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MYOB, Xero, Quickbooks and the Cloud Accounting Ecosystem

learn intuit quickbooks payroll online training course videos

How the cloud accounting ecosystem has paid off big time:

And how Xero has become the preferred accounting software for Aussies and New Zealanders (Part 2 of 2)

learn intuit quickbooks payroll online training course videos
Although Xero is enormously popular in Australia and NZ, Intuit QuickBooks is backed by a company that dwarfs Xero and MYOB and is huge in the US.

FOR YEARS, MYOB was the Australian market leader in accounting software. Small businesses and accountants spent hundreds of dollars to buy its clunky, obtuse software and load it onto their computers so they could mind their own business (hence, the MYOB) or the business of their clients.

In 2008, the tide began to roll the other way, when an upstart — and a Kiwi upstart, no less — entered the Australian market, two years after it was founded. That upstart was Xero, and it revolutionised the industry, with its software- as a -service approach to accounting systems.

Fast forward a decade, and Xero is now the preferred accounting software in Australia and New Zealand, with 692,000 subscribers compared with MYOB’s 585,000 paid users. (Overall, Xero claims 1.2 million subscribers worldwide.) In the 2016/17 financial year, Xero’s revenue increased 43 percent year-on-year to $295.4 million NZD ($271.7 million AUD); during the same period, MYOB’s revenue increased 13 percent to $370.4 million AUD.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice Xero has more paid subscribers than MYOB, but its revenue is about $100 million AUD behind. That’s largely due to differences in the price of both products.

So you can’t tell which one of Xero or MYOB is the true market leader — yet.

How Xero is growing their subscriber base

Basically, they’ve reached an impasse. There’s not much opportunity left in Australia and New Zealand (there are other players, like Intuit’s QuickBooks and Zoho competing the same space, too) to grow your subscriber base — unless you’ve a carrot to dangle under their noses that’ll lure them away from your competitor.

For Xero, that carrot has taken the shape of its suite of apps, plug-ins and integrations it’s added to its offering through acquisitions and partnerships — anything that would make Xero a one-stop-shop for small businesses, and help them to extract more value from their customers.

[Xero has lured people away from competitors via their] suite of apps, plug-ins and integrations [they’ve] added to their offering through acquisitions and partnerships — anything that would make Xero a one-stop-shop for small businesses…

Meanwhile, MYOB’s strategy for market share

To its credit, MYOB has pursued a similar strategy, acquiring payment firm PayCorp last year, which followed the launch of the company’s PayDirect Mobile and PayDirect Online payments service in 2014 and 2016 respectively, as part of MYOB’s push into payment processing technology.

MYOB also acquired Reckon’s accounting practice software last November for $180 million AUD. The company said the acquisition was part of MYOB’s strategy to see accountants become business advisors, rather than tax and compliance experts.

MYOB chief executive Tim Reed sees automation as being critical to the company’s ongoing success, as it pursues a “connected practice strategy,” which brings transaction processing, compliance and business advisory together and sees accountants become more like business coaches.

“They will be like personal trainers in the gym, but for business,” he said. “This is starting today. Accountants are already working down this process and what I’m seeing is the pace of change start to increase.”

And unlike Xero, which is simultaneously pursuing overseas markets (the U.K., North America, Southeast Asia), MYOB is content to stay focussed on its home market — Australia and New Zealand. (It’s also pushing deeper into big businesses with its enterprise software Greentree, acquired in 2016.)

Accountants and the cloud accounting ecosystem

With Xero pursuing code-free accounting, MYOB pushing into “connected practices,” and Intuit beefing up its own ecosystem of apps and integrations to simplify the bookkeeping and accounting process for small businesses, where does that leave accountants and bookkeepers?

Better off, actually.

Bookkeeping is a necessary step in the overall accounting process. But it’s the most time intensive one. There’s reconciling bank accounts, entering receipts, coding transactions, invoices, and so on. Small business owners don’t — or won’t — do it, so they outsource it to a bookkeeper or accountant, who has a preferred or in-house bookkeeper.

Despite being a time intensive task, it’s lower skilled work — like untangling a jumble of coat hangers; almost anyone can do it. And so it commands a lower rate of pay than other tasks, like financial forecasting, business planning and filing activity statements.

Automating elements of the accounting process, in particular the coding of transactions, eliminates inefficiencies and time wastage. Bookkeepers and accountants can charge their clients the same hourly rates, but they’ll spend much less time doing it.

More apps, more services

And with access to more apps — like a payroll plug-in — they can begin offering more services.

Just as QuickBooks, MYOB and Xero have become more valuable to their customers, by positioning themselves as a one-stop-shop for small business, accountants and bookkeepers can do the same.

Why would a business need to engage a data entry bookkeeper, a tax or BAS agent, and a payroll company when they can hire just one individual to manage all of these tasks efficiently in one cloud accounting program?

They wouldn’t.

Food for thought: Why would a business need to engage a data entry bookkeeper, a tax or BAS agent, and a payroll company when they can hire just one individual to manage all of these tasks efficiently in one cloud accounting program?

And just as MYOB boss Tim Reed stated: Accountants and bookkeepers have already cottoned onto this.

But it means bookkeepers and accountants need to become more skilled at what they do; they need to possess a greater understanding of a wider array of softwares and systems in order to remain competitive.

And even though Intuit, MYOB and Xero have all acquired or partnered with companies that offer payroll platforms, there are still plenty of third parties businesses can choose to connect to their accounting system — that’s democratised accounting for you — so you need to watch the market, and keep your skills up-to-date.

Where to from here?

The cloud accounting space is certainly in flux. There’ll be more acquisitions, more technologies, and definitely more automation. There’ll also be more global companies, as more businesses export their goods and services overseas — and more fintech companies pursuing growth outside Australia.

KeyPay is one such company. It’s based in Wollongong in NSW, and last December announced it would expand its services to the U.K. — a pre-release was slated for January this year, with a full launch due in April.

According to CRN, the company grew 53 percent last year (though it didn’t specify what or how that “growth” was calculated; as a private company, it doesn’t disclose financials or its share of customers). And KeyPay’s co-founder Richard McLean said the company decided to enter the U.K. market because 60 percent of businesses there outsource their payroll to a third party company.

The company intends to rollout its automated payroll system in the U.K. first, with an Australian launch due later in year, and also plans to expand to New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

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lifelong learning platform woman online learning for life

To ensure you have the skills required in an era of cloud accounting ecosystems, code-free accounting and connected practices, we’ve added new modules to our QuickBooks training courses — with training on KeyPal — as part of the QuickBooks Payroll Course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol. We also invite you to read what our students and clients are saying about EzyLearn.


 

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MYOB, Xero, QuickBooks and the Cloud Accounting Ecosystem

smart woman realising xero most popular accounting software program in australia and nz

How accounting is becoming more simplified:

And how bookkeepers and accountants can become a “one-stop-shop” for those needing help with their finances (Part 1 of 2)

smart woman realising xero most popular accounting software program in australia and nz

EARLIER THIS YEAR, Intuit, the parent company of cloud accounting system QuickBooks, announced it had acquired U.S.-based time-tracker platform, TSheets, in a deal worth $340 million U.S.. This was part of Intuit’s strategy to expand its offerings to small businesses and the self-employed. (In the U.S. and Canada, Intuit also operates a cloud software package called TurboTax, which lets individuals file their own federal taxes.)

What the TSheets acquisition means

The TSheets acquisition makes a lot of sense, and provides a good guide to the kinds of businesses cloud accounting firms look to acquire. For example, TSheets and QuickBooks already shared 12,000 customers worldwide, and TSheets had been developed to integrate specifically with QuickBooks (though it also works with Xero and Reckon). It also brings Intuit and QuickBooks in line with one of its competitors, Xero, which acquired a similar project management system WorkflowMax back in 2012.

For TSheets, being part of a big global brands means it’ll be able to innovate faster, with access to the Intuit technology and product team; for Intuit, it’s an additional source of revenue and market share. (Although a privately held company prior to the acquisition, TSheets had been valued at around $40 billion US.)

The cloud accounting ecosystem

Intuit’s TSheets acquisition signals that both Xero and QuickBooks intend to push further into the cloud accounting ecosystem, by partnering with, acquiring, or developing integrations that simplify the accounting process and expand their product offering.

Intuit’s TSheets acquisition signals that both Xero and QuickBooks intend to push further into the cloud accounting ecosystem, by partnering with, acquiring, or developing integrations that simplify the accounting process and expand their product offering.

Xero’s latest suite of products

In 2017, Xero introduced a new suite of products — Xero Expenses, Xero Projects, Xero HQ App Suite, Xero HQ Ask, and Xero Discuss — all aimed at providing SMEs with the technology generally reserved for big enterprises, only far cheaper.

Xero already has an app ecosystem of more than 600 certified app partners and 40,000 developers. And since Xero migrated its platform to Amazon Web Services, the subsidiary of Amazon that provides cloud-computing platforms to companies, Xero has been developing its machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in a push towards completely code-free accounting; in March 2017, Xero released a code-free invoicing and bank transactions feature. (MYOB previously released a similar feature called SmartBills two years earlier.)

Xero has been developing its machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in a push towards completely code-free accounting.

The company’s chief executive Rod Drury said that the move towards automation “will be bigger than the move to the cloud.” He also said the company was working on a feature that would automate invoices entirely.

What else has Intuit acquired?

On Intuit’s part, it’s Asia Pacific arm of the businesses has made a number of acquisitions over the last few years to beef up its product offering, some of them you might not even be readily aware of — like the 2014 acquisition of Invitco, which created a product called Invitbox that extracts data from PDFs, and operates behind the scenes to extract data from bills and receipts uploaded to the QuickBooks system.

Intuit Asia Pacific also acquired the document management company Fifo in 2013.

Next blog: We look at how the cloud accounting ecosystem has paid off and how and why bookkeepers and others working in the accounting space must continue to up-skill.

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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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The Lowdown on the National Accreditation of Software Training Courses

What is a nationally accredited bookkeeping course?

walking on a pathway to a profession with a nationally accredited online training in bookkeeping courses
If your training is deemed a pathway to a profession you may be able to get national accreditation for your course.

EZYLEARN IS OFTEN ASKED whether our Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks training courses are nationally accredited bookkeeping courses.

They’re not. In fact, there’s no nationally accredited training course for Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks or any other accounting software.

That’s because software skills are all the same, regardless of the program you’re using. (You won’t find any “nationally accredited” training courses for Adobe Photoshop or WordPress or Microsoft Office either.)

Nationally accredited training courses are for professions

The government only grants accreditation to training courses for professions, not individual skills. In other words, a Certificate IV in Financial Services is nationally accredited because it’s a pathway to a profession.

For an institution to offer nationally accredited training courses, it must be a registered training organisation (RTO), which means they comply with a number of requirements set by the government, and they keep up that compliance to maintain their accreditation. You can read more about RTOs at the national accreditation page of our website.

BAS agents can complete CPD anywhere

For six years, until part way through 2018, EzyLearn was an Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB)-accredited training organisation.

Bookkeeping industry accredited accreditation associations companiesThat meant that students could complete an EzyLearn course and get a free ICB student membership. The ICB charged us $1,200 a year, which we thought was a good investment, as it gave aspiring BAS agents a foot-in-the-door with an industry organisation, so they could continue their career development.

However, during our six-year stint as an accredited training provider with ICB we came to realise that very few students ever joined the ICB. And the ICB referred very little traffic to our site. Furthermore, we don’t need to partner with, or be recognised by, an industry association to provide CPD training.

BAS agents can complete their CPD training at any training provider, so long as the training is approved by the TPB — which is pretty much anything that relates to being a BAS agent. That includes things like Excel and Word training. (BAS agents should just make sure to keep a log of their training, in case the TPB ever requests it.)

Is industry association-accredited training really any better?

For the six years EzyLearn was an ICB-accredited training provider, our organisation was never assessed, nor were are training courses ever evaluated or reviewed. The ICB is one of the industry’s leading associations.

woman wondering whether national accreditation makes for a better online training course
During the 6 years EzyLearn was a “nationally accredited” by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), our courses were never evaluated or assessed by this organisation in any way.

Because we provided relevant training, the onus was on EzyLearn to ensure that students completed our training courses with the skills they needed to provide MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks bookkeeping services to their clients.

Since we ceased being an ICB-accredited training provider, our course content hasn’t changed — well it has actually; it’s gotten better as it continues to always get better because we continue to keep adding new modules and courses to our Xero and MYOB training. But the standard of training hasn’t slipped — it, too, has only gotten better.

CPD is mandatory, but industry associations aren’t

Industry associations are a great idea, but it’s not mandatory for BAS agents to join them. As long as you keep up your CPD to remain certified by the Tax Practitioners Board (CPD), you may not find any need to join an industry association.

Unless you would like discounts off in-person training and seminars and a discounted subscription to an industry publication or journal, you can completed all of your CPD hours with online training courses, just like the EzyLearn CPD courses.

Practitioner-endorsed training courses

We found that, rather than spend $1,200 a year to be “accredited” by the ICB — or any industry association, for that matter — we’d rather become endorsed by BAS agents. By providing practitioner-endorsed training courses, it means our content is grounded in the real world. Anything a BAS agent would be required to do in MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks for a client, is included in our training courses, making them more relevant and more practical to students.

For people who choose our training courses offering lifetime access, they can go back a review different modules whenever they like — whether it’s a month, six months or two years later! Visit our website to learn more about our lifetime access courses.

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EzyLearn’s online training courses are accredited by BAS agents, accountants and bookkeepers — those we deem to be the industry’s “high water mark” for bookkeeping work. These people are the highest qualified individuals operating in the accounting and bookkeeping space. If they believe the content of our courses is genuinely of high quality and relevant to the bookkeeping world, then this is the accreditation that we trust will give you peace of mind as well. 

I found the EzyLearn Xero course great — a comprehensive step-by-step learning tool to add to my resume and a new tool to use in my Bookkeeping Practice.”
— Patricia Darby
Registered BAS Agent and Bookkeeper, High Quality Bookkeeping

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New Tax Concessions for Small Business

Four big changes to small biz tax concessions

ato tax concessions for small business under $25mAS YOU MAY BE AWARE, each year the ATO updates the tax concessions for businesses. This is usually the result of a budget measure being passed by the Government. Other times it’s due to the ATO simplifying the tax processes for businesses.

For the financial year ending June 30, 2018 (FY17/18), there have been four big changes that affect small business. In particular, how a small business is defined, which lowers the tax rates for more Australian businesses.

Small business threshold increases to $25m

The threshold for how a small business is defined was increased to an aggregated turnover of $25 million. Aggregated turned over includes any other form of income associated with the main business — i.e., shares on the stock market, revenue-generating property owned by the business, shareholdings in other companies, and so on.

Providing your aggregated turnover is below $25 million, your business is eligible for the company tax rate of 27.5 percent.

In the financial year ending June 30, 2019 (FY18/19), the turnover threshold will increase to $50 million, while the company tax rate will progressively decrease until it reaches 25 percent by FY26/27.

Instant asset write-off

The instant $20,000 asset write-off threshold has been extended until June 30, 2018, which means any computers, vehicles, furnishings or other assets purchased for your business between July 1, 2017 and 30 June, 2018 can be deducted immediately.

This deduction can be used for any asset that costs less than $20,000, whether new or secondhand.

Professional expenses deductions for startups

Startups can immediately deduct any profession, accounting, legal advice in the year it was incurred. For instance, a person who, in the process of setting up a cafe, hires a consultant to determine a suitable location for the business, may deduct the consultant’s fees in the year they incurred. This is true even for an established business that is setting up a new business, unrelated to their existing one.

For example, the cafe owner may already operate a restaurant. As long as the cafe doesn’t share the same name and is independent of the cafe, the fees may be deducted. If the new cafe was an expansion on the existing business, the deductions wouldn’t apply.

Immediate deductions for prepaid expenses

You can now claim an immediate deduction for prepaid expenses where the payment covers a period of up to 12 months and ends in the next financial year. If you took out a 12 month lease on premises for your business and paid 12 months rent upfront, the deduction would apply. It wouldn’t apply, however, if you signed a 24 month lease, as the service period is greater than 12 months.

Small business restructure rollover

Small businesses can now change the legal structure of their business — from partnership to a company, for example — without incurring any income liability when the assets are transferred from the partnership to the company.

This rollover applies to any active asset, whether they’re CGT assets, stock, revenue assets or depreciating assets.

In changing the structure of a partnership to a company, the rollover only applies where there is no change in economic ownership. For example, if a husband and wife decide to change the structure of their caravan park to a company, and both husband and wife remain equal shareholders in the business.

The rollover wouldn’t apply, however, if a third person became a shareholder in the company or the shares were distributed unevenly between husband and wife. Both would constitute an economic change in the ownership of any assets, even though they’re a couple.

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We’ll keep you informed of new and emerging technologies that help you do business better. As part of our Updates and Additions policy, any new content we add is yours’ FOR FREE as a current EzyLearn student. 

Interested in finding out about more Xero-integrated apps to help you manage your project more efficiently? See our recent blogs where we review for you and come up with a list of pros, cons and prices: Best Xero-Integrated Time Management Apps and Best Xero-Integrated Project Management Apps and the Best Xero-Integrated Document Management Platforms.


 

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Why Do You Want Xero and MYOB for Free?

If money is an issue there are alternatives when it comes to accounting software programs

WaveApps Transaction journal in the free accounting software competitors to Xero, QuickBooks Online and MYOB with receipt scanning built inWE’RE OFTEN ASKED whether Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks software is provided free with our training courses.

Unfortunately, we’re not given free access to accounting software, so we can’t pass free software access onto our students either. However, we do let you know where you can access trial or student versions while you complete our courses.

It made me wonder: Who’s driving the demand for these programs? It turns out, it’s usually someone’s bookkeeper or accountant recommending them. And this is usually because they’ve done a training course and learnt how to use one or more of the major accounting packages.

Does your bookkeeper or accountant disclose whether they’re earning a commission?

Some bookkeepers take a 15 percent cut of the monthly subscription fee because they’re a certified MYOB / Xero / QuickBooks consultant — and that’s why they recommend a particular package. I personally think that bookkeepers or BAS agents who do this should disclose that they are earning an ongoing commission — just as real estate agents need to make these declarations in their agency agreements.

Businesses don’t know any alternatives  

It also happens that a lot of business owners don’t know about alternative accounting packages. Therefore they simply choose the brand name they’ve heard about the most. I discovered this with real estate agents when it comes to who they choose for their social media marketing services — most of them ask what software or which person Joe Blow uses and then assume it’s good enough for them.

Selecting an accounting package to use is often one of the first things a new business owner does. At this stage, however, they may not even be aware of what they require from an accounting package; never mind what sorts of alternatives they should be looking at. When first starting out, they’re just anxious to be able to invoice and get paid by their first client.

Freshbooks, Zoho, WaveApps alternatives to Xero & QuickBooks Online

Three low cost alternatives to the “three brand names”

Zoho, Freshbooks and Wave are three other accounting packages that are either free or very inexpensive.

These three also include many of the same features you’ll find in the three big name accounting packages — MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks.

Zoho: Free invoicing software allows one user, invoice up to five customers; paid subscriptions from $7 U.S. per month; add extra features (expenses, subscription management, inventory management) as required. Pricing for Zoho Books, the complete accounting package, start at $9 U.S. per month for 2 users, 50 contacts, 5 automated workflows.

Freshbooks: Complete accounting software includes unlimited invoices, accept online and credit card payments, multiple devices, reports, payment reminders, notifications when clients have received, viewed, paid invoices; pricing starts at $15 U.S. per month for 5 active contacts (customers).

Wave: Forever free invoicing and accounting software includes unlimited estimates and invoices, generate reports, scan receipts, bank feeds (accounting package), and more; accept credit card and online payments for a fee (1.75 percent for ever 30 cents AUD); payroll $36 AUD per month.

Consider your business needs first

We recommend either Wave or Zoho for small but growing businesses, looking for a cheap or free accounting solution. Wave, in particular, provides a fairly robust accounting package that’s entirely free, and remains so if you don’t intend to take credit card or online payments (lots of businesses do, but many more don’t). In fact, they even have their own smartphone apps to capture receipts and create invoices while you’re at a clients!

If you anticipate you might want to add other productivity apps, like a CRM, inventory management, IT helpdesk, recruitment tools, or collaborate in a team project, Zoho is a good place to start, as these features can be turned on and off as required.

Of course, these accounting packages are rarely used or recommended by accountants or bookkeepers, who prefer to work with Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks because they provide the functionality needed to complete and lodge activity statements. If you’ll be working with a bookkeeper or accountant, it’s best to stick with one of the brand name three.

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If you need training in MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks, our online training courses will show you how to set up and use various aspects of the software. More importantly, they will take you through detailed case studies where you can enter all the transactions performed by various different business types eg. professional services, trades and even the sale of inventory products. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.

 

Ref: #715

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The Best Xero-Integrated CRMs

How can you provide great customer service? Consistently?

IF YOU ARE LIKE most businesses, you’re probably communicating with your customers and clients via multiple touch points — email, social media, phone calls, chat bots. But how are you keeping track of all these interactions?

A while back I wrote a blog asking the question whether MYOB is, in fact, a CRM and which CRMs I found to be the best and why. It’s worth a read if you want to familiarise yourself with exactly what it is CRMs can do for you and your business.

Batchbook

Batchbook CRM xero integrated learn xero online training course videosBatchbook is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that collects your communications in one central place. It also lets you organise to-do lists and automate tasks, but you will need to go elsewhere if you’re looking for a platform that will automate the sales process.

Batchbook integrates with Campaign Monitor, Wufoo, G Suite (on the “advanced” plan only), Twitter, Hootsuite (if you’ve multiple social channels), Xero, Quickbooks and Freshbooks.

Pricing starts at $19.50 per month for an “essential” plan and tops out at $39.95 for the “advanced” plan.

Batchbook alternatives

Hubspot

hubspot crm integration with xero learn xero online learning training course videosHubspot is one of the leading CRM apps and it’s always free. Businesses get everything they need to manage their contacts and companies, book meetings, log emails, phone calls (you can phone any telephone number for free through the Hubspot app) and sales.

If you want to manage your marketing and social media, you’ll need to go up a step to the paid Marketing plans.    

It integrates with Zendesk, PandaDoc, Proposify, WorkflowMax, and Freshbooks; a Google Chrome extension lets you track emails so you can see when emails, documents and links are opened.

Zoho CRM

zoho projects best integrated xero apps for project managementZoho CRM lets you manage your contacts, log emails, phone calls (you can make calls to any telephone number through the Zoho app) social media, and online chats, while Zoho provides detailed analytics of each communication.

Meanwhile, advanced CRM analytics give clear snapshots of top performing salespeople and your best clients. It also lets you “gamify” the sales process to motivate your sales team.

Zoho CRM integrates it Slack, Zendesk, Microsoft Office and Google G Suite. Being part of the Zoho ecosystem, you can also connect to other Zoho apps — Zoho Books, Projects, Campaigns, etcetera.

Pricing starts at $15 per month, per user for the “standard” plan and tops out at $100 per month, per user for the “ultimate” plan. A free plan for a maximum of 10 users is also available.

Freshsales

Freshsales is the fourth addition to the Freshdesk ecosystem, which includes its online customer service platform, IT support, call centre management, HR, messaging, and marketing platforms.

With Freshsales you can manage your leads, contacts, accounts, and deals; send and reply to emails, while its built-in phone lets you make and log calls. It integrates with Google G Suite, as well as other Freshdesk apps.

Basic “sprout” plans are free, while paid plans begin at $12 per user, per month for “blossom” plans and top out at $49 per user per month for “estate” plans.


We will help you keep abreast of new and emerging technologies for doing business better. As part of our Updates and Additions policy, any new content we add is yours’ FOR FREE as a current EzyLearn student. 

Interested in finding out about more Xero-integrated apps to help you manage your project more efficiently? See our recent blogs where we review for you and come up with a list of pros, cons and prices: Best Xero-Integrated Time Management Apps and Best Xero-Integrated Project Management Apps and the Best Xero-Integrated Document Management Platforms.


cashflow reports in xero and excel

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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$99 MYOB Course: Intro, Intermediate, Payroll – ALL FOR $99!?

Mr Ed a horse is not just a horse and an online course is not just an online course

When a training course is not really a training course…

WE REGULARLY PARTAKE in competitive analysis so we can keep giving you top quality online training courses for the best value out there, and in doing so, I found an online offer for not just one, but THREE levels of MYOB — Intro, Intermediate and Payroll OR ALL THREE for $99.

Not mentioning any names; we’re not in the business of naming and shaming and, besides, you can search the deal easily enough online yourself, but it prompted me to put out a reminder that not all courses are created equal.

Not all training courses are the same

I guess it’s obvious to some degree, but many of us are still misled by marketing, and sometimes what’s packaged to the customer as an online training course, is simply a pile of videos (and not even featuring current and up-to-date software versions, either!) all plonked together. You know what, you can get this, and possibly more, directly off You Tube for free!

Using old versions of the accounting software

myob logo online myob training course videosThere are many online courses available for cheap prices, but many of these same courses are not providing training on the latest version of software packages. A quick scan of the fine print shows that this particular $99 MYOB deal is training you on Version 19 of MYOB. This dates back to 2010, which in any one’s language, is very old. Very, very old.

As part of our suite of online MYOB courses, we include access to our old “archived” courses where we use version 19 of MYOB; only for the benefit of those people who still use it and don’t need features like payroll, super and other added features that you’d expect to get after 8 or so years of software development.

What’s retail price anyway?

Box saying If its too good to be true read the fine print for online training courses

Another thing to be wary of is “retail price” comparisons. Plenty of these may be legit, but there are others out there who deliberately distort the truth or make a current cheap offer seem far more appealing by comparing their cheap price to a retail price that isn’t really indicative of what’s on offer out there online.

Make sure you’re talking “courses for courses” and that the retail price comparison isn’t looking at prices from half a decade ago or thereabouts. The price of online training courses is a forever shifting thing, so do your research!

What your online training course should include

In our books, an online training course that’s actually going to deliver results for you should come with these ingredients at the very least:

  1. A detailed workbook to supplement your training and absorption
  2. Knowledge reviews, quizzes and tests (so you can see how you’re absorbing information as you go)
  3. Certificate of completion option formally stating what you’ve achieved
  4. Case studies that keep the content based in real-world scenarios and ensure you’re learning things that will be practical in real-life circumstances and situations
  5. Responsive email and phone student support for all queries
  6. Money-back guarantee; if you’re not happy with the course content, or it’s not what you thought it would be, you shouldn’t be stuffed around in the fine print by not getting a full refund, (no matter how small the amount you’ve originally paid).

The training course should feature the training on the software as it is in its current version and this training, or training videos, workbooks, whatever, should be provided in an order that’s been carefully considered, trialled and tested.

Oh, and some testimonials by real people vouching for the effectiveness, quality and professionalism of the course content and course content provider is pretty important too. Then there’s CPD point accreditation, access to lifelong learning platforms, the option to get lifetime course membership to course content so you’ll always get updates at no extra cost and have an “after course resource” … yep, don’t get me started, courses simply ain’t all the same and you usually pay for what you get (though I think we’re super cost-effective by those standards!)

***

People say “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. This isn’t always the case, and sometimes excellent opportunities in life seem, at first, too good to be true. But when it comes to online MYOB courses for $99 or $29 or $69 or whatever the probably-too-good-to-be-true price point is, just make sure you’re getting apples for apples, or courses for courses, or horses for horses, Mr Ed.

Mr Ed a horse is not just a horse and an online course is not just an online course

You can watch some FREE MYOB course videos? Scroll through our freebies list of online training videos that you can watch without charge or obligation and subscribe to our blog to get updates to more free videos as we’re adding them all the time. Or check out our special offers page to see what discounts we’re giving at the moment or online training courses in MYOB, Xero, Excel and many others.


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points


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The Best Xero-Integrated Document Management Platforms

‘Seal the deal’ with a beautiful proposal

best xero integrated proposal quote software learn xero online learning training course videos
Sometimes it’s all in the proposal: win over your clients by presenting them with your value proposition in a way that not only looks professional and competitive; but that you can also track online.

FOR MANY BUSINESSES sending quotes and estimates to prospects doesn’t accurately describe the work you’ll be providing them.

Sometimes it’s because you’ll be providing an ongoing service or solution to a business problem — property management, content marketing, bookkeeping — and other times it’s because your business will be competing with others in a public tender.

In these instances, you’ll need to send a proposal to potential clients to explain your value proposition and how you’ll solve their business problem. Rather than sending a proposal in a Word document that you can’t track, use a cloud-based document management platform.

Quote Roller

quote roller learn xero online learning course training videosNow powered by PandaDoc, Quote Roller lets businesses create proposals and quotes quickly and uniformly, using templates and pre-set content blocks.

The platform’s real selling point is its back-end analytics that provides insights. For instance, you can see how long a prospect has spent reading each section; prospects can also ask questions in the built-in messaging tool and sign electronically.

Quote Roller integrates with Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Basecamp, time management app Harvest and cloud accounting software Xero.

Professional plan pricing starts at $19 per month, per user; business plans cost $39 per month, per user. Enterprise plans can be tailored to your business needs.

Quote Roller alternatives

PandaDoc

pandadoc-logo best xero integrated crms learn xero online training course videosPandaDoc acquired Quote Roller in 2015, but the two still provide fairly different services. Quote Roller is a basic solution for businesses wanting to automate and monitor their documents using analytics; PandaDoc, on the other hand, provides a robust tool to generate proposals, contracts and quotes.

It integrates with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Hubspot CRM, Oracle, Zoho CRM, Zendesk, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Xero.

Professional plan pricing starts at $19 per month, per user, and business plans cost $39 per month, per user. Enterprise plans can be tailored to your business needs.

Proposify

proposify learn xero online learning course videos training in xero onlineProposify promises to help you create beautiful proposals that close deals. It’s where design meets business, with a gallery of free, customisable templates that get the full electronic treatment — document analytics, electronic signatures, messaging.

Proposify also integrates with a boatload of third party apps, including Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Hubspot CRM, Harvest, Basecamp, and the cloud accounting apps Quickbooks, Xero and Freshbooks. Next on the list: PayPal, Dropbox, Trello, Slack, Asana, and more.

Pricing begins at $25 per month for individuals (5 active proposals) or $75 per month for unlimited users (50 active proposals).

Better Proposals

Better Proposals will help smaller businesses create beautiful proposals, just like Proposify; they’ll also close deals. The difference? Template design is limited, the analytics aren’t as in-depth, there’s no messaging built into the platform, but the pricing is more affordable. You get what you pay for.

It’ll integrate with Salesforce, Hubspot CRM and Zoho CRM, as well as payment provider PayPal; no accounting software integrations, though.

***

We will help you keep abreast of new and emerging technologies for doing business better. As part of our Updates and Additions policy, any new content we add is yours’ FOR FREE as a current EzyLearn student. 

Interested in finding out about more Xero-integrated apps to help you manage your project more efficiently? See our recent blogs where we review for you and come up with a list of pros, cons and prices: Best Xero-Integrated Time Management Apps and Best Xero-Integrated Project Management Apps.


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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The Best Xero-Integrated Time Management Apps

The best time management apps — without unnecessary bells and whistles

time management best xero integrated apps learn xero online training course videos
There are a host of time management apps that are better than basic, but don’t have unnecessary features, and which integrate with Xero.

ALTHOUGH MANY CLOUD ACCOUNTING applications include basic time-tracking features, most businesses need something more robust.

Time management applications help your business understand how your time is spent, how much of it is billable, and whether projects are profitable — but without the additional task management tools of a platform like WorkflowMax.

Harvest

harvest xero integrated time management app learn xero online training courses onlineEstablished in 2006, Harvest was one of the first cloud-based time management applications, and the first to integrate with Twitter so users could track time via tweets. It’s broken down into three core functions:

  1. Time tracking
  2. Reporting
  3. Invoicing

The biggest barrier to effective time management is remembering to start the timer. Harvest’s mobile apps, integrations and extensions make it easy to start a timer, without having to exit one program, open one, or forgo one when you’re on the road.

Harvest has been purpose-built to integrate with apps like Atlassian, Basecamp, Slack, Github and Trello, as well as cloud accounting platforms Xero and Quickbooks, and payment platform PayPal.

Pricing starts at $12 per month, per person for unlimited projects; a free, one-person, two-project plan is also available.

Harvest alternatives

Hubstaff

Hubstaff, a time management app that was developed to help businesses manage their freelancers and remote workers, but works just as efficiently with teams operating in house.

Hubstaff bills itself as the next best alternative to Harvest, not just because it provides all the same features a few months a month cheaper, but because it’s also a project management app that can be set to take screenshots and track keystrokes to analyse employee activity.

It integrates with all the usual suspects: Asana, Basecamp, Github, Trello and Salesforce, along with accounting apps Quickbooks and Freshbooks and payment provider PayPal.

Basic plans start at $5 per month, per person, while premium plans start at $9 per month, per person; a free “solo lite” plan is also available for one user teams.

HiveDesk

hivedesk best xero integrated time management apps learn xero online training course videosHiveDesk, another freelancer time management app, promising to make “remote collaboration easier”, also takes screenshots and tracks keystrokes.

HiveDesk isn’t web-based, so users must download an app for both desktop and mobile; it’s compatible with most operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etcetera). Because it’s not web-based it doesn’t integrate with any third party applications.

Pricing starts at $15 per month for up to three users (plus one administrator) and costs as much as $100 per month for up to 20 users (plus one administrator).

Time Doctor

Time Doctor, again, provides all the features you’d expect of a time management app — timers, screen monitoring, keystroke tracking, timesheets — plus GPS tracking and payroll. It integrates with Asana, Basecamp, Google Apps (G Suite), Salesforce, Trello, Yammer, Zoho Projects, Slack, and the cloud accounting apps Quickbooks and Freshbooks.

Pricing starts at $5 per month for one user on a limited feature plan or $9.99 per month, per user for all features.

***

We are devoted to checking out new and emerging technologies to help people do better business. As part of our Updates and Additions policy any new content we add is yours’ for free as a current EzyLearn student. Find out more about our suite of Xero online training courses.


 

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The Best Xero-Integrated Project Management Apps

Which ones are best for your business?

xero integrated apps to keep your business within budget learn xero online learning videos
We look at project management apps that integrate beautifully with Xero to keep your project within timeframe and budget.

FOR BUSINESSES WORKING on large projects spanning weeks or even months, keeping track of time, cash flow and profitability is imperative. This is even more so for businesses that work on fixed-rate contracts or tenders.

Such fixed-rate projects are common in the building and construction industry, but also the creative, engineering, and IT industries.

Many of these businesses manage a project’s workflow across a number of different documents (spreadsheets, their CRM, accounting software) — and many don’t manage it properly at all.

As a consequence, projects often come in over budget. A number of cloud-based project management and workflow apps aim to change that, however.

WorkflowMax

xero productivity apps to keep you in budgetThis Xero-owned and operated project management platform contains four elements:

  1. Lead generation
  2. Project management
  3. Cash flow management
  4. Payment

PROS: Being a Xero product, it integrates “seamlessly” with the Xero accounting software, along with other third party software, such as Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Drive, ZenDesk and Receipt Bank, plus a number of payroll applications — Smooth Pay, MYOB Payroll (note: not MYOB’s accounting package) and SimplePay.

CONS: Unlike Xero, however, WorkflowMax is pricey; a one-user plan starts at $27.50 per month and can cost as much as $275 a month for a plan for 21-50 users.

WorkflowMax alternatives

Zoho Projects

zoho projects best integrated xero apps for project managementZoho Projects provides planning tools, Gantt charts, timesheets, document management and collaboration tools. Visually, it’s not much, but it’s easy to use. It isn’t as robust as WorkflowMax, but it’s a good tool for smaller businesses. And it’s part of the Zoho ecosystem.

For a Zoho app, there’s a good number of third party apps it integrates with, including Github, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Gmail, Microsoft Office, Basecamp, Dropbox and Slack.

Pricing starts at $25 per month for 20 projects on an “express plan” and tops out at $100 per month for an enterprise plan with unlimited projects; a free, one-project plan is also available.

Fergus

Fergus trade software logo best xero integrated project management appsFergus is the project management app built by tradies for tradies. Again, like the project management apps before it, Fergus is broken down into three elements:

  • project management 
  • communications, and
  • financial management.

The tradie-specific features include a GPS tracker and a site visits feature. Fergus integrates with Xero and MYOB AccountRight.

Basic “starter” plans begin at $19 per month, per user (recommended for concreters, plasterers, roofers and small firms) and tops out at $39 per month, per user for the “professional” plan. Sole traders get access to the starter plans for free forever.

ProWorkflow

proworkflow xero intergrated project management apps learn xero online course videosProWorkflow is the project management app that promises to be “the project management software your team will love!”

The features — task management, timesheets, messaging, invoices, etcetera — are standard fare.

But the software has opened up its APIs, so businesses can build their own apps, reports and integrations. It already integrates with Xero, QuickBooks online (and desktop), MYOB AccountRight and Freshbooks. It also integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Basic “solo” plans start at $10 NZD per month, per user; advanced plans cost $30 per month, per user.  

***

We are always exploring and analysing new and emerging technologies and introducing new content as part of our Updates and Additions policy. Any new content we add to the course in which you’re enrolled is yours’ for free if you’re a current EzyLearn student. Find out more about our suite of Xero online training courses.


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Accounting Software or ERP System?

enterprise resource planning systems learn myob xero quickbooks online training course videos

Are you BIG enough yet?

I’VE BEEN IN BUSINESS since my early twenties but it wasn’t until my late twenties that I had any clue about how larger companies use and pay for software. I was going through the process of selling a water filter business that I’d been operating in Sydney’s Dee Why when I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Fountainhead Water Company, Mark Darling.

Fountainhead used a specialised accounting system for the bottled water business which did everything from receipts for each delivery to capturing bottle deposits, tracking rental coolers and more — and they were paying hundreds of dollars per month for this software. It was a far cry from purchasing the MYOB software for a couple hundred dollars and NEVER upgrading (no payroll at the time).

Now I understand the importance of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and how they are almost sewn into the fabric of the procedures for medium to large businesses. I was contacted by someone at Sage, asking if EzyLearn had ever thought about offering training in Sage One, their software for their smaller clients. I replied by saying: “Yes, but what is the demand?” I never heard back from this person (might be a good tactic for you if you get too many cold calls!)

SAP one can cost you $600 per month so don't complain about $70 per month for Xero

Getting Setup Using an ERP System

This Sage person piqued my interest so I did a bit of research.

I soon realised that these ERP systems are sold almost exclusively through ‘integrators’ or channel partners who visit your business and really get into the nitty and gritty of the procedures and processes.

They perform their analysis and then set about a plan to implement the new software in the business using deft project management and people skills to CHANGE the way the business works.

These ERP system integrators get very involved in the operations of these larger companies and they get to see the BIG mistakes that small businesses make when dealing with them and know how easy these problems are to fix.

One such person is Carmel Crane, Finance Manager and ERP Specialist at National Bookkeeping, with specialist knowledge of midsize businesses in the mining and related industries. Carmel points out that tier one ERPs, such as SAP, JDE and Oracle are “large, expensive and all-encompassing software systems that tend to be implemented by large, multi-currency organisations.”

In a way, even small business software programs like MYOB, Xero, QuickBooks are ERPs but no one really uses that term and the process of getting set up is often much less formal and done by a high-level bookkeeper like a Finance Manager or accountant. 

The most interesting aspect of my research was when I came to the site of Leverage Technologies and found their sign up form for Sage One. I thought back to those days of working with Mark Darling, but more importantly, how true ERP systems don’t just do invoicing and payments but manage:

  • job costing
  • distribution
  • e-commerce — and even —
  • CRM.

These are services that “integrate” with software like Xero and Quickbooks.

What are tier one and two ERPs?

When you start delving deeper into ERP’s you realise there are different tiers of software which depend on the size of the company using them. Tier one ERPs are relatively inexpensive but fairly flexible applications that enable small businesses to manage their accounting and operational needs. But larger midsize businesses will have different needs that will exceed the capabilities of a tier three software like MYOB or Xero.

“Tier two is aimed at mid- to -large companies — I have a lot of mining companies in this space,” she tells EzyLearn, “and would include [software such as] Pronto, Sage and Green Trees.”

“This software has more modules than tier three, but it’s not as complex as tier one. Tier three is for small businesses, [and they] focus on the accounting side of business with simple relationships across modules.”

Tier three software is for small business and focuses on the accounting side of business.”

— Carmel Crane, ERP Specialist, National Bookkeeping

How to know if you need a tier one or two ERP? 

Any midsize business — so if you’re running a mining company, a substantial wholesale business or manufacturing or retail business — would need to work with at least a tier two ERP. And for the implementation of a tier two ERP like Sage or Pronto, Carmel strongly suggests engaging the services of an ERP specialist rather than just seeking input from the ERP company. 

“An ERP specialist understands the relationship between the modules,” Carmel says. “They can direct you in how purchasing will affect inventory and how plant maintenance will affect asset values — there is a holistic view of transactions.”

“And they know that when a problem occurs, a simple fix may just cause further error down the track. It’s important to understand the big picture.” Carmel Crane, ERP Specialist

Selecting the right ERP for your business

Just as small businesses would select a tier three ERP based on their requirements and the cost of the system, businesses selecting a tier one or two ERP do the same.

“The software is selected based on requirements, scope and cost,” Carmel notes. “Coca Cola are likely to run SAP or JDE, whereas a local operation with branches across Australia is more likely to go with Pronto or Sage.”

But she adds: “That said, just to contradict myself, I spoke with a company last week that had received an implementation quote from JDE for $1.8 million, and when I asked Pronto for the same requirements, they came back with a ballpark of $1.6 million. However, the quotes were for 30 licenses; most mid-range businesses will only use 10-15 licenses, so it would cost less.”

***

To select the right ERP — and for the right price! — engage an ERP specialist. Their knowledge of how various elements of your business operations — inventory or machinery maintenance — will affect your business, combined with their in-depth knowledge of ERP systems make them an invaluable resource.

Carmel Crane ERP Specialist National Bookkeeping_3_comp

How to find an ERP Specialist

Carmel Crane specialises in ERP systems for businesses in the mining and related sectors. Her knowledge of Xero & MYOB enables smaller businesses to get set up and systemised so they are better equipped to deal with larger clients.

She is also available for face to face training in Xero & MYOB.

As a Finance Manager, she works with businesses in the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Chillagoe to Charter Towers regions, Dalby through to Dubbo (including Broken Hill, Cobar and surrounds), and the Riverina, Wagga Wagga and Wyalong areas.

Carmel is looking to expand her list of clients in these and surrounding areas. If your business is in need of an experienced finance manager for managing Xero or MYOB or even a mid sized business looking for an ERP specialist, you can contact Carmel through the National Bookkeeping website.


 

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Do What You Know & Actually Make Money

business and marketing help for tradies

business and marketing help for tradiesMANY SMALL BUSINESS owners get distracted thinking about what they could do or want to do and not what they can do now.

Doing what you know, and particularly, what you love doing and are passionate about, will ensure you earn money and get new clients.

Why? How? Because people see it in your body language and hear it in your voice.

Throw in some good computer skills and efficient credit and money management and you’ll be set for a great financial year profit.

People Prefer Specialists

I recently worked with a lot of different trades people on an investment property in Newcastle and found it fascinating how many trades people would promise to do a lot of things but then not be able to deliver when needed.

In particular I spoke with a painter who claimed that he was a level 3 painter (and not a level 1 painter) and then gave me reasons for it.

I soon realised that this painter simply wanted to work at a slower pace doing lots of interesting things. He didn’t want to work on intricate, complicated paint jobs — however, he was quoting on EVERYTHING in the hope of getting the work.

My strong advice: Specialise early in one or two particular areas of your field. For instance; if you’re a painter, concentrate on indoor painting, rather than spreading yourself thin doing outdoor jobs.

Similarly, don’t even bother quoting on projects that require lots of different tools and expertise you don’t necessarily have. You can branch out later, once your business is more established and you have the time and resources to take on different kinds of jobs.

Just remember, people want experts because they know the job will be be done well — and they’re willing to pay good money for that. If you’d prefer to do more basic paint jobs like renovation touch ups and/or refreshing old houses, and you are willing to accept a lower rate, there is also plenty of demand for that.

Build a network of specialist professionals

You, personally, can’t be everything to everyone, but you can build up a network of professionals so your business can provide everything to everyone.

Get to know other professionals who carrying out work in ancillary and adjacent areas to your business, and work out a mutually beneficial arrangement to pass work onto each other, where each people can earn a finder’s fee.

EzyStartUp business startup and admin training coursesLearn about setting prices, business planning

The painter recently went through the topics in our EzyStartup Course and realised he could earn a commission or referrals by passing jobs that were outside his area of expertise onto other painting companies. This has enabled him to focus more on the renovations and maintenance work that he prefers to do.

Our EzyStartup Course taught him about pricing services, business planning, and developing a professional network to grow his business. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.

Be a better tradie!

FREE Xero Accounting Training Course WorkbookDownload our FREE Xero Training Workbook.

WHEN YOU KNOW even just the basics of what Xero cloud accounting can do (or you have someone in your business who does) you’ll stand out from others. 

Why? Because you can MANAGE YOUR TIME in Google Calendar (part of Google G Suite) and GENERATE QUOTES AND INVOICES INSTANTLY using Xero accounting — it’s much simpler than you think!

You’ll earn your money faster, have better cashflow and not be left worrying about all the things you have to do in the future.

See our suite of online Xero accounting courses if you want more details


 

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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.


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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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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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When Do You Need to Register as a BAS Agent?

Making the effort to specialise reaps rewards

becoming a registered BAS agent
Without BAS agent registration you may be limiting your options for employment as a bookkeeper.

BECOMING A REGISTERED BAS agent means you are permitted to lodge a client’s business activity statements (BAS) on their behalf, each month or quarter, or as determined by the ATO.

BAS agents are really bookkeepers; but they’re ones who have done some extra training and applied to the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB) for a BAS agent’s accreditation.

Not every bookkeeper has to register as a BAS agent, but those who do typically earn more as a registered BAS agent than a straightforward, no-frills bookkeeper does. That’s largely due to the way cloud-based software, like Xero and Quickbooks, has made it a lot easier for businesses to manage their own bookkeeping. But even just speaking generally, bookkeepers who have specialised skills always tend to earn more.

So when don’t you need to register?

You don’t need to register as a BAS agent if:

  • You’re an employee of a registered BAS agent, who pays you wages to help them with BAS services
  • You’re an employee of a business doing its BAS
  • You do the books for your own business – you prepare the activity statements for your own virtual assistant business
  • You don’t receive a fee or reward for the BAS services you provide – you’re helping a relative or in-law prepare their activity statements.

You may still need to register, however, even if the client lodges their own activity statements, simply because they relied on your advice or work relating to their BAS.

Who needs to register, then?

In a nutshell, if you provide BAS services that you are paid for – that is, you receive a fee or reward – then you need to register with the TPB.

Even if you’re being paid for your BAS work as part of other types of work (like a freelance office manager whose duties include providing BAS services, along with other duties, like customer service and general administrative tasks), you still need to register.

You’ll also need to register if you’re a contractor, providing BAS services to another registered agent. This applies even if you work at the registered agent’s office or premises and you’re not considered an employee of that agent (for further info, see the ATO’s guide to determining when someone is a contractor and not an employee).

Why register to be a BAS agent?

As we’ve said, there’s the legal requirement to register to be a BAS agent if you’re deriving an income, or some other form of remuneration, for providing BAS services to another business. But there are other reasons why a person with the knowledge and know-how of BAS should register as an agent.

Example:

Say you’re someone who doesn’t need to register, but you’d like to pick up extra work as a contract or freelance bookkeeper, being a registered BAS agent makes you more valuable to businesses; not just because you can complete and lodge their activity statements, but because you can also advise them on their BAS.

As noted above, even if you don’t lodge the activity statement because your client does, you may still need to register if they relied on any part of your work or advice. For your services to be clearly delineated from your client’s BAS, you’re only able to provide very basic data entry services.

becoming a registered bas agentIf you don’t register, it means you can’t:

  • Work out the codes for GST or FBT collection
  • Provide reconciliation, because it involves deciding on the tax codes to apply
  • Manage your client’s payroll

You wouldn’t even be able to set up a client’s accounting software for their business.

If you don’t register as a BAS agent

A bookkeeper that’s only able to provide very basic data entry services – which isn’t even a huge component of the bookkeeping job now that most accounting packages have the bank feeds feature – isn’t very valuable to a business, simply because they don’t add any value to their client’s business.

When people hire a freelancer or a contractor, they tend to hire someone who can fit one of two criteria; either they’re:

  • Highly skilled in their particular field; or
  • Inexpensive

If they want someone highly skilled, it’s usually because the project they’ll be working on is very important to them; if they hire someone inexpensive, it’s because the project isn’t particularly important, but does need to be done nevertheless.

You can probably see where we’re heading here. We happen to think bookkeeping is extremely important, because it indisputably has many far and wide ranging implications for all of our businesses.

How and with whom you need to register

First you need to have completed, as a minimum, a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping at a TAFE or another registered training organisation. Then you need to register with the TPB, which requires registrants to meet a certain criterion before they can be accredited as BAS agents.

Although it’s not a requirement, you’ll also need to know how to use some of the most popular accounting packages. At the moment, the three most popular accounting packages with both accountants and most business owners, are QuickBooks, MYOB and Xero, of which we offer online training courses in. All of these packages have pros and cons.

We say it’s not a requirement to know each of the above, because a Cert IV in Bookkeeping trains you in the intricacies of Australian tax law, but doesn’t teach you how to apply that in any accounting software; that’s something you have to learn yourself if you’re going to put your education into practice.

To read more about becoming a bookkeeper, and in particular how to start a bookkeeping business, continue reading or subscribe to our blog. Alternatively, to learn how to use MYOB or Xero, you can enrol in one of our many training courses online.

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Read more about being a BAS agent

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Starting your own bookkeeping business can provide a lucrative and flexible career option. As a BAS agent you can lodge Taxable Payments Annual Reports (TPARs) which are used in the construction industry. Also, don’t fear that you should automatically choose to affiliate with one accounting software application over another — oftentimes having a qualified BAS agent is far more valuable to a business than a certified consultant or advisor.  


 

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Is Xero Really All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

How does Xero stack up in the cloud accounting game?

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Xero CEO, Rod Drury

WHEN XERO FIRST ENTERED the accounting space, it gave MYOB a real run for its money — something Xero continues to do to this very day.

When Xero first entered the market, it was with a bang. You see, even though  Xero and MYOB share many of the same features, Xero was cheaper and easier to use than MYOB, but perhaps even more so, it was also cloud-based. Being cloud-based meant you didn’t have to buy and install pricey software that would be out-of-date within 12 months. A huge advantage.

Since then, however, a number of cloud-based accounting applications have entered the market — QuickBooks Online (now distributed by their US-based parent company Intuit), Reckon One, Saasu, Zoho, and so on.

As business owners have more choice than ever before, it’s got a lot of people wondering about whether the two market leaders (Xero and MYOB) are really all they’re cracked up to be, Xero in particular.

Missing a dropdown menu

Even though Xero was hailed as a breath of fresh air when it first entered the market, it is still a little more complicated to use when compared with other cloud accounting apps, like QuickBooks and Reckon One. For instance, the purchase orders feature is still hidden behind bills, when it could easily be access via a dropdown menu. But it’s not a major quibble.

Xero’s contact profile misses a beat

Although Xero allows you to assign customer numbers for your suppliers or customers in the contact profile, it doesn’t have the functionality to record customer numbers assigned by supplier or customer.

If you’re trying to get in touch with Telstra, for example, with whom you’ll have been assigned a customer or account number, you’ll have to dig around for the paper bill to find that customer or account number.

It’s easy to file bills, though

This feature is available in QuickBooks, and it’s also available in MYOB, but as is often the case with MYOB, it requires more steps to do what you can in Xero in just a few clicks. Rather than keep paper bills on hand, Xero allows you to attach them to you transactions, so you never have to go hunting around for a bill again (very useful given the contact profile issue mentioned above).

In MYOB, you must upload your bills to your in-tray, and then link them to your transactions. This is annoying, because it requires you to leave the transaction window and open the in-tray one.

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Remember that when you select a cloud accounting package for your business, do not choose solely based on price. Make a list of the needs of your business and the functions you’ll require, and then select the accounting package that suits your needs the most. Ask your bookkeeper and other business friends for their recommendations as well.


Announcement: Microsoft Excel 2016 Beginners’ to Advanced courses now available!

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At EzyLearn we include all versions of a software program in our training courses. That means when you enrol into Excel you get 2016 — AND — the older Excel courses which include version 2013, 2010, 2007 and even 2003 (if you really need it).
When you enrol in Lifetime Course Access you get access to ALL versions and ALL FUTURE VERSIONS as we continually update them — at no extra cost!