Posted on

The Best Xero-Integrated CRMs

How can you provide great customer service? Consistently?

IF YOU ARE LIKE most businesses, you’re probably communicating with your customers and clients via multiple touch points — email, social media, phone calls, chat bots. But how are you keeping track of all these interactions?

A while back I wrote a blog asking the question whether MYOB is, in fact, a CRM and which CRMs I found to be the best and why. It’s worth a read if you want to familiarise yourself with exactly what it is CRMs can do for you and your business.

Batchbook

Batchbook CRM xero integrated learn xero online training course videosBatchbook is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that collects your communications in one central place. It also lets you organise to-do lists and automate tasks, but you will need to go elsewhere if you’re looking for a platform that will automate the sales process.

Batchbook integrates with Campaign Monitor, Wufoo, G Suite (on the “advanced” plan only), Twitter, Hootsuite (if you’ve multiple social channels), Xero, Quickbooks and Freshbooks.

Pricing starts at $19.50 per month for an “essential” plan and tops out at $39.95 for the “advanced” plan.

Batchbook alternatives

Hubspot

hubspot crm integration with xero learn xero online learning training course videosHubspot is one of the leading CRM apps and it’s always free. Businesses get everything they need to manage their contacts and companies, book meetings, log emails, phone calls (you can phone any telephone number for free through the Hubspot app) and sales.

If you want to manage your marketing and social media, you’ll need to go up a step to the paid Marketing plans.    

It integrates with Zendesk, PandaDoc, Proposify, WorkflowMax, and Freshbooks; a Google Chrome extension lets you track emails so you can see when emails, documents and links are opened.

Zoho CRM

zoho projects best integrated xero apps for project managementZoho CRM lets you manage your contacts, log emails, phone calls (you can make calls to any telephone number through the Zoho app) social media, and online chats, while Zoho provides detailed analytics of each communication.

Meanwhile, advanced CRM analytics give clear snapshots of top performing salespeople and your best clients. It also lets you “gamify” the sales process to motivate your sales team.

Zoho CRM integrates it Slack, Zendesk, Microsoft Office and Google G Suite. Being part of the Zoho ecosystem, you can also connect to other Zoho apps — Zoho Books, Projects, Campaigns, etcetera.

Pricing starts at $15 per month, per user for the “standard” plan and tops out at $100 per month, per user for the “ultimate” plan. A free plan for a maximum of 10 users is also available.

Freshsales

Freshsales is the fourth addition to the Freshdesk ecosystem, which includes its online customer service platform, IT support, call centre management, HR, messaging, and marketing platforms.

With Freshsales you can manage your leads, contacts, accounts, and deals; send and reply to emails, while its built-in phone lets you make and log calls. It integrates with Google G Suite, as well as other Freshdesk apps.

Basic “sprout” plans are free, while paid plans begin at $12 per user, per month for “blossom” plans and top out at $49 per user per month for “estate” plans.


We will help you keep abreast of new and emerging technologies for doing business better. As part of our Updates and Additions policy, any new content we add is yours’ FOR FREE as a current EzyLearn student. 

Interested in finding out about more Xero-integrated apps to help you manage your project more efficiently? See our recent blogs where we review for you and come up with a list of pros, cons and prices: Best Xero-Integrated Time Management Apps and Best Xero-Integrated Project Management Apps and the Best Xero-Integrated Document Management Platforms.


cashflow reports in xero and excel

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

Posted on

Is MYOB really a CRM and which CRMs are best for people in sales?

CRM = Customer Relationship Management

THE PURPOSE OF HAVING a CRM is so that when you call one of your clients or prospects, you know everything about them and can start a conversation based on what they’re looking for — their needs.

This might seem a little strange when you think about it because you could be out of date with your info (say you’ve entered old information on this particular client) but, casting this quibble aside, CRM’s are generally a terrific way to provide excellent customer service, on a consistent basis, and this is often the competitive edge that will you need to stay in business. (I’ve written a little comparison of real estate agent CRM’s but I wanted to add a couple other ones to the mix for good measure.)

Accounting Software and CRMs

Cloud CRMs that integrate with MYOB AccountRight - online training coursesIn the early days, MYOB used every aspect of their software to sell itself to small business clients.

The fact that the software enabled business to keep contact details and search for past orders was a good reason to call the software a CRM.

However, times have moved on and even with powerful and well known CRM brands like Salesforce, there seems to be dozens of CRM providers to choose from, with prices ranging from $15 per month/ per seat to over $150! In fact if you head over to MYOB’s Add-On Centre you’ll find plenty of CRM’s that now integrate with their software.

We are now entering the integration phase of software development – which cloud-based services integrate with other services you’re using – and we wrote an article at the beginning of the year about a home appliances technician who uses accounting software integrations on his tablet to run an efficient and profitable little business.

Real Estate Agent CRM’s

best-real-estate-agent-crmsOne thing that has become apparent to our team lately (we’re working on social media marketing for real estate agents) is the difference in mindset between bookkeepers and real estate agents and if you think about it for a second it makes sense.

Bookkeepers are usually people who just want to get themselves into their work and sort out the financial and accounting details whereas real estate agents want to find big shiny things to sell and earn a commission based income.

It’s the classic back office versus front office personality style, the salesy and bold vs the unassuming and detailed office admin person.

The thing that real estate agents are looking for in a CRM are:

  • Quick and Easy contact detail collection (do it once and get all the data) – ideally at open homes
  • Automated categorisation of contact (Who’s keen and what are they looking for) – often defined by the type of property they enquire about
  • Constant messages pinging prospects with their brand (like weekly emails about their open homes this weekend)
  • Great reporting to see what works (so they can repeat it) – like how many emails sent, calls, open homes etc

The relationship with a real estate agent is often brief and very intense because property owners (vendors) will be speaking sometimes every day with their sales agent to see how the selling process is going. With property marketing campaigns in the capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne only lasting a couple weeks in some instances there is a massive amount of information to be collected yet the reporting needs to be simple.

My Preference for CRMs is Simple

zoho-crm and cloud based integrationAlthough I’ve had some exposure to Salesforce when I originally spoke to that company (many years ago and much has probably changed) they only offered yearly plans (but showed them as a low monthly fee) and the upfront cost was too high so I didn’t go down that path.

Instead I found some great nimble tech startups (at the time, now they’re quite a bit bigger) who offered software that did all the basics very well and offered normal cloud-based pricing ie. low monthly fees: Zoho CRM and HighRiseHQ

I found that these two programs did many useful things. They:

  • enabled me to integrate with our form collections (no need for double entry)
  • gave me the ability to very easily make comments every time I spoke with them
  • integrated with my email marketing software
  • enabled me to use tags to categorise and find contacts
  • offered a low monthly cost!

The Dark Horse in Real Estate CRM’s is CreataCRM

CreataCRM integrates with MYOB Cloud and is used by top performing McGrath real estate agentsI had the pleasure of meeting Reece, the managing director of CreataCRM, at Cebit 2016 and was amazed I’d never heard of this company before.

When I took a look at their software I was blown away – here is an Australian based software developer who has worked with some of the top performing McGrath real estate agents to build a complete and thorough cloud-based CRM with all the integrations you could ask for, including:

  • MYOB AccountRight (live and even the old v19)
  • Xero
  • VoIP telephony
  • Email broadcasting
  • Workflow Automation

The most amazing part about their software is that it costs just $11 per user per month! Now that is a lot of software and a VERY low price. I’m thrilled to be able to share this information with you because here is a company with a great product that focus more on their product development and software features and less on making themselves look big and flashy.

If you have had any experiences with CRM’s I’d love to hear from you and add further depth to our conversation and study into CRM’s.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design). 


 

 

Posted on

Xero, MYOB, ERPs and Supply Chain Tools

man-studying-xero-online

ERPs, or Enterprise Reporting Planning systems, are divided into three categories or tiers. Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks and other cloud accounting software used by small businesses, sit at the low end of the scale; they’re tier three ERPs.

Xero is using it’s 3rd party app integrations and its API to climb up the ERP food chain and some good bookkeepers are being dragged up along with it. Continue reading Xero, MYOB, ERPs and Supply Chain Tools

Posted on 1 Comment

Google Can Help You Make More Money – And It’s Not by Using Adwords!

Helping tradespeople, sole traders and contractors manage and keep clients

As a tradesperson or sole trader, don’t be one of the many who loses out on work opportunities because you’re not savvy online – for marketing and organisational purposes.

I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT how tradespeople can earn more money quickly and easily by using cloud accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks to quote, invoice and manage their clients. But this applies to anybody out there working for themselves; as a sole trader or contractor. 

In a recent home renovation I was involved with in Newcastle, NSW, I met many tradies with a lot of work on, and even more with plenty of work in the pipeline; but they had no system to manage it all. They frequently didn’t follow up on jobs they’d quoted for, didn’t get back to people enquiring about their services, and provided fairly terrible customer service in general. And they were losing money, as a result.

Increase your productivity with Google G Suite

There’s no reason for tradespeople, contractors or sole traders to lose business because they don’t have a system in place to ensure they remain productive. I work with lots of remote contractors, and I love it because we’re able collaborate on projects at all different times of the day, easily and efficiently.

When I owned a compliance management company called EzyAccess, I worked with lots of different contractors who were located all over Australia. There was Frankie in customer service, located in the Gold Coast, Queensland; Gary, our product specialist located in Goulburn, New South Wales; and our computer guys, Linus and Rodger, each from Sydney; along with three other women located in Sydney — Dulcie, Michelle and Angela — responsible for admin and marketing respectively. of course, then there was me: travelling between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Manage your time efficiently

To manage my team of remote contractors, I used Google G Suite (then called Google Apps for Work) — Google Calendar, in particular

We used Google Calendar to schedule time for particular tasks each person was working on so everyone knew what everyone else was up to, and could easily schedule time to collaborate on certain projects that required help from other team members — Linus and Rodger, for instance, frequently collaborated on projects. We also used Google Calendar to schedule meetings (internal and external ones) and sales calls. (More specifically, we’ve given a case study of a hairdressing salon doing this in a previous blog post.)

***

Set up your own Google G-Suite with our Digital and Social Media Online Course


If you need help setting up your Google G Suite account, and would like to learn how your business can become more productive and earn more money, we cover Google G Suite in our Digital and Social Media training course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.


 

 

Posted on 3 Comments

MYOB, Xero, Quickbooks and the Cloud Accounting Ecosystem

learn intuit quickbooks payroll online training course videos

How the cloud accounting ecosystem has paid off big time:

And how Xero has become the preferred accounting software for Aussies and New Zealanders (Part 2 of 2)

learn intuit quickbooks payroll online training course videos
Although Xero is enormously popular in Australia and NZ, Intuit QuickBooks is backed by a company that dwarfs Xero and MYOB and is huge in the US.

FOR YEARS, MYOB was the Australian market leader in accounting software. Small businesses and accountants spent hundreds of dollars to buy its clunky, obtuse software and load it onto their computers so they could mind their own business (hence, the MYOB) or the business of their clients.

In 2008, the tide began to roll the other way, when an upstart — and a Kiwi upstart, no less — entered the Australian market, two years after it was founded. That upstart was Xero, and it revolutionised the industry, with its software- as a -service approach to accounting systems.

Fast forward a decade, and Xero is now the preferred accounting software in Australia and New Zealand, with 692,000 subscribers compared with MYOB’s 585,000 paid users. (Overall, Xero claims 1.2 million subscribers worldwide.) In the 2016/17 financial year, Xero’s revenue increased 43 percent year-on-year to $295.4 million NZD ($271.7 million AUD); during the same period, MYOB’s revenue increased 13 percent to $370.4 million AUD.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice Xero has more paid subscribers than MYOB, but its revenue is about $100 million AUD behind. That’s largely due to differences in the price of both products.

So you can’t tell which one of Xero or MYOB is the true market leader — yet.

How Xero is growing their subscriber base

Basically, they’ve reached an impasse. There’s not much opportunity left in Australia and New Zealand (there are other players, like Intuit’s QuickBooks and Zoho competing the same space, too) to grow your subscriber base — unless you’ve a carrot to dangle under their noses that’ll lure them away from your competitor.

For Xero, that carrot has taken the shape of its suite of apps, plug-ins and integrations it’s added to its offering through acquisitions and partnerships — anything that would make Xero a one-stop-shop for small businesses, and help them to extract more value from their customers.

[Xero has lured people away from competitors via their] suite of apps, plug-ins and integrations [they’ve] added to their offering through acquisitions and partnerships — anything that would make Xero a one-stop-shop for small businesses…

Meanwhile, MYOB’s strategy for market share

To its credit, MYOB has pursued a similar strategy, acquiring payment firm PayCorp last year, which followed the launch of the company’s PayDirect Mobile and PayDirect Online payments service in 2014 and 2016 respectively, as part of MYOB’s push into payment processing technology.

MYOB also acquired Reckon’s accounting practice software last November for $180 million AUD. The company said the acquisition was part of MYOB’s strategy to see accountants become business advisors, rather than tax and compliance experts.

MYOB chief executive Tim Reed sees automation as being critical to the company’s ongoing success, as it pursues a “connected practice strategy,” which brings transaction processing, compliance and business advisory together and sees accountants become more like business coaches.

“They will be like personal trainers in the gym, but for business,” he said. “This is starting today. Accountants are already working down this process and what I’m seeing is the pace of change start to increase.”

And unlike Xero, which is simultaneously pursuing overseas markets (the U.K., North America, Southeast Asia), MYOB is content to stay focussed on its home market — Australia and New Zealand. (It’s also pushing deeper into big businesses with its enterprise software Greentree, acquired in 2016.)

Accountants and the cloud accounting ecosystem

With Xero pursuing code-free accounting, MYOB pushing into “connected practices,” and Intuit beefing up its own ecosystem of apps and integrations to simplify the bookkeeping and accounting process for small businesses, where does that leave accountants and bookkeepers?

Better off, actually.

Bookkeeping is a necessary step in the overall accounting process. But it’s the most time intensive one. There’s reconciling bank accounts, entering receipts, coding transactions, invoices, and so on. Small business owners don’t — or won’t — do it, so they outsource it to a bookkeeper or accountant, who has a preferred or in-house bookkeeper.

Despite being a time intensive task, it’s lower skilled work — like untangling a jumble of coat hangers; almost anyone can do it. And so it commands a lower rate of pay than other tasks, like financial forecasting, business planning and filing activity statements.

Automating elements of the accounting process, in particular the coding of transactions, eliminates inefficiencies and time wastage. Bookkeepers and accountants can charge their clients the same hourly rates, but they’ll spend much less time doing it.

More apps, more services

And with access to more apps — like a payroll plug-in — they can begin offering more services.

Just as QuickBooks, MYOB and Xero have become more valuable to their customers, by positioning themselves as a one-stop-shop for small business, accountants and bookkeepers can do the same.

Why would a business need to engage a data entry bookkeeper, a tax or BAS agent, and a payroll company when they can hire just one individual to manage all of these tasks efficiently in one cloud accounting program?

They wouldn’t.

Food for thought: Why would a business need to engage a data entry bookkeeper, a tax or BAS agent, and a payroll company when they can hire just one individual to manage all of these tasks efficiently in one cloud accounting program?

And just as MYOB boss Tim Reed stated: Accountants and bookkeepers have already cottoned onto this.

But it means bookkeepers and accountants need to become more skilled at what they do; they need to possess a greater understanding of a wider array of softwares and systems in order to remain competitive.

And even though Intuit, MYOB and Xero have all acquired or partnered with companies that offer payroll platforms, there are still plenty of third parties businesses can choose to connect to their accounting system — that’s democratised accounting for you — so you need to watch the market, and keep your skills up-to-date.

Where to from here?

The cloud accounting space is certainly in flux. There’ll be more acquisitions, more technologies, and definitely more automation. There’ll also be more global companies, as more businesses export their goods and services overseas — and more fintech companies pursuing growth outside Australia.

KeyPay is one such company. It’s based in Wollongong in NSW, and last December announced it would expand its services to the U.K. — a pre-release was slated for January this year, with a full launch due in April.

According to CRN, the company grew 53 percent last year (though it didn’t specify what or how that “growth” was calculated; as a private company, it doesn’t disclose financials or its share of customers). And KeyPay’s co-founder Richard McLean said the company decided to enter the U.K. market because 60 percent of businesses there outsource their payroll to a third party company.

The company intends to rollout its automated payroll system in the U.K. first, with an Australian launch due later in year, and also plans to expand to New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

*** 

lifelong learning platform woman online learning for life

To ensure you have the skills required in an era of cloud accounting ecosystems, code-free accounting and connected practices, we’ve added new modules to our QuickBooks training courses — with training on KeyPal — as part of the QuickBooks Payroll Course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol. We also invite you to read what our students and clients are saying about EzyLearn.


 

Posted on

MYOB, Xero, QuickBooks and the Cloud Accounting Ecosystem

smart woman realising xero most popular accounting software program in australia and nz

How accounting is becoming more simplified:

And how bookkeepers and accountants can become a “one-stop-shop” for those needing help with their finances (Part 1 of 2)

smart woman realising xero most popular accounting software program in australia and nz

EARLIER THIS YEAR, Intuit, the parent company of cloud accounting system QuickBooks, announced it had acquired U.S.-based time-tracker platform, TSheets, in a deal worth $340 million U.S.. This was part of Intuit’s strategy to expand its offerings to small businesses and the self-employed. (In the U.S. and Canada, Intuit also operates a cloud software package called TurboTax, which lets individuals file their own federal taxes.)

What the TSheets acquisition means

The TSheets acquisition makes a lot of sense, and provides a good guide to the kinds of businesses cloud accounting firms look to acquire. For example, TSheets and QuickBooks already shared 12,000 customers worldwide, and TSheets had been developed to integrate specifically with QuickBooks (though it also works with Xero and Reckon). It also brings Intuit and QuickBooks in line with one of its competitors, Xero, which acquired a similar project management system WorkflowMax back in 2012.

For TSheets, being part of a big global brands means it’ll be able to innovate faster, with access to the Intuit technology and product team; for Intuit, it’s an additional source of revenue and market share. (Although a privately held company prior to the acquisition, TSheets had been valued at around $40 billion US.)

The cloud accounting ecosystem

Intuit’s TSheets acquisition signals that both Xero and QuickBooks intend to push further into the cloud accounting ecosystem, by partnering with, acquiring, or developing integrations that simplify the accounting process and expand their product offering.

Intuit’s TSheets acquisition signals that both Xero and QuickBooks intend to push further into the cloud accounting ecosystem, by partnering with, acquiring, or developing integrations that simplify the accounting process and expand their product offering.

Xero’s latest suite of products

In 2017, Xero introduced a new suite of products — Xero Expenses, Xero Projects, Xero HQ App Suite, Xero HQ Ask, and Xero Discuss — all aimed at providing SMEs with the technology generally reserved for big enterprises, only far cheaper.

Xero already has an app ecosystem of more than 600 certified app partners and 40,000 developers. And since Xero migrated its platform to Amazon Web Services, the subsidiary of Amazon that provides cloud-computing platforms to companies, Xero has been developing its machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in a push towards completely code-free accounting; in March 2017, Xero released a code-free invoicing and bank transactions feature. (MYOB previously released a similar feature called SmartBills two years earlier.)

Xero has been developing its machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in a push towards completely code-free accounting.

The company’s chief executive Rod Drury said that the move towards automation “will be bigger than the move to the cloud.” He also said the company was working on a feature that would automate invoices entirely.

What else has Intuit acquired?

On Intuit’s part, it’s Asia Pacific arm of the businesses has made a number of acquisitions over the last few years to beef up its product offering, some of them you might not even be readily aware of — like the 2014 acquisition of Invitco, which created a product called Invitbox that extracts data from PDFs, and operates behind the scenes to extract data from bills and receipts uploaded to the QuickBooks system.

Intuit Asia Pacific also acquired the document management company Fifo in 2013.

Next blog: We look at how the cloud accounting ecosystem has paid off and how and why bookkeepers and others working in the accounting space must continue to up-skill.

***

learn online training Xero courses videos for less

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

 

 

 

 

Posted on

MYOB Essentials Accounting, Credit Management & Payroll Courses COMBINED

myob-essentials online training course live logoYOU COULD CALL IT a New Years Resolution that we’ve managed to tick off already! Early January 2018 I promised that EzyLearn would make the MYOB Essentials Courses available with our traditional MYOB AccountRight Courses and that offer is NOW available as a COMBO OFFER — see our Bookkeeping Academy page for the details.

We have 4 MYOB Essentials Courses available (MYOB Essentials Accounting, Daily Transactions, GST/BAS & Reporting AND MYOB Essentials Payroll Course) and it’s a popular course for those wanting a good payroll solution without spending the earth.

MYOB Essentials seems to tick the boxes for most small businesses

Our MYOB Essentials course seems to cater to small business for the following reasons:

  • It enables businesses to keep track of quotes and convert them to sales invoices
  • It includes bank feeds for faster, more accurate and less stressful end of month/quarter reporting
  • You can work out the allocation of GST paid and received for quicker BAS reports
  • Included is Payroll to manage the sometimes complex compliance requirements faced by small businesses

And here’s an excerpt from the MYOB Essentials website:

Features of MYOB Essentials cloud accounting software in our income, expenses, GST, & Payroll Online Course

MYOB Essentials has a well-placed price

MYOB also seem to have the pricing at just the right level to not hurt the wallet of small business owners. Xero is now powering ahead with constant features updates (and that puts regular pressure on us to continually create Xero Course updates — which we LOVE doing!) to justify a higher price as they hurtle along on their journey of being a quasi-ERP system using integrated apps in their marketplace.

MYOB Essentials Pricing as of February 2018 - online training courses
Pricing as of 24 February 2018

QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, use an ongoing cheap price special offer to attract new users and use an Australian-based payroll services provided to provide very sophisticated advanced payroll features while keeping the total price low.

We’ve just completed the production side of our QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll Course so subscribe to get notified of when this training course material is ready to view.

QuickBooks Online Pricing as of February 2018 - online training courses
Pricing as of 24 February 2018

Current MYOB training course students receive MYOB Essentials Courses FREE

When I first took EzyLearn online in 2006 it was a huge change in my life and I’ve always been grateful to every student who has chosen EzyLearn to do online training. I’m always looking for ways to help them learn more, do more and achieve better results in their career, business and life goals.

***

My commitment to continuing to keep MYOB Essentials courses and MYOB Accountright Course updated has never wavered.

The other recent commitment is that we’ve made is the Workface Career Academy and the Selling Academy programs available to ALL EzyLearn students via our new LIFELONG Learning Hub.


learn xero myob excel cheap online training courses videos

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design). 


Posted on

Why Do You Want Xero and MYOB for Free?

If money is an issue there are alternatives when it comes to accounting software programs

WaveApps Transaction journal in the free accounting software competitors to Xero, QuickBooks Online and MYOB with receipt scanning built inWE’RE OFTEN ASKED whether Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks software is provided free with our training courses.

Unfortunately, we’re not given free access to accounting software, so we can’t pass free software access onto our students either. However, we do let you know where you can access trial or student versions while you complete our courses.

It made me wonder: Who’s driving the demand for these programs? It turns out, it’s usually someone’s bookkeeper or accountant recommending them. And this is usually because they’ve done a training course and learnt how to use one or more of the major accounting packages.

Does your bookkeeper or accountant disclose whether they’re earning a commission?

Some bookkeepers take a 15 percent cut of the monthly subscription fee because they’re a certified MYOB / Xero / QuickBooks consultant — and that’s why they recommend a particular package. I personally think that bookkeepers or BAS agents who do this should disclose that they are earning an ongoing commission — just as real estate agents need to make these declarations in their agency agreements.

Businesses don’t know any alternatives  

It also happens that a lot of business owners don’t know about alternative accounting packages. Therefore they simply choose the brand name they’ve heard about the most. I discovered this with real estate agents when it comes to who they choose for their social media marketing services — most of them ask what software or which person Joe Blow uses and then assume it’s good enough for them.

Selecting an accounting package to use is often one of the first things a new business owner does. At this stage, however, they may not even be aware of what they require from an accounting package; never mind what sorts of alternatives they should be looking at. When first starting out, they’re just anxious to be able to invoice and get paid by their first client.

Freshbooks, Zoho, WaveApps alternatives to Xero & QuickBooks Online

Three low cost alternatives to the “three brand names”

Zoho, Freshbooks and Wave are three other accounting packages that are either free or very inexpensive.

These three also include many of the same features you’ll find in the three big name accounting packages — MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks.

Zoho: Free invoicing software allows one user, invoice up to five customers; paid subscriptions from $7 U.S. per month; add extra features (expenses, subscription management, inventory management) as required. Pricing for Zoho Books, the complete accounting package, start at $9 U.S. per month for 2 users, 50 contacts, 5 automated workflows.

Freshbooks: Complete accounting software includes unlimited invoices, accept online and credit card payments, multiple devices, reports, payment reminders, notifications when clients have received, viewed, paid invoices; pricing starts at $15 U.S. per month for 5 active contacts (customers).

Wave: Forever free invoicing and accounting software includes unlimited estimates and invoices, generate reports, scan receipts, bank feeds (accounting package), and more; accept credit card and online payments for a fee (1.75 percent for ever 30 cents AUD); payroll $36 AUD per month.

Consider your business needs first

We recommend either Wave or Zoho for small but growing businesses, looking for a cheap or free accounting solution. Wave, in particular, provides a fairly robust accounting package that’s entirely free, and remains so if you don’t intend to take credit card or online payments (lots of businesses do, but many more don’t). In fact, they even have their own smartphone apps to capture receipts and create invoices while you’re at a clients!

If you anticipate you might want to add other productivity apps, like a CRM, inventory management, IT helpdesk, recruitment tools, or collaborate in a team project, Zoho is a good place to start, as these features can be turned on and off as required.

Of course, these accounting packages are rarely used or recommended by accountants or bookkeepers, who prefer to work with Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks because they provide the functionality needed to complete and lodge activity statements. If you’ll be working with a bookkeeper or accountant, it’s best to stick with one of the brand name three.

***

If you need training in MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks, our online training courses will show you how to set up and use various aspects of the software. More importantly, they will take you through detailed case studies where you can enter all the transactions performed by various different business types eg. professional services, trades and even the sale of inventory products. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.

 

Ref: #715

Posted on

The Best Xero-Integrated Document Management Platforms

‘Seal the deal’ with a beautiful proposal

best xero integrated proposal quote software learn xero online learning training course videos
Sometimes it’s all in the proposal: win over your clients by presenting them with your value proposition in a way that not only looks professional and competitive; but that you can also track online.

FOR MANY BUSINESSES sending quotes and estimates to prospects doesn’t accurately describe the work you’ll be providing them.

Sometimes it’s because you’ll be providing an ongoing service or solution to a business problem — property management, content marketing, bookkeeping — and other times it’s because your business will be competing with others in a public tender.

In these instances, you’ll need to send a proposal to potential clients to explain your value proposition and how you’ll solve their business problem. Rather than sending a proposal in a Word document that you can’t track, use a cloud-based document management platform.

Quote Roller

quote roller learn xero online learning course training videosNow powered by PandaDoc, Quote Roller lets businesses create proposals and quotes quickly and uniformly, using templates and pre-set content blocks.

The platform’s real selling point is its back-end analytics that provides insights. For instance, you can see how long a prospect has spent reading each section; prospects can also ask questions in the built-in messaging tool and sign electronically.

Quote Roller integrates with Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Basecamp, time management app Harvest and cloud accounting software Xero.

Professional plan pricing starts at $19 per month, per user; business plans cost $39 per month, per user. Enterprise plans can be tailored to your business needs.

Quote Roller alternatives

PandaDoc

pandadoc-logo best xero integrated crms learn xero online training course videosPandaDoc acquired Quote Roller in 2015, but the two still provide fairly different services. Quote Roller is a basic solution for businesses wanting to automate and monitor their documents using analytics; PandaDoc, on the other hand, provides a robust tool to generate proposals, contracts and quotes.

It integrates with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Hubspot CRM, Oracle, Zoho CRM, Zendesk, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Xero.

Professional plan pricing starts at $19 per month, per user, and business plans cost $39 per month, per user. Enterprise plans can be tailored to your business needs.

Proposify

proposify learn xero online learning course videos training in xero onlineProposify promises to help you create beautiful proposals that close deals. It’s where design meets business, with a gallery of free, customisable templates that get the full electronic treatment — document analytics, electronic signatures, messaging.

Proposify also integrates with a boatload of third party apps, including Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Hubspot CRM, Harvest, Basecamp, and the cloud accounting apps Quickbooks, Xero and Freshbooks. Next on the list: PayPal, Dropbox, Trello, Slack, Asana, and more.

Pricing begins at $25 per month for individuals (5 active proposals) or $75 per month for unlimited users (50 active proposals).

Better Proposals

Better Proposals will help smaller businesses create beautiful proposals, just like Proposify; they’ll also close deals. The difference? Template design is limited, the analytics aren’t as in-depth, there’s no messaging built into the platform, but the pricing is more affordable. You get what you pay for.

It’ll integrate with Salesforce, Hubspot CRM and Zoho CRM, as well as payment provider PayPal; no accounting software integrations, though.

***

We will help you keep abreast of new and emerging technologies for doing business better. As part of our Updates and Additions policy, any new content we add is yours’ FOR FREE as a current EzyLearn student. 

Interested in finding out about more Xero-integrated apps to help you manage your project more efficiently? See our recent blogs where we review for you and come up with a list of pros, cons and prices: Best Xero-Integrated Time Management Apps and Best Xero-Integrated Project Management Apps.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

 

Posted on

What is Xero HQ?

Now you can do more with Xero

new xero hq learn xero online learning training course videos
Xero is adding to its list of features with Xero HQ so it’s no longer just for more basic bookkeeping, but can be used for analysis as well.

XERO HAS LONG POSTIONED ITSELF as the cloud accounting software for small-to-medium businesses. It’s one of the most popular of our online training courses; appealing not only to bookkeepers, but small to medium sized businesses in all industries.

What makes Xero so popular is that it is inexpensive software that’s simple to use and has lots of time-saving features.

In doing so, it’s basically left MYOB to hold the mantle of the accounting software used by accountants and bookkeepers.

Now, however, Xero is looking to close that gap, with the launch of “Xero HQ”; a data and insights platform for bookkeepers and accountants who are part of the Xero Partner Program.

Xero HQ wants to help you grow

To shake MYOB’s stranglehold on the accountant and bookkeeper market, Xero had to do something to differentiate itself and tempt accountants and bookkeepers away from MYOB.

And they’re betting that Xero HQ will be the thing that does it. Xero HQ will provide bookkeepers and accountants with data and insights tools so they can provide “advisory level” services to clients.

Xero’s focus on “advisory level” services is important here, because it reveals a couple of things Xero plans to do with the industry. The first is to continue to automate many of the tasks a bookkeeper would traditionally carry out — the introduction of bank feeds eliminated data entry, for instance — and the second is to up-skill junior bookkeepers, while simultaneously embedding them within the Xero ecosystem — which will fit nicely with their recently launched Xero Lifelong Learning platform.

What exactly is the Xero HQ platform?

If you’re part of the Xero Partner Program already, then access to the Xero HQ platform is free. The Xero HQ platform is essentially a separate workflow that you access online, which provides a number of features not available though your regular Xero software.

These Xero HQ features include the following:

  • Activity feed: When your clients’ GST or activity statements are due, a notification will appear in the activity feed to alert you.
  • Client list: This is essentially like a contact book, where you can store all your clients’ information in one place; even those clients who aren’t on Xero.
  • Explorer: This feature pulls data Xero knows about your clients to help you provide them with better advice, or help you up-skill in areas you know are important to them. For example: it will show you which apps are popular across all your clients, so you can learn how to use them.

Xero HQ app marketplace

The Xero HQ platform also has an app marketplace, which has a focus on apps that will help bookkeepers and accountants with their business. That’s different to the existing Xero app marketplace, which is geared towards small businesses in any industry.

The Xero HQ app marketplace is split up into three tiers, depending on the size of your bookkeeping or accounting practice.

Which Xero HQ app marketplace will suit you?

If you’ve 100 or fewer clients, then you’d be best suited to the “activate” package of apps especially “curated” by the Xero HQ team.

If you have between 100 and 200 clients, then you’re best suited to the “energise” package of apps; practices with 300 or more clients suit the “supercharge” package.

It’s up to you which apps you switch on, but Xero has eliminated the leg work involved in finding apps to suit your business needs.

Some common third party apps, recommended across all three Xero HQ app marketplace tiers include:

  • Futrli: A forecasting and reporting app designed to help control cash flow and accelerate growth. Technically, you can pull all these data out of Xero by running a number of different reports and exporting them into Excel, but this app does all that work for you, and just delivers the insights. Partner pricing starts at $399 per month.
  • Receipt Bank: Extracts relevant information from paper receipts and invoices, imports the data into Xero, categorises it, and stores both the data and receipt safely in the cloud. Your clients just snap a picture of the receipt using the Receipt Bank app on their smartphone or upload from their PC.
  • BOMA: Is a marketing and advertising platform that lets you export data from Xero and use it for your marketing and advertising campaigns. With BOMA you can create and broadcast marketing and advertising messages across five channels (email, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter), including sponsored advertising posts on those platforms. It also provides you with all the imagery, templates and other design needs to create your campaigns. It’s basically a one- stop -shop for digital marketing and advertising. Partner pricing starts at $49 per month.  

Xero HQ is where accounting meets CRM

In essence, the Xero HQ platform is where accounting and customer relationship management meet. Xero provides bookkeepers and accountants with a platform that enables high-level analysis and data management through integrating third-party Xero HQ partner apps.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, Xero HQ serves dual purposes: it encourages bookkeepers to move away from providing basic bookkeeping services to deeper analysis and advisory roles; and they can use the Xero Lifelong Learning platform to up-skill and provide those services.

“Xero HQ serves dual purposes: it encourages bookkeepers to move away from providing basic bookkeeping services to deeper analysis and advisory roles…”


learn Xero online learning videos cheapest

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses.


 

Posted on 1 Comment

The Best Xero-Integrated Project Management Apps

Which ones are best for your business?

xero integrated apps to keep your business within budget learn xero online learning videos
We look at project management apps that integrate beautifully with Xero to keep your project within timeframe and budget.

FOR BUSINESSES WORKING on large projects spanning weeks or even months, keeping track of time, cash flow and profitability is imperative. This is even more so for businesses that work on fixed-rate contracts or tenders.

Such fixed-rate projects are common in the building and construction industry, but also the creative, engineering, and IT industries.

Many of these businesses manage a project’s workflow across a number of different documents (spreadsheets, their CRM, accounting software) — and many don’t manage it properly at all.

As a consequence, projects often come in over budget. A number of cloud-based project management and workflow apps aim to change that, however.

WorkflowMax

xero productivity apps to keep you in budgetThis Xero-owned and operated project management platform contains four elements:

  1. Lead generation
  2. Project management
  3. Cash flow management
  4. Payment

PROS: Being a Xero product, it integrates “seamlessly” with the Xero accounting software, along with other third party software, such as Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Drive, ZenDesk and Receipt Bank, plus a number of payroll applications — Smooth Pay, MYOB Payroll (note: not MYOB’s accounting package) and SimplePay.

CONS: Unlike Xero, however, WorkflowMax is pricey; a one-user plan starts at $27.50 per month and can cost as much as $275 a month for a plan for 21-50 users.

WorkflowMax alternatives

Zoho Projects

zoho projects best integrated xero apps for project managementZoho Projects provides planning tools, Gantt charts, timesheets, document management and collaboration tools. Visually, it’s not much, but it’s easy to use. It isn’t as robust as WorkflowMax, but it’s a good tool for smaller businesses. And it’s part of the Zoho ecosystem.

For a Zoho app, there’s a good number of third party apps it integrates with, including Github, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Gmail, Microsoft Office, Basecamp, Dropbox and Slack.

Pricing starts at $25 per month for 20 projects on an “express plan” and tops out at $100 per month for an enterprise plan with unlimited projects; a free, one-project plan is also available.

Fergus

Fergus trade software logo best xero integrated project management appsFergus is the project management app built by tradies for tradies. Again, like the project management apps before it, Fergus is broken down into three elements:

  • project management 
  • communications, and
  • financial management.

The tradie-specific features include a GPS tracker and a site visits feature. Fergus integrates with Xero and MYOB AccountRight.

Basic “starter” plans begin at $19 per month, per user (recommended for concreters, plasterers, roofers and small firms) and tops out at $39 per month, per user for the “professional” plan. Sole traders get access to the starter plans for free forever.

ProWorkflow

proworkflow xero intergrated project management apps learn xero online course videosProWorkflow is the project management app that promises to be “the project management software your team will love!”

The features — task management, timesheets, messaging, invoices, etcetera — are standard fare.

But the software has opened up its APIs, so businesses can build their own apps, reports and integrations. It already integrates with Xero, QuickBooks online (and desktop), MYOB AccountRight and Freshbooks. It also integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Basic “solo” plans start at $10 NZD per month, per user; advanced plans cost $30 per month, per user.  

***

We are always exploring and analysing new and emerging technologies and introducing new content as part of our Updates and Additions policy. Any new content we add to the course in which you’re enrolled is yours’ for free if you’re a current EzyLearn student. Find out more about our suite of Xero online training courses.


Stay in Touch, Like and Recommend Us

online social media training courseIf you want to receive announcements, updates and tips from us subscribe to our blogs or like our Facebook page and share it with your friends.

Posted on

Ray White’s Amber and LJ Hooker Compete with Purple & Jim’s Real Estate Play

Woodrising a sign for Toronto Ray White Amber Agent

Real estate agents are seeing purple!

Woodrising a sign for Toronto Ray White Amber AgentTHE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY IS undergoing substantial disruption. Only the real estate agents and agencies that decide to innovate will make it out the other side.

A big part of that means letting go of the traditional model and embracing a new, transparent real estate sales model, but many agents are still reluctant to change.

And that’s a mistake.

Disruption to the real estate industry coming from many sources

Although much of the disruption is coming from technology companies, such as REA Group and Domain Group in Australia, as well as the tech giants Facebook and Google, other established players, recognising that the timing is right, are entering the fray too.

Together, these businesses are changing the way real estate in this country and across the world is bought, sold and rented. If real estate agents aren’t proactive about this change, they’ll end up being reactive. And they’ll miss out.

One of the Case Studies in our Digital & Social Media Marketing Courses centres upon a McGrath agent based in Sydney’s Cammeray. This agent, Derek, comes to realise his own personal brand is as powerful with local residents as the McGrath brand because he is a hard-working agent and his vendors love him.

Via the virion Digital Agency we were able to help Derek create a website and social media campaign to further hone and build his brand as a property expert.

Jim’s to cut agents’ grass

Jim Penman's Jims Group getting into low cost low commission real estate agency model - tradies might pass on vendor sales leads - AFRTake Jim’s Group, the franchise group known for mowing lawns and fixing broken antennas. Last week, they announced their intention to enter the real estate fray with a new, low-cost service for both agents and homeowners.

The division, which is being headed up by a Jim’s Group veteran and the former sales director of low-cost real estate service Hello Real Estate, will charge agents a flat $1,800 a month franchise fee.

Homeowners will also be able to suggest how much commission they’d like to pay the agent to sell their home. (It’s understood there’ll be a threshold for how low commissions will actually go.)

Jim’s agents will work remotely from their home offices — or their cars — as most Jim’s franchisees currently do, and they’ll have substantially lower overheads so they can provide the same service to homeowners as a traditional real estate agent, only for less.

As an existing and trusted franchise group in Australia, they won’t have to overcome the same barriers like name recognition and trust that new entrants to the market — your Purplebricks, say — did. (Of course, the Purplebricks service is also quantifiably different to the proposed Jim’s service.)

Agents who don’t think Jim’s will make a serious dent in the industry may be right. But that misses the point; the franchise model is about giving business owners a cushion between them and flying solo. Plenty of people work in franchises — real estate is the most franchised industry in this country — but not all of them do. There’s plenty of room for independent agents to take this idea and operate their own agency the same way — and keep their $1,800 franchise fee while they’re at it!

Proptech sector friend or foe?

That brings us to the biggest source of disruption in the real estate industry: the proptech sector. In Australia, agents need to be cautious of

  • REA Group,
  • Domain Group,
  • Purplebricks,
  • BuyMyPlace,
  • Facebook and
  • Google.

But they also need to be wary of any new entrant that puts an “Uber” spin on the sector. (Domain recently opened up its developer APIs to encourage tech startups to use their data to create disruptive new services.)

At the moment REA Group and Domain are focussed on moving closer to the transaction, but they’re also heavily investing in tech to ward off any disruption from tech titans Facebook and Google, which they consider the biggest threat to the real estate industry in this country, and the world. (eBay-owned Gumtree also shouldn’t be excluded from this conversation.)

Would you advertise with a competitor?

Mortgages

Both real estate groups have acquired (or launched through partnerships) their own mortgage broking businesses — Domain’s Domain Loan Finder is a JV with online broker Lendi; REA Group acquired mortgage broker Smartline, and launched its own white label service in conjunction with NAB, called realestate.com.au Home Loans.

Trades & Everything Else!

They each also own stakes in tradie sites Oneflare (Domain) and hipages (REA), connection services Compare & Connect (Domain) and Beevo (Domain), property data and mapping firm PriceFinder (Domain), real estate CRM MyDesktop (Domain) [read more about the best real estate agent CRM’s], and property inspection app Homepass (Domain); Domain will also launch insurance comparison service Domain Insure and real estate agent training and education program Domain Academy.

And REA Group is busy building robots and virtual assistants, which can respond to customer enquiry — requests for Section 32 documents, schedule inspections, and so on.

Neither Domain nor REA are likely to bite the hands that feed them by introducing a real estate agency service or cutting agents out of the picture entirely — this year, REA Group posted revenue of $633.5 million from its Australian operations, of which $538.2 million was derived from agents advertising on its site.

Agents need to innovate NOW

But by owning the real estate “ecosystem”, they make the role of the real estate agent much less vital — and ripe for a new service to come in (like a Jim’s Real Estate) and say, “hey we can do it better.” Before long, that’ll become the “traditional” real estate model, just as the classified websites that usurped newspaper classifieds are now considered the “traditional” model of buying and selling stuff online.

To stay ahead of disruption, agents need to educate themselves. Continuing professional development (CPD) is a mandatory part of staying licensed in every state or territory. Provided agents undertake recognised training and keep their CPD points up, they can study anything relevant to the business of real estate.

Digital marketing is a fundamental part of real estate. Agents who understand how to market themselves online to get new business and demonstrate transparency about how the process works will stay ahead of the curve. Derek Farmer used educational videos and blog posts to explain the buying and selling process, and share market news and analysis.

This makes a sales agent an indispensable source of knowledge and a trusted advisor to buyers and sellers throughout the process, which can’t be replicated by a robot, virtual assistant or app. Virion also helps agents create a digital market strategy for their business, and to fill up their website or social media pages with content that provides information to buyers and sellers they’re currently getting from … Domain and realestate.com.au!

Agents should create their own property ecosystem

Domain and REA are doing their darndest to keep people on their sites for longer. They’re sewing up the entire property buying and selling process with complementary services (insurances, connections, mortgages) and they’re pushing more and more into content (videos, journalism, content marketing); Domain is particularly innovative in the content space, thanks to its Fairfax roots.

As a result, buyers and sellers are coming to agents forearmed, and again, the role of the agent is diminished. But agents can stay in home buyers and sellers minds by creating their own property ecosystem: start a website, fill it with good quality content, use a CRM to manage your lists of buyers, sellers, tradespeople — who have become one of the most important players in the sales process — and pump messages out your database regularly.

Finally, look at introducing a different fee or commissions structure for certain types of property or across the board. This is where the industry is heading and fighting it will only leave you in the same position the newspaper industry was in with the advent of online classifieds; cable TV providers with the rise of VOD services; music labels with streaming services, and so on.

***

Visit the EzyLearn website to learn more about our continuing professional development (CPD) training courses. To create your own property ecosystem with a digital marketing strategy and content, visit Virion’s website for more information.


 

Posted on

Accounting Software or ERP System?

enterprise resource planning systems learn myob xero quickbooks online training course videos

Are you BIG enough yet?

I’VE BEEN IN BUSINESS since my early twenties but it wasn’t until my late twenties that I had any clue about how larger companies use and pay for software. I was going through the process of selling a water filter business that I’d been operating in Sydney’s Dee Why when I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Fountainhead Water Company, Mark Darling.

Fountainhead used a specialised accounting system for the bottled water business which did everything from receipts for each delivery to capturing bottle deposits, tracking rental coolers and more — and they were paying hundreds of dollars per month for this software. It was a far cry from purchasing the MYOB software for a couple hundred dollars and NEVER upgrading (no payroll at the time).

Now I understand the importance of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and how they are almost sewn into the fabric of the procedures for medium to large businesses. I was contacted by someone at Sage, asking if EzyLearn had ever thought about offering training in Sage One, their software for their smaller clients. I replied by saying: “Yes, but what is the demand?” I never heard back from this person (might be a good tactic for you if you get too many cold calls!)

SAP one can cost you $600 per month so don't complain about $70 per month for Xero

Getting Setup Using an ERP System

This Sage person piqued my interest so I did a bit of research.

I soon realised that these ERP systems are sold almost exclusively through ‘integrators’ or channel partners who visit your business and really get into the nitty and gritty of the procedures and processes.

They perform their analysis and then set about a plan to implement the new software in the business using deft project management and people skills to CHANGE the way the business works.

These ERP system integrators get very involved in the operations of these larger companies and they get to see the BIG mistakes that small businesses make when dealing with them and know how easy these problems are to fix.

One such person is Carmel Crane, Finance Manager and ERP Specialist at National Bookkeeping, with specialist knowledge of midsize businesses in the mining and related industries. Carmel points out that tier one ERPs, such as SAP, JDE and Oracle are “large, expensive and all-encompassing software systems that tend to be implemented by large, multi-currency organisations.”

In a way, even small business software programs like MYOB, Xero, QuickBooks are ERPs but no one really uses that term and the process of getting set up is often much less formal and done by a high-level bookkeeper like a Finance Manager or accountant. 

The most interesting aspect of my research was when I came to the site of Leverage Technologies and found their sign up form for Sage One. I thought back to those days of working with Mark Darling, but more importantly, how true ERP systems don’t just do invoicing and payments but manage:

  • job costing
  • distribution
  • e-commerce — and even —
  • CRM.

These are services that “integrate” with software like Xero and Quickbooks.

What are tier one and two ERPs?

When you start delving deeper into ERP’s you realise there are different tiers of software which depend on the size of the company using them. Tier one ERPs are relatively inexpensive but fairly flexible applications that enable small businesses to manage their accounting and operational needs. But larger midsize businesses will have different needs that will exceed the capabilities of a tier three software like MYOB or Xero.

“Tier two is aimed at mid- to -large companies — I have a lot of mining companies in this space,” she tells EzyLearn, “and would include [software such as] Pronto, Sage and Green Trees.”

“This software has more modules than tier three, but it’s not as complex as tier one. Tier three is for small businesses, [and they] focus on the accounting side of business with simple relationships across modules.”

Tier three software is for small business and focuses on the accounting side of business.”

— Carmel Crane, ERP Specialist, National Bookkeeping

How to know if you need a tier one or two ERP? 

Any midsize business — so if you’re running a mining company, a substantial wholesale business or manufacturing or retail business — would need to work with at least a tier two ERP. And for the implementation of a tier two ERP like Sage or Pronto, Carmel strongly suggests engaging the services of an ERP specialist rather than just seeking input from the ERP company. 

“An ERP specialist understands the relationship between the modules,” Carmel says. “They can direct you in how purchasing will affect inventory and how plant maintenance will affect asset values — there is a holistic view of transactions.”

“And they know that when a problem occurs, a simple fix may just cause further error down the track. It’s important to understand the big picture.” Carmel Crane, ERP Specialist

Selecting the right ERP for your business

Just as small businesses would select a tier three ERP based on their requirements and the cost of the system, businesses selecting a tier one or two ERP do the same.

“The software is selected based on requirements, scope and cost,” Carmel notes. “Coca Cola are likely to run SAP or JDE, whereas a local operation with branches across Australia is more likely to go with Pronto or Sage.”

But she adds: “That said, just to contradict myself, I spoke with a company last week that had received an implementation quote from JDE for $1.8 million, and when I asked Pronto for the same requirements, they came back with a ballpark of $1.6 million. However, the quotes were for 30 licenses; most mid-range businesses will only use 10-15 licenses, so it would cost less.”

***

To select the right ERP — and for the right price! — engage an ERP specialist. Their knowledge of how various elements of your business operations — inventory or machinery maintenance — will affect your business, combined with their in-depth knowledge of ERP systems make them an invaluable resource.

Carmel Crane ERP Specialist National Bookkeeping_3_comp

How to find an ERP Specialist

Carmel Crane specialises in ERP systems for businesses in the mining and related sectors. Her knowledge of Xero & MYOB enables smaller businesses to get set up and systemised so they are better equipped to deal with larger clients.

She is also available for face to face training in Xero & MYOB.

As a Finance Manager, she works with businesses in the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Chillagoe to Charter Towers regions, Dalby through to Dubbo (including Broken Hill, Cobar and surrounds), and the Riverina, Wagga Wagga and Wyalong areas.

Carmel is looking to expand her list of clients in these and surrounding areas. If your business is in need of an experienced finance manager for managing Xero or MYOB or even a mid sized business looking for an ERP specialist, you can contact Carmel through the National Bookkeeping website.


 

Posted on 2 Comments

Using Excel for Client Databases

Excel does great CRM

learn excel cheap online learning training course videos
Managing large amounts of client and business data is not only possible, but also something you can learn fast and with ease with the help of our comprehensive range of online Excel training courses – covering all skills levels.

MICROSOFT EXCEL IS THE most widely-used spreadsheet application in modern computing. It’s ubiquity means most people use Excel on a regular basis, despite never having had any formal training in its many, many, MANY functions.

While updating the content for our Excel training courses recently, we were reminded of just how powerful Excel remains, and in particular, how useful it is for small businesses.

With its 2013 release, Excel got a serious update, which made it the perfect application to create and manage client and customer databases. Although there are many CRMs available on a subscription that provide the same functions of a database created in Excel, just in a more visually appealing format, they often lack reporting and analysis functions, requiring you to export your data in a Excel sheet anyway.

Flat file databases

Excel’s original ‘flat file’ database still remains the easiest and most basic database to set up and manage, and depending on your business and how you’ll use your database, a flat file database may be all you’ll ever need. If set up correctly, a flat file database will allow you to easily import your customer data into Word, your accounting software, an email marketing service, and so forth.

Relational databases

A relational database is a database that’s structured to recognise relations among the information stored in them. Microsoft offers a relational database program, called Access, which is available with Microsoft Office Professional or higher, or can be purchased separately.

Alternatively, you can create your own relational database in Microsoft Excel, providing you have the 2013 version or newer. When Excel got its update in 2013, it became easier to link charts and cells and to perform searches — all essential features if you’re working with large amounts of business data.

Correct Excel set up is crucial

Once Excel has been set up, it’s as easy as it is powerful to use. Of course, the key is to set it up correctly, so you can avoid errors or having to re-enter large amounts of data to make the format suit another third party software application.

***

Creating and managing databases is included as part of our Advanced Microsoft Excel training courses — and you receive access to ALL OF OUR COURSES, including ALL SKILLS LEVELS for ONE LOW PRICE. You can even start your Excel journey with our FREE Beginners’ Excel Course Workbook. Read more about our beginners’, intermediate and advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow!


learn to use excel online training course videos cheap best

Learn Microsoft Excel from scratch or brush up your Excel skills, at your own pace, with our affordable Excel online training courses — where you get THE LOT (that’s 9 courses in total) for ONE LOW PRICE — everything included! Volume corporate discounts are available and our courses count towards CPD Points.


 

Posted on 1 Comment

Use Excel to Manage ALL Your Investments

Once You Master Excel You Can Do Anything!

using excel for financial forecast granny flat2
Excel is one powerful tool. Its formulas can be extrapolated to most any accounting software program.

In our Excel training Course there’s an exercise workbook on granny flat investments, which takes you through all the steps involved in developing a financial forecast for a granny flat. It can also be used to determine the financial forecast of any investment, not just granny flats.

Even though lots of cloud-based software applications have come along in recent years — Xero and MYOB and CRMs like Zoho — which have made it possible for lots of business owners to keep track of their financials and customer sales history without ever needing to open an Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel is still the software used by accountants and analysts in nearly every profession.

Excel is flexible

Microsoft Excel may be difficult to master — indeed, it’s probably one of the most difficult in the entire suite of Microsoft programs — but it’s also the most flexible. The formulas sitting behind nearly every cloud-based accounting software can all be replicated and modified in Excel, where in MYOB or Xero, they can’t.

You can’t enter the details of your granny flat project or other investment into Xero and MYOB and create a financial forecast, even though near similar formulas are being used each time you run a profit and loss statement.

Cloud software is Excel plus PLUS

Before computers and Microsoft Excel came along, accountants used a pen and paper to keep track of their clients’ business financials. And before that, before the numeral system was invented, the abacus was the main accounting tool used by merchants and traders to keep track of their finances.

You probably have no use for an abacus anymore — although in some parts of Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia people still do — because, as an accounting tool, it’s too basic. But the same cannot be said about Excel, which is capable of handling complex formulas and rendering an answer.

Export accounting data into Excel

Because cloud-accounting software is essentially a very user friendly version of an elaborate, however inflexible, spreadsheet, it means you’re able to export your accounting data into Excel. Financial analysts and accountants do this when they need to carry out further analysis on a client’s financial data, and you can too.

Once you know how to use Excel for financial forecasting, you can use the same formulas and modelling for any financial forecast — be it for a granny flat project, business investment, anything that requires you to make a financial decision.

***

Visit our website for more information on our Microsoft Excel Training Course, with its new intermediate-level ‘Granny Flat Case Study’.

***

online bookkeeping courses to earn cpd pointsEzyLearn Excel, MYOB and Xero online training courses count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeepers and accountants. We’ve been an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers ever since the organisation started in Australia. Find out how CPD points can be of benefit to you.

Posted on

Are You a Bookkeeper Who Needs More Clients? Want My Advice?

FINDING PROSPECTS AND converting them into clients involves selling and most of us hate doing it, but wait…

If you are a bookkeeper, selling online MYOB training courses to your clients could be the perfect complement to your business.
If you are a bookkeeper, selling is as important to you as it is to, say, a real estate agent.

For those of us in small business, be it as a bookkeeper, real estate agent, sales rep or the like, most of us are selling every day of our lives.

This means we get pretty good at it. We develop techniques that we can replicate and that become part of our daily lives.

The process of selling is really no longer about selling per se; it becomes about a systemised process of:

  • sourcing new leads (using content marketing, networking and advertising)
  • educating those leads about their services (using websites, social media, white papers, property reports)
  • understanding whether the lead would in fact be a good buyer or potential client (using face-to-face meetings, phone conversations and emails)
  • closing the sale (via offer and acceptance, funds transfer, receipts and after sales support).

With the growing power of modern cloud-based technologies, more people are taking the plunge to start their own businesses, but people who do so must constantly:

  • stand out from their competitors (say, other bookkeepers) to get discovered by people needing help with their books, either remotely or in their home/office
  • do an efficient job in managing their schedule and dealing with clients, and
  • market their services effectively.

Content Marketing takes the “salesy” out of selling

I’ve written a lot about content marketing lately because content marketing is simply imperative for anybody looking to sell their products and services and source new clients.

The beauty of content marketing is that, as a system to source new leads, you can cover all the steps of the selling process without it seeming like a chore and, best of all, without feeling “salesy”, cheesy or inauthentic. It’s focus is about the potential client — it’s about providing them with relevant information that will benefit them — not ramming a sales pitch down their throat.

Good sales people realise that sales and the very process of selling is not about just “closing” a sale. Rather, it’s about understanding what the customer needs, seeing if your product is a good fit and then offering a solution to a customer’s problem.

content marketing is most of the new sales funnel for real estate agentsHow much of sales is Content Marketing?

To this end, content marketing is about 80% of the selling process or 80% of the sales funnel (as corporate sales people like to call it).

This is because content marketing involves information gathering; it involves seeing if your product and YOU are a good fit for your client.

These are the content marketing stages:

  • creating relevant and interest website content
  • ‘call to action’ that results in email or mobile number capture
  • email or SMS marketing
  • social media profiles to engage with your prospects
  • CRM’s to manage the final parts of the selling process.

When you implement these systems you can sit back and watch it work and then focus on your conversion rate or what industry experts call CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation.

Do you really want to be an online marketing professional? Let us manage it for you

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseMost of our students are looking for bookkeeping work, or want to start a bookkeeping service business — that’s why they use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training.

Our recently updated bookkeeping directory is matching small business people to bookkeepers for a fair rate (for instance, if you want a level 3 bookkeeper, you pay for a level 3 bookkeeper). The National Bookkeeping directory is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business, but it’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers located close by, or who have the skills they require but who don’t necessarily need to come into the office and can assist them in the cloud.

To find out how you can be more than just a bookkeeper, and start your own bookkeeping business and promote your valuable bookkeeping services to a wider circle of potential clients via content marketing, read about listing yourself on National Bookkeeping or becoming a licensee.