Posted on 1 Comment

Keeping Tabs on those ‘Little’ Monthly Expenses

Why Excel is Great for Keeping Track of Your Spending if You’re Self Employed

excel online training course using excel for monthly expenses sheet
That take away coffee that you buy each morning should be added to your business expenses sheet; even if not claimable it shows where your money is going.

WHETHER YOU’RE ABOUT TO start your own bookkeeping business, or whether you work as an independent contractor (even if you’ve been doing this for a while), it’s really important to know how much you’re spending each month.

Your Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks accounting software will help you with some of this, but the very best way is to create an expense or spending sheet in Excel — which we teach you how to do in our Excel training courses — as this gives you a far more detailed look at your expenses and spending.

Not all your expenses are 100% business ones

Sometimes you can’t claim 100 percent of your expenses as business ones — the costs of running your car, home internet, rent, utilities, etc — but you should nevertheless keep track of your spending on these items because it will affect your cash flow.

That’s why keeping an Excel spending or expense sheet is a good idea for contractors and home-based business owners. You don’t want to enter your home internet into your accounting software as a business expense, if only 30 percent of it is used for business purposes, but you still need to keep track of it, so you can manage your cashflow.

Monitor frivolous spending

One of the things we love about using Excel to track your expenses and spending is that every little expenditure is right there, in plain view.

This isn’t the case with Xero or MYOB or other accounting software. Your expenses are hidden away, and you have to run a report to get a good breakdown on where your money is going.

Not so with Excel,. If you buy a coffee every morning, it’s right there, in a category you can label as “coffee”.

Now, we’re not saying that coffee is frivolous. Far from it. Many of us need coffee just to function (!) but there are lots of small things we spend money on every day, week, month that add up. When you’re self-employed you need to keep an eye on these “little” things.

Sometimes, you’ll find that you’re spending lots of money each month on subscription services that you’re not even using. Eliminating $15 a month here and there makes a big difference.

Create as many categories as you need

That’s the other great thing about using Excel to track your spending: You can create all the expense categories you like.

Of course, not everyone wants to track each and every expense right down to their last bag of jelly beans — that actually would be a little ridiculous — and for most the most part, you can lump your groceries into a category for discretionary spending, but there are some things you might want to separate out — movie tickets, money spent on lunches and dinners, and so forth.

These things tend to add up, and if you want to keep an eye on them, separating them out is the easiest way to do that.

Back to those business expenses

Each fortnight or month or however regularly you complete your bookkeeping, you can easily add in those business expenses into your accounting software — or your bookkeeper can.

Remember, if you spend $60 a month on internet, but only 30 percent of its use is for business purposes, you should only add $18 a month as a business expense in your accounting software. In your Excel expense or spending sheet, however, you’ll put the full $60 in, as you need to have the money in the bank to cover this expense each month.

***

You can learn how to create and manage your expenses or spending in our Excel training courses, where you’ll be able to create your own spending or expense sheet. Visit our website for more information.


learn Xero online learning videos cheapest

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


 

Posted on

Self Managing Your Superannuation in Excel

Skipping super can be a thing of the past

super payments xero online training learning course videos
We feel your pain! Often businesses lack the cash flow to make super payments, but you always have to pay them in the end…

WHEN YOU’RE SELF EMPLOYED you are responsible for managing your taxes and your superannuation — the latter of which many business owners let go by the wayside. It’s almost always because they don’t have the cash reserves to contribute to their super fund regularly enough.

Just as you would create a budget to make a business investment or asset purchase, you can use Xero and Excel to determine how much super you should contribute on your behalf, and then make the payments.

Run a cashflow report

You’ll learn how to run a cashflow report in our Xero training courses. This report will show you the periods when cashflow is liquid and when it isn’t. Run a cashflow report for a couple of different periods, and export them into Excel. This will give you a better idea of trends and cycles in your business.

You can also use a cashflow report to determine your income before taxes, expenses, and so forth. Superannuation is determined based on gross earnings — or revenue — so you should use this figure to work out your super contributions. This is especially important before end of financial year!

Determine super contributions

At time of writing, the superannuation guarantee is 9.5 percent of your gross revenue, before taxes, expenses, etc. If you set your prices correctly, you should have already factored this 9.5 percent into your prices or hourly rate. If you haven’t, you ought to consider revising what you charge customers and clients.

If you were an employee of a business, your employer would be required to make super contributions on your behalf, at least each quarter. Because you’re self-employed and self-managing your super contributions, you can make them as frequently or infrequently as you like, so long as you’re contributing the correct amounts. (Speak to your accountant or financial advisor, however, if you’re salary sacrificing above the minimum amount — this may affect your tax.)

Make super contributions

Once you’ve determined how much you should contribute to your super fund each quarter, refer back to your cashflow report and to the periods where your cashflow is especially liquid. Are you able to make your contributions each quarter easily, and without compromising your business’s liquidity? Would it be easier to make smaller, more regular contributions?

The decision is yours.

Use Xero to make your super contributions. Xero is connected to a superannuation clearing house, and if you’ve been using to Xero to pay yourself a wage, it’s the easiest way to do so. If you’re not using your accounting software to pay yourself a wage, you can make the payment directly out of your bank account, however, you’ll need to track this in Xero for taxation purposes.

***

Our Xero training courses will show you how run cashflow reports and make wage and super payments, while our Excel training courses will also teach you how to create business budgets and forecasts. Visit our website for more information.


learn xero myob excel cheap online training courses videos

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


 

Posted on

Online Training: A Cost Effective Way to Train and Motivate Your Staff

Take an online course to build will AND skill

online training for staff morale
It’s a real buzz when you learn something new: a great way to up-skill your staff members and keep people interested at work is to provide them with online training course material.

OUR MYOB TRAINING COURSE is basically an induction into the role of a bookkeeper, in that it provides students with an overview of the duties typically carried out by a bookkeeper. Most of our students take our MYOB training course because they both want, and need, to know how to use the software in order to find work as a bookkeeper.

In the world of business training and coaching, this is called the Will versus Skill Matrix. Employees who have both the will to succeed and the skill to succeed are highly desirable in the workplace.

Transparency, will and skill

Employees who have only one of those attributes, however, are less desirable. Helping staff maintain both the will and the skill to succeed in their jobs has a lot to do with how transparent you are as an organisation.

We’ve mentioned transparency in business before, notably in relation to induction training programs. Induction training programs are a highly efficient way to communicate easily and efficiently with your staff, while also testing their will and skill to succeed at their jobs.

While most induction training programs are used to merely address the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act, or to induct contractors and consultants to a business’ premises, induction training programs can also be used to further your employees’ professional development.

Help your staff upskill with a Word or Excel course

Furthering your employees’ professional development can be done by providing your staff with online training courses that are relevant and useful to their jobs, such as a Word or Excel training course. You’ll be surprised how many tasks can be done with these software applications — and therefore how empowering this knowledge becomes!

boosting staff morale with online training courseOnline delivery of this content allows your staff to complete the course at their own pace, in an informal environment — at home or at their desk at work, rather than in a dedicated training centre on a dedicated day — and it also allows you to monitor their progress.

Being able to see how your employees are getting on with the training courses can illuminate areas where your staff could benefit from further training; it can also highlight those staff member who possess the will and the skill to succeed.

Those staff members who are have both the will and the skill to succeed in their jobs also happen to be highly engaged, and as we mentioned in a previous post, more productive.

***

If you’re looking for ways to keep your staff highly engaged with your business, we can help you tailor and deliver highly engaging induction training courses to your staff. Visit our website for more information, or contact us today for a quote.


learn xero online training course videosAt EzyLearn you can choose from a range of XERO online courses, depending on your skill level — or you can access ALL courses for ONE LOW PRICE. All our courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

 

Posted on 3 Comments

How to Create a Cash Flow Forecast in Xero (and Excel)

Why cash flow is a better indicator than profit

cashflow and profit reports in xero and excel
Don’t overestimate how much money you’ll have to spend on a new business venture; better to forecast using cash flow as an indicator.

WE RECENTLY PROVIDED DETAILS of a case study highlighting the experiences of a business owner named Jerry. Jerry decides to start a real estate business on the side, after operating a business already that has synergies, for instance, in terms of clientele. 

We mentioned that Jerry should use his accounting software to determine whether his he’ll have the start-up capital required to fund his new venture for the next 12 months. The best way to do this is to create a cash flow forecast, and we’re going to show you how.

Cash flow is a better indicator of available funds

If you’re wondering why you wouldn’t create a profit forecast, it’s pretty simple. Cash flow represents money in the bank, after you’ve paid all your suppliers and staff and loan repayments and so forth, while profit just shows how much the business earned but doesn’t take into account any cash outlays. 

Profit just shows how much the business earned but doesn’t take into account any cash outlays.

It’s important to understand that it’s not uncommon for businesses to be profitable; however due to cash outlays, these same businesses may not actually have enough money in the bank to fund investment, or in this case, a new venture.

Generating a cash flow report in Xero

Follow these steps in Xero to generate a cash flow report for your business:

  1. Go to Reports, then click All Reports.
  2. Under Financial, select Cash Summary.
  3. Enter the following report settings:
    • Date — The latest finalised month
    • Period — 1 month
    • Compare With —  Previous 11 Periods
    • Select the Include GST and Show YTD filters
  4. Click Update to generate the report in Xero
  5. At the bottom of the report, click Export and select Excel to download the report in Microsoft Excel format.

Set up formulas to forecast 12 months ahead

In Excel, you’ll need to create formulas that will show you the average cashflow of your business across the previous 12 month period, so you can then forecast ahead for the next 12 months.

***

Creating and working with formulas is something we teach you in our Microsoft Excel training courses. We also feature a suite of highly popular Xero online training courses, or if you want more information on creating profit and loss statements in Xero, read here.

If you don’t use Xero and you’re using MYOB or QuickBooks, our MYOB and QuickBooks training courses will also show you how to run cashflow reports, among many others.


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

EzyLearn Excel, MYOB and Xero online training courses count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeepers and accountants. We’ve been an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers ever since the organisation started in Australia. Find out how CPD points can be of benefit to you.


 

Posted on 1 Comment

Thinking of Starting a Second Business? Introducing Jerry

Case Study: Costs for starting up a second, related business

microsoft excel starting a second business
Contemplating starting a second business, related in some way to your first? Excel can help you forecast start up costs.

A LOT OF BUSINESS OWNERS branch out into related fields when their flagship business becomes successful enough (just look at Jim’s Mowing). However, this can be a bit dicey if the business owner doesn’t properly forecast all the start up costs. Not doing so can not only have an adverse impact on the new venture, but also on the existing business.

In this case study, we’re going to look at the start up costs associated with starting a real estate sales business.

Meet Jerry, our budding entrepreneur

Jerry is a male in his 40’s, currently working as an agent for a local asbestos removal company, earning a commission for helping the company make sales. In this role, he works as an independent contractor, invoicing the asbestos removal company at the end of the month. Because of the work he does, Jerry meets with lots of homeowners (and business owners too) who are renovating their home in preparation to put it on the market for sale or rent out.

Because of the client contact base Jerry is always developing, and knowing that there is no conflict of interest, Jerry decides he’d like to branch and become a real estate salesperson.

Budgeting for a new business from home

Jerry decides to operate his real estate sales business from home, as he plans to operate it as a side business, at least initially. Jerry won’t need to lease office space, but there are the following costs he will need to budget for. The costs he foresees are approximate:

  • Real estate license training course: $2,250
  • Website setup costs: $300 + training (if required)
  • G Suite account: $5/month upwards + training (if required)
  • Mobile phone: $55/month upwards
  • Business cards, flyers, other marketing materials: $99 upwards

Jerry’s ad-hoc operational costs

Although the majority of Jerry’s operational expenses will be reimbursed by the vendor once the property is sold — property marketing, auctioneer costs, etc. — Jerry will need to ensure he has enough capital to cover these operational costs. Property marketing costs are determined based on a percentage of the property’s value, usually 1 percent but sometimes lower. The median price of property in Jerry’s area is $440,000.

Because Jerry is already working as an independent contractor, he doesn’t have to incur any other operational costs (office furniture, internet, information technology, etc.), however his bookkeeper may apportion these costs differently now that Jerry is operating an additional business.

Determining upfront capital required

Jerry already has two homeowners who are thinking of selling their home in the next 12 months. He estimates that based on the value of each property, he will need to spend $5,000 each on property marketing. Therefore, he’ll need at least $13,370 in startup capital to fund his new venture for the next 12 months — although he knows that the initial $20,000 in property marketing will be reimbursed to the business within 6 months.

How Jerry will measure his success

Jerry is located in Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales. Clearance rates in this region hover around 70 percent and properties spend an average of 50 to 70 days on the market, as property is typically sold by private treaty rather than auction. These two metrics will be used to determine Jerry’s success. Price is not a good indicator, as the nature of property sales means Jerry should be valuing property accurately with only a 10 to 15 percent difference in the final sale price.

Jerry should also research other real estate agents selling similar property in his local area to determine how many sales they are writing each calendar year. This can become another benchmark for Jerry’s success, although only a peripheral one, as Jerry is still only operating his real estate business on the side.

***

You can use Excel to work out a budget for the start up costs for your second business, and use accounting software like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks to forecast whether your existing business will have the capital to fund your new venture.

Our Excel training courses will teach you how to create budgets and forecasts and our cloud accounting training courses will show you how to determine the financial health of your business.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Successfully promoting your business products and services to clients these days requires a sound knowledge of how to spread the word via social media. Whatever your field, we can teach you the online marketing techniques to stand out from the crowd and build your customer base! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

Posted on

What Does a Typical Staff Roster Look Like?

What Does a Staff Roster Need to Include?

staff roster sheets
Staff roster sheets have come a long way since the time of punch in-punch out cards; let us show you how to create intricate rosters that include RDOs, leave, breaks and so forth. 

IF YOUR BUSINESS RELIES on staff to work different shifts, then you’ll need to provide them with a staff roster. We’ve written about the three ways you can create staff rosters for free before.

One of the exercises in our Microsoft Excel Training Course shows you how to create your own staff roster, so we’re not going to do that here. Instead, we’re going point out the things you need to include in a staff roster.

Different employment types

If your business employs a combination of full time, part-time and casual staff, you’ll need to prioritise the full time first, then the part time staff, as by law, they’re guaranteed a certain number of hours each week — 38 hours for full time staff, fewer than 38 hours for part time staff.

Employee RDOs, leave

A rostered day off (RDO) is a day in a roster period that an employee doesn’t have to work and these can be paid or unpaid depending on individual agreements. Both full time and part time staff members will have annual and sick leave entitlements. Make sure you mark these up on your rosters. It’s not just easier to schedule the rest of your employees when you can see who’s working and who’s not working, but it’s also useful for the rest of your team to know this as well.

Staff breaks

Depending on the modern award and the duration of the shift, certain staff members will be entitled to different kinds of breaks — two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch break, is common in retail, for example. Mark these break times up in your staff roster, so the staff member can see when they’re due for breaks.

Employee signature

Leave a column on your roster, so each employee can sign off at the end of each week to confirm they worked their rostered shifts. This is important, particularly if any of your employees ever claim a discrepancy in their pays due to shift changes, etc.

*** 

Our Microsoft Excel training courses will show you how to modify margins and set up templates, skills you can use to create your own free staff roster in Excel — or Google Docs, if you prefer. Visit our website for more information on our suite of Excel online training courses.  


learn excel online training course

At EzyLearn we are constantly refreshing the content of our online training courses. Where possible, we draw on real-life case studies as examples, to help you learn, and apply your skills, in a relevant way that makes sense. Visit our Micro Courses page to learn more.


And of course, all of our online training courses can be counted towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on 2 Comments

We Give You 3 FREE Ways to Schedule Staff Rosters

Scheduling for Rostered Staff Can Be Easy — and Free

staff roster sheets for free
If you have rostered staff members or shift workers in your business, check out our three suggestions for creating free roster sheets.

SHIFT WORK TYPICALLY EXISTS in businesses that operate outside of regular business hours — on weekends, the wee hours of the morning, late at night — and to be fair to all of the business’ employees, the shifts are rotated. Other times, as in the case of home care nurses, it’s because the employee has to visit a different patient each day of the week.

As such, it’s necessary for these businesses the provide staff members with a roster each week, fortnight or month. Although there are lots of roster programs available, we’re going to look at 3 great ways you can create staff rosters for free.

1. Use Microsoft Excel

One of the exercises in our Microsoft Excel training courses is to create your own staff roster, because once you understand how to change the margins and set up a worksheet correctly, Excel is still one of the most common programs to create a roster in. Most businesses ensure a new roster is available at the premises on the same day each week, fortnight or month, with at least a week’s notice so each employee has time to check their shifts when they’re at work. Other times, they’re printed and emailed to staff, again with at least a week’s notice.

2. Google Sheets

Once you’ve had Microsoft Excel training, you’ll find little difference between Excel and Google Sheets, as the former was so efficient that not even Google could find a way to improve its offering (ditto for Google Docs). Once your roster has been created in Google Sheets you can likewise print it out, email it or, if your staff have Google accounts, share it with them.

3. Google Calendar

This only works if your staff are all using the same domain — i.e., they have a company email address — but if you open up Google calendar, you can start scheduling events as shifts. This may be suitable for call centres or businesses whose employees work in their office, both of which only have a handful of employees and a few shifts to cover. Scheduling lots of staff members across lots of different shifts this way can be tedious.

***

Our Microsoft Excel training courses will show you how to modify margins and set up templates, skills you can use to create your own free staff roster in Excel — or Google Docs, if you prefer. Visit our website for more information.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment.

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


 

Posted on

Should You Take Out a Loan to Avoid Delaying Payroll Payments?

Repayments on a business loan may be less than super and PAYG combined

Small business loan to finance PAYG and super
It’s not uncommon for small businesses to take out a business loan to meet their super and PAYG obligations – but this should never be a knee-jerk reaction to lean times.

IN A PREVIOUS POST we talked about taking out a business loan to cover payroll if you anticipate that you won’t have enough funds to do so otherwise.

Naturally, it’s always better to use your business’ own funds to meet your obligations, whether it’s paying staff or suppliers. This said, getting a business loan to cover payroll can be a good idea for small and growing businesses in certain circumstances. We look at these now.

Loan repayments are usually small

Depending on how many employees work for you, the repayments on a business loan are typically smaller than all of your payroll obligations — this includes superannuation and PAYG — combined. If you get a loan to fund 12 months of your business, payable over a 24 or 26 month period, the repayments will be far easier to manage each month.

Interest is usually a tax deduction

Businesses are able to claim the interest from any business loan as a tax deduction, so even if the annual percentage rate (APR) adds a few additional thousands of dollars to your capital amount over the period it takes to pay the loan back, the interest will still go towards reducing your taxable income.

This is a more favourable option to delaying payment to your employees (illegal) and delaying payment of PAYG and superannuation withholdings, which could incur a Failure To Lodge (FTL) penalty, plus a general interest charge (GIC). Note: Fines and penalties cannot be claimed as a tax deduction and are therefore dead money.

Do your sums first

taking out a small business loanDon’t forget that, while a business loan to cover payroll for 12 months will be easy to repay initially, your business’s profits will need to improve substantially over the next year so that you can continue to meet your loan repayments AND your payroll obligations for that year.

***

You can easily work this out using Microsoft Excel. Our Intermediate Microsoft Excel training courses show you how to determine if you can afford to take out a mortgage, but because all of our fields remain “unlocked”, you can easily modify them to suit a business loan scenario. Visit our website for more information on all of our Excel training courses.


 

learn excel online training course
Our online training courses feature real-life case studies to make our learning more relevant and true to life.
Posted on 1 Comment

Turn Your Wage Payments into a Business Loan

Only Managing Payroll on an Ad Hoc Basis? We Show You How

managing ad hoc payroll
If you know that you can’t quite make payroll, a short-term business loan may see you through and avoid penalties.

WE’VE RECENTLY UPDATED THE course content in our Intermediate Microsoft Excel training courses to include a workbook and spreadsheet (that you can use in your own business) showing you how to manage ad hoc payroll using Microsoft Excel. This will enable you to calculate your PAYG and superannuation obligations in Excel.

Using Excel to work out your PAYG and super obligations is a great way for small businesses, with a small number of employees, to save money. It saves you having to purchase this extra module in MYOB or Xero, for instance, when you may rarely use it. Saving money for small business is crucial as often it’s these same small businesses that have trouble making payroll payments each week, fortnight or month — and then wind up incurring further fees from the ATO when they’re late with their reporting and payments. It’s a vicious cycle.

When you can’t make payroll

If you’re finding it a stretch to make payroll payments, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Lots of business owners have trouble making payroll. But there are things you can do about it. We find that it frequently comes down to poor credit management processes or perhaps a downward trend in a business’ cycle that’s been missed due to poor or inefficient accounting processes. All of these can be rectified.

If the reason your business can’t make payroll is due to one or more shortcomings in your business’ operations, remedy the problems now. Similarly, if credit management is the issue, and late-paying clients are partially to blame, then tighten up or implement a credit management process. If it’s the result of bookkeeping that’s not up-to-date, find a bookkeeper to manage this for you.

How you can make payroll when cash is tight

Get financing. There are lots of ways to do this, but a common method, particularly if you need access to funds quickly, is to get a short-term business loan. Many short-term business loans don’t require businesses to have a great credit score, and will offer funding of as little as $5,000 right up to $500,000.

You’d have between 3 and 36 months to pay back the loan, but you need to be aware — the annual percentage rates (APR) are usually high. Most lenders require the business to have been active for a minimum of 9 months, and have revenue of more than $75,000 per annum. However, if paid off quickly, these can be an alternative to incurring penalties — it will obviously depend on your business’ individual circumstances.

Keep on top of bookkeeping

If you stay on top of your bookkeeping, you’ll either reduce the likelihood that you won’t make payroll, or as a worst case scenario, be able to foresee the periods when you won’t be able to, and be able to arrange finance in time to cover it.

***

Use the Ad Hoc Payroll Guide included in our Intermediate Microsoft Excel training courses to determine the rate of PAYG tax to withhold — and the required super contribution amounts in Excel. Visit our website for more information on our entire suite of Excel training courses.


Xero online training course

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

All of our online training courses can also be counted towards Continuing Professional Development points.


 

Posted on

We Don’t Lock Our Microsoft Excel Course Content

You Can Use the Calculation Fields in our Excel Exercises as Often as You Like!

learn Excel online training course unlocked calculations and formulas
We keep all the calculation fields in our Excel course exercises unlocked so you can play around with different figures of your own as often as you like.

DESPITE THE POPULARITY OF cloud-based accounting software applications like Xero and MYOB, Excel still remains one of the most indispensable software programs for businesses and individuals alike. That is why we always make it a priority to constantly update our Microsoft Excel Training Course.

You can apply Excel to so much

Accounting software, even robust packages like MYOB, only allow you to perform a finite number of functions that relate to business accounting. However, Excel can be used for a multitude of different purposes — both business and personal, merely one of which is to develop a financial forecast for an investment.

EzyLearn courses provide real-life case studies

learn excel online training course

Our Intermediate Excel Training Course uses the construction of a granny flat for investment purposes as a case study example. We chose a granny flat for the case study because most people construct them as an investment, whether they’re in business or not, so it’s a good real-world example.

It also deals with depreciation, which you can claim in your tax, regardless of whether you’re in business or not.

Our calculation fields remain “unlocked”

But even though, with the current property booms in our major cities, granny flat construction has become more common, it is not so common that every person taking our Excel courses is planning to build a granny flat for their next investment. That’s why we decided not to lock our course content.

What does this mean? It means that all the calculation fields in the exercise files of our Excel training courses are unlocked, so that your education remains unlocked too. You’re free to play around and replicate them as you need, so you can get a proper handle of how to use Excel in business or for work.

***

Visit our website for more information on our Microsoft Excel Training Course, with its new granny flats case study. We provide a range of online Excel training courses for beginners’, intermediate and advanced students.


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

EzyLearn Excel, MYOB and Xero online training courses count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeepers and accountants. We’ve been an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers ever since the organisation started in Australia. Find out how CPD points can be of benefit to you.


 

 

Posted on 3 Comments

What Happens if You Have Backlog of PAYG and Super Payments?

Don’t get lumped with penalties when you don’t need to!

failure to lodge penalties how to manage payroll in Excel online training course
It’s not only frustrating and disheartening, but a waste of business funds to be penalised for lodging your financials too late.

A LOT OF SMALL BUSINESSES have trouble managing their payroll, especially when they only have a few employees and paying to access a payroll system in their accounting package is an unnecessary expense. You’ll learn how to use Excel to manage your PAYG and super contributions in our Intermediate Microsoft Excel Training Courses. However, sometimes you may have a backlog of PAYG and super payments. Let’s take a look at how to manage these.

Rescue bookkeeping

A backlog of PAYG and super payments that date back more than three months is known as rescue bookkeeping, although it can often include other bookkeeping issues, like bank accounts that don’t reconcile with statements.

PAYG payments

For businesses that only withhold up to $25,000 each year, you’re supposed to make PAYG payments and file a withholding report each quarter. You have 28 days from the end of the quarter to do so, after which time, you may incur a Failure To Lodge (FTL) penalty.

Superannuation payments

As with PAYG payments and reporting, you can also incur a FTL penalty for not lodging or paying your employees’ superannuation contributions in time. All businesses, regardless of size, have to make superannuation payments each quarter — the ATO sets out the due dates for each period on their website.

Lodging late PAYG and super payments

The ATO only applies penalties for failure to lodge reports or make payments for each period of 28 days (or part thereof) that a document or payment is overdue. Each period incurs one penalty unit for each document, up to a maximum of five penalty units.

From 2015 onwards, the value of a penalty unit is $180 (previously it was $170) for small businesses, which are defined as entities with an assessable income or GST turnover of no more than $1 million a year.

The maximum penalty a small business will pay is $900 for each document or payment that is overdue. Note too that FTL penalties will also incur a general interest charge (GIC), applied on top of the penalty.

Managing late PAYG and super payments

Use the Ad Hoc Payroll Guide, a new case study that is included in our Intermediate Microsoft Excel Training Courses to determine the rate of PAYG tax to withhold and the required super contribution amounts in Excel. Once you’ve worked out the required amounts (visit the ATO website for tax tables prior to 2017), lodge the necessary PAYG payments and reports to the ATO; pay super contributions using the SuperStream super clearing house.

The ATO will write to you if you are required to pay a penalty — sometimes they are waived for first-time offences, or if the amounts are small.

Our courses now include real-life case studies

learn excel online training course

Our Intermediate Microsoft Excel training courses will also teach you how to create a payroll spreadsheet from scratch to suit your own business, so you can easily work out your PAYG and super obligations. Visit our website for more information on all of our Excel training courses.


learn PowerPoint online training course

Create brilliant presentations and graphics for all kinds of business purposes.

Gone are the days of excruciatingly dull PowerPoint slide presentations. Nowadays PowerPoint is the hidden gem used to generate animations, videos, movies, advertising and graphics. It’s a great ally to the marketer or social media person in your organisation.

This creative program can also be used to conjure up the most beautiful and modern pictorial slides to enhance any presentation or induction. Find out more about our 2016 version PowerPoint courses.


online bookkeeping courses to earn cpd pointsEzyLearn Excel, MYOB and Xero online training courses count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeepers and accountants. We’ve been an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers ever since the organisation started in Australia. Find out how CPD points can be of benefit to you.


 

Posted on

Hiring Someone New? Why You Need to Personally Check their References

Why It Pays to Call the Switchboard When Doing a Reference Check

reference checking
How do you really know the mobile numbers provided for references truly belong to who they say they are?

I recently had a conversation with a colleague who said she’d never once been asked to produce a copy of her university degree or her transcripts, despite stating on her resume that she’d graduated with a high distinction average.

Gee, I thought, not once? Not a single recruiter or employer had ever requested a copy of her degree? I found this fact astonishing, particularly since more professions require, by law, certain qualifications — as BAS agents are, for example. So how people know my friend wasn’t fibbing in her credentials? Fact is, they didn’t.

Check, even if you use a recruiter

I wrote a blog some time ago about recruiting on LinkedIn and why it’s so important to check references for yourself. People often underestimate the importance of checking a person’s credentials, so long as they get a reference from their last employer. Often, though, most people only provide a mobile number for their references, so whether you’re speaking to the candidate’s former employer, a co-worker, or their mum is sometimes anyone’s guess.

I was reminded of how important reference-checking is again, when I was reading a couple of articles on Longreads, and I found myself utterly fascinated by two of the biggest cases of journalistic fraud ever committed (though I admit to having never heard of them before the weekend, despite one occurring more than 30 years ago).

Sometimes people don’t just lie on their resume

In the first instance, a journalist named Janet Cooke fabricated a story for The Washington Post about an 8-year-old heroin addict. She won a Pulitzer Prize for it in 1981, and then had to give it back when it came out that there was no such 8-year-old. In the second case, Jayson Blair, a journalist for The New York Times, was found to have fabricated or plagiarised 36 out of 73 stories written over a 6-month period, in what turned out to be the biggest scandal in the newspaper’s hundred-plus year history.

What I found most intriguing, though, was that neither Cooke nor Blair had been properly vetted before their employers hired them. In fact, it was Cooke’s falsified resume that was ultimately her undoing when, after receiving the highest honour in the field of writing, a former employer noticed something was amiss with her Pulitzer biography — her education and professional achievements had been grossly overstated. (Rather ironically it was Bob Woodward, of Woodward and Bernstein — the journalists who uncovered the Watergate Scandal — who signed off on hiring Cooke.)

The same would prove true for Blair, who, it turned out, never graduated from university, and had a murky work history with the Times’ sister publication, The Boston Globe, where his superiors had been less than impressed with his less-than-high standard of work.

(Of course, the equally interesting case of Australian author, Helen Demidenko, who won the Miles Franklin Award in the early 1990s, only to later be dubbed by the Sydney Morning Herald as a ‘literary hoax’ also springs to mind.)

Benders-of-truth almost always get caught

Plenty of people lie or embellish on their resumes, and while a good majority of them go unnoticed, others are caught out — sometimes very publicly, and often only after the organisation has been very publicly embarrassed, as in the case of Cooke and Blair.

My advice, then, is to always check the references of new hires meticulously. Rather than calling the mobile numbers or direct lines of the candidate’s references, call the main switchboard and ask to speak to that person’s manager or superior.

And always ensure to ask for a copy of any credentials, like university degrees. If you’re employing someone where, by law, they’re required to hold a certain qualification — as is the case for BAS agents, for instance — it’s imperative you can verify the person’s credentials.

***

Xero online training course

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


 

Posted on

Excel Can Prove that Granny Flats Don’t Always Add Value

Using Excel to Financially Forecast the Viability of Your Investment

financial forecasts excel online training course
Excel is the tool you need for developing a feasibility study so you can assess the viability of any kind of investment.

When you are planning to invest in a project, you naturally have to weigh up the risks. One of the chief ways of doing this is to complete a financial forecast to determine the viability of your investment. One type of investment that has been exceedingly common and popular with the current property boom has been the investment in a granny flat.

Many homeowners and investors who own a property with adequate room and the right conditions, have chosen to build a granny flat on their existing property as a means of earning extra income.

In our Microsoft Excel Intermediate Training Course, we feature a brand new case study, using a granny flat as a way of demonstrating how you determine the viability of an investment.

Granny flats earn income, not add value

Of course, you need to consider whether you’re legally allowed to rent out a granny flat, which in some Australian states — Victoria, South Australia and Queensland — you aren’t. If you’re found renting a granny flat in any of those states, your local council can ask you to remove the granny flat from your property.

You may determine that a granny flat will earn around $12,000 a year in rental income, but it could take up to 10 years to break even on construction costs. Although some of those costs can be deducted as expenses and the dwelling depreciated over time, depending on where the property is located, property values may not increase by that much. This is amplified if you’ve just purchased the property, compared to a person who’s owned their property for 5 or 10 years.

Granny flats can reduce your rental return

Depending on how the granny flat has been constructed, its proximity to the main dwelling, and whether there are any shared or common areas, there’s also the potential to reduce the rental income on the principal dwelling. If the property has been previously tenanted, the shift from single to dual occupancy will reduce the rent of the principal dwelling. This could be offset by the existence of the granny flat, however, it moves the goalposts for your break even date. You may also experience more tenant churn, which will see more of your rental income going to real estate agents in letting fees, and greater wear and tear on the dwellings. You may also experience longer than average vacancy rates.


How to develop a financial forecast that can be used to determine the viability of a granny flat as an investment is covered in our Microsoft Excel Training Course, with its new Investing in a Granny Flat Case Study. Visit our website for more information on our full suite of online training courses. And don’t forget — EzyLearn online training courses can be counted towards your Continuing Professional Development Points

learn excel online training courseAt EzyLearn we are constantly refreshing the content of our online training courses. Where possible, we draw on real-life case studies as examples, to help you learn, and apply your skills, in a relevant way that makes sense. Visit our Micro Courses page to learn more.


 

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Linking a Financial Forecast with Xero and Excel

Excel Will Help You Work Out the HOW of Depreciation

learn excel online training courseWe recently updated our advanced Microsoft Excel Training Course content. It now contains a case study, by way of an extra exercise workbook, using a granny flat building project to create a financial forecast.

We chose a granny flat building project for our case study because it’s an investment decision quite a lot of people with or without a business have made. It’s also a capital asset that can be depreciated over time. Therefore it has the potential to affect your taxes in lots of different ways.

Our Excel Training Course, with its granny flat financial-forecast case study, will teach you how to use Excel to create a financial forecast, which you can then replicate for your own investment — whatever that may be.

Your bookkeeper uses Excel to calculate depreciation

When you build a new structure, such as a granny flat, which you intend to rent out or use for businesses purposes — i.e., it’s an investment and not for your own personal use — the building can be depreciated along with some of the fittings and finishes (floorings, curtains, paint, etc). That’s despite the value of the land upon which the granny flat is constructed increasing in value over time.

Once you’ve set up your financial forecasting file in Excel using the correct formulas that will update as the investment progresses, you’ll be able to track all of the future costs, income and depreciation in that spreadsheet.

Input depreciation into Xero

Excel will calculate the depreciation amounts for you, which you should then enter into Xero. We cover how to deal with depreciation in our Xero Bank Reconciliation Course, because lots of businesses own, or will own, a capital asset at some point.

However, this doesn’t tell you how to determine the depreciation amounts, which most business owners have to get their bookkeeper to work out for them. Most bookkeepers work this out in Excel based on the depreciation rates provided by the ATO. However, if you have already created a financial forecast in Excel, you won’t need to get your bookkeeper to do this for you.

Individuals can claim depreciation too

Even if you’re not a business owner, but you’ve still built a granny flat that you intend to rent out, you can claim depreciation in your tax returns. Instead of entering the depreciation into Xero, you’d include it on your annual tax return, so it’s really important that you work this out in Excel first and regularly update it.

***

Once you know how to use Excel for financial forecasting, you can use the same formulas and modelling for any financial forecast — be it for a granny flat project, business investment, anything that requires you to make a financial decision. Visit our website for more information on our advanced Microsoft Excel Training Course, with its new granny flats case study.

Do you want to brush up your Xero skills? Or perhaps you use MYOB but want to get a handle on Xero? Check out our suite of Xero training courses — all available for one low price. 


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

EzyLearn Excel, MYOB and Xero online training courses count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeepers and accountants. We’ve been an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers ever since the organisation started in Australia. Find out how CPD points can be of benefit to you.


 

Posted on 1 Comment

Which Granny Flat is a Better Investment?

A Real-Life Granny Flat Construction Scenario

learn excel online training courseChoosing between a one-bedroom and two-bedroom granny flat is a decision you’ll need to make early on in the project, and it’s largely a financial one.

EzyLearn’s Microsoft Excel Training Course includes a new case study, “Investing in a Granny Flat”, which uses the construction of a granny flat as a real life example to help you to better understand how to develop a financial forecast for an investment.

Determine construction and ancillary costs

How much it will cost to construct both a one-bedroom and two-bedroom granny flat is the first step. You need to work out how much it will cost to get each granny flat constructed to the point that someone can move in, as well as any ancillary costs, like council fees and levies, real estate management fees interest rates and so forth.

Determine rental income

Some granny flat companies will give you rental income estimates, but you’re encouraged to investigate this yourself. Rental incomes are heavily dependent on your local area and the demand for that type of property. In Sydney, the demand for rental property far outweighs the demand in regional NSW. Take into consideration vacancy rates in the area and the types of property that are in demand. Areas with high vacancy rates and low demand for one-bedroom units could indicate there’s little demand for a permanently rented one-bedroom granny flat, which will put the rent down.

Determine depreciation amounts

Both granny flats will be subject to the same depreciation rate, however the amounts will differ due to the differing value of each dwelling. In addition to an annual depreciation rate on the dwelling, consider other elements of the granny flat that will also be subject to depreciation. Floor coverings, for example, can be depreciated over time. Carpeting is typically depreciated at a rate of 20 percent, where tiles are depreciated at 2.5 percent because the latter has a longer lifespan.

Determine the best investment

Add all of these costs into Excel to determine the average annual rental yield, expressed as a percentage of the property value. Rental yields are used to show the return on an investment. The higher the rental yield, the better the return is. Taken in combination with your own personal circumstances and plans for the future should help you to determine which option represents the better investment.

***

Our Microsoft Excel training courses, featuring the new granny flat case study, go into much greater detail. Or view our full suite of training courses. 

***

learn excel online training course

At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of all our courses find better employment opportunities, become their own boss and upskill. To this end, we constantly update our courses with new, highly relevant content — it’s why we provide you with the option of Lifetime access you can always refer back to our courses as you progress in your skills’ development. 

We’re thrilled to announce our new Micro Courses which are be added to our existing courses, or can be purchased alone. These are based on real-life case studies and relate to real people in genuine, real-life scenarios. Subscribe to our blog and be alerted of updates.


 

Posted on 1 Comment

Calculating PAYG Obligations Without a Payroll System

Third Quarter is Looming; Are You Up to Date with Payroll?

ad hoc payroll payments ExcelMost businesses using an accounting program like MYOB or Xero will use the included payroll package to manage their employees’ payroll. For businesses with only a few employees, however, the additional payroll function is an unnecessary expense.

In our recently updated Advanced Microsoft Excel training courses, we have included a micro course on ‘Ad Hoc Payroll’, featuring a detailed spreadsheet for calculating PAYG and superannuation obligations. In this instance, our micro course is a detailed spreadsheet based on a case study, so it’s relevant and applicable to real life.

PAYG and the businesses it applies to

Every Australian business with employees who are each paid more than the tax-free threshold has a legal obligation to withhold tax on their employees’ behalf. This is known as the PAYG System (or Pay As You Go), where amounts of tax are withheld from each employee’s wage payments.

Businesses that withhold up to $25,000 each year only need to make payments to the ATO each quarter; businesses withholding amounts greater than $25,001 may have to make payments to the ATO each month or as regularly as each week.

At the time of writing, the tax-free threshold is currently $18,200, which is equivalent to:

  • $350 a week
  • $700 a fortnight
  • $1,517 a month

Superannuation contributions

Again, any business that pays its employees more than $450 each month must also make regular superannuation contributions on their employees’ behalf. We’ve written in the past about the government’s clearing house called SuperStream, which allows you to easily make super contributions — for free.

But first, you need to work out how much super you need to contribute for your employees. The superannuation guarantee is currently 9.5 percent of your employees’ gross wages, which is payable on top of their wages — not deducted out of.

Using tax tables to calculate wages

Each year, the ATO produces a range of tax tables to help you work out how much to withhold from payments you make to your employees. In our Ad Hoc Payroll Micro Course, we’ve already added the most current tax tables to the accompanying payroll spreadsheet, as well as the superannuation guarantee tables.

***

We feature a number of real-life case studies, which we have turned into micro courses. You can use the Ad Hoc Payroll Micro Course to determine the rate of PAYG tax to withhold and the required super contribution amounts in Excel, rather than paying to access the payroll functions of MYOB or Xero. Our Intermediate Microsoft Excel training courses will also teach you how to create a payroll spreadsheet from scratch to suit your own business. Visit our website for more information on all of our Excel training courses.

***

online bookkeeping courses to earn cpd points

 

EzyLearn Excel, MYOB and Xero online training courses count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeepers and accountants. We’ve been an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers ever since the organisation started in Australia. Find out how CPD points can be of benefit to you.