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How Bank Feeds Save Time and Money

Making Light Work out of Bank Reconciliations

Xero bank feeds
Incorporating Xero bank feeds will save you time, money and stress.

Cloud accounting software’s greatest innovation was not putting the software in the cloud; it was introducing bank feeds. You’ll learn how to set up bank feeds in the latest version of Xero in our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries course. For now however, we’re going to explain why you should — whether you’re a business owner doing your own bookkeeping or whether you’re a bookkeeper employed to do it for your clients — be using bank feeds.

Bank feeds in brief

A bank feed is an automatically created list of the transactions (spent and received) in your bank account that is imported into your Xero accounting software. For this to occur, you have to give Xero permission to access your account. Some people feel funny about this, but bank feeds have been around for so long now that, just like online shopping, there’s really nothing to worry about. I won’t go into how the technology works, but I will say that no one looks at your account data; you’re just allowing the free flow of information between your bank and Xero.

Direct bank feeds save time (and indirectly, money)

There was a time when you or your bookkeeper had to wait until your bank statement arrived before any transactions could be reconciled in your accounting software, usually at the end of the month. For businesses with a lot of transactions, either in the form of receivables or payables or both, reconciling a month’s worth is a finicky job that’s prone to errors.

With bank feeds, transactions will show up in your accounting software as soon as the payment leaves your account or credit card. If you (or your bookkeeper) get in the habit of reconciling your account on a daily, twice weekly or weekly basis, it makes it easier to accurately code each transaction because you’re only dealing with a few at a time. This results in fewer errors and fewer hours spent fixing them, and that saves money (read: time = money).

The Xero online courses we offer

Xero online training course bank feedsBank feeds are an important aspect of reconciling your (or your client’s) accounts. Our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries Course covers setting up bank feeds, plus much much more. Alternatively, to take it back a step, you can learn about invoicing, credits and reporting in our Xero Day-to-Day Transactions Course.

Using an old version of Xero?

You might like to read this prior post we wrote explaining how you can add bank links on an older version of Xero or enrol for our Xero courses here.

 

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Working Out Job Costs and How to Charge Your Clients

Why You’re Underselling Yourself with Fixed Price Quotes

bookkeepers fixed price quotes
There are many reasons why you may lose out when fixed price quoting.

I’ve written a number of blogs on how bookkeepers can work out their fees and what good local bookkeepers generally charge. However, now we examine the nitty gritty of determining your on-the-job costs so you can clearly see what your hourly rate should be.

When it comes to working out fees, most business owners go: “Well, the average market rate for my profession is X per hour and this job should take around Y hours” and off they go and give their client a quote that, in today’s small business parlance, is frequently referred to as being a fixed-price quote or the project fee.

This would be fine except that you’re essentially working on an hourly rate, without the benefit of being able to charge the client if you run over your allocated timeframe. Continue reading Working Out Job Costs and How to Charge Your Clients

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What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Using Video and Images

Focusing on Education Rather than Sales

how bookkeepers can use videoTHE INTERNET HAS CHANGED the way businesses market their services to prospects, from a simple sales message to an educational one.

Real estate agents caught onto this shift in buyer trends early and started creating online content to cater to these buyers.

Visit the website of any real estate agent and you’ll find lots of images and videos educating potential buyers about their services, previous sales and the local area they represent.

Continue reading What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Using Video and Images

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MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks: Which Suits Your Business Best?

Which is the Pick of the Bunch?

xero myob or quickbooks which is best
It’s a competitive accounting software market place out there … which is the pick of the bunch for you?

IN A PREVIOUS POST, we highlighted some of the biggest differences between QuickBooks and MYOB

However Xero is also a serious competitor to MYOB (and QuickBooks to a lesser degree).

So let’s take a look at the different capabilities of each accounting application and the kinds of businesses they best suit.

Continue reading MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks: Which Suits Your Business Best?

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Is QuickBooks Better than MYOB for a Small Business?

How Does QuickBooks Really Stack Up Against MYOB?

compare QuickBooks and MYOB
QuickBooks is a much simpler accounting package to use than its rival, MYOB.

WE RECENTLY INTRODUCED our QuickBooks Online Daily Transactions Course because we can see that QuickBooks is fast becoming a serious and respected rival to the more established accounting software packages.

We recently wrote about how QuickBooks uses the SuperStream-compliant service KeyPay to deliver payroll services because QuickBooks itself isn’t actually SuperStream compliant. Currently, the payroll feature in QuickBooks is free for all Small Business plans, as the company further positions itself as the low-cost accounting software option for Aussie small businesses.

Continue reading Is QuickBooks Better than MYOB for a Small Business?

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Are You a Bookkeeper Who Needs More Clients? Want My Advice?

FINDING PROSPECTS AND converting them into clients involves selling and most of us hate doing it, but wait…

If you are a bookkeeper, selling online MYOB training courses to your clients could be the perfect complement to your business.For those of us in small business, be it as a bookkeeper, real estate agent, sales rep, virtual assistant or the like, most of us are selling every day of our lives.

This means we get pretty good at it. We develop techniques that we can replicate and that become part of our daily lives.

The process of selling is really no longer about selling per se; it becomes about a systemised process of: Continue reading Are You a Bookkeeper Who Needs More Clients? Want My Advice?

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Running Multi-Period Profit and Loss Statements

multi-period-profit-and-loss-statement-reporting

Be Aware of the Ebbs and Flows of Your Business: Multi-Period Profit and Loss Reporting

Nearly every business has its busy periods and its quiet ones. Crucial to the success of a business is knowing when these busy periods and quiet ones occur, so you can capitalise on them.

For a lot of Australian businesses offering professional services, December through January is usually when business winds down for the year. In the hospitality and accommodation industry, however, it’s typically the busiest time of the year, so planning for increased business is essential. Continue reading Running Multi-Period Profit and Loss Statements

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The Secret to an Error-Free BAS Report

What To Do So You Don’t Lose Money When Doing Your BAS – 6 steps

If your business is registered for GST, it means you have to file regular activity statements with the ATO, usually each quarter. A lot of business owners export their Business Activity Statement (BAS) data straight from their accounting software, like MYOB or QuickBooks, and quickly prepare their BAS’ that way. But this is an imprecise method, and one that could be costing you money.

Tracey Marino, an experienced bookkeeper based in Rockingham, WA, knows how important it is that businesses of all sizes keep their Business Activity Statements error-free so as not to end up costing business owners money.  Continue reading The Secret to an Error-Free BAS Report

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Three Things Your Bookkeeper Shouldn’t Be Doing

Is Your Bookkeeper Making Stuff Up?

how-to-find-a-good-bookkeeper
Some bookkeepers may fudge their way through your books, but you can spot this before it ends up costing your business.

In a previous post I wrote about the three tell-tale signs that your bookkeeper isn’t paying attention and thought I’d expand on this a little further by writing about three of the things your bookkeeper shouldn’t be doing — and what it means if they are.

Continue reading Three Things Your Bookkeeper Shouldn’t Be Doing

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Is Credit Management Just About Getting on the Phone?

comp_credit-management_bookkeeping-business

It’s Good Business to Set Out Your Credit Management Policy at the Outset

CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF ANY BUSINESS is the ability to maintain a healthy cash flow. But doing so requires effective credit management processes.

Unfortunately, too many business owners feel uncomfortable talking about credit and debt management upfront with new clients.

They (falsely) believe it begins if, and when, a customer doesn’t pay a bill. But, in fact, credit management starts much, much earlier than that — long before the two businesses even agree to work with each other, to be precise.   Continue reading Is Credit Management Just About Getting on the Phone?

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Why Use a Bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping may be getting easier but do you really want to do it?

MYOB bookkeeper
You don’t need to be a BAS agent to be a successful and profitable bookkeeper.

EVEN WITH THE LATEST accounting programs, like Xero and MYOB Account Right Live making it easier for small business owners to manage their bookkeeping themselves, a bookkeeper is still an invaluable asset to any business. (It’s also the truth that, as much as companies like Xero tell you they make it a cinch to do your own bookkeeping, online account-keeping software programs are still complex and time-consuming to learn to use properly.)

We wrote a post recently about why contract bookkeeping is a good business venture for people looking to start a low-risk business. 

Here we certainly addressed the reasons bookkeeping is a good professional pursuit, but now it’s time to look at the benefits hiring a bookkeeper has to a business owner.

A bookkeeper makes a good, legal sense

The most obvious benefit, of course, is that by having someone to take care of your bookkeeping it frees you up to concentrate on the aspect of your business that you’re best at. But aside from being a legal requirement for every business to keep accurate records, it also helps you to monitor how well your business is performing.

A bookkeeper will work on your bookkeeping every week or even a few times a week, depending on your business needs, enabling you to monitor your daily income and expenditure, and if your accounting software has bank feed enabled, you can monitor it in real-time, too. This is crucial for businesses with many expenses or running costs – businesses that purchase stock or employ staff, for instance – to be able to manage their cash flow.

Paying a bookkeeper can save you money

But having your bookkeeping kept up-to-date also has other benefits, particularly in relation to regulations such as when you need to register for GST, and so forth. Here are five more benefits to your business if you hire bookkeeper to look after your books:

  1. Keeps your tax bill down: Businesses that don’t have someone taking care of their bookkeeping end up spend more with their tax accountant, so it’s really false economy if you think you’re saving money by going without a bookkeeper. It also potentially costs you money in other aspects of your business too, as you’ll find out.
  2. Can manage invoicing: Sure, it’s super easy to invoice your customers and clients now that most good cloud-accounting programs have apps for smartphones and tablets, but there are still plenty of businesses that don’t use the accounting apps on their phones or tablets because of the complex nature of their business. A bookkeeper can take care of this.
  3. To take care of your payroll: When you hire employees or sub-contractors, you’re entering a whole new realm of business. There are superannuation contributions, payroll tax, and a heap of other regulations that bookkeepers have to stay up on, but you don’t.
  4. You’ll avoid ‘late’ penalties: The ATO takes late lodgments pretty seriously, and the penalty for the late lodgment of a BAS or tax return can be up to $850 for each late lodgment. If you’re consistently late lodging your BAS or tax returns, then a bookkeeper basically pays for itself, because unlike fines or penalties, which are not tax deductible, the services of a bookkeeper are.
  5. Chasing unpaid invoices: The reality of running a business, unfortunately, is that a lot of people you’ll do work for won’t pay you on time. Chasing unpaid invoices is a delicate and time-consuming process, particularly when it starts to affect your cash flow and prevents you from taking on more work – buying stock or supplies, for example. It’s always a good idea to separate the face of business from debt collection. It helps keep the client relationship warm and fuzzy, while cash continues to come in the door.

Now that cloud-accounting programs have made it more possible for bookkeepers to work from home and contract their services to many different clients, making it easier and more affordable for small businesses to retain a bookkeeper.

— EzyLearn is Behind a New Bookkeeping Initiative 

find a local bookkeeper

EzyLearn now features the National Bookkeeping Directory, a service which connects businesses owners with bookkeepers, based on their business needs or location. If you’re looking for a qualified, local bookkeeper to manage your books, visit the National Bookkeeping website.

Alternatively, if you’re thinking of starting your own bookkeeping business, National Bookkeeping is looking for smart entrepreneurs to become licensees.

National Bookkeeping provides full access to the entire suite of EzyLearn training courses, including our MYOB training courses and Small Business Management Course, in addition to providing help getting business leads. For more information, visit the National Bookkeeping website or read the FAQs page.


 

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How much should a local bookkeeper charge?

What is a local bookkeeper worth?

I recently wrote a blog post about whether bookkeepers could also provide marketing services to their clients, which I also touched on in another recent post about starting a bookkeeping business and the need to be diverse in the services you offer as an independent contractor.

While brainstorming with Ray from the Startup Academy about the services bookkeeper charge and the rates they can earn we discovered that there is a huge variety of services that a bookkeeper can offer and as a result their rates differ. Continue reading How much should a local bookkeeper charge?

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An Aussie Dies In Accounting Wars

R.I.P. Reach Accounting

Reach Accounting Service Shut DownA member of our team was recently asked to recommend a few low-cost, cloud-based invoicing programs to a friend. He’d recently started his own business and for the last few months had been using Excel to create and send invoices to his clients.

[quote]Surprisingly, Microsoft Excel is still a very popular way to create and send invoices for many small business owners,[/quote]

but since Xero and other cloud-accounting programs appeared on the scene, I didn’t think many people still used Excel for invoicing.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Beginners training courses and certificateThis person was using Microsoft Excel because, while he found Xero impressive, the majority of its functions would go unused, so he couldn’t justify the price tag. He was just after something that would allow him to create invoices, estimates and input his expenses. We’ve mentioned three low-cost options in this blog: Quickbooks, Zoho, and Reach Accounting, the latter of which I championed due to it being Australian-owned. EzyLearn developed a course for Reach Accounting and we were the official training provider but sadly they recently shut down their services.

Reach Accounting was officially shut down at the end of April of this year as it’s parent company Net Registry pushes further into the online marketing space to position itself as a one-stop small business start-up shop.

Google reveals Reach Accounting is shutting down

Google Reveals Reach Accounting is shutting down

With Net Registry, you can register a domain name, build a website, and market your business; cloud-accounting seemed, like a logical extension of their offering, and they marketed it heavily to small business owners – sole traders, in particular.

Then, in March, Reach Accounting notified users by email that, effective April 30 of this year (2015), Reach Accounting was closing. And without any fanfare, it did just that and quietly disappeared. There’s no longer any trace of it at the Reach Accounting domain name, and no reason given for its departure from the online accounting space that it so actively pursued not so long ago, but there is still a hint of life on the NetRegistry website – at the time of writing they were still showing the service at their main website: http://www.netregistry.com.au/resources/reach-accounting/

Reach Accounting’s life was a short one. Net Registry acquired a 50 percent stake in the Aussie start-up in 2011, and immediately began offering the software to its existing customers for free. Anyone else looking for a cheap accounting package would pay $14.95 a month.

Can you be too cheap to survive or is there more to it?

In 2011 $14.95 per month was cheap for accounting software – it’s nearest serious competitor at the time was Xero at around $50 a month, and Zoho, which was, and still, is an American-based company with no local operations. Then came the Aussie offerings, Saasu and Reckon, as well as the re-entry of the US-based Quickbooks. The marketplace was suddenly very crowded.

In 2014 Melbourne IT acquired Net Registry for a cool $50M. The acquisition came off the back of some upheaval at Melbourne IT, whose long-time CEO had left the previous December while it struggled to compete in the cloud-computing space; in March the previous year, Melbourne IT had sold off it’s highly lucrative digital marketing unit to a US-based company for $152m, which was nearly equal to the company’s entire market capitalisation at the time.

Perhaps, then, when faced with stiff competition from other local and overseas cloud-accounting services, under the direction of Melbourne IT, the newly realigned Net Registry saw no commercial value in continue its accounting service. If we hear any news for Reach Accounting users we’ll pass it on.

Does this teach you a lesson in your own business?

The skills taught in the Small Business Startup and Admin course have a foundation in researching the:

  • Need for your services,
  • Product and service offering, and
  • Pricing structures

Once you master these skills you should be honing them all the time to understand what you need to do to remain relevant in the market place for your services.

[quote]If you operate a bookkeeping business for example it is a very good idea to learn how to use Xero Accounting software now because more and more small businesses are using it and want someone to do their books for them.[/quote]

We offer all of our Xero Training Courses for one low price (and 12 months access).

Is MYOB the future of cloud accounting?

Intuit Quickbooks is the elephant-in-the-room for MYOB and Xero Cloud AccountingI’ve written before about how MYOB could get SMASHED by it’s VERY large US Competitor, but MYOB could still be the future of cloud accounting. New players could spell the end of the long-established MYOB or possibly even Xero, but maybe the biggest thing MYOB has up its sleeve is its long, rich history. As far as market share goes, MYOB still occupies the majority of it and, while it may appear slow at adopting new features, you can at least count on it being around in the near future.

That’s why our MYOB training courses have always been, and remain to be, the most popular out of our entire suite of training courses because, despite the grumblings of many small business owners, MYOB is still a major player in the accounting software space. As for our friend, he ended up choosing Zoho for his invoicing needs. He was sold on its ease-of-use, powerful smartphone and tablet app, and its easy-to-decipher pricing plan.

Long live Reach, the Aussie accounting software that could(‘nt)!

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You’ve Already Got a Business Coach – YOU!

being your own boss
Every time you set goals and generally act like a boss, you’re serving much the same function as a business coach.

Ever since EzyLearn’s early days, when we still had our training centres in Sydney, I’ve always gained a real buzz out of helping our students start their own businesses.

I still do, which is why I recently presented a seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo and why EzyLearn has partnered with the StartUp Academy.

The StartUp Academy is a start-up incubator for entrepreneurs who want to work in industries currently experiencing rapid growth — like the work health and safety industry, for example — but who also want to have balance in their home and work life; to be their own bosses. Continue reading You’ve Already Got a Business Coach – YOU!

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Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

Many accountants and businesses are now using Xero instead of MYOB so it's important for bookkeepers to be trained in this.
Many accountants and businesses now use Xero instead of MYOB.

In our last post we talked about the developments that have occurred over the last few years in the accounting software space; one of which was the introduction of Xero to the marketplace. Since then, a huge number of accountants and businesses have switched to Xero.

Xero has quickly gained momentum in the accounting software space, and while it’s important for bookkeepers to be skilled in MYOB, it’s becoming increasingly important that they’re also skilled in Xero as well. Continue reading Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero