When Your Business Strategy Changes

There are websites that make it easy to change your business name

changes in business strategy xero cheap online learning course
Having a plan rather than changing your business strategy in an ad hoc fashion, ensures greater success of your business going forward.

PLENTY OF BUSINESS OWNERS change their business strategy, but what makes this successful? We say, above all, planning and a willingness to change the ordinary operations of your business. In a new workbook contained in our Xero training courses, we take you through the steps you would take in Xero to affect a change in business strategy.

In this blog post, we’re going to look more generally at some of the things you might need to do if you were making a change to your business strategy — even before you would start making these changes in your accounting software.

Business name change

A change of business strategy and direction may warrant a business name change. As a basic example, a builder who begins offering plumbing, electrical, and handyman services should change their business name from John’s Building Services, for example, to John’s Building and Home Maintenance Services.

If considering a business name change, visit the ASIC website. There you’ll be able to register a new business name and make sure one you’re thinking of doesn’t already exist. ASIC doesn’t allow you to update or change your business name, but provided you’re operating your business under the same structure — i.e., sole trader — there’s no limit to the number of business names you can register and assign to your ABN.

In April this year, the business.gov website launched a new Business Registration Service, which although still in Beta, allows you to easily and quickly apply for a business name, ABN, company, and tax registrations for free. At the moment it’s only available for new businesses — whether they’re sole traders, partnerships, companies or joint ventures — but it’ll soon be rolled out to existing businesses, trusts, and superannuation funds.

Registering for GST

Many contractors don’t register for GST because they do a combination of contract work on their ABN and TFN. Provided their business doesn’t generate $75,000 per year or more, they won’t have to register for GST, even if they do earn more than that by also working as a contractor on their TFN.

If the change in business strategy means your business is going to generate substantially more than $75,000 per year, or even if your suspect it may get close to it, you should register your business for GST.

You can register for GST via the ATO’s Business Portal. Registering for GST does mean your business will need to lodge regular business activity statements. This is additional compliance that can yield fines for late or inaccurate lodgements.

If you’d like to try and defer registering for GST for as long as possible, run a profit and loss statement in Xero and compare your current revenue with the estimated additional revenue your new business strategy will generate.

If there’s good, safe margin between your projected income and the $75,000 GST threshold, you can hold off.

You can learn what you need to implement the financial side of your changed business strategy, plus how to run profit and loss statements, complete and lodge business activity statements and much more in our Xero training courses. For more information, visit our website.


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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. 


 

Why Your Business Needs a Bookkeeping Procedures Manual

Documenting procedures helps keep your bookkeeping up to speed

bookkeeping procedures manual rescue bookkeeping work
Rescue bookkeeping is not ideal – it’s often expensive and shows you’re not in control. A bookkeeping procedures manual will outline what bookkeeping needs to be done, when.

IN A PREVIOUS POST we talked about how to tell when you need rescue bookkeeping, which is basically when a business is behind on its bookkeeping by three months or more and the deadline is looming to lodge their activity statements.

Rescue bookkeeping work costs more than having your bookkeeping taken care of regularly, because it’s often messy and there are no procedures in place to manage the bookkeeping efficiently.

What’s a bookkeeping procedures manual?

bookkeeping procedures manualA bookkeeping procedures manual clearly identifies the regular tasks and activities your bookkeeper needs to take each week, fortnight, month or quarter to ensure your bookkeeping is kept up-to-date. This not only gives you the peace of mind that your bookkeeper is staying on top of your books, but it also helps you to understand what’s going on with your business.

If you require regular P&L statements or balance sheets, having a procedures manual to clearly outline how frequently they’ll be created helps you to stay on top of your business’ financials.

A typical procedures manual will include:

  • Simple steps that are easy-to-understand and succinct
  • Tasks are written up in a step-by-step style, so they can be followed logically
  • References, links or examples are included to help readers understand
  • Contain a number of formats — written steps, flow charts or checklists.

Rather than leaving your bookkeeping to the last minute, so you’re always operating your business in dark, organise to have bookkeeper create a procedures manual to regularly take care of your business’s bookkeeping.

We Can Help You Find a Good Local Bookkeeper

find a local bookkeeper

We have bookkeepers, BAS agents and accountants located across Australia, available to help businesses in need of rescue bookkeeping workVisit our online bookkeeping directory, 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

Go to National Bookkeeping for more information, to see our rates or to request a quote.


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

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


 

EOFY: Remember to Deduct Your Prepaid Expenses

The Cut-Off for Claiming Deductions is Looming

reduce-your-taxable-income-with-expenses-Xero-and-MYOB
Dive deep into your claimable expenses and don’t forget all those smaller prepaid expenses like magazine subscriptions or domain name registrations – you can only claim all of these during the period in which they occurred.

WE’RE IN THE LAST QUARTER of the 2016/17 financial year, so now is the time to dive in deep and check you’ve included every single business expense — prepaid or otherwise — to ensure all your expenses are in order.

We’ve previously posted about writing off stock and inventory and the reports you’ll need to file your activity statements and tax returns: all of these you’ll learn how to run in our MYOB BAS Reporting and GST online training course or our Xero GST, Reporting and BAS training course.

Expenses reduce your taxable income

We all know this, but remember, they can only be claimed for the period in which they occurred. If you forget to claim a major business expense in the financial year that it occurred, you can’t make it up by claiming it the next year.

It’s really important you thoroughly check your credit cards and business accounts to make sure you’ve accounted for each expense. The final quarter of the financial year is also a good time to make any purchases for your business, because you can claim them straight away.  

Prepaid expenses are often forgotten

what are some claimable expensesMagazine or journal subscriptions, domain name registrations, business name registrations, car registrations, website fees, insurances — collectively they add up, but they’re also the easiest to forget.

These deductions are often prepaid and may not come up on your radar and may certainly not show up on your final quarter bank statements.

Make a list and check it twice

Over the next month or so, make a list of all of your expenses as you think of them. This makes it easy to spot them when you’re going through your bank and credit card statements and checking them against the expenses in your accounting software.

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Learn how to run the reports you’ll need for EOFY with our MYOB BAS Reporting and GST online training course or our Xero GST, Reporting and BAS training course.


learn PowerPoint online training course

Want to make your business presentations and publications more eye catching? 

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

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


 

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.


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

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


 

 

EOFY: Organise Your Reports and Records

We Show You The Reports to Generate Now for End of June

profit and loss statements P&Ls
Now’s time to take stock of the reports that need to be generated to keep you GST and tax compliant.

THE LAST QUARTER OF the 2016/17 financial year is upon us, so now is the time to organise your reports and records; including Profit and Loss Statements, Accounts Receivable and Payable, PAYG and Super payments. We’ve previously written about writing off stock and inventory and getting your business expenses in order. In this post we’ll take a look at the reports and records you’ll need for EOFY, which you’ll learn how to produce in our MYOB BAS Reporting and GST or Xero GST, Reporting and BAS training courses.

Profit and loss statement

Depending on the structure of your business, you may be legally required to include a P&L statement with your tax return or activity statements. Your tax agent will be able to advise you if your business will be required to file a P&L, which  requires all of your bookkeeping to be up-to-date before you can run it.

Even if you don’t have to file one with your activity statements or tax returns, it’s still a good idea to run a P&L for your own sake. A P&L statement identifies whether your business has made a profit or loss and which accounting period these occurred.

Accounts receivable, payable

Find out who owes money to your business and to whom your business owes money. This is obviously part of the credit management process, which any good business will have in place already, but it’s a good idea to keep a steady eye on what’s coming in and what’s going out as EOFY approaches.

PAYG, superannuation

The end of each quarter brings a lot of PAYG and superannuation reporting, but EOFY brings a double whammy of activity statements tax returns and PAYG and superannuation compliance. You’ll need to run these reports so your bookkeeper can complete the payroll component of your returns.

Inventory stocktake

If you sell goods, you’ll need to complete a stocktake of your business’s inventory so that any missing stock can be written off, and to ensure you’re starting a clean slate for the new financial year.

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Learn how to run the reports you’ll need for EOFY with our MYOB BAS Reporting and GST online training course or our Xero GST, Reporting and BAS training course.


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). 


 

End of Financial Year: Writing Off Stock

We show you how to write off stock and inventory before the EOFY

how to write off stock before eofy in xero myob
Do you know how to make inventory adjustments? Our Xero and MYOB BAS and GST Reporting courses can show you how.

IT’S A GOOD TIME TO START  looking at any slow-moving or obsolete stock that your business (or your client’s business) may be holding, as we’ve reached the end of Quarter 3 and have now started Quarter 4 for the 2016/17 financial year — which means the end of the financial year is fast approaching.

Writing off stock in MYOB or Xero is known as making an inventory adjustment, and our MYOB BAS Reporting and GST or Xero GST, Reporting and BAS training courses take you through the steps to do this. But first, you need to identify which items aren’t selling. We’ve created this case study to help you understand how.

Understanding your inventory’s performance

Every business needs to understand how their inventory is performing, and how it impacts their business. If the business owner is too busy to stay on top of this, then they should employ a bookkeeper to help.

A good example of why understanding inventory is important to a business is to look at an air conditioning company. This business makes money two ways:

  1. Selling air conditioning units
  2. Installing / maintaining air conditioning units

The margin on the sale of an air conditioning unit is not much, a few percent on top of the wholesale price. Where the business makes its money is in the installation or maintenance of the units it sells.

The business purchases three dozen units, of varying brands, models, price points, etcetera. It now needs to know which units are most popular with customers and why; which units aren’t popular with customers and why; whether it’s profitable for the business to continue to stock the unpopular units; or, conversely, whether it’s profitable for the business to continue stocking the popular units.

Inventory reporting

The business’s bookkeeper regularly runs a number of reports in their accounting software, including profit and loss reports and stock-on-hand reports. These reports are used to identify which units sell quickly, as well as the units that take longer to sell, and the profit margins on each.

The units that sell quickly don’t require a technician to install them. Although they’re responsible for the majority of sales, they don’t generate more revenue for the business. The units that sell slowly, do generate more revenue as they require installation and maintenance, however too many units were ordered and they’ve now been discontinued by the manufacturer. Some units have hardly sold, and, although not discontinued, have been superseded by newer models.

Stock write offs and future orders

Because the bookkeeper regularly runs these reports, s/he has been able to export them into Excel for further analysis. By the end of Q3, the bookkeeper can make suggestions to the business owner about the future of the business.

In particular, the bookkeeper suggests that the units that have been superseded are marked down to clear as much stock as possible, and cease any new orders. Likewise, the discontinued models will be marked down.

Orders for the units that replaced the discontinued models will halve the order volume. Likewise, order volumes for the top selling units will reduced. The profit margin on these units is very low and they result in no additional revenue from installation or maintenance. The profit that would be earned on the additional units is negligible, however by reducing the unit volumes, the business improves its cash flow.

Act NOW for EOFY

If your business sells stock or a combination of stock and services, like the air conditioning business does above, start looking at your inventory now. Markdown any slow-moving stock at the end of Q3, to give your business time to move the remainder of it. If it doesn’t sell, write it off at EOFY.

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Our MYOB and Xero training courses have recently been updated to include a workbook on how to write off inventory. Learn more about our MYOB BAS Reporting and GST or Xero GST, Reporting and BAS training courses at our website.


find a local bookkeeper

We feature our own 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


 

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

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

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

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

Rescue bookkeeping

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

PAYG payments

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

Superannuation payments

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

Lodging late PAYG and super payments

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

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

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

Managing late PAYG and super payments

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

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

Our courses now include real-life case studies

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


learn PowerPoint online training course

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

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

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


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


 

How to Make a Capital Purchase That Won’t Affect Your Cash Flow

A Chattel Mortgage Can Help Keep Your Business Cashflow Under Control

chattel mortgage learn xero online training course
A chattel mortgage can tide your business over without having to dip into savings.

In our Xero Daily Reconciliations Course, you’ll learn how to set up a chart of accounts, among other things such as running balance sheets and Profit and Loss (P&L) statements. For the most part, daily transaction reconciliation is pretty straightforward, until you get to a capital purchase, which, if it’s over $20,000 or was purchased prior to May 2015, needs to be dealt with differently.

In most cases, when a business purchases major assets, such as a motor vehicles, it’s known as a capital purchase, which is made via a loan. There are two types of loans the business can take out: a hire purchase loan or a chattel mortgage.

Buying assets on hire purchase

This is an agreement between you and the lender to acquire a motor vehicle. During the hire period, the lender legally owns the car and you pay regular instalments to the finance company. For tax purposes you can claim depreciation, running costs and interest paid against your business income. When you pay off the loan in full, legal ownership is then transferred to you.

Buying assets on chattel mortgage

Chattel mortgage is essentially a mortgage over goods to be financed. Chattel mortgage is classed as a cash sale in that the goods automatically become your property on purchase and the finance company takes a mortgage over the chattels.

Just as a hire purchase you can claim depreciation, running costs and interest paid, against your business income. The chattel mortgage allows businesses to claim the full input tax credit from GST incurred expenses immediately (next BAS statement).

Chattel mortgages are more popular

Chattel mortgages became popular when BAS and GST was introduced, because businesses could claim the GST at the time of purchase, whether they ran a cash system or an accrual accounting system. Plus, under a chattel mortgage, the allowable depreciation and interest payment are also tax deductible.

How capital purchases affect cash flow

If a business doesn’t take out a loan to make a capital purchase, it will have to dip into its savings, which can adversely affect cash flow, especially on big ticket items. Taking out a chattel mortgage, however, helps to keep cash flow under control because the business can borrow the funds (and claim the interest back as a tax deduction) without any major impact on cash flow. You will also then be able to factor the repayments into your monthly forecast projection.

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You’ll learn how to record an capital purchase, whether it’s been bought on hire purchase or a chattel mortgage, in our Xero Daily Reconciliations Course. You can find out more or enrol today.

Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer many 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


 

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

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

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

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

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

Check, even if you use a recruiter

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

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

Sometimes people don’t just lie on their resume

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

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

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

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

Benders-of-truth almost always get caught

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

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

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

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Xero online training course

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


 

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

Using Excel to Financially Forecast the Viability of Your Investment

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

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

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

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

Granny flats earn income, not add value

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

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

Granny flats can reduce your rental return

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


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

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


 

 

Linking a Financial Forecast with Xero and Excel

Excel Will Help You Work Out the HOW of Depreciation

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

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

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

Your bookkeeper uses Excel to calculate depreciation

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

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

Input depreciation into Xero

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

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

Individuals can claim depreciation too

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

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

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


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

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


 

Which Transactions Affect Balance Sheets?

Avoid Any Nasty Surprises: Balance Sheets Matter!

EzyLearn Xero Balance SheetA business’s balance sheet is a snapshot of its financial position at a particular period of time, which is not to be confused with a profit and loss (P&L) statement. Unlike a P&L, which just shows whether the business is making a profit or loss during a given period, a balance sheet, will eventually, show nearly every activity that has occurred within a business.

However, there are some transactions that will show up immediately. You’ll learn how to run a balance sheet in our Xero Daily Reconciliations Training Course, but we wanted to show you the transactions to look out for and why.

profit and loss statement xero online training course
A balance sheet reveals the nitty gritty of your business’ transactions.

The purchase or sale of assets

When an asset, such as a car, is bought, it will reduce the cash account and increase the fixed-assets account. Both of these accounts are listed in the asset portion of the balance sheet, however, cash is part of the current assets section and fixed assets are part of the long-term assets section.

When an asset is sold, the way the cash is accounted for is a bit more difficult. Here, both the asset’s book value and any accumulated depreciation are removed from the books at the same time that the cash account is increased by the sales price. If the sales price does not equal the book value, the difference is accounted for as a gain or loss on the sale of equipment. This gain or loss is recorded on the P&L statement.

Purchases on credit

When a business purchases supplies or inventory on credit, the business will debit the asset account (supplies or inventory) and credit the accounts-payable account. Almost always, accounts payable are considered to be current liabilities and are shown at the top of the liabilities section of the balance sheet.

Debt and lease arrangements

When a business issues debt or enters into a leasing arrangement, a liability must be recorded in the long-term section of the company’s balance sheet. For example, if a company issues bonds for cash, the company would debit cash and credit bonds payable in the simplest bond-issuance scenarios.

Capital-lease transactions affect the balance sheet in a similar manner. When entering a capital-lease arrangement, the business will debit a fixed-asset account to show that the company has taken economic possession of the leased asset. At the same time, the business will credit a capital-lease obligation account to show the offsetting economic liability.

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For a balance sheet to be correct, you must code each transaction correctly in your accounting software. Our Xero Daily Reconciliations Training Course covers balance sheets, and much, much more. Why not enrol today?

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Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

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


 

Basic Bookkeeping Reports in Xero: Profit and Loss

Learn How to Run a P&L Using Xero

Profit and Loss statement
Profit and loss statements should be run by businesses regularly and are required by law.

A basic, yet vitally important, report for every business owner is a profit and loss (P&L) statement. A profit and loss statement, as the name suggests, shows whether a business is running at a profit or a loss over a given period. We’ve written about why running multi-period P&Ls before in QuickBooks and MYOB is a good idea for businesses with inventory, but single period P&Ls are equally important for all businesses.

If you’re a bookkeeping newbie, a profit and loss statement, which sometimes goes by other names — income statements, earning statements, revenue statements, operating statements, statement of operations, or statement of financial performance — is a basic report you’ll learn to run in our Xero Daily Reconciliations Course. If you’re planning to work as a contract bookkeeper, you should get in the habit of running P&L statements for your clients regularly (if you’re a business owner, ask your bookkeeper to run them).

P&Ls are required by law

Depending on how a business is structured, it may be required by law to complete a P&L. A P&L shows how the revenue of the business is turned into net income by subtracting all expenses from income. They’re also useful for understanding a business’ net income, which helps with the decision making processes. A business will also need a P&L if they’re applying for a small business loan.

The contents of a P&L

profit and loss statements P&LsAlthough the process of running a P&L differ between accounting software packages, they usually all contain the same elements, depending only on the business itself. In the first section, the cost of sales is subtracted from the revenue, which highlights gross profit. The business’ operating expenses are then subtracted from the gross profit, which leaves the operating profit. Now, all of the non-operating revenues and expenses must be factored into account, after which the business’ profit or loss will be displayed.

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Because P&L statements are often used by a business’ owner to make financial decisions, to inform shareholders of the business’ performance, apply for a business loan, or as proof of income in the sale of a business, it’s important that you understand how to create one correctly. Our Xero Daily Reconciliations Training Course covers P&L statements, and much more. Visit our website to learn more or to enrol.

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online bookkeeping courses to earn cpd points

 

Did you know that 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.

 

 

 

 

Calculating PAYG Obligations Without a Payroll System

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

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

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

PAYG and the businesses it applies to

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

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

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

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

Superannuation contributions

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

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

Using tax tables to calculate wages

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

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

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online bookkeeping courses to earn cpd points

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation and Tax Deductions Associated with Granny Flats

Working Out Your Depreciations with Excel

excel online training course financial forecasting
Ok, so you may or may not have the room for a granny flat, but either way, Excel is the foremost tool for forecasting financial investments.

If you have the room, building a granny flat on your property can prove to be very lucrative. EzyLearn has recently created a new Microsoft Excel exercise, using the construction of a granny flat as a case study, which forms part of our online Excel Training Course.

It was created to help students understand how to use Excel for financial forecasting, but it’s also useful to those interested in constructing a granny flat on their property.

Costs that will be depreciated

In a recent post, we mentioned claiming depreciation on the property’s existing dwelling. If the existing dwelling on your property is rather old, it may not be able to be depreciated. Depreciation rates are determined by the ATO, while an quantity surveyor will be able to determine the value of your dwelling. The cost of the new granny flat will be depreciated over time. Keep in mind that individual elements of the granny flat, such as the floorings, can also be depreciated in addition to the capital structure.

Most expenses can be deducted

The ATO has a long list of expenses relating to rental properties that can be deducted. If you visit their website, you’ll find that most expenses relating to a rental property can be claimed as a tax deduction, depending on the type of rental property. If your granny flat is intended as a long term rental, as the granny flat in our case study is, then nearly all expenses, including the demolition of the old garage and other capital works can be deducted right away.

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How you treat these expenses and depreciable assets is covered in the granny flats case study of our Microsoft Excel Training Course. Visit our website for more information on our full suite of training courses.

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EzyLearn online training courses count towards CPD points

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

Use Excel to Manage ALL Your Investments

Once You Master Excel You Can Do Anything!

using excel for financial forecast granny flat2
Excel is one powerful tool. Its formulas can be extrapolated to most any accounting software program.

In our Excel training Course there’s an exercise workbook on granny flat investments, which takes you through all the steps involved in developing a financial forecast for a granny flat. It can also be used to determine the financial forecast of any investment, not just granny flats.

Even though lots of cloud-based software applications have come along in recent years — Xero and MYOB and CRMs like Zoho — which have made it possible for lots of business owners to keep track of their financials and customer sales history without ever needing to open an Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel is still the software used by accountants and analysts in nearly every profession.

Excel is flexible

Microsoft Excel may be difficult to master — indeed, it’s probably one of the most difficult in the entire suite of Microsoft programs — but it’s also the most flexible. The formulas sitting behind nearly every cloud-based accounting software can all be replicated and modified in Excel, where in MYOB or Xero, they can’t.

You can’t enter the details of your granny flat project or other investment into Xero and MYOB and create a financial forecast, even though near similar formulas are being used each time you run a profit and loss statement.

Cloud software is Excel plus PLUS

Before computers and Microsoft Excel came along, accountants used a pen and paper to keep track of their clients’ business financials. And before that, before the numeral system was invented, the abacus was the main accounting tool used by merchants and traders to keep track of their finances.

You probably have no use for an abacus anymore — although in some parts of Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia people still do — because, as an accounting tool, it’s too basic. But the same cannot be said about Excel, which is capable of handling complex formulas and rendering an answer.

Export accounting data into Excel

Because cloud-accounting software is essentially a very user friendly version of an elaborate, however inflexible, spreadsheet, it means you’re able to export your accounting data into Excel. Financial analysts and accountants do this when they need to carry out further analysis on a client’s financial data, and you can too.

Once you know how to use Excel for financial forecasting, you can use the same formulas and modelling for any financial forecast — be it for a granny flat project, business investment, anything that requires you to make a financial decision.

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Visit our website for more information on our Microsoft Excel Training Course, with its new intermediate-level ‘Granny Flat Case Study’.

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