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ATO Tax Refunds – Get Your Tax Return in Early

Lodge your tax return early and you're bound to get a quick refund.
Lodge your tax return early and you’re bound to get a quick refund.

We’re always updating our course content to ensure our MYOB course reflect the market demands of bookkeepers in an ever-changing industry, and if you’re one of our MYOB lifetime students you have access to this content any time, every time. And we use this blog to keep you up-to-date with industry news — like this news just in from the ATO:

A total of 1.7 million returns were received by the ATO between 1 July and 23 July 2013, and already refunds have been issued for some 40 percent of those returns—a whopping $1.68 billion refunded in less than 30 days.

These figures clearly demonstrate the benefits of getting your tax returns lodged early. Being organised in the lead-up to 30 June is the key to getting those returns in early, which is why we’re committed to bringing you the latest information you need to make your job easier.

EzyLearn: We’ll Keep You Informed 

In the lead-up to 30 June, we published a number of posts to help you get organised for the busiest time of a bookkeeper’s year: a list of the things you should do in preparation for 30 June, and an EOFY payroll checklist, which included all the things you needed to complete so that you could issue the PAYG summaries by 14 July.

Way back in 2012 we also wrote about how the ATO had changed the threshold for capital purchases to $6,500 for any business with less than $2 million in turnover, which we followed up this year with another post going into further detail about the sorts of assets you can write off under that $6,500 [link to post #59].

If you’re thinking about enrolling in our MYOB course and starting your own bookkeeping business, we’re committed to helping you get there. So join us, and start you own bookkeeping business today!

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Virtual Offices: The Reality of Closing Your Office Doors

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

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

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

Steps to Becoming Virtual

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

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

***

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

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Be Real about Yourself for that Bookkeeping Job

Does your resume really reflect you? Remember, it's important to be specific and provide examples.
Does your resume really reflect you? Remember, it’s important to be specific and provide examples.

We’re always trying to help people who have done our online MYOB course get work, so it’s time to emphasise again the message that overselling yourself in your resume stands out a mile — for all the wrong reasons!

What to Ditch

We’ve written previous posts with tips on how to make your resume stand out. Whether it’s a bookkeeper, office admin, virtual assistant or executive-level role you’re after, we’ve selected a few commonly used phrases that you should be leaving out of your resume and what you might include to replace them. Here goes:

“Highly qualified” – instead of using this generic and largely meaningless term, describe what you will bring to the role. Highlight specific accomplishments in previous positions and any awards or certifications you’ve earned.

“Hard worker” – explain just how it is you’ve gone the extra mile. Perhaps you frequently met tough deadlines, handled a high volume of projects or tackled tasks outside your job description?

“Team player” – well, it’s a bit of a problem if you don’t work well with others, so this tends to be assumed these days. Talk about a specific objective you achieved by partnering with colleagues or individuals in other departments?

“Problem solver” – again, be specific; highlight a tricky situation you encountered and how you solved the problem exactly.

“Flexible” – adaptability is a must in most organisations. Demonstrate your flexibility by describing how you responded to a major change at work or dealt with unpredictable aspects of your role.

“People person” – here it might be an idea to provide an instance of how you won over a challenging customer or co-worker.

“Self-starter” – yes, companies need people with initiative – show how you took the initiative when you saw an issue that needed to be addressed.

Remember, It’s the Little Things

We spoke to a couple of head hunters we know about what can make your resume stand out amongst the hundreds a prospective employer might receive. They were unanimous in their view that what piqued their interest were details and specifics about such things as what changes you contributed to your last position; in other words, some aspect that they could delve into and explore a little more. Real examples and instances of where you’ve contributed to a company in a positive way could then spark a conversation in a job interview.

Specifics for Bookkeepers

If you’re looking for bookkeeping work, we suggest ensuring you demonstrate some sound information about the evolving legislation around BAS agents and information about Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeeping professionals. Keep subscribing to our blog to receive other job seeking tips and tricks in your Inbox.

 

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Tax and BAS: How to Register with the Tax Practitioners Board

Bookkeepers Who Want to Provide BAS Services Need TPB Certification

start a bookkeeping business
Don’t stress: The TPB certification requirements may actually kick-start some people’s bookkeeping businesses.

Whether you are a bookkeeper who uses Xero or MYOB or one of the other accounting software packages that we offer training on, you are probably aware that Australian tax legislation has changed recently. As a result, providing BAS services to clients is not as simple as it once was. 

All bookkeepers who wish to provide a BAS service for a fee, must now hold a Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping or Accounting) or higher to be eligible for registration.

What makes up a BAS service?

The BAS services page on the ATO website can provide you with information about the qualification requirements and the education requirements for BAS agents to become certified with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) so you can offer tax and BAS services to clients.

Becoming certified with the TPB is a lot like getting your drivers license: you need to be able to demonstrate the relevant experience of at least 1400 hours, or 1000 hours if you’re already a member of a professional organisation — like the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers — which you can become a member of for free when you complete an applicable EzyLearn Training Course.

If you’re working under the supervision of another registered Tax or BAS agent, you cannot provide any Tax or BAS services to any clients you may pick up of your own. In other words, you must only provide tax or BAS services to clients known to your supervising Tax/BAS agent.

For some newcomers to the industry, this may seem daunting. But that’s just because conventional wisdom suggests that you must take on some form of permanent employment, working for a bookkeeper or accountant who is registered with the TPB and can supervise you while you gain the necessary skills to go out on your own.

But that’s not actually the case. While this is an option — and a good one if you’ve never worked as a bookkeeper before — it’s not the only one. You can still work with another registered Tax/BAS agent as a contractor, providing these services to the registered Tax/BAS agent’s clients until you’re eligible to go out on your own.

Kick start your own business

This is a great way to get a start on your own business — perhaps just offering non BAS services to start with — while you gain the skills to become registered to offer GST and BAS services. Contract bookkeeping jobs of this nature are actually easier to find that it may seem — often by striking up a working relationship with an accountant or another certified bookkeeper.

***

Find out more information on how to register with the TPB so you can provide tax and BAS services. And remember: you can become a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers for free when you complete an applicable EzyLearn Training Course.


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

 


 

 

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Why I Chose EzyLearn for MYOB

EzyLearn online MYOB training course
Get certified with our EzyLearn online MYOB training course.

Hi, my name’s Michelle Stone and I’m an existing EzyLearn MYOB student. I’ve been asked to write a blog about why I chose Ezylearn for MYOB. Well, it didn’t take me much time to decide at all.

Last year, I was put in a situation at home that required me to take over my late father’s business. In taking over this business I needed to reorganise everything, including the accounting software they used. I was introduced to a chartered accountant who became a mentor and he runs his whole chartered accounting firm using MYOB. So I went into his office one day and his assistant director tried to teach me MYOB in one day. At the end of the day I was so confused!

I knew I needed to find something fast to help me with MYOB. It’s complicated software that can’t be trained / taught in one day, unless you are a genius (which I’m not!)

I went home to my trusty computer and looked up MYOB courses on Google and really looked at the different courses on offer. I had a few criteria of my own that had to be matched:

I wanted:

  • To study when I wanted to — mornings, night, and weekends, anytime suitable/available.
  • To study where I wanted to — café, work or more relaxing environment at home.
  • To study and learn at my own pace, not someone else’s pace; be it the teacher or other students.
  • To have visual examples with step-by-step instructions, then be able to practise the same thing in MYOB.
  • To have assistance when I needed it, not just when I’m learning but when I’ve completed the course as well.
  • To have a certificate or certification at the end. This made me feel good once I completed the course and I felt it would assist me in acquiring work afterwards.
  • To be able to use the course materials in real-time situations.

EzyLearn met all those criteria and more. The EzyLearn online MYOB course helped me to learn the ins and outs of running a small business from an accounting point of view. It made learning MYOB easy because all the learning material and guidance was at my fingertips with a push of a few buttons on my own computer.

So for me it’s not so much why choose Ezylearn for MYOB — it’s why not?

— Michelle Stone

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What Do You Need To Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business?

Starting a Bookkeeping Business is Low RiskID-10093149

If you’re already employed as a bookkeeper or have graduated from our MYOB training course and starting your own business is something you’ve always dreamed of, then turn that dream into a reality.

Starting a bookkeeping business is one of the few low-risk start-up options, because a bookkeeping business, unlike other bricks and mortar businesses, can be operated from your home-office, eliminating many of the costly overheads that eat into your profits.

In fact, many of the overheads related to running a home-based bookkeeping business involve items you probably already have or are inexpensive to source, such as a laptop, mobile phone, internet connection, and a designated work-space.

But like any business, just because you have previous experience or the zeal to make your venture a success, doesn’t necessarily guarantee success—a business plan does. This should be the first thing you do.

  1. Writing a business plan lays out things like what services you will offer, pricing structures, and how many customers you will need to turn a profit. But it also forces you to do market research and compare your services and prices with your competitors. Our Registered BAS Agent has created a bookkeeping business template that you can use if you start your bookkeeping business with us!
    Market research, no matter how experienced you are in the industry, can help you establish a point-of-difference from other bookkeeping services and aid in the setting of your rates. Many small business courses like our Small Business Management course cover writing business plans as well as other strategies to ensure you manage your business efficiently.
  2. Contacting an insurance broker to find out what kind of policy you will need should be your next port-of-call. Rather than calling many different insurance companies and going through their product disclosure statements yourself, a broker can do this for you and find the best policy at the best price.
  3. You’ll also need to contact an accountant to discuss the ways to maximise your business tax deductions—this could also serve as a good way of drumming up some business, as many sole traders still take their shoeboxes full of receipts and bank statements to their accountant to sift through come tax-time!
  4. It’s also wise to consider ways you can grow your business using low-cost marketing strategies. Many small-business owners make the mistake of thinking that as a small business, they don’t need to worry about marketing, leaving it to the big guys instead.

But some of the biggest companies in the world started out as a start-up in someone’s garage or home-office! As a small-business owner, there are many marketing lessons you can learn from big business.

Believe and you will achieve

If you’ve been dreaming about one day starting your own bookkeeping business, then what are you waiting for? We now have the training, coaching and mentoring support to help you start a bookkeeping business and work from home as an independent contractor working your own chosen hours. We’ve teamed up with a registered BAS agent and business coach to compliment the small business management course and provide you with the support and training you need to start a bookkeeping business without joining a bookkeeping franchise and paying ongoing franchise fees.

National Bookkeeping Business Plan Template
Get a bookkeeping business plan created by a registered BAS agent and get started fast

Become a National Bookkeeping Licencee

If this is something that interests you explore the “Start a bookkeeping business” opportunity with National Bookkeeping and get franchise like support without loosing a percentage of every hour you work. We can help you succeed in your own bookkeeping business by give you the training you need.

National Bookkeeping is designed to help ordinary people start a bookkeeping business as an independent contractors working from home as a virtual assistant with the help and support of existing businesses.

 

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CIA Provides Secrets about Linkedin

LinkedIn: The Living CV

I’VE WRITTEN A NUMBER of posts about the power of LinkedIn to replace the traditional resume, but after speaking with an expert from CIA (Sydney-based company, Computer Information Agency or CIAOPs) I learnt some new secrets about Linkedin. Robert Crane, CIA’s Director, shared some tips as to how and why LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to help you get a job AND find more customers.

Robert-Crane-Digitar-web-linkedin-secrets
Robert Crane is the Director of Computer Information Agency

Here’s what Robert had to say…

One of the greatest advantages that Internet based technologies can provide is leverage. Nothing could be more the case than with social media. Unfortunately, too many businesses and professionals fail to see the potential that it can provide themselves and their businesses. Probably the most effective social network for business is LinkedIn.

You may be surprised to know that LinkedIn in has been around for over a decade. It was around long before Facebook and Twitter as a source of connecting business people together. LinkedIn allows you to create a personal or business profile to which you can add all kinds of information.

[quote]Many professionals use LinkedIn as a “living CV” where they can post their career and achievement records for others to view.[/quote]

Sharing that information with others help them grow their potential network and makes it easier for others to locate people with the right skills.

The True Power of LinkedIn

This is where the key technology of search begins to reveal the true power of LinkedIn, for not only can you share your information with others, independent parties can search LinkedIn and locate individuals with the skills they need. This is reason why so many HR people use LinkedIn to locate and target individuals with the skills they require.

[quote]Posting resumes and trawling employment website is now ‘old school’. Indeed, the highest quality applicants are signed up via Linkedin even before a job is offered.[/quote]

Is It Too Late for You?

This means that if you are not using Linkedin your competition probably already is. So what can you do to catch up?

  1. Firstly, you’ll need to create a LinkedIn account and then fill in the information about yourself. The more professional information you provide the better. It is also important to include a professional headshot as part of the profile so if you don’t have one of these go out and get one.
  2. Once you have all your information entered start looking for people and associates you know who are already on LinkedIn. When you find them send them an invite to ‘connect’ with you on LinkedIn.
  3. Once you network starts to grow make sure that Linkedin becomes an ongoing part of your business strategy. Don’t let the information you have entered get stale. Revisit your account regularly and ensure it is always as current as possible. As you meet new contacts look them up on LinkedIn and ask them to ‘connect’ with you. Always be looking to grow your network and don’t be afraid to ask people in your network for introductions to others on Linkedin.
  4. When you start to feel comfortable with Linkedin use the testimonial feature to ask business contacts and clients for referrals. These referrals can be directly posted on your profile for all to see.
  5. Nothing lends credibility like endorsement so always continue to seek them out and grow the number that you have. Once the endorsements start to flow make sure you direct other information about your business to your LinkedIn information. Use it on your website, business cards, etc.

Other Powerful LinkedIn Uses

The more you work with LinkedIn, the more powerful you will find it. When you need something you can ask your network of contacts, you can search their skills for what you need, and you can join any number of special interest Linkedin groups on the very topic that you are seeking assistance on. Because Linkedin has become such a worldwide tool for business, chances are you’ll find the person or business you’re looking for, if you know how to use it.

Jump On the Social Media Bandwagon

I went to a seminar recently and heard Nick Bowditch from Facebook speak. He said that the businesses engaging with, and using, social media will be the ones still around in 5 years. Perhaps it’s arrogant to think that social media is so mighty, but given the speed with which technology is moving these days, and the ferocity of competition, it’s better to build a profile, reputation and brand that people know, like and trust — and social media is the opportune way to do this.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

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


 

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Will you do it when you feel more confident?

Confidence to get that job and start a business

Confidence

Is low self-confidence contributing to you not achieving your work or life goals? When we held MYOB Courses in our Sydney Training Centres I remember speaking to a lot of mums who were returning to the workforce after a long absence while they were looking after their kids. Lack of confidence was one of the major topics that came up. It was like a whole lifetime had passed since they left the workforce and their lack of confidence was stopping them from finding work.

The same is true for business owners. I was recently speaking to a business coach who has helped many small business owners start and grow their businesses, including bookkeeping businesses. We are very happy to have Di Brown as a contributing specialist so read on to discover some insights about confidence and reaching your goals.

Is lack of confidence holding you back?

Business coach for starting a new business or getting the dream jobBy Di Brown

Are you one of the many people whose lack of confidence is holding them back, keeping them stuck or stopping them from making a career change they desperately want?

How many times have you heard someone say, ‘I will do it when I feel more confident?’ The truth is, the only way you are going to become more confident is by doing it. In her book Feel the Fear and do it Anyway, Susan Jeffers states that you are never going to get rid of fear. Even the most successful and confident people feel fear. The only difference is that they ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. Eventually through repetition and experience it does get easier and you do become more competent and confident.

We all started out with confidence, it is inside every human being. For example when babies attempt to walk for the first time, there is no hesitation about what they want to do. There is no worry about falling because they know exactly what to do when it happens. Stand up and do it again! We were all babies once with the confidence to learn to walk and go for what we wanted.

The action of doing

It’s in the action of ‘doing’ that confidence grows! Do you remember when you first learnt to drive a car? I do! It was a new experience and a bit scary; there were so many different things to remember. There was the brake, accelerator, clutch and gears, speedometer and blinkers. I don’t know about you but when it was time to change lanes, I even had to remember to keep the steering wheel straight when I looked over my shoulder. There were quite a few occasions when I turned my head to make sure it was safe that the steering wheel would come with me. I wasn’t very confident at all.

Well eventually I did get the hang of it. I don’t have to consciously think about how to drive any more. I feel completely competent and confident. Sometimes the car somehow gets home by itself! The way I became confident at driving was by doing it. If I waited until I felt more confident learn, I would probably still be catching the bus.

[quote]In our MYOB training courses our training workbooks contain case studies with exercises you can perform to increase your confidence.[/quote]

Confidence is within each and every one of us. Although in some of us it is just allowed to lay dormant. When our confidence lays dormant it can stop us from going after and getting what we want in life and business. It allows self-doubt to creep in which then allows fear to rule our desires and decisions. Imagine if we allowed self-doubt to win, we would probably still be crawling and catching the bus.

Confidence is positive

Low confidence can often manifest itself as negativity – seeing the glass as half empty, doubting ourselves and often making excuses. Whereas confident people are usually positive – seeing the glass as half full, they believe in themselves and their abilities, and they believe in living life to the full.

Is your confidence awake and thriving or asleep and inactive? If you don’t feel very confident, it’s time to wake up what is rightfully yours and choose to use it.

One way to awaken your confidence is by ‘acting as if’ you are already confident. It may feel a little strange at first but with time it will come naturally. There are many ways you can show confidence. You can change your behaviour, your body language, how you speak, what you say, and how you think.

When you think about someone who is confident ask yourself: –

  • Do they make excuses or do they do whatever it takes?
  • Are their postures straight and upright or are they slumped over?
  • Is their language direct and full with certainty or are they wishy washy?
  • Are they doubting themselves or thinking about completing the task at hand?

Whatever it is you would like to do, ‘just do it!’ Before you know it, your competence and confidence will show up just in time for you to take on your next adventure.

 

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MYOB stats say no, but bookkeeping business a go

Is it a good time to start a bookkeeping business?

now is the time to start a bookkeeping business
GST-registrations from SMH 20120816

Tim Reed, the CEO of MYOB recently mentioned that they track the number of Australian business registering for GST because it gives a good indication of the number of business entering the market and the chart showed an astonishing decline in the last 12 months. What I found most interesting is that our recent blog about Starting a bookkeeping business cheaply was one of our highest read blog posts. So is it a good time to start one?

Is there a need?

If you ask any business owner or accountant you will soon discover that there is always a need for good bookkeepers. Most business owners start out in business because they are good at their craft and bookkeeping is the last thing they want to worry about. After all, it is a compliance issue not a money earning issue. What do I mean by compliance? I mean the Australian Taxation Office require you to lodge your financial information with them if you want to operate a company.

The next common question is how much will I earn as a bookkeeper and the answer depends on how good you are and how you want to work. If you are an employee working full-time for a company you will most likely earn award wages, if you are a bookkeeping business owner you can charge more because your customers know that you have a business to run, but also because you are only working for them a handful of hours per week or month.

There is a need for MYOB skills

One of the most commonly sort after skills in Australian office administration type jobs is the ability to use MYOB accounting software. We have many students from accounting backgrounds do our MYOB Training Courses because they haven’t used the software in their corporate work. We’ve even had bookkeepers perform our courses because many Cert IV’s in Bookkeeping (a common course for those wanting to be registered BAS agents) do not include training on how to use MYOB – they cover bookkeeping principles.

Who are your competitors?

If you look at the graph in this blog post you should probably be encouraged to start a bookkeeping business because it appears that your competitors are scared to start one right now. It’s also a good time to note that the bookkeeping business is starting to become a regulated industry and a profession in it’s own right. After all you need qualifications and to be a registered BAS agent if you are going to operate a bookkeeping business these days and with these higher standards come higher expectations and higher pay.

If you explore your local competitors in your bookkeeping business planning process you will start to better understand just how important bookkeeping is. It will make you feel more comfortable in choosing your new profession and taking the right steps to get to your desired goal.

Do you have what it takes?

The real question you should ask yourself if you are looking at starting a bookkeeping business is do you have what it takes? Are you good at explaining bookkeeping and accounting terminology to your customers in their own language? Do you have the skills to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Do you have the confidence to speak to prospective customers and charge the amount you want to charge?

The business planning stage is very helpful in building your confidence, but the winning formula is:

  • a willingness to speak openly and simply with potential customers,
  • find solutions to customers problems and
  • explain accounting to them in simple language

Remember that owning a bookkeeping business requires people skills, business skills and bookkeeping skills. If you are interested in starting a bookkeeping business contact our business partners at workface.com.au and begin your journey to flexible hours and business success.