need for loud and active advocacy in the plan management space. Backed by our long standing experience, trust in the community and commitment to our clients, the real people from real walks of life, we have gone into this with a positive disruptive attitude to be the change that plan management needs and to make a difference for NDIS participants. We have done it because is important.

As the world tentatively crosses into 2021, we are leaping in to it and eagerly embracing our goals.  We see it as an exciting year.  A year that will make a positive difference.  A year that will herald Canny Plan Management as being the change that was wanted.  Being the change that was needed.


Get in touch with us if you or someone you know need a change in 2021.

Protecting Your Estate // One Of Your Biggest Goals

Each new year brings with it new challenges, goals and aspirations. One challenge/goal that can easily be ticked off the list is to get your affairs in order by arranging your estate documents.

Estate documents include your will, powers of attorney and superannuation/life insurance nominations and it can also include financial/taxation advice and planning.

These documents and advice should be reviewed every 5 years but especially if your circumstances have changed such as you have separated from your partner, divorced, married, someone listed in the will has passed away, you start a company or change your trust beneficiaries or trustee and so on.


A will is a statement of wishes by you to the people you care the most about. It tells those you love how you wish for estate to be managed and distributed after your passing.

There are a few important matters to consider when preparing a will.


This is the person or persons responsible for administering your estate in accordance with your wishes in your will. This person is responsible for ensuring that your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries and, therefore, should be someone you trust.

The role of an executor is a large responsibility, and it is recommended that you discuss the role with the person you wish to appoint to make sure they feel comfortable with the role.

It is also recommended that you consider appointing an alternative executor should the person you wish to appoint first is unable to act for your estate at the time of your passing. This will allow for longevity of your will.


This is the person or persons who you wish to receive a portion or all of your estate assets. When considering the assets or funds they may receive, you will need to consider their age and their capacity to manage those funds. If they are under 18 years of age, the executor of your estate will be trusted to manage those funds until the beneficiary reaches a certain age. You may also consider empowering the executor to use those funds and apply them for the maintenance and benefit of that minor beneficiary (for example to pay for schooling fees or buy them a car).

You should also consider alternative beneficiaries should your chosen recipients not be able to receive your benefits.


You will need to know how your assets are currently held. For example, if you own real estate jointly with another person then, through the principles of survivorship, that joint owner will become the sole owner of the property and your 50% share of the property will not form part of the assets of your will. In the future, and upon the passing of the joint owner, the full value of the property will form part of the joint owners estate and will be distributed in accordance with their own will.

Please note that if the property is held as tenants in common, then your share of the property shall form part of your will and be distributed in accordance with your will. Although, you will also need to consider how the property is currently being used between you and the other co-owner (for example, are they currently residing in the property, do you wish for them to continue to reside in the property after your passing).

When considering what assets will be transferred to which beneficiary, you may wish to consider leaving a specific item (such as a family heirloom or jewelry) or a monetary amount to certain persons.


For any minor children under 18 years of age, you will need to consider who will care for them after your passing. This may be your spouse, partner, eldest child, aunt, uncle and so on.

When considering who to appoint, you will also need to consider that the guardian will be solely responsible for managing the affairs of your children and will use the assets of your estate to pay for the maintenance, education and support of your children. You will also need to consider any shared custody arrangements and any alternative guardians should your appointed guardian not be able to care for the minor children.

You may also wish to consider your wishes in relation to where your children will live and go to school.

We note that a person appointed as guardian in the will does not automatically authorise them to be guardian. Your appointed guardian will still be required to obtain an Order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) appointing them as legal guardian.


Without a valid will in place, your estate falls into the laws of intestacy. Your next of kin is then responsible for the administration of your estate and any specific wishes or protections a will could provide are not possible under the laws of intestacy.

A valid will shall also assist your loved ones in administering your estate in accordance with your wishes.


A Power of Attorney is a person appointed by you to manage your financial, personal and medical affairs whilst you are still alive, but you no longer have capacity to make your own decisions.

Your incapacity can only be determined by a doctor.

This person is responsible for managing your entire estate and it is highly recommended that the person or persons you appoint are people that you trust completely.

Without your powers of attorney documents in place, for your financial and personal affairs, your loved ones would need to apply for a Guardianship Order from VCAT in order to manage your affairs.

For your medical matters, the doctors would speak with your loved ones and ask for their opinions, however, the doctors will ultimately make the final decision which may be against your wishes.


Your superannuation is an asset largely forgotten about. What most do not realise is that your super does not automatically form part of the pool of assets to be distributed in accordance with your will.

Your superfund can only distribute your super to the following authorised recipients:

  1. Spouse,
  2. Children
  3. Anyone financial dependent upon you; and
  4. Your legal personal representative (ie your estate).

If you wish for someone who is not a spouse or dependent to benefit from your estate (such as a friend, niece or nephew) then the super would need to be given to your legal representative so that it becomes part of your pool of assets to be distributed through your will.

In order for your super to distributed to your intended recipients, you will need to complete and lodge with your superfund a binding death benefit nomination. Without such nomination, your superfund will decide where the funds are distributed by reviewing your estate in light of the above category of authorise recipients.  This may be against your wishes.

Please note that a binding death benefit nomination can be lapsing and non-lapsing. Generally, a retail superfund will have a lapsing nomination which means the binding nomination becomes non-binding on the superfund after a period of time (generally 3 years). You would be required to lodge a new nomination every 3 years for it to continue to be binding.

We recommend speaking with your superfund or a financial advisor about what type of nominations your superfunds provide and whether any current nomination is binding.


Another consideration in your estate planning is whether you have any life insurance in place. This may be included with your super or may be outside your super. There are benefits and negatives of each option.

If you have a life insurance policy in place it is recommend you review the amount you have been insured for and whether it is sufficient. You will also need to consider who you wish to benefit from your life insurance policy.

Similar to your super, your life insurance benefit does not automatically form part of the pool of assets to be distributed in accordance with your will. You will need to lodge a binding death benefit nomination with your insurer to ensure the benefit of the policy will pass to your intended beneficiary.


If you are in need of a review of your estate or wish to start the process of putting your estate documents in place, our skilled team of lawyers will be able to assist you.

Bigger Picture Financial Goals

When it comes to financial goals, its best to attack them head on – they are the targets and priorities we set in relation to how we spend and save our money.  They can be big, small, short term, long term and everything in between.  Where we are in our life stage often helps dictate what our goals are.

The new year is a common trigger for us to think about what we want to achieve in the coming months, years and beyond, although we would encourage you to follow the guidelines and tips at any time when it comes to figuring our what your financial goals are!

Think about what is important to you and all the things you wish you could have or do, from the smallest thing to the largest, even if they seem silly and unachievable.  Then start to sort these goals/wishes by those that can be achieved fairly quickly and easily, those will take longer and require more planning, and those that need to become a long-term strategy.

It is recommended you follow the SMART format for your goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable Relevant. Timely.

S is for SPECIFIC – be as clear as you can with your financial goal/s.  Follow the five “W” rule, ask yourself; who, what, when, where and why?

M is for MEASURABLE – how are you going to measure your progress?  How will you know when you have reached your goal?

A is for ACHIEVABLE – regardless of whether your goal is big or small, it needs to be attainable.  You may lose focus and enthusiasm pretty quickly if you have set yourself too high a target because you may feel that you are getting nowhere, and all of your sacrifices are for nothing.  Stretch yourself but ensure your goal can be met.

R is for REALISTIC – similar to the above, make sure your goal is realistic otherwise you run the risk of losing motivation.  Make sure you can commit to your goal for the duration.

T is for TIMELY – when do you expect to achieve your goals by?  Having an open-ended goal without an end date will challenge your motivation, especially if you feel there is no end in sight!


Having a financial goal will inspire you to reach your target.  Without a goal we tend to just keep going about our business without a financial purpose and will spend money on items that we want but potentially do not need.  And if you are spending within your means, there is no real problem with that, except you will not be able to move forward financially.

Think about this: instead of buying a coffee every day, if you invested that $25 per week you would have saved over $4,000 within three years – there’s a new lounge suite!  In five years, you will have saved over $7,000 (or a year of school fees!), $11,000 for an overseas holiday in seven years, or $29,000 for a new car in 15 years’ time.  This is just an example of getting a result by having a plan and sticking to it!  Your goal may be on a bigger scale, for example you may be saving for a house deposit for preparing for retirement.  However, the principal remains the same: set yourself a target and have a plan on how to get there.  You may “fall of the wage” occasionally – that’s ok, as long as you jump straight back on!


By following these four steps;

  1. YOU NEED TO START WITH A BUDGET! It is impossible to have an achievable goal without knowing your starting position.  Capture all income and expenses to ascertain your current cash flow surplus (or deficit) and also to take stock of exactly where your money is going.  Are there any opportunities to save money before you even start with your new goal(s)?  Perhaps cancelling any subscriptions that are no longer relevant, or getting a better deal on your phone plan and/or utilities.  A budget will illustrate your financial limits (remember your goals need to be achievable).  There are many free apps available that track your spending for you – simply link your bank accounts to the app and the hard work is done for you.
  2. HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND! Do not stretch yourself to the limit with your financial goals.  It is very important to maintain a safety net at all times in case of an emergency expense or sudden loss of income.
  3. PAY OFF ANY CREDIT CARDS! This may be your goal – unpaid credit card balances are charged excessive interest.  The advantages of saving for a financial goal must be compromised by having to pay unnecessary interest and bank fees on bad debt.
  4. DEVELOP GOOD SPENDING + SAVING HABITS! As good as your intentions to reach your financial goals may be, sometimes things happen that are out of our control.  Perhaps there is an economic downturn, or perhaps your circumstances change unexpectedly.  Sometimes “life” happens and when it does, good habits will hold you in good stead to be able to get back on track as soon as circumstances allow.  In terms of an economic downturn, again, good habits and sticking to your plan will mean that you will remain on track regardless of macroeconomic events happening around you.  And in the worse case scenario where you are relying on your investments to provide income, a good savings history will mean you have a financial buffer to fall back on until the market rebounds, or at least to “take the pressure off”.


Have a go at setting yourself some financial goals following these guidelines.  Remember to track your progress to keep yourself motivated.  We would love to hear about your results.  Or, alternatively, if you find that you were not able to reach your goals, we still want to hear about it.  Together we may be able to work out what went wrong and work on the next steps.

EG // do you need to break you goals down into smaller, more achievable parts?  Or do you need to reassess your goals all together?

We want to hear about all of your success and your attempts as the year progresses, get in touch so we can help.


Setting Your 2021 Financial Goals


Letting your trusted team of advisors at Canny Accounting, Canny Advisory + Canny Legal help you set and achieve your financial goals!

Last year we all learned a lot about our spending habits, thank you COVID-19!  Now let us help you put some plans into action that will really help to improve your financial life going forward.  These are all very achievable and with the help of Canny Accounting, Canny Legal and Canny Advisory we can set you on a path to financial order. 

Money is just a tool and learning to get your financial life in shape is just learning to use that tool well. We want you to feel in control of your money, not the other way around. And it’s not all about the money either, we have listed some other great strategies for you to consider as well. 

Here are some manageable tips to get you started…


You get charged around 20% interest on credit card balances.  Unpaid credit card balances are the fastest way to go backwards financially.

Focus on reducing your Credit Card balances to NIL before you do anything else.  Then keep your spending down so you can repay your credit card balance each month.

It’s too hard to know where you are financially with just one bank account.  Using 3 different accounts to keep your Bills money and your Cash Savings separate from your Everyday Account helps you tell at a glance what you can afford to spend each week.  Go ahead and set these up now.

Pay yourself first!  Have your bills and cash savings covered automatically – and then spend what’s left in your everyday account.  So easy to keep on track by this one simple strategy.  Set up auto transfers using internet banking to transfer a set % of your wages each week into your Bills Account and into your Cash Saving Account.

Aim to create a cash reserve to last you for 3 months.  Most income protection insurance takes 1 to 3 months to start up – so you’ll need a cash reserve if anything stops you working.  You can set up Cash Savings account separate to your everyday account.  Try to put aside into this account 5% of your weekly pay and build up a 3 month cash reserve.

Your bank won’t offer you an interest rate reduction on your loan unless you ask for it.  So… ask for it!  This could save you thousands of dollars each year.  When contacting your bank to ask for a reduction in your interest rate, have quotes available from another bank to show that you have done your homework and you know what is available out there!


Being smart about where you keep your cash savings can reduce your overall family tax payable.  By moving your family savings into either a home loan offset account or into the name of your partner or spouse who has a lower tax rate can save you money.

We always advise clients not to have debt – if they are in that enviable position.  But many of us are not.  So, if you do have debt, the next best thing is that it is tax deductible debt.  If you are considering borrowing money to buy an asset that is for work or business purposes, or perhaps an investment property where you should be able to claim the interest being charged, this is ‘good debt’ in that it is at least tax deductible.  You should therefore prioritise getting rid of ‘bad debt’ such as credit card debt and your home mortgage as it is of no advantage to you in terms of tax deductibility.

Part of your savings plan may be to contribute to superannuation (on top of what your employer is putting in).  Make sure that you understand how before and after tax contributions work so that you are getting the most benefit.  When you contribute before tax, that is you get a tax deduction for your contribution, the maximum amount that can go into your super fund from any source is $25,000 in one year.  When it is an after tax contribution there is a maximum of $100,000 per year that can go into your fund (or you can bring forward 2 extra years) You can also have a combination of both.

Other simple tax tips are – Keep all your receipts for anything that is purchased to help you do your job and record the travel that you do in your own car that relates directly to work.  If you are studying and it is related to your current job, keep all your fees (not if you are paying via HELP) and any reference books, stationery, uni parking and internet costs to do with study and we will determine if you are able to make a claim.


Make sure that if you are running your own business, you have a robust structure set up to protect your personal assets.  If you are operating as a company, give some thought to who would be your replacement should something happen to you.  We can help you to document a successor director.

While we are on this subject, give some thought to an Advance Health Directive.  If you are unconscious or incapacitated and cannot make personal health decisions – you will need someone who can.  This can be covered during an estate planning session with one of our lawyers and of course there is the matter of an effective Will.

If you die without a Will, the Public Trustee will charge your estate (could be up to 5% of the total estate) and your wealth may not go where you want it to.  With your instructions and Canny Legal guidance, we can help to have your wishes carried out.  Also, if there comes a time where you are incapacitated and cannot make decisions, you will need someone who can make financial decisions on your behalf.  We can facilitate a Power of Attorney and you can rest easy that that is done!

We are here and happy to help you get rolling with the journey to reaching your goals, you just have to make the first move.


ByMERRIN l Merrin Schnable Resort Wear

With a keen eye for style and design, Merrin Schnable has always had a dream to have her own fashion label.  Growing up modelling was when she first had a taste of the fashion industry and her love has only grown as she brought to life; ByMERRRIN.  A resort wear label of versatile sarongs, kaftans and capes with pieces that have been designed to be worn multiple ways and for women of all shapes and sizes.


ByMERRIN is a resort wear label – it is a range of versatile sarongs, kaftans and capes.

My collection has an array of colours and designs that represent the free spirited, mindful, creative and happy souls that they adorn.

I designed the pieces so that they could be worn multiple ways. The sarongs can be used as a cape, headpiece, scarf, light jacket or shawl, while the Kaftan can easily also be worn as a dress paired with a belt and heels.  I wanted to create pieces that women of all shapes and sizes can wear.  I was thrilled to secure top Australian model and former Victoria Secret model, Jess Hart to shoot my collection.


It’s always been a dream to have my own fashion label, I have a keen eye for style and design, growing up modelling entered me into the fashion industry.  As I am a social media influencer, I really wanted to utilise my platform and that’s how ByMERRIN was created.

HOW LONG.. has ByMERRIN been up + running for? 

ByMERRIN turned one on the 29th of November!

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING.. what do YOU love about your job?

I love that I get to create pieces for women to feel and look beautiful – designing feminine pieces so women can feel and look their best.  I have numerous projects I run and I’m all about empowering and inspiring women to be their best and to look their best!


Absolutely, YES! I adore every aspect of it.  Fills my cup to think women feel empowered and confident in my designs.

EVERYBODY NEEDS AN ADVISOR.. who do you turn to for help?

Mandy Wilkens has been absolutely outstanding for me and my business ventures – from being my accountant, to the abundance of business advice she has given me over the years and continues to give me.  The wisdom she has shared with me has been amazing, I feel so comfortable knowing I have someone like Mandy as my go-to for all my business questions I need answered.  Highly recommend seeing Mandy for all of the above!


To continue creating fashion pieces that women of all sizes and shapes can wear and are going to feel beautiful in.  Also incorporate a charity in some way in 2021 – as this is so aligned to me, as I’m all things humanity and charity, helping people and the world we live in.

I WANT TO KNOW MORE!  How do I get in contact with ByMERRIN?

EMAIL // merrin@bymerrin.com

PHONE // 0431 609 058

WEB // https://bymerrin.com/

INSTAGRAM // https://instagram.com/bymerrin?igshid=15wakryzl5c6r

MERRIN SCHNABEL Instagram https://www.instagram.com/merrin_schnabel/

Summer Savings l For An Endless Summer

2020, the year that was, then wasn’t, then was, then wasn’t again.  It is certainly a year to remember and to be forgotten.  Physically, emotionally, mentally and financially very testing for different reasons.  Bring on 2021!  We’ve pulled together some Summer Savings for an endless summer you really deserve!

One of the main things that I’ve been focusing on with my clients during the pandemic was budgeting.  Things became a lot tighter, and people had to really focus on what to spend and where.  Obviously, with the restrictions, it was a lot easier in some cases of where to cut expenses, but I don’t know about you, but we seemed to be getting packages delivered every few days!


The important thing now that the restrictions are easing, and we return to some kind of (new) normal, is that we don’t go spending crazy!  It’s especially harder with Christmas around the corner.  We have to be mindful that we don’t undo any of the budgeting skills we’ve learnt by overspending, and accumulating a pile of credit card debt to start 2021.

According to the RBA in December 2018, spending on credit boomed to $30M.  If you calculate that on average, it is estimated that 27% of people will still be paying off this debt two years later, the interest accrued on this alone, is in excess of $100M.  This is why you can’t get too far ahead of yourselves, as you don’t want to ruin your summer, and the start of the year.


For those with credit cards, there is always the option of looking at those companies that let you roll over debt on to a 0% interest repayment for a period of time.  What you can do then, is every repayment you make, you are paying off 100% principal.  For example:

  • EDWINA had a $2,000 debt that was rolled over with a 0% interest rate for 18 months
  • Budgeting, she could pay $111 per month, and ensure that that debt was cleared entirely in that interest free period.

As a comparison;

  • PHOEBE had a $2,000 debt with a 17% interest rate
  • Budgeting, she could pay the minimum repayments on the debt and it would take 17 years to fully pay off that card.

This path is not trouble free though, because in some cases, any spending that occurs on these cards get placed behind the 0% interest rollover, meaning that you will not be paying off the debt that has high interested accrued on it.


A fun way to get the kids in to saving I’ve found useful is the Coke Bottle challenge.  Basically this is where you collect your $2 and keep them in a used (and cleaned) Coke bottle.  People have done the testing;

  • 600mL bottle you can get around $1,000 saved
  • 1.25L and 2L varieties, you can save $1,900 and almost $3,000 respectively

You can have them do it individually, or as a family and put it towards a holiday now that the pandemic is basically over!

Another one I like is where you start out by saving $1 in week one, $2 in week two, $3 in week three for example, for each week of the year.  By doing this, you will accumulate $1,378 over the year.  A fun way to do it is have a tally board off and cross off each donation.  That way you can spread out the weeks that you have to pay more in, as your budget dictates, especially as where you have November/December payments where money may be tighter due to upcoming Christmas.


Lastly, I’ve had a few cases recently where new clients have had no or invalid binding death nominations on their life insurances and superannuation funds.

Superannuation is a non-estate asset, so unless you have a beneficiary that is your Estate, your Will will not deal with your superannuation benefits.  This causes issues at time of claim, which is already a tough enough time for your loved ones, without delays and trouble with accessing funds at a time where it is urgent.  Take 5 minutes and check to make sure that you;

  • Have a beneficiary listed +
  • Make sure that it is a valid beneficiary

Give us a call to discuss whether or not the beneficiary is valid or not because your nominated superfund will not tell you if you have listed an invalid beneficiary.  Naming the incorrect person can be very costly!  Our team of experts can help you ensure you’re not making unknown costly decisions, get in touch now and we can help you with your Summer Savings for a stress-free endless summer you wont forget!

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we’ll see you in a hopefully brighter and better 2021.


Steve Reynolds – Certified Financial Planner

BComm, Dip.FS(FP)

2020 WRAP UP

Wow, what a year it has been for everyone!

I’ve spent a great deal of time talking with clients in the last six months, and it has been amazing how different everyone’s year has been.  Some people have been busier, others quieter and some unchanged.  For us at the office we have had to learn to adapt to changes quickly and that has meant new software, new ways of meeting with clients and new ways of working together.  We are very pleased to say it has worked (mostly!).

One way we had to adapt is by offering phone appointments.  I know that not all clients liked this, and for those who didn’t we wish we could have met you in person.  Many other clients, though, have appreciated an appointment at a set time and waiting for a phone call in the comfort of their own homes.  We have taken this feedback on board and will offer a combination of both next year.  Thanks to all of you for your patience!

Other ways we have had to adapt is by reading and learning new legislation in a very short period!  No other legislation has ever been introduced as quickly as the JobKeeper legislation.  For those of you who were on it, or whose businesses paid their employees JobKeeper, you can be assured that behind the scenes there were many accountants like us who were learning and reading as fast as we could.  I felt as though every time I turned around there was another change to the legislation or another State Government grant available.  Anyway, we worked hard and between all our clients I calculate that we helped them to receive over $7M in funding to keep their businesses going and their employees working.

We hope that you, like us, are now looking forward to a break and spending Christmas and New Year doing the things you enjoy.  Merry Christmas from the team here and we all wish you a wonderful 2021!


Krystine Canny-Smith – Director


Help To Manage Your NDIS Plan

When it comes to the NDIS and getting started it can be a little overwhelming to say the least.  When it comes to managing those funds in your NDIS plan, there is no ‘right’ way.  But you will need to think about the options available to you.  As well as how they fit with your lifestyle and situation to help you reach and achieve your goals.  Canny Plan Management will be with you every step of the way to help to manage your NDIS plan.

Every NDIS plan has a budget with funding to purchase supports to help you achieve your goals.  Whether it’s your first NDIS plan or you’ve been doing it for a while – the NDIS is always changing.

There are three options to manage your NDIS funding

  1. Self-Managed
  2. Plan-Managed
  3. NDIS-Managed

You can also choose a combination of the three options.  For example, you may choose to self-manage one part of your plan to start with and have the rest managed by a Plan Manager like Canny Plan Management.


Working together with a professional Plan Management registered NDIS Provider, like Canny Plan Management, gives you the increased choice and control of your plan without the hassle of managing the financial paperwork.

There are some great benefits from us a Plan Manger, for example:

  • Allowing you to choose supports from registered and non-registered providers such as a gardener, cleaner or organisations and therapists who have chosen not to register
  • Not having to use the NDIS Portal (Proda/MyPlace Portal) or talk to the NDIS call centre – which can be confusing and often time consuming for some people
  • Knowing that you have a trusting team of people to turn to when needing help to navigate the NDIS and to ensure you get the most out of your plan
  • You don’t have to pay for plan management from your core budgets. Plan Management is funded separately in your plan and it is not subject to the reasonable and necessary test

Canny Plan Management strive to take Plan Management to the next level.  Ensuring that it is always participant focused, we can offer trustworthy, honest, and open communication at all times.  We have been helping people reach and achieve their financial goals for 60 years and plan on helping each participant also reach theirs.


Self-management is when you manage your NDIS funding:

  • Flexibility and choice to decide what supports you buy to meet your plan goals
  • The NDIA provides you with funding so you can access the supports that will best help you achieve your goals


The NDIA pays your providers on your behalf and it’s sometimes referred to as Agency-managed:

  • You will only be able to choose from NDIS registered providers who will claim their payments directly from your funding
  • You cannot pay more than the NDIA set price limits when being NDIA-Managed


No matter how you decide if you would like help to manage your NDIS Plan and how they are managed – you still have choice and control.  This is to ensure that the services are working for you and fit in to your budget.  Even if your funding is managed by the NDIS or a Plan Manager, it is recommended that you should regularly check the myplace portal and your funding to make sure your budgets are on track.

However, Canny Plan Management give access to a separate dashboard specially designed for each individual participant, their plan, their goals.  This separate portal dashboard allows you to see where your plan is sitting in real time!  It gives access to the participants, plan nominees, support co-ordinators to see the money that has been allocated to each budget, where the money is sitting, approve invoices, send direct messages,  and the invoices that are linked to your plan.

Get in touch with our team to see how we can help you!

Ko_Ku_Bo Collective

Ko_ku_bo Collective was born out of Adrian (Reg) and Andrea Zyppel’s love for sustainable design with a focus on quality, hand-made, limited-run furniture.  Their mission is to provide an alternative to mass produced, imported furniture.  Reg and Annie are the energy behind Ko_Ku_Bo Collective!

WHAT EXACTLY IS… Ko_ku_bo Collective?

A small, family-run furniture making business with a passion for producing creative, functional and timeless pieces.  Our mission is to provide an alternative to mass produced, imported furniture.

Ko_ku_bo Collective products are meticulously designed and made with integrity and love.  We value traditional, hand-crafted joinery methods and take inspiration from the simplicity, quality and functionality of Swedish and Japanese design and craftsmanship.  All Ko_ku_bo Collective pieces are unassumingly simple in design with clean lines and subtle detail.

HOW DID KO_KU_BO COME ABOUT + come to life?

Ko_ku_bo Collective was born out of our love for sustainable design with a focus on quality, hand-made, limited-run furniture.  We make furniture that will grow with you.  Furniture that is worthy of migrating throughout the home as timeless, statement pieces that will last a lifetime.

We are designing and making pieces that we love but were unable to find in the marketplace.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND FOR… + has Ko_ku_bo been up + running for?

Ko_ku_bo Collective launched one year ago (18 November 2019).

It was originally launched as ‘Cali Kids Collective’ targeting the kids furniture market.  We re-launched as Ko_ku_bo Collective in August in response to a demand for our furniture to fill the entire household (not just kids rooms!).

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… What do YOU love about your job?

  • Sourcing and working with ethical, quality raw materials (birch plywood, American Oak)
  • Designing new products
  • Problem-solving
  • Being creative

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING.. or do you just get to hang out making furniture all day?

I’m driven to make furniture as it should be made – handcrafted, using beautiful materials, functional and timeless in design.  Furniture that shows attention to detail, pride in its craftsmanship and gives joy.  I find that exciting!

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do YOU turn to for help?

Krys Canny-Smith!  Krys is always available for great advice – both financial advice and business advice.  As a start-up company we rely on professionals like Krys to help us grow in a tough industry and unstable economy, especially during 2020!  Krys boosts our confidence and we are so grateful for her support.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… What’s planned for the future of Ko_ku_bo Collective?

Currently, we sell our products via our website only and you can see our current collection here.

We are considering moving into retail to give potential buyers the opportunity to see and feel the beauty of our products.  We are also working on new products such as, beds, dining table and more storage/locker options.

I WANT TO KNOW MORE… How do I get in contact + find out more about Ko_ku_bo Collective?

Based in Geelong on Victoria’s Surf Coast, we deliver to Greater Melbourne, Greater Sydney and Greater Adelaide.  Please contact us regarding delivery to other areas.

Website: www.kokubocollective.com.au

Instagram: @ko_ku_bo_collective

Phone: Reg 0405 037 281

Personal Income Tax Rate Changes To Get Excited About

There has been some exciting changes to the personal income tax rates thanks to the new Federal Budget that has been handed down.  However, there is certainly some confusion around what the tax cuts actually mean and who is effected by them.

Essentially, there are three “tax brackets” that have changed, and these changes have been backdated to 1st July 2020.

  • The 19% rate applies to income between $18,200 – $45,000
  • The 32.5% rate applies to income between $45,001 – $120,000
  • The 37% rate applies to income between $120,001 – $180,000

The Budget was applied on 6th October 2020, so when you do your 2021 income tax return, you will benefit from the excess tax you have been paid between 1st July and 6th October 2020 as a larger refund (or reduction in the amount that is payable).  So let’s put into practice these changes for the exciting personal income tax rates so you can see where the benefits lie…


Oliver earns $44,000 per year;

  • Under the old tax rate, he would pay $5,847 (excl Medicare Levy)
  • Under the new tax rate, he would pay $4,902 (excl Medicare Levy)

Taylor earns $79,000 per year;

  • Under the old tax rate, he would pay $17,222 (excl Medicare Levy)
  • Under the new tax rate, he would pay $16,142 (excl Medicare Levy)


The Medicare Levy helps fund some of the costs of  Australia’s public health system, known as Medicare.  The Medicare levy is 2% of your taxable income, in addition to the tax you pay on your taxable income.  It is possible for there to be a reduction or exemption from paying the Medicare Levy, depending on your and your spouse’s circumstances.  You need to consider your eligibility for a reduction or an exemption separately.  Have a look at the Medicare Levy calculator to work out your Medicare levy.


As an added bonus, there has also been some changes to the Low Income Tax Offset and the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset, see below:

  • The Low Income Tax Offset has also increased to $700 per year for incomes under $37,500 and then reduces
  • The Low and Middle Income Tax Offset has been retained for another year and is $1,080 for taxable incomes between $48,001 – $90,000.  A further $255 for taxable incomes of less than $37,000

If you would like more information on any of the Federal Budget that was handed down earlier this year, get in touch with our team and we would be happy to go through these changes with you.


Amanda Wilkens – Director


International Men’s Day – “Better Health For Men + Boys”

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value” – Albert Einstein

On the 19th of November, Australia and over 80 other countries will host the annual international men’s day to celebrate and reflect on the men in our lives whether it be a father, brother, uncle, nephew, husband or friend and to express appreciation for their efforts and contribution to our lives and society as a whole.

It has been found that men are less likely to see treatment for depression, and this can intensify the associated personal and financial problems they experience.  Melbourne psychologist Shaun Delaney, author of the study Divorce and the experience of Australian men, says “research has consistently found that men avoid or delay seeking help for physical and mental health problems”.  A common issue encountered by Delaney in his interviews with men was a feel of despair over the loss of financial security and a pessimism about future projects.

Stephen Carbone from the mental health advocacy group Beyond Blue, says despite increasing awareness about depression, men very often do not recognise that they have a mental health condition, or if they do are less likely to reach out.  “There is a reluctance to seek help, so they struggle on without help and put themselves more at risk,” Carbone says.  The symptoms of depression can include persistent flat moods, pessimism, hopelessness about the future, irritability, anger, diminished confidence and lack of motivation.  “All of these conditions affect your day-to-day life including your ability to do your work to the best of your ability,” Carbone says.

As a result, men’s mental health and financial security can deteriorate, making it increasingly difficult for men to function in their day-to-day life.  The additional burden of financial stress can have serious long-term effects on their health, finances, and future prospects, including their plans for retirement.  One participant of Shaun Delaney’s study said: “As a man after 28 years of marriage I don’t have the financial means or my youth to start again.  My future is bleak, and I foresee that I will be in the workforce until I die.”

In addition, financial stress and insecurity can lead to harmful activities like gambling.  When the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation conducted a comparative study of men and women gamblers in Victoria in 2014, it was found that men have higher participation rates than women in most forms, including informal betting, gaming machines, table games, race betting, sports betting and Lotto.  Men also spend more on average in a year on their man gambling activities than women, $2,959 vs $664.  Gambling can exacerbate existing mental health issues and lead to sever financial stress and insecurity for these men and their families.

“It’s the nature of mental health conditions that they don’t allow you to be at your best, at your full potential,” Carbone says.  Understanding more about depression and its causes can help to empower men to overcome their illness, and it supports them in improving their lives, personal finances, and future prospects for themselves and their families.  In addition, a sound financial plan that incorporates a long-term approach to saving, investing, and achieving financial security can help to improve future prospects and lead to better outcomes.  The best time to start a new and improved financial plan is now.  It is never too late to start and sometimes it can make all the difference to someone’s outlook on life and their own financial situation.

International Men’s Day main purpose is to show the positive value men bring to the world encouraging the practical side of male identity as well as highlighting the social issues that men and boys face.  The 2020 theme is “Better health for men and boys”, focusing on mental health, improving gender relations, gender equality, and highlighting of positive male role models.


November 19th is also a day to raise awareness to the challenges that men face in life – especially in relation to the international male suicide rate.  Some key statistics on social issues men face that need awareness are:

  • Men make up an average of six out of every eight suicides every day in Australia, nearly double the national road toll
  • One in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives
  • Men are 32% less likely than woman to visit a health professional
  • Men are twice as likely to die of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Men make up 94% of all workplace fatalities and have an average life expectancy almost five years less than women

None of these issues are unique to men specifically or are being used to try and diminish similar issues woman face but it is important to see how overrepresented men are in some of these areas.


It is also important to be aware about the direct impact mental health can have on a business and workplace.  Making up roughly 54% of the workforce it is important for men that workplaces encourage prioritising their own health and wellbeing and promote the message that there is nothing wrong with looking after yourself or admitting that something is wrong.

Studies show that more than half of men suffer from work-related stress; with 13% of them citing their stress as unmanageable.  Workplaces are working towards helping de-stigmatise discussing mental health and acknowledge normal feelings of sadness or anxiety especially during this year with so much uncertainty due to the global pandemic.  This will not only improve peoples’ engagement in their overall wellness but significantly boost the health, wellbeing, and peace of mind of the workforce.  The benefits towards the business have been shown to improve morale and productivity, decreased sick leave, lower turnover, and increased loyalty.

If you or someone you know needs support and would like to talk to one of our team members, our doors are always open and you are always welcome to contact us!  We have also listed a number of crisis support services that can be reached 24 hours a day:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800;

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636



Cranberry Design l Interior Designer

A house that’s pretty is great!  But Cranberry Design’s overall goal is to create homes that bring that feel-good, happy feeling every time you walk in the door.  Cranberry Design is a full-service interior Design Studio based in Melbourne.  Established by Principal Designer, Wendy Davey since 2010.  Wendy continues to transform countless homes all around Australia.  Sharing her wealth of experience, creativity, and passion to any project she takes on by her friendly and approachable style makes for not only an enjoyable experience, but one that will last a lifetime.

WHAT IS… Cranberry Design exactly?

Cranberry Design is a full-service Interior Design Studio based in Melbourne. Cranberrys interior projects are renowned for their warmth, creativity and personal attention to detail.  Offering a highly personalised and tailored service; Cranberry specialises in the interior design of family homes, holiday homes and ski lodges.  Working collaboratively with their clients, Cranberry Design creates uniquebeautiful and innovative homes that are a true reflection of their owners personality, taste and lifestyle. 


Principal Designer, Wendy Davey, has a diverse backgroundFinishing her degree at university, Wendy went on to practice teaching, travel the world and became a travel consultant.  Finally, in 2005, Wendy listened to her heart and followed her true passion, becoming a fully qualified Designer and Interior Stylist.  After a few projects for family and friends, word quickly spread, and within months her side project had bloomed into a flourishing full-time business. 

Wendys creativity and love of colour and texture have since seen her work featured in numerous magazines including Australian House & Garden, InsideOut, Real Living and Home Beautiful. 

HOW LONG… has Cranberry Design been up + running for?

Cranberry Design has now been up and running for just over 14 years. My first “office” was the kitchen bench at our home in Turramurra (Sydney).  

As with any new business, there were some tough times early on, but you couldnt get the smile off my face – I  knew I had found my calling.   

In 2011, my husband, Simon, took on a Project Management role in Melbourne.  For a while there, it felt like I might have to start the business again from the ground up. I can’t tell you how important having a good relationship with your clients is. My first few jobs in Melbourne were based solely on recommendations from my Sydney based clients. I’m so grateful for their support and trust in my work.  I also continued my work in Sydney with the help of good friend and designer Peta Howe of Oasis Designs.  It meant I could commute back and forwards (and see my family) and really helped with the adjustment to living in a new city.

What do YOU love about your job?

Whats not to love – we help bring our client’s dream home visions to life! There is never a dull moment; no two days are the same; no two houses are the same, and, no two clients or their styles are the same!  

There are definitely some stressful days.  Things don’t go quite according to plan – think deliveries to wrong suburbs on the wrong day!  Honestly, nothing that beats that moment when you see the joy in your clients’ eyes – when they finally get to see their beautiful made-over space. 

Im also surrounded by some amazing people! Cranberry has a great crew of suppliers and trades that go above and beyond to help our projects run smoothly, and I‘m supported daily by aincredible team of women in the studio that I trust implicitly. 

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just get to make houses pretty all day?

A house that is pretty is great, but our goal is to create homes that bring that feel-good, happy feeling every time you walk in the door.  The making “pretty” is really such a small part of the job. First and foremost, the space that is being renovated (or built) needs to enhance our client’s lifestyle; it has to be functional and well thought out, and it has to flow seamlessly with its surrounds. To get to that stage requires lots of meetings.  A lot of spatial planning, scheduling, ordering, budgetary requirements and paperwork, I guess the not so glamourous side of things! 

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE TIPS…?  When it comes to “Spring Cleaning” your house or your workspace when it comes to home styling?

Spending so much time at home now, it’s more important than ever to enjoy and be inspired in your home!  Even a couple of adjustments can make a huge difference to its look and feel. 

  • TIP ONE // Firstly, you have to think about how you use the space that needs a freshen upAre there pieces of furniture that you always bump into or that you dont like? Move them out.  Make space only for the things that you love.  Has the furniture in the room been that way since you moved in?  The look of a room can completely change simply by rearranging the furniture. 
  • TIP TWO // Bring in some colour!  Colour is more than just a visual experience; it plays a large role in how we feel.  Whether it is a fresh lick of paint on the walls or some beautiful new cushions or throwsa splash of colour can make a room feel like new.  You dont have to go with whaton trend choose a colour that makes you feel good and that works with the mood of the room.
  • TIP THREE // Invest in quality.  Everyone has a budget, but I think it is important to buy the best quality you can afford. Too often, we buy cheap, inferior products that end up costing us more in the long run.  A wellmade sofa is a far better investment than a cheap, mass-produced sofa that you have to replace every couple of years.  If your home is now your office, invest in an ergonomic desk and chair – your back will thank you for it! 

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do YOU turn to for help?

Colours, lighting, joinery I’ve got you covered, but when it comes to the business side of things, I know my strengths and weaknesses and the importance of surrounding yourself with an experienced, professional team.  We’ve been working with Krys at the Canny Group for six years now, and they always offer new information, ideas and objective advice – their assistance has been invaluable.  Not only have they helped Cranberry become more efficient as a business, they’ve helped us to avoid some costly mistakes! 

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future?

We are currently working on some exciting design projects that will keep us very busy over the next few months, including new builds, complete renovations and some smaller residential jobs. Moving forward, we are looking to expand on the design work!  Focusing on the work we have been doing at Mt Buller, Blairgowrie and Anglesea. We have lovely builders and suppliers in many regional areas and love the joy of working on clients holiday homes – they’re always happy to take a little more risk in the design elements when its not their primary place of residence. And prettying up a home thats used for such lovely family time makes me happy. 

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT + find out more?

We would love to hear from you! You can find us at 

Website: https://www.cranberrydesign.com.au/ 

Email: wendy@cranberrydesign.com.au 

Phone: 0414 906 301