The only way that most people can find work at home is either in very specific tasks like creating products, folding flyers and inserting them into envelopes etc or they involve working on the telephone or via the internet, mostly via the internet.
Internet or cloud-based programs enable people to log into a system from anywhere and perform tasks which can be measured by the manager, boss or owner. These days these tasks can involve
MS Office skills like creating documents, spreadsheets, reports and proposals
Bookkeeping jobs like quoting, invoicing, receipts (accounts receivable) purchases, payments (accounts payable), credit management, bank reconciliation
Marketing jobs like blog writing, blog editing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), digital marketing and social media marketing
Good quality can be cheap and poor quality may be the most expensive
OFTEN IN LIFE we’re told that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. Along the same lines as this is the expression that you get what you pay for. Indeed, I’ve commonly used the phrase: “Pay peanuts and you’ll get monkeys” but naturally, there are exceptions to this and plenty of cases where low cost can simply mean low cost – without meaning that quality or value has been compromised.
Don’t you just love something new? Some entrepreneurs I know call it the “shiny object” syndrome because it means you’re always focusing your time and energy on something new, rather than doing the daily drudge work. But this is exciting.
I haven’t had a chance to speak with every registrant but this image shows the EzyLearn students who’ve completed our accounting & bookkeeping courses and would love to be tutors to help other students understand how the software is used in the real world.
Xero is complicated, let’s be honest. I know that Xero tell you the software is beautiful and simple to use but in reality it’s accounting software and if accounting software was easy then everyone would have their BAS’s lodged on time and have no credit risk issues.
It also depends on what kind of past experience you’ve had with accounting and bookkeeping work, but there is a way to up-skill in Xero quickly.
If you’re looking for a job it’s a daunting process because you have to sell yourself to an employer and most people don’t have to do this very often. Parents returning from parenting can find it particularly daunting because they’ve found themselves surrounded by nappies, cleaning, cooking and washing and the thought of presenting themselves to other adults can be scary.
I’ve spoken to some EzyLearn students in the last couple weeks about our Accounting Course Tutor Initiative and have been impressed at how capable many of them (you) are!
DO YOU GET frustrated when you see the little box at the bottom of the BAS lodgement form? You know, the one where they ask how long it took to complete the form because I feel like writing, “It took 10 minutes to complete the form, but 4 hours to do the data entry and bank reconciliation work!”
Junior bookkeepers, accounts receivable and accounts payable clerks, and office administrators will all share that their most time-consuming work is data entry, coding and bank reconciliations. However, there is software available which almost totally automates this work — and it’s becoming increasingly accurate and speedy.
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?
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.
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, 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.
TAX 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
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.
Starting Your Own Bookkeeping Business
One 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.
Can you make real money by selling stuff 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.
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 sell
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.
Lifelong 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:
Learning throughout life
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.
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.