Our Job Tracking and Projects Training Course case study highlights the seemingly simple example of the erection of a garden shed. Our client purchases the shed directly from a hardware supplier, then employs the services of a builder to deliver and erect the shed.
Although it seems very easy, just like life itself, the process is actually more complex than meets the eye. Here are the issues the tradie needs to consider:
Some of the products the tradesperson uses are stock (inventory),
others he needs to buy for the job,
others products and parts need to be purchased while on the job (expenses incurred by his staff).
Then there are circumstances which the tradie didn’t account for in his quote:
Some days the build is rained out and
some things end up taking longer than expected.
An extra staff member is required and the tradesperson then has to keep keep track of his worker’s timesheets,
In developing our course content, we actually liaise with the relevant suppliers, including various tradespeople, interviewing them and finding out the variations and possible blow outs they experience and the contingencies they implement to offset these.
We also draw on ATO benchmarking which compares the information gathered from your financial returns to the information the ATO gathers from all other similar businesses.
In many industries, no two jobs are the same, making estimating job costs and resources tough. Job tracking is one of the best ways to develop an accurate budget and avoid blow outs.
But this can be hard work. Are the latest job costing and tracking functions in MYOB AccountRight, QuickBooks Online and Xero making life easier?
Job tracking functions in your accounting software
As its name implies, job or project tracking is a way of keeping track of, and allocating, all costs and incomes to a particular job or project.
Job tracking has numerous benefits. It allows you to stay on schedule, budget for costs and resources efficiently and work out job profitability.
job tracking can be difficult
Part of the challenge of job tracking is making sure that staff members responsible for invoicing, paying accounts, and payroll functions, know exactly how to allocate costs in a job. They also need to know which jobs are active at any one time.
How job tracking affects Accounts payable and receivable workers
Similarly, accounts payable staff who receive supplier bills and need to allocate the costs to the correct jobs or cost centres.
Payroll staff, too, are involved in job tracking as they receive employee timesheets and need to allocate hours worked to the correct jobs.
How the different accounting programs “job track”
MYOB AccountRight Job Tracking
You can track job costs and revenue using the Jobs function of MYOB AccountRight. This is available in the Lists menu. (Note: Job tracking is not available in MYOB Essentials.) The Jobs List in MYOB AccountRight provides a snapshot of the profitability of each job.
Xero, too, has its own much awaited job tracking function, called Xero Projects. The introduction of Xero Projects has been great for those wanting to make the move from MYOB AccountRight.
However, Xero Projects isn’t exactly like tracking costs by job in MYOB. The Xero Projects module tracks time and expenses and a billing process generates invoices. However, you can’t track job costs by line on each invoice.
You can overcome this by creating tracking codes in Xero which would allow you to allocate costs/income as appropriate. This only becomes a little unwieldy if you run lots of different jobs. An addon like Workflow Max may be worth considering for these kind of operators.
‘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.
IF YOU’RE RECEIVING the job alerts everyday — indeed, you may even have applied for some jobs already — but you’re still not getting called up for interview, then the following questions of doubt may be brewing:
MYOB has recently changed their website and in particular their pages for the free trial software.
We’ve updated the FREE MYOB Trial (within our MYOB courses) so look for the link when you access your MYOB courses and use the free trial software to practice what you learn in the video tutorials and training workbooks.
While we’re on the topic of free MYOB software, did you know that we provide free training course samples for most of our online courses?
There are plenty of reasons that you have no experience: Changing careers, new graduate or re-entering the workforce after many years away (like when you’ve started a family and been out of the workforce as a parent). These circumstances justify your lack of experience but there are things you can do.
Our team has reviewed the features of some of Australia’s biggest job boards for accounting jobs and we’ve used some of the features that can help job seekers receive notifications when new jobs become available. There is hope and there are things you can do.
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.
NOT SO LONG AGO, bookkeepers and accountants only had to learn to work with one accounting program. That was back when MYOB, the market leader, had a strangle-hold on the industry, and though a few alternatives – Reckon, Quickbooks – tried to squeeze out a space for themselves, MYOB was too embedded in the accounting industry.
But the rise of cloud accounting has changed all that. Besides the reinvention of a couple of old brands (QuickBooks and Reckon – though the latter has exited the market again), it’s also birthed a new market leader in Xero, which now has more paid member accounts in Australia and New Zealand than arch rival MYOB.
A number of smaller players to have entered market, too. There’s Zoho, which has built an entire suite of productivity apps; and straightforward cloud accounting programs, such as Saasu and Freshbooks – to name only a few.
There was no big, expensive outlay to buy the software – Xero offers a free trial, after all – and for the most part, setting up a Xero account, creating invoices, estimates and recording expenses was remarkably easy.
Many bookkeepers, who had been working with MYOB, quickly started offering bookkeeping services in Xero, and there are many more who work exclusively in Xero.
These bookkeepers are usually part of the Xero Partner program, but there are some that just prefer using Xero because it’s cheaper and easier for their clients to use, which makes their job a lot easier.
Most bookkeepers are diversifying, not just in the services they offer (from only providing daily reconciliations services to providing BAS, payroll and credit management services) but also the programs they work with.
Many highly skilled bookkeepers not only work in MYOB and Xero, but some also work in larger enterprise reporting systems, such as Oracle and SAP.
Doing so enables, predominantly contract bookkeepers, to work with a range of different businesses and increase their income.
Even bookkeepers who don’t work with large enterprise reporting systems, but who do work with the major accounting programs Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks, are still able to increase their earning potential.
Learn the major accounting programs for one low price!
We are constantly updating our Special Offers page to include a variety of combination deals on our online training courses to provide established bookkeepers and would-be bookkeepers with the most training material for the lowest price.
In one of our current special offers, students who enrol in our MYOB AccountRight and Xero online courses will also receive QuickBooks Online and MYOB Essentials online courses FOR FREE.
Remember, becoming proficient in a number of different software packages takes you a long way towards being able to offer diverse services to your clients. Then you only have to decide which services to offer — BAS, payroll, credit management — or perhaps all three and more? One you know what you can offer your clients, you’re well on your way to operating a successful bookkeeping business.
Fast forward a decade, and Xero is now the preferred accounting software in Australia and New Zealand, with 692,000 subscribers compared with MYOB’s 585,000 paid users. (Overall, Xero claims 1.2 million subscribers worldwide.) In the 2016/17 financial year, Xero’s revenue increased 43 percent year-on-year to $295.4 million NZD ($271.7 million AUD); during the same period, MYOB’s revenue increased 13 percent to $370.4 million AUD.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice Xero has more paid subscribers than MYOB, but its revenue is about $100 million AUD behind. That’s largely due to differences in the price of both products.
So you can’t tell which one of Xero or MYOB is the true market leader — yet.
How Xero is growing their subscriber base
Basically, they’ve reached an impasse. There’s not much opportunity left in Australia and New Zealand (there are other players, like Intuit’s QuickBooks and Zoho competing the same space, too) to grow your subscriber base — unless you’ve a carrot to dangle under their noses that’ll lure them away from your competitor.
[Xero has lured people away from competitors via their] suite of apps, plug-ins and integrations [they’ve] added to their offering through acquisitions and partnerships — anything that would make Xero a one-stop-shop for small businesses…
Meanwhile, MYOB’s strategy for market share
To its credit, MYOB has pursued a similar strategy, acquiring payment firm PayCorp last year, which followed the launch of the company’s PayDirect Mobile and PayDirect Online payments service in 2014 and 2016 respectively, as part of MYOB’s push into payment processing technology.
MYOB also acquired Reckon’s accounting practice software last November for $180 million AUD. The company said the acquisition was part of MYOB’s strategy to see accountants become business advisors, rather than tax and compliance experts.
MYOB chief executive Tim Reed sees automation as being critical to the company’s ongoing success, as it pursues a “connected practice strategy,” which brings transaction processing, compliance and business advisory together and sees accountants become more like business coaches.
“They will be like personal trainers in the gym, but for business,” he said. “This is starting today. Accountants are already working down this process and what I’m seeing is the pace of change start to increase.”
And unlike Xero, which is simultaneously pursuing overseas markets (the U.K., North America, Southeast Asia), MYOB is content to stay focussed on its home market — Australia and New Zealand. (It’s also pushing deeper into big businesses with its enterprise software Greentree, acquired in 2016.)
Accountants and the cloud accounting ecosystem
With Xero pursuing code-free accounting, MYOB pushing into “connected practices,” and Intuit beefing up its own ecosystem of apps and integrations to simplify the bookkeeping and accounting process for small businesses, where does that leave accountants and bookkeepers?
Better off, actually.
Bookkeeping is a necessary step in the overall accounting process. But it’s the most time intensive one. There’s reconciling bank accounts, entering receipts, coding transactions, invoices, and so on. Small business owners don’t — or won’t — do it, so they outsource it to a bookkeeper or accountant, who has a preferred or in-house bookkeeper.
Despite being a time intensive task, it’s lower skilled work — like untangling a jumble of coat hangers; almost anyone can do it. And so it commands a lower rate of pay than other tasks, like financial forecasting, business planning and filing activity statements.
Automating elements of the accounting process, in particular the coding of transactions, eliminates inefficiencies and time wastage. Bookkeepers and accountants can charge their clients the same hourly rates, but they’ll spend much less time doing it.
More apps, more services
And with access to more apps — like a payroll plug-in — they can begin offering more services.
Just as QuickBooks, MYOB and Xero have become more valuable to their customers, by positioning themselves as a one-stop-shop for small business, accountants and bookkeepers can do the same.
Why would a business need to engage a data entry bookkeeper, a tax or BAS agent, and a payroll company when they can hire just one individual to manage all of these tasks efficiently in one cloud accounting program?
Food for thought: Why would a business need to engage a data entry bookkeeper, a tax or BAS agent, and a payroll company when they can hire just one individual to manage all of these tasks efficiently in one cloud accounting program?
And just as MYOB boss Tim Reed stated: Accountants and bookkeepers have already cottoned onto this.
But it means bookkeepers and accountants need to become more skilled at what they do; they need to possess a greater understanding of a wider array of softwares and systems in order to remain competitive.
And even though Intuit, MYOB and Xero have all acquired or partnered with companies that offer payroll platforms, there are still plenty of third parties businesses can choose to connect to their accounting system — that’s democratised accounting for you — so you need to watch the market, and keep your skills up-to-date.
Where to from here?
The cloud accounting space is certainly in flux. There’ll be more acquisitions, more technologies, and definitely more automation. There’ll also be more global companies, as more businesses export their goods and services overseas — and more fintech companies pursuing growth outside Australia.
KeyPay is one such company. It’s based in Wollongong in NSW, and last December announced it would expand its services to the U.K. — a pre-release was slated for January this year, with a full launch due in April.
According to CRN, the company grew 53 percent last year (though it didn’t specify what or how that “growth” was calculated; as a private company, it doesn’t disclose financials or its share of customers). And KeyPay’s co-founder Richard McLean said the company decided to enter the U.K. market because 60 percent of businesses there outsource their payroll to a third party company.
The company intends to rollout its automated payroll system in the U.K. first, with an Australian launch due later in year, and also plans to expand to New Zealand and Southeast Asia.