I’m a Bookkeeper – How Do I Find Good Work?

As mentioned in an earlier post, job boards offer the best-quality jobs for people in professions that translate to any industry; and this includes bookkeeping and accounting jobs.

And as another post showed, there’s a vast number of bookkeeping jobs posted to those sites every day, be it for casual, part-time or full time work. In this post I’m going to explore some ways to do well in the job market. Continue reading I’m a Bookkeeper – How Do I Find Good Work?

What Do Employers Want From Bookkeeping Job Sites?

THE ULTIMATE GOAL of a job site (and they are not all created equal!) is to deliver the highest volume of candidate applications to the job poster (the recruiter or employer), while also providing candidates (job-seekers) with access to the highest volume of top-quality job listings.

Since recruitment classifieds moved online more than two decades ago, the ease with which job-seekers could apply for jobs increased.

Job posters went from getting a handful of applications over the course of a few weeks to hundreds all at once. This spawned the need for businesses to best manage and dare I say it, automate and systemise the hiring process. Continue reading What Do Employers Want From Bookkeeping Job Sites?

The Best Job Sites for Accounting & Bookkeeping Jobs

JOB SITES ARE IN ABUNDANCE in Australia. The market leader is Seek, which controls 85 percent of the online recruitment market. Most job site advertisers use Seek because they will get the widest and potentially best range of job applicants and job seekers.

Typically, if you’re looking for a good-quality job that doesn’t tie you to a specific industry — the way journalism ties journalists to the media industry, or construction work ties builders and plumbers and cabinet-makers to the construction industry — you’ll find it on Seek. But here are 8 more website you can use.

Continue reading The Best Job Sites for Accounting & Bookkeeping Jobs

Working Less to Earn More? Why Freelancing is So Darn Popular

EMPLOYEES IN GERMANY have the world’s shortest work week, according to SME Magazine. Their work week averages just 26 hours due to strict workplace relations laws that promote a healthy work-life balance.

Sweden is also known to have implemented a 6-hour workday, or 30-hour work week, following research which has found that countries with shorter working hours generally have higher disposable incomes, greater productivity, and a stronger economy as a result. How can you do this in Australia?

Continue reading Working Less to Earn More? Why Freelancing is So Darn Popular

How to Become an Office Administrator

AN OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR, or administration officer, will provide an array of general administrative tasks for a business or organisation.

These include filing, archiving, calendar & project management, reporting and customer service. Some office administrators carry out basic bookkeeping tasks, such as creating and recording invoices and expenses and the more skills you have the more valuable you become.

Continue reading How to Become an Office Administrator

How to Become an Accounts Payable Officer

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE OFFICERS are responsible for paying invoices owed by a company to its suppliers or vendors.

They typically work in medium to large-sized businesses, where they may also be called an accounts officer and be responsible for investigating the cost of wages, materials, overheads and other operating expenses.

Here are some of the other common tasks you’ll find in an accounts payable officers job description.

Continue reading How to Become an Accounts Payable Officer

How to Become a Payroll Officer

WE HAVE FOUND it particularly useful to talk about the kinds of job outcomes they might expect from enrolling in our online training courses. If you’re after a job as a Payroll Administration Officer, or working with payroll generally, then you’ll need to be able to conduct payroll processing, tax and superannuation calculations and the payment of staff within a company.

People working as payroll administration officers, or payroll administrators, can also work as bookkeepers, or even BAS agents, who specialise in payroll only; either within the payroll department of a business or accounting / bookkeeping firm.

Here are some common Payroll Administration tasks in a job description.

Continue reading How to Become a Payroll Officer

How to Become a Bookkeeper

BOOKKEEPERS PROVIDE ESSENTIAL services to businesses by processing and recording everyday financial transactions, and keeping accurate records.

They usually work in small to medium-sized businesses, where the scope of their role and responsibilities will vary based on the size of the business.

Many bookkeepers are also required to prepare and lodge business activity statements (BAS). To provide BAS services for a fee, bookkeepers must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).

Continue reading How to Become a Bookkeeper

Why Freelancers and Contractors are Good for Your Company

THERE ARE ESTIMATED to be over 4 million Aussies working as freelancers. Of this, roughly 750,000 people work regular jobs but freelance on the side (which, needless to say, is a great way to break into freelancing while reducing your risk).

The number of freelancers in Australia has skyrocketed since the GFC, partly because of the overall reduction of the workforce; and partly because of the number of mature-aged workers staying in their jobs past the traditional retirement age.

These factors combined produced a bottleneck effect in the job market, which made it difficult for certain workers to advance their careers, while others, typically young graduates, struggled to gain a foothold in the job market at all.

Continue reading Why Freelancers and Contractors are Good for Your Company

The Risk-Free Way to Become a Freelancer

IF YOU’VE EVER DIPPED your foot into starting your own business, while keeping a steady income flowing from elsewhere, all at the same time, then you’re far from alone.

During the global financial crisis and in the years that immediately followed it, a funny thing happened to the job market: it birthed a freelancer economy, of which a third of Australians in the workforce are a part, and many of these freelancing individuals are also working at (an)other job/s.

Continue reading The Risk-Free Way to Become a Freelancer

She Shares “Sales Secrets” for Bookkeepers Starting New Business

ONLINE INDUCTIONS ARE WIDELY used for contractors who visit building sites or any other site where they perform work that can be risky, like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, security etc.

Many  inductions are delivered manually by a qualified staff member (usually in the WH&S department). Usually any person in the organisation or business who hasn’t yet been inducted will be notified about the forthcoming induction and urged to attend.

However, this way of carrying out inductions can be a little hit and miss — people can be absent, overlook (or ignore) communications, and the quality of the inductions themselves probably vary.  Continue reading She Shares “Sales Secrets” for Bookkeepers Starting New Business

When a Bookkeeper Isn’t Just a Bookkeeper

Why NOW is the time to become a work-for-yourself bookkeeper

start your own bookkeeping business registered BAS agent business
Bookkeeping is a career that keeps on growing as you grow you and your client’s business.

THERE ARE UMPTEEN REASONS why starting a bookkeeping business is a great low-cost venture for people looking to take a step back from the corporate world, or even for those looking to do quite the opposite by working from home so they have the flexibility they need as parents to young children.

If you’re a subscriber of this blog, then you’ve read posts about National Bookkeeping, the company EzyLearn has partnered with to deliver training courses to people who become National Bookkeeping licensees.

However, I’m going to talk about it again because there are still too many talented people out there who don’t think they have what it takes to go into business for themselves. And I’m here to tell you, you do, and we’ll help you!

Register as a National Bookkeeping licensee before 30 June

As it’s nearing June 30 and the end of this current financial year, it’s a great time to kick-start your own business, by registering to become a National Bookkeeping licensee. Their license fee is a hundred percent tax deductible due to the large component of training courses included in the fee, so if you register before the end of June, it can go towards reducing your taxable income straight away.

The reason I became interested in National Bookkeeping is because I felt it provided just enough structure for new business owners to get their business off the ground, but also the right amount of flexibility for those business owners with the desire to take their business (and incomes) to the next level by providing addition services, such as content marketing, virtual assistant services, or even financial planning.

I think that in order to be successful in business and for your business to have longevity, you need to be open to new opportunities and to be able to constantly update your business model and offerings. Particularly now that we’re in an age of great technological change, staying abreast of changes to the way people work and do business is the key to staying in business, period.

…Now that we’re in an age of great technological change, staying abreast of changes to the way people work and do business is the key to staying in business, period.

New technologies mean new opportunities

There are many business analysts and economists who see the reduction of permanent jobs as a bad thing – and to some extent, they’re probably correct – but I see it as an opportunity. New technologies have made it easier for people to work at home, wherever their home may be – a city, a beachside town, outback Australia – so long as they have access to a reliable Internet connection.

Now, people who have previously been excluded from the job market have an opportunity to earn an income. That’s great news for workers and for the economy, and it’s why the government has spearheaded a move to encourage working from home, or teleworking as it’s officially known, among businesses and their staff.

We continue to need bookkeepers

Bookkeeping is a necessity for all Australian businesses, as it’s a fundamental requirement of Australian tax law to keep accurate business records. Hiring a contract bookkeeper to take care of their business’s bookkeeping allows business owners to go out and find more work and grow their business, rather than having to worry about keeping up with all of their administration and book work.

With continued training your business grows as your client’s business does too

As their business grows, the bookkeeper will become busier too and they may even be asked to provide more services – BAS services, tax services, financial planning and advice, even one-to-one training — the list goes on. The more training you have, the better you’ll able to service this client yourself and the more business you’re business will grow as a result. (Want to read more about what’s required to become a registered BAS agent?)

It’s not uncommon for a bookkeeper to start out providing simple data entry and reconciliation services to business, and then wind up providing full financial advice and planning services, providing, of course, they’re qualified to do so. And these are qualifications you can acquire while already providing services to clients and earning an income.

When you become National Bookkeeping licensee, you’re free to continue your studies so you can eventually progress from a bookkeeper through to a financial planner and adviser, and with clients to help them grow their business, just as you did yours.

National Bookkeeping even provides you the blueprint for doing it by offering the EzyLearn Small Business Management Course, (our EzyStartUp Course) which has been augmented to help bookkeepers develop a business plan specifically for a bookkeeping business.

With National Bookkeeping you’re not just a bookkeeper

ato tax concessions for small business under $25mAs a National Bookkeeping licensee you’ve got the tools and the support to build a successful, sustainable small business that can provide an array of services, beyond those of the typical bookkeeper.

So if you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, register with National Bookkeeping before June 30 so you can claim it as a tax deduction right away; alternatively, to learn more, visit their website or continue reading our blog.


 

Don’t Forget: You Can Still Deduct 20k In Asset Purchases till 30 June

EOFY Asset Deduction

asset deduction bookkeeping business online study training course videosTAX TIME IS NIGH and it might be a good time to think about whether there are any assets your business may need, and try to get them in before June 30 rolls around. Whether it’s new computers, tablets, office furniture, a new car — as long as each item costs less than $20,000, you can deduct it immediately, rather than depreciating it over time, as was the previous method for assets over $1,000 in value (depreciation still applies for asset purchases above $20,000) — but only until and including 30 June 2018.

The small business tax breaks were introduced by the Abbott-Hockey government, but having already been extended, they will cease on 30 June 2018. Following this date, any big ticket assets for your business (and of course there are some exceptions) can be used to reduce your taxable income immediately.

Pick an asset, any asset…

There are a lot of items you can deduct, with the exception of some small items, such as horticultural plants, software that’s allocated to a software development pool and some capital works, which have special depreciation rules. If you’re not sure of what you can claim, it’s wise to ask your account or financial adviser first, particularly if you have a penchant for horticultural plants (perhaps try artificial ones?), otherwise make sure to keep your receipts!

After 1 July 2018, the asset threshold will reduce back to $1,000. After then, any asset purchase you make that’s greater than $1,000 will have to be depreciated, using the traditional methods of depreciation, which you can read about in this blog post.

Australia is a services nation

While you’re thinking about starting a business, don’t forget to consider starting a business within the leading four service groups, identified by Australia’s Chief Economist Mark Cully:

  • Professional and support services
  • Information and communications technology (ICT) and the digital economy
  • Trade, transport and logistic services
  • Utilities services

Professional and support services, in particular, is currently experiencing a phase of high growth, largely because starting a business in this sector is both low risk and cost. Most businesses operating within the professional and support services sector are home-based, providing vital services to other businesses located across Australia and, sometimes, the world.

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Starting Your Own Bookkeeping Business

woman learning xero myob excel online training course videosOne such profession currently in high demand is bookkeeping, specifically BAS and tax services. As more and more Australians start their own businesses, there becomes a greater demand for bookkeeping, BAS and tax services. EzyLearn recently partnered with National Bookkeeping to help registered BAS and tax agents to start, growth and develop their business, by becoming National Bookkeeping licensees.

Visit the National Bookkeeping website or contact their team for more information.

Read more about the requirements to become a registered BAS agent.


 

Amazon is Here, But How Do You Get Traffic?

Can you make real money by selling stuff on Amazon?

learning to sell online using Amazon
If you can sell anything with a margin in it for yourself, you might make some dough by selling on Amazon.

NOW THAT AMAZON has launched in Australia, one of the hottest work-at-home opportunities is to become an Amazon seller, especially if you become part of the “fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program”, which is due to launch in Australia in 2018, along with Amazon’s “fresh” program.

We have helped hundreds of bookkeepers to find work and launch into business for themselves, and so we wanted to investigate some of the pros and cons of venturing into business selling products on Amazon.

In the FBA program, there are no upfront costs, and sellers don’t hold any stock or have to worry about shipping products to customers — they just have to find items to sell on Amazon.

How the FBA program works

Amazon collects products from sellers and stores them at their fulfillment centres (currently, just one centre based outside Melbourne, with another planned for Sydney). When a product is sold, Amazon ships it to the customer.

Amazon fees and charges are subtracted from the sale (sellers only pay Amazon to collect items and bring them to the fulfilment centre, not to ship to customers) and the remainder is deposited into an escrow account for a few weeks before it’s released to the seller.

Amazon vs. eBay

The Amazon FBA program is unlike any offering on rival marketplaces. Besides, not dealing with the logistical side of selling products online, Amazon sellers don’t create product listings and don’t deal with customers in any way.

By contrast, people who sell items on eBay are not just responsible for holding their own stock and shipping it to customers, but they also deal with customers every step of the way — from questions about the product through to shipping and disputes. It’s a time consuming process.

It’s similarly time consuming for buyers, who have to navigate a minefield of listings and seller pages; checking prices, shipping and seller ratings to make sure they’re getting the best deal. On Amazon, you search a product, click on the listing, and decide to buy. It’s as though you’re buying directly from Amazon.

Will the Amazon model work in Australia?

Amazon’s FBA program (and its marketplace in general) has been extremely successful in the United States (Amazon’s share price is trading above $1,100 U.S., after all), but the U.S. is a huge and very different country to ours. Each state has different sales taxes; prices for simple household items like toothpaste can vary state-to-state, and there are hundreds of large- to -medium department stores that operate in some states, but not in others.

The Australian market is far more homogenous. We have one national sales tax (GST), prices are fairly uniform across each state and territory, we have a half dozen department stores, and they operate nationally; we’re also a much smaller market.

Since Amazon’s launch in December (it’s FBA program hasn’t launched yet, though there are plans to), most shoppers reported being underwhelmed by the offering — it was limited, expensive, and shipping times too long. Items were often more expensive on Amazon than to purchase elsewhere. This could just be teething issues, due to the rushed launch, but it could be illustrative of how the Australian retail market had prepared for Amazon’s impending launch by tightening up their own offerings, and making it a lot harder for Amazon sellers to compete.

How to find goods to sellonline training learning tradesmen carpenter painter plumber electrician turning quote into sale

People go to Amazon to find items they’d traditionally find at a department store, only much cheaper. That’s Amazon’s game: cheap. If you’re going to sell goods on Amazon and be successful at it, you need to be really good at procuring items that are in high demand, but can be sold far cheaper than anywhere else.

Amazon is the place you go to for books, music, DVDs, household appliances, shoes, clothing, toys, and so on. It’s not the place for unique one-offs — you want that; go to Etsy. Or if you want it secondhand, then eBay, Facebook Marketplace or good old Gumtree. On Amazon, you sell anything, whether you have a personal interest in it or not; if there’s a margin that’s favourable, sell it.

On Amazon, you sell anything, whether you have a personal interest in it or not; if there’s a margin that’s favourable, sell it.

Most people who sell on Amazon in the U.S. make money by engaging in retail arbitrage (an Amazon app lets sellers can scan the barcodes of items in retail shops to see whether it’s worthwhile reselling them on Amazon), but this would be hard to replicate in Australia.

Retail stores in Australia have higher prices due to the cost of employing staff. We have a national minimum wage remember, and the U.S. does not. In some U.S. states, the minimum wage is as low as $6 an hour, while others may be as much as $12 an hour. In California, where people earn $12 an hour, goods in shops cost more than in a state where people earn $6 an hour. This presents an opportunity for Amazon FBA sellers in the U.S. that is unlikely to ever exist in Australia.

How do you make money?

There are lots of online training courses promising to train you in the ways of Amazon’s FBA program. Some even promise to help you find inventory that’ll always be profitable — typically private label items, rather than via retail arbitrage — and teach you the dark arts of Amazon promotion — so you’re one of the top sellers on the site. (This has nothing to do with seller ratings, which don’t exist on Amazon.)

Starting out with private label items can be dicey, and it’s probably only a good idea if you’re already selling your own items on eBay, but you’re looking for an easier alternative. Again, Amazon is a good place to sell books, video games, clothing, toys, etc; handmade jewellery, clothing or furnishings: not so much.

Remember: retail has its ups and downs. As a seller on Amazon, you’ll experience that too. If you’re looking for a stable income each week or fortnight, you might find yourself better off starting a professional services business, in which you work for regular clients each week for a regular earn — and even keep doing your full-time job, or take on a part-time job until things take off.  

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Natbooks homepage of website Find a Good Local or Remote BookkeeperYOU CAN LEARN MORE about starting a home-based bookkeeping business at National Bookkeeping, which offers a licensee program to help you get your business off the ground.
There are also training opportunities for experienced bookkeepers, registered BAS agents and accountants.

 


 

What are Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Training Platforms?

Xero Lifelong learning and training platform beginners essentials and advanced certificate coursesLifelong learning is the concept that learning isn’t confined to an individual’s childhood, but can be pursued throughout their life, and often in non-traditional settings. With lifelong learning, the knowledge or skills a person acquires through social interactions and other everyday experiences (soft skills) are considered just as important as those learned in formal education settings.

This approach means that learning is no longer considered to take place at two, traditional stages of a person’s life — school and the workplace — but rather is ongoing throughout the individual’s life.

How lifelong learning was born

The concept of lifelong learning isn’t new. It’s been around since the 1970s, when it was referred to as “lifelong education” by the French politician Edgar Faure in his 197s book “Learning to Be”. Lifelong learning gained more recognition during the 1990s, particularly with the publication of the Delors Report by the Delors Commission in 1996.

The Delors Commission was an administration of the European Union led by Jacques Delors through the 1980s and again through the 1990s. The Delors Report proposed an integrated vision of education based on two key concepts:

  1. Learning throughout life
  2. The four pillars of learning

The Delors Report identified three characteristics of modern life that made lifelong learning necessary, in order for individuals to remain productive and actively engaged members of society throughout their lives. Those characteristics included technological, economic and social change.

Technology made lifelong learning vital

From the mid 1990s onward, rapid technological advancements have made lifelong learning especially critical for people in the workplace. Aside from the need to keep up-to-date with changes to software (desktop software shifting to the cloud) and the introduction of new technologies (smartphones and tablets), technology has also changed the way people work.

The majority of adolescents who start university today, will be studying for a degree in the profession that will not exist in twenty years time. But in twenty years, jobs will exist that did not today, just as social media and search engine optimisation did not exist twenty year ago. And this drives the need for people to engage in lifelong learning.

Technology has also fundamentally changed our economy. More people engage in freelance or contract work than they did twenty years ago, and that’s given rise to what’s now called the “gig economy” — people engaging in short term, piecemeal or temporary work as their primary means of income.

And that’s all coincided with some big changes to our society. Paid parental leave, for example, sees dads taking time off work to become the primary carer of their children, while a new crop of mums have chosen to start home-based businesses so they can work flexible hours while they care for their children.

In each instance of change, be it technological, social and economic — though technology is the driving force of all three — people have had to learn new skills for their workplace, either formerly or informally.

The four pillars of learning

The Delors Report, which brought the concept of lifelong learning to greater prominence in the 90s, identified the four pillars of learning, which make up a central component of lifelong learning. The four pillars of learning involve:

  • Learning to know — the mastery of learning tools rather than the acquisition of knowledge
  • Learning to do — acquisition of occupational skills for jobs today and those in the future
  • Learning to live together — resolving conflict, discovering other people and culture, fostering community, economic resilience, social inclusion (soft skills)
  • Learning to be — education that contributes to an individual’s complete development (to act with autonomy, use judgment and take personal responsibility.

Implementing lifelong learning

Since the 1990s and the release of the Delors Report, universities and other formal education institutions have implemented some elements of lifelong learning, particularly the “learning to know” and “learning to live together” pillars of learning. In high school, students will study society and culture as a component of their HSC. This is designed to equip them with the tools to develop values and attitudes that promote social literacy and cohesion.

Workplaces have also become responsible to promoting lifelong learning by requiring employees to carry out continuing professional development (CPD) — although this is sometimes an industry requirement, as in the financial services and real estate sectors, for example.

Ezy Learning Lifelong training platform for Xero, MYOB, Excel, Digital Marketing training coursesBookkeepers and BAS agents are required to maintain a certain number of CPD points each year in order to keep their BAS registration. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) is just one of many Recognised Professional Associations and it lists accepted training courses, including Microsoft Excel and cloud-accounting software training which are all available as LIFETIME Courses with EzyLearn! I like to think that EzyLearn can go one better than Delor and offer students the option to get LIFETIME course access to Xero rather than LIFELONG paying for Xero Courses.

This November, Xero also launched it’s own lifelong learning platform, in conjunction with Swinburne University. The Xero lifelong learning platform is currently being piloted in Australia and New Zealand, with a full global rollout expected in 2018.

Xero lifelong learning

The Xero offering will be available for secondary and tertiary students, as well as businesses. It will provide students with access to a learning management system (LMS) that will deliver training in the form of business scenarios and simulations, in addition to grading and assessment tools.

Xero’s chief partner officer Anna Curzon said in a statement that technology has “reshaped the way people work” and created a need for lifelong learning so people can “stay relevant in the workforce”.

“Handling finances, both personal and business, is a necessity for everyone, from school age students to retirees,” she said.

“Xero lifelong learning platform allows students to grow their financial literacy to help prepare them for the real world.”

Curzon also said that the gig economy is driving demand for Xero’s services, which in itself is driving demand for a lifelong learning platform centered around financial literacy.

No pricing for Xero’s lifelong learning platform has been released, though it’s understood it will be included in the subscription price of the Xero software for businesses.

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Sometimes “Real World” Marketing, Not Digital, is More Appropriate

start your own business
It’s not unusual to obtain new work because people in need of your services spot you working on your current job. But chance is one thing – how can you improve the odds of making this happen?

IF YOU’RE A TRADIE, working as a plumber, builder or carpenter, handyman, gardener or electrician, then you probably already know that some of the best jobs come by referral.

Identify “real world” marketing opportunities

During my recent renovation of an investment property in Newcastle, most of the good tradies would tell me, “Someone you’re working on a job with on Monday will ask you to do a job for them somewhere else on Friday, or a neighbour of a client will ask you to do some work for them.” I soon saw from other tradespeople how “work can come to you just because someone happens to be walking by while you’re on the job” — gardeners get a lot of work this way, for example.

The important thing in this scenario is to act efficiently in finding out what the potential client needs, finding out what else is important, and then selling them on your services. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kristine Seymour, an experienced sales person and business builder, for the Sales Training Course at the Australian Small Business Centre (ASBC). She spoke in detail about how to act when your future income depends on how well you can sell. This Sales Training Course is available on the EzyLearn LMS.

Take advantage of business opportunities

This course is also available to new licencees for the National Bookkeeping Business Opportunity. The key to getting new clients is to be proactive and take advantage of these on-the-spot business opportunities by using some “real world” marketing tactics. These skills can be used even if you are just looking for part-time clients or doing bookkeeping or marketing as a side hustle — more on side hustles in a forthcoming blog. 

Some “real-world marketing” examples

Another good example of a real-world marketing tactic is to conduct a letterbox drop in the local area where you’ve just started work. Clearly, this lets residents in the area know you’re working there, what you do, and that you are available.

This alone may lead to thousands of dollars in additional revenue if even just a few people get in touch. But always, it’s vital to keep track of what marketing you do and where leads are coming from. It’s vital to schedule quotes and start dates for work and so forth, and have a handle on Office Productivity Software like Microsoft Office or Google G Suite. These will not only help you organise your workload, but you’ll also appear organised and professional to your clients.

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Learn more about both digital and face-to-face (networking) marketing in our EzyStartup Training Course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

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


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