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What are Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Training Platforms?

Xero Lifelong learning and training platform beginners essentials and advanced certificate courses

Xero Lifelong learning and training platform beginners essentials and advanced certificate coursesLifelong learning is the concept that learning isn’t confined to an individual’s childhood, but can be pursued throughout their life, and often in non-traditional settings. With lifelong learning, the knowledge or skills a person acquires through social interactions and other everyday experiences (soft skills) are considered just as important as those learned in formal education settings.

This approach means that learning is no longer considered to take place at two, traditional stages of a person’s life — school and the workplace — but rather is ongoing throughout the individual’s life.

How lifelong learning was born

The concept of lifelong learning isn’t new. It’s been around since the 1970s, when it was referred to as “lifelong education” by the French politician Edgar Faure in his 197s book “Learning to Be”. Lifelong learning gained more recognition during the 1990s, particularly with the publication of the Delors Report by the Delors Commission in 1996.

The Delors Commission was an administration of the European Union led by Jacques Delors through the 1980s and again through the 1990s. The Delors Report proposed an integrated vision of education based on two key concepts:

  1. Learning throughout life
  2. The four pillars of learning

The Delors Report identified three characteristics of modern life that made lifelong learning necessary, in order for individuals to remain productive and actively engaged members of society throughout their lives. Those characteristics included technological, economic and social change.

Technology made lifelong learning vital

From the mid 1990s onward, rapid technological advancements have made lifelong learning especially critical for people in the workplace. Aside from the need to keep up-to-date with changes to software (desktop software shifting to the cloud) and the introduction of new technologies (smartphones and tablets), technology has also changed the way people work.

The majority of adolescents who start university today, will be studying for a degree in the profession that will not exist in twenty years time. But in twenty years, jobs will exist that did not today, just as social media and search engine optimisation did not exist twenty year ago. And this drives the need for people to engage in lifelong learning.

Technology has also fundamentally changed our economy. More people engage in freelance or contract work than they did twenty years ago, and that’s given rise to what’s now called the “gig economy” — people engaging in short term, piecemeal or temporary work as their primary means of income.

And that’s all coincided with some big changes to our society. Paid parental leave, for example, sees dads taking time off work to become the primary carer of their children, while a new crop of mums have chosen to start home-based businesses so they can work flexible hours while they care for their children.

In each instance of change, be it technological, social and economic — though technology is the driving force of all three — people have had to learn new skills for their workplace, either formerly or informally.

The four pillars of learning

The Delors Report, which brought the concept of lifelong learning to greater prominence in the 90s, identified the four pillars of learning, which make up a central component of lifelong learning. The four pillars of learning involve:

  • Learning to know — the mastery of learning tools rather than the acquisition of knowledge
  • Learning to do — acquisition of occupational skills for jobs today and those in the future
  • Learning to live together — resolving conflict, discovering other people and culture, fostering community, economic resilience, social inclusion (soft skills)
  • Learning to be — education that contributes to an individual’s complete development (to act with autonomy, use judgment and take personal responsibility.

Implementing lifelong learning

Since the 1990s and the release of the Delors Report, universities and other formal education institutions have implemented some elements of lifelong learning, particularly the “learning to know” and “learning to live together” pillars of learning. In high school, students will study society and culture as a component of their HSC. This is designed to equip them with the tools to develop values and attitudes that promote social literacy and cohesion.

Workplaces have also become responsible to promoting lifelong learning by requiring employees to carry out continuing professional development (CPD) — although this is sometimes an industry requirement, as in the financial services and real estate sectors, for example.

Ezy Learning Lifelong training platform for Xero, MYOB, Excel, Digital Marketing training coursesBookkeepers and BAS agents are required to maintain a certain number of CPD points each year in order to keep their BAS registration. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) is just one of many Recognised Professional Associations and it lists accepted training courses, including Microsoft Excel and cloud-accounting software training which are all available as LIFETIME Courses with EzyLearn! I like to think that EzyLearn can go one better than Delor and offer students the option to get LIFETIME course access to Xero rather than LIFELONG paying for Xero Courses.

This November, Xero also launched it’s own lifelong learning platform, in conjunction with Swinburne University. The Xero lifelong learning platform is currently being piloted in Australia and New Zealand, with a full global rollout expected in 2018.

Xero lifelong learning

The Xero offering will be available for secondary and tertiary students, as well as businesses. It will provide students with access to a learning management system (LMS) that will deliver training in the form of business scenarios and simulations, in addition to grading and assessment tools.

Xero’s chief partner officer Anna Curzon said in a statement that technology has “reshaped the way people work” and created a need for lifelong learning so people can “stay relevant in the workforce”.

“Handling finances, both personal and business, is a necessity for everyone, from school age students to retirees,” she said.

“Xero lifelong learning platform allows students to grow their financial literacy to help prepare them for the real world.”

Curzon also said that the gig economy is driving demand for Xero’s services, which in itself is driving demand for a lifelong learning platform centered around financial literacy.

No pricing for Xero’s lifelong learning platform has been released, though it’s understood it will be included in the subscription price of the Xero software for businesses.

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Ray White’s Amber and LJ Hooker Compete with Purple & Jim’s Real Estate Play

Woodrising a sign for Toronto Ray White Amber Agent

Real estate agents are seeing purple!

Woodrising a sign for Toronto Ray White Amber AgentTHE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY IS undergoing substantial disruption. Only the real estate agents and agencies that decide to innovate will make it out the other side.

A big part of that means letting go of the traditional model and embracing a new, transparent real estate sales model, but many agents are still reluctant to change.

And that’s a mistake.

Disruption to the real estate industry coming from many sources

Although much of the disruption is coming from technology companies, such as REA Group and Domain Group in Australia, as well as the tech giants Facebook and Google, other established players, recognising that the timing is right, are entering the fray too.

Together, these businesses are changing the way real estate in this country and across the world is bought, sold and rented. If real estate agents aren’t proactive about this change, they’ll end up being reactive. And they’ll miss out.

One of the Case Studies in our Digital & Social Media Marketing Courses centres upon a McGrath agent based in Sydney’s Cammeray. This agent, Derek, comes to realise his own personal brand is as powerful with local residents as the McGrath brand because he is a hard-working agent and his vendors love him.

Via the virion Digital Agency we were able to help Derek create a website and social media campaign to further hone and build his brand as a property expert.

Jim’s to cut agents’ grass

Jim Penman's Jims Group getting into low cost low commission real estate agency model - tradies might pass on vendor sales leads - AFRTake Jim’s Group, the franchise group known for mowing lawns and fixing broken antennas. Last week, they announced their intention to enter the real estate fray with a new, low-cost service for both agents and homeowners.

The division, which is being headed up by a Jim’s Group veteran and the former sales director of low-cost real estate service Hello Real Estate, will charge agents a flat $1,800 a month franchise fee.

Homeowners will also be able to suggest how much commission they’d like to pay the agent to sell their home. (It’s understood there’ll be a threshold for how low commissions will actually go.)

Jim’s agents will work remotely from their home offices — or their cars — as most Jim’s franchisees currently do, and they’ll have substantially lower overheads so they can provide the same service to homeowners as a traditional real estate agent, only for less.

As an existing and trusted franchise group in Australia, they won’t have to overcome the same barriers like name recognition and trust that new entrants to the market — your Purplebricks, say — did. (Of course, the Purplebricks service is also quantifiably different to the proposed Jim’s service.)

Agents who don’t think Jim’s will make a serious dent in the industry may be right. But that misses the point; the franchise model is about giving business owners a cushion between them and flying solo. Plenty of people work in franchises — real estate is the most franchised industry in this country — but not all of them do. There’s plenty of room for independent agents to take this idea and operate their own agency the same way — and keep their $1,800 franchise fee while they’re at it!

Proptech sector friend or foe?

That brings us to the biggest source of disruption in the real estate industry: the proptech sector. In Australia, agents need to be cautious of

  • REA Group,
  • Domain Group,
  • Purplebricks,
  • BuyMyPlace,
  • Facebook and
  • Google.

But they also need to be wary of any new entrant that puts an “Uber” spin on the sector. (Domain recently opened up its developer APIs to encourage tech startups to use their data to create disruptive new services.)

At the moment REA Group and Domain are focussed on moving closer to the transaction, but they’re also heavily investing in tech to ward off any disruption from tech titans Facebook and Google, which they consider the biggest threat to the real estate industry in this country, and the world. (eBay-owned Gumtree also shouldn’t be excluded from this conversation.)

Would you advertise with a competitor?

Mortgages

Both real estate groups have acquired (or launched through partnerships) their own mortgage broking businesses — Domain’s Domain Loan Finder is a JV with online broker Lendi; REA Group acquired mortgage broker Smartline, and launched its own white label service in conjunction with NAB, called realestate.com.au Home Loans.

Trades & Everything Else!

They each also own stakes in tradie sites Oneflare (Domain) and hipages (REA), connection services Compare & Connect (Domain) and Beevo (Domain), property data and mapping firm PriceFinder (Domain), real estate CRM MyDesktop (Domain) [read more about the best real estate agent CRM’s], and property inspection app Homepass (Domain); Domain will also launch insurance comparison service Domain Insure and real estate agent training and education program Domain Academy.

And REA Group is busy building robots and virtual assistants, which can respond to customer enquiry — requests for Section 32 documents, schedule inspections, and so on.

Neither Domain nor REA are likely to bite the hands that feed them by introducing a real estate agency service or cutting agents out of the picture entirely — this year, REA Group posted revenue of $633.5 million from its Australian operations, of which $538.2 million was derived from agents advertising on its site.

Agents need to innovate NOW

But by owning the real estate “ecosystem”, they make the role of the real estate agent much less vital — and ripe for a new service to come in (like a Jim’s Real Estate) and say, “hey we can do it better.” Before long, that’ll become the “traditional” real estate model, just as the classified websites that usurped newspaper classifieds are now considered the “traditional” model of buying and selling stuff online.

To stay ahead of disruption, agents need to educate themselves. Continuing professional development (CPD) is a mandatory part of staying licensed in every state or territory. Provided agents undertake recognised training and keep their CPD points up, they can study anything relevant to the business of real estate.

Digital marketing is a fundamental part of real estate. Agents who understand how to market themselves online to get new business and demonstrate transparency about how the process works will stay ahead of the curve. Derek Farmer used educational videos and blog posts to explain the buying and selling process, and share market news and analysis.

This makes a sales agent an indispensable source of knowledge and a trusted advisor to buyers and sellers throughout the process, which can’t be replicated by a robot, virtual assistant or app. Virion also helps agents create a digital market strategy for their business, and to fill up their website or social media pages with content that provides information to buyers and sellers they’re currently getting from … Domain and realestate.com.au!

Agents should create their own property ecosystem

Domain and REA are doing their darndest to keep people on their sites for longer. They’re sewing up the entire property buying and selling process with complementary services (insurances, connections, mortgages) and they’re pushing more and more into content (videos, journalism, content marketing); Domain is particularly innovative in the content space, thanks to its Fairfax roots.

As a result, buyers and sellers are coming to agents forearmed, and again, the role of the agent is diminished. But agents can stay in home buyers and sellers minds by creating their own property ecosystem: start a website, fill it with good quality content, use a CRM to manage your lists of buyers, sellers, tradespeople — who have become one of the most important players in the sales process — and pump messages out your database regularly.

Finally, look at introducing a different fee or commissions structure for certain types of property or across the board. This is where the industry is heading and fighting it will only leave you in the same position the newspaper industry was in with the advent of online classifieds; cable TV providers with the rise of VOD services; music labels with streaming services, and so on.

***

Visit the EzyLearn website to learn more about our continuing professional development (CPD) training courses. To create your own property ecosystem with a digital marketing strategy and content, visit Virion’s website for more information.


 

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Excel Spreadsheet Skills Overestimated & Needing Analysis

EzyLearn Online Courses logo - Microsoft Excel 2016 training & support

Excel Course Needs Analysis Checklist Waste of TimeNeeds Analysis a Waste of Time

IN LARGER COMPANIES a Needs Analysis can be a powerful tool for delving into a problem and coming up with a solution.

However, when it comes to Microsoft Excel Training, asking students to complete a needs analysis can be a complete waste of time.

Why? Because most students overestimate their skills — not because they’re being dishonest, but because they will have come across many terms before and, because they can use certain jargon in conversation, they tend to think they know how to do the associated skill.

Sometimes a needs analysis is also irrelevant because many people are unaware of all the wonderful things Excel and other programs can do.

When we put our training courses online, we realised that instead of wasting time doing needs analyses — which aren’t accurate most of the time, anyway — we could bundle all of our courses together and cover every skill level, for one low price.

Typical Excel Intermediate Course Scenario

As a Microsoft Excel Intermediate Trainer, one of the most awkward moments I remember when doing face-to-face training was when I started going through one of the very first exercises with a new group of students, only to realise that 40% of the people in the room had no idea what I was talking about.

It’s worse in a face-to-face group training environment because everyone else in the group will now be disadvantaged. When we used to conduct these classroom style Excel classes, we would ask people to go through and supplement their lack of knowledge by reading the Excel Beginners workbooks.

Online Excel courses are even better — you can get everyone to start from scratch and they can all be on the same page.

Bundling all pf our Excel courses together means businesses can save many hours of needs analysis and hundreds of dollars, by enrolling staff in our Excel training courses.

Besides, most students report that, even though they might do our training courses for the intermediate or advanced modules, they learned lots of skills from the beginner courses, too.

Everyone Learns Something in an Excel Beginners Course

Granny flat manufactured home development for property investmentBasic / Beginners’ Excel courses take students through the different tasks that are possible with spreadsheets, introduce commonly used terms and set the foundation for more advanced features, covered in the intermediate and advanced courses.

If you’re subscribed to this blog, then you’ll know that EzyLearn use to operate physical training centres before we moved all of our content online in 2006. In those early days, we did a lot of needs analysis for the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service (now called Disability Employment Services).

Through this organisation we received Workcover students, who needed to brush up on their Excel skills before returning to work, and who often they had to change careers from physical work to more office type jobs.

Many students enrol in our courses only requiring a beginners’ level of training but proceed to the advanced modules by choice. This is because our online courses are built in a logical progression from basic to more advanced, building constantly on the new skills taught. Students also find that the Excel course content helps them in their everyday tasks and work, no matter what their field.

Thinking of investing in property? “Wannabe property investors” will find our Excel courses very helpful because they contain exercises to help you:

  • Maintain a household budget
  • Determine how much you can borrow
  • Potential returns from property investment

***

Stop wasting time, and start learning for less. Visit our website for more information about Microsoft Excel training courses and to enrol.

EzyLearn Online Course CPD points for bookkeepers and marketing professionalsNeed Accounting CPD Courses?

Do you need to up-skill and complete some short courses to earn CPD points? Check out our CPD Course programs.

Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points


 

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Different Ways to Find Work as a Bookkeeper

How can you earn money from bookkeeping?

different ways to find work as a bookkeeper online myob xero excel quickbooks training
It isn’t essential to become a registered BAS agent in order to find regular work as a bookkeeper.

BAS AGENTS PERFORM MANY of the same tasks as a basic bookkeeper, which includes entering receipts, coding financial transactions and generating invoices, but there is just one key difference: registered BAS agents are allowed to prepare and lodge activity statements on behalf of their clients.

In order to become a registered BAS agent, you must have completed, at a minimum, a Certificate IV Financial Services in either bookkeeping or accounting through an accredited and nationally recognised training provider.

Most people don’t have much trouble completing the Certificate IV, but the requirements set out by the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB) that often present a barrier to becoming a registered BAS agent. See the list of blogs below for more information about becoming a registered BAS agent.

Tax Practitioner’s Board BAS agent requirements

In addition to completing a Cert IV, in order to become a registered BAS agent the TPB also requires you to have at least 1,400 hours of work experience. This work must be done under the supervision of a registered BAS agent or accountant in the past 4 years (it’s 1,000 hours if you’re a member of a professional association).

You also need to have completed a board-approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles (this course may be included in your primary education). There are also mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements that each BAS agent must keep up with in order to remain registered.

There’s a lot to do, but becoming a registered BAS agent isn’t the only way to carve out a successful career for yourself. Depending on how you want to work, there are plenty of other options you may also consider, such as:

Work for other bookkeeping businesses

If you work as an employee of a bookkeeping business, you can perform all the same tasks and duties as a registered BAS agent can, as you’ll be covered by their BAS registration and oversight.

As long as you are on the bookkeeping business’s payroll, you can provide BAS services — that means, you can also work as a casual or temporary worker providing you don’t invoice for your work using an ABN, but instead use your tax file number. This may also have other benefits, too, as the business will be required to withhold tax and contribute to your superannuation.

Work directly for a business as a wage earner

Again, as long as you’re on the business’s payroll, you don’t have to be a registered BAS agent to provide BAS services. The only difference here is that, while you can prepare the business’s activity statements, you won’t be able to lodge them. They will need to have their accountant do that last step, instead.

You can still work under a similar arrangement as mentioned above, either as a part-time, casual or temporary staff member, and, so long as you’re drawing a wage from the business, you can perform BAS services.

Carry out basic bookkeeping from home on the side

You may even choose to provide basic bookkeeping services to small businesses remotely from your home office, and still invoice them using your ABN. Many bookkeepers work as virtual assistants and some work a combination of casual and part-time hours for bookkeeping or accountancy practices, or as an employee of a business, and supplement their income with some basic bookkeeping work on the side, which offers both flexibility and stability at the same time.

***

Thinking of expanding your bookkeeping skills? Considering becoming a BAS agent? Check out just some of the blogs we’ve featured on BAS agents:

Want more advice and information? Subscribe to our blog.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

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What Does Lifetime Access Mean for Xero and Excel Courses?

Receive updated course content — for life!

learning how to use excel and xero with online training
We are one of the only online learning centres offering access to course updates for the rest of your working life with our Lifetime Access option.

ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS about Excel is that it has so many applications. It can be used to create financial budgets and forecasts, monitor stock levels in a retail shop, roster staff, and also determine how much money an investor can borrow to buy a property.

A lot of the time, however, people enrol in an Excel online training course or Xero online training course because they need to refresh a specific set of skills for their job, which means they don’t have the time to focus on other areas that don’t have an immediate relevance for their work.

Upskill at your own pace

With our Lifetime Access courses for Excel and Xero and many other online cloud accounting and business options, students can continue learning in their own way and at their own pace, either as part of continuing professional development or for their own personal interest — our course content includes real-world case studies, like building a granny flat, to give context to the functions of Excel.

Keep up-to-date across all software versions

The other benefit of our Lifetime Access for Excel online training courses and Xero online training courses is that it means you can quickly brush up on where functions have been moved to when new versions of Xero and Excel are released.

We update our course content every time a new version of software is released, and with Lifetime Access, you’ll be able to access all of this new content, along with previous versions of course — so you can keep learning on the most current versions of Excel and Xero.

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Stop wasting time, and start learning for less. Visit our website for more information about Microsoft Excel training courses and our Xero training courses, and to enrol.


Don’t miss out on our terrific Spring specials

learn online training Xero courses videos for less

We are constantly refreshing the content of our online training courses so that you can benefit from all the new information that is always coming in about being in business, or running your own business as a bookkeeper or looking for bookkeeping work.

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses.


 

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Don’t Wing It With Customer Service – Plan It

Great customer service doesn’t just happen.

learn online training videos about small business customer service
If you’re unsure about what makes up the kind of customer service people rave about, then perhaps you should look into our EzyStartUp Course.

HOW TO PROVIDE REALLY exceptional customer service is just one of the modules covered in our EzyStartUp Course which teaches you all about how to start up your own business.

We handpicked this inclusion as our experience is that, time and time again, good, nay excellent customer service goes a long way to ensuring a business has longevity. Continue reading Don’t Wing It With Customer Service – Plan It

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What Do Bookkeepers and Builders Have in Common?

How to see if your bookkeeper is competitive

learn xero online training course videos shopping around for bookkeeping quote
Shopping around for bookkeeping quotes in order to ascertain exactly what tasks your bookkeeper will do is perfectly reasonable – and a great way to develop your PSA.

FINDING THE RIGHT BOOKKEEPER for your business isn’t always easy, especially when there are different types of bookkeepers who each provide different services. That’s in addition to all the different certified consultants and advisors around. We’ve found that one of the best ways to ensure you’re hiring the right bookkeeper is to simply ask them for a quote.

Getting a bookkeeping quote

When it comes to getting a quote you can compare a bookkeeper to a builder. Just as you would get a quote from at least a couple of builders before hiring one of them to work for you, it’s a good idea to get a couple of different quotes from different bookkeepers. This helps you compare apples with apples.

But more than this: a bookkeeping quote should detail precisely what tasks the bookkeeper will carry out, the frequency at which they’ll be done, and any other hidden costs you may be up for, such as the cost to migrate your data from one accounting application to another.

Your professional services agreement

Getting a quote will also help form your professional services agreement. Simply obtain the required number of quotes and decide which bookkeeper you’ll hire for your business; then make sure that quote is turned into a professional services agreement (PSA).

A PSA is the written contract between you and your bookkeeper, outlining the tasks they’ll carry out and when, any other fees and charges, when you’ll pay them and how, plus any additional obligations on their part and yours. A professional services agreement is a safeguard for both you and the bookkeeper. It’s also another way to help ensure the bookkeeper will be the right fit for your business.

***

Need to brush up on MYOB or Xero?

learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

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Should Your Bookkeeper Earn a Commission Off Your Software Subscription?

Is your bookkeeper’s bias disadvantaging you?

how to find a good local bookkeeper learn myob xero online accounting training course
Although a bookkeeper who is certified by a major accounting software company can be a good thing, you need to make sure their accounting package is best for your business.

SOME BOOKKEEPERS HAVE BEEN endorsed by software companies and are known as certified consultants or advisors. At EzyLearn we provide online training in Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks and we know that some people who hire bookkeepers aren’t aware of the benefits these certified consultants and advisors receive.

So what are some of the benefits? One; they get their accounting software for free, two; they receive a discount or commission for each new business they sign up to use that particular software.

Does this make certified consultants and advisors biased?

For a business owner, the upside to hiring a bookkeeper endorsed by a software company is that they will be able to work with that software application quickly and efficiently. The potential downside, however, is that the software application may not be especially suited to the business, but has been recommended anyway because the bookkeeper earns a commission for doing so.

Research first

A way around this is to do some research first. Compare a few different accounting applications before making contact with a certified consultant or advisor. Once you’ve decided on a particular software, you shouldn’t find yourself in any strife.

If, however, you contact a bookkeeper without doing your own research first, there are some things to be wary of, such as whose name the subscription will be in — failing to do so could prove to be a costly mistake.

Independent bookkeepers bring software skills and more

Most independent bookkeepers are usually proficient in a few of the major accounting applications, like Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks, rather than just one, so they’ll be able to recommend the software that suits you and your business needs the best.

They’re also able to set up your accounting software for you and provide training if necessary, just as a certified consultant or advisor can — only you’ll be in control of your subscription instead of your bookkeeper.

To ensure your independent bookkeeper is just as qualified as a certified consultant or advisor, ask to check their references. By law, a bookkeeper can’t perform BAS or tax services unless they’re registered with the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB) so you can check with them to ensure they are. If you’re worried about their software skills, ask if they’ve taken any short courses in a particular accounting application.

We want to help you get the best from your bookkeeper. Check out our recently upgraded National Bookkeeping directory which features bookkeepers from all over Australia. Or perhaps you’re after software training in MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks? We feature online training in these, and many other business-related courses: see our website for more


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

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Who Do You Trust More: Real Estate Agents or Tradies?

Still unsure whether you can trust online ratings and reviews?

trusting online reviews and ratings for tradesperson real estate agent online ratings and reviews
After a tradesperson? Sometimes asking a business person from a related business, such as a real estate agent, can be a good source for a recommendation.

IT CAN BE HARD to know whether you can really trust online ratings and reviews, whether these reviews and ratings are objective and even relevant and how they compare to recommendations and testimonials. By recommendations we mean word of mouth referrals from your friends and family and so forth, and testimonials that have been written by real people — with real names and real locations!

In our recent post about recommendations we suggested that you ask a friend, relative or colleague if they’ve ever had experience with a business you’re thinking of using — chances are, if your friends live locally they may well have; or if the business is a chain or franchise operating over a wide area.

Also ask other businesses

When seeking a professional recommendation you can also ask other businesses. Find out what their experiences have been, if any. Often businesses will have a relationship with each other even if it is not, at first, apparent.

For instance, a symbiotic relationship tends to exist between real estate agents and tradespeople. Agents will regularly draw up a list of preferred tradespeople that they work with and recommend to their tenants, landlords and vendors.

And there are plenty of tradespeople who do the same for real estate agents that they’ve had professional dealings with. There are plenty of other examples of these sorts of professional recommendations.

Beware professional bias

Of course, just as you should be wary of overly positive or negative ratings and reviews online, you should be likewise when soliciting professional reviews. If one business regularly referred work by another, even if they don’t think they’re a great business to deal with, neither party will necessarily say anything bad about each other.

In the end, when looking for a tradesperson, real estate agent or some other professional service, be sure to do all your research. Ask around for personal referrals, check them up online, and get in touch with each business directly to see which one is the best fit for you.

Real people, real locations

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice. Visit our website for more information and to see our wide range of courses.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design). 


 

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Ratings, Reviews, Testimonials, Recommendations

Why you can’t beat old-fashioned word of mouth

social media ratings reviews online word of mouth referrals
Online ratings and reviews have a role to play in buying decisions, but sometimes you just can’t go past traditional word of mouth to find good workers.

ONLINE RATINGS AND REVIEWS ARE a great way to determine whether a business is trustworthy or whether they products and services they provide will suit your needs. TripAdvisor and Yelp have transformed the hospitality and accommodation industry, for example. And Airbnb is doing similar with short-term rentals.

But as we’ve previously discussed, online ratings and reviews can be easily faked and sometimes biased or devoid of useful information

Looking for a local? Ask around!

While recently working on a home renovation in Newcastle, I came across a carpenter who had seven employees working for him. Jimmy the Chippy in Belmont has been in business nine years, has no website or online presence — but his business is booming.

How does he do it?

The old fashioned way! He does exceptional work for his customers and clients, who hire him again and again and refer him to friends, relatives, colleagues and so on. He also made a point of networking with local builders and plumbers in the area, who contact him when they have work to do, and refer him to other builders and plumbers as well.

Use word of mouth

If you’re looking locally, and the online ratings and reviews of the businesses you’re trying to decide between aren’t helping, asking a friend, relative or work colleague if they know any of the businesses.

If no one in your social network knows the business, you can also google an online forum like Whirlpool, where members frequently provide fair and balanced opinions of businesses they’ve dealt with — and if they don’t, they’re usually called out for it.

Testimonials are helpful, too

Real estate agents, accountants and many other businesses — EzyLearn included — use testimonials rather than ratings or reviews (except on Facebook), so you shouldn’t discount these just because they’ve been vetted before going online.

And don’t be put off if a business has received the odd bad review. Look at why they’ve received the review and what the business has done or said to address the bad review. Some businesses with a less than perfect record may be more trustworthy than those with reviews and ratings moderated by the businesses themselves.

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We ask each student whether it is ok to publish these beforehand. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice.

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At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our online training courses, be it in in Xero, MYOB, Excelsocial media or other courses, gain employment as bookkeepers, generally better their businesses, or even start their own bookkeeping business. To this end, we provide you with a Lifetime Access option to our cloud accounting training courses.


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Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


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Should You Buy Commercial Property Outright or Get a Mortgage?

The power of using Excel and Xero combined

Excel and Xero combined importing_comp
Our courses cover how to import from Excel into Xero and visa versa, for purposes such as working out depreciation on a business premises.

THERE ARE MANY UPSIDES to buying a commercial property for your business and if you’re able to buy an industrial unit like a Cubbyhole, it can also be a lot cheaper than renting premises.

Buying outright

If you’re in the financial position to buy your business premises outright, it may seem like a no-brainer to do this instead of getting a mortgage. However, there are some things you need to consider:

  • You’ll lose liquidity on the assets in your property, which means you won’t be able to tap into any equity in the property, unless you take out an equity loan against the property.
  • You’re tying all your cash to one asset class, which may limit your ability to make other investments and prevent your business from expanding. This could run counter to your reasons for making the property purchase in the first place.

Getting a mortgage

When you get a mortgage, you have the benefit of being able to access equity in the property, which will enable to invest elsewhere. Of course, there are still factors to keep in mind:

  • You’re spreading the payments over many years, which ties you to paying down that asset for the foreseeable future.
  • You’re paying interest, which although it’s a tax deduction, will significantly inflate the price of the property.

Work out the best way in Excel

Using the data from your Xero accounting software package, Microsoft Excel can help you determine whether your business will be financially better off buying its premises outright or getting a mortgage.

You can also create a financial forecast in Excel. Using Excel, you can calculate the depreciation amounts, which can then be entered into Xero. We cover how to deal with aspects like depreciation in our Xero Bank Reconciliation Course, because many businesses own, or will own, a capital asset at some point.

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Check out our new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Course for Xero which shows you how to deal with an asset purchase like a business premises in Xero. Remember, you get access to ALL our Xero courses for ONE LOW COST. Visit our website for more information on our suite of online training courses or enrol today!


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Importing from Xero to Excel and back again is included as part of our Advanced Microsoft Excel training courses — and you receive access to ALL OF OUR COURSES, including ALL skill levels for ONE LOW PRICE. You can even start your Excel journey with our FREE Beginners’ Excel Course Workbook. Read more about our beginners’, intermediate and advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow!


 

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Can You Trust Online Ratings and Reviews?

How to tell a review is authentic

online reviews are they real
If using online reviews to help you work out what to buy, you want to make sure you’re really hearing it from the horse’s mouth, and not just reading fake marketing guff.

IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE most people, rating and reviews are how you probably make many of your purchase decisions. This can be for purchasing white goods, clothing, a holiday, or even choosing a real estate agent. Continue reading Can You Trust Online Ratings and Reviews?

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Buying Real Estate For Your Business

The pros of buying a business property

xero reports to buy or sell business industrial unit business investment
Buying a premises for your business need not be cost prohibitive and you may enjoy good equity growth.

IN OUR NEW CASH FLOW reporting, Budgets and ROI course for Xero, we delve into the purchase of real estate for your business, which you may use as office space or as a warehouse or as a storage facility and workshop, depending on your line of work.

Why some businesses don’t like buying

Lots of businesses avoid buying premises for their businesses, because you’ll need to have a large capital injection right off the bat, and you may also incur land tax obligations, building insurance, and also be liable for maintenance and repairs.

Renting gives businesses, especially new ones, flexibility, as you’re only locked into a short term lease — not a multi decade mortgage. And if you decide to move or find new premises before your lease term is up, you can often minimise the costs by subletting the premises.

Buying as an investment strategy

However, buying your premises is a good investment strategy, as you’ll be able to access the equity and capital growth in the premises as property prices rise.

You’re also afforded greater freedoms and stability when you own your business’s premises — in particular, protections from rising rents — than you would have if you rented your premises. If you outgrow the space, you can always access the equity and may be able to buy adjacent premises, or rent out your existing ones while you upgrade, providing another valuable income stream.

Running the right reports to help you decide

Of course you can use a cloud accounting program like Xero to run reports that will help you decide whether to buy or rent your business premises and how such a decision will impact your cash flow. There will naturally be capital gains tax considerations and associated deductions. Our Xero training courses go through how to run these kinds of reports to ascertain the financial health of your business.

Low cost pathways to ownership

Industrial units are a good pathway into ownership for your business. If you don’t need to be right in the heart of the city or major town centre, you can often purchase an industrial unit for under $100,000.

In Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales, you can purchase an industrial unit called a Cubbyhole, which can be used as a workshop, storage unit or office space for tradespeople, small and online businesses. These come with amenities such as toilets and showers, car parking (including visitors’ and disabled) and CCTV security, among other things and are worth checking out if you want to buy and only need a smaller business space. 

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In our Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI course for Xero, you’ll learn how to deal with the purchase of business premises just like a Cubbyhole in Xero. Visit our website for more information on our variety of online training courses or enrol today!


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Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

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Cash Flow Reporting in Xero

Show me the money!

learn cashflow reporting in xero online training course videos
Creating a cash flow report in Xero will tell you more about the financial state of your business than profit and loss statements.

IN OUR BRAND NEW Cash Flow, Budgets and ROI Xero Training Course, you’ll learn how to generate a cash flow report for your business.

Cash flow reports show the money going in and out of the business, so they’re better indicators of a business’s overall financial health than a Profit and Loss statement (P&L).

A cash flow report enables you to make forecasts and budgets for your business based on previous trends — recurring expenses, average time to get paid, seasonal quiet periods, and so forth.

The 3 cash flow categories

Cash flow reports are typically broken up into three categories:

  1. Operating activities: cash flowing in and out of the business from revenue-generating activities
  2. Investing activities: cash flowing in and out of the business from the acquisition and sale of long-term assets
  3. Financing activities: cash flowing in and out of the business from borrowings and changes in equity.

Items in a cash flow report

In our Cash Flow, Budgets and ROI Xero Training Course, you’ll learn how to generate a cash flow report in Xero. That report will show every transaction that’s run in and out of your business, divided among one of the three categories.

In the operating activities category, you’ll typically find things like costs associated with any training courses or seminars, advertising and marketing expenses, income or commissions from your business, subscriptions to any magazines or periodicals, etc.

Under the investing activities category, you’ll find the cost of purchasing office or warehouse space and the capitalised borrowing cost, for example.

The financing activities category will show the loan you’ve taken out to purchase your business’s office or warehouse space.

You’ll learn how to generate and work with cash flow reports in our new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Training Course. ENROL now or read more about the benefits of cash flow reporting to your business. Are you a sole trader or contractor needing to record your ongoing expenses? We cover that too!


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Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. Or learn more about our entire suite of online software training packages and social media training packages.


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Importing Bank Statements into Xero

Making bookkeeping easier, faster and more accurate

importing bank statements into Xero online learning course training videos
You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t even know how to import their bank statements into their accounting software. Are you one of them?

WE HAVE CREATED A brand new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Course for Xero and one of the things you’ll learn is how to import your bank statements into Xero.

The sales spiels of many of the notable online accounting software packages like QuickBooks, Wave Accounting, Outright, Kashoo, LessAccounting, Clearbooks and even Xero, claim that this feature will save you time and effort as it imports your bank transactions. The truth is, this is not foolproof and won’t work 100 percent of the time (even if it’s just a matter of not being able to get your software and your bank to “connect” just as your mobile phone connection inexplicably doesn’t work sometimes).

Therefore, always double check your bank transaction data has been imported accurately. This said, importing your bank statement into Xero (or whatever accounting software you use) is a really important step in the bookkeeping process that a lot of business owners forget or don’t know how to do. And the technology is only going to get better!

Using the correct format

To import your bank statement into Xero, you must ensure it’s in the correct format. Xero can only work with a CSV file of your bank statement. Depending on your bank, you might be able to download your bank statement as a CSV file from your internet banking, or you will have to create one from scratch.

Creating one from scratch isn’t too difficult. If your bank doesn’t give you the option of downloading a bank statement as a CSV file, you can create one yourself in Microsoft Excel.

You can download an Excel template from Xero. It includes the recommended fields and is already set up as a CSV file, so all you need to do is add in your data.

Set transaction rules

Once you’ve created and uploaded your bank statement to Xero, you’ll need to set up transaction rules for recurring expenses. You’ll learn how to do this in our Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Xero Course.

Setting rules for recurring transactions helps speed up the reconciliation process, which depending on the type of business you operate and how often you reconcile your account, can be the most time-consuming part of the process.

Importing your bank statement and creating rules for transactions that occur each week, month fortnight, year, etc, greatly speeds up this process.

No CSV? Use bank feeds

If your business has lots of expenses every week, and your bank doesn’t let you download your bank statement in a CSV format, you may find that manually creating one in Excel each month is too time consuming.

Set up bank feeds instead. Bank feeds is the process of linking all of your business accounts, whether they’re credit cards or bank accounts, to your accounting software, so that each time you make an electronic purchase, it’s automatically imported into your accounting software.

This will allow you to reconcile your account each fortnight, week or more frequently, if you desire, than once a month when your bank statement comes in.

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Bank feeds save your business time and money. Find out more about setting up automatic bank feeds in Xero and importing bank statements into Xero. You can also read more about our new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Course for Xero, visit our website or enrol today!


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Learn Microsoft Excel from scratch or brush up your Excel skills, at your own pace, with our affordable Excel online training courses — where you get THE LOT (that’s 9 courses in total) for ONE LOW PRICE — everything included! Volume corporate discounts are available and our courses count towards CPD Points. NOW is the time to learn to use Excel, one of the most-used software applications in the world.


 

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3 Things You MUST Do in Excel!

Business owners and job seekers take note!

learn xero myob excel online training course videos
Excel isn’t just for budding bookkeepers; it’s a great tool for all business owners to know.

MICROSOFT EXCEL IS THE most widely used spreadsheet application in modern computing. That said, it’s also one of the more difficult programs of the Microsoft Office Suite to learn, which is why we recently updated the content of our Excel training courses.

A lot of people do our Excel training courses to help them “skill up” to find a job, find a position better suited to them, or develop their career path. However, Excel is a fantastic tool for small business owners as well.

But whether you use Excel to create a pivot table or a database, there are a few things you should do each time you open an Excel document. Here we present you with three:

1. Vertical align: always centre

Always align the text in the cells of your Excel spreadsheet to the centre, or the top in certain circumstances. But never, ever align it to the bottom. It’s hard on the eyes and, when you’re looking at lots and lots of data in lots and lots of cells, it becomes difficult to know which row, column, etc, you’re looking in. Centre alignment, always.

2. Build error-checking into formulas

There should never be an instance where one of your workbooks is showing a #DIV/0, #N/A, #REF, #NAME?, #NUM!, or #NULL! error. This is especially true if you’re sharing these workbooks with your business partners or accountant or whomever.

Seeing an error in a financial report may cause the reader to doubt the accuracy of the entire workbook, so ensure your workbooks remain error free by using the simple IFERROR() error-checking function in Excel.

3. Print preview your work

Again, if you intend to share workbooks with other people, you should always ensure that your Excel workbooks can be printed nicely and easily, even if you don’t intend to ever print the document yourself. This is easy enough to do via File > Print Preview and adjusting the print margins before sharing (or printing) the document.

However, judging by the number of times I’ve printed an Excel document only to collect 87 sheets of paper off my printer to read the contents one 4×4 table, the function is seldom used by anyone else but me!

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For more Excel formatting tips and tricks, download our FREE Beginners’ Guide to Excel, or enrol in our intermediate or advanced online Excel training courses to learn how to create databases, pivot tables, charts, graphs, and much more…

Read more about our beginners, intermediate and advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow!


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At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks courses gain employment as a bookkeeper or even start their own bookkeeping business; it’s why we provide you with lifetime access to our online cloud-accounting training courses as part of our commitment to continuing professional development