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

Finding the best bookkeeper for your business

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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.

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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


 

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3 Things You MUST Do in Excel!

Business owners and job seekers take note!

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Excel isn’t just for budding bookkeepers; it’s a great tool for all business owners to know.

MICROSOFT EXCEL IS THE most widely used spreadsheet application in modern computing. That said, it’s also one of the more difficult programs of the Microsoft Office Suite to learn, which is why we recently updated the content of our Excel training courses.

A lot of people do our Excel training courses to help them “skill up” to find a job, find a position better suited to them, or develop their career path. However, Excel is a fantastic tool for small business owners as well.

But whether you use Excel to create a pivot table or a database, there are a few things you should do each time you open an Excel document. Here we present you with three:

1. Vertical align: always centre

Always align the text in the cells of your Excel spreadsheet to the centre, or the top in certain circumstances. But never, ever align it to the bottom. It’s hard on the eyes and, when you’re looking at lots and lots of data in lots and lots of cells, it becomes difficult to know which row, column, etc, you’re looking in. Centre alignment, always.

2. Build error-checking into formulas

There should never be an instance where one of your workbooks is showing a #DIV/0, #N/A, #REF, #NAME?, #NUM!, or #NULL! error. This is especially true if you’re sharing these workbooks with your business partners or accountant or whomever.

Seeing an error in a financial report may cause the reader to doubt the accuracy of the entire workbook, so ensure your workbooks remain error free by using the simple IFERROR() error-checking function in Excel.

3. Print preview your work

Again, if you intend to share workbooks with other people, you should always ensure that your Excel workbooks can be printed nicely and easily, even if you don’t intend to ever print the document yourself. This is easy enough to do via File > Print Preview and adjusting the print margins before sharing (or printing) the document.

However, judging by the number of times I’ve printed an Excel document only to collect 87 sheets of paper off my printer to read the contents one 4×4 table, the function is seldom used by anyone else but me!

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For more Excel formatting tips and tricks, download our FREE Beginners’ Guide to Excel, or enrol in our intermediate or advanced online Excel training courses to learn how to create databases, pivot tables, charts, graphs, and much more…

Read more about our beginners, intermediate and advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow!


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At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks courses gain employment as a bookkeeper or even start their own bookkeeping business; it’s why we provide you with lifetime access to our online cloud-accounting training courses as part of our commitment to continuing professional development


 

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Using Excel for Client Databases

Excel does great CRM

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Managing large amounts of client and business data is not only possible, but also something you can learn fast and with ease with the help of our comprehensive range of online Excel training courses – covering all skills levels.

MICROSOFT EXCEL IS THE most widely-used spreadsheet application in modern computing. It’s ubiquity means most people use Excel on a regular basis, despite never having had any formal training in its many, many, MANY functions.

While updating the content for our Excel training courses recently, we were reminded of just how powerful Excel remains, and in particular, how useful it is for small businesses.

With its 2013 release, Excel got a serious update, which made it the perfect application to create and manage client and customer databases. Although there are many CRMs available on a subscription that provide the same functions of a database created in Excel, just in a more visually appealing format, they often lack reporting and analysis functions, requiring you to export your data in a Excel sheet anyway.

Flat file databases

Excel’s original ‘flat file’ database still remains the easiest and most basic database to set up and manage, and depending on your business and how you’ll use your database, a flat file database may be all you’ll ever need. If set up correctly, a flat file database will allow you to easily import your customer data into Word, your accounting software, an email marketing service, and so forth.

Relational databases

A relational database is a database that’s structured to recognise relations among the information stored in them. Microsoft offers a relational database program, called Access, which is available with Microsoft Office Professional or higher, or can be purchased separately.

Alternatively, you can create your own relational database in Microsoft Excel, providing you have the 2013 version or newer. When Excel got its update in 2013, it became easier to link charts and cells and to perform searches — all essential features if you’re working with large amounts of business data.

Correct Excel set up is crucial

Once Excel has been set up, it’s as easy as it is powerful to use. Of course, the key is to set it up correctly, so you can avoid errors or having to re-enter large amounts of data to make the format suit another third party software application.

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Creating and managing databases is included as part of our Advanced Microsoft Excel training courses — and you receive access to ALL OF OUR COURSES, including ALL SKILLS LEVELS for ONE LOW PRICE. You can even start your Excel journey with our FREE Beginners’ Excel Course Workbook. Read more about our beginners’, intermediate and advanced Excel training courses on our website, or enrol to start learning by 5pm tomorrow!


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Learn Microsoft Excel from scratch or brush up your Excel skills, at your own pace, with our affordable Excel online training courses — where you get THE LOT (that’s 9 courses in total) for ONE LOW PRICE — everything included! Volume corporate discounts are available and our courses count towards CPD Points.


 

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EOFY: Remember to Deduct Your Prepaid Expenses

The Cut-Off for Claiming Deductions is Looming

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

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

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

Expenses reduce your taxable income

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

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

Prepaid expenses are often forgotten

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

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

Make a list and check it twice

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

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


learn PowerPoint online training course

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

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

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


 

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EOFY: Get Your Business Expenses In Order

bookkeepers fixed price quotes

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

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End of Financial Year: Writing Off Stock

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

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

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

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

Understanding your inventory’s performance

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

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

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

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

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

Inventory reporting

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

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

Stock write offs and future orders

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

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

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

Act NOW for EOFY

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

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


find a local bookkeeper

We feature our own online directory of local bookkeepers looking to add to their customers. Visit National Bookkeeping to find a suitable and experienced person available to work in your area, or able to work anywhere in the cloud. Alternatively, if you are a bookkeeper looking to expand your client list or find contract work, you can register and become part of our network for free


 

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Calculating PAYG Obligations Without a Payroll System

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

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

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

PAYG and the businesses it applies to

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

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

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

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

Superannuation contributions

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

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

Using tax tables to calculate wages

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

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

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online bookkeeping courses to earn cpd points

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Performing Weekly Reconciliations in Xero

Why it Pays to do Regular Bank Reconciliations

bank reconciliations weekly
Doing regular weekly bank reconciliations will help avoid confusion or errors later on.

In our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries Course, you’ll learn how to carry out each step in the reconciliation process, in particular how to set up bank feeds. Bank feeds are an important function that allows transactions on your linked bank account or credit card to automatically show up in Xero, so you (or your bookkeeper) don’t have to spend time entering the details from scratch.

Even though bank feeds can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent coding transactions in your accounting software, if your business has a lot of transactions each month, it’s a good idea to perform weekly — or even twice weekly — reconciliations. You’ll not only further reduce the potential for errors, but it’ll also help to give you a clearer picture of your finances.

Improved cashflow management

Even though internet banking allows you to look at how much money you have in the bank, this is an imprecise way of managing your cashflow. By reconciling your accounts on a weekly basis, you’ll be able to see what money’s gone out of your account, and what’s due to be coming in. If you have staff, this will eliminate a lot of the stress of wondering whether you’ll have enough money in the bank to make payroll, because you’ll know in advance if there’ll be any cash shortfalls.

Improved reporting

With weekly bank reconciliations, you’ll also find that your financial reports are greatly improved. This will enable you to make more correct sales forecasts, and to plan for machinery or equipment upgrades with a greater sense of accuracy. It’ll also help you to identify late paying clients and peak business cycles, so you can better manage your business operations — limit credit to late payers, hire more staff, etc. This type of financial information is the lifeblood of every successful business, so it has to be accurate.

If you’re hiring a bookkeeper to manage this for you, it’s worthwhile discussing whether they will perform this work once a week, or a couple of times each week. If your bookkeeper is contracted to perform a certain number of hours each week, they may decide to perform a few tasks a few times a week, so they’re more available to their other clients during the week. This is a bonus to the business owner, because it improves the accuracy of your reporting even further.

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Weekly bank reconciliations is an important task for all businesses, not just large ones. Our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries Course covers how to reconcile a bank account, 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

Or if you want to see why incorporating bank feeds might be useful for your business, read here.

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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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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.

Just like bookkeepers can learn from real estate agents how to set their prices and perfect their sales pitch, a bookkeeper should also take note of how real estate agents are using video and images online to develop and hones their digital marketing messages.

How Video and Images Help Attract New Business

  1. Identify yourself: As a contract bookkeeper, your identity is your brand. Create a website or LinkedIn profile (or both), and include a picture of yourself. If you’re operating a business, don’t hide behind your business name. Include pictures of your team, even if that’s just you at this stage.
  2. Educate with video: Show prospects that you know your stuff, by creating short videos explaining common issues businesses may have using MYOB, QuickBooks, Xero, etc. You may also create video tutorials that explain how you like clients to set up MYOB, Xero, QuickBooks etc.
  3. Capture the local scene: Establish yourself as a local business, by taking photos when you visit a local business (whether it’s a cafe, hardware store, or clothing shop) and put them on social media. Be sure to connect with those businesses on social too, so they can share with their customers. Do the same with your clients. It’s a good way to establish firm connections with the businesses you work with, and to update them on your other business projects.

 

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smiling woman learning how to run her own business
 

Using video and images to build your online presence should be part of your broader marketing strategy.

Our EzyStartUp Course covers researching the market, setting prices, and an introduction to marketing and business planning, plus much more.

Alternatively, learn all about marketing your business online with our Marketing, Advertising and Sales courses.


 

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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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You Need To Be a Job Hopper To Do Well In Your Career

When it Comes to Your Career, Hopping Around is OK

job-hopping-to-success
Those who hop may be the most successful, career speaking.

For many years, young people, particularly Generation Y, were cautioned about changing their jobs too often — or being a “job hopper”. It would give the impression they were flaky or disloyal or unable to commit, they were told. You want to find a job where you can stay there for at least 10 years, where you can grow and progress through the company. That was the advice handed out just a decade ago, perhaps even more recently than that.

But the tide is now rolling the other way. People of all generations and work experience are now being advised to change their jobs, not just every decade, but every 3 years, or 5 at a minimum. Do that and, rather than being seen as a liability, you’ll be seen as an asset. 

What Job Hopping Gives You

All those different jobs, at different companies and in different industries, cultivates skills and attitude that’s highly sought after by a range of employers. Changing jobs shows you’re willing to adapt, able to move with the times, and that you possess many different skills that you wouldn’t had you been left to inevitably go stale in the same old job for a decade or more.

However, besides acquiring a new skill, there are other benefits to changing jobs regularly. People who change jobs will typically earn up to 50 percent more than if they stayed in one job. That’s because the economy isn’t what it used to be, and the days of being rewarded with a fat pay rise each year are pretty well over. And even if your company still regularly gives their staff a pay rise, it’s unusually anything more than between 3 and 5 percent — but 50 percent? Keep dreaming.

Job Hopper or Continuing Professional Development?

If you’re a person who can change jobs frequently, it indicates that you’re probably a quick learner. You’re the kind of person who can pick up on new systems, processes, procedures, and even workplace cultures, and that makes you incredibly valuable for prospective employers. In many ways, this job hopping could be considered a new skill itself, an informal type of continuing professional development. Sound like you or someone you know?

Continuing professional development has become exceedingly important to many employers in the last decade because of how quickly new technologies have been introduced into the workplace, as well as the changes to many industries themselves. In the bookkeeping profession, for example, there have been numerous software changes, as well as changes to  industry regulations that now require all tax agents to register with the Tax Practitioners Board (TCB) and hold a minimum Certificate IV in Bookkeeping from TAFE to provide tax-related services; bookkeepers are also required to engage in continuing professional education in order to renew their registration with the TPB.

Just as it’s important for employees to show they’ve got the latest training in software that’s been introduced into their industry, it’s equally important to show that you possess other skills that usually aren’t taught in a classroom (or on an online content management system!) — such as, being receptive to change, quick thinking, personable, and being engaged by your work. That last one, the one about engagement, is super important, because it’s now believed that the learning curve tends to flatten after 3 years.

Flattening Out in Your Job

job-hopping-changing-jobs-regularly-a-good-thingIn other words, after you’ve worked somewhere for 3 or more years, you stop learning things, stop picking up new skills, and, usually, stop being engaged at work. You’re now just going through the motions because your job has become second nature to you. These are not sought after qualities in an employee; worse still, after 3 years, the skills you learned early on in the piece are probably close to being outdated, if they aren’t already, anyway.

Plan for the Next Three Years of Your Career

Think about where you’d like to be three new iPhones from now (one that’s waterproof, hopefully), and plan your career accordingly. Think about whether you’ll need to update your education in the future, too. Don’t forget that, with new technologies and new processes for using that technology in the workplace, you’ll need the skills to match if you’re going to be able to compete in the job market.

‘Think about where you’d like to be three new iPhones from now… and plan your career accordingly.’

In fact, the majority of students who take our online MYOB and Xero training courses, do so because they’d like to improve their skill sets to help them get work, or so that they can begin working for themselves as independent contractors, and they’d like to be able to offer bookkeeping services to businesses, regardless of the accounting software they use.

If you’re looking to improve you current skill set or you’d simply like to learn a new one, visit our website for a full list of our training courses and details on how to enrol. If you enrol in any of our MYOB, Excel, Word or WordPress training courses, you’ll receive Lifetime Membership to our course materials. This means you can stay up-to-date with each new version of software that’s released for no additional cost!

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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

lodging correct business activity statements
Why pay more money to the ATO at your expense? A good bookkeeper may save you money when it comes time to lodge your BAS.

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. 

An Error-Free BAS in 6 Steps

Here’s six steps you can take for an accurate BAS:

  1. Check to ensure all bank, credit card, overdraft, loan, and petty cash accounts are reconciled with the original bank statements at the end of every BAS quarter.
  2. Print your monthly profit and loss (P&L) report for the respective BAS quarter, and check for abnormalities in income or expenditure over the three months. You should also compare this quarter’s P&L report with the P&L report from the previous quarter (in the same financial year), as well as the P&L report from the same quarter in the previous financial year to detect any unexpected transactions.
  3. Print out the balance sheet as at the end of the BAS quarter. Note the balances for the wage and salary, payroll, payable, super expense and payable, and PAYG and GST accounts, and investigate any abnormalities.
  4. Generate the general ledger exceptions report to review any abnormal transactions. This report will indicate any differences in the GST codes for the same types of purchases or sales by comparing the current transactions with previous transactions.
  5. Print your BAS and compare with it with last quarter’s BAS, as well as the BAS from the same quarter of the previous year, and ensure that your GST, PAYG, sales, and purchases are consistent across all three BAS’.
  6. Lodge and pay your BAS on time to avoid penalties, and remember to record the BAS payment in your accounting software.

Although this may appear to be ‘double handling’, in fact, it eliminates double handling by ensuring that the activity statements you lodge with the ATO are correct and error-free. Typically, the mistakes this method turns up are ones that would be of benefit to the ATO and not to the business owner. So rather than give the ATO more money than you need to, make sure you follow this method for an error-free BAS lodgment.

An Experienced Bookkeeper in WA

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Tracey Marino is available to provide bookkeeping services in the Rockingham area of WA.

Looking for a reliable and accurate bookkeeper to manage your business’ daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either in the cloud (remotely) or in-person?

Tracey Marino is available to service businesses located in Port Kennedy, Warnbro, Baldivis, Secret Harbour, Golden Bay, Safety Bay, Shoalwater, Rockingham and Cooloongup, WA. Tracey is a an expert in MYOB AccountRight, QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel and can prepare and lodge your company’s BAS, set up credit management systems, along with carrying out all manner of day-to-day accounting functions for small to medium businesses. Find out more about Tracey’s experience at her profile page.

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently undergone a significant upgrade so keep a look out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs. Join now and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

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The 3 Tell-Tale Signs Your Bookkeeper Isn’t Paying Attention

Are You Getting the Best from Your Bookkeeper?

find-a-good-bookkeeper
You don’t need to be a whizz at bookkeeping to recognise when your bookkeeper isn’t prioritising your business.

MANY BUSINESS OWNERS LACK an in-depth knowledge of the bookkeeping process so they hire a bookkeeper to manage it for them.

But this can also make it hard to know whether the bookkeeper they’ve hired is paying close attention to their business’ books or not.

Ricky is a tertiary qualified bookkeepers from Blacktown in NSW, and he reveals there are three tell-tale signs your bookkeeper isn’t paying attention.

1. They’re always behind with your books

This is pretty common among a lot of bookkeepers, and it’s usually because they’re not motivated to do a good job. A good way to nip this in the bud, is to communicate key dates or timeframes with your bookkeeper.

If you need bills entered every Wednesday and a profit and loss statement on the fifth of each month, say so. That way you’ll know whether snoozing on the job or not.

2. You accountant’s bill is still high

If the bill from your accountant is still as high as it was when you didn’t have anyone managing your bookkeeping, it’s a good sign that your bookkeeper’s work isn’t up to standard. If your accounts are unorganised and unbalanced, it means your accountant will have to go through and review the information before they can do their job. That’s double handling, and you need to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible.

3. They don’t understand cash vs accrual

finding-the-best-bookkeeper
Is your bookkeeper puzzled? A good bookkeeper knows what they don’t know. If they’re unsure about cash accounting, they should let you know this.

Because many bookkeepers today, particularly contract and remote bookkeepers, got their start after cloud-accounting software became popular, lots of them don’t understand the difference between cash and accrual accounting systems simply because software like Xero and QuickBooks defaults to an accrual system.

Cash and accrual systems each have their own merits, depending on the size and complexity of the business. So it’s important that your bookkeeper knows the difference between and understand the benefits of each.

 

Does Your Business Need a GREAT Bookkeeper?

Tertiary-Qualified, Thoroughly-Vetted Bookkeeper Available in Sydney’s West

Like GPs, there’s usually a bookkeeper on every corner, but how do you find someone who you really trust and who genuinely has the best interests of your business at heart? Some business owners are unsure where to start when looking for a bookkeeper they can trust and rely on.

It’s also extremely concerning how many Australian small businesses suffer — to the point of insolvency — as a result of inadequate cash flow. A large portion of cash flow problems stem from credit and debt management and the systems business’ put in place to do this. This is something that can be handled by a competent and experienced bookkeeper. But it’s also about business owners understanding the need to make this a priority.

In finding the right bookkeeper, word of mouth can be helpful, but some people are reluctant to even do this for fear of losing a cherished and valuable resource. A great deal of trust is also placed in giving such sensitive financial information to bookkeepers and some people don’t like their bookkeeper doing work for other people they know.

If you’re looking for a reliable, thoroughly-vetted bookkeeper, capable of managing your daily/weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either remotely or in person, our National Bookkeeping directory features dozens of tertiary qualified bookkeepers available to assist you.

If you are located in Sydney’s western suburbs, Ricky from Blacktown, NSW, is a qualified bookkeeper with tertiary qualifications; he is also a registered BAS agent. Ricky has a great deal of experience in the day-to-day accounting functions of a small business, from invoicing, accounts receivable and payable, to payroll, financial analysis and reporting. Visit his profile page and request a quote for bookkeeping services.


find a local bookkeeper

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently undergone a significant upgrade so keep a look out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs. Join now and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

 

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What if a Credit Check Comes Back Negative?

Do You Have to Drop a Client Because of a Bad Credit Check?

customer-with-bad-credit-rating
It’s only business: but sometimes a bad credit rating doesn’t mean you have to end the working relationship.

A Credit Check is one of the most important first steps of good credit and debt management but you can still do business if the check comes back negative.

In our previous post on credit and debt management, we recommended that all businesses — regardless of whether they offer credit to customers on a 30-day account or not — perform a credit check on any new client who will spend more than $1000 on goods or services in one sale, on an ongoing basis. But what should you do if the credit check comes back negative, and shows that the potential customer is guilty of late payments, pending legal action or already carries a significant level of debt?

It may not be a case of having to turn a potential customer away. You may still be able to offer services to the customer without the risk that they won’t pay by trying the following approach, before refusing them entirely:

Advise the Client of the Bad Credit Rating

If the client filled out your credit application or work authorisation form, which should have stated that you were collecting their information for the purpose of credit check, there may be a good chance they filled it out in good faith and they’re unaware of their bad credit rating. There may be a reason for the rating, like, for instance, that the business was recently sold. It may even, potentially, stem from an ongoing dispute with another supplier over the standard of their goods or services (although proceed with caution here, as this, too, throws up a few red flags).

Look a Little Closer

When you search deeper, you might discover that the customer experiences predictable fluctuations in trading conditions which render them more vulnerable to being cash flow poor at certain times of the year. You may be able to accommodate this in how you design your credit terms with this customer. You might also ask for a list of suppliers (ensure you get a complete list, not one that has been hand-picked by the customer to only show them in a positive light) who you can call and verify as to their likely credit risk for future.

Request Payment in Advance

This said, a bad credit rating is a bad credit rating, even if the client has a perfectly good and reasonable explanation for you. You have the upper hand here, so you’re well within your rights to only agree to do business with this client so long as they pay for your goods or services in advance.

If you’re a supplier, say, of goods and your delivery driver has the capacity to accept cash payments on delivery, you may accept COD, however it’s not recommended. If the client is unwilling to prepay for your goods or services, then there’s a good chance they’re not acting in good faith, and so you’re best to avoid doing business with them.

Need a Bookkeeper? Sydney’s North Shore

good-qualified-bookkeeper
We have qualified, professional bookkeepers available Australia-wide.

If you’re in need of some help with your own business’ credit and debt management and are seeking a reliable bookkeeper to manage your daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either remotely or in-person, we are pleased to recommend Roz, qualified bookkeeper based at St Ives, with tertiary qualifications in accounting. She is a National Bookkeeping member and comes to us with the practical experience of having operated her own business and proficient in the day-to-day accounting functions of a small business. Visit her profile page and Request a Quote for Bookkeeping Services.

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently gone through a significant upgrade so keep a look out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs. If you’re a bookkeeper why not join and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

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Is Credit Management Just About Getting on the Phone?

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

credit-management-bookkeeping-business
Spelling out your credit management procedure at the start with a client helps avoid payment-chasing phone calls later.

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.  

The 3 Stages of Credit Management

Credit management falls, generally, into 3 broad stages, beginning with how new customers are assessed before you do business with them.

If you extend a line of credit to your customers, payable on a 30-day account, then a credit check is an imperative first step. But even if you don’t offer credit, a credit check should be a routine part of the new customer set-up process.

If you provide services to customers that aren’t paid for in advance or upon receipt, and you allow that customer between 14 and 30 days to pay your invoice, you’ve essentially just extended them a line of credit.

Indeed, it’s recommended that any business, whether they’re a sole trader, freelancer or independent contractor, carry out credit checks on any new, ongoing customer for jobs over the value of $1000.

Stage 1: Assessment

The assessment stage of good credit management involves taking the following steps:

    • Create credit application or work authorisation form
    • Establish terms of trade
    • Obtain a credit check

As long as the credit check doesn’t raise any issues of concern in relation to the business’ previous track record with paying suppliers on time, you can then decide to take them on as a client. From here you move to the next stage of credit management.

Stage 2: Management

This is the most involved stage of the credit management process, as it requires diligence to ensure your processes don’t slip. Some aspects of the management stage may require a phone call to your client to find out why they haven’t paid.

However, for the most part, cloud-accounting software has made it a lot easier to stay on top of your debtors. Ensure your process includes the following:

  • Prompt invoicing (as soon as goods / services have been provided)
  • Establish payment reminders, either by email or text
  • Send regular statements (if customer is on a 30-day credit account)
  • As soon as payment is overdue and in breach of terms of trade
  • Send to debt collection.

If you speak to your client twice about an overdue invoice / account, and they still don’t make payment within an agreed time, refer them to your debt collection agency, however harsh that may seem.

Stage 3: Enforcement

Although debt collection agencies can chase a debt that’s as much as 5 years old, the older the debt, the harder it is to collect payment.

As soon as a client is in breach of your terms of trade, and your other attempts to collect payment have failed, refer the debt to your collection agency.

If debt collection is unsuccessful, you should speak to your accountant or financial advisor about writing the debt off in your next tax return.

Good Credit Management Should Mean Few Phone Calls

credit management chasing payment
Avoid time-wasting and unpleasant phone calls by eliminating the chances of late payment through a professional credit management policy.

So the upshot of all this is a big part of a good credit management process is properly vetting all new customers before you do business with them. If this is the case, you should rarely have to pick up the phone to chase them for payment.

In that sense, credit management is not about getting on the phone. Rather, it’s about implementing a range of procedures for managing your debtors, and it begins before you even do any work for them.

We Can Help You Set Up Your Credit Management and Much More

Is your business yet to set up proper credit management systems?

Having the assistance of a reliable, experienced professional to help you do so may cost a lot less than you think. We have thoroughly-vetted, reliable bookkeepers across Australia, capable of setting up your systems so you can continue to do your bookkeeping yourself, or able to keep managing your daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts.

In your office or in the Cloud

This can be done remotely or in person, with most of our bookkeepers tertiary qualified and able to assist in basic bookkeeping to more complex accounting tasks. These might include accounts receivable and payable and payroll, or financial strategising.

We also have registered BAS agents in our national directory. See our newly upgraded website, National Bookkeeping for more information.