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Best to use your Accountant’s Bookkeeper or hire a junior to save money?

Junior level 1 bookkeepers good cheap local bookkeeping services - Natbooks

What’s Your Bookkeeper Preference?

Recently, I wrote that a lot of bookkeepers are losing out to accountants because business owners prefer the cheapest and easiest way to stay compliant. Rather than employing a bookkeeper AND an accountant to lodge their tax returns and activity statements, many business owners choose to hire an accountant only so they can deal with just one person but are they really getting value for money? When it comes to finding a good bookkeeper at this skill level business owners have the choice of hiring: 

  • Registered BAS Agents,
  • Their accountant’s internal bookkeeper,
  • An external, independent finance manager

Many good bookkeepers these days have trained as qualified BAS agents, which allows them to complete and lodge activity statements for their clients and other BAS services. The skill sets of a BAS agent and an accountant performing BAS tasks are the same, so they usually charge the same, but does your accountant really do your BAS or basic bookkeeping work?

Accountants perform higher level duties, such as financial planning, and their fees for this service are inline with what some experienced finance managers charge but when it comes to basic bookkeeping tasks they often hire a junior bookkeeper and charge them out at a lower rate but this rate is often much higher than if you hired this type of bookkeeper directory – so what are you paying for?

Pay for what you need, not what you don’t

Junior level 1 bookkeepers good cheap local bookkeeping services - NatbooksThink about your business needs. Most micro and sole trader businesses will rarely need the expertise of an accountant. But hiring one means that you’ll need to stay on top of your bookkeeping (reconciling your account, etc) because accountants won’t perform these tasks — they may outsource it, which can be costly because your accountant will be managing the bookkeeper and adding a margin to their rate as a management cost.

These businesses should instead hire a BAS agent, who can also perform bookkeeping work as well as lodge activity statements and in this situation they could just use a tax agent like ITP or H&R Block. Depending on the amount of work to be completed you could directly hire a junior or Level 2 bookkeeper and have that person perform a lot more of the bookkeeping function and office administration work and with cloud-based software like Xero & QuickBooks and Office productivity tools like Google G Suite the work can be done remotely.

If you want someone to manage all of your finances — keep track of inventory, credit management, etc — and also provide financial reporting and planning services, a finance manager is the way to go as this person can also provide guidance to your office admin and junior bookkeeping staff. 

Who does an EzyLearn course?

Lots of EzyLearn students complete an MYOB, Excel or Xero course because these software programs are demanded by employers, but we also receive enrolments from lots of bookkeepers and accountants who want to learn the cloud-based accounting software programs as well as up-skill in MS Office and Digital & Social Media Marketing. If you are a bookkeeper or accountant and need CPD courses check out our Bookkeeping Academy.

Start a bookkeeping business and work from home

Every business needs a good person with numbers and many small businesses and startups are focused on what they do best – and it’s rarely accounting. Learn about the bookkeeping business startup options..

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MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks Beat Reach and What About Your Data?

Be Wary of Small Accounting Software Companies

MYOB Training Courses Online
MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks Beat Reach

Reach Accounting ceased operating in April 2015 [RIP Reach], after only four short years operating in the cloud-accounting space. When it launched, and Net Registry bought a 50 percent stake in the company, it was billed as the Gmail of accounting software for Australian small businesses.

Net Registry actively sought out small business owners, sole traders particularly, and if they were existing Net Registry customers, offered the Reach Software to the for free for the first two years; for any non-Net Registry customers, the software cost just $14.95.

But Reach Accounting is one of many online accounting programs which now compete with each other globally for small business clients.

I wrote earlier about an accounting program called Wave Accounting which is free for most bookkeeping features until you get into the more advanced features like merchant services and payroll.

We’ve always maintained a commitment to MYOB and our MYOB Training Courses because as a large company they have a wide client base and the money to invest in their software when industries go through change like we’ve seen in cloud accounting.

Reach was the cheap option for sole traders

Its small price tag made it a highly attractive option for small business owners who really only needed the invoicing, estimates, and expenses side of an accounting package, but with Reach could have the whole dog and pony show for very little.

In 2011 when it launched this was a huge drawcard. At the time, there were few other offerings available for less than the cost of Xero, which started at $25 a month, for a very limited offering. Now, however, there are at least three other players all vying for the same sole trader demographic.

If you were using Reach, then hopefully you made the switch to another accounting program before the April 30 expiry date, after which point, you data would have been lost forever. Sucked in to the cyber vacuum of nothingness, along with your Kazaa playlists and MSN Messenger account.

Any data in Reach needed to be retrieved by April 30

This is probably one of the biggest downsides to using cloud-accounting software – if the company shuts up shop, then you have a limited amount of time to export your files before your data is lost forever. If you’re a n00b or a bit illiterate when it comes to accounting software – which, let’s face it, most small business owners are – this can be tricky as some data may not transfer across or may need to be manually re-entered, which could spell an accounting disaster when it comes tax time. In fact, any time you cancel a service with one cloud-accounting provider you run the risk of not being able to access your data once your account is suspended or cancelled.

That’s why MYOB continues to remain as popular as it is with accountants and bookkeepers – because even if MYOB decides tomorrow that it’s going to cease producing its software and exit the accounting software space altogether, you can still go back to the software installed on your computer to retrieve certain data any time you need, even after you’ve found an alternative accounting package.

MYOB and similar software the safer choice

You obviously wouldn’t be able to use the cloud or smartphone and tablet-based applications, but the software installed on your computer would continue to work offline, just as any old piece of software would continue to work. There are plenty of organisations that continue to use MS Office 2003, even though it’s about a decade out of date. In fact, I’m still using MS Entourage for Mac 2008, even though that particular product was discontinued in favour of a Mac version of the email client Outlook.

While cloud-accounting software is great and can be produced cheaply, MYOB and similar software that needs to be installed on computer remain a safe choice, and it’s why it continues to be popular with accountants and, in turn, our most popular training course. If you’re a new bookkeeper and you’ve been wondering what software you should become skilled in, it’s most definitely MYOB.

There are plenty of Xero bookkeepers, and while it’s important to know your way around Xero too, MYOB is by far the preferred choice by accountants because it’s well established, so it’s unlikely to be going anywhere soon, but even if it does, a client’s data and information doesn’t disappear until you’re ready for it to disappear.

If you’re a new bookkeeper or a bookkeeper looking to brush up on your skills, make sure MYOB is one skill you master. We offer an online training course in MYOB that takes you through each step in the bookkeeping process, including payroll, reconciliation and BAS.

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Why Are So Many Mums Starting Their Own Businesses?

Men vs Women

Dreaming about setting up a new business startup
365_The_Daydreamer_(6517625965).jpg

There is a fairly significant gender imbalance when you look at the people holding executive positions in the corporate world. Sure, there are the Gail Kellys and Marissa Mayers, but men in managerial positions in the workplace still outnumber women two-to-one. Many people would contend that this is something to do with sexism, but sexism, gender inequality – whatever you want to call it – only tells part of the story. In order to understand why there are so few women in executive leadership positions in corporate Australia – and why more women are becoming small business entrepreneurs, instead – it helps to start from the very beginning.

When women enter the workforce, their participation rates are typically the same as they are for men, hovering at around 75 percent; in some industries, particularly clerical and administrative ones, women far outweigh men in the workplace. But despite this, and despite women being better educated (just 30 percent of men hold a bachelor degree, while 42 percent of women do), men continue to progress in their careers, moving from entry level and administrative roles through to managerial ones, while women don’t.

In fact, the decline in the number of women holding managerial positions (34 percent), compared with men (66 percent) is significant. Looking at those numbers alone, it’s easy to write this off as sexism, as men being promoted over women, but the truth is that the decline in women in managerial positions is commensurate with the overall decline in women in the workforce, period.

So where have all the women gone?

Well, at the risk of coming off as a bit 1950s, they’ve left work to raise their children. The reason they haven’t returned to their careers, though, is not for want of trying. It’s because being a working mum is a logistical and, as a result, professional, nightmare. To start, there’s the distinct lack of affordable, high quality childcare, which has reached such a crisis point that the Federal Government, on the recommendation of the Productivity Commission, is trialing a nanny subsidy scheme, which would allow families to receive a government subsidy for the cost of hiring an (approved) nanny to care for their children.

That scheme, which commences in January 2016, will involve 4,000 nannies and up to 10,000 children and, if it passes the pilot stage, is estimated to help the 165,000 Australian parents who can’t work or can’t work enough due to problems accessing childcare. But all the childcare in the world won’t make up for a generally inhospitable workplace culture for working mothers.

Even though almost all Australian businesses are supposed to offer flexible working arrangements for parents, none of them actually have to practice it. As long as an organisation doesn’t blatantly discriminate against their working-parent employees, they’re well within their rights to tell mums requesting flexible working arrangements (such as, starting and finishing later, working one day from home, etc) that their request has been refused due to one of the following reasonable business grounds:

  • The requested arrangements are too costly
  • Other employees’ working arrangements can’t be changed to accommodate the request
  • It’s impractical to change other employees’ working arrangements or hire new employees to accommodate the request
  • The request would result in a significant loss of productivity or have a significant negative impact on customer service.

Women are more entrepreneurial than men

This is not to say that gender inequality doesn’t figure in the underrepresentation of women in the workplace, because it does; certainly with respect to wage inequality. Although, to be fair, it’s not always men that create inhospitable working environments for women with kids. There’s often a lot of girl-on-girl crime going on here, especially when it comes to mums requesting for flexibility that isn’t also extended to women without kids.

Nevertheless, in the stuffy, old corporate world, usually controlled by men, biology means women nearly always start off on the backfoot. But it doesn’t have to continue to be the case, especially not today. With a society that’s never been more interconnected, thanks to changing technologies and greater access to high-speed internet, women have a greater opportunity to use their skills and talents to launch their own businesses, and to operate them from home.

Mia Freedman is probably Australia’s best example of female entrepreneurship. She’s the publisher of the Mamamia Women’s Network, this country’s fastest growing and most popular network of women’s websites. Freedman launched the company’s flagship website, Mamamia, in 2008 as a personal blog she updated from her kitchen bench – and sometimes her couch – after she left a career in women’s magazines; today, with iVillage and theglow.com.au, Mamamia now reaches 5 million unique readers each month.

But Freedman isn’t the only mumpreneur. There are scores and scores of women launching their own businesses. In the last five years, the rate of women starting businesses increased 7 percent, compared to 1.9 percent for men. In NSW alone, women make up one third of the state’s 650,000 small businesses, according to data from the NSW Department of Trade and Investment. And with the Government’s $20k immediate tax write-off for asset purchases, there really has never been a better time to start your own home-based business.

Are you the next mumpreneur?

start a bookkeeping business
Business Opportunities for Ordinary People

EzyLearn has a long, proud history of helping mums to reenter the workforce, and we’d like to continue that tradition by helping more mums to start their own home-based businesses. Whether you’d like to use your talent and expertise to start your own bookkeeping business or work as a freelance blogger, writing posts – just like this one – for other businesses, we can help.

We’ve recently created two new courses – one on content marketing and another on blogging for business – in addition to our other suite of training courses that includes our small business StartUp course as well as our flagship MYOB training courses, which can each provide you with the skills you need to start and operate your own home-based business as a remote or contract worker. We’ve also started the StartUp Academy with a number of business opportunities available to help self-motivated people to start their own businesses, across an array of industries and professions.

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What is your WHS policy at your home office like?

Work, Health and Safety is a concern for home offices

contractor management using online contractor inductionsIn a few recent posts, I’ve written about some of the co-working spaces that have cropped up all over our metropolitan suburbs, but in particular, the ones that have started operating out of some of our regional town centres, like the Nexus Hub in Wyong, on the Central Coast of NSW.

All of these smart hubs and co-working spaces have a commitment to the health and safety of the people using their spaces, particularly those smart hubs which are backed by the Government’s Smart Work Hub pilot program.

Smart hubs looks out for your ergonomics and health and safety

From providing ergonomic workstations to ensuring common areas are free of debris and other hazardous materials to having any electronics and technology checked and tested to confirm they’re fit for use, a commercial co-working space or smart work hub must adhere to a strict WHS policy, as do customers of each smart hub or co-working space.

If you’ve ever been to a co-working space before, then you’ve probably been given a WHS procedure document to read and sign. That document sets out the responsibilities the co-working space has to maintaining a safe working environment for everyone visiting the co-working space, as well as the responsibilities you have as a user of the space.

Typical items that you would find in a WHS agreement at a co-working space include:

  • Adopt a relaxed posture while working
  • Align computer monitor and keyboard to create comfortable work posture
  • Clean up any spills and breakages immediately
  • Notify site supervisor of any broken or damaged power leads.

Teleworkers will also have to adhere to WHS policies, set out by their employer

If you work for a company that has a flexible workplace policy that allows you to work from a different office, from home, or at a co-working space (like the Nexus Hub), then you should be given a teleworking document, outlining your responsibilities when working offsite, and your employer’s responsibilities to you too.

In WHS agreement from an employer, you’d typically find item such as:

  • Traffic ways, hallways, and aisles should be kept well lit and clear of materials, equipment, rubbish, and electric leads
  • Floors are level and any spills or breakages are cleaned immediately
  • Freestanding fittings are complete stable or secured to the wall or floor
  • Filing cabinets do not open into hallways or halls, and filing is performed from bottom up, with only one door open at a time to maintain the cabinet’s stability
  • The temperature should range between 21-24 degrees Celsius with 40-60 percent humidity and good ventilation.

For employers that allow their staff to work from home, the workplace practices and procedures of the agreement is pretty extensive. Some employers may even send a WHS specialist to your home to check that your workstation is ergonomic and also complies with the company’s WHS policies and procedures.

But what about you – what are your teleworking WHS guidelines?

But there are a lot of small business owners who work from home; I wonder what their WHS policies and procedures are. I bet they don’t have any policies or procedures for WHS; I don’t even think many people give much though to the ergonomics of their home office.

How many of you hunch over a laptop most days? Do you have a separate monitor connected your laptop to help with your posture? Do you have a laptop stand? Do you make sure that you take regular breaks, every 30 minutes or so, for at least five minutes to give your body a rest? How many footsteps are you taking each day? Are you getting the 10,000 recommended by the World Heath Organisation to ensure optimum health? (For the record, 10,000 footsteps each day is the equivalent to walking about 9km.)

No WHS guidelines = ill health

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above, then you’re like the majority of home-based workers, but you’re probably also causing yourself untold musculoskeletal problems, from issues ranging from poor posture to shoulder and neck tension (one of the leading causes of tension and migraine headaches) to lower back problems.

Most of these issues can be resolved quite simply by paying better attention to your workspace – ensure your monitor is adjusted to suit your height, and that your keyboard and chair promote good ergonomics. And make sure you take regular breaks and make a decent enough dent in those 10,000 steps each day.

If you’ve ever suffered from tension headaches from hunching over laptop all day (which a member of my team does), just switching to a desktop PC or making sure you always use a laptop stand.

Even though you might have a healthier state-of-mind working from home – you’re not stuck for hours each day in stressful traffic – you might not be healthier physically, unless you take care to implement some basis WHS procedures in your home office, as well as your daily routine.

Are you a business owner? How do you share information about your WH&S Policies and ?

EzyLearn is an online training business and we’ve been creating our own training courses since 2003 so we have plenty of experience in course design, creating training content, implementing it into an online LMS and managing the enrolment process for thousands of students – we’re in a great position to create and manage an online induction system for your contractor management or staff training. Find out about our online induction services and request a quote.

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What do bookkeepers do during the first consultation?

Interviewing a potential bookkeeper

become an independent contract and start a bookkeeping businessIF YOU’RE LOOKING TO start your own bookkeeping business, or looking to hire a bookkeeper to help you with your bookkeeping, you might be wondering, how does a bookkeeper assess a business’s bookkeeping needs?

As it’s a legal requirement for every business to file a tax return and, sometimes, a quarterly business activity statement (BAS), it’s necessary, then, to keep accurate records of the business’s income and expenditure.

The process of keeping this up-to-date and, if the person is also registered to do so, complete any activity statements, is the role of a bookkeeper.

A bookkeeper, unless they’re just providing a business with general data entry services – reconciling accounts, paying invoices, chasing late payers – should be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) as either a tax agent, BAS agent or both. If they’re not, and they don’t hold a bookkeeping or accounting certification, either, then they’re only qualified to charge for the general data entry services.

But, assuming they are TPB registered and qualified to prepare and lodge tax returns and activity statements, then there are a number of things you can typically expect of a  bookkeeper during the first consultation with a prospective client.

Free consultation with bookkeeper: what to expect

1. Accounting data file health check

If a business already has an accounting package, a bookkeeper will perform what’s called a ‘health check’. This is a basic check to ensure the accounts have been set up properly in MYOB, Xero, Quickbooks or whatever accounting software the business happens to use – though it’s generally only these well-known packages that a bookkeeper will work with. If a business is using a lesser-known package, like Zoho books, for instance, they may not be able to work with it.

2. Recommend an accounting package

If a business doesn’t already have any accounting software – or maybe they do, but it’s not a package the bookkeeper is familiar with – they may recommend certain software for the business to use, typically MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks.

Generally, the bookkeeper will recommend that someone in the business is trained in whatever software they recommend, as there are some functions — invoicing for example, and even sometimes bank reconciliations — that the business will still need to take care of themselves to reduce their costs, unless the business wants to pay the bookkeeper to do this. Some bookkeepers provide this training so there’s a uniform approach to managing a business’s books.

3. Review of current systems/procedures

The bookkeeper may make recommendations to your general account keeping procedures or systems to improve or streamline them. This could involve, for instance, a recommendation to open a business bank account or using a certain credit card for payments; invoicing clients on a particular day of the week or as jobs are completed to improve cash flow, et cetera.

4. Draft a tentative action plan

In that plan, the bookkeeper will include a confidentiality agreement or letter of engagement which both parties need to sign; they’ll also make recommendations as to how the business should provide information, such as source documents which will differ based on the working arrangement. For instance, virtual bookkeepers may suggest uploading documents to Dropbox, while a local bookkeeper may go to the business’s premises or request the business to come to theirs.

The bookkeeper will also make suggestions as to how regularly their services would be required — once a week, month, and so on.

5. Answer any questions or queries

If the bookkeeper is registered tax agent, they should be able to tell you what sorts of expenses count as a tax deduction. Many people mistakenly believe that only an accountant can provide this sort of advice, but that isn’t true.

An accountant can only lodge and give tax advice if they’re a registered tax agent, and the same goes for a bookkeeper. Thus, should be well versed in Australian tax law.

Why a free initial bookkeeping consultation?

Typically this initial consultation is free and should take an hour or less and it also gives the bookkeeper an opportunity to see if you are the right fit for the client base they would like. Generally the initial consultation occurs in person, even if the bookkeeper will work from home or remotely once their services have been engaged.

In the case of virtual bookkeepers working in a different city or state to their clients, it’s now possible to carry out the initial consultation using Skype, Google Hangouts or any other video conferencing apps – or even just over the telephone.

If the bookkeeper finds that your circumstances are not ideal for their skills or time capacity they should have a network of other bookkeepers/accountants who they can refer to you.

Start a bookkeeping business today

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseIf you’d like to start a bookkeeping business, EzyLearn has recently partnered with National Bookkeeping, which is looking for licensees.

As a licensee with National Bookkeeping, you’ll have access to EzyLearn training courses (which also means the license fee is one hundred percent tax deductible. Visit the National Bookkeeping website today and register your interest online.


 

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The NBN Means Do-or-Die for Remote Workers

The NBN isn’t smoke and mirrors for home workers

NBN launches 2 billion dollar satellite so that rural and regional workers can start a business and work from homeIn September, the Australian Government launched a 780-tonne rocket, called the Sky Muster, into space. The Sky Muster was not intended to determine whether there was life on Mars nor any alternative solar systems; it’s purpose was to beam wireless broadband back to 200,000 homes and businesses in some of Australia’s most remote outposts. It was the next phase of the National Broadband Network’s rollout strategy to have more Australian premises connected to its fibre optic network.

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the NBN rollout because, when it’s finally complete, it will mean that almost every household and business in Australia will have access to high-speed internet, providing greater opportunities for regional businesses to work with metropolitan and international-based ones, for kids to have access to high-quality education, and to give a greater number of people in regional Australia the opportunity to work from home.

Although the NBN has been through many incarnations – first under the former Labor Government as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), then under the Abbott Liberal Government the priority was fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), and now under the Turnbull-led Liberal Government as a mixture of FTTN and FTTP, where the the latter is available – the NBN is still a hugely important investment in Australia’s future.

The high cost of living makes NBN a necessity

The high cost of living, particularly the cost of housing in places like Sydney and Melbourne, has seen many Aussies, including singles and younger couples, moving to regional parts of Australia, where housing is more affordable; a practice that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago, or even as recently as five years ago.

That’s because jobs, excluding those in the retail and hospitality sector, are limited in regional Australia. Moving out of the city for a sea or tree change was something retirees could afford to do, but not younger working people because the jobs simply weren’t there. But technology, coupled with cloud computing and, of course, high speed internet, has changed that.

Now, more people can continue to work for their employer in Sydney, even though they live, say, on the Central Coast, by teleworking at one of the NSW Smart Work Hubs in Gosford or Wyong (more people, still, can live in Newcastle and only commute as far as Gosford or Wyong to telework at a Smart Work Hub for their Sydney-based employer). But what’s becoming far more commonplace is the number of people starting their own businesses, which they operate from their homes in regional Australia.

These are the next communities to receive the NBN

If you live in regional Australia, then you’re probably very familiar with the challenges people have accessing broadband internet. In most regional communities, demand for broadband internet outweighs the supply ports, so you have to wait until someone else disconnects their broadband service – which, today, means they’ve either moved out of the area or…. died – before you can connect your service (or progress in the queue). And believe it or not, that’s not even the worst of it.

Other areas throughout Australia don’t have the infrastructure available to even connect to the exchange, never mind the port. That’s because Telstra’s ageing copper wire network is in desperate need of an upgrade, but the company had been so slow to prioritise any upgrades that it threatened to derail the Government’s NBN initiative. In December last year, the government-owned NBN Co signed an $11 billion buyback deal with Telstra, so that the copper wire network can be gradually replaced with FTTP but that could still take many years.

The good news is that there are currently more than 870,000 Australians who can already access the NBN, while an additional 550,000 premises, throughout Australia, have been added to the rollout plan, with construction to commence by September 2016. These additional communities include:

Queensland New South Wales
Greater Brisbane (21,300 premises)

North Queensland (24,400 premises)

Sunshine Coast (36,200 premises)

Southern Queensland (8,100 premises)

Gold Coast (19,500 premises)

Far-North Queensland (780 premises)

Wide Bay Burnett (1040 premises)

Greater Sydney (26,600 premises)

Central Coast (6,400 premises)

Central West (16,900 premises)

Hunter (25,000 premises)

Murray (9,700 premises)

North Coast (26,100 premises)

North West-North West Slopes (2,400 premises)

Riverina (35,100 premises)

Snowy Mountains (5,200 premises)

Southern Tablelands (800 premises)

Southern Highlands (1,600 premises)

Victoria South Australia
Metro Melbourne (56,200 premises)

Barwon (5,300 premises)

Gippsland (23, 400 premises)

Loddon Mallee (46,900 premises)

North East (15,370 premises)

Adelaide Hills (900 premises)

Greater Adelaide (19,00 premises)

Eyre Peninsula (10,400 premises)

Far North (2,800 premises)

Limestone Coast (23,300 premises)

Yorke and Mid North Coast (9,900 premises)

Western Australia
Greater Perth (56,100 premises)

Goldfields-Esperance (6,000 premises)

Great Southern (3,700 premises)

Kimberly (6,400 premises)

South West (2,000 premises)

Wheatbelt (3,700 premises)

Mid-West (500 premises)

South West (670 premises)

Is the NBN coming to you?

If you’re already able to access the NBN or are shortly going to be able to, don’t just sign up to Netflix! Make the most of the NBN by starting your own home-based business and provide valuable services to businesses located all over Australia. Whether you’re a writer, a web developer, bookkeeper, or administrative assistant (better known online as ‘virtual assistants’), there’s a huge marketplace for your skills all over Australia and throughout the world.

Content marketing, for example, has become a hugely popular marketing activity for many businesses, now that other traditional marketing opportunities have started to dry up. A key component of content marketing is written content – blog posts, ebooks, e-newsletters, web copy. If you’re a writer, with a flare for business writing, you can start your own home-based content marketing or freelance writing business from your home in regional Australia, and all you need is a computer and access to the internet!

EzyLearn can help you to start your own business today

EzyLearn has being using content marketing almost exclusively ever since we transitioned from a bricks-and-mortar business to an online one in 2008. In that time, we’ve seen a plethora of other businesses begin to utilise content marketing too, so we decided to create a content marketing training course, born of our 7-plus years content marketing experience.

If you’d like to learn more about creating marketing content for businesses, you can register your interest in our content marketing course or enrol in our blogging for business training course. If you’re looking for work now, and you have experience as a virtual assistant, a bookkeeper, content marketing, health and safety, or in IT, EzyLearn has partnered with WorkFace to help you start your own home-based business. Visit the WorkFace website for information on the opportunities currently available.

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New Year, New You, New Business Startup?

Now is the time to explore new startup opportunities

Dreaming about setting up a new business startup
365_The_Daydreamer_(6517625965)

As the end of 2015 approaches, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and frivolity of summer, by enjoying the few weeks of the holidays in the sun with friends and family. But it’s also a really great time to think about your career plans for the new year.

If you follow this blog regularly, then you may already be aware that EzyLearn has launched a new service called the StartUp Academy. The goal of the StartUp Academy is to help people launch and operate their own home-based businesses, supported by our network of successful business owners and entrepreneurs.

Opportunities are aplenty

By partnering with a number of other businesses, the StartUp Academy has a number of business opportunities available, spanning a variety of industries and occupations that include, Remote IT Services and Telephone Systems, Bookkeeping, and Website Creation and Online Marketing.

If you come onboard with the StartUp Academy, you’ll receive full training in the field of your choice, as well as small business management training to ensure you’re fully prepared to operate and manage your own home-based business.

Under each of the opportunities offered by the StartUp Academy, you’ll operate your business as an independent contractor (we’ll show you how to set up as a independent contractor, too), from your own home office and claim the costs of having your home office, Internet etc.

We know starting is hard, but we want to make it easier

We launched the StartUp Academy because we know that for most people, the biggest barrier to starting a business is that there’s no support. You have to go it alone, and that’s scary. Many of the small business owners we’ve spoken to confirmed this. They told us that they wouldn’t have made it if they hadn’t had someone to support and give them guidance.

So that’s what the StartUp Academy aims to do: support and give you guidance as you start your own home-based business. You don’t have to feel afraid or alone, because we want you to succeed in your endeavours, as much as you do.

Have a think about what your plans will be next year, and if you think 2016 is the year you should start your own business, browse some of the current business opportunities and get in contact with the team at the StartUp Academy.

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Is Single Touch Payroll Really Dead?

For a while there it looked like the ATO would introduce single touch payroll for all Australian businesses by July 2016, but after feedback from the businesses community that original plan has been shelved – for now. With SuperStream simplifying the way businesses manage the superannuation contributions for their employees, it’s highly likely that we’ll be seeing some form of the single touch payroll model in the near future.

Single touch payroll was an initiative developed to simplify the payroll process for Australian businesses. Currently, most businesses are burdened with a number of tax and superannuation reporting obligations, which single touch payroll would have put an end to.

What exactly was single touch payroll?

Single touch payroll, like SuperStream, was a proposed interactive tool that would allow a business’s accounting software to automatically report payroll information for their employees to the the tax office, eliminating the need for businesses to report pay-as-you-go withholding (PAYGW) in their activity statements throughout the year, as well as end-of-year employee payment summaries.

There was also a proposed digital service that would have streamlined tax file number declarations and Super Choice forms, which would obviously reduce a lot of the red tape and paperwork associated with employing staff.

Single touch payroll would have integrated with nearly all accounting packages in Australia, including MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks, just as SuperStream does now, so why was it shelved by the ATO until further consultation with the business community?

Single touch could have caused cash flow problems

The main concern for many businesses was that single touch payroll would impact their cash flow by requiring employers to pay the tax withheld from wages and super guarantee payments at the same time they paid their employees’ wages. There were also concerns about whether compliance by July 2016 was realistically achievable for the majority of businesses, especially when the SuperStream changeover is still ongoing.

For businesses with a substantial number of employees, single touch payroll could have been a godsend. Unfortunately, the original proposal alienated smaller businesses by making it necessary to pay both tax and super guarantee payments at the same time as employee wages, when most employers currently make those payments to the ATO each quarter.

But that doesn’t mean the single touch payroll system has been scrapped altogether. The ATO, in consultation with industry groups and the Minister for Small Business, is working on developing another single touch payroll scheme that will make real-time payments for withholding and super guarantee payments voluntary, which will be tested with small business owners before it’s rolled out across the board.

There’s still life in single touch payroll yet

What single touch payroll really highlights is how important it is for small businesses to make sure that they’re using a current accounting software package – and there are many on the market, developed especially for small businesses – that supports SuperStream and will also support any other ATO initiatives, like single touch payroll.

If you’re not using an accounting package for your small business, it’s wise to choose one of the major accounting software providers, which Margaret Carey of Business EEz also suggested when we spoke to her not so long ago about SuperStream.

You can read more about SuperStream and the new measures the ATO has introduced to make payroll and superannuation compliance easier for small businesses by subscribing to our blog. Alternatively, if you’re a small business owner using either Xero or MYOB and you’d like to know how to properly setup and use payroll in your accounting software, enrol in one of our MYOB or Xero training courses today.

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What is inbound marketing?

Will customers like you according to Google?

google likes great quality content for inbound marketing purposesInbound marketing is the focus on creating quality content that attracts and draws people toward your company and product. In the last few years, it’s come to replace the outbound marketing methods of old, which involved buying ads and email lists and paying for leads, making it one of the most effective online marketing methods. If this sounds a lot like content marketing that’s because it is, or at least, it’s a subset of it.

Content marketing is the process of consistently creating valuable, relevant content that you share online to attract more customers to your business. Inbound marketing is about being found online, through search engines, social media, and the like. See the difference? No, well allow me to elaborate.

But first, a little history lesson

Content marketing has been around for ages – it’s thought to have started with John Deere, the agricultural machinery manufacturer, which started it’s own magazine in 1895 called The Furrow – but it’s only recently gained more traction as businesses and marketers alike try to find new ways to engage customers online. Despite that, content marketing is just one cog in the greater online/inbound marketing machine.

Inbound marketing, though now very intimately linked to content marketing, is actually a far newer incarnation of the more traditional marketing activities. Inbound marketing is maybe only a decade old, and grew out of the shift in the way consumers interact and respond to advertising. Where consumers were once passive observers of advertising, the Internet made them powerful advocates or critics of a brand, aided greatly by social media.

Which side of that fence a company’s customers fell on was entirely up to what they did with their marketing. Increasingly, though, it became clear that consumers weren’t interested in straight advertisements, especially not on the Internet; they want content and they want content that’s informative or engaging – or both.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that EzyLearn is busy developing a new content marketing course, which we hope will complement our existing small business management course that currently covers traditional marketing – buying ads, telemarketing, letterbox drops; basically, what’s now known as outbound marketing.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ve also been following our own content marketing strategy: to share valuable, informative content with our students and prospective students, to form a community of individuals who are as passionate about learning and development in their professional lives as we are.

Can content marketing exist without inbound marketing?

Before I talk about whether content marketing can exist in isolation to inbound marketing and vice versa, I’d just like to summarise exactly what content marketing is and what inbound marketing is.

Content marketing is the strategic creation of informative, engaging, and valuable content. It’s the blog posts, newsletters, web pages, and – yes – print advertisements, flyers and brochures.

Inbound marketing is the overarching marketing plan or approach to attracting customers. It’s the distribution methods and channels of your blog posts and newsletters; it’s opt-in email lists; online community building (social media management); search engine optimisation; pay-per-click advertising; and so forth.

Because content is such a big part of marketing, whether it’s outbound or inbound marketing, I believe that, while you can use content marketing on its own, it’s not really possible to use inbound marketing without any content. Besides, there is some overlap between content marketing and inbound marketing, anyway.

Is there a career or business opportunity in Inbound Marketing?

In content marketing, you may decide to regularly write and publish blog posts, promote them on social media, and encourage people to subscribe to your blog using an opt-in widget on your web page. That single content marketing activity – blogging – involves, by default, some components of inbound marketing. No one writes a blog post, after all, and leaves it in their content management system without publishing it and then linking to it on social media.

That’s why we decided to develop a content marketing course, rather than an inbound marketing course because, by convention now, many elements of inbound marketing are carried out as part of the regular content marketing process. Content marketing also integrates better with other marketing activities, like networking or outbound marketing, which means you can create content for to be used on your blog and repurpose it for a letterbox drop.

Continue reading our blog to learn more about content marketing (or subscribe to ensure you don’t miss out!), where we’ll also keep you posted on our forthcoming content marketing course.

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The National Bookkeeping license fee is 100% tax deductible

Costs of starting a business are tax deductible

become an independent contract and start a bookkeeping businessIf you’re subscribed to this blog and you’ve been following our recent posts, then you should be aware that we’ve recently partnered with National Bookkeeping to deliver online training courses to their new licensees. We’ve also been writing about the $20k tax breaks introduced in the recent budget, which allows businesses to immediately write off asset purchases up the $20k as a tax deduction (rather than being depreciated over time).

While we caution you to be prudent when it comes to making business purchases, if you had been thinking about becoming an independent consultant and starting a home-based business and needed to make any purchases – office furniture, technology, a training course – now’s the time to do it.

Now that we’ve reached June, there are just a couple weeks left of this financial year, which means that any business purchases you make between now and June 30 will immediately go toward reducing your taxable income for this current financial year. This even includes the cost of becoming a National Bookkeeping licensee.

A tax-deductible license fee

Typically, when you buy a franchise or become a licensee, the franchise or license fee you pay forms part of the cost-base for your franchise or licensed business as your capital asset, and cannot be claimed as a tax deduction. However, because EzyLearn is a partner and is providing its entire suite of training courses to new licensees, the fee to join National Bookkeeping is technically considered a self-education expense.

Self-education expenses, when they directly relate to your business, are a hundred percent tax deductible. If you register before the end of this financial year – that is, June 30 – then you claim it as an immediate tax deduction, and reduce your taxable income by $1,600 straight off the bat – and that’s not to mention any other asset purchases you make, like new cars, office furniture, technology and the like.

Aside from being instantly gratifying to be able to claim a business expense back right away, it’ll also mean that you’ve technically started your new business in the black as opposed to in the red like new most businesses do. So whether the license fee results in a bigger tax cheque this year or just reduces the amount of tax you have to pay to the ATO, it’s still money in your pocket that you can reinvest into other areas of your business.

Register before June 30 to avoid starting your business in the red

One of the biggest hindrances to growth in the first year of business is poor cash flow, and unfortunately many small businesses experience poor cash flow in their first year of trading. It typically occurs when a business makes a number of, albeit necessary, business purchases that leave them cash strapped until they can file a tax return at the end of the financial year. As a result, it makes it difficult to spend money on marketing or to hire a contractor to carry out work you’re not skilled for – developing a smartphone app for your business, say.

As a result, you either miss out on investing in opportunities that will help to grow your business in the long term, or you wind up trying to muddle through it yourself, which is both a waste of your time and is also false economy, because you’re losing money by not attending to the tasks that are going to generate immediate revenue (completing someone’s BAS, for example).

Even though becoming a licensee is a low-risk new business option, which usually includes most of the things you need to start and grow your business during its infancy, like sales and marketing collateral – in fact, National Bookkeeping licensees will want for nothing as nearly everything, with the exception of an ABN and Cert IV accreditation, is included in the license fee – there is some flexibility to how you operate your business, which means that if you decide you want to branch out and offer content marketing services, you may need to regularly work with a designer or developer.

You’ll need money to pay them, and if you want to keep up a good relationship with your suppliers, you’ll want to pay them quickly and on time. Ideally, your end client will do the same for you, but oftentimes they don’t. If you’re always waiting to be paid before you can pay your suppliers, it’s not going to foster good relationships with either your client or your suppliers.

Start your National Bookkeeping business in the black

So that’s why it’s a good idea to register with National Bookkeeping and become a licensee before June 30. It’ll mean being able to claim back the entire license fee this financial year, so you can give your business the best change at growing and becoming a success from the very start.

As a National Bookkeeping licensee, you’ll receive full access to our entire suite of training courses, including our small business management course, which covers all of the important aspects of operating a small business, like developing a business plan, managing the financials, and researching the market – in this case, useful if you decide to offer additional services, besides just bookkeeping.

You’ll also gain access to any future courses we develop, and we currently have a content marketing course in the pipeline. I’ve mentioned in a blog post already that content marketing has become a real focus for many businesses now that they’ve come to realise how important it is to engage and interact with their customers online.

Develop your skills to expand your business

The content marketing course we’re developing is designed to give people the skills they need to start their own home-based content marketing business, which you may decide to utilise by expanding your services beyond just bookkeeping and operate a business that offers a Complete Business Operations service to other businesses.

For a lot of medium-sized enterprises – a plumbing business, for instance – that has a number of staff or contractors and struggles to keep up with the administrative side of the business, being able to deal with just one business would be far more convenient than having to engage each one separately – a bookkeeper, a virtual assistant, and a marketing agency.

But then again, you may just decide to take the skills you’ve learned, create your own content marketing strategy for your business, and implement it yourself. It’s up to you.

Achieve success through education and flexibility

National Bookkeeping and EzyLearn wants you to have the best chance at succeeding in your business venture, and we believe that the best way to achieve success is through education, and that the more skills you have and knowledge you possess, the more likely you are to achieve it.

I honestly, don’t know many other franchises or licensed businesses with that level of commitment to education, nor to the flexibility that comes with it. So if you would like to start a home-based bookkeeping business, but want to have the flexibility to expand you services beyond just bookkeeping, while also having the security that a licensed business offers – an established business model and name, access to infrastructure, training, and coaching – then it’s worth your while to look into being a licensee with National Bookkeeping.

Visit their website for more information, contact the team, or if you’d just like to get started today – before June 30 so you can claim your licence fee back right away – register your interest online.

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Saasu, Westpac, St George Bank Can Help Reach Independent Contractor Clients

SAASU and the Big Four

SAASU online cloud accounting free trial and prices

Saasu recently announced a new partnership with Westpac bank to deliver direct bank feeds to Saasu and Westpac customers, including those with St George business accounts. Among the new features, the Westpac/Saasu partnership promises ‘real-time insight into cash-flow with online invoices, expenses, banking, budgets, payroll, inventory and financial reports.’

We’ve been following emerging trends in accounting software to ensure our training courses meet current market demands. It’s why, in addition to our flagship MYOB Training Courses, we offer training courses in Xero and are currently developing an Intuit Quickbooks Online Training Course.

As a St George customer, one of our team members was interested in what this new partnership would mean for Saasu customers, and even wondered whether it would be worthwhile making the switch from MYOB, given Saasu’s relatively cheap offering of cloud-accounting software.

SAASU could easily replace Reach Accounting

I recently wrote of the sad news of Reach Accounting software shutting down and there might be some good news for independent contractors who operate their own business. SAASU – a privately owned Australian company has a $15 per month plan aimed at helping small business manage their bookkeeping in the cloud with cheap accounting software.

Direct bank feeds without the use of third-party providers

What I discovered was promising. For Westpac customers, the partnership brings the ability for Saasu to provide direct bank feeds for free, without the use of a third-party provider, which so many other cloud-accounting platforms use – even MYOB utilises BankLink, for example. For non-Westpac customers, little will change in terms of bank feeds; Saasu will continue to utilise the services of Yodlee for bank feeds just like Xero and Zoho.

Bank feeds eliminate nearly all of the data entry associated with bookkeeping, and they’ve been a revolution for small business owners and bookkeepers alike. As the most time-consuming, yet crucial, part of the bookkeeping process, automatic bank feeds, which pull your bank transactions into your accounting software, allow BAS agents to get on with actually preparing a client’s BAS, while business owners have an up-to-date picture of what’s happening with their cash-flow as it’s happening.

Bank feeds are changing the role of the bookkeeper

Note that I’ve mentioned BAS agent, rather than bookkeeper. Technically, the BAS agent I’m talking about is a bookkeeper, but with bank feeds now pretty well commonplace among most cloud-accounting apps, there’s really no need for them to engage in that tedious data entry process, freeing them up to take on more clients and earn more money.

So will our team member be switching to Saasu? No, not just yet. The latest Westpac partnership is promising and our independent contractor certainly liked the pricing, but Saasu lacks one major feature that our independent contractor couldn’t live without: a mobile app, or at least a well-functioning one. The current Saasu app hasn’t been updated since 2011, and doesn’t work on an iPhone running IOS 5 or higher, so despite the volume of small businesses that invoice from the road (think: tradies), Saasu appears to have neglected it’s mobile properties.

Mobile is the future of cloud-accounting

MYOB has the MYOB OnTheGo app that businesses can use to check outstanding payments, create invoices, and even update customer records. The app allows users to manage their accounts when they have the time – like in the few minutes waiting to meet with a business associate for lunch, for instance – rather than forcing them to set aside large portions of their time to stay on top of their accounts, which is really why bank feeds and cloud-accounting have become so popular. Of course, MYOB isn’t the only company to offer a mobile app – Xero, Quickbooks, and Zoho all offer mobile apps to compliment their desktop offerings.

As for Saasu, they’re certainly the ones to watch. For what was once a nimble Aussie startup to have partnered with one of the big four banks, it shows that there’s a new frontier of cloud-account nearly upon us.

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Don’t Spend Tony Abbott’s Money Yet

Expense It Rather Than Depreciate It

Utility Vehicle for small business tax write off concessionsThe other week, we wrote a couple of blog posts, discussing the recent $5.5b worth of breaks [tax deductions for cars for small business] the government was throwing to Australian small businesses in the form of an immediate $20k tax write off for an unlimited number of asset purchases.

Tax breaks make it easier for people to start their own home-based businesses because the costs of setup are deducted from their total income and you only need to pay tax on the resulting net profit. As an example, a graduate of one of our MYOB training courses could deduct an unlimited number of asset purchases of computers, office furniture or company vehicles that they incur in the setting up of their home-based business, as long as they were each under $20k.

This is twenty times the amount small businesses were previously allowed to claim as an immediate tax deduction. Up until the budget announcement, any asset purchases, such as computers or cars or office furniture, costing more than $1000 were pooled together and depreciated over time. Here’s some information about how asset purchases and depreciation normally works (how to handle this in MYOB is included in our MYOB training courses)

Immediate tax deductions for purchases under $20k

Announced in the recent federal budget, small businesses with an annual turnover of under $2m will able to claim any asset purchase made between budget announcement night last week and June 30 2017 as an immediate tax deduction. But that doesn’t mean small businesses should go on a spending spree because, while the budget may have been very generous to small businesses, there were unpopular cuts to paid parental leave, along with changes to childcare subsidies.

The scariest thing about promises made by politicians is that they are announced to demonstrate how much a political party care, but the announcement is often just the first step in the ensuing process that any decision needs to go through before it becomes law.

What if the budget doesn’t pass through the senate?

This could be problematic if the budget fails to pass through the senate. Though it looks likely that Labor will support the small business tax breaks, they’re unlikely to support some of the other unpopular reforms, which makes banking on the tax breaks a bit dicey.

There’s every chance the terms of the tax breaks could be revised or that it possibly won’t even pass at all; there’s also a chance of a double dissolution, which has been lingering over Prime Minster Abbott’s head ever since last year’s disaster of a budget.

With such uncertainty around whether the budget will pass through the senate, it would be unwise for small businesses to make asset purchases above or beyond what they could reasonably have afforded before the tax breaks.

Don’t let the tax breaks influence your spending

Don’t go out and buy three top-of-the-range computers if you only need one. In fact, if you weren’t planning on spending many thousands of dollars on an asset purchase for your business (or new business), it’s still wise to shop smart and, if necessary, be frugal.

If you’re thinking of starting your own small or home-based business, we offer a number of online training courses to help you get your business idea off the ground, including a Small Business Management Course and training courses in MYOB. For more information, visit our website or continue reading our blog.

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Finally! Tax Deductions for Cars for Small Business Owners in the Federal Budget

Instant Tax Deduction, Just Add Money

invoicing small business
Here’s a carrot to start a new business and get instant tax deductions rather than deptreciation

In a recent post about subsidised childcare, I wrote about how the federal government has made it easier for families with one parent working at home to access subsidised childcare. In that post I also mentioned how much easier it is to start your own home-based business (for one, you’ve got all these marvelous training courses from EzyLearn to guide you on your way!) now than it was a few years ago.

But there’s some more good news for small business owners: the government also announced a raft of tax cuts and bonuses to the tune of $5.5b in this year’s federal budget, among them an unlimited number of tax deductions for buying cars, machinery or any other equipment valued under $20k each.

The government to inspire innovation

This is a huge increase to the previous amount small businesses were able to claim as tax deductions, which was a mere $1000 per item. Anything above that $1000 had to be depreciated via the decline in value process. Treasurer, Joe Hockey said the reason behind the tax breaks for small businesses was to encourage and inspire innovation in Australia, which has for years, suffered from a lull in home-grown innovation.

[quote]“This will be of enormous benefit to their bottom line and help businesses with their cash flow. It means innovation. It means jobs. It means more money to invest and grow your business,”[/quote] Mr Hockey told parliament in his budget speech.

For purchases over $20,000, they can also be claimed but will go into a pool to be depreciated; at 15 percent in the first income year and then 30 percent for each year after that.

But wait! There’s more: tax cuts and FBT allowances

Small businesses will also enjoy a tax cut of 2.5 percent for the 780,000 small companies with an annual turnover of fewer than $2 million, while sole traders will get a 5 percent tax cut, capped at $1,000.

Small businesses that give their employees more than one work-related portable electronic device (tablets and laptops, for example) will also be eligible for a fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemption from April 1st 2016. This could prove to be a big motivator for small businesses that would like to see more of their employees working remotely from home or while they’re out on the road.

If you’re already in business and you’ve been thinking about upgrading that PC or company car, if you do it before June 30 this year, you’ll be able to claim it as a tax deduction for this financial year. The same goes for those of you who may have been thinking about starting your own small business, be it a home-based one or otherwise – any of those capital purchases you may need to make to get your business off the ground can be immediately claimed as a tax deduction so long as they’re under $20k.

For now, though, you can still get yourself skilled in MYOB before you start your business and claim it as a tax deduction by taking one of our online MYOB training courses, which give you access to ALL MYOB Training Courses for 12 months or LIFETIME access. Or for more on starting a home-based business, subscribe to our blog or browse the many training courses on our website.

Oh, and Did I Mention The Bookkeeping Business Opportunity?

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseI hinted at the 30 day money back guarantee that we now offer for the Bookkeeeping Business Opportunity, but you’ll be thrilled to hear that we will shortly also be announcing the inclusion of all of our software training courses!

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Good news (childcare subsidies) in this year’s budget for mums working at home

Childcare Subsidies for Home Based Businesses

work from home businessIn the federal government budget for 2015/16 the changes included bonuses for small businesses and cuts to daycare subsidies for stay-at-home parents who still send their kids to daycare. The reforms will mean that for families with an income above $65,000 a year, they’ll no longer have access to childcare subsidies if one parent is not working. For families with an income under $65,000 a year, they’ll be limited to twelve hours of childcare a week, unless both parents are in work or study.

What this mean for mums who want to work from home

Well, the good news is that for families where both parents work, they’ll be able to access 24 hours of subsidised childcare each week. That’s regardless of where your employment is; if you’re employed and you’re paying taxes, then you’re entitled to access the childcare subsidy.

For mums (or dads) who need flexibility in their employment so they can still meet the kids at the school gate or take care of them when they’re sick, the reforms to childcare subsidies offer that flexibility.

We’ve written posts about the many benefits of working from home on the EzyLearn blog before, and it’s why our MYOB training courses became so popular. A lot of parents want the flexibility of working from home and decided that the best way to do it was to work for their husband or partner’s business doing the books.

Working from home is easier and more popular

In the last few years, a lot of things have changed. Working from home has become more prevalent as workplaces have downsized and the job market has contracted; the rise of online tools like Dropbox have made it easier for people to telework effectively and efficiently, and we partnered with The Australian Small Business Centre to deliver a Small Business Management Course.

There are now virtually no barriers to starting your own home-based business, regardless of the industry or profession you choose. Just take a look at the number of networking groups now on Meetup, where nearly every member is a home-based office worker or self-employed. And the government just made it a whole lot easier for families with one parent at home to start a home-based business and have the distraction-free time they need to get their work done, too.

If you’ve been thinking of starting your own home-based business or becoming an independent contractor, EzyLearn offers a number of training courses to give you the skills you need to get started, including a new course on content marketing, which is a huge growth area, requiring many skilled, Australian writers, and will be the subject of another blog post soon.

For now, though, learn more about content marketing on our website or by reading our blog and stay tuned for some fantastic news very soon about the new updated offer for anyone interested in starting a bookkeeping business! We’re going to extend our 30 Day money back guarantee for this too!

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Why Telstra’s Wi-Fi Hotspots Are Good For Business

Telstra likes the Internet

Telstra and wifi in phone boothsIf you’re like me, then the only reason you still have an account with Telstra is because you need the phone line for your broadband Internet connection. I replaced my Telstra ‘wired line’ with a VoIP service years ago, which I still use to this day as my business phone, though my mobile picks up most of the slack being that I’m often out and about.

For years, I’ve wondered about the future of Telstra. As more companies entered the telco space and then the ISP space, Telstra seemed to becoming less and less relevant. Funnily enough, just the other day someone asked me if I knew where the nearest payphone was and, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of one. It turned out, there was one just a few metres away.

Telstra offers Wi-Fi hotspots to 7.5 million smartphone users

It seems that perhaps Telstra had been thinking the same thing, because this week they’ve launched free Wi-Fi hotspots in payphones right across Australia. I thought this was a pretty genius move, given some 11.9 million Australians own smartphones and, of those, 7.5 million are accessing the Internet from them. Now there’s a reason for people to head to those little orange and blue phoneboxes again – only now they’re kitted out with a pink cube on top and a white Wi-Fi logo.

Of course, there’s a catch: the Wi-Fi isn’t really free. If you’re a Telstra home broadband customer, then any ‘free’ Wi-Fi you use at a Telstra hotspot counts towards your overall monthly broadband allowance, while non-Telstra customers will have to pay for a guest pass to access the network. Telstra will still make money, just as they did through their payphones until everyone started using mobile phones.

Telstra’s marvelous act of reinvention

Catches aside, though, using phoneboxes to offer Wi-Fi is a marvelous act of reinvention. Developing new concepts – or putting a twist on an old concept, at least – is something we cover in our Small Business Management Course, because it’s something every business owner will need to consider at some point during the life of their business.

Indeed, EzyLearn might not be offering training courses at all if I hadn’t done a similar thing a few years ago when I realised face-to-face learning was becoming a thing of the past. When we eventually closed out training centres that could have been the end of my business had I not made the decision to move our content online.

Every business should pull a Telstra

Keeping up with trends and making changes to your business model is what makes a business successful and gives it longevity. Though it doesn’t necessarily have to be something as radical as Telstra’s free Wi-Fi approach. It could be something simpler, like streamlining your business processes and taking advantage of cloud apps, as Rohan Calvert from Men in White has, for example.

Even though I probably wouldn’t use Telstra’s Wi-Fi unless I was in a real bind – perhaps when I’m on holidays and in need of an Internet connection, but I don’t want to use too much of mobile data allowance – I do think it’s a great idea. What do you think?

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The Great Compression

There are lots of reasons why it’s a great time to start your own home-based business. I’ve talked about the perks of working from home before, for instance. But perhaps one of the best reasons to start your own home-based business is that in today’s job market, it actually offers more job security. Now, this may be pretty much the opposite of what nearly everyone else says about being self-employed, but bear with me.

In our Small Business Management Course we look a little at business finances and how they can affect the business cycle. In economics, the slowing down of the business cycle, accompanied by a decline in the housing market, the stock market, and an increase in unemployment for more than two consecutive quarters, is referred to as a recession. And if that economic downturn continues long enough, it’s then considered a depression.

We’re technically no longer in a recession, though some parts of Europe still are – namely Greece and Italy, for example – yet there seems to be fewer jobs on offer. Indeed, Australia’s national unemployment rate hasn’t been this high (6.4 percent) for more than two decades, so there are certainly fewer jobs around. But could it also be a case of jobs becoming smaller?

The Compression Effect

I’m inclined to think so. Underemployment is on the rise as many businesses find they no longer need to employ a full time receptionist, because new technologies like VoIP and virtual answering services have made it possible to contract those services out to other companies.

In this sense, we’re entering a period of Great Compression, where jobs are being compressed down from five-day-a-week full time positions to two-day-a-week contract jobs. But because I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy, I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing for workers.

In fact, I see this as a great opportunity for those go getters who have always wanted to start their own business, but who were previously unable to get a foothold in their industry, because their area of expertise – administration, for example – had always been a full-time position that had to be performed in the office.

Specialise Early

Now, with the help of cloud-based software, like DropBox and MYOB’s Account Right Live, most administration tasks can be performed remotely by a virtual assistant; even answering business calls can be routed to a virtual assistant based anywhere in the country with the use of a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

For people who want to start their own home-based business, this Great Compression of jobs makes it possible to carve out a niche for yourself by specialising in a particular service or area of expertise and contract your services out to other businesses.

***

WorkFace has a number of home-based business opportunities available across an array of industries, including work health and safety, training and education, bookkeeping, and online marketing, to name just a few.

If you’re interested in becoming a home-based independent contractor, specialising in one of the industries we have on offer, register your interest on the WorkFace website, and our team will contact you with more information on the opportunity you’ve expressed an interest in.

This post was originally published at the WorkFace website.