Cash Flow Forecasting for Sole Traders and Contractors

Great expense apps if you’re self employed

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

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

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

Expense and budgeting apps

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

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

Pocketbook

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

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

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

TrackMySpend

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

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

ATO

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

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

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

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

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


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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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Marketing for When Your Business Strategy Changes

Where lead generation services are useful

lead generation services
Using a dedicated lead generation service can be more useful than advertising but the quality of the leads may be questionable.

CHANGING YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY to include additional services will require an additional investment in marketing if you are to make this successful. In terms of simply paying money to advertise your additional services, as you’re probably already aware, advertising doesn’t always yield immediate results. Therefore you might consider spending money on a lead generation service.

We cover how to account for marketing and lead generation costs in our Xero training courses, which includes a new workbook that looks at what to do when your business strategy changes.

Lead generation vs marketing

Lead generation, as the name suggest, is solely focussed on generating a potential customer or client for your business. For instance, there are lots of lead generation services in the building and home maintenance trade — hipages, One Flare, Service Seeking, Quotify, etc — but there are also a growing number for people in creative services, although they’re typically referred to as online marketplaces and include Freelancer.com, Upwork, Fiverr, and so forth.

Advertising and digital marketing (including content marketing), puts your message or business in front of your target audience, but there are more steps in the process before you can capture a lead.

The benefits of lead generation

The main benefit of using a lead generation service is that it delivers active leads almost as soon as you sign up to the service. The quality of the leads tend to differ between services, and the leads also tend to be people who are focussed solely on price, and not so much workmanship. In other words, they’re looking for something done in a particular fashion, for a particular price. No more, no less.

These sorts of jobs are good when you’re getting started or as a way to keep the home fires burning, but it may not be appropriate to rely on them as your sole means of developing clientele.

The benefits of marketing and advertising

If you’re using the correct channels to reach and market or advertise your business to your target market, you’re effectively developing a relationship with those people and educating them about your business.

This means you’ll capture people at all stages of the purchasing funnel — some will be at the pointy end, while others won’t be ready to make a purchasing decision for a while. The benefits of marketing and advertising is that you’re capturing a wide array of people and building brand awareness.

A combination of both works best

If you have the resources, a combination of both marketing (advertising, content marketing) and lead generation works best, though your focus should on marketing and advertising your business to your target market, rather than trying to fit your business into the mold of all the different leads fed to you through a service like hipages or Freelancer.com.

Create a marketing budget

Run a cashflow report in Xero to determine how much cash you’ll have to invest in marketing your business. Our Xero training courses will show you how to run a cashflow report, which you can then export to Excel and use when creating your marketing budget, which should include a schedule, costs, desired outcome — i.e., number of leads, conversions each week, month, quarter — to ensure you’re getting a good return on your investment.

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Our Xero training courses will show you how to run cashflow reports and account for your marketing costs, while our Business Start Up Course will show you how to create a marketing plan. Visit our website for more information.


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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.


 

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.


 

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.


 

 

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 Granny Flat is a Better Investment?

A Real-Life Granny Flat Construction Scenario

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

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

Determine construction and ancillary costs

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

Determine rental income

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

Determine depreciation amounts

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

Determine the best investment

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

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

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

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


 

The Wonders of Microsoft Excel’s 3D Formulas

Excel’s 3D Formulas Work Across Worksheets

Excel formulas online training courseWe’ve recently updated our Microsoft Excel Training Course content, because it remains one of the most indispensable tools for small businesses — and we’ve included a new exercise workbook which takes you through all the steps involved in developing a financial forecast for an investment.

We used a granny flat project as the case study in our financial forecasting workbook, but the beauty of Excel is that, once you get the formulas right, they can be replicated for any kind of investment, not just one for building a granny flat.

The wonderful 3D formula

3D formulas are one of the other many wonders of Excel. A 3D formula is basically a reference to the same cell or a range of cells within multiple Excel sheets. They’re a convenient way to reference several worksheets that follow the same pattern, with cells that contain the same type of data.

All functions work with 3D formulas

3D formulas can be used with all Excel functions — SUM, AVERAGE, PRODUCT, etc — which means that, using a 3D formula, you can easily create a financial forecasting sheet for any stage of an investment, and easily reference that data in another financial forecasting sheet. This is invaluable because there are very few projects or investments that can be contained in just one Excel worksheet.

A project like the granny flat case study in our online Excel Training Course, contains many moving parts — there’s the initial construction, then there’s the ongoing maintenance, and the rental income to manage. It would be impractical to keep all of this information contained within the one Excel worksheet.

3D formulas can be modified with time

The best part about using 3D formulas is that you only need to specify the start and end sheets (which for ease-of-use, you could just label ‘start’ and ‘end’) and the formula will reference all the worksheets between the start and end sheets, including those two sheets.

This means that, as your investment or project grows, once you’ve got the 3D formulas set up correctly, you can just add and subtract worksheets as necessary, and the calculations will update automatically.

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Once you understand how to create and work with 3D formulas, you can use them for any project or investment that you create a financial forecast for — be it for a granny flat project, business investment or anything else that requires you to make a financial decision.

Visit our website for more information on our Microsoft Excel Training Course, which covers 3D formulas.

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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.

When Building a Granny Flat, Here’s What You Need to Consider

Excel Can Help You with Financial Forecasting

using excel for financial forecast granny flat
Excel is a great tool if planning a big ticket project like developing a granny flat on a property.

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, as part of our 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.

The first thing to consider is whether it’s viable to borrow money to fund your entire granny flat project. Most people add a granny flat to their property to earn an additional income by renting it out. If this is your intention, then you need to determine whether the granny flat will become a positive cash flow investment or a negative one.

The existing property

To begin, you must determine the value of the dwelling or existing property on the land you own. Is it brand new, relatively new, older style, or very old? You should have a quantity surveyor determine the value of the existing dwelling, to determine how much of the entire property’s value — that is, the house and land — is based on land value. In most cases, land value will far exceed the value of the dwelling, however many people are surprised to learn by how much, especially if the dwelling isn’t very old. Once you know the value of the dwelling, you may be able to claim depreciation as a tax deduction.

Development costs

You should now start to factor in the development costs associated with the project. This includes the cost of demolishing any existing structures — a garage or shed, for example — and remediation of the site in the event asbestos is present. You should also have a fairly good idea of what it will cost to construct the granny flat up to the stage where you can move in. Not all granny flat construction companies take you up to this stage, often exiting at lock-up stage instead. Don’t forget to include any council fees or levies associated with constructing your granny flat.

Expected income

In the Microsoft Excel case study, both the existing dwelling and the new granny flat will be rented out as investment properties. However, you may not do the same. You need to determine how much rental income you can reasonably expect to earn from your granny flat. You should also determine whether you’re located in a region with low rental vacancy rates and high demand for long term rentals. This will determine not just the net weekly income you can expect to receive, but also the frequency at which it will be occupied, which will also factor into your bottom line.

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Considering each of these areas is just the first step in developing a comprehensive financial forecast of your granny flat project. Our Microsoft Excel Training Course, with its new granny flats case study, goes into much greater detail. Bookkeepers can also keep up their certification and earn CPD points with our Excel, MYOB and Xero courses. Visit our website for more information on our full suite of training courses.