Get Discovered on Google for FREE – and Increase Traffic 100%

MANY YEARS AGO I spent $100,000 in advertising in one year. But I didn’t make truckloads of money and became utterly exhausted with the sales process. Yet I still see companies using this approach today: Selling short courses for over-inflated prices to recoup the money they spend on advertising.

When I spent that exorbitant chunk of money on advertising, I then had to hire more people to sell the courses. I had to train these people about what was in the courses, and train the trainers and, well to cut a long story short, spend so much more on resources and overheads that I didn’t make a huge sum of money out of the whole venture at all.

Continue reading Get Discovered on Google for FREE – and Increase Traffic 100%

Email Is An Important Part of Your Business’s Brand

Getting your own “branded” email is a cinch!

woman using mobile to learn online digital marketing social media training course study

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE INTERNET HAS democratised many elements of starting your own small business, but, in particular, it has made marketing a small business a whole lot easier.

There are now plenty of inexpensive ways to have a logo designed for your business, just as it’s a lot easier to register a business name, ABN, or GST/PAYG.

Another super easy thing to vastly help your business along is getting your own “branded email address”. What do we mean by a branded email address? Simply an email address that carries your branding in the domain name, for example: info@thenameofyourbusiness.com.au versus the far less professional: yourbusinessname@gmail.com. 

Continue reading Email Is An Important Part of Your Business’s Brand

The Biggest Boost to Business Morale

WHETHER YOU WORK as a bookkeeper in a small business, are self-employed with your own business, work as a freelancer or independent contractor (maybe even operating a side hustle), as a virtual assistant with a home office, or whether you work as an employee in a large organisation, morale is one of those things that tends to ebb and flow. Continue reading The Biggest Boost to Business Morale

Why Freelancers and Contractors are Good for Your Company

THERE ARE ESTIMATED to be over 4 million Aussies working as freelancers. Of this, roughly 750,000 people work regular jobs but freelance on the side (which, needless to say, is a great way to break into freelancing while reducing your risk).

The number of freelancers in Australia has skyrocketed since the GFC, partly because of the overall reduction of the workforce; and partly because of the number of mature-aged workers staying in their jobs past the traditional retirement age.

These factors combined produced a bottleneck effect in the job market, which made it difficult for certain workers to advance their careers, while others, typically young graduates, struggled to gain a foothold in the job market at all.

Continue reading Why Freelancers and Contractors are Good for Your Company

Google Can Help You Make More Money – And It’s Not by Using Adwords!

Helping tradespeople, sole traders and contractors manage and keep clients

As a tradesperson or sole trader, don’t be one of the many who loses out on work opportunities because you’re not savvy online – for marketing and organisational purposes.

I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT how tradespeople can earn more money quickly and easily by using cloud accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks to quote, invoice and manage their clients. But this applies to anybody out there working for themselves; as a sole trader or contractor. 

In a recent home renovation I was involved with in Newcastle, NSW, I met many tradies with a lot of work on, and even more with plenty of work in the pipeline; but they had no system to manage it all. They frequently didn’t follow up on jobs they’d quoted for, didn’t get back to people enquiring about their services, and provided fairly terrible customer service in general. And they were losing money, as a result.

Increase your productivity with Google G Suite

There’s no reason for tradespeople, contractors or sole traders to lose business because they don’t have a system in place to ensure they remain productive. I work with lots of remote contractors, and I love it because we’re able collaborate on projects at all different times of the day, easily and efficiently.

When I owned a compliance management company called EzyAccess, I worked with lots of different contractors who were located all over Australia. There was Frankie in customer service, located in the Gold Coast, Queensland; Gary, our product specialist located in Goulburn, New South Wales; and our computer guys, Linus and Rodger, each from Sydney; along with three other women located in Sydney — Dulcie, Michelle and Angela — responsible for admin and marketing respectively. of course, then there was me: travelling between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Manage your time efficiently

To manage my team of remote contractors, I used Google G Suite (then called Google Apps for Work) — Google Calendar, in particular

We used Google Calendar to schedule time for particular tasks each person was working on so everyone knew what everyone else was up to, and could easily schedule time to collaborate on certain projects that required help from other team members — Linus and Rodger, for instance, frequently collaborated on projects. We also used Google Calendar to schedule meetings (internal and external ones) and sales calls. (More specifically, we’ve given a case study of a hairdressing salon doing this in a previous blog post.)

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Set up your own Google G-Suite with our Digital and Social Media Online Course


If you need help setting up your Google G Suite account, and would like to learn how your business can become more productive and earn more money, we cover Google G Suite in our Digital and Social Media training course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.


 

 

Use Facebook Ads to Stay Front of Mind With People Who Already Know You

Don’t miss a golden opportunity to build brand awareness!

woman recognising brand

I RECENTLY SPOKE WITH a few different Novocastrian real estate agents recently about a property I was renovating. One of them had a billboard near a train station, another paid for bus stop ads, and another created trailer signs that could be towed and parked in strategic places. None of them used Google or Facebook ads. This was a missed opportunity, and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Outdoor advertising, along with DL flyers and advertising in your local newspaper, are designed to keep your brand in front of mind with people who know you and live in your local area. Brand awareness is an incredibly important marketing strategy for any business. We took a look late last year at how bookkeepers can learn from real estate agents about marketing using Facebook.

Social and digital marketing is crucial

Although outdoor and print marketing are important brand building tactics, digital and social media marketing should form a part of your brand campaigns. The internet is where most people turn to get information quickly, even local information.

We used Facebook ads in our social and digital marketing strategy we used for McGrath real estate agent Derek Farmer. A client list of names based on mobile phone numbers was used to target people in the Northbridge area who already had some past experience with Derek — they’d met at an auction, open home, he’d sold a friend or neighbour’s home, or they’d previously bought one of his listings. We helped Derek achieve Page 1 rankings on Google without using any paid advertising.

Targeted Facebook ads keep you front of mind

This targeted advertising helped build brand awareness with those people in a relatively non-invasive way, so that when Derek did reach out to them by phone, email or in-person, they would already be very aware of who Derek was and the type of property sales he specialised in.

This ensured Derek didn’t lose a listing because someone couldn’t remember who he was, and ended up listing their property with an agent who did take the time to build brand awareness within their local community and with past clients.

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Do you want help growing your online and social media presence?

Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses. Alternatively, you can learn more about Facebook targeted advertising in our Facebook training courses.


 

Do Bookkeepers Need to Learn All Accounting Programs?

Ways to diversify your bookkeeping skills

female bookkeeper with diverse skills
Are your bookkeeping skills diverse enough to service a multitude of clients?

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.

Xero bookkeepers

When Xero first pioneered cloud accounting, it quickly gained popularity among new and small businesses due to the ease with which you could get your accounts “online.”

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.

Diverse bookkeepers

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.

We have a host of other specials on this page as well which will suit students looking to enrol in everything from accounting software training courses, to social media marketing and business start up courses.

As with all of our online training materials, students can learn at their own pace, in a way that suits their busy schedules with 12 month’s or lifetime course access options.

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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.

cashflow reports in xero and excel

 

How to Use Google Search and Maps to Get More Business FREE

Plumbers, electricians, Carpenters, handymen and builders can get free leads and prospects using Google My Business, Sites and MapsGoogle My Business, Google Site & Google Maps – ALL FREE

DURING A HOME RENOVATION project for an investment property I was involved with recently, I needed to find lots of different tradespeople in the Newcastle area — and quickly.

I also wanted to look up trade tips that would help me solve a few renovation issues, and it made me realise just how important Google Maps and local searches are.

This is in addition to local classifieds and online services like Gumtree and Airtasker.

Create a free website with Google Sites

A local painter and handyman named Mark helped me with many aspects of the Newcastle renovation project and we talked a lot about the ways he could increase his profile in the Newcastle area to grow his business. 

I created him a simple website for free using Google G Suite’s Sites application, and also set up Mark’s Google My Business Account, so he would show up in local search listings and on Google Maps — all of which is free with a Google G Suite account. (A G Suite account costs as little as $5 per month, per user.)

By the way, I suggested that he shouldn’t take a photograph for his website after he’d just gotten a buzz cut, but he did it anyway! 😉

Google is a cheap and easy way to get online

Using the productivity tools contained in Google G Suite Course is a great way for businesses to get organised with great SPAM filtering email, calendars and scheduling, tasks and to do lists and much more, and using Google Sites enabled Mark to get online cheaply and easily. And because you’re using a Google product (Google Sites) to create your website, it’s a simple way to make sure you’ll be discovered in Google Maps and local Search results. 

Although WordPress offers greater functionality, and is a more robust content management system, it also requires more technical skills to ensure your website is able to be discovered in Google Search and Maps results. It’s also a little trickier to integrate with Google G Suite and other productivity apps. (We offer training courses in WordPress for this reason.)

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If you need help setting up your Google G Suite account, and would like to learn how to set up a Google Sites website to increase your online presence for your business, we cover Google G Suite in our Digital and Social Media Online Training Course. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.  

EzyLearn Online Courses Google Adwords TrainingFREE Google courses for EzyLearn students

If you’re interested in doing a Microsoft Excel, Xero or MYOB course, then you’ll be thrilled to discover that we give away some Google courses as a free student inclusion.

Our newest FREE course for EzyLearn students is Google Adwords, the paid way to get traffic to your website.


 

Save 48% off Excel, MYOB and Xero Training Courses

EzyLearn Last Dasher Sale November 2017Now almost half the price and twice the speed!

I HAVE JUST BEEN THROUGH a gruuelling experience with our hosting company, technical people and course creators to make sure that EzyLearn continues to be the first choice for Bookkeeping and Marketing Courses.

Our servers are now twice as fast and have more storage so existing students should experience some nice and fast access speeds — unless you’re in an NBN area that drops out all the time (sorry Telstra, I love you BUT the access speed is no different from what it was over here in the NSW Lake Macquarie area!)

In case you weren’t aware, I was recently heavily involved in a renovation of an investment property in Newcastle (which I really enjoyed and has given us a whole lot of extra content from real world experiences with local tradies like electricians, plumbers, chippies, painters and more) but am now back on the tools (the internet and software tools, that is) and keen to continue improving every aspects of our courses for existing AND new students.

We’ve coming up to the crazy, silly season once again that is Christmas, and I thought I’d push our marketing up another notch to help those who want to learn more to improve their lives and businesses in 2018. I hope I’m not too early in thinking like this but it’s a great time to think about what’s important in life and go and get it.

New people, new experience and MORE new content

I’ve spoken with some fantastic people who’ve joined us in the accounting software space and they have some tremendous experience in the ERP (Enterprise resource planning) side of accounting — that is accounting software as used by mid size companies. From this, we’re going to share some great information, tips and experiences to help those businesses who either deal with larger companies as clients, or who are at the stage of ramping up their accounting as a mid size business.

We’ve also just gone through the upgrade of training materials for Microsoft Excel 2016 and Xero Courses, including the new Xero Cashflow Course, and I’ll share some of that information with you as it gets published on our LMS.

If you are an existing Xero Course student you can access this course for free as part of our EzyLearn Updates policy.

There’s much more news to come, but for now please take advantage of and share our currentLAST DASHer SALE!” with your friends. And do subscribe to receive our updates!


Who Do You Trust More: Real Estate Agents or Tradies?

Still unsure whether you can trust online ratings and reviews?

trusting online reviews and ratings for tradesperson real estate agent online ratings and reviews
After a tradesperson? Sometimes asking a business person from a related business, such as a real estate agent, can be a good source for a recommendation.

IT CAN BE HARD to know whether you can really trust online ratings and reviews, whether these reviews and ratings are objective and even relevant and how they compare to recommendations and testimonials. By recommendations we mean word of mouth referrals from your friends and family and so forth, and testimonials that have been written by real people — with real names and real locations!

In our recent post about recommendations we suggested that you ask a friend, relative or colleague if they’ve ever had experience with a business you’re thinking of using — chances are, if your friends live locally they may well have; or if the business is a chain or franchise operating over a wide area.

Also ask other businesses

When seeking a professional recommendation you can also ask other businesses. Find out what their experiences have been, if any. Often businesses will have a relationship with each other even if it is not, at first, apparent.

For instance, a symbiotic relationship tends to exist between real estate agents and tradespeople. Agents will regularly draw up a list of preferred tradespeople that they work with and recommend to their tenants, landlords and vendors.

And there are plenty of tradespeople who do the same for real estate agents that they’ve had professional dealings with. There are plenty of other examples of these sorts of professional recommendations.

Beware professional bias

Of course, just as you should be wary of overly positive or negative ratings and reviews online, you should be likewise when soliciting professional reviews. If one business regularly referred work by another, even if they don’t think they’re a great business to deal with, neither party will necessarily say anything bad about each other.

In the end, when looking for a tradesperson, real estate agent or some other professional service, be sure to do all your research. Ask around for personal referrals, check them up online, and get in touch with each business directly to see which one is the best fit for you.

Real people, real locations

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice. Visit our website for more information and to see our wide range of 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). 


 

Ratings, Reviews, Testimonials, Recommendations

Why you can’t beat old-fashioned word of mouth

social media ratings reviews online word of mouth referrals
Online ratings and reviews have a role to play in buying decisions, but sometimes you just can’t go past traditional word of mouth to find good workers.

ONLINE RATINGS AND REVIEWS ARE a great way to determine whether a business is trustworthy or whether they products and services they provide will suit your needs. TripAdvisor and Yelp have transformed the hospitality and accommodation industry, for example. And Airbnb is doing similar with short-term rentals.

But as we’ve previously discussed, online ratings and reviews can be easily faked and sometimes biased or devoid of useful information

Looking for a local? Ask around!

While recently working on a home renovation in Newcastle, I came across a carpenter who had seven employees working for him. Jimmy the Chippy in Belmont has been in business nine years, has no website or online presence — but his business is booming.

How does he do it?

The old fashioned way! He does exceptional work for his customers and clients, who hire him again and again and refer him to friends, relatives, colleagues and so on. He also made a point of networking with local builders and plumbers in the area, who contact him when they have work to do, and refer him to other builders and plumbers as well.

Use word of mouth

If you’re looking locally, and the online ratings and reviews of the businesses you’re trying to decide between aren’t helping, asking a friend, relative or work colleague if they know any of the businesses.

If no one in your social network knows the business, you can also google an online forum like Whirlpool, where members frequently provide fair and balanced opinions of businesses they’ve dealt with — and if they don’t, they’re usually called out for it.

Testimonials are helpful, too

Real estate agents, accountants and many other businesses — EzyLearn included — use testimonials rather than ratings or reviews (except on Facebook), so you shouldn’t discount these just because they’ve been vetted before going online.

And don’t be put off if a business has received the odd bad review. Look at why they’ve received the review and what the business has done or said to address the bad review. Some businesses with a less than perfect record may be more trustworthy than those with reviews and ratings moderated by the businesses themselves.

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We ask each student whether it is ok to publish these beforehand. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice.

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At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our online training courses, be it in in Xero, MYOB, Excelsocial media or other courses, gain employment as bookkeepers, generally better their businesses, or even start their own bookkeeping business. To this end, we provide you with a Lifetime Access option to our cloud accounting training courses.


cashflow reports in xero and excel

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


 

What are Online Ratings Based On?

Reviews tell a whole lot more

online reviews and online ratings social media
Many people make buying decisions based on online reviews and ratings but how “real” are these? And how can you tell?

IT CAN BE DIFFICULT to tell whether online ratings and reviews are real or not. One easy way to get a pretty good idea of what’s real and what’s not is checking for a balance of positive and negative ratings and reviews that have been left by real people who’ve used their Gmail or Facebook account.

Reviews are better than ratings

If you’re a person who relies on ratings and reviews to make purchasing decisions, you’ll know you can’t really tell the trustworthiness of a businesses if it only asks customers to leave a rating (usually out of 4 or 5). Similarly it’s hard to tell what people really think of a business if they’ve only left ratings rather than reviews. 

Businesses with a good mixture of ratings and reviews, where a customer has been able to leave a comment justifying the rating they gave the business, make it much easier to make a decision.

Check the content of reviews

You don’t need to read thousands of reviews for a business, but it helps to read a few of them to see what customers are saying. This also helps determine whether these reviews are truly independent or not.

What are reviewers actually commenting on, and if they’re negative, is there a pattern? Is a local restaurant consistently understaffed or does a plumber often fail to turn up on time? Are the complaints about things that would concern you or are they petty — a long queue at a cafe that still serves good food and coffee, for example.

Positive reviews provide useful information

If the reviews of a business are mostly positive, do they provide any useful information? Hundreds and hundreds of reviews that simply say “great” or “fantastic” don’t tell you enough about what customers thought were great or fantastic about that business.

People might have really liked something that doesn’t suit your needs. It is also a good indicator that they’re not entirely true or real reviews either.

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice.

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Want to brush up your skills in cloud accounting software? Ready to progress to intermediate or advanced levels in MYOBMicrosoft ExcelXero or another accounting package? Need help with social media? Take a look at our wide range of online course options or visit our website for more information.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

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


 

Can You Trust Online Ratings and Reviews?

How to tell a review is authentic

online reviews are they real
If using online reviews to help you work out what to buy, you want to make sure you’re really hearing it from the horse’s mouth, and not just reading fake marketing guff.

IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE most people, rating and reviews are how you probably make many of your purchase decisions. This can be for purchasing white goods, clothing, a holiday, or even choosing a real estate agent.

The OpenAgent example

Take OpenAgent. A core function of OpenAgent, the real estate agent comparison site and lead generator, is its customer reviews, which serve two purposes:

  • The first is to help consumers to make an informed decision when selecting a real estate agent
  • And the second is to recommend top rated real estate agents to new OpenAgent customers.

True and and real ratings and reviews for businesses, whether they’re real estate agents on the OpenAgent site or reviews for OpenAgent itself on third party review sites, are important, because they’re the basis for which many consumers make their decisions.

Check reviewers are real people

So how do you know which ratings and reviews you see online are true, and which ones aren’t? It’s something companies like Google and Amazon and TripAdvisor have had to grapple with, because there are ways that companies can game them.

Lots of review sites don’t allow anonymous reviews or reviews that are left by people who don’t verify their identity by signing in with their Gmail or Facebook account. The theory goes that people are less likely to leave false reviews if they’re using their own name, and can be easily identified.

You can test this further by checking how many reviews, and the kinds of reviews, certain individuals leave on sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.

If the same person shows up multiple times leaving only positive or only negative reviews for lots of different businesses, there’s a good chance this person isn’t real or they’re being paid to leave these reviews.

Likewise, a good test is to see how long the account has been active for. If it’s only recently been set up to give glowing (or negative) reviews to a new business, it’s likely there’s an ulterior motive at play.

Negative feedback is responded to

Not every business will be able to satisfy every customer or do everything right 100 percent of the time. But the businesses that make an effort to respond to negative reviews and criticisms, prove they’re committed to delivering the best possible service to all their customers, and also help show some reviewers for what they really are: baseless complaints or fakes.   

Also keep your eyes peeled for the language used in reviews on businesses websites. If all the reviews say mostly the same thing, mostly the same way, they’re more than likely not legitimate.

Reviews with full names and locations

We believe there’s many reasons you can trust the reviews provided at EzyLearn. All of our student testimonials include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students can trust they’re making the right choice. 

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Looking to brush up your skills in cloud accounting software? Looking to progress to intermediate or advanced levels in MYOB, Microsoft Excel, Xero or another accounting package? Need help with social media? Take a look at our wide range of online course options


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

Cash Flow Forecasting for Sole Traders and Contractors

Great expense apps if you’re self employed

expense apps for self employed people
Are you busy and self-employed but can’t afford the higher price tag of some expense tracking apps? Don’t worry, there are cheaper options available.

AS WE’VE WRITTEN PREVIOUSLY, cash flow is one of the most accurate instruments for predicting your business’s financial health. It’s more accurate than profit and loss statements, which don’t take into account any cash outlays, and so don’t show a true picture of your business’s finances.

We have also checked out some of the latest cash flow forecasting apps that integrate with Xero and other accounting packages. These can be excellent tools for businesses that employ staff or are expanding rapidly, but there are still many business owners that don’t fit into that category, and although keeping an eye on their cash flow and forecasting trends remains critical to their financial health, they can’t justify the high price tag of an app like Spotlight or Float.

Expense and budgeting apps

What’s a cash flow app, if not a program that tracks your expenses and income and then tells you how much money you have left in the bank? That’s what FUTRLI and Spotlight, the apps we reviewed recently would do, and then also let you do other things, like create scenarios to determine the particular outcome of a business decision.

But there are other expense apps that sole traders and contractors can use for cash flow forecasting:

Pocketbook

Pocketbook, the Australian personal finances app recently acquired by ASX-listed ZipMoney, is free to use, although a recent deal with 1300HomeLoans means it may analyse your spending data to make commercial suggestions around your personal finances. (For the record, I have been testing it for months and hasn’t been subject to any such suggestions.)

Pocketbook lets you connect your bank account to the app so it can import your income and transaction data. Once you get some initial housekeeping — categorising your expenses and income — out of the way, you can then set up a safety spend limit based on Pocketbook’s analysis of your spending vs. income.

Pocketbook also learns from your transaction history, meaning it can predict upcoming income and bills. It’s very nifty for contractors or freelancers who have more than one income source that doesn’t always run through your accounting software — if you’re working on your TFN and ABN, for instance.

TrackMySpend

TrackMySpend expense apps for Xero online training courseThis free app, by ASIC MoneySmart, lets you connect your bank account to the app, categorise your expenses, nominate a spending limit, and create expense reminders that can be sent to as text messages ahead of their due date.

Like Pocketbook (but without the commercial overtones), TrackMySpend will also learn from previous trends in your income and expense data to predict future income and expenses. Best of all, TrackMySpend can be exported as an Excel file or connected to your accounting software. The iOS app is a bit out of date, though, so it won’t work on more recent Apple devices.

ATO

ato_mobile_app for Xero online training course videosIf you didn’t know it already, the Australian Tax Office has its own mobile app. It allows you to access the ATO’s online services, lodge and track your tax return (yes, right from your mobile phone), work out key tax dates and access tools and calculators.

Its most handy functions: being able to enter your expenses (including a photo of receipts and bills), track mileage, and record your income. It’s not automated, but it does propagate that info directly into your tax return, so you don’t have to do it later. It also accurately calculates your tax liabilities.

The ATO app’s best function, however, is its “business performance calculator”, which, using the data you input, will give you an indication of your business’s ability to pay its debts, as well as a comparison of its performance based on the ATO’s “small business benchmarks” data. Over time, it’ll also show whether your business has improved or declined since you last used the tool.

Understanding your business’s cash flow is critical to its ongoing financial health, and to your ability to make sound business decisions. Use one of these tools in conjunction with your accounting software to ensure your business is running on all cylinders.

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Our Xero training courses, which provide training in EVERY LEVEL for ONE LOW COST, will show you how to run financial reports, including cash flow statements that you can use to create forecasts in Excel. Visit our website for more information about our online training courses.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

 

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Expensify, Xero and Your Retail Shop

Record retail inventory quickly

using-expensify-and-xero-for-a-retail-shop-outlet
Keeping track of expenses just got a whole lot easier.

IN A PREVIOUS POST we discussed how Expensify, an app which you can link to your Xero accounting software, can help businesses like yours’ keep track of expenses easily, accurately, and securely.

And while it’s a great expense app for professional services businesses or tradespeople, Expensify is also great for retail and online shops or hospitality businesses.

Input data and send to Xero

Shops and hospitality businesses require inventory or stock — and lots of it. But it results in an accounting and bookkeeping nightmare at the end of the month when it needs to be entered into Xero and then recorded against sales. Of course, we suggest business’ try to reconcile their transactions more regularly than just at the end of every month.

Take a photo of bills and invoices from suppliers and upload them to Expensify, which will input all of the data and then send it through to Xero.

Create expense reports

Online and offline retailers don’t have to worry about this too much unless they also produce their own products, but for cafes and restaurants that host functions or cater for events, separating the expenses directly related to those functions and events is an important way to track their profitability.

Automatic approvals cut bookkeeping time

By turning on the automatic approvals feature and setting expense rules, you can cut your bookkeeping time by having recurring or trivial expenses automatically approved and sent to Xero, so you can spend more time on the complicated ones that require closer inspection.

By keeping an eagle eye on your expenses using Xero and Expensify you’ll be able to see precisely where your business is most profitable and where it’s not so you can modify it accordingly.

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Our Xero training courses will show you have to track expenses in Xero and how to connect third party apps to your Xero account. We offer ALL SKILLS LEVELS for ONE LOW PRICE. Find out more.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

Are You Making these GST Mistakes in Your Bookkeeping?

Being Jack of All Trades can land you in hot water with BAS

find a bas agent in your local area
Don’t submit inaccurate financial documents by trying to do everything yourself by way of bookkeeping.

IT’S PERHAPS EASIER TO do your own bookkeeping these days than it used to be; particularly if you’re using a cloud accounting program like MYOBXero or QuickBooks, which are among the easiest, yet robust, accounting applications currently on the market.

But even so, there are many aspects of Australian tax that, while accounting software makes it possible to carry them out yourself (like business activity statements, for example), it’s not a good idea unless you really know what you’re doing. Here are the three GST mistakes nearly every business owner makes in their bookkeeping.

Claiming GST twice

This is most common when a business has vehicles, machinery, plant equipment, etcetera that are either being leased or are under hire purchase. The business owner’s accountant will typically claim the full GST component for in the first quarter that the business purchased the equipment, but confusion generally sets in when it comes to recording regular monthly payments.

Very often the business owner will record it as GST or a capital expense, and because both show up in their BAS reporting sheet, they end up claiming the GST twice.

Recording GST for all expenses

There are many expenses that do attract GST. They include:

  • Motor vehicle registrations
  • Bank charges
  • ASIC fees
  • Paypal transaction fees
  • Interest and director fees / drawings.

Claiming GST credits on purchases from suppliers not registered for GST

Not all business owners are registered for GST, and although they should state somewhere on their invoice that no GST has been charged, oftentimes they’ll leave you to assume that. As a general rule of thumb, if the invoice doesn’t show an amount in the GST column, there’s a good chance the supplier isn’t registered. To make sure, though, visit the ABN Lookup Page and search their ABN.

Accounting software is easier, but Aussie tax remains as complicated as ever

Even though MYOBXero and QuickBooks are among the most user friendly accounting software applications on the market, Australia’s tax laws remain as complicated as they’ve ever been. So while you can do your own data entry (reconciling your bank statements), it’s a good idea to hire a BAS or Tax agent to look after the more complicated aspects of your tax and BAS requirements.

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Want to learn or brush up your cloud accounting and bookkeeping skills?

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of online accounting software courses, as well as 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). Many of our courses come with a ONE LOW COST for ALL SKILLS LEVEL option. 


Need help finding a BAS or TAX Agent?

find a local bookkeeper

National Bookkeeping is an online directory of local bookkeepers looking to add to their customers. Visit National Bookkeeping to find a suitable and experienced person available to work in your area, or able to work anywhere in the cloud. Alternatively, if you are a bookkeeper looking to expand your client list or find contract work, you can register and become part of our network for free