Tis the Season to Switch to Xero

MYOB – Bain Capital Cashing In While They Can

Switch to Quickbooks or Xero from MYOB
Intuit Quickbooks has made this offer for a long time already

You may be aware that MYOB is once again listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) as Bain Capital aim to grab some cash back for the massive investment they made in the accounting software company. In the recent lull in the share price of companies on the ASX in general you’d think that MYOB company executives are worried about getting their money back let alone making a return on their initial investment. After all they are now competing globally with small startups like Xero (and SAASU) as well as MASSIVE accounting software companies like Intuit.

We’ve always been committed to MYOB accounting software training courses because the software is so popular with most Australian accountants and it is (even today) by far the most used accounting program for small business in Australia.. BUT, we’ve noticed a significant increase in enrolments for our Xero Accounting Training Courses and we wondered why? Why is August and September such a popular time for enrolments in Xero and it was then obvious.

[quote]Everyone is finishing off their end of year accounts for the 2015 financial year and those that want to make a change away from MYOB are switching to Xero now.[/quote]

Our Xero Course is Now Beefed Up and it’s Yours for Nothing Extra

We’ve just increased the cost of our Xero courses because we’ve beefed it up with:

  1. 3 new Xero Training Course Workbooks,
  2. More detailed Xero knowledge review questions AND some
  3. Industry specific training guides for the tradies who want to change to Xero.

[box type=”tick” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Existing Xero students can access all of these new training aids for no extra cost and that is a great feature of our 12 month membership offer- you can lock in the current price and get all of the future benefits as we get the Xero course to the same level of detail as our popular MYOB courses.[/box]

Xero Seems to be the Tradies Choice

Plumbers are switching to Xero from MYOB accounting software
From The Reece Plumbing Website

Ever since I interviewed Ken from Love My Home Theatre I started to realise the appeal of Xero for tradies! Plumbers, Electricians, Concreters, Builders, Pest Inspectors, Painters and most other tradies are always out doing their work whether they are quoting, working or finishing off they are always seeing their customers and potential customers so it make sense for them to do as much as they can while they are ont and about. They also have to keep good records of:

  • Products they purchase for their customers
  • Resources they allocate to their customers
  • Money that is owed after the work is completed
  • Progress payments as the jobs are gradually completed

Bookkeeping is also something that isn’t second nature for tradies and it’s usually done by their wifes, partners, a trusted friend or someone who knows their industry very well. Being cloud-based (online) accounting software tradies can now create quotes using an iPad or other mobile device and the invoicing, debtors followwup and bank reconciliation can be done by a bookkeeper (from anywhere). Looking back through our blog posts I also discovered our blog about

For this reason we’ve created a Xero Training Guide for Plumbers and Concreters. We’ve got some classic examples of how a plumber may buy products from Reece plumbing on their account for one of their clients and they need to keep track of this purchase.

After School Holidays is a Good Time to Learn How to Use Xero?

If it is time for you to migrate or transfer your accounting information to a new platform we’d love to help you. We’ve also had a lot of bookkeepers learn how to use Xero so it’s clear there is a ground swell to good online (cloud) accounting software and Xero seem to have done well so far. If you are interested in adding Xero to your pack of software skills take advantage of our current prices – you can always start your course when you come back from school holidays and the kids are back in school.

Will the NEW Quickbooks Make a Comeback?

I’ve written before about Quickbooks and they are still doing great stuff with their pricing. As the blog image above suggests they have maintained a steady first year discount for at least 12 months (from our observations) and maybe this is their strategy to squeeze the margins for much smaller startups like Xero.

It’s a good time to note that the Quickbooks we’re talking about is the NEW Quickbooks from the massive US Company Intuit, not the one that WAS distributed in Australia by Reckon before Intuit and Reckon dissolved their distribution agreement.

I’ve taken the time to explore Quickbooks and it’s pretty impressive and easy to use. If its something you want to learn about make sure you visit our Quickbooks Training Course page and pre-register to receive the course at an Introductory price.

Is Single Touch Payroll Really Dead?

For a while there it looked like the ATO would introduce single touch payroll for all Australian businesses by July 2016, but after feedback from the businesses community that original plan has been shelved – for now. With SuperStream simplifying the way businesses manage the superannuation contributions for their employees, it’s highly likely that we’ll be seeing some form of the single touch payroll model in the near future.

Single touch payroll was an initiative developed to simplify the payroll process for Australian businesses. Currently, most businesses are burdened with a number of tax and superannuation reporting obligations, which single touch payroll would have put an end to.

What exactly was single touch payroll?

Single touch payroll, like SuperStream, was a proposed interactive tool that would allow a business’s accounting software to automatically report payroll information for their employees to the the tax office, eliminating the need for businesses to report pay-as-you-go withholding (PAYGW) in their activity statements throughout the year, as well as end-of-year employee payment summaries.

There was also a proposed digital service that would have streamlined tax file number declarations and Super Choice forms, which would obviously reduce a lot of the red tape and paperwork associated with employing staff.

Single touch payroll would have integrated with nearly all accounting packages in Australia, including MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks, just as SuperStream does now, so why was it shelved by the ATO until further consultation with the business community?

Single touch could have caused cash flow problems

The main concern for many businesses was that single touch payroll would impact their cash flow by requiring employers to pay the tax withheld from wages and super guarantee payments at the same time they paid their employees’ wages. There were also concerns about whether compliance by July 2016 was realistically achievable for the majority of businesses, especially when the SuperStream changeover is still ongoing.

For businesses with a substantial number of employees, single touch payroll could have been a godsend. Unfortunately, the original proposal alienated smaller businesses by making it necessary to pay both tax and super guarantee payments at the same time as employee wages, when most employers currently make those payments to the ATO each quarter.

But that doesn’t mean the single touch payroll system has been scrapped altogether. The ATO, in consultation with industry groups and the Minister for Small Business, is working on developing another single touch payroll scheme that will make real-time payments for withholding and super guarantee payments voluntary, which will be tested with small business owners before it’s rolled out across the board.

There’s still life in single touch payroll yet

What single touch payroll really highlights is how important it is for small businesses to make sure that they’re using a current accounting software package – and there are many on the market, developed especially for small businesses – that supports SuperStream and will also support any other ATO initiatives, like single touch payroll.

If you’re not using an accounting package for your small business, it’s wise to choose one of the major accounting software providers, which Margaret Carey of Business EEz also suggested when we spoke to her not so long ago about SuperStream.

You can read more about SuperStream and the new measures the ATO has introduced to make payroll and superannuation compliance easier for small businesses by subscribing to our blog. Alternatively, if you’re a small business owner using either Xero or MYOB and you’d like to know how to properly setup and use payroll in your accounting software, enrol in one of our MYOB or Xero training courses today.

Is Xero now more appealing because of Inventory Management?

MYOB Account Right Plus Has Inventory Management, But…

Yarra Junction to Melbourne city for online MYOB, Excel, Xero training coursesThe premium MYOB product with the PLUS on the end of its name has always come with Inventory and Payroll. These have been the major services that justify the premium price that users have been willing to pay. Now Xero comes with it as standard! Is it another nail in MYOB’s coffin?

More content for our Xero online training courses

We’ve added a new team member, Sue from Yarra Junction in Victoria, and she has over 20 years experience performing bookkeeping and administration work for various clients as well as running her own business. Sue is writing a training guide that demonstrates how inventory (which was just announced this year at Xero) works. We’re using the same structure and information we use in our popular MYOB training course so you can see directly how the software programs are different from each other – apart from Xero being completely in the cloud so you can access it from any device anywhere.

The great thing about Sue…

Sue highlights yet again one of the great features about running an online business and working remotely in the cloud. Any business can work with staff or remote contractors from anywhere (in the world!). Sue is located over one hour’s drive from Melbourne and I’m sure the commute would be hell – it would cost her time and money in transport – yet because we operate on online environment our team are all over Australia! No more travel time, no more traffic, no more sitting in a carpark on the city roads in peak hour. Just a good internet connection and some competent computer skills and we’re off.

If you’re not sure by now, you’ll be happy to know that my focus has always been to help people learn how to use software. Why? So they can get the job they’re after or start their own business. If you like, you can watch a short video (sorry for not shaving for it!) where I talk about my Work at Home Seminar (or WAHSeminar) which is a program we’re constantly working on to help people operate a business or telework from their own home.

If you haven’t already read about it, read the blog I wrote about teleworking centres that are springing up all over regional areas of Australia. Make sure you ‘like’ this blog and share it with your friends on Facebook because the more we all encourage teleworking and the use of technology the more we’ll be able to take back dozens of lost hours each week in travel time (and cost).

All existing Xero course students receive this training

Like all EzyLearn courses, we offer all our training courses for one low price and include every training resource we create. This Xero training course content is the same – every student who has enrolled into the Xero course within the last 12 months will be able to access these new training resources when they’re published.

If you are a business looking to move across to Xero, feel free to write your questions or comments. If you are trying to find a way of working from home, please make contact. We’d love for you to share with us what you are going through. We can very probably help – and others can learn from it.

 

 

Free Xero Course with Excel and MYOB Courses

It’s a Good Year for Xero Cloud Accounting

Many accountants and businesses are now using Xero instead of MYOB so it's important for bookkeepers to be trained in this.
Many accountants and businesses are now using Xero instead of MYOB so it’s important for bookkeepers to be trained in this.

It’s been a surprising year this year for our Xero Training Courses. Xero must be doing something right with their marketing and strategy because we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of students enrolling for this course.

I was just speaking with one of our students only recently and she mentioned that of all the software programs she uses (and she uses them all) that Xero makes bookkeeping so easy that some of her clients who’ve gone onto it have reduced the number of hours that they employ her!

[quote]It’s a scary thought if you are an independent contractor who doesn’t have a professional services agreement in place for regular work with their clients, but it’s also a sign of the times for bookkeepers in the cloud (online) software era.[/quote]

The biggest reason for the ease of use? Bank Feeds. See below for our free Xero course offer..

Do Bookkeepers Need to Change What They Do?

Blog about Content Marketing and inbound marketingI recently wrote about content marketing and whether a bookkeeper is someone who can discuss or even recommend this service to the people they work for. The best way to think about this is how the bookkeeper role works in many companies, for example, do small businesses look for a bookkeeper who can provide a wider range of services than just bookkeeping? It’s common for a bookkeeper to work in the administration areas of a small business because finance and administration go hand in hand and it’s common for contractors who understand cloud based services to delve into and explore other cloud based services.

I was speaking to another bookkeeper who is a Registered BAS Agent about her website and online marketing and she was telling me about all these fantastic things she was doing to promote her own business.

[quote]After talking to her for an hour I started thinking that she is a good person to talk to about Internet marketing – and that perhaps she starts offering these services to her clients too![/quote]

In the end it often depends on the size of a bookkeepers clients and the type of work they want to do. When you develop your bookkeeping and accounting skills you become more valuable as an accounts contact, particularly as a Registered BAS Agent, however you can become more of a small business administrator if you are aware of how to manage many different parts of the business.

It’s a Great Time for Free Xero Courses with MYOB Course enrolment

Sorry, I digress.

[box type=”tick” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]What I really wanted to announce was our new fantastic special offer of a free Xero course or Microsoft Word course when you enrol into a Microsoft Excel or MYOB Training Course with EzyLearn.[/box]

Xero is great to know if you want to delve deeper into the various software programs available to do bookkeeping (and a great tool to offer if you want to operate a bookkeeping business from home). Microsoft Word is a great program to master if you want to create documents for yourself or the business you work for and the tool of choice for creating a great resume so you can get that next job you’re going for.

 

Saasu, Westpac, St George Bank Can Help Reach Independent Contractor Clients

SAASU and the Big Four

SAASU online cloud accounting free trial and prices

Saasu recently announced a new partnership with Westpac bank to deliver direct bank feeds to Saasu and Westpac customers, including those with St George business accounts. Among the new features, the Westpac/Saasu partnership promises ‘real-time insight into cash-flow with online invoices, expenses, banking, budgets, payroll, inventory and financial reports.’

We’ve been following emerging trends in accounting software to ensure our training courses meet current market demands. It’s why, in addition to our flagship MYOB Training Courses, we offer training courses in Xero and are currently developing an Intuit Quickbooks Online Training Course.

As a St George customer, one of our team members was interested in what this new partnership would mean for Saasu customers, and even wondered whether it would be worthwhile making the switch from MYOB, given Saasu’s relatively cheap offering of cloud-accounting software.

SAASU could easily replace Reach Accounting

I recently wrote of the sad news of Reach Accounting software shutting down and there might be some good news for independent contractors who operate their own business. SAASU – a privately owned Australian company has a $15 per month plan aimed at helping small business manage their bookkeeping in the cloud with cheap accounting software.

Direct bank feeds without the use of third-party providers

What I discovered was promising. For Westpac customers, the partnership brings the ability for Saasu to provide direct bank feeds for free, without the use of a third-party provider, which so many other cloud-accounting platforms use – even MYOB utilises BankLink, for example. For non-Westpac customers, little will change in terms of bank feeds; Saasu will continue to utilise the services of Yodlee for bank feeds just like Xero and Zoho.

Bank feeds eliminate nearly all of the data entry associated with bookkeeping, and they’ve been a revolution for small business owners and bookkeepers alike. As the most time-consuming, yet crucial, part of the bookkeeping process, automatic bank feeds, which pull your bank transactions into your accounting software, allow BAS agents to get on with actually preparing a client’s BAS, while business owners have an up-to-date picture of what’s happening with their cash-flow as it’s happening.

Bank feeds are changing the role of the bookkeeper

Note that I’ve mentioned BAS agent, rather than bookkeeper. Technically, the BAS agent I’m talking about is a bookkeeper, but with bank feeds now pretty well commonplace among most cloud-accounting apps, there’s really no need for them to engage in that tedious data entry process, freeing them up to take on more clients and earn more money.

So will our team member be switching to Saasu? No, not just yet. The latest Westpac partnership is promising and our independent contractor certainly liked the pricing, but Saasu lacks one major feature that our independent contractor couldn’t live without: a mobile app, or at least a well-functioning one. The current Saasu app hasn’t been updated since 2011, and doesn’t work on an iPhone running IOS 5 or higher, so despite the volume of small businesses that invoice from the road (think: tradies), Saasu appears to have neglected it’s mobile properties.

Mobile is the future of cloud-accounting

MYOB has the MYOB OnTheGo app that businesses can use to check outstanding payments, create invoices, and even update customer records. The app allows users to manage their accounts when they have the time – like in the few minutes waiting to meet with a business associate for lunch, for instance – rather than forcing them to set aside large portions of their time to stay on top of their accounts, which is really why bank feeds and cloud-accounting have become so popular. Of course, MYOB isn’t the only company to offer a mobile app – Xero, Quickbooks, and Zoho all offer mobile apps to compliment their desktop offerings.

As for Saasu, they’re certainly the ones to watch. For what was once a nimble Aussie startup to have partnered with one of the big four banks, it shows that there’s a new frontier of cloud-account nearly upon us.

Finally! Tax Deductions for Cars for Small Business Owners in the Federal Budget

Instant Tax Deduction, Just Add Money

invoicing small business
Here’s a carrot to start a new business and get instant tax deductions rather than deptreciation

In a recent post about subsidised childcare, I wrote about how the federal government has made it easier for families with one parent working at home to access subsidised childcare. In that post I also mentioned how much easier it is to start your own home-based business (for one, you’ve got all these marvelous training courses from EzyLearn to guide you on your way!) now than it was a few years ago.

But there’s some more good news for small business owners: the government also announced a raft of tax cuts and bonuses to the tune of $5.5b in this year’s federal budget, among them an unlimited number of tax deductions for buying cars, machinery or any other equipment valued under $20k each.

The government to inspire innovation

This is a huge increase to the previous amount small businesses were able to claim as tax deductions, which was a mere $1000 per item. Anything above that $1000 had to be depreciated via the decline in value process. Treasurer, Joe Hockey said the reason behind the tax breaks for small businesses was to encourage and inspire innovation in Australia, which has for years, suffered from a lull in home-grown innovation.

[quote]“This will be of enormous benefit to their bottom line and help businesses with their cash flow. It means innovation. It means jobs. It means more money to invest and grow your business,”[/quote] Mr Hockey told parliament in his budget speech.

For purchases over $20,000, they can also be claimed but will go into a pool to be depreciated; at 15 percent in the first income year and then 30 percent for each year after that.

But wait! There’s more: tax cuts and FBT allowances

Small businesses will also enjoy a tax cut of 2.5 percent for the 780,000 small companies with an annual turnover of fewer than $2 million, while sole traders will get a 5 percent tax cut, capped at $1,000.

Small businesses that give their employees more than one work-related portable electronic device (tablets and laptops, for example) will also be eligible for a fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemption from April 1st 2016. This could prove to be a big motivator for small businesses that would like to see more of their employees working remotely from home or while they’re out on the road.

If you’re already in business and you’ve been thinking about upgrading that PC or company car, if you do it before June 30 this year, you’ll be able to claim it as a tax deduction for this financial year. The same goes for those of you who may have been thinking about starting your own small business, be it a home-based one or otherwise – any of those capital purchases you may need to make to get your business off the ground can be immediately claimed as a tax deduction so long as they’re under $20k.

For now, though, you can still get yourself skilled in MYOB before you start your business and claim it as a tax deduction by taking one of our online MYOB training courses, which give you access to ALL MYOB Training Courses for 12 months or LIFETIME access. Or for more on starting a home-based business, subscribe to our blog or browse the many training courses on our website.

Oh, and Did I Mention The Bookkeeping Business Opportunity?

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseI hinted at the 30 day money back guarantee that we now offer for the Bookkeeeping Business Opportunity, but you’ll be thrilled to hear that we will shortly also be announcing the inclusion of all of our software training courses!

Content Marketing Gives You Organic Success on Google

content-marketing-by-blog-postsWhen I started my blog more than 5 years ago, I felt a bit like a computer nerd. I mean, who wanted to read about how to do bookkeeping and accounting using MYOB?

Then cloud accounting became a thing and software once more became exciting.

MYOB vs Quickbooks vs Xero Training Courses
Share price information for MYOB via Comsec

Incidently, the big fight to become the most successful Cloud Accounting Software is now well underway with MYOB having just been relisted on the ASX and its share pricing diving very quickly.

They’re competing with Xero and we wrote about the fierce competition looming against MYOB in 2010 when Craig Winkler (the man who build MYOB into the success it become now being a significant shareholder in Xero).

What made bookkeeping exciting to so many more people?

Bookkeeping became exciting, in large part, because of the flexibility it offered busy people wanting more control over their working lives, and busy parents trying to juggle priorities.

We could create a content marketing strategy about how cloud accounting makes bookkeeping faster and easier for small business, while also making it possible for parents to work closer to home (or at the family home), performing bookkeeping tasks and avoiding traffic, congestion and time you never get back commuting.

I should also confess that, at the time, I didn’t realise how important AND time consuming content marketing would be. Every blog post takes at least an hour!

You may ask how what appears to be a relatively simple blog post can take that long? In reality, a well researched blog post, including topic research, finding images, finding the right page(s) to link to can take several hours and that’s what we’re going to share in our soon-to-be-launched Content Marketing Course & Services.

Why does it take so long to write a blog post?

content marketing training courses and services
Content Marketing is worth the effort and now is the time.

If it were the case of just writing some sentences, it wouldn’t take that long at all. But what’s the point of that?

I’m not going to insult people, particularly people who have proven that they take the time to read my blogs on a regular basis, with poor quality, rushed content.

Furthermore, everything I write relates to something else we do and it involves:

  • Carrying out research to back up what I write about (like the above information about MYOB shares and a previous blog about both MYOB and Xero getting smashed by a huge US based competitor)
  • Referencing our own landing pages for the services we provide, and
  • Linking to relevant blogs that I’ve written.

Getting found: Optimising your blog posts for Google

I haven’t even mentioned the time and effort in optimising each and EVERY blog post for the keywords that are important to us. That involves:

  • Tags
  • Keyword density
  • Relevant landing pages
  • Keywords in headings
  • Images

Outsourcing blog writing to the Philippines, India or the Ukraine?

Tempting isn’t it? The thought that you can get someone to write a great blog post for your business for $2-3 per hour!

I mean in one day you could get all your writing done and then just schedule the blog posts to be published in something like your WordPress Blog over the next month or two. But it’s not that easy it is?

We are in an age where just stringing some words and sentences together isn’t going to get any one to pay much attention, particularly if there is a hint of broken English or disconnect with the topic. And anyway, if you’re going to write content you need to be an expert don’t you? Who wants to read some words that have just been sprayed onto a page because they have relevant keywords?

Content Marketing Strategy — who is the reader?

Like many tasks involved in small business, the most important part of the work is creating the Content Marketing Strategy; the plan for:

  1. Topics that will interest your readers and potential customers
  2. The keywords to be used in those articles (blogs)
  3. The landing pages that will convert potential customers into customers

Some of these components have nothing to do with the intended reader, but if your content marketing is going to be effective you’ll have to have a clear description of your reader in your head — I like to give them a name, imagine how many children they have, where they live, why they’re using my products/services, who their friends are, how they are going to talk about our company etc.

A wise old business owner I use to speak with regularly kept asking me the question, “Who is your customer, Steve?” This relates to everything. It relates to content marketing, but it also relates to when our courses are available, how we combine several features into one offer, how we try to do more for that market, like find other ways for them to benefit by using our service, hence National Bookkeeping!

What are you doing for your reader?

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseMost of our online training students use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training.

For most people it’s because they’re looking for bookkeeping work or want to start a bookkeeping business. Finding out as much as possible about why our students do our courses enables us to develop products (and write content about) what they need.

Join our Bookkeeping Directory TODAY

We partner with a bookkeeping directory which is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business. It’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers who are close to them. 


Find out how you can promote your bookkeeping services to a much wider circle of people by engaging in content marketing.

List yourself on National Bookkeeping

MYOB Accounting – Fighting to Stay In Control?

Is MYOB Just Another Program In Your Control Panel?

MYOB Accounting software online training coursesI was cleaning up my computer this morning and went to my Microsoft Windows Control Panel to discover MYOB Accounting Software sitting in the program list. I was removing any programs that I may have installed to test or get to know with a goal of REMOVING all that I didn’t need, when I saw MYOB software in the list.

I didn’t see WordPress and I didn’t see Commonwealth Bank Internet Banking in the list and at that moment I felt a little sad, realising that if I changed computers that I would need to go through the program installation process with my accounting software AND that EVERY person who needed to access our bookkeeping software would have to go through the same process.

Cloud Software Doesn’t Need to be Installed On Your Computer

I’m used to going to websites, logging in to do my work and then logging out at the end. Yes, with some I have to change the password regularly and others there is 2 level authentication using a mobile phone number as well, but the great thing about these “cloud-based” services is that I don’t even need my own computer! I can log in using an iPad, laptop or even my smart phone.

Cloud accounting should be like Xero and Quickbooks onlineWith services like Google Apps, we can run our entire company “server” in the cloud and have experts make sure it is up and running all the time for the cost of less than $100 per month, compared to several thousand dollars to buy the hardware (and have the floor space, data, power and air conditioning) , thousands of dollars in software licences and then having to hire an expert IT service person to manage it all for thousands of dollars per year – particularly if something goes wrong.

I’ve always wondered why MYOB didn’t focus all of their efforts on building a fully featured accounting program for the cloud only and wrote about how it seems like MYOB is computer based accounting program with the functionality of Dropbox. Some people think it’s more secure or safe to keep your accounting information local, but I’m not convinced.

How does MYOB compare to Xero and Quickbooks Online

I recently wrote about Ken from Love My Home Theatre and why he loves Xero Accounting Software (not Zero) and also about how the new market for cloud accounting software is not only introducing new competitors like Xero, but also enabling MASSIVE competitors like QUICKBOOKS back into the Australian market for accounting software once again.

If you are a regular reader you’d also know that we’ve had Xero Training Courses for quite a while now and that our focus is to help people looking for bookkeeping work AND small business owners learn bookkeeping software to help them run their business more efficiently and be compliant with the ATO.

The most impressive features of Xero Accounting Software are:

  • Xero can be accessed from anywhere at any time
  • Xero can accommodate multiple users (accountant, bookkeeper, business owner) no matter where they are located (which is great for virtual assistants doing bookkeeping from their own home)
  • Xero integrates with other cloud software programs (watch the video interview about Xero accounting with a small business that love it)

The best thing about cloud based software services (apart from having experts making sure it is always up and running) is that when new features are built they are available to you immediately. Xero recently announced the capability to create quotes and manage inventory which brings it even closer “feature wise” with MYOB and although I haven’t had a chance to see it in action, Margaret Carey (who contributed to our XERO vs MYOB feature comparison) notes that:

[quote]Any business that requires more than basic tracking will need to continue to look at the add on solutions such as Unleashed or Dear but it is a promising start.[/quote]

Xero is Definitely Becoming More Popular

Whether Xero has just done some great marketing this year, or that people genuinely want the benefits of a cloud-based accounting program, we are experiencing increased enrolments into our Xero Training Courses.

It could also be because all of our Xero courses are included for the one low price – we don’t sell them separately AND we include new content during a students membership period.

We use all of the major cloud-based accounting programs and I can say personally that I like what I have seen with Xero and Quickbooks Online. The fact that you don’t have to go through that labourious process of downloading, installing and registering your software (for each user) is a great bonus, but the fact that you can use these programs from any computer is even better.

Stay Tuned for QuickBooks Online Training Courses

This year will become a very interesting year as online accounting software companies fight for your business as well as loyalty from bookkeepers and accountants. I can reveal that we have started writing the content for our soon to be launched Quickbooks Training Courses! Jacci, our Register BAS Agent is working to replicate the small business accounting processes we use in our MYOB and Xero courses to teach students how to manage business accounts using Quickbooks Online.

If you want to receive updates and launch information about this course please visit our Quickbooks Online Training Course page.

Is there a wave of innovation in online accounting from Canada?

Wave accounting has 1 million users and is free_freeWould you like to hear about MORE innovation in accounting? Want to learn about a cloud-based accounting program that boasts more than twice as many users as Xero?

I was speaking with an insurance agent who is contributing to the risk management components of our Small Business Management course and he was telling me about this great accounting software that is completely free unless you use their merchant services and/or payroll. I haven’t confirmed any of these features of the software, but a quick visit to their website shows an interface that looks very much like Quickbooks Online with the navigation panel on the left of the screen.

My insurance agent friend Ruben is sharing information with us about how Workcover works for small business owners as well as public and product liability. He’ll also share with us how these relate to contractors who might work for you and go to perform work at a customers site.

If you decide you’d like to take a look at Wave Accounting or you are already a customer of this accounting program please share your opinions with us at our Facebook page.

 

 

The Power of the Homegrown Australian Business

When ‘Aussie’ is a gold winner

Reach Accounting free course from EzyLearnIN ADDITION TO OUR MYOB and Xero online training courses, we also offer an online training course in Reach Accounting, the cloud-accounting software by Aussie-owned company, Net Registry.

Not many people are aware of this, and I’ve been quite remiss when it comes to talking about it on this blog. In fact, I’ve spent more time talking about Zoho and QuickBooks recently, than I have spent time talking about Reach.

This is partly because I’ve been quite interested to see how QuickBooks has been resurrected by it’s American-owned parent company, Intuit, as it attempts to take on Xero and MYOB in the Australian marketplace again.

Zoho is both comprehensive and cheap

My interest in Zoho, meanwhile, stems from one of my contractors, who uses Zoho Books to manage her business accounts; she was telling me about Zoho’s many features, and I surprised to learn just how comprehensive the Zoho Books software is for such a low price.

Zoho and QuickBooks are both positioning themselves as low-cost accounting packages to appeal to the substantial small business market in Australia, but there’s just one thing they can’t compete with Reach Accounting on, and that’s ‘Australianness’.

Reach Accounting is an Australian owned and operated business, and as the owner of an Australian owned and operated business, I like to support other Australians in their business ventures. Reach Accounting focus their accounting software towards people who start a business as a website designer.

Why it’s harder for Aussie businesses to compete

I’m always saddened when I hear of Australian businesses being sold to overseas conglomerates, which take the Aussie jobs back overseas with them, where the wages and materials are cheaper. It makes it all the more difficult to compete for customers in the Australian marketplace when your once-Australian competitor is now producing products or services at a much lower price at their offshore headquarters.

It’s also difficult to compete with the increasing number of overseas-owned businesses entering the fray, now that the Internet has unlocked a global marketplace. What many Australian businesses don’t realise, however, is that they possess a power those overseas businesses don’t: they speak Aussie.

Whether you’re a home-based bookkeeper or virtual assistant, one of your greatest assets is that you’re an Australian and that means you have a deep understanding of what it means to be Australian – from the accent to the vernacular, you get it.

The power of ‘G’day’

It’s also a lot easier to call an Australian company than it is to call an overseas one. My Zoho Books-using contractor was telling me of a complex situation she was experiencing with her account. Unfortunately, the nearest customer service office she could call was located in China, so she had to email.

Several confused emails later, she finally realised what had happened with her account, and managed to resolve the issue herself. She later told me: “It’s a good thing I studied semiotics at university, because deciphering those emails was like trying to interpret hieroglyphics.”

I suddenly thought about Reach Accounting, which is based in the Inner Sydney suburb of Ultimo. For the same price as Zoho Books – possibly even cheaper now, thanks to the fluctuating Aussie dollar – it would have been much easier to say “G’day” to one of the guys at Reach than it was to email China or India or Japan or wherever in the world Zoho’s customer service offices are based.

Don’t be afraid to say “G’day”

As an Australian business, don’t hide your Australianness from view. Wear it proudly, because it makes a big difference to customers trying to decide between your company and the multinational after their business.

For more information on any of our cloud-accounting courses, visit our website.

Become a Virtual Assistant and Start a Business

start a bookkeeping business
Business Opportunities for Ordinary People

While we are on the topic I want to mention our StartUp Academy because we are planning some fantastic ways of helping ordinary people start a business in 2015.

We’re using a combination of our Small Business Management Course and business opportunities from established companies who want to find people who can work from home and sell and support their products.

We’re also using our Small Business Management course to help our existing students start businesses using the skills they learn in their EzyLearn course – namely MYOB and WordPress. If you’re interested in starting a bookkeeping business read on about National Bookkeeping.

Smart TV Guy Has Feet Planted Firmly In Cloud Accounting

Smart TV Installation & Cloud Accounting Guy

As smart devices and cloud-based apps have become more popular, I’ve started to see more and more tradies using their iPhones and iPads to handle their paperwork, a task traditionally left to the wee hours of the evening – or to their wives and partners!

Now, with cloud-based accounting software like Xero and a number of other great mobile apps, tradies can quote, invoice, and even take payments for work right from their smart phones and tablet devices.

Streamlined business processes with cloud accounting

I met Ken Burrows from Love My Home Theatre, a home theatre installation, TV installation and plasma wall mounting business based in Sydney recently, when he was installing a new home theatre system for some friends, and I was taken with how streamlined his entire business processes were.

Everything – from the quote through to payment – is performed entirely online, using a couple of different apps, including Xero which is used to maintain the business’s accounts. In the video you can Watch Ken talk about how he uses cloud-based apps in his business to streamline his business processes, and make him more efficient and I think it helps 1 business owner do the work of more than 1 person – perhaps he can use more people in marketing..

EzyLearn offers a number of cloud accounting training courses, including our flagship MYOB training course, as well as training courses in Xero and Reach Accounting.

Share your cloud accounting story

start a bookkeeping business
Business Opportunities for Ordinary People

We’ll soon be running meetups for our startup academy in these locations.

  • Brookvale
  • Hornsby
  • Epping
  • Chatswood
  • Parramatta
  • Blacktown
  • Penrith
  • Bankstown
  • Liverpool
  • Campbelltown
  • Sutherland
  • Hurstville
  • Randwick

If you want to come along and share your story or learn more about the StartUp Opportunities for ordinary people, make sure you subscribe to this blog to keep up-to-date.

Xero: The Tradies Choice for Accounting Software

Xero and tradies

Rohan the painter tradie uses xeroI once wrote a post about Xero and whether it had the potential to strip MYOB of its crown as the market leader in accounting software, and I’m starting to think that maybe it will.

I spoke with a couple of tradies recently, and they’re both using Xero rather than MYOB because of its functionality and the way it ties in nicely with other cloud-based apps, allowing them to spend less time in the office and more time on the road.

EzyLearn added Xero training courses to our already existing suite of MYOB training courses a little while back after it became clear that it was a major player in the cloud-accounting space. When Xero first hit the market, though, many people thought it was unlikely to have any major impact on MYOB’s marketshare (just as QuickBooks had failed to in the past), given MYOB’s long-standing relationship with accountants.

Xero perfect for tradies on the go

What most people overlooked, though, was that Xero was undeniably easy to use. Coupled with its flexible delivery – it was one of the first cloud-based accounting programs supported with mobile apps – it became an appealing option for many small business owners who previously found MYOB too difficult or time-consuming for day-to-day use.

Rohan Calvert, the director of Men in White, a Sydney-based painting company, is one those small business owners. He had been using MYOB to manage his business’s accounts for ten years, but decided it was time he moved his accounts into the cloud. After initially looking to upgrade to MYOB Account Right Live, Rohan opted to make the switch to Xero, instead.

Xero interview with a painter

Here’s what he had to say about Xero in the cloud:

EzyLearn: What features of Xero do you find most useful for your business?

Rohan: For me, the best thing about Xero is that there is a direct bank feed, so my [Xero] dashboard will show my bank balance alongside the balance in Xero, which makes reconciling [his accounts] very easy. I don’t use the mobile app very much – the functionality isn’t there for me yet. Instead I use the web version on my laptop. My office is basicallymy laptop – I have a laptop stand in the passenger seat of my car. With Xero, I can do payroll and issue invoices while I’m sitting in the parked car.

EzyLearn: How is Xero’s cloud-based software better for your business, compared to the older versions of MYOB you had used previously?

Rohan: I have a business coach in the US and we can look at my financials in real-time while we’re talking on Facetime. I have put a lot of work into simplifying and understanding my bookkeeping and with Xero my reports are accurate and tell me exactly how I’m going, and all in real-time. Previously, when I used MYOB, the financial reports were meaningless and my bookkeeper had to print them out and edit a spreadsheet, resulting in a lot of double handling.

EzyLearn: What do you like most about Xero?

Firstly, it is elegant and intuitive; secondly, it comes from New Zealand!

For more information on our Xero training courses, you can visit our website or, alternatively, click here to enrol online.

Zoho Books, You don’t want to be a high risk do you?

There’s always Zoho Books

Zoho Books and Bank FeedsYou may have a different opinion when it comes to paying your suppliers but I believe you should pay quickly. I’m talking mainly about service providers rather that product suppliers, but I think in small business it doesn’t matter.

Everyone loves to be paid on time and if you can get paid earlier, even better. It once took me 16 minutes to pay a supplier – OK, I was making other payments at the time, but still, it looked impressive.

I mention it today because one of my team told me that I was categorised by their accounting software as “high risk” and I wasn’t too happy – they use Zoho Books and it’s been recommended around here to team members who are just starting their own businesses as independent consultants. When I delved a little deeper I discovered that they offer automated bank feeds.

Zoho Books + Bank Feeds = Faster Reconciliation

We’re written about Zoho Books in several different blog posts about their free version which is ideal for virtual assistants, Zoho’s huge range of other cloud based software tools, and their fantastic automated tools to help you get paid faster and this time I was fascinated to learn about their banks feeds.

Zoho uses a company called Yodlee to enable Zoho Books users to get their bank feeds and they boast that “Zoho Books does not store any of your bank login credentials.“. This is a comforting feature in the cloud accounting wars that have erupted since MYOB started facing stiff competition online against SAASU, Xero and Quickbooks.

bank feeds in Xero and MYOB for faster bank reconciliationI wrote about the time saving features of bank feeds and showcased some of the training videos in our online MYOB Training Course. If you are interested there are two free training videos to help you understand bank feeds in MYOB as an overview and how to setup bank feeds in MYOB.

I discovered a great article by “Cloud Commentator” Sholto Macpherson at his Digital First blog where he wrote about all the different perspectives of modern day bank feeds and the opinions of ICB, Accountants and the software companies themselves. If you’re interested it’s an interesting and objective read.

Zoho Books is in the Clouds

Either way you look at it, the new online cloud based accounting programs give you the power to work from anywhere, the tools to get paid faster and the connectivity to complete your bookkeeping in much less time.

We offer bookkeeping training in our MYOB Courses, Xero Courses and Reach Accounting so please enrol with us, take advantage of our lifetime course access feature and 30-Day money back guarantee.

Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

Many accountants and businesses are now using Xero instead of MYOB so it's important for bookkeepers to be trained in this.
Many accountants and businesses are now using Xero instead of MYOB so it’s important for bookkeepers to be trained in this.

In our last post we talked about the developments that have occurred over the last few years in the accounting software space; one of which was the introduction of Xero to the marketplace. Since then, a huge number of accountants and businesses have switched to Xero.

Xero has quickly gained momentum in the accounting software space, and while it’s important for bookkeepers to be skilled in MYOB, it’s becoming increasingly important that they’re also skilled in Xero as well.

Upskilling to Xero

We developed a Xero training course for bookkeepers who’d like to add another skill to their CV, or for business owners looking for an alternative to MYOB. Like MYOB, you can add bank feeds to your Xero package, something that  is very popular because it saves you time and money.

Here, Xero Certified Advisor, Jacci Quinlivan, talks us through setting up the bank feeds function in Xero:

“Automatic Bank Feeds are becoming increasingly common and if you are using Xero, it has never been so easy to automate them and make your data processing even easier.

When you are initially setting up your bank account details in Xero, the program will automatically tell you if your bank has the availability to get live data feeds (most banks are Xero partners these days). This involves pre-populating a form with your bank account information and sending it off to Xero’s bank feeds department (a scanned, emailed copy does usually suffice).  The turnaround time from when you email or post the form usually takes between 7-10 working days.

You will receive an email from Xero once this has been completed and your data feeds will automatically sync with your bank. There is now no more uploading manual bank statements and the like from the new processed date. If your accounts aren’t quite in sync there may be a variety of things to check from the accuracy of your opening balances, or maybe you had missed a few transactions when you were manually importing them.

If you need to go back with your data feeds you may need to do this manually as a once off until you reach your current live bank feed date. This will involve you obtaining your banking history in a CSV format (OFX and QIF is fine), ensuring the columns are in the correct format and uploading to your Xero AIS. This may seem daunting, especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of transactions to reconcile, but by using the “cash coding” tab within your program, this can be done much quicker than imagined.”

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We cover setting up bank feeds along with many other aspects to get you working proficiently in Xero in our online Xero Training Course.

Feedback from Students About Our Online Training Courses

We value - and need - your feedback about our online training courses.
We value – and need – your feedback about our online training courses.

Over the years, we’ve provided online training to numerous Australian – and international – students, whether via our flagship MYOB training course or one of our Excel or WordPress courses, or our more recent Small Business Management Course. Over the years these students have provided us with valuable feedback.

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.

Recent Feedback

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

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We’d love to hear from you too. Get in touch via our course evaluation page.

 

The REAL Benefits of Cloud-Based, ‘Real-Time’ Accounting Programs – A CASE STUDY

Having access to real-time info about their business helped Cheryl and Jim climb from just breaking even to owning two stores.
Having access to real-time info about their business helped Cheryl and Jim climb from just breaking even to owning two stores.

So you’re thinking of starting your own business in bookkeeping — or perhaps a small business in another industry? Cloud accounting programs like MYOB Account Right Live, Reach and Xero can make it much easier for you to start a bookkeeping business from home; these accounting programs can also help existing business owners operate and grow their businesses. And the great news is that EzyLearn now offers courses in all three.

MYOB Account Right Live

Today we’re blogging about MYOB Account Right Live. We recommend this in all of our MYOB training courses — not because it’s the latest version of the hugely popular MYOB software — but because it gives business owners the kind of data they need to run their business efficiently and securely. This was no more evident than in the case of Cheryl and Jim; business owners who discovered that they were literally throwing money away by using an outdated version of MYOB. With the recent addition of our new real-time accounting programs to our suite of products, we figured it’s an apt time to revisit this popular case study.

The Blessings of ‘Real-Time’

Perhaps the biggest bonus with cloud accounting software is that you have access to information about your profits and expenses in real-time. This is enormously useful for small businesses to constantly track how they’re going and make any necessary changes.

We decided to take a look at how one business owner grew a moderately successful business into a totally thriving one by using cloud accounting software to track their expenses.

From a Break-Even Bakery — To Owning Two Successful Stores

Cheryl and her husband, Jim, operated a small neighbourhood bakery in a busy block of local shops. Jim was the baker and pastry chef in residence, while Cheryl, who had previously worked as an account executive at an advertising firm, managed the office side of the business.

“I was used to budgets and targets, so it made sense that I would handle the admin side of the business,” Cheryl tells us. “But, coming from a large-scale ad agency, I had been spoilt for choice in the way of CRM and other software that tracked my sales in real-time,” she says. “I didn’t have any of that with the bakery. Just an outdated version of MYOB!”

Cheryl and Jim estimated that it would take them about a year before they would start to see any real traction with the bakery, but a year had come and gone, and they were still just breaking even.

“Jim would come in and go ‘we had a great day today, heaps of customers’ but at the end of the month we were still struggling with all the expenses, paying our staff and trying to pay ourselves a wage too,” Cheryl says. “Finally I asked my accountant what was going on and he just said ‘update your MYOB.’”

Cheryl comments that having access to data they had previously only received once it was too late was a game-changer. “This sounds funny, but I could see we were spending all this money on flour, but our sales didn’t reflect a need for it,” Cheryl laughs.

“Finally I asked my accountant what was going on and he just said ‘update your MYOB,’” Cheryl says.

“I asked Jim if he was over-ordering because that seemed like the logical answer, but he said he only ordered what was needed,” she says. “This led me to do some investigating.”

What the Data Revealed…

Jim would bake an average of 75 loaves of bread a day, but sales records in MYOB showed they old sold an average of 40 loaves a day; Jim was baking twice as much bread as he needed and all left-over stock was thrown out at the end of the day.

“We were literally throwing our money away,” Cheryl says. “But it was a learning curve.”

Before long Cheryl and Jim implemented various other systems to track their stock, so they could better manage their expenses. Within a year, Cheryl and Jim had completely turned their business around.

“Now we have two shops,” Cheryl says. “Where before we struggled keeping just the one going. Being able to see what we were spending as we were spending it — that changed everything.”

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Basically you’re running blind if you’re not able to see your accounts in real time. The use of cloud accounting software like MYOB Account Right Live, Reach and Xero grants you this, safely and securely. Want to get up to speed with everything MYOB? Our MYOB training courses will equip you with the information you need. Enrol today.

Financial Settings in Xero (FREE Training Video)

In our quest to always present you with the latest information about bookkeeping for your own business or someone else’s, we are pleased to present you with another free training video from our recently added Xero online training courseLast time we showed you how to enter a credit note in Xero, but this time we’re going to show you how to enter a business’ financial settings — something every bookkeeper needs to set up for their clients.

Knowing how to set up a business’ financial settings is important as every business will need to enter their financial information (such as the GST collection method, frequency of GST calculation, PAYG withheld, and so forth). As a bookkeeper, all of this is probably familiar to you, given that MYOB, too, requires this information in order to produce accurate reports. That being said, there are some differences between how you enter this information into MYOB and Xero, and in this training video we break it down for you:

 

 

Xero is currently one of the most straightforward, yet powerful pieces of accounting software and fast becoming a major rival to MYOB for its simplicity of use. Check out our new Xero training course. We also provide an online training course in cloud-based accounting program, Reach as well as our flagship MYOB training course.