Is a Certified Advisor or Certified Consultant Better Than a BAS Agent?

Finding the best bookkeeper for your business

find a good bookkeeper xero myob quickbooks learn online training course videos
A bookkeeper who’s certified in a particular accounting software may not mean that much for your business. Better to have someone who is simply a good bookkeeper. Period.

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY to find a bookkeeper who suits your business’s needs. This can be further complicated by the fact that a lot of business owners don’t know too much about bookkeeping.

Now that virtual bookkeepers have become more common, lots of business owners have started selecting bookkeepers based on their affiliation with an accounting application. Such bookkeepers are often called a Certified Advisor (Xero), Pro Advisor (QuickBooks) or Certified Consultant (MYOB). But are they really the best bookkeeper for your business?

What are Certified Advisors, Consultants and Pro Advisors?

In a nutshell, a certified advisor, consultant or pro advisor is just an individual who has been endorsed by a software company because they’ve demonstrated a high level of knowledge and skill with a particular accounting product.

Hiring a bookkeeper who’s been endorsed by MYOB, say, means you shouldn’t have to worry about whether your bookkeeper has set up your accounting package correctly, or whether they’re using the correct codes. What it doesn’t guarantee, however, is that each consultant or advisor is a highly experienced BAS or tax agent, as the certification relates to their software knowledge only.

Find a highly qualified BAS or tax agent instead

Sure, a bookkeeper who’s experienced in your accounting package is important. It’ll help keep your bookkeeping bill down because they’re able to perform certain functions quickly, while your accountant shouldn’t need to fix any errors, either. But that’s only providing that they’re as knowledgeable in Australian tax as they are MYOB or Xero or QuickBooks.

Unfortunately, however, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. So instead of focussing on a bookkeeper’s software experience, it’s more beneficial to ensure they’re qualified BAS and tax agents, with either a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping or higher.

If you don’t get a bad reference from their current and former clients, then there’s a pretty good chance they’re proficient in the major accounting packages, and if they’re not, most bookkeepers will tell you upfront.

Get the accounting package that’s best for your business, not your bookkeeper

There are lots of reasons a bookkeeper would choose to become certified with a software company, the biggest being that they get their accounting software for free and receive a commission for each new client they sign up to use the accounting package they’ve been certified with.

However, when you hire an independent bookkeeper who’s well-versed in a few different accounting packages, you’re more likely to get better advice about which accounting package is best suited to you and your business’s needs, rather than the accounting package that will generate income for your bookkeeper.

***

Are you looking to brush up your skills in cloud-accounting packages like XERO, MYOB or Quickbooks? We provide a range of online training courses in all of these packages at ONE LOW COST for ALL SKILLS LEVELS. Find out more.


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


 

New Financial Year, New Financial Habits

Help us help you get your business financials set up right

account set up with xero online training learning course
Taking time to set up your accounts correctly at the outset and recording your reconciliations regularly will save you time, money and a nasty, aching headache!

SO WE’RE INTO THE new Australian financial year. With the start of each financial year comes the chance to right last year’s financial habits and avoid repeating them again. You know what they say about people who repeat the same actions over and over again expecting different results …

If you had a crazy end of financial year, try starting off the next 12 months (well, 11 now, can you believe it!) on a positive footing, with these good financial habits.

Check your accounting software is set up correctly

Something that causes businesses and their owners countless headaches at tax time is accounting software that’s been setup incorrectly or not set up completely. Transactions that are coded wrong or bank feeds that are connected to the wrong account — or too few accounts — can leave you in the middle of a bookkeeping nightmare come June 30.

Spend some time sorting this out, or employ a bookkeeper to get you set up correctly. It’s worth that little bit of extra time now to get it right, truly!

Aim for daily reconciliations

Reconciling your business accounts regularly is important for a number of reasons, fostering good habits being chief among them. You may not need to reconcile your accounts each day, but it’s certainly a lot easier to find 10 or 15 minutes two or three times a week, rather than two or three hours once a month. The most often you do your bookkeeper the more unlikely it is that you’ll leave it pile up, eventually requiring costly rescue bookkeeping. You’ll also have a much better picture of your business’s performance with current accounting data.

Monitor cash flow

Positive cash flow is the marker of a healthy business. Negative cash flow is not. There are plenty of seemingly profitable businesses suffering negative cash flow that threatens to put them out of business. Don’t let yours be one of them. Create your own cash flow forecast reports in Excel or use a cash flow forecasting or expense app to determine if you’ll have enough money in the bank to meet your ongoing commitments (which includes paying yourself a living wage to meet your personal commitments).

***

Our cloud accounting training courses will show you how to set up your accounting software correctly. Learn how to use Xero, Quickbooks or MYOB with our online training courses and be able to invoice customers on time, reconcile your account and run financial reports, including cash flow statements. Visit our website for more information.


cashflow reports in xero and excel

Xero for less…

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


 

How to Create a Cash Flow Forecast in Xero (and Excel)

Why cash flow is a better indicator than profit

cashflow and profit reports in xero and excel
Don’t overestimate how much money you’ll have to spend on a new business venture; better to forecast using cash flow as an indicator.

WE RECENTLY PROVIDED DETAILS of a case study highlighting the experiences of a business owner named Jerry. Jerry decides to start a real estate business on the side, after operating a business already that has synergies, for instance, in terms of clientele. 

We mentioned that Jerry should use his accounting software to determine whether his he’ll have the start-up capital required to fund his new venture for the next 12 months. The best way to do this is to create a cash flow forecast, and we’re going to show you how.

Cash flow is a better indicator of available funds

If you’re wondering why you wouldn’t create a profit forecast, it’s pretty simple. Cash flow represents money in the bank, after you’ve paid all your suppliers and staff and loan repayments and so forth, while profit just shows how much the business earned but doesn’t take into account any cash outlays. 

Profit just shows how much the business earned but doesn’t take into account any cash outlays.

It’s important to understand that it’s not uncommon for businesses to be profitable; however due to cash outlays, these same businesses may not actually have enough money in the bank to fund investment, or in this case, a new venture.

Generating a cash flow report in Xero

Follow these steps in Xero to generate a cash flow report for your business:

  1. Go to Reports, then click All Reports.
  2. Under Financial, select Cash Summary.
  3. Enter the following report settings:
    • Date — The latest finalised month
    • Period — 1 month
    • Compare With —  Previous 11 Periods
    • Select the Include GST and Show YTD filters
  4. Click Update to generate the report in Xero
  5. At the bottom of the report, click Export and select Excel to download the report in Microsoft Excel format.

Set up formulas to forecast 12 months ahead

In Excel, you’ll need to create formulas that will show you the average cashflow of your business across the previous 12 month period, so you can then forecast ahead for the next 12 months.

***

Creating and working with formulas is something we teach you in our Microsoft Excel training courses. We also feature a suite of highly popular Xero online training courses, or if you want more information on creating profit and loss statements in Xero, read here.

If you don’t use Xero and you’re using MYOB or QuickBooks, our MYOB and QuickBooks training courses will also show you how to run cashflow reports, among many others.


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.


 

Thinking of Starting a Second Business? Introducing Jerry

Case Study: Costs for starting up a second, related business

microsoft excel starting a second business
Contemplating starting a second business, related in some way to your first? Excel can help you forecast start up costs.

A LOT OF BUSINESS OWNERS branch out into related fields when their flagship business becomes successful enough (just look at Jim’s Mowing). However, this can be a bit dicey if the business owner doesn’t properly forecast all the start up costs. Not doing so can not only have an adverse impact on the new venture, but also on the existing business.

In this case study, we’re going to look at the start up costs associated with starting a real estate sales business.

Meet Jerry, our budding entrepreneur

Jerry is a male in his 40’s, currently working as an agent for a local asbestos removal company, earning a commission for helping the company make sales. In this role, he works as an independent contractor, invoicing the asbestos removal company at the end of the month. Because of the work he does, Jerry meets with lots of homeowners (and business owners too) who are renovating their home in preparation to put it on the market for sale or rent out.

Because of the client contact base Jerry is always developing, and knowing that there is no conflict of interest, Jerry decides he’d like to branch and become a real estate salesperson.

Budgeting for a new business from home

Jerry decides to operate his real estate sales business from home, as he plans to operate it as a side business, at least initially. Jerry won’t need to lease office space, but there are the following costs he will need to budget for. The costs he foresees are approximate:

  • Real estate license training course: $2,250
  • Website setup costs: $300 + training (if required)
  • G Suite account: $5/month upwards + training (if required)
  • Mobile phone: $55/month upwards
  • Business cards, flyers, other marketing materials: $99 upwards

Jerry’s ad-hoc operational costs

Although the majority of Jerry’s operational expenses will be reimbursed by the vendor once the property is sold — property marketing, auctioneer costs, etc. — Jerry will need to ensure he has enough capital to cover these operational costs. Property marketing costs are determined based on a percentage of the property’s value, usually 1 percent but sometimes lower. The median price of property in Jerry’s area is $440,000.

Because Jerry is already working as an independent contractor, he doesn’t have to incur any other operational costs (office furniture, internet, information technology, etc.), however his bookkeeper may apportion these costs differently now that Jerry is operating an additional business.

Determining upfront capital required

Jerry already has two homeowners who are thinking of selling their home in the next 12 months. He estimates that based on the value of each property, he will need to spend $5,000 each on property marketing. Therefore, he’ll need at least $13,370 in startup capital to fund his new venture for the next 12 months — although he knows that the initial $20,000 in property marketing will be reimbursed to the business within 6 months.

How Jerry will measure his success

Jerry is located in Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales. Clearance rates in this region hover around 70 percent and properties spend an average of 50 to 70 days on the market, as property is typically sold by private treaty rather than auction. These two metrics will be used to determine Jerry’s success. Price is not a good indicator, as the nature of property sales means Jerry should be valuing property accurately with only a 10 to 15 percent difference in the final sale price.

Jerry should also research other real estate agents selling similar property in his local area to determine how many sales they are writing each calendar year. This can become another benchmark for Jerry’s success, although only a peripheral one, as Jerry is still only operating his real estate business on the side.

***

You can use Excel to work out a budget for the start up costs for your second business, and use accounting software like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks to forecast whether your existing business will have the capital to fund your new venture.

Our Excel training courses will teach you how to create budgets and forecasts and our cloud accounting training courses will show you how to determine the financial health of your business.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Successfully promoting your business products and services to clients these days requires a sound knowledge of how to spread the word via social media. Whatever your field, we can teach you the online marketing techniques to stand out from the crowd and build your customer base! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

Paying Several Employees With One Payroll Payment

MYOB and Xero now make payroll easier to manage

myob and xero online payroll management
Struggling to manage your online payroll management? Our Xero and MYOB courses will help you get the most out of this software so you can manage payroll in house.

MANY COMPANIES OUTSOURCE PAYROLL because it contains many moving parts. For instance, there’s the payment of wages each week or fortnight or month, sure. But there’s also superannuation contributions, PAYG obligations, annual and sick leave accrual. 

Fortunately, most accounting apps like Xero and MYOB have made payroll easier to manage, particularly if you only have a handful of employees.

Superannuation clearing houses

Nearly every major cloud accounting package has a connected superannuation clearing house within its payroll package. Xero and MYOB are both SuperStream compliant, a government initiative to help business owners tell which accounting software apps will let them make electronic superannuation payments. And QuickBooks uses a partner payroll system which is also SuperStream compliant.

Batch wage payments

Electronic superannuation payments are one way that paying staff is made easier, but paying a dozen or so employees individually each week or fortnight can be tedious. Fortunately, both Xero and MYOB have a ‘pay run’ function that lets you make batch wage payments. This eliminates the tedium of paying employees individually, as well as the potential for error.

Accounting software calculates entitlements

MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks, if you’ve set up your employees correctly and have the appropriate payroll subscription, will also calculate your employees’ sick and annual leave entitlements, also reducing the time it takes to process payroll and the potential for error.

Our MYOB training courses and our Xero training courses both cover payroll, where you’ll learn how to set up employees correctly, process wage payments and more. Using a cloud accounting program for payroll, saves time and reduces errors. Visit our website for more information.

EzyLearn courses now include real life case studies

managing ad hoc payrollAt EzyLearn we are constantly refreshing the content of our online training courses. Relevant to those of you doing Payroll, might be our Excel Ad Hoc Payroll case study which is part of our Intermediate Excel 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.


 

Wishing all our Valued Students a Safe and Restful Easter

Happy Easter2017

Wishing all our EzyLearn students — past and present — a safe and restful Easter break and thank you for choosing EzyLearn for your online studies.

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.

***

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


 

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.

***

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). 


 

EOFY: Get Your Business Expenses In Order

We Show You 2 Steps You Can Take — Right Away!

WE’VE ENTERED QUARTER 4 for the 2016/17 financial year, so we’ve been writing about the things your business should be doing this quarter in preparation for the end of the financial year. In our last post we wrote about writing off stock and inventory. Now we’re looking at business expenses.

Our MYOB BAS Reporting and GST online training course or our Xero GST, Reporting and BAS training course will show take you through the necessary steps in your accounting software. 

Here’s what you can do now to make sure you’re prepared come tax time? Continue reading EOFY: Get Your Business Expenses In Order