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Are Xero and MYOB going to get SMASHED by QuickBooks Online?

Is QuickBooks Online the White Elephant in the Room?

I recently wrote about QuickBooks, once the great competitor to MYOB accounting software, and I thought I would delve a little deeper to see what has happened with the company that use to be their Australian distributor, Reckon and how big they are in the US. I looks to me like we have a period of consolidation on our hands with some very big companies and many of them listed trying to earn the cloud accounting dollar.

We have online courses in MYOB and Xero and are exploring a QuickBooks Online training course.

What do you Reckon about Reckon?

Reckon 5 year Share Performance
Reckon 5 year Share Performance. Information from Commsec. Click to Enlarge

As a public company you can see Reckons financial results and industry commentary at the ASX website and in their latest financial announcements they confirmed that they had parted ways with Intuit as the Australian distributor earlier this year (saving them $2.5M in royalty costs).

Reckon is now a competitor to their previous partners, Intuit, and a participant in the online accounting and bookkeeping software market with their own software service called Reckon Hosted.

If I were Reckon the scariest thing for me would be that the brand that I helped to build over such a long period is now strongly competing directly against me in the local market. Let’s hope they built some good relationships with accountants who’ll continue to work with and recommend their new product lineup. Their share price seems to indicate that they are currently falling out of favour.

Xero vs QuickBooks Online

Xero Oct 31 2014 Share Performance. From Commsec. Click to Enlarge
Xero Oct 31 2014 Share Performance. From Commsec. Click to Enlarge

Xero is the nameplate for online accounting software because they pioneered accounting software that ONLY works in the cloud. A major shareholder in Xero is Craig Winkler, the man who successfully helped MYOB dominate the accounting marketing in the PC era and sold out to Archer Capital who then sold to another large US private equity company Bain Capital.

I wrote about Xero’s financial performance not long after they listed their XRO shares on the ASX (they are a New Zealand company) but their recent share price performance seems to indicate that they are not popular in Australia. The next frontier in online accounting and bookkeeping seems to be integrations and accounting suite tools for accountants. These integrations and add-ons are one way of making their software more important in the suite of programs that small businesses use and a good example is the recent announcement of Xero’s integration with Microsoft’s Office 365.

Visit Xero’s website and you’ll quickly be able to get to their Add-on Market Place.

MYOB vs QuickBooks Online

Bain Capital paid over 1 billions dollars for MYOB to include it in it’s bag of technology investments – see if you can spot MYOB! Although they are no longer an Australian public company they are listed on the ASX and Aussies can invest in the company that now offers a wider range of services that just accounting software. Their revenue has grown significantly in the 2014 financial year according to their announcement on 25th August 2014.

MYOB had many partners in their PC based software but went through a very tough period when accountants were refusing to recommend MYOB customer upgrade their software. MYOB had to re-write their software to cater for the cloud accounting market and some integrations just didn’t work as a result. It appears that the online version is still popular with MYOB Partners and you can learn more about MYOB Add-ons here.

MYOB is still the market leader for accounting software in Australia an although they appear to be a laggard in the online space they are agressively competing with Xero for new customer acquisitions. A recent article by Peter Dinham at IT Wire about Xero and MYOB customer numbers highlights how dirty the fight is getting and how important accountants are in the sale of accounting software. Peter talks about MYOB being the 800 pound gorilla but when you explore the global market for accounting software you cannot ignore Intuit.

QuickBooks Online and the Global Accounting Software Market

Go to Intuit.com and you’ll be presented with a message that says “we’ve gone global” and the option to go to your local country website site. Let’s face it, they’ve been global for a while but it’s apparent that their online marketing for Quickbooks Online is becoming stronger. I read a recent blog post from Sholto Macpherson’s popular Digital First website about the Top 5 Most Popular Features of QuickBooks Online and note that at the bottom of his post he disclosed that he travelled to QuickBooks Connect as a guest of Intuit. It’s a sign of the impending marketing blitz that a massive US company is capable of.

Visit Intuit’s investor relations website and you’ll see that the revenue for Intuit in 2013 was almost 4 times the total capital purchase price that Bain Capital paid for MYOB when they bought it. With that size, established software brand in Quickbooks and a network of Intuit Pro Advisers ready to help small businesses I think this is the space to watch for online accounting software.

Again, as a very established software publishing company Intuit have an impressive range of Add-ons to help improve the functionality of the software as small business look for ways of integrating the ever widening range of cloud-based software they use.

QuickBooks Pro Adviser Offer

Whilst writing this post I became aware of the big launch that Intuit are doing in Australia to strengthen their network of accountants and advisers. It’s started with a blubbery story about the great history of a 30 year old US company, but I found this video which shows what they are willing to do to help Australian Bookkeepers increase their knowledge, get new sales and better support their customers (Small Businesses).

Here it is..

Join our Bookkeeper Directory

Startup Academy - work from home as an independent contractorIf you are a MYOB bookkeeper and want us to help you get exposure and find new small business bookkeeping clients register with our partners at Workface as we build a national bookkeeping database to help you find new clients and help small businesses find honest, hardworking bookkeepers who operate their own home based bookkeeping business.

To be a bookkeeper in this cloud accounting era means that you can perform bookkeeping from your own home office if you do a great job and have a good reputation. Although you can perform this work from home its becoming more important to get that reputation and one of the tried and trusted ways is by meeting people face to face at networking events. When people get to know you and like you they’ll start recommending you to people who they know need a bookkeeper and that is when you’ll discover the power of referral marketing.

Registering for the bookkeeper directory is the first step in our plan to help people operate a business from home. If you want to read more about how we plan to help ordinary people start their own business as independent contractors visit the StartUp Academy website and learn more. You can subscribe for the free guide that I created to help people on that journey.

 

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Reinvent Your Career: ‘Work At Home’ Seminar

I mentioned in my last post that I will be presenting a Work at Home Seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo in

work from home
Steve Slisar, EzyLearn CEO, will soon be sharing how you can work from home.

Sydney on 30 and 31 August 2014. We call it the WAH Seminar and I really hope to see some of EzyLearn’s students there. We’ll have a stand there for our soon to be announced Start Up Academy!

Work at Home with the Start Up Academy

The Startup Academy is the culmination of 14 years in the training industry. Over those years I’ve watched EzyLearn transition from a training centre in Dee Why to having three centres across Sydney and then finally close all centres in 2006 and move all of our training content online. In 2008 online training really kicked off for us. We offered MYOB and Microsoft Excel Online training courses and we began our journey into hiring remote workers to work from home for various parts of our business. We’ve used a number of different services to find the right people for our organisation including oDesk, Gumtree, Virtually Yours, 121 Temps, Freelancer, Elance and even this very blog. Everything we’ve learnt a lot along the way I’ll be sharing with the audience at the seminar.

Good Online Reputation Means You Can Work at Home

Social Media and the Internet have given more people a stronger voice than at any time in human history and as a result we are all faced with our “online profile” and “online reputation” – this is particularly relevant for people who work from home. One of the best examples that I can think of where people want to have a good reputation is eBay. I’ve met many eBay sellers and they are all VERY keen to do a great job and get a great rating and it’s always a pleasure to deal with them. The same thing is now happening with the way we work and provide services.

I’ll be talking about a range of things to help remote workers start their own business working from home as independent contractors, including how to find work. Here’s a little more on what to expect from me:

  • Does it really happen?
  • Does it affect me?
  • How do I fit in?
  • Make yourself stand out
  • Measure the work you do
  • Teleworking
  • The Australian Government wants it
    • – workforce participation
    • – digital disruption
    • – work is about what you do
    • – working anywhere
    • – enablers
    • – benefits
    • – drivers
    • – unmet demand – mature, parents and disabled
  • Our experience
  • Measure outcomes
  • Your public profile
  • Your competitors
  • LinkedIn
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Finding clients
  • Create an engine

Once again, I hope to see you at the seminar. If you would like more information on the Reinvent Your Career Expo, you can visit their website for more details and if you are interested in having me do the same presentation at your industry group meeting, chamber of commerce or other meeting please let us know.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Work at Home Opportunities in our Start Up Academy, visit this page: Work at home business opportunities.

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Will Xero Dethrone MYOB as the King of Accounting Software?

Xero may not have toppled MYOB's crown, but they've certainly forced them to find new ways to remain relevant.
Xero may not have toppled MYOB’s crown, but they’ve certainly forced them to find new ways to remain relevant.

We’ve been offering MYOB training courses for a very long time and that’s largely because they have long been the market leader in accounting software. But in the last few years there’s been a definite shift in the accounting software space, and with cloud-based technology, a number of other players have entered the marketplace.

Xero — Forcing MYOB to be More Competitive

One of those new players happens to be Xero, which has quickly gained momentum as the preferred accounting software among accountants and small business owners. Because of its increasing popularity, we decided to branch out from MYOB training courses by developing a Xero training course as well.

Although it’s unlikely Xero will topple MYOB from their position as the best known and most widely used accounting software, Xero’s presence has forced MYOB to get up off their laurels and find new ways to remain competitive in the marketplace.

For some bookkeepers the increasing fragmentation of the accounting software space is a drag and one that forces them to learn how to use a number of different account software packages as their clients move away from MYOB.

The upside is that all this competition in the marketplace has led to some very useful developments as MYOB, Xero and others battle it out in a bid to stay relevant to their customers. The first big development was MYOB’s decision to follow Xero into the cloud, by launching MYOB Account Right Live.

This was soon followed by the introduction of automatic bank feeds (which we’ll cover at length in a future post), and then MYOB Essentials, the low-cost option for small businesses.

The developments in the accounting software space are likely to keep coming — all to the benefit of you as a bookkeeper and as a consumer.

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So while Xero may not take the crown from MYOB, they are an increasingly popular accounting software choice for many accountants and businesses. If you’re a bookkeeper and you’d like to stay relevant in the marketplace, Xero is a must-have skill.

For more information on our Xero training course, visit our website or contact our team.

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The EzyLearn MYOB Course Community

At EzyLearn we offer a handful of online training courses: Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook), MYOB Accounting, and WordPress website design and blogging. There are many companies who promote courses online and that’s just what they do — promote courses online — but we try to be a little different.

Here’s why:

  • We offer only a handful of courses and we do them very well
  • Our courses come with LIFETIME Membership
  • As a student you receive fresh, new content without paying extra
  • Where possible, we provide real life exercise files so you can work with the software.

Our Online Community

Our experience with thousands of students has taught us that some students need more interaction than just the videos. They also like to bounce off other people to better understand the software they are learning.

That’s why we provide our Student Community and Tutor Support — to provide our students with the ability to communicate with fellow students, as well as ask questions of our experienced community moderators. It’s like having your own tutor that you can ask questions to who can provide quality answers based on their own experience in their relative industries.

Our students range from job seekers to small business owners and existing bookkeepers wanting to learn more, to accountants who may be thinking of leaving the corporate world and setting up a small business for themselves (or even seeking greater work-life balance).

Qualified Moderators

Our student support community is moderated by our MYOB Bookkeeper and Registered BAS agent, giving students the benefit of both communication with other course attendees (to socialise and to learn) as well as obtain answers to specific questions.

Annual Membership

Our Student Community and Tutor Support is provided on a yearly membership basis and you can continue or opt-out as you please each year. The service is available to existing EzyLearn students or new students enrolling into any one of our courses.

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Bumper Content: 10 Training Workbooks Included in our MYOB Courses!

With EzyLearn, in addition to the videos, you get over 200 pages of training information in our workbook.
With EzyLearn, in addition to the videos, you get over 200 pages of training information in our workbook.

When you’re selecting a training course provider, it’s important to consider the training material and resources you will need in order to complete the course. There are many online institutions that don’t provide any training material beyond the information available in their training videos or learning management system.

But EzyLearn is Different.

Because our MYOB training courses are like an induction to the role of a bookkeeper, we provide our students with workbooks and training resources to compliment the content in our training videos and online learning tools.

When you enrol in our MYOB training courses, you’re able to access 10 training workbooks, which include over 219 pages of training material and exercises that you can refer to while completing our online training courses.

Because our training workbooks are delivered in a downloadable format that you can print, you have access to our training material all the time, even when you don’t have an internet connection.

Our former MYOB students have found the training workbooks an invaluable training resource, particularly after they’ve completed their courses and they need a refresher on some of the more complicated aspects of the MYOB software.

In fact, many of our students continue to use our training workbooks to help them transition from student to MYOB bookkeeper even after they’ve graduated from our courses.

What’s In Our Workbooks

Our workbooks cover the following content:

  • Purchases
  • Inventory
  • Sales
  • Cards
  • Banking

There’s no better companion to the MYOB software than our training workbooks, so if you’re thinking of becoming an MYOB bookkeeper or just need help using the software for you business, enrol in our MYOB training courses today.

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Your Business Accounting Software: Is it Working Best for You?

Is your business accounting software - and your business bank account - saving you time? It should be!
Is your business accounting software – and your business bank account – saving you time? It should be!

In a previous post we wrote about business bank accounts. Some banks, even though they offer business accounts, aren’t actually all that business friendly, and this can sometimes add hours to your bookkeeping and reconciliation processes.

Not all Business Accounts are Created Equal

If you’re starting a new business and going to open a business account, we recommend you do your research and shop around, because not all accounts are the same.

Some business accounts integrate nicely with your accounting software, while others, like a Bank of Queensland account, for example, does not because they transferred their credit card service to Citibank, preventing integration with the Banklink feature of MYOB.

Other business accounts don’t allow businesses to have a Visa or MasterCard debit card attached to their business account and only allow businesses to make online purchases using their own money.

Business owners can only use a linked credit card to make online purchases or a separate debit card. Either option still results in additional journal entries in your accounting software.

End of Financial Year – Best Time to Get Business Friendly

If you’ve been battling with your current bank, now that we’re approaching the end of the 2013/14 financial year, it might be the time to consider moving your accounts elsewhere so you can start afresh come July 1.

Or perhaps it’s not your bank that’s playing havoc with your bookkeeping – perhaps it’s your bookkeeping software. As we approach a new financial year, it might be a good time to consider switching your account keeping software to MYOB, or something simpler, like Xero (we have written in the past comparing the two).

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At EzyLearn, we provide a range of training courses for a number of different accounting programs from the basic Reach Accounting to the more sophisticated MYOB. For more information on our training courses, visit our website.

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Become a MYOB Training Course Affiliate Marketer

Get paid for promoting our proven course to your friends by becoming an affiliate partner.
Get paid for promoting our courses

Earn Income by Simply Recommending Our Courses

We are looking for anyone who has completed our MYOB training course to become an affiliate marketer and earn money by recommending our training courses to people you know.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work? Continue reading Become a MYOB Training Course Affiliate Marketer

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Feedback from Students About Our Online Training Courses

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

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

The feedback we receive from our students helps us to understand what’s working and what isn’t, which is why it’s invaluable to us that you get in touch and let us know what you think.

It was based on the feedback we received from our students that we decided to develop our Reach Accounting and Xero training courses. It is also based on the feedback we received that we changed the way we issued our certificates so that students received them faster and could use them to find work.

Recent Feedback

Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve received from our students recently:

“I found the workbooks the most helpful for giving practical experience.” — Karen Dimitri, Glengowrie SA 5044

“The best part is that you can do it on your own time and pace.” — Juliana van Wyk, Hilton WA 6163

“Short, easily digestable videos. Can fit in easily with a busy lifestyle.” — Korina Power, North Shore, Auckland 0630

“I could learn at my own pace.” — Jackie Smith, Sheidow Park, SA 5158

“Doing the workbooks and watching the videos at my own pace has helped me a lot in pursing the current workforce requirements.” — Merritt Ray, Loganholme QLD 4129

“I was able to finish the whole course in just a couple of weeks.” — YoonOck Lee, Atwell, WA 6164

“By watching videos on one particular topic and doing a test straight after relating to those videos, you don’t become too overwhelmed with too much information.” — Michelle Bankstown, NSW 2200

“I am happy as I could completely the course at my own pace. It was easy n simple to understand. As a mother I felt the course was very time efficient. Looking forward to putting my knowledge into action.” — Kimberline Francis, St James, WA 6102

“This course is best for me because I can access any time from home, I can replay any video provided when I didn’t understand.” — Mika Humphreys, Innisfail, QLD 4860

“Everything within the course itself was great. I liked the most how easy it was to understand and navigate through.” — Katie Davis, Whyalla, SA 5608

“Being able to actually move around the sample company file to get a feeling of how the software is structured, made me have more confident.” — Joy Khoo, Mudgee, NSW 2850

“The best parts of this course is that we get freedom to learn and complete this course in your own suitable time. There is not so much pressure that you have to complete in certain time limit. I would advise and recommend this course from EzyLearn to international students who want to further their career in bookkeeping and accounting. It was a great privilege to be part of your institute.” — Prabin Gurung, Auburn, NSW 2144

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

 

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MYOB: What is an Induction?

Our MYOB course will help induct you into the role of bookkeeper.
Our MYOB course will help induct you into the role of bookkeeper.

The word ‘induction’ has many uses, which can make it rather subjective. It can refer to the time interval between the cause and the first measurable effect in an experiment; it can refer to stimulating the process of childbirth; it can refer to a rite of passage or ritual event, like a Bar of Bat Mitzvah; even our MYOB training courses act as a kind of quasi induction into the world of bookkeeping.

Exposure to Real-World Scenarios

Even though our MYOB courses are primarily teaching you how to use an accounting software package, we deliberately created training courses that would expose our students to real-world bookkeeping scenarios, so they would properly understand the software.

When you complete the day-to-day transactions module of our MYOB course you’re taught how to receive money and pay bills, record a cash-sale, settle credits and returns, and analyse payable, among other things.

Each module within our MYOB training courses teaches you a fundamental aspect within the whole bookkeeping process, and in that way our courses act like an induction into the role of a bookkeeper.

Inducting You as a Bookkeeper

An induction helps to give a person a basic understanding of what to expect of a particular situation or circumstance. In the instance of our MYOB courses, we’re helping you to understand what is expected of you as a bookkeeper, and what you should expect in turn.

Many organisations provide new employees with induction training to help them understand how the business operates, and to keep their existing staff up-to-date with changing policies and procedures – such as work, health and safety.

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As Australia’s leading provider of online training courses, EzyLearn has recently ventured into providing companies and organisations with the facilities to provide their staff with online induction training.

If you’d like to learn more about the kinds of induction programs you can offer your staff, visit our website or request a quote.

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Discussion Post: How Do You File Your Invoices and Receipts?

How do you file invoices and receipts? Tell us, we want to hear!
How do you file invoices and receipts? We’d very much like to hear!

Whether you’re a bookkeeper or business owner, if there’s one thing we probably all have a shared hatred of — it’s filing. Filing is the little task we always put off, until eventually we can’t find anything through the sea of paper and receipts cluttering our offices. This wouldn’t be so bad if filing wasn’t such an important part of a business.

People File Differently Now

But as cloud computing, internet banking and email have changed the way businesses operate, the way people file their expenses and important business documents has changed as well.

If you’re a business owner — that includes self-employed bookkeepers — and you’re taking one of our MYOB training courses for work, you’d have received our invoice by email. So how will you file this?

What about bills? There are many companies that now offer electronic bills — and some of these companies, like Optus, for example, even allow their bills to be automatically integrated into your internet banking.

Hard Copies?

A lot of bookkeepers would probably defer to tradition and print each invoice, bill or other expense and then file the hard copies — but is this still necessary? With the availability of low-cost cloud-storage software like Dropbox, are there other, more efficient ways to file and store your business records?

On this blog, it’s usually us suggesting new ways of doing things to help make your business more efficient, so we thought we try something different this time: we want you to tell us how you manage your filing in today’s digital age.

How Do You File?

How do you file your expenses? Do you file them alphabetically, by business name or chronologically, by date?

If you have a lunch meeting with a client, how do record these expenses? Do you include an agenda of what transpired in the meeting?

Most invoices from other businesses are emailed; do you print these invoices and file them or do you store them in the cloud?

If you store your invoices and receipts in on your computer or in the cloud, then how do you file them? By date or by client name?

What about those receipts and invoices that are still hardcopies — what do you do with these?

How do you give your bookkeeper or account access to your expenses?

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We want to hear from YOU about your unique or interesting ways of filing and managing your business records, so get in contact with us! Simply leave your answers in the comments below.

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What Kind of Bank Account Do You Need for Your Business?

Carrying out your bank reconciliation without the use of Banklink can be tedious and time consuming.
Carrying out your bank reconciliation without the use of Banklink can be tedious and time consuming.

At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our MYOB courses gain employment as a MYOB bookkeeper or even start their own bookkeeping businessit’s why we provide you with lifetime access to our MYOB training courses as part of our commitment to continuing professional development.

We recently wrote posts about the service, Banklink, (generally used far and wide except by the Bank of Queensland) and since then we’ve heard back from a couple of our readers, who told us about some of the problems they’ve experienced trying to use BankLink with their bank account.

Banklink and Credit Card Issues

We spoke to one reader, Anton Prinsloo, who owns and operates CSTAY Budget Holiday Accommodation at Magnetic Island, off the Townsville Coast. Anton uses the Bank of Queensland for his business banking, and as part of his business strategy uses his credit card for all of his business purchases.

Anton has found that while the BankLink service “beautifully reconciles my everyday business account, BankLink doesn’t work with my credit card.” Anton later discovered that the reason BankLink doesn’t work with his credit card is because in 2007 the Bank of Queensland transferred its credit card service to Citibank.

According to BOQ Managing director, David Liddy, the decision to transfer BOQ’s credit card service to Citibank was “part of Bank of Queensland’s ongoing strategy to provide its customers with the best in access and customer service, while providing the full range of finance products.”

“Bank of Queensland customers will continue to have the advantages of a BOQ card, but with greater support, better product range, and more extensive national and international systems,” Liddy said of the deal in 2007.

However, as Anton found out, the Citibank-provided BOQ credit card doesn’t offer the same advantages as a BOQ card would have, as it can’t be used with BankLink because it’s a service provided by Citibank.

“I contacted Citibank to see if I could get BankLink from them, but because they don’t hold the account they’re not able to offer this service to me,” Anton told us, adding, “I get the feeling they have no intention to even try to resolve this issue, either.”

For Anton and, we imagine, many other business owners who bank with BOQ, this adds upwards of three hours to his reconciliation process using what he calls “half technology”.

Issues with the NAB

But BOQ isn’t alone. The National Australia Bank requires businesses to have a debit card account that’s separate to their business account, requiring the business owner to make time-consuming journal entries in MYOB each time they transfer money from their business account to the account attached to their debit card.

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For business owners, selecting the right bank account for your business is a decision you should make wisely. Make sure you think about how you intend to use your account and do your research before settling on any particular bank. Be extra certain to find out if your bank offers the Bank Link service and how it will work with your account, so you can save yourself the hassle of journal entries and manual reconciliation.

Thanks again to Anton who shared his story with us. If your have a story you’d like to share with us, please let us know in the comments or get in touch.

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Bookkeepers: Stand Out from the Crowd and Become ICB Certified

You'll stand out by becoming ICB certified and BAS registered.
You’ll stand out by becoming ICB certified and a registered BAS agent.

Many of the students who take our MYOB training course in order to start their own bookkeeping business wish to then become certified with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB).

How to Get ICB Stamp of Approval

Since 2006 the ICB has had a set of requirements bookkeepers must meet before they are permitted the ICB stamp of approval. Among these requirements – which also include possessing a Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) and personal indemnity insurance – all bookkeepers seeking to become certified with the ICB must possess a minimum of two years’ working experience.

For many bookkeepers starting out, getting that two years experience is a tough hurdle, particularly since the vast majority of bookkeepers in Australia are, according to General Manager of the ICB, Rick van Dyk, “independent sole traders”. “That’s why the ICB holds networking events at 59 locations around the country,” Rick says. “Because the best way to get the experience you need to become an ICB certified bookkeeper is to network with other bookkeepers.”

The ICB also holds online webinars each month, but Rick recommends attending networking events in person, because it provides you with more opportunity to network and get to know other bookkeepers.

Good Ways to Gain New Business

While it may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through in order to obtain membership to an organisation that’s voluntary, being an ICB certified bookkeeper does set you apart from the many other bookkeepers; it’s also a way of gaining new business, as the ICB is often the first port-of-call for many businesses looking for a contract bookkeeper.

But Rick van Dyk says that if your really want to stand out as a contract bookkeeper, become a registered BAS agent. “If you’re a contracting bookkeeper, you can look after a client’s data entry and do their reconciliation, but you’re not allowed to print any of the reports and advise your client on figures and so forth, as that contravenes the Act,”

Rick explains. There are currently about 9000 registered BAS agents in Australia, so there’s plenty of opportunity for bookkeepers to enter into this field by becoming a registered BAS agent with the Tax Practitioners Board.

Rick also offers this last piece of advice to budding bookkeepers-to-be: “Learn to use Excel; Excel still plays a very important part of the bookkeeper’s role, so it’s important bookkeepers know how to use it – fluently.”

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You can find more information about out MYOB course here or our Excel course here. Alternatively, if you’d like more information about becoming certified by the ICB, visit their website.

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Should Your Final Price Include GST?

The price you charge for goods or services should always include GST.
The price you charge for goods or services should always include GST.

We are constantly refreshing the content of our MYOB training course so that you can benefit from all the new information that is always coming in about being a bookkeeper, running your own bookkeeping business or doing the books for someone else’s business.

Pricing Your Services for GST

For bookkeepers and tax agents, GST is often one of the more confusing aspects of Australia tax. We cover GST reporting in our MYOB training course, but long before you come to doing financial reports, you need to ensure your clients are accurately collecting GST in the first place — something many new business owners have trouble with, and often do so incorrectly.

We were recently speaking about how business owners should price their services in relation to GST with Julie Guest, an accountant, auditor and the secretary of YNH Services, a neighbourhood house in the community of Yarrawonga, regional Victoria. YNH Services is a registered training organisation, providing learning and development opportunities to the local community through training courses, seminars and community events, and it’s where Julie regularly teaches a business course for small business and soon-to-be business owners.

When discussion turns to setting prices, invoicing and collecting GST, Julie has one golden rule: “The price is the price,” by which, she means that business owners, if they’re registered for GST, need to set their prices to automatically include the GST component.

Automatically Include the GST!

Julie says that the reason prices should always be inclusive of GST is because it is already implied. “People assume the final price on a tax invoice contains GST,” so business owners need to ensure that any prices they quote or advertise does, in fact, include GST.

But this is where a problem arises; when business owners who are registered for GST advertise their products or services as being exclusive of GST. “It seems people are using it as a marketing ploy to advertise something at $100 plus GST because it sounds cheaper than $110, even though that actually is the price,” Julie says. This can be confusing to the consumer when today it is really standard practice to purchase something, at the supermarket, for example, where GST is included in the price.

It’s for this reason that Julie goes back to her golden rule: the price is the price. If you’re registered for GST, you need to supply your clients and customers with a tax invoice — not an invoice which is what business that aren’t registered for GST would use — that shows the final price, including GST. If you choose to break down or itemise the GST on your invoice, that is your prerogative, though you don’t really have to. If you’re not registered for GST, issue your clients and customers with an invoice — notice the absence of the word “tax” since you’re not collecting any tax. It is also handy to include a note that says that you haven’t charged any GST, though, agin you don’t really have to do that either.

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For more information on our GST reporting click here, or for more information on the YNH neighbourhood house, visit their website here.

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Bank of Queensland not Using BankLink – and Others?

It appears not every bank is using BankLink.
It appears not every bank is using BankLink.

We wrote a post last year about a service called Bank Link, which we discovered is being used by a large number of accountants to reduce the amount of data entry involved in bookkeeping. Being that one of our most popular training courses is our MYOB training course and that many of our students are bookkeepers, we wondered what the bank link service would mean for the future of bookkeepers.

Bookkeepers Still Vital!

As it happens, we don’t believe that the BankLink service will make the role of the bookkeeper redundant, given that there is so much more to be being a bookkeeper than just data entry. In fact, we found that because BankLink eliminates much of the time-consuming data entry process, BankLink should be used by more bookkeepers.

Since the post on BankLink was published, however, we heard from one of our readers who told us that the Bank of Queensland does not provide credit card transactions data through BankLink. We thought this was unusual, so we decided to look into it a little further.

After doing a little digging, we discovered that BankLink is not available to be used with all banking institutions, and Bank of Queensland happens to be one of those institutions. We tried to contact the Bank of Queensland to find out if the BankLink service would be extended to their customers, however, we were unable to reach anyone able to give us any information as to if, and when, this service would be adopted.

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For bookkeepers, or small business owners, even, who are customers of the Bank of Queensland this means that you will still need to enter your credit card transactions into MYOB manually. If you are aware of any other banking institutions that do not provide credit card data though BankLink, we’d love to hear from you — let us know in the comment section below.

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Redundancy is Not a Dirty Word: The Positives

Waving a job goodbye through a redundancy can often be a positive step for your career.
Waving a job goodbye through a redundancy can often be a positive step for your career.

There was once a time when saying the word “redundancy” in a workplace stirred much the same feelings as saying “Bomb!” in an airport. But today, as workplaces adapt and change to suit an ever-evolving marketplace, redundancies have become much more commonplace.

Adapt or Die.

Adapt or die. It’s true for businesses, and it’s certainly true for workers. That’s why we find many of our students come to EzyLearn to following a redundancy, taking our MYOB courses and Small Business Management courses to add to their knowledge base — and indeed, add an extra accomplishment under the “education” section of their CVs.

For more on CVs, see our post where we interview a recruiter to find out what makes a fabulous CV. Indeed, when we spoke to Fiona Neumann, recruitment specialist and director of Sydney-based recruitment agency, Skills Savvy, she told us that employees today could expect to be made redundant at least once in their career, if not twice. One young job seeker she interviewed for a position had been made redundant three times in almost as many years.

There was a time when to be made redundant reflected poorly on your skills, capabilities and desirability as an employee. Today, however, that’s no longer the case. In fact, there are many positive sides to being made redundant; we’re going to take a look at just some of them here:

1. Firstly, no one makes you redundant: this is an important thing to remember: you weren’t made redundant; your position was. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Accept that and go forth into the world of employment.

2. Why did you leave?: now when you’re asked that question during an interview with a prospective employer, you don’t have to try and romanticize or find the silver lining in the fact that you couldn’t stand working for your former employer a minute longer. Your position was made redundant. The business was restructuring, and there was cutback in your department. It happens. Employers get that.

3. It gives you the opportunity to do something new: it could be a new job, a new experience, or a new business startup, but with a redundancy payout comes the financial opportunity to do something new. In fact, it’s often after a redundancy that many people decide to go into business for themselves, as an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website last year found.

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So if you’ve been made redundant, it’s time to polish up your skill set — and your CV — by taking course with us. You may also be interested in starting a home-based business as an independent contractor so you can work your own hours close to home. And remember: there’s nothing dirty about a redundancy.

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Get THAT Job this Year: The Importance of the Cover Letter

Your covering letter is as important as your CV.
Getting your covering letter right is as important as your CV.

January is when we’re busiest processing enrolments in our MYOB courses, our Small Business Management courses and so on, and we’ve always been happy to be able to provide people with the training they need to make the career change they’ve been dreaming of. This January we also wanted to give you some advice on the two most dreaded aspects of applying for a new job: CVs and cover letters.

In a recent post we spoke to Fiona Neumann, a recruitment specialist and the director of Skills Savvy, a Sydney-based recruitment firm that specialises in helping people to re-enter the workforce following redundancies, raising the kids, or simply because they want to make a career change.

Fiona helped demystify the CV-writing process, which at one time or another has puzzled even the best of us. But in a job market where redundancies are almost commonplace, writing a CV is not just puzzling, it’s very often daunting, particularly for those people starting their career afresh.

Writing a Cover Letter Doesn’t Need to be Daunting!

But here’s the good news: it doesn’t need to be. Getting the job of your dreams has a lot to do with your ability to articulate yourself, which is where the cover letter comes into play.

It’s fair to say that many people see a cover letter as an afterthought; the way people see wrapping paper as the afterthought to a great gift. They spend all their time laboriously writing and fine-tuning their CV, to then put together a slap-dash covering letter just so that Seek will accept their job application.

Mistake. Big one.

Linking Back and Clarifying Your CV

Your cover letter is just as important as your CV. Aside from reinforcing all the information you’ve put into your CV, it shows that you didn’t mean to apply to some other job listed on Gumtree, and importantly, it allows you to show a recruiter or hiring manager why you’re suddenly looking to re-enter the workforce after several years of being out of it.

The key here is to be clear and concise. If you’ve been raising the kids for the last six years, write that. Don’t be vague and allude to something that could be interpreted as raising children or… being in prison.

But also don’t write a flowery vignette of your life. You need to show why you’re applying for the job you are; if it involves are change of field or industry, then explain why; why you’re qualified for the job, but not overqualified—this is important, because people that are overqualified are, to an employer, risky: you could get bored and leave, want more money than they can offer, or have difficulty with authority being that you’ve always been The Authority.

But remember: be clear and concise. And above all: don’t be bland. Recruiters read through hundreds of cover letters; they’re looking for the most qualified, most desirable person for the job. Don’t leave them wondering why you applied for the position you did. For some CV-writing help see this post; for help up-skilling, see the training courses we have on offer here.