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69% of MYOB Skills Test Students Failed – Would You?

MYOB Skills Test and online training coursesMYOB Skills Test

It’s that time of the year again when people are acting on their new years resolutions and embarking on training to improve their knowledge and skills. In 2011 we introduce a free MYOB online skills test that anyone can do to test their knowledge of MYOB software and it interesting to see that the average score has increased from 40% to 55% over the last 4 years!

What more interesting is that most attempts resulted in a fail score – 69% of students failed to pass. You can do the test several times if you want and if you get an answer wrong the skills test can show you the correct answer – it helps you learn.

We have a test like this at the end of each section of each course (ie. there are lots of them) and we focus on using them to help students consolidate what they’ve learnt as well as show them what the correct answer is. We see our knowledge reviews as a teaching aid rather than something to be scared of.

If you are interested in learning how to use MYOB to find bookkeeping work or start your own bookkeeping business look at what is included in our MYOB Courses (5 courses for the price of one) and start your journey on a new career or the flexibility of having your own bookkeeping business.

 

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Prevent Russian Attacks on Your WordPress Website with Google Analytics

Traffic from Russia, Eastern Europe, Philipines and India?

We’ve been busy these last couple months in upgrading and optimising our websites, fine tuning our online marketing and studying our Google Analytics and came across a Russian based website that was sending a lot of traffic to several of our sites. After closely monitoring our website traffic, landing pages, bounce rates, time on site etc, we found a lot of in bound traffic from a Russian site called Darodar. It made me wonder why we’re all so scared of web traffic from the USSR. In fact it’s a reminder of the fact that labour is very cheap in some of these countries and some companies or individuals can go to great lengths to

The best thing to come from all this really is that by looking at our statistics regularly, updating all scripts and plugins and server side applications not only do we have an up-to-date website with security and protection against online risks, but we understand our website traffic in detail. This is helping us fine tune our website content constantly to provide our website visitors with what they are looking for.

I don’t normally write like this

Google Analytics - Channels, Sessions, Conversions, Sources, Aquisition, BehaviourI don’t normally like to write about all the technical details we have to go through as an online training course provider, but we’ve been assembling some marketing information about our new online business opportunities and realised this is exactly the type of information that we’ll be sharing with students who come along on our online marketing business opportunity.

As it turns out the type of traffic we were getting is called HTTP Referrer Spam or just Referrer Spam and hundreds of people are talking about it online already. Here’s a snipped of some of the sites we discovered. There is a lengthy conversation on an official WordPress Support Forum, and an article on a popular article site called Reddit.

The Best Answer

The best answer we found was this link that confirmed that this type of attack is not malicious to your website, is not a server side issue and won’t affect the ranking and traffic to your site. The biggest issue is that we spent all this time and even ended up going to the site in question (that’s one of their goals!!) and that it distorts our Google Analytics information.

We disable the Darodar Spambot and any traffic from this location. It’s not the best solution because we can’t do this for every website that performs this type of activity, but again, it gives us more clarity about what is happening with our website traffic.

Who cares?

If you want to get to know more about our online marketing contractor business opportunity go visit the StartUp Academy website for more information. I’ll be sending more information out shortly so stay tuned – including the services we are launching to help people start their own bookkeeping business..

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Get Paid Faster Using Your Mobile Phone!

get paid faster using your mobile phone
You can use your mobile phone to get paid – great for tradespeople as well.

No doubt about it, one of the biggest hurdles you face as a small business owner is managing your cash flow. A big part of this is ensuring your clients and customers pay your invoices on time.

Setting up email alerts to remind customers when your invoices are due is a great way to ensure you’re never – or at least, rarely – paid late, which we’ve written about on this blog and even cover in our MYOB training courses. Continue reading Get Paid Faster Using Your Mobile Phone!

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Are Xero and MYOB going to get SMASHED by QuickBooks Online?

Is QuickBooks Online the White Elephant in the Room?

I recently wrote about QuickBooks, once the great competitor to MYOB accounting software, and I thought I would delve a little deeper to see what has happened with the company that use to be their Australian distributor, Reckon and how big they are in the US. I looks to me like we have a period of consolidation on our hands with some very big companies and many of them listed trying to earn the cloud accounting dollar.

We have online courses in MYOB and Xero and are exploring a QuickBooks Online training course.

What do you Reckon about Reckon?

Reckon 5 year Share Performance
Reckon 5 year Share Performance. Information from Commsec. Click to Enlarge

As a public company you can see Reckons financial results and industry commentary at the ASX website and in their latest financial announcements they confirmed that they had parted ways with Intuit as the Australian distributor earlier this year (saving them $2.5M in royalty costs).

Reckon is now a competitor to their previous partners, Intuit, and a participant in the online accounting and bookkeeping software market with their own software service called Reckon Hosted.

If I were Reckon the scariest thing for me would be that the brand that I helped to build over such a long period is now strongly competing directly against me in the local market. Let’s hope they built some good relationships with accountants who’ll continue to work with and recommend their new product lineup. Their share price seems to indicate that they are currently falling out of favour.

Xero vs QuickBooks Online

Xero Oct 31 2014 Share Performance. From Commsec. Click to Enlarge
Xero Oct 31 2014 Share Performance. From Commsec. Click to Enlarge

Xero is the nameplate for online accounting software because they pioneered accounting software that ONLY works in the cloud. A major shareholder in Xero is Craig Winkler, the man who successfully helped MYOB dominate the accounting marketing in the PC era and sold out to Archer Capital who then sold to another large US private equity company Bain Capital.

I wrote about Xero’s financial performance not long after they listed their XRO shares on the ASX (they are a New Zealand company) but their recent share price performance seems to indicate that they are not popular in Australia. The next frontier in online accounting and bookkeeping seems to be integrations and accounting suite tools for accountants. These integrations and add-ons are one way of making their software more important in the suite of programs that small businesses use and a good example is the recent announcement of Xero’s integration with Microsoft’s Office 365.

Visit Xero’s website and you’ll quickly be able to get to their Add-on Market Place.

MYOB vs QuickBooks Online

Bain Capital paid over 1 billions dollars for MYOB to include it in it’s bag of technology investments – see if you can spot MYOB! Although they are no longer an Australian public company they are listed on the ASX and Aussies can invest in the company that now offers a wider range of services that just accounting software. Their revenue has grown significantly in the 2014 financial year according to their announcement on 25th August 2014.

MYOB had many partners in their PC based software but went through a very tough period when accountants were refusing to recommend MYOB customer upgrade their software. MYOB had to re-write their software to cater for the cloud accounting market and some integrations just didn’t work as a result. It appears that the online version is still popular with MYOB Partners and you can learn more about MYOB Add-ons here.

MYOB is still the market leader for accounting software in Australia an although they appear to be a laggard in the online space they are agressively competing with Xero for new customer acquisitions. A recent article by Peter Dinham at IT Wire about Xero and MYOB customer numbers highlights how dirty the fight is getting and how important accountants are in the sale of accounting software. Peter talks about MYOB being the 800 pound gorilla but when you explore the global market for accounting software you cannot ignore Intuit.

QuickBooks Online and the Global Accounting Software Market

Go to Intuit.com and you’ll be presented with a message that says “we’ve gone global” and the option to go to your local country website site. Let’s face it, they’ve been global for a while but it’s apparent that their online marketing for Quickbooks Online is becoming stronger. I read a recent blog post from Sholto Macpherson’s popular Digital First website about the Top 5 Most Popular Features of QuickBooks Online and note that at the bottom of his post he disclosed that he travelled to QuickBooks Connect as a guest of Intuit. It’s a sign of the impending marketing blitz that a massive US company is capable of.

Visit Intuit’s investor relations website and you’ll see that the revenue for Intuit in 2013 was almost 4 times the total capital purchase price that Bain Capital paid for MYOB when they bought it. With that size, established software brand in Quickbooks and a network of Intuit Pro Advisers ready to help small businesses I think this is the space to watch for online accounting software.

Again, as a very established software publishing company Intuit have an impressive range of Add-ons to help improve the functionality of the software as small business look for ways of integrating the ever widening range of cloud-based software they use.

QuickBooks Pro Adviser Offer

Whilst writing this post I became aware of the big launch that Intuit are doing in Australia to strengthen their network of accountants and advisers. It’s started with a blubbery story about the great history of a 30 year old US company, but I found this video which shows what they are willing to do to help Australian Bookkeepers increase their knowledge, get new sales and better support their customers (Small Businesses).

Here it is..

Join our Bookkeeper Directory

Startup Academy - work from home as an independent contractorIf you are a MYOB bookkeeper and want us to help you get exposure and find new small business bookkeeping clients register with our partners at Workface as we build a national bookkeeping database to help you find new clients and help small businesses find honest, hardworking bookkeepers who operate their own home based bookkeeping business.

To be a bookkeeper in this cloud accounting era means that you can perform bookkeeping from your own home office if you do a great job and have a good reputation. Although you can perform this work from home its becoming more important to get that reputation and one of the tried and trusted ways is by meeting people face to face at networking events. When people get to know you and like you they’ll start recommending you to people who they know need a bookkeeper and that is when you’ll discover the power of referral marketing.

Registering for the bookkeeper directory is the first step in our plan to help people operate a business from home. If you want to read more about how we plan to help ordinary people start their own business as independent contractors visit the StartUp Academy website and learn more. You can subscribe for the free guide that I created to help people on that journey.

 

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Google Displays Mixed Messages about Quickbooks Online

Who is Behind QuickBooks Online?

Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with free trial button
Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with free trial button

It was once seen as the biggest competitor to MYOB in Australia when accounting software reduced in cost from several thousand dollars (for software like Attache) to several hundred dollars. It was the time when the PC was the craze and suddenly normal people could do their own bookkeeping – so they say. I’m talking of course about QuickBooks.

I was doing some Google searches this morning about QuickBooks Online because I was interested in seeing how Reckon and Intuit now differentiate themselves online and I discovered a couple interesting things. The most interesting to me is how many companies are now putting up a landing page that expects you to make a purchase or sign up right there and then.

Landing Pages

Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with buy now button
Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with buy now button

Here are the two landing pages that I discovered when searching for QuickBooks Online on Google. One offers a massive 40% off if you skip the trial and the other says the same message but the action button says “Start My Free Trial”. To me it seems like they are still perfecting their online strategy and are doing some beta testing on what potential customers will do.

What I find most interesting about the current QuickBooks strategy is the expectation that people will register or buy straight away! Perhaps they will when this ad comes up because they have actually searched specifically for “QuickBooks” rather than just online bookkeeping or accounting software, cloud accounting comparisons etc.

Marketing Your Business on Google

Pretty soon, we’ll feature our own bookkeeper directory so every piece of information like this we see we make a note of to see if it is something we can use ourselves.

This also demonstrates something we cover in our Small Business Management Course about testing and measuring – that you don’t always get your message across perfectly every time. The most important thing to do is to make a plan and get started. The best thing you can do is take action and start, then you can measure the results and fine tune, tweak or completely change your marketing strategy.

Share Your Opinion About QuickBooks

I was looking at some of the bookkeepers in our bookkeeper directory and noticed that a good number of bookkeepers still use QuickBooks and know about it. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions about it.

  • Do you use it?
  • Do you prefer it to MYOB or Xero?
  • Are there things that QuickBooks Online do better than MYOB or Xero?
  • Do you still work with Reckon (who use to distribute Intuit products in Australia) and their online accounting software?

If you have something to share simply send us an email to support @ ezylearn.com.au or post your comments on our Facebook page.

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The Great Compression Squeezes Out Home Based Businesses

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. Continue reading The Great Compression Squeezes Out Home Based Businesses

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MYOB Bookkeeper Triples Income With No Extra Advertising Budget

MYOB Bookkeeper Provides Customer Service

Ever seen these headings in online ads? It’s sensational I know and I’d rather not revert to such tactics, but the truth of the matter is that the personal work you do to become a better networker and learn how to become a good referrer of business to other people will turn you into the “go to” person a lot of small businesses would like. The result is that you’ll pick up more business because people trust you.

I’ve written before about the power of combining websites like LinkedIn and good Referral Marketing techniques, but they worth mentioning again, particularly as Michael Griffiths is holding his next Referral Marketing Master Class very soon.

A recent example that Michael gave me about the benefits that one bookkeeper received because of their new-found referral marketing skills is Don Doolan from First Class Accounts. He was able to triple his lead generation just by focussing his efforts on effective networking and finding a way to help his network on contacts improve their business.

Is Referral Marketing just good Customer Service?

Customer service is an important aspect in every business. It’s so important that even the largest of Australian and US companies use it as a tool to generate more sales! We include Customer Service tips in our Small Business Management and StartUp Course from David Hall and I’m mentioning it here because both customer service and networking require a similar effort in modifying your approach to customers and listening to them.

When you listen to your customers in your regular conversations you’ll discover many opportunities to either:

  • Mention a product or service that you offer, or
  • Mention that you know someone who could provide them with exactly what they are looking for.

Just by writing this email I am referring Michael and his Referral Marketing course because I have seen the benefits from other people in our network and I know how important it is to have a good relationship with key customers.

MYOB Bookkeeper Marketing

If you are one of our MYOB Bookkeeping Course students and you are interested in taking the journey of becoming an independent consultant to provide bookkeeping services in your local area please make sure you read about our MYOB Bookkeeper Directory service.

Want help starting a bookkeeping business?

start a bookkeeping business
Business Opportunities for Ordinary People

We have now teamed up with the StartUp Academy to help our students (and anyone else) start their own home based business as a bookkeeper. You’ll be able to earn money by helping people learn how to use programs like MYOB, Quickbooks and Xero or doing the work for them. Learn more about starting a bookkeeping business.

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Affiliate Marketing: Partner with Us to Start Your Own Business NOW

Start a Computer Training Business

start your own businessDo you want to start your own business? Perhaps a home-based business? At EzyLearn, we’re passionate about helping people follow their dreams and start their own businesses.

At the moment, we’ve got a host of opportunities available to people who would like to partner with EzyLearn and start their own home-based business with a focus on Bookkeeping. Continue reading Affiliate Marketing: Partner with Us to Start Your Own Business NOW

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Reinvent Your Career: ‘Work At Home’ Seminar

I mentioned in my last post that I will be presenting a Work at Home Seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo in

work from home
Steve Slisar, EzyLearn CEO, will soon be sharing how you can work from home.

Sydney on 30 and 31 August 2014. We call it the WAH Seminar and I really hope to see some of EzyLearn’s students there. We’ll have a stand there for our soon to be announced Start Up Academy!

Work at Home with the Start Up Academy

The Startup Academy is the culmination of 14 years in the training industry. Over those years I’ve watched EzyLearn transition from a training centre in Dee Why to having three centres across Sydney and then finally close all centres in 2006 and move all of our training content online. In 2008 online training really kicked off for us. We offered MYOB and Microsoft Excel Online training courses and we began our journey into hiring remote workers to work from home for various parts of our business. We’ve used a number of different services to find the right people for our organisation including oDesk, Gumtree, Virtually Yours, 121 Temps, Freelancer, Elance and even this very blog. Everything we’ve learnt a lot along the way I’ll be sharing with the audience at the seminar.

Good Online Reputation Means You Can Work at Home

Social Media and the Internet have given more people a stronger voice than at any time in human history and as a result we are all faced with our “online profile” and “online reputation” – this is particularly relevant for people who work from home. One of the best examples that I can think of where people want to have a good reputation is eBay. I’ve met many eBay sellers and they are all VERY keen to do a great job and get a great rating and it’s always a pleasure to deal with them. The same thing is now happening with the way we work and provide services.

I’ll be talking about a range of things to help remote workers start their own business working from home as independent contractors, including how to find work. Here’s a little more on what to expect from me:

  • Does it really happen?
  • Does it affect me?
  • How do I fit in?
  • Make yourself stand out
  • Measure the work you do
  • Teleworking
  • The Australian Government wants it
    • – workforce participation
    • – digital disruption
    • – work is about what you do
    • – working anywhere
    • – enablers
    • – benefits
    • – drivers
    • – unmet demand – mature, parents and disabled
  • Our experience
  • Measure outcomes
  • Your public profile
  • Your competitors
  • LinkedIn
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Finding clients
  • Create an engine

Once again, I hope to see you at the seminar. If you would like more information on the Reinvent Your Career Expo, you can visit their website for more details and if you are interested in having me do the same presentation at your industry group meeting, chamber of commerce or other meeting please let us know.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Work at Home Opportunities in our Start Up Academy, visit this page: Work at home business opportunities.

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Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

Who wants to work from home?

Ever since we started offering our MYOB training courses online, thousands of students have enrolled and learned how to become MYOB bookkeepers. Many of those students are mums, who were looking to become skilled in a job they could do from home.

In 2012, we added the Small Business Management and Start-up course to our online training platform, to help students to learn a new set of skills that would help them start their own businesses as independent contractors, so they can earn more money, work their own hours, work closer to home, and spend more time with the kids.

Continue reading Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

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So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are strong-minded individuals – but we’ve found there are at least 5 other qualities they tend to possess that leads to their business success.

In running our Small Business Management Course and MYOB Training Courses, one of most common reasons we find that people want to start their own businesses is to be their own boss and work remotely from home.

This is a perfectly understandable sentiment — but it’s not necessarily conducive to making a small business work.

Entrepreneurs are known to be people who manage starting up and/or bringing to fruition their own businesses and ventures, but entrepreneurs are a certain breed and as many find out the hard way, self-employment is not for everyone. Continue reading So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

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How Bad Do You Want It? (Money, That Is!)

invoicing small business
Don’t do all the hard work and not get paid for it: consult our checklist for what you can do to get paid – and faster.

If you’re working as a contractor and using an Australian business number (ABN), rather than a tax file number (TFN), you’re self-employed, and this means you will need to invoice your customers for the products or services you provide in order to get paid.

If you’ve only ever worked as an employee before, you’re probably used to being able to set your clock to payday, but unfortunately this isn’t often the case when you’re a contractor.

Getting paid late — or worse, not at all! — can seriously affect your cash-flow, and in turn, affect the success of your business, which is why we cover things like financial planning in our Small Business Management and Start Up Course.

Continue reading How Bad Do You Want It? (Money, That Is!)

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Does Your Bookkeeper Have a Clue?

bookkeeper induction program
Having a bookkeeper induction program will add value to your business.

Having accurate business records is vitally important for any business — and most of that hinges on accurate account keeping. If you’re a small business looking to hire a bookkeeper, you want someone who’ll be able to manage all of the data entry and coding for your company accurately and efficiently.

The best way to ensure this is to have a bookkeeping induction program. Continue reading Does Your Bookkeeper Have a Clue?

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Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

Many accountants and businesses are now using Xero instead of MYOB so it's important for bookkeepers to be trained in this.
Many accountants and businesses now use Xero instead of MYOB.

In our last post we talked about the developments that have occurred over the last few years in the accounting software space; one of which was the introduction of Xero to the marketplace. Since then, a huge number of accountants and businesses have switched to Xero.

Xero has quickly gained momentum in the accounting software space, and while it’s important for bookkeepers to be skilled in MYOB, it’s becoming increasingly important that they’re also skilled in Xero as well. Continue reading Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

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Will Xero Dethrone MYOB as the King of Accounting Software?

Xero may not have toppled MYOB's crown, but they've certainly forced them to find new ways to remain relevant.
Xero may not have toppled MYOB’s crown, but they’ve forced them to  remain relevant.

We’ve been offering MYOB training courses for a very long time and that’s largely because they have long been the market leader in accounting software.

But in the last few years there’s been a definite shift in the accounting software space, and with cloud-based technology, a number of other players have entered the marketplace. Continue reading Will Xero Dethrone MYOB as the King of Accounting Software?

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You Can Still Be a Valuable Bookkeeper Without a Cert IV

Cert IV Bookkeeper
You don’t need a Cert IV to be a valuable bookkeeper for small businesses.

In our last post about getting bookkeeping clients for free, we mentioned how the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (the ICB) only adds bookkeepers to its Practice Directory who are Cert IV-qualified. Having a Cert IV qualification in bookkeeping enables you to apply to the Tax Practitioners Board to become certified to provide BAS services to your clients.

Only Needed for Lodgement of BAS

However, most of the work carried out by a BAS agent is work that can be completed by a bookkeeper without a Cert IV; it’s just that only registered BAS agents can lodge a BAS return for their client.

So while it may be useful for some contract bookkeepers to get their Cert IV qualification so they can lodge their client’s BAS returns among other things, it’s not necessary if you only want to manage the data entry for your clients.

Bookkeepers Needed for Data Entry

In fact, bookkeepers carrying out data entry is one of the core functions required by a lot of small businesses and sole traders because they have become too busy to look after it themselves and because it takes them away from their core work.

An experienced bookkeeper that can look after a business’ books is still an incredibly valuable asset to any business, and as more and more Australians go into business for themselves, the demand for bookkeepers is going to increase.

***

So if you’ve completed our LIFETIME access MYOB Training Course with the certificate option, contact us today to arrange to have your profile placed on the MYOB Bookkeeper Directory.