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How Would You Like to Earn a Share of $237 Billion?

Want a share of $237 billion? If you're in business it's up for grabs!
Want a share of $237 billion? If you’re in online business it’s up for grabs!

If you spent money on Christmas pressies recently, you’re a small part in the continual climb of online trading in this country. Did you know that in 2012, the value of online trading in Australia reached $237 billion dollars? This represents a 25 percent increase year-on-year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This increase in online revenue reflects the growing number of small businesses moving their operations online, either in part or entirely — and it’s largely thanks to new technologies facilitating e-commerce for small business.

The Growth of Online Businesses

Prior to 2006 the online marketplace was all but monopolised by the eBays and Amazons, organisations that had the resources to create the necessary infrastructure needed to allow customers to shop entirely online. After 2006, when we first moved our MYOB training courses online, offering a completely online shopping experience was just starting to gain popularity among the small players like ourselves; in the years since, it’s now pretty much become the norm.

As platforms like WordPress have made it possible to create and maintain a website without any design or HTML knowledge, theme clubs like Woo Themes, which provide web-themes to suit a range of different business types, now even include ecommerce plugins that can be linked with a PayPal account.

By offering you services online, you’re opening yourself up to an entirely global customer base, allowing you to offer new or different services than you did before. Since we moved our business online, we’ve also been able to build on our business — this year we added the highly popular Small Business Management Course to our suite of training courses, for example.

For some businesses, moving online is more of a necessity, a way to stay competitive in a world with ever-evolving technologies. For example, new cloud accounting software like Reach (and we offer a course in Reach Accounting too) makes it easier for small businesses to manage their own books, without needing the services of a bookkeeper.

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For many bookkeepers this could spell doom and gloom, or it could provide them with the opportunity to venture into the business of training people on how to manage their own books. As a bookkeeper looking to extend their services into training as well, by setting up a website with an e-commerce facility, you could partner with us to sell vouchers to our training courses.

With a share of $237 billion up for grabs, now is a good time to consider offering your services online, particularly when it’s become so darn easy! We even offer WordPress training courses, which covers setting up ecommerce, so you’ve no excuse for missing out!

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CASE STUDY: Is Reach Reaching the Mark? Hear the Honest Opinion of a Business Owner…

We test drive Reach to see if it reaches the mark for one small business owner.
We test drive Reach to see if it reaches the mark for one small business owner.

We’ve recently added a Reach Accounting course to our suite of online training courses. In a previous post, we gave you the low down on how the Reach Accounting package stacks up against MYOB, but we thought we’d find out what a real, present-day business owner had to say about Reach. So, we asked Angela, a freelance journalist, to test drive Reach for 30 days and then provide us with her honest feedback. Here’s what she had to say:

“As a freelancer, my business is pretty straightforward: I write words for a living and charge people to use them. As a creativity merchant, I’m not paid by the hour; I’m paid for each word that survives the ‘delete’ button, which is fortunate since the left side of my brain is a bit lazy.

Getting new commissions (or business) is a process that involves a bit of back-and-forth with editors over email — outlining story ideas, deadlines and finally agreeing on a price. As such, I never have the need to create estimates and I don’t need to log the time I spend working on my stories.

I’ve been using Zoho Invoice ever since I started freelancing, mainly because I didn’t have a spare five hours to create an invoice template in Excel when I first set up shop. To me, Zoho looked like the easy way out — and to date, it has been.

But how does it compare to the latest bit of accounting software, Reach Accounting? I’ve spent a bit of time using Reach, and for its price point and target market, it’s a pretty handy piece of software for sole traders and small businesses — I can see that it would be particularly valuable for virtual assistants and teleworkers.

As soon as you sign up for your Reach account, you’re asked to enter in your basic, yet important, business information — like your ABN and bank account details — so, without doing anything else, you can send an invoice to one of your customers right away. With Zoho, there was some setting up of invoice templates, adding customers and setting up email gateways, which was a bit tedious.

Then there’s the matter of cost. While Zoho allows you to invoice your customers in Australian dollars, it’s still an American company so your $15 monthly fee is subject to change with the exchange rate; you’re also charged a currency conversion fee from your bank, which is something to be wary of.

Reach, on the other hand, is an Australian company so you don’t need to worry about exchange rates and conversion fees; something I find quite appealing. Plus, included in Reach’s $14.95 monthly fee is the actual accounting software, whereas a full suite of accounting software with Zoho costs a little more.

With Reach, you’re effectively getting more bang for buck and even if I don’t use the accounting side of Reach’s offering, it’s good to know it’s there. I feel the same way about the bread maker I have at home, even though I don’t actually eat bread. Which raises the question: how many businesses would end up using the full accounting side of Reach?

As an accounting novice, I still have an accountant who weaves their magic, presumably in MYOB. I just export and email my earnings for that year, along with my business expenses — which is basically my entire life since I’m a freelancer, so the lack of an ‘export’ function in Reach is a major drawback for me.

I imagine most sole traders and small businesses would do something similar with their accountants and I don’t know how many accountants would be eager to use Reach.

But Reach excels precisely because it isn’t MYOB — or even Xero, for that matter. And it doesn’t need to be. Reach caters to a section of the market that was previously alienated by the likes of MYOB; and now those business owners have a low-cost, easy-to-use solution to their Excel spreadsheet and shoebox-full of receipts. It’s also Australian; and supporting Australian businesses, as an Australian business, myself, just makes sense.

So, at the end of the day, for my money, it’s worth it.”

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If you’re a sole trader or small business owner looking for a low-cost way to manage the accounting side of your business, Reach could be the solution. EzyLearn has partnered with Reach Accounting so that you can access a free student account when you enrol in our Reach training course.

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Reach Accounting vs MYOB: What’s the Right Accounting Software for You?

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We help you figure out whether Reach is better than MYOB for your small business.

We’re thrilled to announce the addition of our new online training course for cloud-based accounting software — Reach Accounting. It’s a great, low-cost option for small business owners. But there are some businesses that will still be suited to MYOB, so let’s take a closer look at how Reach compares to MYOB to help you select the best accounting software for your business.

Bank Feeds and Payment Gateways

The first thing you’ll probably use in Reach is the invoicing software, which is not entirely different to MYOB — or Zoho or Xero, either. (On that note, we’ve also introduced a new Xero course to our suite of online courses.) In Reach you can enter all of your company details, set up customers, enter your bank account details, create an invoice (or use the pre-defined template), and so on.

Where Reach differs from MYOB, however, is that it doesn’t offer a bank feeds service, which means that you still need to manually record each payment your customer makes. This can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you don’t stay on top of it — which can be embarrassing if you set up the automatic late-payment reminder service, and then forget to record your customers’ payments.

The other points of difference between Reach and MYOB is that Reach does not allow you to set-up payment gateways to connect your PayPal account, nor can you connect your Reach account directly to an online web store; functions that are handy for online businesses.

While those functions aren’t currently available, Reach does have plans to make them available in the future. But if you’re not going to miss those functions, or aren’t likely to use them, anyway, then the Reach Accounting software will work for your business.

What Reach Will Enable You to Do

Reach allows you to create invoices and estimates, manage your payroll, expenses and complete your BAS return, among many of the other traditional accounting functions you find in MYOB.

Students who enrol in our online Reach training course will be able to access a trial version of Reach for 30 days while you complete the course — so enrol today! You can also find out what a small business owner thought of Reach as a solution for them after test-driving it for 30 days.

 

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How Do EzyLearn MYOB Training Courses Really Stack Up?

Compare us with some of the competition and we think you'll find we stack up pretty well!
Compare us with some of the competition and we think you’ll find we stack up pretty well!

After operating face-to-face training centres right across Sydney for many years, in 2006 we realised that the future of short-course learning was in an online delivery method. Since then, we’ve offered all of our training courses online, including our most popular MYOB course.

There are plenty of reasons for taking an MYOB course. We recently highlighted a case study example of a couple who completed our course to better  manage their business’ books easily and in real-time (and subsequently saw first hand where they were losing money!) or maybe it’s because you’d like to start a remote bookkeeping business.

Where Might You Do Your Online MYOB Training Course?

Whatever your reasons, you need to learn somewhere. But where is the best place to learn MYOB? We compare three of the leading providers with EzyLearn.

TAFE NSW:

Offers a beginner MYOB course via a face-to-face delivery method at two Sydney campuses: Hornsby or Meadowbank.

Attendance: two evenings a week for three weeks (28 hours)

Cost: $450 (GST exempt)

Trainer: Not specified

Certification: TAFE Plus Statement

Extras: None specified

University of Sydney:

Offers a face-to-face training course at their Newtown campus.

Attendance: one evening a week for two weeks (15 hours)

Cost: $490 (GST exempt)

Trainer: MYOB certified consultant

Certification: Certificate of Completion

Extras: free repeat class

Bizmate:

Offers an online basic MYOB course, online payroll MYOB course and online advanced MYOB course.

Attendance: 6-8 hours of total work, delivered online. Course must be completed within 60 days

Cost: $220 per course ($660 in total)

Trainer: MYOB Certified Consultant

Certification: Certificate of Completion

Extras: None specified

EzyLearn:

Offers five MYOB courses that cover all levels and competencies of MYOB for one price.

Attendance: Delivered online, no timeframe to complete course

Cost: $347 (5 full courses + lifetime access) or

$444 (5 full courses + lifetime access + assessment and certificate)

Trainer: Registered BAS agents and experienced MYOB professionals

Certification: Certificate of Completion with Institute of Certified Bookkeepers accredited training provider logo

Extras:

  • Join the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers for FREE,
  • Unlimited repeat courses FREE (go over as many times as you need, when you need),
  • Lifetime access to course content (Including new material),
  • Access to new and updated training video and other content.
  • Several versions included (version 19 and earlier, and version 2011 and later)

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We believe we’re the best provider of MYOB courses in the country, because we offer up-to-date content in a flexible delivery method, with access to industry professionals and lifetime access to our course content. If you’ve read this far then get all the details at our website. You won’t be disappointed – we promise! Enrol in our MYOB course today.

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Is Zoho the Small Business Solution?

Check out the numerous Zoho apps for small business.
Check out the numerous Zoho apps for small business.

It’s fair to say the MYOB is the undisputed market leader in accounting software. Even despite the number of new cloud-based software packages that have sprung up in recent years, MYOB is still the software of choice for most accounts and it’s why we offer MYOB training courses. But for someone starting a new business, MYOB might not actually be the must-have accounting software; there’s a new player in town, offering turnkey solutions for small businesses: Zoho Office Suite.

Cloud-Based Zoho for Small Business

Gone are the days of needing several different, rather expensive, software packages installed on your PC; with Zoho Office Suite you don’t even need one. Entirely cloud-based, the Zoho offering is broken down into three app packages: Zoho Business Apps, Zoho Collaboration Apps and Zoho Productivity Apps.

The Many Zoho Apps

Zoho Business Apps includes CRM, books, invoicing software and a website builder, along with other more ingenious tools such as, the support app for managing your customer service, a custom app-builder tool and a recruitment app that allows you to collect resumes and schedule interviews with candidates.

Zoho Collaboration Apps includes a project management app, a social network app called, Pulse, along with chat, mail and docs apps.

Zoho Productivity Apps features a number of word processing apps, including Writer, Sheet (like Excel), Show (like PowerPoint), Notebook, and a Calendar app.

Select a package and a plan that suits your business needs, pay a small monthly fee, and your business has access to each of the apps within that package whenever and wherever they’re needed. The downside: there’s no pricing plan for all three packages, bundled together.

Zoho Books

But say you don’t want all that anyway; you just want some decent invoicing or bookkeeping software. No worries — each Zoho app is available separately. Zoho Books, which is the closest thing to MYOB and offers unlimited invoicing, expense tracking, reconciliation, time tracking, multi currency support, and the newly added automatic bank feeds and credit card feeds feature, costs only $USD24 per month and includes access for two users.

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For new businesses, Zoho is certainly an affordable option, whether you only sign up for Zoho books, or whether you take on an entire business, collaboration or productivity apps package. For bookkeepers, however, MYOB is still the preferred accounting package. That means training in MYOB is still as necessary and vital a skill as ever.

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The Virtual Business: Transitioning from the Real World to the Digital World

If you prepare and test first, then the transition from physical to virtual office should be smooth sailing.
If you prepare and test first, then the transition from physical to virtual office should be smooth sailing.

There are many benefits to be had by operating a virtual business — both to yourself as a business owner and to your clients — and in our last post about closing your bricks and mortar office doors to create a virtual one, we discussed the importance of getting the timing right.

But once you know the timing is right, how do you make the transition? Continue reading The Virtual Business: Transitioning from the Real World to the Digital World

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Virtual Offices: The Reality of Closing Your Office Doors

You can save on overheads by making your office virtual, but not every business can make it work.
You can save on overheads by making your office virtual, but not every business can make it work.

In the past we’ve talked about the benefits of operating a virtual bookkeeping business by using cloud accounting software like MYOB Account Right Live and storage software like Dropbox. But before you transform your traditional bricks-and-mortar bookkeeping business into a virtual one, it’s important to consider whether virtual is right for you.

A recent article in the Journal of Accountancy discussed the many benefits of making a bricks-and-mortar business a virtual one. Of course saving money on the monthly rent cheque factored quite high on the ‘pros’ list — but when is the right time to go virtual?

Steps to Becoming Virtual

As human beings we’re creatures of habit, so the decision to turn your business into an entirely virtual one shouldn’t be taken lightly, particularly if you have clients who visit your premises regularly. But even once you get your clients onboard, you’ve still got a way to go before you can close your doors for good.

  1. The first step is determining whether your team can work remotely. Self-starters and highly motivated individuals thrive in the virtual environment, whereas, those who need a lot of supervision, direction and even daily interaction with colleagues, generally aren’t suited to working remotely.
  2. Virtual offices do not have the space to store paper and hardcopy files. While your own business may use online storage software like Dropbox, you also need to consider your clients. If they’re not using cloud accounting software and you’re still required to store their client files, a virtual office may not be the way to go yet.
  3. In order to function effectively and efficiently as a virtual business, you must ensure you have the systems in place first. This means making sure your employees have the devices they need to do their job from home and, in turn, that your business has the necessary infrastructure and software to facilitate that as well.

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So before you pack up your goods and chattels and close your office doors for good, make sure you’re business is truly ready to take the plunge. Be sure to read our next post; we discuss what steps you should take in readying your business to go virtual.

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More on Virtual Bookkeeping Businesses

Everyone's smiling: Your clients will benefit if you opt to go virtual.
Everyone’s smiling: Your clients will benefit if you opt to go virtual.

In our last post we discussed why we updated our MYOB training material to include MYOB’s cloud accounting software Account Right Live and how you could benefit from operating a completely remote or virtual bookkeeping business, which is great; but how do your clients benefit from your working remotely?

Convincing the Clients

Winning new clients is always difficult, but it can be especially difficult to convince the old school business owner that hiring a virtual bookkeeper is the way to go: “But I like having someone come in and sit down with me” is not an uncommon counter remark; while for many the idea of a remote bookkeeper conjures notions of unqualified cowboys.

If you’re thinking about starting a virtual bookkeeping business or turning your existing business into a virtual one, then you need to get used to overcoming these obstacles if you’re going to have any success.

It’s worth stating upfront to any potential clients, or existing clients you’re trying to convert, the benefits of retaining a remote bookkeeper over your bookkeeper that makes house calls, or office calls, rather.

Just some benefits:

  • By retaining a virtual bookkeeper, your clients only pay for time worked; that means their hourly rate is not inflated with hidden travel costs, which usually includes the time they spend commuting to your office
  • Virtual bookkeepers don’t have the costly overheads of renting office space, paying for utilities, equipment, storage space, and so forth — all of which decreases their hourly rate
  • For those businesses that may usually employ a bookkeeper as a full-time or part-time member of staff, using a remote bookkeeper means they’re no longer paying sick leave, annual leave and other entitlements
  • All bookkeepers, whether they work remotely or otherwise, have to be accredited by the Tax Practitioners Board to offer BAS services.

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If you’re thinking of starting a virtual bookkeeping business, our online MYOB course covers MYOB Account Right Live — a necessary piece of software to make any virtual bookkeeping business not only successful, but also feasible.

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What’s a Virtual Bookkeeping Business?

Virtual bookkeepers can dictate their hours and place of work.
Virtual bookkeepers can dictate their hours and place of work.

WHEN MYOB FINALLY ENTERED the cloud accounting fray in 2012, we were pretty excited and we quickly updated our course material to reflect this new era of MYOB.

Moving MYOB online gave contract and home-based bookkeepers new career opportunities: the ability to go virtual.

A virtual or remote bookkeeping business is much the same as any other home-based or contract bookkeeping business; you still offer the same services — BAS and GST, for instance — except for one notable difference: you work entirely remotely from your home office.

Run Your Bookkeeping Business Anywhere, 24/7

Running your bookkeeping business from any location, any time of any day means you are never required to visit a client’s office to collect documents — or even work from their office. With MYOB in the cloud, all of your clients’ accounts are accessible from any computer, anywhere, any time you choose.

Rather than being confined to a client base in your immediate local area or city, working as a virtual bookkeeper opens you up to the possibility of working with people all over the country.

For bookkeepers operating in small communities where business opportunities may have previously been limited, becoming a remote or virtual bookkeeper will increase your business exponentially.

But virtual bookkeeping businesses have their benefits to city folk, as well. Because you don’t have to spend hours commuting to and from your clients’ offices, you can use that time to either pick up additional clients — or spend it with your family.

A remote or virtual bookkeeping business allows you the flexibility of working when you want, where you want, without having to compromise on your earning potential.

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And it’s why we were so excited when MYOB created MYOB Account Right Live: now the graduates from our online MYOB courses can compete with the big-name bookkeeping firms from their own homes; wherever they might be.

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How to Get Paid on Time by Doing Absolutely Nothing

Doing nothing in office
Keep on top of invoices without lifting a finger!

In the past, we have talked about debtor management, the ways you can avoid late-payers by keeping an eye on your cash and assets cycle, and now we thought it was time we talked about the ways you can keep on top of those outstanding invoices without even lifting a finger!

Why Getting Paid on Time Matters

Dealing with late-payers is frustrating, time-consuming, and at times, downright awkward. For freelancers, sole-traders and small businesses, getting paid on time is essential to keeping your cash flow under control.

If you’re not in the position to turn down those perpetual late-payers’ business, then you need to put strategies into place to best manage those late-payers.

Gentle Email Reminders for Getting Paid on Time

Sending a polite, yet firm reminder email to clients a few days before their invoice becomes due is a good way to remind people an invoice is due to be paid, particularly if you have terms of 21 days or more. Often you’ll find most people will pay you once they’re given a gentle nudge via an email reminder.

Of course, there are always those who’ll still try and stretch it out as long as possible — it’s likely their cash flow isn’t much chop; in a sense, by paying you late they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Most of the time, these clients are hoping you haven’t noticed. By sending them a follow up email reminder a couple of days after your invoice was due will show them you have noticed, you haven’t forgotten, and they’ll likely concede defeat and pay — if they still don’t respond, it may be time to implement some of the strategies we discussed here.

More Stringent Payment Terms

But if you find emailing you clients each time their invoices come due and then again when they’re late is not only time-consuming, but also awkward, try setting up the parameters in your invoicing software so that automatic reminder emails are sent out before and after your invoices come due.

Most cloud-based accounting programs, like Freshbooks, Zoho, Shoebooks, Saasu and Salestastic now offer this automatic reminder facility, freeing you up to concentrate on the other areas of your business.

For businesses that have a dedicated accounts receivable department, the ability to send automatic reminders could, depending on the size of your business, save hours, even days of manpower. Plus, it eliminates any awkwardness you may feel chasing someone for a $50 invoice — sure, that one $50 isn’t much, but over time they do add up.

So get paid on time without even lifting a finger by using the automated reminders in your accounting software.

Remember: If you have already completed one of our MYOB training courses and need a bit of a refresher on the Accounts Receivable module, which deals with the ways to get paid on time, you can review it again for FREE if you are within your 12 month enrolment access period OR if you selected our additional option of Lifetime Access.

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How Do You Account For Bad Debt?

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One of the things we cover in our MYOB Training Courses is how to deal with what is, unfortunately, becoming a rather common accounting issue—bad debt.

If you provide your goods or services on credit, it’s likely that at some point, particularly during times of economic volatility, you will encounter a customer that is unable to pay for the goods or services rendered.

Most of the time, many customers just need more time to pay, however, there will also be those customers that never will pay. And in the case of the latter, the debt will need to be written off.

For a debt to be considered bad and written off you need to show that all the necessary steps have been taken to recover the debt, but there is still no likelihood of the debt ever being recovered for one of the following reasons:

  • The debtor has died leaving no assets or insufficient assets
  • The debtor cannot be traced and no assets discovered
  • The debtor is bankrupt or in liquidation and insufficient funds exist

Once you’ve reached this point, however, is when things start to get complicated. Often how you record the income for your business will determine how you account for a bad debt, particularly if you’re using accruals-basis accounting.

While there may still even be instances where, even though you’ve written off a customer’s debt as bad debt, it may later be paid to you—often in another tax year and affecting that year’s income.

This is what makes the accounting treatment of bad debts complicated. While you’ll learn about how to account for bad debt in our MYOB Training Courses, if you’re unsure you should always consult your accountant to help determine the best course of action for your business or the business you’re representing.