THERE IS A FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT gender imbalance for executive positions in the corporate world. Sure, there are notable exceptions, but men in managerial positions in the workplace still outnumber women two-to-one.
But when you look at some industries, like Bookkeeping, the numbers are massively swayed towards the female gender and one of the reasons is it can be the perfect business to run from home.
However, very few systems are dedicated to helping the bookkeeper, tax or BAS agent or accountant manage their clients — that’s the builders and tradespeople, virtual assistants and online shops and retail outlets they provide bookkeeping and tax services to. Until now.
Wiise, which is owned by the deep pockets of KPMG and will operate under a strategic partnership with Microsoft and the Commonwealth Bank, will combine cloud accounting, job costing, workflow scheduling and inventory management, payroll, sales and marketing and customer relationship management into one system.
Pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s understood Wiise will operate a tiered model, costing businesses between $60 and $200 a month.
The software will integrate with all major Australian banks, but added functionality will be given to CBA customers, such as access to working capital and financing options.
Businesses that have outgrown their cloud accounting system
Although Wiise will target SMEs; founders KPMG, Microsoft and CBA say the software isn’t competing with MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks for customers.
Rather, the Wiise software will suit complex businesses that have outgrown traditional cloud accounting systems, because their business operates in more than one location, has a complex supply chain, various legal entities or high transaction volumes.
The Wiise software will suit complex businesses that have outgrown traditional cloud accounting systems.
Wiise will also appeal to businesses that want to use one piece of business software, rather than multiple separate systems or cloud-accounting add-ons.
That said, it’s probably a worry to MYOB, which signalled it would grow market share by pursuing bigger and more complicated businesses; acquiring the enterprise reporting system Greentree in 2016.
As a general rule, most small businesses want to spend as little time worrying about compliance as possible, which is as it should be. Simple businesses with straightforward tax and compliance requirements typically stick with simple cloud accounting systems.
So there’s value in bookkeepers that typically services larger, more complicated businesses learning more about Wiise, but probably not for bookkeepers that look after smaller, straightforward businesses.
Who’s Managing Your Business Accounts?
If you’re a business owner trying to decide on an accounting system, speak with your bookkeeper or tax agent to determine the best option for your business.
If you’re looking for a reliable bookkeeper or tax agent to manage your business accounts, visit the National Bookkeeping website to find someone professional, able to work in your office, or remotely, to suit the needs of your business.
However, I’m going to talk about it again because there are still too many talented people out there who don’t think they have what it takes to go into business for themselves. And I’m here to tell you, you do, and we’ll help you!
Register as a National Bookkeeping licensee before 30 June
As it’s nearing June 30 and the end of this current financial year, it’s a great time to kick-start your own business, by registering to become a National Bookkeeping licensee. Their license fee is a hundred percent tax deductible due to the large component of training courses included in the fee, so if you register before the end of June, it can go towards reducing your taxable income straight away.
The reason I became interested in National Bookkeeping is because I felt it provided just enough structure for new business owners to get their business off the ground, but also the right amount of flexibility for those business owners with the desire to take their business (and incomes) to the next level by providing addition services, such as content marketing, virtual assistant services, or even financial planning.
I think that in order to be successful in business and for your business to have longevity, you need to be open to new opportunities and to be able to constantly update your business model and offerings. Particularly now that we’re in an age of great technological change, staying abreast of changes to the way people work and do business is the key to staying in business, period.
…Now that we’re in an age of great technological change, staying abreast of changes to the way people work and do business is the key to staying in business, period.
New technologies mean new opportunities
There are many business analysts and economists who see the reduction of permanent jobs as a bad thing – and to some extent, they’re probably correct – but I see it as an opportunity. New technologies have made it easier for people to work at home, wherever their home may be – a city, a beachside town, outback Australia – so long as they have access to a reliable Internet connection.
Now, people who have previously been excluded from the job market have an opportunity to earn an income. That’s great news for workers and for the economy, and it’s why the government has spearheaded a move to encourage working from home, or teleworking as it’s officially known, among businesses and their staff.
We continue to need bookkeepers
Bookkeeping is a necessity for all Australian businesses, as it’s a fundamental requirement of Australian tax law to keep accurate business records. Hiring a contract bookkeeper to take care of their business’s bookkeeping allows business owners to go out and find more work and grow their business, rather than having to worry about keeping up with all of their administration and book work.
With continued training your business grows as your client’s business does too
As their business grows, the bookkeeper will become busier too and they may even be asked to provide more services – BAS services, tax services, financial planning and advice, even one-to-one training — the list goes on. The more training you have, the better you’ll able to service this client yourself and the more business you’re business will grow as a result. (Want to read more about what’s required to become a registered BAS agent?)
It’s not uncommon for a bookkeeper to start out providing simple data entry and reconciliation services to business, and then wind up providing full financial advice and planning services, providing, of course, they’re qualified to do so. And these are qualifications you can acquire while already providing services to clients and earning an income.
When you become National Bookkeeping licensee, you’re free to continue your studies so you can eventually progress from a bookkeeper through to a financial planner and adviser, and with clients to help them grow their business, just as you did yours.
I HAD THE PLEASURE of being invited to meet with some fabulous registered BAS agents at a recent function for VIP’s before this week’s QuickBooks Connect Conference in Sydney’s Intuit head office.
The VIP event included presentations from lots of App developers who provide Bookkeeping and Accounting Apps which integrate with QuickBooks Online (and also Xero and MYOB) as well as practice and workflow management systems like Practice Ignition and HubDoc which help bookkeeper’s assist their clients.
These BAS agents have been bookkeepers for decades, yet rather than sit on their past practices, they are constantly learning and improving their knowledge of software, systems and apps and talking to them about this new technology seemed very natural. This actually surprised me because I thought I was the only one who was right into this stuff — well, not the only one, but I can get very passionate about it! But I digress.
These BAS agents are a growing number of Certified bookkeepers with plenty of knowledge AND experience, and who are willing to share that knowledge by training anybody who is keen to learn about bookkeeping on a one-to-one or face-to-face basis. They are:
Tracey and Sharon are part of National Bookkeeping and, as such, they have access to training on all software programs as well as the tools to help them teach small business managers and owners how to use the software in their own businesses.
Combined with their experience and training, Tracey and Sharon are part of a growing trend of bookkeepers who are willing to share their knowledge to help business owners do as much of their own bookkeeping as possible. Here are some quotes from clients who used their services in May 2018:
Thank you Natbooks! The training was excellent. Tracey was a great teacher and we had a lot of fun. I learned a lot as different scenarios were popping up all the time and Tracey was able to take me through solving them in the time we had together. I’m so glad I chose one-to-one training because I would not have been able to do the setup. Group training would not have taught me how to do this. With one-to-one I found it was relevant to my business only and could straight away apply what I was learning in real time to my business instead of a trial business. Many thanks!”
— Donna Larder, Administrator, BOULDER WALLS & BOBCAT HIRE PTY LTD
What’s stopping YOU becoming a Bookkeeping Software Trainer?
Performing one-to-one training on all aspects of computer software was how I got started in the training business in the early 1990’s. It’s great fun if you love using and learning about technology and I recall hundreds of times when I went to someone’s house or office to teach them how to use software and technology to do things that were important to them; from file transfer, working with images or mastering MS Office. It was very gratifying.
Since those early days I discovered that when you use great accounting software, and you use it properly, it saves you hundreds of hours, keeps you efficient, makes it easier to find information and ensures you remain compliant every quarter.
Thinking about getting started? If you want to find out more about how you can train other business people in how to use accounting software, speak with the digital marketing team at National Bookkeeping and Pre Qualify.
Cloud Accounting Software is CONSTANTLY Updated – SO IS OUR XERO COURSE
When I made the decision to convert EzyLearn from a Bricks and Mortar training centre to an online only provider of training courses I realised that we were going to have to get good at:
online digital marketing,
online pre-sales and student support, and
course content creation.
EzyLearn has been in business helping job seekers, business owners, managers and clients of rehabilitation providers learn how to use software for over 20 years. Read our story here..
I’m lucky today to have a professional team who’s sole focus is on getting better at all of these tasks – every week! I guess this post is as much a thank you to all of them for their help as it is an announcement that ALL of our XERO courses have recently been updated!
Beginners and Advanced Xero Training Course updates
Almost every course has been touched in our latest updates but here is a summary:
Available to New, Current Students and LIFELONG Students
The usual time to finish the COMPLETE set of Beginners to Advanced Xero Courses is 3 weeks but one of the reasons we offer 12 months course access (and the LIFETIME Xero Course Access) is so that students can go back and review the contents when they need it in their business or job.
TSheets is a cost effective way to manage and track your time
TSheets, THE TIME MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE, is a great way for independent and remote contractors to manage their client’s projects. It’s especially useful for contractors who are collaborating remotely with other contractors and businesses on one project.
But back to TSheets. TSheets was recently acquired by Intuit, the parent company of QuickBooks. Both TSheets and QuickBooks shared 12,000 customers in common and the time management system had been developed to work specifically with QuickBooks. Deeper integration with QuickBooks can be expected now, following the acquisition.
If you were to think about the top three cloud accounting apps in terms of the types of businesses they appeal to, QuickBooks would appeal most to micro businesses and independent contractors. Check out an earlier blog post where we assess two main factors: User Experience & Ease of Use, and Reporting Tools in a comparison between MYOB and Quickbooks for small businesses.
In the past, most industry associations would refer BAS agents to a number of partner training organisations that provided relevant training courses. However, industry associations, such as the ICB, have increasingly started running their own training courses, both online and in-person.
CPA’s conflict of interest
Although the TPB provides guidelines for the types of training courses that will be accepted as evidence of CPD, industry associations still possess a considerable amount of oversight. If a BAS agent is a member of an industry association, the TPB doesn’t question their CPD training because it’s supposedly been approved by the industry association.
Recently, questions have been raised about CPA Australia’s potential conflict of interest as the organisation also operates a financial planning business, CPA Advice, as an affiliate of the industry body.
But new rules that will come into effect in 2024 stipulate that to provide financial advice, you must be a member of a monitoring body or professional association (such as CPA Australia), but that the professional association cannot be an Australian Financial Services licensee or an affiliate of a licensee.
Is providing and overseeing CPD training a conflict?
EzyLearn, until very recently, used to be an ICB partner. When the ICB started offering their own training courses, their promotion of partner training providers, like EzyLearn, reduced considerably in favour of promoting their own training courses and seminars.
In other words, in many ways, the ICB started competing with their partner organisations. Our return on investment (ROI) had never been great anyway, so EzyLearn decided to cancel our corporate sponsorship as it seemed the ICB had a conflict of interest. Although the TPB may not see it that way.
What about the Business Support Program?
For $396 a year, the ICB also offers businesses that do not have a bookkeeper doing their books, access to training materials and information on how they can manage their own bookkeeping on their own without a bookkeeper.
That’s despite charging BAS agents and bookkeepers as much as $480 annually in membership fees, which they promise will help them to get clients — and the sponsorship fees to partner training providers that provide the same or similar services.
Membership with an industry association is not compulsory
Joining an industry association can be incredibly useful, but membership is not compulsory. And as industry associations try to find new ways to extract revenue from the industry — through paid memberships, sponsorships, training courses and even undercutting their members and sponsors by directly offering services which help businesses do their own bookkeeping — they stop being a critical resource for professional bookkeepers and BAS agents working in the industry.
Instead, bookkeepers and BAS agents can complete their CPD training anywhere. For $175 a year (or $15 per month), EzyLearn offers a membership called the Bookkeeping Academy, which gives members access to a complete library of content, including instructional videos, on how to carry out common bookkeeping tasks in MYOB, QuickBooks and Xero. Visit the Bookkeeping Academy website for more information.
NOT SO LONG AGO, bookkeepers and accountants only had to learn to work with one accounting program. That was back when MYOB, the market leader, had a strangle-hold on the industry, and though a few alternatives – Reckon, Quickbooks – tried to squeeze out a space for themselves, MYOB was too embedded in the accounting industry.
But the rise of cloud accounting has changed all that. Besides the reinvention of a couple of old brands (QuickBooks and Reckon – though the latter has exited the market again), it’s also birthed a new market leader in Xero, which now has more paid member accounts in Australia and New Zealand than arch rival MYOB.
A number of smaller players to have entered market, too. There’s Zoho, which has built an entire suite of productivity apps; and straightforward cloud accounting programs, such as Saasu and Freshbooks – to name only a few.
There was no big, expensive outlay to buy the software – Xero offers a free trial, after all – and for the most part, setting up a Xero account, creating invoices, estimates and recording expenses was remarkably easy.
Many bookkeepers, who had been working with MYOB, quickly started offering bookkeeping services in Xero, and there are many more who work exclusively in Xero.
These bookkeepers are usually part of the Xero Partner program, but there are some that just prefer using Xero because it’s cheaper and easier for their clients to use, which makes their job a lot easier.
Most bookkeepers are diversifying, not just in the services they offer (from only providing daily reconciliations services to providing BAS, payroll and credit management services) but also the programs they work with.
Many highly skilled bookkeepers not only work in MYOB and Xero, but some also work in larger enterprise reporting systems, such as Oracle and SAP.
Doing so enables, predominantly contract bookkeepers, to work with a range of different businesses and increase their income.
Even bookkeepers who don’t work with large enterprise reporting systems, but who do work with the major accounting programs Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks, are still able to increase their earning potential.
Learn the major accounting programs for one low price!
We are constantly updating our Special Offers page to include a variety of combination deals on our online training courses to provide established bookkeepers and would-be bookkeepers with the most training material for the lowest price.
In one of our current special offers, students who enrol in our MYOB AccountRight and Xero online courses will also receive QuickBooks Online and MYOB Essentials online courses FOR FREE.
Remember, becoming proficient in a number of different software packages takes you a long way towards being able to offer diverse services to your clients. Then you only have to decide which services to offer — BAS, payroll, credit management — or perhaps all three and more? One you know what you can offer your clients, you’re well on your way to operating a successful bookkeeping business.
EzyLearn’s course content has always focussed on real world scenarios, whether that’s in our case studies or in the exercises students are asked to complete. That’s because we want our students to get a thorough grasp of the kind of work they’ll be expected to do during the course of their job.
That’s especially true for students of our MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks training courses, who either are, or will work, as bookkeepers for a number of different clients from different industries. So instead of including generalised case studies and exercises in our course work, we include ones that relate to specific types of businesses and transactions you’ll encounter working as a bookkeeper.
Software companies and their developers do a great job at creating accounting software to manage a business’s accounting needs. But they don’t always know which different accounting scenarios will apply and when. Bookkeepers who understand Australian tax do, however.
EzyLearn doesn’t teach Australian tax law or procedures, but because our courses are developed by accounting practitioners, they’ll show you where different tax procedures apply.
A lot software training organisations are partners with a provider, like Xero or MYOB, and the train students according to how MYOB or Xero recommend them to. There’s nothing wrong with this kind of training, particularly if you’re only in need of a quick refresh or a general software skills.
Software partners vs. bookkeeping practitioners
Most software partners are companies that understand software and cloud computing first, bookkeeping and accounting second. But training companies that offer courses developed by practitioners have set the new benchmark in software training.
Over the six years that EzyLearn was an ICB-accredited training organisation, we found that it wasn’t our industry association accreditation that brought students to our courses, it was the content, grounded in real-world scenarios, that did.
A “recognised employer” is an organisation that’s partnered with an industry association and made a commitment to the professional development of their employees. The CPA, for example, says on its website that becoming a recognised employer will help firms attract top talent and provide training to their staff.
A mutually beneficial relationship
Organisations partner with industry associations to become recognised employers because it gives them access to the association’s members, the majority of which are often looking for work.
In turn, the organisation is attractive to members because it has the association’s endorsement. And the industry association usually gives its recognised employer partners access to discounted training for their staff.
Because of this relationship between organisations and industry associations, members will often hear or see the term “employer recognised” used by their industry association. It’s basically the inverse of “recognised employer,” and it’s not unique to industry associations.
This gives students and employers the flexibility to choose when training will take place, rather than being restricted to a specific time and place, as occurs with face-to-face training.
It also means, we’re able to deliver lots of different courses, simply by making them available to each organisation and their staff, who can then study multiple courses successively or concurrently. This would prove quite difficult to organise if training was being delivered in person.
EzyLearn is the preferred choice for dozens of companies because our courses are structured to let students choose when to study and the pace at which they’ll complete the coursework. Students can jump back and forth between the modules, studying the most relevant portions first before going on to complete the rest of the course.
Thousands of students study with EzyLearn to find work
Besides working with employers to help maintain their employees’ professional development, EzyLearn is also the training organisation of choice for thousands of students who wanted to refresh their skills to find work. Nearly all of those students went on to find employment, while many others either started their own businesses or added to their skills while already running a business. Our website has an abundance of testimonials you can view which show how people of all ages, from all backgrounds, have used the EzyLearn online training courses as a springboard to find work, start their own businesses, refresh their training and many other applications.
For students looking to start their own bookkeeping business, it is worthwhile taking a look at EzyLearn’s partnership with National Bookkeeping. Individuals who join National Bookkeeping as a bookkeeper receive help starting their own business — through lead generation, marketing and promotion — in addition to software and digital marketing training to ensure their business’s longevity in the marketplace.
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.
[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?
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.