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Profitable Businesses Suffer Poor Cashflow

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Xero Course cashflow-forecast-charts-reporting-budgetsI’VE TALKED ABOUT CASHFLOW on this blog before, particularly as it relates to good credit management processes.

This time, however, we’re going to look at how profit differs from cashflow, even though the two are intimately related.

There is the perception that a profitable business can’t suffer from poor cashflow, but this is incorrect. There are plenty of profitable businesses that don’t have enough money in the bank at a given time to pay their outgoings because cashflow is lumpy.

We’re in business to make a profit, and yet the term ‘profit’ is really just an accounting concept. Profit is revenue minus expenses, but it doesn’t reflect our investment in capital assets, such as equipment or vehicles, nor does it take into account the liabilities we have funding our business (loans and hire purchases).

Cashflow is the true indicator of success

Cashflow, unlike profit, is about timing. Specifically, it’s about having money before you have to pay out money, something not identified by profit. Managing cash flow is one of the most stressful things about running a business, because many variables affect it.

Sure, not earning enough money or not having processes in place to make sure that money flows into your business in a timely fashion are part of it, but there are other factors too, such as:

  • Incorrectly priced products or services
  • High overheads
  • Holding too much stock
  • Large bills (tax bills)
  • Seasonal cycles
  • Large projects
  • Growing pains (putting on more staff, increasing stock levels)
  • Unrealistic forecasts.

P&L reports help determine causes of poor cashflow

Quite a few of the things that adversely affect a business’s cashflow can be determined by running regular Running Multi-Period Profit and Loss Statements], while others can be managed (or avoided) by implementing better processes or procedures for doing business.

Product based business which keep inventory can have their cashflow affected by:

  • incorrectly priced products and services
  • holding too much stock
  • seasonal sales cycles

and this evidence will show up when you run your P&L reports, as well as your inventory sales and stock-on-hand reports. If, for example, you identify that May, June and July is your busiest quarter, while November, December and January is your quietest, and where you struggle to meet your outgoings, you should implement strategies to better plan for that leaner period.

A seasonal period of downturn is common among most businesses. It’s how you manage and plan for that downturn that separates successful businesses from ones that aren’t. For example, it’s unwise for a sole trader to take a holiday March, a seasonally busy period for his business, when he could wait until June when it’s much quieter.  

Your bookkeeper will play a key role in how you plan and manage your cashflow. Ask them to run reports that will help you to identify any inefficiencies in your business that’s causing poor cashflow, and implement strategies to better manage it.

Bookkeeper, BAS Agent or Finance Manager

start a bookkeeping business & find a good bookkeeperIf you’re looking for a reliable bookkeeper to manage your daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either remotely or in-person, Tracey from Rockingham is a highly qualified bookkeeper, who also has the practical experience of having operated her own business in the past. Tracey has a lot of experience in the day-to-day accounting functions of a small business and you can contact her directly as a fully licensed member from her profile page.

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently gone through a significant upgrade so watch out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs! Join and we can feature YOU in our articles too. Subscribe and stay tuned to learn about some new members who have moved from the corporate world to focus as Finance Managers for small to medium businesses. 

Learn How to use Xero EzyLearn Online CoursesXero for LIVE data and Accurate Reports

Xero enables business owners and their bookkeepers and financial managers to see what is going on RIGHT NOW and because it’s popularity is growing we’ve created a NEW Xero course which goes through a great example of the business decisions that a business owner makes about buying an investment property, figuring out which products/services provide a better Return On Investment (ROI) and more.

Check it out at Xero Cashflow Course and remember that existing EzyLearn students can get access to this course by just sending an email request to student support.


 

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What Does Lifetime Access Mean for Xero and Excel Courses?

Receive updated course content — for life!

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We are one of the only online learning centres offering access to course updates for the rest of your working life with our Lifetime Access option.

ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS about Excel is that it has so many applications. It can be used to create financial budgets and forecasts, monitor stock levels in a retail shop, roster staff, and also determine how much money an investor can borrow to buy a property.

A lot of the time, however, people enrol in an Excel online training course or Xero online training course because they need to refresh a specific set of skills for their job, which means they don’t have the time to focus on other areas that don’t have an immediate relevance for their work.

Upskill at your own pace

With our Lifetime Access courses for Excel and Xero and many other online cloud accounting and business options, students can continue learning in their own way and at their own pace, either as part of continuing professional development or for their own personal interest — our course content includes real-world case studies, like building a granny flat, to give context to the functions of Excel.

Keep up-to-date across all software versions

The other benefit of our Lifetime Access for Excel online training courses and Xero online training courses is that it means you can quickly brush up on where functions have been moved to when new versions of Xero and Excel are released.

We update our course content every time a new version of software is released, and with Lifetime Access, you’ll be able to access all of this new content, along with previous versions of course — so you can keep learning on the most current versions of Excel and Xero.

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Stop wasting time, and start learning for less. Visit our website for more information about Microsoft Excel training courses and our Xero training courses, and to enrol.


Don’t miss out on our terrific Spring specials

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We are constantly refreshing the content of our online training courses so that you can benefit from all the new information that is always coming in about being in business, or running your own business as a bookkeeper or looking for bookkeeping work.

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.


 

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Is Xero Really All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

How does Xero stack up in the cloud accounting game?

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Xero CEO, Rod Drury

WHEN XERO FIRST ENTERED the accounting space, it gave MYOB a real run for its money — something Xero continues to do to this very day.

When Xero first entered the market, it was with a bang. You see, even though  Xero and MYOB share many of the same features, Xero was cheaper and easier to use than MYOB, but perhaps even more so, it was also cloud-based. Being cloud-based meant you didn’t have to buy and install pricey software that would be out-of-date within 12 months. A huge advantage.

Since then, however, a number of cloud-based accounting applications have entered the market — QuickBooks Online (now distributed by their US-based parent company Intuit), Reckon One, Saasu, Zoho, and so on.

As business owners have more choice than ever before, it’s got a lot of people wondering about whether the two market leaders (Xero and MYOB) are really all they’re cracked up to be, Xero in particular.

Missing a dropdown menu

Even though Xero was hailed as a breath of fresh air when it first entered the market, it is still a little more complicated to use when compared with other cloud accounting apps, like QuickBooks and Reckon One. For instance, the purchase orders feature is still hidden behind bills, when it could easily be access via a dropdown menu. But it’s not a major quibble.

Xero’s contact profile misses a beat

Although Xero allows you to assign customer numbers for your suppliers or customers in the contact profile, it doesn’t have the functionality to record customer numbers assigned by supplier or customer.

If you’re trying to get in touch with Telstra, for example, with whom you’ll have been assigned a customer or account number, you’ll have to dig around for the paper bill to find that customer or account number.

It’s easy to file bills, though

This feature is available in QuickBooks, and it’s also available in MYOB, but as is often the case with MYOB, it requires more steps to do what you can in Xero in just a few clicks. Rather than keep paper bills on hand, Xero allows you to attach them to you transactions, so you never have to go hunting around for a bill again (very useful given the contact profile issue mentioned above).

In MYOB, you must upload your bills to your in-tray, and then link them to your transactions. This is annoying, because it requires you to leave the transaction window and open the in-tray one.

***

Remember that when you select a cloud accounting package for your business, do not choose solely based on price. Make a list of the needs of your business and the functions you’ll require, and then select the accounting package that suits your needs the most. Ask your bookkeeper and other business friends for their recommendations as well.


Announcement: Microsoft Excel 2016 Beginners’ to Advanced courses now available!

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At EzyLearn we include all versions of a software program in our training courses. That means when you enrol into Excel you get 2016 — AND — the older Excel courses which include version 2013, 2010, 2007 and even 2003 (if you really need it).
When you enrol in Lifetime Course Access you get access to ALL versions and ALL FUTURE VERSIONS as we continually update them — at no extra cost!

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Should You Buy Commercial Property Outright or Get a Mortgage?

The power of using Excel and Xero combined

Excel and Xero combined importing_comp
Our courses cover how to import from Excel into Xero and visa versa, for purposes such as working out depreciation on a business premises.

THERE ARE MANY UPSIDES to buying a commercial property for your business and if you’re able to buy an industrial unit like a Cubbyhole, it can also be a lot cheaper than renting premises.

Buying outright

If you’re in the financial position to buy your business premises outright, it may seem like a no-brainer to do this instead of getting a mortgage. However, there are some things you need to consider:

  • You’ll lose liquidity on the assets in your property, which means you won’t be able to tap into any equity in the property, unless you take out an equity loan against the property.
  • You’re tying all your cash to one asset class, which may limit your ability to make other investments and prevent your business from expanding. This could run counter to your reasons for making the property purchase in the first place.

Getting a mortgage

When you get a mortgage, you have the benefit of being able to access equity in the property, which will enable to invest elsewhere. Of course, there are still factors to keep in mind:

  • You’re spreading the payments over many years, which ties you to paying down that asset for the foreseeable future.
  • You’re paying interest, which although it’s a tax deduction, will significantly inflate the price of the property.

Work out the best way in Excel

Using the data from your Xero accounting software package, Microsoft Excel can help you determine whether your business will be financially better off buying its premises outright or getting a mortgage.

You can also create a financial forecast in Excel. Using Excel, you can calculate the depreciation amounts, which can then be entered into Xero. We cover how to deal with aspects like depreciation in our Xero Bank Reconciliation Course, because many businesses own, or will own, a capital asset at some point.

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Check out our new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Course for Xero which shows you how to deal with an asset purchase like a business premises in Xero. Remember, you get access to ALL our Xero courses for ONE LOW COST. Visit our website for more information on our suite of online training courses or enrol today!


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Importing from Xero to Excel and back again is included as part of our Advanced Microsoft Excel training courses — and you receive access to ALL OF OUR COURSES, including ALL skill levels for ONE LOW PRICE. You can even start your Excel journey with our FREE Beginners’ Excel Course Workbook. Read more about our beginners’, intermediate and advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow!


 

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Buying Real Estate For Your Business

The pros of buying a business property

xero reports to buy or sell business industrial unit business investment
Buying a premises for your business need not be cost prohibitive and you may enjoy good equity growth.

IN OUR NEW CASH FLOW reporting, Budgets and ROI course for Xero, we delve into the purchase of real estate for your business, which you may use as office space or as a warehouse or as a storage facility and workshop, depending on your line of work.

Why some businesses don’t like buying

Lots of businesses avoid buying premises for their businesses, because you’ll need to have a large capital injection right off the bat, and you may also incur land tax obligations, building insurance, and also be liable for maintenance and repairs.

Renting gives businesses, especially new ones, flexibility, as you’re only locked into a short term lease — not a multi decade mortgage. And if you decide to move or find new premises before your lease term is up, you can often minimise the costs by subletting the premises.

Buying as an investment strategy

However, buying your premises is a good investment strategy, as you’ll be able to access the equity and capital growth in the premises as property prices rise.

You’re also afforded greater freedoms and stability when you own your business’s premises — in particular, protections from rising rents — than you would have if you rented your premises. If you outgrow the space, you can always access the equity and may be able to buy adjacent premises, or rent out your existing ones while you upgrade, providing another valuable income stream.

Running the right reports to help you decide

Of course you can use a cloud accounting program like Xero to run reports that will help you decide whether to buy or rent your business premises and how such a decision will impact your cash flow. There will naturally be capital gains tax considerations and associated deductions. Our Xero training courses go through how to run these kinds of reports to ascertain the financial health of your business.

Low cost pathways to ownership

Industrial units are a good pathway into ownership for your business. If you don’t need to be right in the heart of the city or major town centre, you can often purchase an industrial unit for under $100,000.

In Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales, you can purchase an industrial unit called a Cubbyhole, which can be used as a workshop, storage unit or office space for tradespeople, small and online businesses. These come with amenities such as toilets and showers, car parking (including visitors’ and disabled) and CCTV security, among other things and are worth checking out if you want to buy and only need a smaller business space. 

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In our Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI course for Xero, you’ll learn how to deal with the purchase of business premises just like a Cubbyhole in Xero. Visit our website for more information on our variety of online training courses or enrol today!


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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. 


 

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Cash Flow Reporting in Xero

Show me the money!

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Creating a cash flow report in Xero will tell you more about the financial state of your business than profit and loss statements.

IN OUR BRAND NEW Cash Flow, Budgets and ROI Xero Training Course, you’ll learn how to generate a cash flow report for your business.

Cash flow reports show the money going in and out of the business, so they’re better indicators of a business’s overall financial health than a Profit and Loss statement (P&L).

A cash flow report enables you to make forecasts and budgets for your business based on previous trends — recurring expenses, average time to get paid, seasonal quiet periods, and so forth.

The 3 cash flow categories

Cash flow reports are typically broken up into three categories:

  1. Operating activities: cash flowing in and out of the business from revenue-generating activities
  2. Investing activities: cash flowing in and out of the business from the acquisition and sale of long-term assets
  3. Financing activities: cash flowing in and out of the business from borrowings and changes in equity.

Items in a cash flow report

In our Cash Flow, Budgets and ROI Xero Training Course, you’ll learn how to generate a cash flow report in Xero. That report will show every transaction that’s run in and out of your business, divided among one of the three categories.

In the operating activities category, you’ll typically find things like costs associated with any training courses or seminars, advertising and marketing expenses, income or commissions from your business, subscriptions to any magazines or periodicals, etc.

Under the investing activities category, you’ll find the cost of purchasing office or warehouse space and the capitalised borrowing cost, for example.

The financing activities category will show the loan you’ve taken out to purchase your business’s office or warehouse space.

You’ll learn how to generate and work with cash flow reports in our new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Training Course. ENROL now or read more about the benefits of cash flow reporting to your business. Are you a sole trader or contractor needing to record your ongoing expenses? We cover that too!


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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. Or learn more about our entire suite of online software training packages and social media training packages.


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Importing Bank Statements into Xero

Making bookkeeping easier, faster and more accurate

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You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t even know how to import their bank statements into their accounting software. Are you one of them?

WE HAVE CREATED A brand new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Course for Xero and one of the things you’ll learn is how to import your bank statements into Xero.

The sales spiels of many of the notable online accounting software packages like QuickBooks, Wave Accounting, Outright, Kashoo, LessAccounting, Clearbooks and even Xero, claim that this feature will save you time and effort as it imports your bank transactions. The truth is, this is not foolproof and won’t work 100 percent of the time (even if it’s just a matter of not being able to get your software and your bank to “connect” just as your mobile phone connection inexplicably doesn’t work sometimes).

Therefore, always double check your bank transaction data has been imported accurately. This said, importing your bank statement into Xero (or whatever accounting software you use) is a really important step in the bookkeeping process that a lot of business owners forget or don’t know how to do. And the technology is only going to get better!

Using the correct format

To import your bank statement into Xero, you must ensure it’s in the correct format. Xero can only work with a CSV file of your bank statement. Depending on your bank, you might be able to download your bank statement as a CSV file from your internet banking, or you will have to create one from scratch.

Creating one from scratch isn’t too difficult. If your bank doesn’t give you the option of downloading a bank statement as a CSV file, you can create one yourself in Microsoft Excel.

You can download an Excel template from Xero. It includes the recommended fields and is already set up as a CSV file, so all you need to do is add in your data.

Set transaction rules

Once you’ve created and uploaded your bank statement to Xero, you’ll need to set up transaction rules for recurring expenses. You’ll learn how to do this in our Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Xero Course.

Setting rules for recurring transactions helps speed up the reconciliation process, which depending on the type of business you operate and how often you reconcile your account, can be the most time-consuming part of the process.

Importing your bank statement and creating rules for transactions that occur each week, month fortnight, year, etc, greatly speeds up this process.

No CSV? Use bank feeds

If your business has lots of expenses every week, and your bank doesn’t let you download your bank statement in a CSV format, you may find that manually creating one in Excel each month is too time consuming.

Set up bank feeds instead. Bank feeds is the process of linking all of your business accounts, whether they’re credit cards or bank accounts, to your accounting software, so that each time you make an electronic purchase, it’s automatically imported into your accounting software.

This will allow you to reconcile your account each fortnight, week or more frequently, if you desire, than once a month when your bank statement comes in.

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Bank feeds save your business time and money. Find out more about setting up automatic bank feeds in Xero and importing bank statements into Xero. You can also read more about our new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI Course for Xero, visit our website or enrol today!


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Learn Microsoft Excel from scratch or brush up your Excel skills, at your own pace, with our affordable Excel online training courses — where you get THE LOT (that’s 9 courses in total) for ONE LOW PRICE — everything included! Volume corporate discounts are available and our courses count towards CPD Points. NOW is the time to learn to use Excel, one of the most-used software applications in the world.


 

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3 Things You MUST Do in Excel!

Business owners and job seekers take note!

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Excel isn’t just for budding bookkeepers; it’s a great tool for all business owners to know.

MICROSOFT EXCEL IS THE most widely used spreadsheet application in modern computing. That said, it’s also one of the more difficult programs of the Microsoft Office Suite to learn, which is why we recently updated the content of our Excel training courses.

A lot of people do our Excel training courses to help them “skill up” to find a job, find a position better suited to them, or develop their career path. However, Excel is a fantastic tool for small business owners as well.

But whether you use Excel to create a pivot table or a database, there are a few things you should do each time you open an Excel document. Here we present you with three:

1. Vertical align: always centre

Always align the text in the cells of your Excel spreadsheet to the centre, or the top in certain circumstances. But never, ever align it to the bottom. It’s hard on the eyes and, when you’re looking at lots and lots of data in lots and lots of cells, it becomes difficult to know which row, column, etc, you’re looking in. Centre alignment, always.

2. Build error-checking into formulas

There should never be an instance where one of your workbooks is showing a #DIV/0, #N/A, #REF, #NAME?, #NUM!, or #NULL! error. This is especially true if you’re sharing these workbooks with your business partners or accountant or whomever.

Seeing an error in a financial report may cause the reader to doubt the accuracy of the entire workbook, so ensure your workbooks remain error free by using the simple IFERROR() error-checking function in Excel.

3. Print preview your work

Again, if you intend to share workbooks with other people, you should always ensure that your Excel workbooks can be printed nicely and easily, even if you don’t intend to ever print the document yourself. This is easy enough to do via File > Print Preview and adjusting the print margins before sharing (or printing) the document.

However, judging by the number of times I’ve printed an Excel document only to collect 87 sheets of paper off my printer to read the contents one 4×4 table, the function is seldom used by anyone else but me!

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For more Excel formatting tips and tricks, download our FREE Beginners’ Guide to Excel, or enrol in our intermediate or advanced online Excel training courses to learn how to create databases, pivot tables, charts, graphs, and much more…

Read more about our beginners, intermediate and advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow!


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At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks courses gain employment as a bookkeeper or even start their own bookkeeping business; it’s why we provide you with lifetime access to our online cloud-accounting training courses as part of our commitment to continuing professional development


 

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EXCEL: Other Data Sources You Can Use to Create a Pivot Table

The latest versions of Excel are jam-packed with new features!

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How are your Excel skills? Brushing up or learning how to use Microsoft Excel as a business tool could see you brimming from ear to ear too.

WE’RE ALWAYS UPDATING OUR Excel training courses, and as we do so, we’re reminded of just how useful Excel continues to be for small business owners — particularly the latest versions of Excel which include a boatload of new features that make it easy to create and manage relational databases, which you can also use as the data source for a pivot table.

But supposing, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use an Excel database as your pivot table’s data source? Well, there are some other options to create a pivot table without manually entering the information into Excel first. Here are a few more data sources that you can use to create a pivot table in Excel.

Office data connection files

The office data connection (ODC) file extension was created by Microsoft and contains properties to connect to and retrieve data from an external data source. It contains a connection string, data queries, authentication information and other settings. Microsoft recommends that you retrieve external data for your pivot tables and reports using ODC files.

External relational databases

If, for instance, you’re using another relational database program, like Microsoft Access or Filemaker Pro, you can also import data directly from these programs into your pivot table, rather than manually entering the data into an Excel worksheet. In the case of connecting data from an MS Access database, you can do this quite simply by selecting Access from the ‘data source’ dialog box. For all other external databases, you would select the ‘from other sources’ dialog box and follow the steps in the data connection wizard.

Using another pivot table

Each time that you create a new pivot table, Excel stores a copy of the data for the report in memory, and saves this storage area as part of the workbook file. To use one pivot table as the source for another, both must be in the same workbook. If the source pivot table is in a different workbook, copy the source to the workbook location where you want the new one to appear. Keep in mind that when you refresh the data in the new pivot table, Excel also updates the data in the source pivot table, and vice versa. When you group or un-group items, or create calculated fields or calculated items in one, both are affected.

Create a database in Excel first

The easiest and most efficient way to create a pivot table is to create a database in Excel first. Here, you can update and manage as much information about your business — including customer data and financial data — and then use that as a data source for a pivot table.

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Creating databases and pivot tables are part of our advanced Microsoft Excel training course, but you can start your Excel journey with our FREE beginners’ Excel course. Read more about our beginners, intermediate and advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow!


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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. 


 

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Explaining Why Excel’s Pivot Tables are So Mighty!

No amount of data is too big for Excel’s pivot tables

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Go You Excel Pivot Table! Excel’s signature function, the pivot table, is still as useful for making sense of large amounts of data as it ever was.

WE’VE RECENTLY BEEN UPDATING the content for our Excel training courses and were reminded of just how useful Excel is for small businesses. In Excel, you can easily create and manage client databases and then export part or all of that data into a Word document, your accounting software, an email marketing service, or use it in other Excel documents, such as a pivot table.

A pivot table is Excel’s signature, and most powerful, feature — Microsoft trademarked the words ‘pivot’ and ‘table’ in their compound form PivotTable back in the 1990s. So if you intend to use Excel in any meaningful way for your business, knowing how to create and work with pivot tables is an essential skill, one which we cover in our newly-updated, advanced Excel online training courses.

What are pivot tables used for?

A pivot table is a way to quickly summarise and analyse large amounts of data, and the pivot tables you can create in Excel are especially designed for:

  • Subtotalling and aggregating numeric data
  • Summarising data by categories and subcategories
  • Creating custom calculations and formulas
  • Expanding and collapsing levels of data
  • Drilling down on details from summary data
  • Filtering, sorting, grouping and conditionally sorting data
  • Presenting concise, attractive, and annotated reports
  • Moving rows to columns and vice versa (‘pivoting’) to see different summaries of source data.

Pivot table data sources

There are a few ways that you can create a pivot table, though the most common way is to use an existing Excel worksheet — a database, for example — as a data source. Here are a few ways to create a pivot table in Excel:

  • Excel tables: Excel tables are already in list format and are good candidates for pivot table source data. When you refresh the pivot table report, new and updated data from the Excel table is automatically included in the refresh operation.
  • Using a dynamic named range: To make a pivot table easier to update, you can create a dynamic named range, and use that name as the pivot table’s data source. If the named range expands to include more data, refreshing the pivot table will include the new data.

Create a database in Excel first

The most efficient way to create a pivot table is to create a database in Excel first. Here, you can update and manage as much information about your business — including customer data and financial data — and then use that as a data source for a pivot table.

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Creating databases and pivot tables are part of our advanced Microsoft Excel training course, but you can start your Excel journey with our FREE Beginners’ Excel Course. Read more about our Beginners’, Intermediate and Advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow! We cover ALL levels for ONE LOW COST.

And with EOFY looming, be sure to take advantage of our specials!


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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). 


 

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The Do’s and Don’ts of a Compelling Resume and Cover Letter

Is your resume up to speed?

do's and dont's of writing a great resume
If you thought you’d never have to write another resume as a contractor or self-employed business person, then think again.

STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS does not mean you’ll never need to write a resume or cover letter again. We’ve written about this topic before — indeed, when you first start your own business you’ll probably spend a lot of your time applying to work with other businesses directly or through a recruiter.

And the truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work. If you don’t like the idea of this, well then maybe being self-employed isn’t for you! Why? Because in order to find the best work; the kind that you’ll love, you need to be always looking for it — or always be closing, if there any fans of Glengarry Glen Ross in the house tonight.

The truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work. 

Do pay attention to design

I’m choosing to exclude the “grammar, spelling and punctuation” portion of this list, because if you don’t already know that’s important by now, then oh boy, I can’t help you. But formatting and design are important, whether you’re looking for work in a creative industry or not.

The key is to grab attention in less than half a minute. You can use different fonts, for instance, a larger plain font for headings and a smaller (perhaps serif) font for the body text. You can type your resume up in Word or use PowerPoint or some other design tool. But just don’t get ahead of yourself and use something too fancy that you don’t have a proper grasp of and end up with a resume that is hotchpotch and messy.

These days, some recruiters will even upload your resume into their own “system” which “parses” your content and basically re-formats it all into plain text. If this happens, your gorgeous CV will look very different on the screen of the employer. The simpler the design and layout of the original resume, the easier it will be for them to read if they indeed use this system for getting through the applications of hundreds of job applicants. But don’t feel disheartened, there are others ways to get spotted amongst the crowd.

Don’t use jargon

The next hurdle, once you’ve got the recruiter or hiring manager reading your resume or cover letter, is to urge them to call you. Do not, I repeat, do not use jargon of any kind in either your resume or cover letter. The minute someone reads a sentence that starts with or contains “experienced in”, “team player”, “responsible for”, etc, etc, they switch off.

These phrases mean literally nothing. Nothing. Telling someone you’re a team player: redundant. Everyone should be a team player, and there is no one, not a single person ever, who has written on their resume that they’re not one. Instead, tell the employer what you like about working in a team. (On a similar note, also avoid the term “able to work autonomously” by explaining the times you’ve had to and how that’s gone.)  

When you go to use the words “experienced in” try to remind yourself that this is something that happens to you — not something you proactively go out and do. Instead refer to your background in terms of achievements. Search “typical jargon to avoid on a resume” for more.

Do show your personality

Remember that employers are people too. Work culture is important to lots of businesses, so they need to know that any potential new hire, freelance or otherwise, will be able to fit in and work with them. And if you can make the person reading your resume laugh, oftentimes you’ll get a call back.

Don’t list silly interests

I should add a qualifier to that, which says that it’s okay to list a really silly interest if you know and make a point of noting that it’s a silly interest. This makes you seem thoughtful, and definitely not as dumb as a person who says they like reading or sports on their resume. Reading what? It implies novels, but it could also mean signposts, Aldi catalogues, Post It Notes. And if you like playing cricket more than once a year on Boxing Day, then for the love of all that is holy (cricket on Boxing Day), say that. Otherwise, put down interests that you actually are interested in — they reveal a lot about the type of person you are, which again, goes to help with the point above.

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If you’d like to learn how to create a resume in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, or if you’d like to learn more about starting your own business, you can be enrolling in our PowerPoint training courses or our online Word training courses, or our Business Start Up Course.


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At 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. 


 

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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.

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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.  


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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!


 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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). 


 

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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.

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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.


 

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Our online training courses feature real-life case studies to make our learning more relevant and true to life.
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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.

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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.


 

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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.

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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.


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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.