All businesses need to manage their financial affairs and report their financial results to tax and reporting authorities so they need staff or contractors from junior level bookkeepers for accounts receivable and payable and accounts reconciliation as well as Accounts and Office Managers who look after GST and BAS tasks as well as Payroll Administration.
At EzyLearn we’re passionate about helping our students start their own bookkeeping businesses — it’s why we offer a suite of training courses to help you hone and develop the skills you need to start your own bookkeeping business. But we’re even more passionate about helping those people and businesses succeed long after they first start trading.
Two-Way, Trusting Relationships with Your Bookkeeping Clients
The key to your success as a business owner is having a pool of customers who need and value your work just as much as you need and value their business. This two-way relationship helps to establish trust; the foundation of every successful business relationship.
But sometimes finding these customers is difficult, even if you’ve been in business for some time already. This is where EzyLearn can help.
The MYOB Bookkeeper Directory: Connecting Bookkeepers with Clients
Each time a business is looking for a bookkeeper whose skills or location matches your profile they can make contact with the MYOB Bookkeeper Directory team, who will vet those businesses before putting them in contact with you.
For EzyLearn students who have completed our MYOB training course, paid for lifetime access and receipt of the certificate, we are offering you a free 12-month membership to the MYOB Bookkeeper Directory. (Membership fees are usually $97/12 months.)
In a previous post we wrote about business bank accounts. Some banks, even though they offer business accounts, aren’t actually all that business friendly, and this can sometimes add hours to your bookkeeping and reconciliation processes.
Not all Business Accounts are Created Equal
If you’re starting a new business and going to open a business account, we recommend you do your research and shop around, because not all accounts are the same.
Some business accounts integrate nicely with your accounting software, while others, like a Bank of Queensland account, for example, does not because they transferred their credit card service to Citibank, preventing integration with the Banklink feature of MYOB.
Other business accounts don’t allow businesses to have a Visa or MasterCard debit card attached to their business account and only allow businesses to make online purchases using their own money.
Business owners can only use a linked credit card to make online purchases or a separate debit card. Either option still results in additional journal entries in your accounting software.
End of Financial Year – Best Time to Get Business Friendly
If you’ve been battling with your current bank, now that we’re approaching the end of the 2013/14 financial year, it might be the time to consider moving your accounts elsewhere so you can start afresh come July 1.
Or perhaps it’s not your bank that’s playing havoc with your bookkeeping – perhaps it’s your bookkeeping software. As we approach a new financial year, it might be a good time to consider switching your account keeping software to MYOB, or something simpler, like Xero (we have written in the past comparing the two).
At EzyLearn, we provide a range of training courses for a number of different accounting programs from the basic Reach Accounting to the more sophisticated MYOB. For more information on our training courses, visit our website.
Our MYOB training courses are more than just training course in software. They also function as a quasi induction to the life of a bookkeeper, in that they train you in the day-to-day processes and procedures of a bookkeeper as well.
Even though you still need to have completed a Certificate IV in bookkeeping to become a registered BAS agent, you can still provide clients with basic bookkeeping services if you’ve done our MYOB training course.
Quizzes and Knowledge Reviews
The MYOB workbooks provided in the training courses contain practical exercises that students can complete to familiarise themselves with the software, which they are then later tested on to through a series of quizzes and knowledge reviews.
By the time you’ve completed our MYOB training course, you’ll be proficient not just in the MYOB software, but also in the day-to-day of a professional bookkeeper.
Some of our previous students are already business owners themselves and our MYOB courses provide them with the necessary skills to take care of the data entry and bookkeeping for their own business.
An Entry Point to Your Home-Based Business
But a good many more of our students also use our MYOB courses as an entry point to starting their own home-based bookkeeping business, providing other businesses with data entry while they’re completing a Cert IV in bookkeeping.
This is a great way to familiarise yourself with the bookkeeping process while you’re still learning, and even help you to network with accountants who could later help you become certified with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and supervise your work.
We also offer a Small Business Management Course to help those people thinking of starting a home-based bookkeeping business develop a business plan, carry out marketing activities report on financial activity, and so forth. Currently we’re offering this course for just $897 (for a short time only!).
The feedback we receive from our students helps us to understand what’s working and what isn’t, which is why it’s invaluable to us that you get in touch and let us know what you think.
It was based on the feedback we received from our students that we decided to develop our Reach Accounting and Xero training courses. It is also based on the feedback we received that we changed the way we issued our certificates so that students received them faster and could use them to find work.
Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve received from our students recently:
“I found the workbooks the most helpful for giving practical experience.” — Karen Dimitri, Glengowrie SA 5044
“The best part is that you can do it on your own time and pace.” — Juliana van Wyk, Hilton WA 6163
“Short, easily digestable videos. Can fit in easily with a busy lifestyle.” — Korina Power, North Shore, Auckland 0630
“I could learn at my own pace.” — Jackie Smith, Sheidow Park, SA 5158
“Doing the workbooks and watching the videos at my own pace has helped me a lot in pursing the current workforce requirements.” — Merritt Ray, Loganholme QLD 4129
“I was able to finish the whole course in just a couple of weeks.” — YoonOck Lee, Atwell, WA 6164
“By watching videos on one particular topic and doing a test straight after relating to those videos, you don’t become too overwhelmed with too much information.” — Michelle Bankstown, NSW 2200
“I am happy as I could completely the course at my own pace. It was easy n simple to understand. As a mother I felt the course was very time efficient. Looking forward to putting my knowledge into action.” — Kimberline Francis, St James, WA 6102
“This course is best for me because I can access any time from home, I can replay any video provided when I didn’t understand.” — Mika Humphreys, Innisfail, QLD 4860
“Everything within the course itself was great. I liked the most how easy it was to understand and navigate through.” — Katie Davis, Whyalla, SA 5608
“Being able to actually move around the sample company file to get a feeling of how the software is structured, made me have more confident.” — Joy Khoo, Mudgee, NSW 2850
“The best parts of this course is that we get freedom to learn and complete this course in your own suitable time. There is not so much pressure that you have to complete in certain time limit. I would advise and recommend this course from EzyLearn to international students who want to further their career in bookkeeping and accounting. It was a great privilege to be part of your institute.” — Prabin Gurung, Auburn, NSW 2144
We’d love to hear from you too. Get in touch via our course evaluation page.
In a previous post we talked about your own online business opportunity and how you can buy EzyLearn enrolment vouchers for our MYOB training courses at wholesale price, that you can then sell on to your own clients and contacts at retail price. We have sold enrolment vouchers to other training organisations for some time, but it also presents an opportunity for bookkeepers to expand their services to include training for their clients. If you’re wondering why someone would want to sell another business’ products or service, then take a look at one of the most successful multi-level marketing businesses, which relies on people to do just that: Amway.
Amway: Topping $10 Billion
Founded in 1959, Amway is one of the worlds oldest and most prosperous multi-level marketing companies. Like other well-known multi-level marketing businesses such as Avon and Tupperware, Amway utilises a workforce of distributors (known as independent business owners, or IBOs), who directly market the Amway products to their own network of friends and contacts; Amway expands its network of distributors by encouraging their IBOs to recruit and train new people into the Amway business for which the IBO receives a fee.
IBOs purchase Amway products at wholesale prices, and then sell those products at the recommended retail price; the difference is the IBO’s to keep, and in many ways, the Amway business model isn’t that different from your typical bricks-and-mortar business that stocks and sells the products of other companies.
For years the success of the Amway business model relied entirely upon IBOs developing and building their own network of clients, to whom they sold the Amway products. If you’re familiar with the catchphrase, “Ding dong, Avon calling” this pretty much encapsulates how Amway, Avon and the distributors of many other multi-level marketing businesses, won and retained their customers — pounding the pavement and ringing doorbells.
And it was a pretty successful business model, too. According to Forbes, Amway’s revenue in 2012 had reached $10.9 billion worldwide, making them the twenty-fifth largest private company in America; in Australia and the Asia Pacific, Amway’s revenues totalled more than AUD$198 million, while the number of distributors topped more than 100,000 in Australia, alone.
Social Media to Target the Younger Generations
In 2010, however, Amway saw an opportunity to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to expand their reach. As a business that relies on typical social networks to grow and develop their customer base, utilising social media to grow and develop their customer base online, made sense.
Where other organisations weren’t quite sure what to do with Facebook, Amway did as they had always done: cultivated good relationships with their customers. Their goal was to target a younger demographic that was not the typical Amway customer. Because social media platforms like Facebook naturally skew to a younger demographic, Amway’s decision to include social media in their marketing strategies paid off.
If you’re already working as a bookkeeper, you can expand your range of services and pick up some extra revenue in the process by selling EzyLearn’s enrolment vouchers. Contact us to find out more.
Many of the students who take our MYOB training course in order to start their own bookkeeping business wish to then become certified with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB).
How to Get ICB Stamp of Approval
Since 2006 the ICB has had a set of requirements bookkeepers must meet before they are permitted the ICB stamp of approval. Among these requirements – which also include possessing a Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) and personal indemnity insurance – all bookkeepers seeking to become certified with the ICB must possess a minimum of two years’ working experience.
For many bookkeepers starting out, getting that two years experience is a tough hurdle, particularly since the vast majority of bookkeepers in Australia are, according to General Manager of the ICB, Rick van Dyk, “independent sole traders”. “That’s why the ICB holds networking events at 59 locations around the country,” Rick says. “Because the best way to get the experience you need to become an ICB certified bookkeeper is to network with other bookkeepers.”
The ICB also holds online webinars each month, but Rick recommends attending networking events in person, because it provides you with more opportunity to network and get to know other bookkeepers.
Good Ways to Gain New Business
While it may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through in order to obtain membership to an organisation that’s voluntary, being an ICB certified bookkeeper does set you apart from the many other bookkeepers; it’s also a way of gaining new business, as the ICB is often the first port-of-call for many businesses looking for a contract bookkeeper.
But Rick van Dyk says that if your really want to stand out as a contract bookkeeper, become a registered BAS agent. “If you’re a contracting bookkeeper, you can look after a client’s data entry and do their reconciliation, but you’re not allowed to print any of the reports and advise your client on figures and so forth, as that contravenes the Act,”
Rick explains. There are currently about 9000 registered BAS agents in Australia, so there’s plenty of opportunity for bookkeepers to enter into this field by becoming a registered BAS agent with the Tax Practitioners Board.
Rick also offers this last piece of advice to budding bookkeepers-to-be: “Learn to use Excel; Excel still plays a very important part of the bookkeeper’s role, so it’s important bookkeepers know how to use it – fluently.”
You can find more information about out MYOB course here or our Excel course here. Alternatively, if you’d like more information about becoming certified by the ICB, visit their website.
Too many small businesses suffer from cash flow problems, which is why our Small Business Management Course covers financial planning and how to monitor and manage your cash flow through debtor management. However, few small businesses suffer from poor cash flow because they’re unaware of how to manage their debtors properly.
Rather they suffer poor cash flow because they lack the resources to chase late payers or, as in most cases, they don’t have the time to stay on top of their accounts receivables to ensure their clients don’t become late payers in the first place.
This was the case for AJ Singh who, after selling a wholesale distribution business he had owned for five years, began to suffer poor cash flow problems with his next venture. After doing a little research, he discovered that over 90 percent of small-to-medium-sized businesses attributed the failure of their business to poor cash flow.
These startling statistics got the cogs in AJ’s brain turning and ultimately resulted in his latest venture: ezyCollect, a web-based software that synchs to your accounting software to manage your account receivables. We spoke to AJ to find out how ezyCollect works and how you could benefit from it.
Q: Can you explain how ezyCollect works?
A: By synching to your accounting software, ezyCollect uses the account information to send real-time, personalised reminders to customers using a variety of different methods (email, mail, fax, sms, etc). ezyCollect also schedules follow-up phone calls, and includes single-click “demand letters”, on demand credit checks and easy debt escalation tools.
Q: How do the functions of ezyCollect differ or improve on the functions already available within accounting software like MYOB?
A: The functions offered by ezyCollect are not offered by MYOB, but as an MYOB partner, the ezyCollect software enhances the value of MYOB as it reduces the labour costs associated with credit management.
Q: What businesses would benefit from using ezyCollect?
A: ezyCollect is great for businesses with a large number of smaller-value invoices, but all SMEs can benefit from using ezyCollect as it is a completely automated, secure cloud-based application. ezyCollect increases your cash flow and your productivity, because you’re not stuck on the phone all day chasing money when you could be out winning new business.
We wrote a post last year about a service called Bank Link, which we discovered is being used by a large number of accountants to reduce the amount of data entry involved in bookkeeping. Being that one of our most popular training courses is our MYOB training course and that many of our students are bookkeepers, we wondered what the bank link service would mean for the future of bookkeepers.
Bookkeepers Still Vital!
As it happens, we don’t believe that the BankLink service will make the role of the bookkeeper redundant, given that there is so much more to be being a bookkeeper than just data entry. In fact, we found that because BankLink eliminates much of the time-consuming data entry process, BankLink should be used by more bookkeepers.
Since the post on BankLink was published, however, we heard from one of our readers who told us that the Bank of Queensland does not provide credit card transactions data through BankLink. We thought this was unusual, so we decided to look into it a little further.
After doing a little digging, we discovered that BankLink is not available to be used with all banking institutions, and Bank of Queensland happens to be one of those institutions. We tried to contact the Bank of Queensland to find out if the BankLink service would be extended to their customers, however, we were unable to reach anyone able to give us any information as to if, and when, this service would be adopted.
For bookkeepers, or small business owners, even, who are customers of the Bank of Queensland this means that you will still need to enter your credit card transactions into MYOB manually. If you are aware of any other banking institutions that do not provide credit card data though BankLink, we’d love to hear from you — let us know in the comment section below.
With 2013 now come to a close, many of you may be thinking about how you will work in 2014. Now is a better time than ever to start a home-based bookkeeping business! It’s why we offer online MYOB training courses, in addition to Reach and Xero, so you can learn how to use the most popular accounting software in the world. But now, let’s give you three tangible reasons why NOW is one of the best times you could start your own bookkeeping business, working from home:
1. Health and Well-Being Reasons
The reasons for starting a home-based bookkeeping business are many and varied, but some of the first are to do with your own physical and mental health. In a post we published earlier this year, we listed five reasons why you should start a home-based business; we’ve also discussed the benefits to your health that working from home can bring, particularly in reducing your stress. Working from home has never been easier, and it’s a trend that’s fast catching on, particularly in the accounting and bookkeeping industry.
2. Cloud Software and Low Capital Investment — Creating More Opportunities
Cloud-based accounting software is also creating more opportunities for home-based bookkeeping businesses. According to market research firm, IBISWorld, in the five years to 2013, revenue in the bookkeeping and payroll industries has reached $2 billion, with an increasing trend among companies to outsource bookkeeping functions due to the higher level of connectedness — thanks in part to cloud-based accounting software.
But there’s even better news for people looking to start their own home-based bookkeeping business: capital investment is extremely low, and for every dollar spent on capital, the industry spends an average of $26.25 on labour. This is largely due to capital investments being small, and usually only include, computers, access to the internet, accounting software and office furniture.
Due to the industry becoming increasingly fragmented — in 2013, there were some 1,892 registered bookkeeping businesses operating in Australia — there’s a huge demand for bookkeeping services, particularly among SMEs, who usually don’t have any payroll or bookkeeping staff employed full-time.
3. LOTS of Work Available — And Accounting Services Growing
According to ABS data, 96 percent of the businesses operating in Australia are small businesses, of which the largest number operate within the construction industry (16.2 percent), followed professional and scientific services (11.7 percent), and rental, hiring and real estate services (10.5 percent). For bookkeepers that are highly skilled in these industries, there’s no shortage of work. That’s why we also offer a Small Business Management Course, to provide bookkeepers, virtual assistants, or simply anybody who wants to work for themselves, with comprehensive training in what you need to know to run or manage a small business.
But for those bookkeepers hoping to strike up a working relationship with a local accountant, there’s good news on that front, too: the accounting services industry has recorded annual growth of 2.9 percent in the four years since 2009, and annual revenue totaling $16 billion, according to IBISWorld.
If you’re a bookkeeper and you’ve been thinking about starting a bookkeeping business, you know better than anyone that the numbers don’t lie — the time to start that business is now!
All right, so it’s not the most joyful heading we could have gone with on New Year’s Eve, but it’s not actually meant to conjure up doom and gloom! We have researched and developed new online training courses for Reach Accounting and Xero, which have now been added to our suite of training courses that include the flagship MYOB training course. In the process we’ve spoken to a number of accountants to see what software they’re using, to ensure we’re providing the training courses you need to get a bookkeeping job. This is good news because you can then rely on us to inform you what more you may need to offer clients.
For many accountants the BankLink software, which was acquired by MYOB in June of this year so they could further extend their reach into the accounting space, is being billed as an “extra employee” that never makes mistakes and is comparatively cheaper than the additional in-house bookkeeper or admin person headcount.
The big question for us is: Does this spell the end of the bookkeeper? For instance, think of the way personal computers did away with the need for the office stenographer working in a steno pool? The answer is that this is indeed possible — but this is only if data entry is the sole service you offer. Like most professionals today, the more specialised you are and the more services you can offer, the more likely you are to experience career longevity.
At the end of the day, software is only as good as the person who uses it. If you’re a highly experienced bookkeeper in a particular industry or possess a number of highly sought-after accounting skills, you’ll find BankLink a dream come true in that it eliminates the tedious, time-consuming data entry from your job.
BankLink: Giving You More Time
With more time on your hands, you’ll be able to grow your client-base — a goal for most small businesses and previously only available if you miraculously grew a spare set of hands, or employed a spare set of hands, at least. You may even be able to move your business out of the narrow bookkeeping space into the small business management space.
With the number of new small businesses increasing, the key to their individual survival in a highly competitive marketplace is good management — and who’s more suited to that job than someone with a thorough understanding of account keeping?
So while BankLink may spell the end of tedious, time-consuming data entry, for the experienced bookkeeper it presents more business and career opportunities — not less. Upskill and enjoy greater career success as a result.
If you spent money on Christmas pressies recently, you’re a small part in the continual climb of online trading in this country. Did you know that in 2012, the value of online trading in Australia reached $237 billion dollars? This represents a 25 percent increase year-on-year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This increase in online revenue reflects the growing number of small businesses moving their operations online, either in part or entirely — and it’s largely thanks to new technologies facilitating e-commerce for small business.
The Growth of Online Businesses
Prior to 2006 the online marketplace was all but monopolised by the eBays and Amazons, organisations that had the resources to create the necessary infrastructure needed to allow customers to shop entirely online. After 2006, when we first moved our MYOB training courses online, offering a completely online shopping experience was just starting to gain popularity among the small players like ourselves; in the years since, it’s now pretty much become the norm.
As platforms like WordPress have made it possible to create and maintain a website without any design or HTML knowledge, theme clubs like Woo Themes, which provide web-themes to suit a range of different business types, now even include ecommerce plugins that can be linked with a PayPal account.
By offering you services online, you’re opening yourself up to an entirely global customer base, allowing you to offer new or different services than you did before. Since we moved our business online, we’ve also been able to build on our business — this year we added the highly popular Small Business Management Course to our suite of training courses, for example.
For some businesses, moving online is more of a necessity, a way to stay competitive in a world with ever-evolving technologies. For example, new cloud accounting software like Reach (and we offer a course in Reach Accounting too) makes it easier for small businesses to manage their own books, without needing the services of a bookkeeper.
For many bookkeepers this could spell doom and gloom, or it could provide them with the opportunity to venture into the business of training people on how to manage their own books. As a bookkeeper looking to extend their services into training as well, by setting up a website with an e-commerce facility, you could partner with us to sell vouchers to our training courses.
With a share of $237 billion up for grabs, now is a good time to consider offering your services online, particularly when it’s become so darn easy! We even offer WordPress training courses, which covers setting up ecommerce, so you’ve no excuse for missing out!
Since we closed our Sydney-based training centres in Dee Why, Gordon and Parramatta in 2006 and went 100% online we’ve been able to offer more for a lower price.
For the same price we use to charge for a one day training course in MYOB we are now able to offer ALL 5 MYOB training courses AND provide lifetime course access (INCLUDING updated course content).
You might also recall that our online support team comprises remote workers who operate their own virtual assistant business from all over Australia and even internationally so we are thrilled to be part of the new revolution in remote workers.
When you choose to study an online MYOB training course with EzyLearn, you learn every aspect of the MYOB software and how it applies to real-life business and accounting situations. Then, at the end of each module, you complete a test to prove to yourself (and your future employer, even) your knowledge of each module of MYOB, such as payroll, for instance.
There are many people who will argue that tests aren’t necessary; that they’re just an exercise in testing how well you can store lots of information in your short-term memory, then forget it afterwards. They advocate, instead, that you’re marked on how well you performed on your overall coursework, and do away with exams altogether.
[quote]But the thing about an exam is that the better you know your coursework, the better you’ll perform.[/quote]
An exam is designed to taken be taken under pressure. They’re testing your knowledge of things that you are likely to encounter in your day-to-day, and may require you to act immediately. They’re not testing you on something that should be considered at length.
Even though EzyLearn offers lifetime access to our MYOB and Excel training courses, we still expect—in fact, we require it—that our students will pass each test at the end of each of the course modules.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
The first, and this is probably the main reason, is that if you decide to, you can pay an additional fee to receive a certificate that shows you’ve completed and passed our online training courses. This can then be used to show potential employers that you actually know what you’re doing in MYOB—which for many accountants and bookkeepers is either a deal breaker or a deal maker.
But an exam also forces you to study the coursework, whether it’s arbitrarily just to pass the test or thoroughly to make sure you understand and perform well in the test—and this largely depends on your own personal code of ethics. Even if you haven’t done a scrap of coursework before you go to complete a test, the mere fact that you have to complete and pass a test to progress through the course forces you to review the coursework.
It’s easy to cheat in any course by plagiarising someone else’s work. In the academic world, the ramifications involve being awarded an instant fail; in business, it usually involves legal action. But a person’s inclination to cheat and plagiarise someone else’s work raises other ethical questions that those respective punishments don’t address.
I recently attended a networking event and spoke with someone who had completed a Cert IV in Small Business Management at a local BEC (Business Enterprise Centre)- they had completed a Government funded course and used the excuse of having to do the course as quick as they could so they could start their own business. The problem was that this person “encouraged” many of the students to work together (which is a good thing), but they ended up handing in the same assignment and in some situations forgot to change the name on their assignment!
Working together in a group is a fantastic way to learn because everyone has their own strengths and the really smart students can often be good teachers for the slow learners, but to simply replicate another persons work and not even use your own writing style and interpretation is very sad. It’s particularly sad when the Small Business Management course is designed to help you create an individual business plan for your own specific business.
[quote]Our assessors mark every assignment and provide individual feedback to ensure you properly examine your new startup business.[/quote]
This brings us to whether or not you would feel comfortable employing someone who had willfully cheated in a training course. Personally, we wouldn’t. Aside from that person displaying very little work ethic (they couldn’t be bothered to do the work themselves, so cheated instead), it also makes us wonder whether they would behave unethically in other ways—would they take our client base and start-up a rival business?
This is why we test our students at the end of each module, and only those students who receive a passing grade do, in fact, pass the course. It’s not because we think our students will cheat; it’s because we want our students to really learn and understand the coursework, so they can excel and succeed in business.