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 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.
But while there are close to a dozen cloud accounting systems on the market, most bookkeepers — thankfully — will only need to know their way around three: Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks. If you’re looking for a course or training resource on these programs we have a combo offer.
However, very few systems are dedicated to helping the bookkeeper, tax or BAS agent or accountant manage their clients — that’s the builders and tradespeople, virtual assistants and online shops and retail outlets they provide bookkeeping and tax services to. Until now.
Businesses have been able to set up payment gateways in their accounting software for sometime, using PayPal (or Stripe or Braintree or many more in the US), for sometime. The downside, of course, is that you’re charged a fee each time your customer uses one of these services.
This is fine if you run an online shop, because you can incorporate the fee into the price of your products. It’s not so great if you offer professional or other services that may vary in price customer-to-customer, project-to-project. Hence, the PayPal-QuickBooks partnership was such a game changer.
Again, this option has been around for a while, with Xero and QuickBooks especially, but was only recently added to MYOB. It’s not dissimilar to the payment gateways feature we mentioned above, only it enables customers to pay your invoice securely and quickly directly from your invoice, with just the click of a button.
These are the latest players in seamless payments, and they specifically relate to payments made by tapping or waving mobiles devices (smartphones, tablets, smartwatches) at a EFTPOS machine.
Currently, the Apple Pay is only available to AMEX customers, while Android Pay is available to customers of the ANZ, Bendigo Bank, Macquarie Bank and most credit unions.
If you accept credit card payments in person, and you’re EFTPOS terminal has the option for customers to tap or wave their cards to make a payment, you can also accept them from connected smart devices.
IN OUR FREE, EDUCATIONAL GUIDE, Bookkeeping Basics, we feature a section that briefly discusses payroll, which we thought was worthy of being expanded upon on here. You might also like to go back and revisit our other blog post that complements the guide, Bookkeeping Basics: Cash vs. Accrual Systems, if you haven’t already.
Paying your employees
Before you employ staff, you need to determine how they will be employed. Are you going to use casual or permanent employees? If you’re employing the latter, will they be employed on a full-time or part-time basis? As the business owner and employer, you must also ensure that you’re paying your staff the correct rate of pay, as well as any entitlements — such as, sick leave, annual leave, overtime, etc — that may be owed to them.
This blog post isn’t going to go into the intricacies of how to work out what you should pay your employees, nor will the Bookkeeping Basics guide, as it generally falls outside the scope of the role of a bookkeeper, however, you can use the Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO) Pay Calculator to work out the following:
Base pay rates
Overtime and penalty rates
Pay rates per hour
Pay rates per shift
An employee’s employment status (i.e., full time, part time, casual).
If you employ staff under a modern award or agreement (virtually all Australian businesses do), you have a legal requirement to keep accurate and correct time and wage records, in addition to issuing payslips to all of your staff — failure to issue pay slips incurs harsh penalties if it comes to the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman. You must also keep your each staff member’s time and wage records for, at least, seven years and make sure they’re stored somewhere that’s always accessible, should they ever need to be inspected.
Although you don’t have to keep all employee records, it’s best practice to keep the following records for seven years, even after the employee has left the business, in case they ever file a complaint with the Ombudsman or the Tax Office ever does an audit:
Employee resume and application details
Employee workplace performance records
Employee trade certificates or registration certificates.
For tax purposes, all employee and contractor records must be kept for five years, but most businesses keep them for seven years, in case an enquiry is made by the FWO.
Deducting tax from an employee’s pay
Under the Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding rules, you are legally obliged to collect tax from employee payments so they can meet their end-of-year tax liabilities. In order to do so, you must first register with the ATO for PAYG withholding, which you can do online, over the phone or through your BAS or tax agent.
You must also provide your employees with a tax file declaration form, which you can also obtain from the ATO, and must be completed by an employee if they want to:
Claim an entitlement to tax offsets by having a reduced amount withheld from payments made to them
Advise you of changes to their:
HELP, Trade Support Loan or Financial Supplement debt.
You do not have to withhold amounts from payments to employees under 18 years of age if those amounts are not more than:
$350 per week
$700 per fortnight
$1,517 per month.
Employees with HELP, TSL or Financial Supplement debts
If an employee has indicated they have a HELP, TSL or Financial Supplement debt, you should use the HELP/TSL or Student Financial Supplement Scheme tax table on the ATO website to work out how much extra to withhold for these debts. Add this to the amount withheld shown in the relevant tax table.
Your superannuation obligations
As an employer, you also have an obligation to make super contributions for each of your employees. You must also ensure that you:
Offer eligible employees a choice of super fund (temporary residents are eligible to choose)
Pay the minimum amount, called the super guarantee (SG), which is currently 9.5 per cent of ordinary time earnings
Usually, these bookkeepers will work on a casual basis, once or twice a fortnight, at the business’s premises, which means they’re provided with a desk, computer, and desk chair.
Unfortunately too many business owners don’t make their casual bookkeepers a priority; often relegating them to a desk piled skyhigh with un-filed documents, old or broken technology, ergonomically unsound chairs, and probably a thick layer of dust on nearly every surface.
Think about your bookkeeper’s health
Aside from sending a clear message that your casual bookkeeper’s contribution to your business isn’t valued, it can also play havoc with their health, particularly when it comes to unsteady or broken office chairs.
Over time, sitting incorrectly on an office chair that’s broken or not adjusted correctly can contribute to back problems and muscle pain, because it places large amounts of pressure on your back muscles and the spinal discs. Poor posture and slouching can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the discs, which can damage the spinal structures. It’s also pretty hard to produce your best and most accurate bookkeeping work under these conditions.
Consider hiring remote bookkeepers
If you’ve been guilty of shoving your casual bookkeeper off to a workspace in the corner, with the wonky office chair and desk lined with dust, or even if you do just some of these things, it’s time to think more about how much you value your bookkeeper’s contribution to your business. This leaves you with a couple of options: invest in new office equipment — desks, technology, and ergonomic chairs — which could set you back a few thousand dollars, or hire remote bookkeepers instead.
A remote bookkeeper will cost you less, as they don’t require workspace in your office, so you won’t have to provide the office technology and furniture. And remote bookkeepers only bill you for the time they spend working on your accounts, not the time they spend making cups of tea and chatting around the watercooler.
Want to find a professional, reliable bookkeeper to work for your business, remotely?
National Bookkeeping is our online directory of bookkeepers and includes data entry clerks, BAS agents, accountants and CFOs. These people are trained and qualified bookkeepers willing to work all over Australia and ready to help you now.
Wiise, which is owned by the deep pockets of KPMG and will operate under a strategic partnership with Microsoft and the Commonwealth Bank, will combine cloud accounting, job costing, workflow scheduling and inventory management, payroll, sales and marketing and customer relationship management into one system.
Pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s understood Wiise will operate a tiered model, costing businesses between $60 and $200 a month.
The software will integrate with all major Australian banks, but added functionality will be given to CBA customers, such as access to working capital and financing options.
Businesses that have outgrown their cloud accounting system
Although Wiise will target SMEs; founders KPMG, Microsoft and CBA say the software isn’t competing with MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks for customers.
Rather, the Wiise software will suit complex businesses that have outgrown traditional cloud accounting systems, because their business operates in more than one location, has a complex supply chain, various legal entities or high transaction volumes.
The Wiise software will suit complex businesses that have outgrown traditional cloud accounting systems.
Wiise will also appeal to businesses that want to use one piece of business software, rather than multiple separate systems or cloud-accounting add-ons.
That said, it’s probably a worry to MYOB, which signalled it would grow market share by pursuing bigger and more complicated businesses; acquiring the enterprise reporting system Greentree in 2016.
As a general rule, most small businesses want to spend as little time worrying about compliance as possible, which is as it should be. Simple businesses with straightforward tax and compliance requirements typically stick with simple cloud accounting systems.
So there’s value in bookkeepers that typically services larger, more complicated businesses learning more about Wiise, but probably not for bookkeepers that look after smaller, straightforward businesses.
Who’s Managing Your Business Accounts?
If you’re a business owner trying to decide on an accounting system, speak with your bookkeeper or tax agent to determine the best option for your business.
If you’re looking for a reliable bookkeeper or tax agent to manage your business accounts, visit the National Bookkeeping website to find someone professional, able to work in your office, or remotely, to suit the needs of your business.
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.
And this is not about shaming or pointing the finger. Getting behind in your bookkeeping happens to some of the best businesses. It can be because an inexperienced person has previously been handling the books; you didn’t have the right systems in place to keep on top of it; or maybe your data file was set up incorrectly.
Diagnosing rescue bookkeeping
If your business has any of the following issues, you probably need rescue bookkeeping:
Your bank balance in Xero or MYOB doesn’t match with your bank statements
Bills have been paid, but they’re still showing as outstanding
There are many different reasons why people get behind in their bookkeeping. If it’s because the business owner lacks the time and let their bookkeeping pile up, it’s usually easy rectify, though it is time consuming. (There’ll be months and months worth of transactions and receipts to code and keep records of.)
If their data file was set up incorrectly, it’s sometimes a little harder to diagnose and it’s even harder to fix. It’ll need to be set up again and all of your transaction data re-entered; again, there’ll be months and months worth of transactions and receipts.
What happens during a bookkeeping rescue?
When you first meet with a bookkeeper, they’ll review your records to determine what your problem might be, and what needs to be done to get your bookkeeping up-to-date and in shape.
Given the volume of work and the complexity of it, your bookkeeper might not be able to tell you exactly how long it will take to get your accounts under control. They’ll generally have a ballpark idea of how long, but nothing concrete.
When your bookkeeper starts working on your accounts, they’ll be in fairly regular contact. You’ll need to be available to respond to emails or phone calls during this time.
Recently, I wrote that a lot of bookkeepers are losing out to accountantsbecause business owners prefer the cheapest and easiest way to stay compliant. Rather than employing a bookkeeper AND an accountant to lodge their tax returns and activity statements, many business owners choose to hire an accountant only so they can deal with just one person but are they really getting value for money? When it comes to finding a good bookkeeper at this skill level business owners have the choice of hiring:
Registered BAS Agents,
Their accountant’s internal bookkeeper,
An external, independent finance manager
Many good bookkeepers these days have trained as qualified BAS agents, which allows them to complete and lodge activity statements for their clients and other BAS services. The skill sets of a BAS agent and an accountant performing BAS tasks are the same, so they usually charge the same, but does your accountant really do your BAS or basic bookkeeping work?
Accountants perform higher level duties, such as financial planning, and their fees for this service are inline with what some experienced finance managers charge but when it comes to basic bookkeeping tasks they often hire a junior bookkeeper and charge them out at a lower rate but this rate is often much higher than if you hired this type of bookkeeper directory – so what are you paying for?
Pay for what you need, not what you don’t
Think about your business needs. Most micro and sole trader businesses will rarely need the expertise of an accountant. But hiring one means that you’ll need to stay on top of your bookkeeping (reconciling your account, etc) because accountants won’t perform these tasks — they may outsource it, which can be costly because your accountant will be managing the bookkeeper and adding a margin to their rate as a management cost.
These businesses should instead hire a BAS agent, who can also perform bookkeeping work as well as lodge activity statements and in this situation they could just use a tax agent like ITP or H&R Block. Depending on the amount of work to be completed you could directly hire a junior or Level 2 bookkeeper and have that person perform a lot more of the bookkeeping function and office administration work and with cloud-based software like Xero & QuickBooks and Office productivity tools like Google G Suite the work can be done remotely.
If you want someone to manage all of your finances — keep track of inventory, credit management, etc — and also provide financial reporting and planning services, a finance manager is the way to go as this person can also provide guidance to your office admin and junior bookkeeping staff.
Who does an EzyLearn course?
Lots of EzyLearn students complete an MYOB, Excel or Xero course because these software programs are demanded by employers, but we also receive enrolments from lots of bookkeepers and accountants who want to learn the cloud-based accounting software programs as well as up-skill in MS Office and Digital & Social Media Marketing. If you are a bookkeeper or accountant and need CPD courses check out our Bookkeeping Academy.
Start a bookkeeping business and work from home
Every business needs a good person with numbers and many small businesses and startups are focused on what they do best – and it’s rarely accounting. Learn about the bookkeeping business startup options..
I’VE BEEN IN BUSINESS since my early twenties but it wasn’t until my late twenties that I had any clue about how larger companies use and pay for software. I was going through the process of selling a water filter business that I’d been operating in Sydney’s Dee Why when I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Fountainhead Water Company, Mark Darling.
Fountainhead used a specialised accounting system for the bottled water business which did everything from receipts for each delivery to capturing bottle deposits, tracking rental coolers and more — and they were paying hundreds of dollars per month for this software. It was a far cry from purchasing the MYOB software for a couple hundred dollars and NEVER upgrading (no payroll at the time).
Now I understand the importance of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and how they are almost sewn into the fabric of the procedures for medium to large businesses. I was contacted by someone at Sage, asking if EzyLearn had ever thought about offering training in Sage One, their software for their smaller clients. I replied by saying: “Yes, but what is the demand?” I never heard back from this person (might be a good tactic for you if you get too many cold calls!)
Getting Setup Using an ERP System
This Sage person piqued my interest so I did a bit of research.
I soon realised that these ERP systems are sold almost exclusively through ‘integrators’ or channel partners who visit your business and really get into the nitty and gritty of the procedures and processes.
They perform their analysis and then set about a plan to implement the new software in the business using deft project management and people skills to CHANGE the way the business works.
These ERP system integrators get very involved in the operations of these larger companies and they get to see the BIG mistakes that small businesses make when dealing with them and know how easy these problems are to fix.
One such person is Carmel Crane, a Finance Manager and ERP Specialist at National Bookkeeping, with specialist knowledge of midsize businesses in the mining and related industries. Carmel points out that tier one ERPs, such as SAP, JDE and Oracle are “large, expensive and all-encompassing software systems that tend to be implemented by large, multi-currency organisations.”
In a way, even small business software programs like MYOB, Xero, QuickBooks are ERPs but no one really uses that term and the process of getting set up is often much less formal and done by a high-level bookkeeper like a Finance Manager or accountant.
The most interesting aspect of my research was when I came to the site of Leverage Technologies and found their sign up form for Sage One. I thought back to those days of working with Mark Darling, but more importantly, how true ERP systems don’t just do invoicing and payments but manage:
e-commerce — and even —
These are services that “integrate” with software like Xero and Quickbooks.
What are tier one and two ERPs?
When you start delving deeper into ERP’s you realise there are different tiers of software which depend on the size of the company using them. Tier one ERPs are relatively inexpensive but fairly flexible applications that enable small businesses to manage their accounting and operational needs. But larger midsize businesses will have different needs that will exceed the capabilities of a tier three software like MYOB or Xero.
“Tier two is aimed at mid- to -large companies — I have a lot of mining companies in this space,” she tells EzyLearn, “and would include [software such as] Pronto, Sage and Green Trees.”
“This software has more modules than tier three, but it’s not as complex as tier one. Tier three is for small businesses, [and they] focus on the accounting side of business with simple relationships across modules.”
Tier three software is for small business and focuses on the accounting side of business.”
— Carmel Crane, ERP Specialist, National Bookkeeping
How to know if you need a tier one or two ERP?
Any midsize business — so if you’re running a mining company, a substantial wholesale business or manufacturing or retail business — would need to work with at least a tier two ERP. And for the implementation of a tier two ERP like Sage or Pronto, Carmel strongly suggests engaging the services of an ERP specialist rather than just seeking input from the ERP company.
“An ERP specialist understands the relationship between the modules,” Carmel says. “They can direct you in how purchasing will affect inventory and how plant maintenance will affect asset values — there is a holistic view of transactions.”
“And they know that when a problem occurs, a simple fix may just cause further error down the track. It’s important to understand the big picture.” Carmel Crane, ERP Specialist
Selecting the right ERP for your business
Just as small businesses would select a tier three ERP based on their requirements and the cost of the system, businesses selecting a tier one or two ERP do the same.
“The software is selected based on requirements, scope and cost,” Carmel notes. “Coca Cola are likely to run SAP or JDE, whereas a local operation with branches across Australia is more likely to go with Pronto or Sage.”
But she adds: “That said, just to contradict myself, I spoke with a company last week that had received an implementation quote from JDE for $1.8 million, and when I asked Pronto for the same requirements, they came back with a ballpark of $1.6 million. However, the quotes were for 30 licenses; most mid-range businesses will only use 10-15 licenses, so it would cost less.”
To select the right ERP — and for the right price! — engage an ERP specialist. Their knowledge of how various elements of your business operations — inventory or machinery maintenance — will affect your business, combined with their in-depth knowledge of ERP systems make them an invaluable resource.
How to find an ERP Specialist
Carmel Crane specialises in ERP systems for businesses in the mining and related sectors. Her knowledge of Xero & MYOB enables smaller businesses to get set up and systemised so they are better equipped to deal with larger clients.
As a Finance Manager, she works with businesses in the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Chillagoe to Charter Towers regions, Dalby through to Dubbo (including Broken Hill, Cobar and surrounds), and the Riverina, Wagga Wagga and Wyalong areas.
Carmel is looking to expand her list of clients in these and surrounding areas. If your business is in need of an experienced finance manager for managing Xero or MYOB or even a mid sized business looking for an ERP specialist, you can contact Carmel through the National Bookkeeping website.