It almost seemed like Xero was giving you $27.50 of extra value when they announced their $2 per month increase last week. These effects take effect on 18 March 2020 but not everyone wants Hubdoc and competitors like QuickBooks already offered similar functionality!
Xero has had a love/hate relationship with bookkeepers ever since the days when they promoted their accounting software as so easy that small business owners could use it themselves – without the cost of a bookkeeper – and it looks like they are well on their way with this mission. Continue reading Xero going up a pesky $2 rather than $27.50
I can use Word, it’s easy! How many times have you heard that?
When we performed skills assessments for CRS Australia at our Dee Why training Centre we’d have lots of clients come in and tell us how great they were at using Microsoft Word, until we asked them to show us how to perform some of the Intermediate Word skills.
Looking through Seek for data entry jobs yesterday reminded me of the training courses we offered when we operated our Dee Why training centre. It was the dotcom boom and MYOB Accounts Receivable and Payable courses were our popular weekend courses but most students needed more basic data entry skills.
Data entry skills include typing, editing documents, entering data into spreadsheets, saving files and then opening, editing and saving them again!
More job seekers have data entry skills but there’s so much more to know about basic Word and Excel usage that employers need you to know.
‘Social proof’ is testimonials, reviews and feedback of others, that vouches for the product or service we’re thinking of buying. Social proof backs up the fact that what we’re considering buying is what it says it is.
Come see some social proof about EzyLearn by meeting some students from the past few weeks — you just might have a lot in common with them.
I WAS BROWSING THROUGH my contacts on LinkedIn and found an advertisement by a company that was looking to hire people.
They were in the AI (Artificial Intelligence) space and their headquarters were in Europe.
However, the ad looked like it could be for any company including trades, professional services etc.
Here’s what the ad contained:
Executive Assistant / Office Manager
The Executive Assistant / Office Manager will be primarily responsible for helping to keep everyone (and everything) working at peak performance. We’re a growing company, and there will be new and interesting challenges every day. Ideal candidates are curious and interested in learning more about what we do, and always interested in learning new skills and taking on new challenges.
Manage all aspects of office administration
Coordinate team schedules and events
Manage executive schedules
Handle payment of invoices and associated bookkeeping
Order supplies and equipment
Excellent verbal and written English communication skills
Strong organizational and time management skills
Ability to work with minimum supervision, prioritizing work as needed
Strong knowledge of office applications, including Word, Powerpoint, and Excel
The training you need
Apart from the soft skills like good time management, communications, speaking and writing the software skills you can learn to apply for this job are:
Why I’m sharing this ad is that I reckon it encapsulates “the perfect” administrative or executive assistant, or office manager. What I mean is that anybody possessing all the skills and capabilities listed above would be well qualified for almost any job in this area — for pretty much any type of company.
And they wouldn’t be limited to any particular industry either. Any intelligent person who is a quick learner would be able to pick up the nuances for various different industries and apply their skills as necessary.
Being Jack of All Trades can land you in hot water with BAS
IT’S PERHAPS EASIER TO do your own bookkeeping these days than it used to be; particularly if you’re using a cloud accounting program like MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks, which are among the easiest, yet robust, accounting applications currently on the market.
But even so, there are many aspects of Australian tax that, while accounting software makes it possible to carry them out yourself (like business activity statements, for example), it’s not a good idea unless you really know what you’re doing. Here are the three GST mistakes nearly every business owner makes in their bookkeeping.
Claiming GST twice
This is most common when a business has vehicles, machinery, plant equipment, etcetera that are either being leased or are under hire purchase. The business owner’s accountant will typically claim the full GST component for in the first quarter that the business purchased the equipment, but confusion generally sets in when it comes to recording regular monthly payments.
Very often the business owner will record it as GST or a capital expense, and because both show up in their BAS reporting sheet, they end up claiming the GST twice.
Recording GST for all expenses
There are many expenses that do attract GST. They include:
Motor vehicle registrations
Paypal transaction fees
Interest and director fees / drawings.
Claiming GST credits on purchases from suppliers not registered for GST
Not all business owners are registered for GST, and although they should state somewhere on their invoice that no GST has been charged, oftentimes they’ll leave you to assume that. As a general rule of thumb, if the invoice doesn’t show an amount in the GST column, there’s a good chance the supplier isn’t registered. To make sure, though, visit the ABN Lookup Page and search their ABN.
Accounting software is easier, but Aussie tax remains as complicated as ever
Even though MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks are among the most user friendly accounting software applications on the market, Australia’s tax laws remain as complicated as they’ve ever been. So while you can do your own data entry (reconciling your bank statements), it’s a good idea to hire a BAS or Tax agent to look after the more complicated aspects of your tax and BAS requirements.
Want to learn or brush up your cloud accounting and bookkeeping skills?
National Bookkeeping is an online directory of local bookkeepers looking to add to their customers. Visit National Bookkeeping to find a suitable and experienced person available to work in your area, or able to work anywhere in the cloud. Alternatively, if you are a bookkeeper looking to expand your client list or find contract work, you can register and become part of our network for free.
DO YOU KNOW THERE is no reason to find a job interview nerve wracking, even though so many people do. It’s simple enough to understand why. People put a lot of pressure on themselves to give the best impression and come out as the successful candidate. And look, these things are important, no argument there, but together the pressure to give a good impression AND win the job itself, can conspire to turn you into a “yes man” (or woman).
A job interview is about finding a suitable candidate for a position available at a company. This is not a one way street. As much as you need to give a good impression, so does the company, and if you look at it that way — that you’re interviewing them as much as they are you — it takes the pressure off A LOT.
I don’t just mean at the end when they ask if you have any questions — honestly, you’re probably not likely to have any questions by this point, because if you’ve been paying attention, you should have covered any of questions you had going in.
When you’re asked how you would handle a particular situation or what your approach to something might be, ask for more information if you need or qualify the situation they’re referring. People are often afraid to do this in case they look silly, when actually it makes you look quite smart, and show that you’re not afraid of authority.
Take your time
Don’t rush to answer a question. There’s no real way to prepare for an interviewer’s questions, and they know that. However, your answers should also be rooted in some previous experience you’ve had, so while it may take you a while to wrack your brains for a previous example, you shouldn’t be unable to answer either. If you can’t think of an exact experience, discuss a similar one and how you handled that.
Be yourself and relax
This is so important, because as much as the interviewer may be looking for the most skilled candidate, they’re also looking to make sure you’re not a robot. Show your personality, show you’re a human, establish some rapport with your interviewers. Some of the interview process is confirming you are what you say you are, but mostly it’s finding out if you’re someone they want working for them.
In the IT and engineering industry, interviews aren’t even set up to determine skill sets, but rather personality traits, because many companies today are looking for programmers and engineers who can communicate to stakeholders in plain English, rather than tech talk.
Remember, who you are in the interview should reflect and expand on who you are in your resume and cover letter. You can learn how to use PowerPoint to create a resume in our PowerPoint training courses. For more information, visit our website.
You can also brush up on Word for your resume presentation by enrolling in our Microsoft Word online training courses. You’ll be amazed at the things you can create with a comprehensive understanding of Word.
Gone are the days of excruciatingly dull PowerPoint slide presentations… Nowadays PowerPoint is the hidden gem used to generate animations, videos, movies, advertising and graphics. It’s a great ally to the marketer or social media person in your organisation. This creative program can also be used to conjure up the most beautiful and modern pictorial slides to enhance any presentation or induction.
And the truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work. If you don’t like the idea of this, well then maybe being self-employed isn’t for you! Why? Because in order to find the best work; the kind that you’ll love, you need to be always looking for it — or always be closing, if there any fans of Glengarry Glen Ross in the house tonight.
The truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work.
Do pay attention to design
I’m choosing to exclude the “grammar, spelling and punctuation” portion of this list, because if you don’t already know that’s important by now, then oh boy, I can’t help you. But formatting and design are important, whether you’re looking for work in a creative industry or not.
The key is to grab attention in less than half a minute. You can use different fonts, for instance, a larger plain font for headings and a smaller (perhaps serif) font for the body text. You can type your resume up in Word or use PowerPoint or some other design tool. But just don’t get ahead of yourself and use something too fancy that you don’t have a proper grasp of and end up with a resume that is hotchpotch and messy.
These days, some recruiters will even upload your resume into their own “system” which “parses” your content and basically re-formats it all into plain text. If this happens, your gorgeous CV will look very different on the screen of the employer. The simpler the design and layout of the original resume, the easier it will be for them to read if they indeed use this system for getting through the applications of hundreds of job applicants. But don’t feel disheartened, there are others ways to get spotted amongst the crowd.
Don’t use jargon
The next hurdle, once you’ve got the recruiter or hiring manager reading your resume or cover letter, is to urge them to call you. Do not, I repeat, do not use jargon of any kind in either your resume or cover letter. The minute someone reads a sentence that starts with or contains “experienced in”, “team player”, “responsible for”, etc, etc, they switch off.
These phrases mean literally nothing. Nothing. Telling someone you’re a team player: redundant. Everyone should be a team player, and there is no one, not a single person ever, who has written on their resume that they’re not one. Instead, tell the employer what you like about working in a team. (On a similar note, also avoid the term “able to work autonomously” by explaining the times you’ve had to and how that’s gone.)
When you go to use the words “experienced in” try to remind yourself that this is something that happens to you — not something you proactively go out and do. Instead refer to your background in terms of achievements. Search “typical jargon to avoid on a resume” for more.
Do show your personality
Remember that employers are people too. Work culture is important to lots of businesses, so they need to know that any potential new hire, freelance or otherwise, will be able to fit in and work with them. And if you can make the person reading your resume laugh, oftentimes you’ll get a call back.
Don’t list silly interests
I should add a qualifier to that, which says that it’s okay to list a really silly interest if you know and make a point of noting that it’s a silly interest. This makes you seem thoughtful, and definitely not as dumb as a person who says they like reading or sports on their resume. Reading what? It implies novels, but it could also mean signposts, Aldi catalogues, Post It Notes. And if you like playing cricket more than once a year on Boxing Day, then for the love of all that is holy (cricket on Boxing Day), say that. Otherwise, put down interests that you actually are interested in — they reveal a lot about the type of person you are, which again, goes to help with the point above.
First off, there are two kinds of audio you can use in a PowerPoint presentation: pre-recorded audio and audio you record yourself. You’ll learn how to record and insert your own audio files into PowerPoint in our PowerPoint Training Course.
When you might use pre-recorded audio
If you’ve ever fiddled around with PowerPoint, you’d notice there are a few audio sounds you can use insert into your slides. They’re mostly generic sound effects, like the sound of waves or a bird chirping. To be honest with you, none of these are ever appropriate in a PowerPoint presentation, except in some really obscure instances. Or less obscure ones, like a training course teaching you how to insert pre-recorded audio into PowerPoint!
You can also add pre-recorded audio that you have on your computer, like a song from your music library. Again, there are few instances when this is necessary, but it’s another option nonetheless.
Adding audio you record yourself
And here is where the answer to using audio in PowerPoint really lies. You can record your own audio, using QuickTime if you’re an Apple user, or Sounds Recorder if you’re using an older version of Windows; otherwise you can also record it on your mobile or digital recorder and import it onto your computer.
You would use this audio if you were going to upload your presentation to your website for a webinar, or for people to watch online afterwards. EzyLearn uses it in some of of online training courses. You could use audio in your induction training courses, too.
Why It Pays to Call the Switchboard When Doing a Reference Check
I recently had a conversation with a colleague who said she’d never once been asked to produce a copy of her university degree or her transcripts, despite stating on her resume that she’d graduated with a high distinction average.
Gee, I thought, not once? Not a single recruiter or employer had ever requested a copy of her degree? I found this fact astonishing, particularly since more professions require, by law, certain qualifications — as BAS agents are, for example. So how people know my friend wasn’t fibbing in her credentials? Fact is, they didn’t.
Check, even if you use a recruiter
I wrote a blog some time ago about recruiting on LinkedIn and why it’s so important to check references for yourself. People often underestimate the importance of checking a person’s credentials, so long as they get a reference from their last employer. Often, though, most people only provide a mobile number for their references, so whether you’re speaking to the candidate’s former employer, a co-worker, or their mum is sometimes anyone’s guess.
I was reminded of how important reference-checking is again, when I was reading a couple of articles on Longreads, and I found myself utterly fascinated by two of the biggest cases of journalistic fraud ever committed (though I admit to having never heard of them before the weekend, despite one occurring more than 30 years ago).
Sometimes people don’t just lie on their resume
In the first instance, a journalist named Janet Cooke fabricated a story for TheWashington Post about an 8-year-old heroin addict. She won a Pulitzer Prize for it in 1981, and then had to give it back when it came out that there was no such 8-year-old. In the second case, Jayson Blair, a journalist for The New York Times, was found to have fabricated or plagiarised 36 out of 73 stories written over a 6-month period, in what turned out to be the biggest scandal in the newspaper’s hundred-plus year history.
What I found most intriguing, though, was that neither Cooke nor Blair had been properly vetted before their employers hired them. In fact, it was Cooke’s falsified resume that was ultimately her undoing when, after receiving the highest honour in the field of writing, a former employer noticed something was amiss with her Pulitzer biography — her education and professional achievements had been grossly overstated. (Rather ironically it was Bob Woodward, of Woodward and Bernstein — the journalists who uncovered the Watergate Scandal — who signed off on hiring Cooke.)
The same would prove true for Blair, who, it turned out, never graduated from university, and had a murky work history with the Times’ sister publication, The Boston Globe, where his superiors had been less than impressed with his less-than-high standard of work.
(Of course, the equally interesting case of Australian author, Helen Demidenko, who won the Miles Franklin Award in the early 1990s, only to later be dubbed by the Sydney Morning Herald as a ‘literary hoax’ also springs to mind.)
Benders-of-truth almost always get caught
Plenty of people lie or embellish on their resumes, and while a good majority of them go unnoticed, others are caught out — sometimes very publicly, and often only after the organisation has been very publicly embarrassed, as in the case of Cooke and Blair.
My advice, then, is to always check the references of new hires meticulously. Rather than calling the mobile numbers or direct lines of the candidate’s references, call the main switchboard and ask to speak to that person’s manager or superior.
And always ensure to ask for a copy of any credentials, like university degrees. If you’re employing someone where, by law, they’re required to hold a certain qualification — as is the case for BAS agents, for instance — it’s imperative you can verify the person’s credentials.
We’ve had several hundred bookkeepers Pre-Qualify for our National Bookkeeping, Bookkeeper Directory and most of them upload a resume demonstrating their qualifications, experience and references but I’m baffled at how bad the formatting is in these resumes!
To help our students do the best job presenting themselves on paper we’re including the Microsoft Word Course for free when you enrol into either the MYOB Courses or Microsoft Excel Courses (when you choose the all courses and 12 months access with Certificate option). That’s a saving of $267!
The problem with making mistakes with your Microsoft Word formatting is that questions could come up in an interview. The Interviewer might throw in a question about software skills, particularly if you’ll be writing some detailed reports or proposals, forecasts etc. in the new job.
Here are some extra tips for Bookkeeper resumes
Most of the Microsoft Word skills you need to write a good resume are covered in our Word Intermediate Courses, but we’re including the entire 9 courses so you can become a power Microsoft Word user! Here are a couple other things to think about when writing you resume:
Include an image – it makes you stand out and brings the reader closer (make it a selfie where you’re smiling 🙂
Include your full name and desired role in the filename (we’re all using files these days! use it to your advantage)
The last one about filenames is a big one because if interviewers are like me they’ll put all the resumes for one role into a folder and I find myself renaming most of them!
FREE Microsoft Word Workbook
We spend a lot of time on marketing so I assume that you know we offer free samples of our training material, but I should mention again that the Microsoft Word sample is actually the entire Word Beginners Course 201 Training Workbook, make sure you get it! Get it now.
Quickbooks Course Update
It’s been a while in the making, but we have the final draft of our Quickbooks Course workbook! Unlike some training companies, we write up a detailed course story based on a real business scenario and use that as the basis for recording our screen videos that demonstrate how to use the software. We’ve had a huge number of Course Alert Registrations and they’ll ALL receive a free copy of the workbook, so if you haven’t already registered do it NOW!
EzyLearn Wholesale Partner Update
I made a brief reference to our new Enrolment Voucher system in a recent post about BAS deadlines and we’ve got an update. The new enrolment voucher system is now in beta testing which means we’ll shortly be inviting EzyLearn students who love our courses to receive a massive wholesale discount on selected courses. Make sure you register your interest.
Critical Office Skills and Job Seeker Confidence with Microsoft Office Essentials
A HUGE PERCENTAGE of EzyLearn students complete an online course with us because they are looking for a new job. However, many people lack confidence because they are not competent using Microsoft Office software programs.
At EzyLearn, we have always included Beginners to Advanced-level training content for our software courses; we don’t want students wasting their time worrying about whether they should do Beginners, Intermediate or Advanced. That said, we’ve consistently had requests for a combination course.
One of the most powerful internet based applications that we use everyday is Dropbox. It’s powerful because it enables you to automatically backup any files you save into your Dropbox folder AND it enables you to access your files from any computer. When you delve deeper into Dropbox and start using it on your Smartphone you’ll also discover that every photo you take on your phone (and screen shot) can be automatically saved into your “Camera Uploads” folder within Dropbox so no matter how much phone storage space you have you’ll always have a copy of images in Dropbox.
I personally use Google Apps for emailing, contacts, calendar etc because many years ago when I made the switch it was free and Google’s email program (gmail) had the best SPAM filtering on the market so I was guaranteed to only receive the emails I wanted and not all the rubbish — before then I used Microsoft Outlook for many years. Our Microsoft Outlook courses will teach you how to:
Manage your emails
Manage your calendar and meeting appointments
Manage contacts and use Outlook as a CRM
Manage tasks and checklists
Our Microsoft Outlook training course is not available separately but is included as part of our Microsoft Office Beginners Essentials training courses. With a confident knowledge of all of these Microsoft Office Productivity programs you’ll perform better in any job interview and who knows maybe even be able to help other people in the organisation!
Would you like to be an EzyLearn Trainer?
We’ve beefed up our EzyLearn Partner program — if you want to earn a couple hundred dollars a week OR make a living out of using and teaching people how to use computer software, Internet services, accounting software and online marketing, then take a look at our EzyLearn Partner page.
Case Study: Tradespeople Using Xero Cloud Accounting
Tradies across Australia are getting onto the cloud for their accounting and there’s a good reason for it — many busy people can use the system from remote locations to get their work done.
This means the estimator can use it to generate a quote at a site, the office administrator can convert quotes to orders and invoices and the remote contractor can sign in and do accounts receivable calls from their home office. This is good news! All major accounting programs now offer cloud access — MYOB, Xero and Intuit Quickbooks.
I wrote in the past about Rohan from Painters, Men in White; Ken the home theatre installer and Jason the kitchen appliance repairer. Today I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a case study in the Xero Daily Transactions course that relates to the building and construction industry — in particular a concreting business that quotes for the pouring of a 3 level apartment building. Sue, a contract bookkeeper from Yarra Junction helped me write this Case Study based on her experience in the building sector and in particular with concrete companies.
Bookkeepers Upskilling with EzyLearn
Sue is typical of the students who enrol with us to broaden their skills in cloud accounting — existing bookkeepers who want to upskill. She has a lot of experience in the day-to-day management and accounts for tradespeople and found that she could perform the bookkeeping from her own home at any time.
We’re Constantly Updating Online Course Content
While I’m blowing my trumpet I may as well add that this is an example of what we promote with our online courses — that during your student access period you’ll have access to ALL the courses you’ve enrolled into including updates and new content. This is particularly useful for MYOB and Excel Course students who enrol using the LIFETIME course access option.
Xero Course Student Testimonials
I haven’t posted any new pages with student testimonials to the website for a while (but they come in with every course) but today it must be trumpet-practising time for me because here I blow again! When Sue completed the course, she commented:
“I would recommend this learning site to others and I am thinking about studying Excel next with this learning centre“. She also commented: “Convenient in that I can do it from home at my own leisure. The price was very reasonable.“
While Sue was working with us we put her through our Microsoft Word and Excel courses at no cost and the main thing that really stands out to me is how much everyone benefits by doing a Microsoft Word course!
Use Microsoft Word to Create Xero Courses
Many students enquire about the Microsoft Excel courses because spreadsheets are complicated for people who don’t know how to use them. However, I never cease to be amazed at how many people confidently state, “I know how to use Word, that’s easy”.
Microsoft Word is used in so many aspects of a business yet too many people think that just because they can type they are good at Word. Things like:
are covered in our 203 to 205 courses (so they are considered beginners to intermediate Word skills) yet I am surprised at the number of people I meet who don’t truly understand how these work!
When we work with a new contractor, even as part of our National Bookkeeping Network, we ask new members to write up an education guide if a bookkeeping customer is looking for a certain task to be completed. We end up putting the bookkeeper through our Word course and they discover a whole new world of computer skills that enable them to do more office admin work for their employers or customers — particularly when it comes to long form documents like instruction guides, tenders and even eBooks which are becoming increasing used in online digital marketing.
Bookkeepers Can Be Great Web Designers!
As I’m sharing so many EzyLearn student stories, I’ll provide another example of a recent student, Helen from Bright in Victoria (check out where Bright is located in Google maps and you’ll see just how far away she is from the nearest capital city — again, the beauty of working from home using the internet!)
Helen is a Registered BAS Agent and has been for a long time. She performs all the bookkeeping tasks that many of our students aim to offer by being a BAS agent, but she is also interested in being a little more visually creative — at least part of the time — so she completed our WordPress Course and as a result we’ve introduced her to some clients. Since then she’s actually been paid for creating and editing websites! One website she created and continues to edit as required is for ANOTHER student, Sonia who completed our MYOB course years ago to help her with her husband’s business!
Sonia now spends a lot of her time teaching mums (AND dad’s) about baby massage and how they can use infant massage to build a bond with their new baby and help them relax when they are uncomfortable. With a nursing degree and a huge amount of experience with children, Sonia is able to help parents and babies alike create a special bond through touch, and ease new parents into the sometimes stressful experience of welcoming a new baby into their family.
I hope I’ve managed to share with you how we genuinely like to support our students and clients in their journey. We welcome your feedback and love to hear directly how you’re progressing along the way, how we can improve what we do, and any other input you may have.
If you’re looking for a new job, we can advise you on our comprehensive courses with lots of content and examples and a fantastic price. If you’re looking to start a new business we can help you with our Business Startup Course. If you’re a small business in need of a good bookkeeper, writer or website designer — we can connect you.
Stay tuned for some new training content releases about Selling Your Property, Facebook Marketing and Intuit Quickbooks.
Free Excel, Word, WordPress and PowerPoint Courses
We’ve secretly been offering these courses for free for at least 6 months so students (if you’re already one) will have known about it, but I wanted to tell everyone that this is available. What does it mean? It means if you enrol into an MYOB or Xero course for example that once you log into our training site using your student account login details you’ll automatically be able to click on these courses and enrol yourself into the beginners course without paying any money or entering any course password!
We’ve always made samples of our training workbooks or videos available to students who want to learn more about EzyLearn and how we work so we want to do MORE for students who have made a commitment to pay for a course with EzyLearn.
How does it work
The first thing is to choose the course you want to do (or the combination of courses – to get a special offer discount!) and then enrol. Once you are a student in our system you’ll then be able to explore each of the other courses. When you get to the Free Courses (we use the term Free Student Inclusions) you’ll be able to enrol yourself and jump right into the course.
The great thing is we literally give you EVERYTHING in that course: videos, workbooks, exercise files and knowledge review tests, and not just a couple of training resources, so if you’re a beginner with any of those courses you’ll have the fundamental skills under your belt!