EzyLearn Worklife is a new initiative we’ve started this year, and it’s already proven to be a success!
We set out to hear from past students about their experiences with EzyLearn, and how they’re using the skills they learnt in their training in their work lives – and we’ve been hearing lots of interesting things from them.
From challenges they faced in their jobs, to skills they find help make tasks easier, we’ve been getting some amazing insight into the experiences of our students – and it’s only right we share them with you too!
Here are some of the things we’ve found from our Worklife interviews:
IT’S NEVER REALLY a good idea to work for new client or potential new clients for free, particularly if you’re an established business. But it’s also difficult getting a client to feel comfortable that you’ll do a good job for them, when they don’t know you from the proverbial bar of soap.
Aside from making you look professional and organised, it’ll also make your job easier because you’ve clearly outlined how you operate, what’s expected from the client in order for you to do your job, and what happens after you’ve finished your work.
For example, is BAS lodgement included in your fees, or is that additional? Do you follow up late payers on your client’s behalf or is that additional?
It’s a good idea to look at how much knowledge your new clients have of bookkeeping and the software you’ll be using (Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks, etc). Carry out some quick needs analysis during your consultation, so that if there are any areas they are unfamiliar with you’re both prepared and able to give them a quick overview. Further, in-depth training is a potential source of additional revenue, so be careful not to spend too much time here. All of this will help you form your bookkeeping business strategy and, in particular, ensure your rates are competitive, yet sustainable.
If you’d like to start a bookkeeping business, then visit our online bookkeeping directory, National Bookkeeping. You can find information about how to start your own bookkeeping business, promote yourself through our directory or become a licensee.
IN THE EARLY DAYS OF EZYLEARN, I spent most of my time going to people’s homes and teaching them how to use different kinds of software. Sometimes I was just helping them improve their software skills to increase their employability; other times, I would be teaching them brand new skills.
It’s known as ‘in-person’ or ‘one-on-one’ training, and the students who prefer this kind of training, find it very rewarding. Compared with group training in a classroom, students can work at their own pace, have individualised guidance from the trainer, and ultimately get more out of their training.
The benefits of in-person training
Of course, there are pros and cons to in-person training for both the student and the trainer. During the years I spent training students both in the classroom and in a one-on-one setting (these were the pre-internet days!), I determined the main benefits were:
As the trainer, you’re paid for your time and ability to determine the student’s needs and goals, and to develop a training program that’ll ensure they succeed.
Patience is a virtue — and a prerequisite if you’re going to provide one-on-one training. Students are paying more money to have a trainer modify their training sessions to suit their individual pace, not the pace of the ‘average’ student. If they need more time to move through the coursework, so be it. Be patient and let them learn.
Students are happiest when their trainer listens to them, is attentive to their needs, and explains the content in a logical order — without showing off all the things they know.
Students are happiest when their trainer listens to them, is attentive to their needs, and explains content in a logical order — without showing off all the things they know.
You can join EzyLearn as a training partner
As EzyLearn got busier, I had less time to go around training people in their homes, and focused more on classroom training. Over the years, we built up a large amount of training material that helps people learn in a methodical manner, which is why we could move our content online.
At EzyLearn we offer a handful of online training courses: Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook), MYOB Accounting, and WordPress website design and blogging. There are many companies who promote courses online and that’s just what they do — promote courses online — but we try to be a little different.
We offer only a handful of courses and we do them very well
Our courses come with LIFETIME Membership
As a student you receive fresh, new content without paying extra
Where possible, we provide real life exercise files so you can work with the software.
Our Online Community
Our experience with thousands of students has taught us that some students need more interaction than just the videos. They also like to bounce off other people to better understand the software they are learning.
That’s why we provide our Student Community and Tutor Support — to provide our students with the ability to communicate with fellow students, as well as ask questions of our experienced community moderators. It’s like having your own tutor that you can ask questions to who can provide quality answers based on their own experience in their relative industries.
Our students range from job seekers to small business owners and existing bookkeepers wanting to learn more, to accountants who may be thinking of leaving the corporate world and setting up a small business for themselves (or even seeking greater work-life balance).
Our student support community is moderated by our MYOB Bookkeeper and Registered BAS agent, giving students the benefit of both communication with other course attendees (to socialise and to learn) as well as obtain answers to specific questions.
Our Student Community and Tutor Support is provided on a yearly membership basis and you can continue or opt-out as you please each year. The service is available to existing EzyLearn students or new students enrolling into any one of our courses.
The feedback we receive from our students helps us to understand what’s working and what isn’t, which is why it’s invaluable to us that you get in touch and let us know what you think.
It was based on the feedback we received from our students that we decided to develop our Reach Accounting and Xero training courses. It is also based on the feedback we received that we changed the way we issued our certificates so that students received them faster and could use them to find work.
Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve received from our students recently:
“I found the workbooks the most helpful for giving practical experience.” — Karen Dimitri, Glengowrie SA 5044
“The best part is that you can do it on your own time and pace.” — Juliana van Wyk, Hilton WA 6163
“Short, easily digestable videos. Can fit in easily with a busy lifestyle.” — Korina Power, North Shore, Auckland 0630
“I could learn at my own pace.” — Jackie Smith, Sheidow Park, SA 5158
“Doing the workbooks and watching the videos at my own pace has helped me a lot in pursing the current workforce requirements.” — Merritt Ray, Loganholme QLD 4129
“I was able to finish the whole course in just a couple of weeks.” — YoonOck Lee, Atwell, WA 6164
“By watching videos on one particular topic and doing a test straight after relating to those videos, you don’t become too overwhelmed with too much information.” — Michelle Bankstown, NSW 2200
“I am happy as I could completely the course at my own pace. It was easy n simple to understand. As a mother I felt the course was very time efficient. Looking forward to putting my knowledge into action.” — Kimberline Francis, St James, WA 6102
“This course is best for me because I can access any time from home, I can replay any video provided when I didn’t understand.” — Mika Humphreys, Innisfail, QLD 4860
“Everything within the course itself was great. I liked the most how easy it was to understand and navigate through.” — Katie Davis, Whyalla, SA 5608
“Being able to actually move around the sample company file to get a feeling of how the software is structured, made me have more confident.” — Joy Khoo, Mudgee, NSW 2850
“The best parts of this course is that we get freedom to learn and complete this course in your own suitable time. There is not so much pressure that you have to complete in certain time limit. I would advise and recommend this course from EzyLearn to international students who want to further their career in bookkeeping and accounting. It was a great privilege to be part of your institute.” — Prabin Gurung, Auburn, NSW 2144
We’d love to hear from you too. Get in touch via our course evaluation page.
January is when we’re busiest processing enrolments in our MYOB courses, our Small Business Management courses and so on, and we’ve always been happy to be able to provide people with the training they need to make the career change they’ve been dreaming of. This January we also wanted to give you some advice on the two most dreaded aspects of applying for a new job: CVs and cover letters.
Fiona helped demystify the CV-writing process, which at one time or another has puzzled even the best of us. But in a job market where redundancies are almost commonplace, writing a CV is not just puzzling, it’s very often daunting, particularly for those people starting their career afresh.
Writing a Cover Letter Doesn’t Need to be Daunting!
But here’s the good news: it doesn’t need to be. Getting the job of your dreams has a lot to do with your ability to articulate yourself, which is where the cover letter comes into play.
It’s fair to say that many people see a cover letter as an afterthought; the way people see wrapping paper as the afterthought to a great gift. They spend all their time laboriously writing and fine-tuning their CV, to then put together a slap-dash covering letter just so that Seek will accept their job application.
Mistake. Big one.
Linking Back and Clarifying Your CV
Your cover letter is just as important as your CV. Aside from reinforcing all the information you’ve put into your CV, it shows that you didn’t mean to apply to some other job listed on Gumtree, and importantly, it allows you to show a recruiter or hiring manager why you’re suddenly looking to re-enter the workforce after several years of being out of it.
The key here is to be clear and concise. If you’ve been raising the kids for the last six years, write that. Don’t be vague and allude to something that could be interpreted as raising children or… being in prison.
But also don’t write a flowery vignette of your life. You need to show why you’re applying for the job you are; if it involves are change of field or industry, then explain why; why you’re qualified for the job, but not overqualified—this is important, because people that are overqualified are, to an employer, risky: you could get bored and leave, want more money than they can offer, or have difficulty with authority being that you’ve always been The Authority.
But remember: be clear and concise. And above all: don’t be bland. Recruiters read through hundreds of cover letters; they’re looking for the most qualified, most desirable person for the job. Don’t leave them wondering why you applied for the position you did. For some CV-writing help see this post; for help up-skilling, see the training courses we have on offer here.
If one of your resolutions was to find a new job this year, you’re probably not alone. Job seekers are most active during the early part of a new year, so if you’re planning on taking the next step in your career, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd.
Our Small Business Management and MYOB Training courses are most popular this time of year because training courses up your skill-sets and are a key way of ensuring you’re a cut above the competition. However, that’s only as long as you’ve got your CV in front of the right people.
This makes the role of your CV an extremely important one; a lack lustre CV can often be a deal-breaker for a recruiter at the other end of an email address filling up with enough CVs to blanket Siberia — twice.
What Makes Your CV Stand Out?
So what’s going to make your CV the one recruiters and employers shortlist for an interview? We spoke to recruitment specialist and director of Skills Savvy, Fiona Neumann, to get some insight on design, whether or not everyone embellishes on their CV, and what you should put in the dreaded “special interests” section.
Q: What are some dos and don’ts when it comes to formatting, layout, design, etc? Some people think the more creative the CV, the better chance you’ll have of standing out from the pack – is this necessarily true?
Fiona: There is no rule of thumb on what you should or shouldn’t do. It really depends on the job you’re applying for. For example: If you are applying for a graphic designer role or another artistic role, then the recruiter will definitely be looking for a CV that stands out in a creative way. If it is a sales or service role then some candidates can be a little creative by adding their profile picture to the top of the CV. I personally like this, as long as it is a professional photo. This is a great way to stand out.
Q: Should your CV (and cover letter) show a bit of your personality, or is it safer to save that for the interview?
Fiona: I believe your personality comes through via your cover letter and your CV in subtle ways. When candidates place their photo at the top of their CV, this demonstrates that they are willing to put themselves out there and it shows confidence. The language a person uses also shows their personality. These are subtle ways. If your CV and cover letter is written in a way that articulates why you are the best person for the role then a recruiter will call you. A phone interview and a face-to-face interview is where the recruiter/hiring manager will see your personality.
Q: Embellishing your CV – does everyone really do it? And if so, where does that leave the honest jobseekers?
Fiona: Great question. No I don’t believe that everyone embellishes on their CV. Besides, a great recruiter is able to read between the lines and ask the candidate the right questions. The recruiter can then work out what is fact and what is fiction. A CV is important, but it is only one part of the recruitment process. If a person has written something on their CV then they will need to be able to answer questions during a phone interview or a face-to-face interview to back up their CV — and if they’ve embellished or lied in their CV, they probably won’t be able to answer the recruiter’s questions.
Q: Lastly, does any recruiter/employer really care that your interests include collecting antique teacups and reading crime novels?
Fiona: I personally like it [the special interests section], because you never know what the hiring manager may be looking for. Plus, including your interests does, in a subtle way, demonstrate personality, which helps recruiters and hiring managers determine whether you’d fit with the culture of an organisation. Take these two different examples of special interests: “I enjoy spending weekends with my family, going out for dinner and reading books,” and “I love to party, going to see live bands and watching Formula 1 racing.” There is no right or wrong answer, but you can see you are probably dealing with two completely different personalities, and while I would never discount someone based only on their special interests, it does tell me a little more about the person behind the CV.
Need a resume or want to start a home based business?
For any new business, it’s important to market your new business so develop new leads and customers, but it’s also important that your marketing costs don’t outweigh your income. In the marketing module of our small business management course, we talk about Google Adwords, which is a low-cost way to advertise your business online, using keywords.
Another Option is Facebook
Facebook is also another option for businesses large and small, but we think it works particularly well for small businesses, due to the community-minded nature of Facebook, itself.
There’s an old saying around EzyLearn: People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. Facebook helps you to develop online relationships with your customers, allowing them to get to know, like and trust you.
But in case you’re still not convinced, here are another 6 reasons why you should be on Facebook:
Population and penetration: We know that over 1 billion people are on Facebook, but what’s the penetration rate for a market, like the USA, for example? 67 percent of internet users in the US are on Facebook; in Australia that penetration rate is much higher—82 percent.
Age: Facebook skews young—83 percent of 18-29 year olds are on Facebook—but the 45-54 age-bracket has also seen 46 percent growth since the end of 2012.
Income: The incomes of Facebook users higher than any other social media platform. 73 percent of Facebook users earn more than AUD$75,000 compared to 17 percent for Twitter.
Mobile: Social media is the most popular social media app on smartphones and accounts for 66 percent of total social media sharing on iphones.
Gender: Like every other adverting medium, Facebook also skews toward women, but it’s still more gender neutral than Google+ or Pinterest.
Education: Nearly 75 percent of Australian Facebook users have some form of university or tertiary education.
If you’re looking to target any or all of these demographics for your small business marketing campaign, then create a Facebook page and start marketing your services to your followers.
We use this blog to provide some free samples of our training materials as well as inform readers about the features of our online MYOB and Microsoft Excel Training Courses. Today I am going to demonstrate the key features about performing a bank reconciliation using MYOB and how our EzyLearn ANSWER student support service helps bookkeeping students.
A bank reconciliation in MYOB is what brings your MYOB datafile back to reality. Your bank statement shows the truth about what money has gone into and out of your bank account and provides you with the blueprint you need to reconcile your MYOB accounting system. The video below demonstrates that once you have performed all your Day-to-Day Transactions a bank reconciliation makes sure that you have entered all the information you need to. At the end of a bank reconciliation your MYOB data is correct and you can start to run reports and get some great up-to-date information about your business.
MYOB releases new versions of their software most years and usually at the beginning of each new tax year to coincide with new PAYG tax tables and they are currently going through a race to the cloud to compete with many new startups like Xero, SAASU, Reach Accounting and FreshBooks. Some times these upgrades haven’t gone smoothly and students ask us how to perform actions in our training workbooks using MYOB. To help students in these scenarios we launch EzyLearn ANSWERS in May 2011 and this is one of the results we release via our blog. There are many other support blogs we’ve written so feel free to search our blog for answers.
If you have subscribed to our blog and are reading this via email, click on the heading to get to our website to see the free training video.
As part of our CPD program for bookkeepers we are discovering, compiling and happily sharing the results of our research. In this blog post we reveal a valuable link of essential tools for bookkeepers.
As a bookkeeper you help you clients with ABN information, Business Activity Statements, Payroll and PAYG Informtion and a host of other activities. It is also common for you to be more accessable than a business’s own accountant so you are often asked for official information relating to communications with the Australian Tax Office.
This link is an essential tool for bookkeepers because it contains a table of links and instructions about topics you may be asked about as a bookkeeper.
Payroll is one of the most significant costs involved in operating a business and also represents the main form of income for Australian workers. Our MYOB course development for the coming months is focused on increasing the depth of skills taught about how to handle Payroll using MYOB accounting software.
The beta version of our latest training guide for Payroll is now available as part of the 17 new MYOB training tutorial videos we have produced for the MYOB Payroll course. The videos provide the visual demonstrations for the tasks that are covered in the workbook and the workbooks provides you with step by step instructions about how to load tax tables, create employees, process pays and perform reconciliation and end of year tasks regarding payroll.
Our MYOB Payroll case study for the course involves a hair styling salon that employs staff to operate their salon. Follow their journey as new employees come on board.
There will be more to come so make sure you subscribe so you can receive these blog posts via your email. We’ll also be producing some Excel spreadsheet files for students to use regarding payroll and we’ll have some free demonstration videos as well.
Sometimes we release training videos for free to help our readers and students and also demonstrate the quality of the videos in our online training courses for Microsoft Office, MYOB accounting software and WordPress Content Management Systems.
Today we release a training video that demonstrations via video how to create your own signature in Microsoft Outlook. I personally prefer to use Google Apps for my email because of its SPAM capabilities as well as the fact that I can log in from any web-enabled computer and send/receive emails.
In this video Allison demonstrates an easy way to create a signature, format the text, insert an image (our logo) and save it. She then looks at associating that signature with new email messages as well as replies and forwards. You might be aware that Outlook enables you to setup many different email addresses and this great tool can be used for each of them.
If you are reading this blog post via email, click the heading to see the video at our blog site. If you want to start receiving these via your email inbox feel free to subscribe. Want to see our range of online training courses?
There are many questions that we get asked each day and one of them is “Can I start the course tonight?” I’m writing this blog to let you know that we are all people at EzyLearn and if you have an urgent need we’ll try to help you.
Rowena called and asked this question today because another company that was advertising an MYOB online training course was experiencing difficulties with the person that manages their online system, they couldn’t even get her enrolled and started!
The good news is that there are several EzyLearn team members that can get you started and using our online training system and we manage the whole process ourselves.
Why is this important? and why do I blog about it? Because we promote “Enrol today and start by 5pm tomorrow”. We actually perform enrolments EVERY DAY and we only make the “5pm next business day” promise as a safety net if we get excessively busy.
We also say that “our online training courses are the best online training offer in Australia” and what this means is that we offer EzyLearn ANSWERS and the Student Community and Tutor Support because we are constantly adding content to our MYOB, Excel and WordPress courses. If you are one of our students and there is a topic you are experiencing that is not covered in our course content, we will commission the relevant expert to create a training guide and make it available to you!
Oh, and have a great Easter long weekend. Remember you can enrol today and start after Easter if you want.
Bank Reconciliation can be a tricky task to master, and that is before you master the motivation to get started! We have a project in our MYOB Bank Reconciliation course where you have to create a new company file, import accounts and transactions and perform a bank reconciliation. It’s a lot like a real world scenario and it causes some grief for existing students so we added an extra guide to help.
We’ve also receive requests in our EzyLearn ANSWER service from students who want help and instructions on how to email invoices using the latest version of MYOB (version 2011) so we have created a guide about how to do it.
Stay tuned for more Student Support Guides over the coming weeks. Enrol to start now and learn at your own pace. Take advantage of LIFETIME student course access and great student support features like EzyLearn ANSWERS and our Student Community and Tutor Support.