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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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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

bookkeeper-rockingham-wa
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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Get Paid Faster Using Your Mobile Phone!

get paid faster using your mobile phone
You can use your mobile phone to get paid – great for tradespeople as well.

No doubt about it, one of the biggest hurdles you face as a small business owner is managing your cash flow. A big part of this is ensuring your clients and customers pay your invoices on time. Setting up email alerts to remind customers when your invoices are due is a great way to ensure you’re never – or at least, rarely – paid late, which we’ve written about on this blog and even cover in our MYOB training courses.

Invoice From the Road

Most account programs like MYOB AccountRight Live offer this facility, as does Reach Accounting, Xero, and so on. They also have their own app, allowing you to create and send invoices right from your smartphone, so you can invoice customers right away, even when you’re not at your computer.

MYOB’s PayDirect service, for which an app is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play, goes one step further. By purchasing a credit card reader from MYOB, you can accept credit card payments from your phone, just by pairing the reader with your smart phone or tablet device using Bluetooth.

Again, this is a fantastic function for tradies, who either have to wait for their clients to transfer the funds to their account or enter into a contract with a bank so they can offer mobile eftpos facilities. Now, for just the cost of the reader, small business owners can offer this facility to their clients, and it’s also linked with their MYOB account.

Even More Options for Small Businesses

MYOB’s new PayDirect facility competes not only with the big banks, but it’s also competing with PayPal, which offers a similar service called PayPal Here. There’s very little difference between the two services. The main, fairly negligible, difference is in pricing structure and additional functionality, so deciding between each service comes down to what fits your business best – do you integrate your PayPal facilities with a PayPal Here account, or do you integrate your MYOB accounting software with an MYOB PayDirect account?

Ultimately, though, they’re both great facilities that enable to small business owner – whether you’re a tradesman, a small retail shop, an online retailer who has a market stall, or even an independent contractor who’d like to have the ability to take credit card payments – to get paid faster.

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The quicker you’re paid, the better it is for your cash flow. Maintaining good cash flow is vital to the success of your business; it allows you to pay your suppliers on time, and keep on top of your other outgoings. Maintain good cash flow, by ensuring you make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you. Offering a number of different payment facilities is one way of doing that.

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Affiliate Marketing: Partner with Us to Start Your Own Business NOW

start your own business
You can build your own business by promoting ours’ through becoming an affiliate partner with EzyLearn.

Start a Computer Training Business

Do you want to start your own business? Perhaps a home-based business? At EzyLearn, we’re passionate about helping people follow their dreams and start their own businesses. At the moment, we’ve got a host of opportunities available to people who would like to partner with EzyLearn and start their own home-based business with a focus on Bookkeeping.

Start Your Own Bookkeeping or Digital Business

We’ve already helped a number of our students go on to start their own home-based bookkeeping businesses, virtual assistant businesses and even MYOB training businesses using our EzyLearn training vouchers.

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseAnd we’re also helping our students start their own digital marketing business by becoming an EzyLearn affiliate marketer and joining National Bookkeeping. Not only can you earn a commission by selling our online MYOB training courses, but you can earn a good hourly rate by helping them through the training material or using MYOB in their own business.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn a commission by recommending a product or service to people within your social networks. Amazon was an early adopter of affiliate marketing programs, which was later championed by Google and its Google Adsense platform.

As an affiliate of EzyLearn, you earn a commission for promoting our training courses through your website and social networking platforms. Ideally, an EzyLearn affiliate will have already completed one of our training courses, such as the MYOB training course, which you can then honestly recommend to your contacts.

We’ll give you a unique URL so you can track when someone clicks on a link to a training course you’ve promoted and track your commissions.

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If you’re looking for a way to branch out and start your own business, bookkeeping is a great start and when you join National Bookkeeping you can choose to also become an EzyLearn affiliate and start earning commissions by promoting our MYOB courses. To learn more about National Bookkeeping and starting a home based business providing bookkeeping services, training and support visit our MYOB Training course affiliate.

Click here to submit your review.


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Thanks For Loving Us

MYOB online training courses
We are thrilled that our customers appreciate our attention to good, old-fashioned customer service.

In a recent post we talked about how you can use referral marketing and LinkedIn to market your business to grow your customer base. But once you get those new customers, the most important thing is making certain you keep them. Great customer service is the key to ensuring you always have a happy customer. Providing consistently good customer service and being courteous to people in the way you communicate with them, be they suppliers or contractors, as well as customers, is also highly beneficial to your business in other ways.

Priding Ourselves on Customer Satisfaction

And speaking of happy customers, we’ve decided to blow our own trumpet a little and share with you that we have a 97% customer satisfaction rating! We use the a powerful customer support system called ZenDesk, which manages the thousands of EzyLearn students who complete our MYOB training courses, Small Business Management, Excel and other courses.

The Same as Face to Face

When we moved our training courses online, we decided early on that we wanted our online business to provide our students and customers with the same customer service experience that they would receive from a physical training centre. So we also provide our students with phone and email support, in addition to the Zendesk ticketing support system.

We think our customer service is part of what has made EzyLearn the successful business it is today, and we’re glad you think so too! Customer service is such an important aspect of any business, which is why we cover customer service in our Small Business Management Course.

Repeat Custom

If you think about some of the most successful small businesses, it’s usually their good service that has their customers returning time and again. This is important to remember considering small businesses usually don’t have the buying power that a big business does which means their prices are usually a littler higher. But if the service is good, customers will forgo what little savings they can get elsewhere.

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So if you’re in the process of starting a new business, it’s important that you make customer service a major focus, and then continue to work at it and find new ways to improve the service you give your customers, because it really does pay off — trust us!

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Getting the Accreditation You Need for MYOB and Bookkeeping

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

The reason many of our students complete our MYOB training courses is because they’re looking for a new job, and so we’re often asked if our MYOB training courses are accredited and whether they come with a certificate. The answer to this question is a little more complicated than it may seem, and here’s why:

Bookkeeper vs. BAS Agent

When we first started our training centres in 1999, you could learn how to use MYOB and then go out and work as a bookkeeper, providing all sorts of services to clients such as data entry and BAS – then, this type of work wasn’t regulated.

In 2010, the Australian Tax Laws were changed, so that bookkeepers now had to be accredited BAS agents, which required a minimum certification of a Cert IV in Bookkeeping, and registration with a professional organisation, such as the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or the Tax Practitioners Board.

Nationally Recognised

Training courses, like a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping, are nationally recognised certifications that are provided by a registered training organisation (RTO), where the coursework is tailored to meet the national training framework. This ensures that the training material delivered to students is as consistent as possible, to ensure each student, graduates with identical skills, regardless of the institution they studied with.

What’s important here is that an RTO delivering a Cert IV in Bookkeeping is training students in the intricacies of bookkeeping and tax law, rather than teaching students how to use the software, like MYOB.

Accredited by ICB

There are plenty of RTOs who will train you in the ways of Australian tax law, bookkeeping fundamentals, and the like, but very few who can give you specialised, in-depth training in MYOB that you can complete at your own pace.

If you’re going to be a bookkeeper, understanding your clients’ accounting software is a huge part of the job, and that’s why we decided to continue to provide software training in MYOB, and other accounting packages that have since arrived on the market, such as Reach Accounting and Xero.

Because we believe in staying up-to-date with every aspect of the bookkeeping industry, we’re also accredited with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.

EDITED: In 2018 EzyLearn management made a decision that it is better to spend money on course content creation and student support than remain an annual membership with ICB. Read more.

You Can Still Be a Bookkeeper

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a bookkeeper if you don’t have a Cert IV in Bookkeeping — because you can! It simply means you can provide the valuable data entry services to clients as an MYOB bookkeeper, without performing any BAS services.

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If you’re thinking of becoming a home-based bookkeeper, it’s vital you understand MYOB and all of its functions, so find out more our MYOB training courses — or our other cloud-accounting courses by visiting our website.

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Is QuickBooks Taking on MYOB?

With the arrival of cloud-accounting software came the opportunity for old foes and new players to enter the accounting space, once dominated by MYOB. We offer training courses in MYOB, because it’s still the most widely used software package by accountants, but we’ve also recently expanded our cloud-accounting courses to also include Reach Accounting and Xero; two new players to enter the accounting fray.

The QuickBooks  Resurgence

For many years, the most common question accountants were asked by their clients was: “Should I use QuickBooks or MYOB?” QuickBooks, which at the time was distributed by a company called Reckon (now distributing their own cloud accounting software called Reckon One), was probably the easier model, but MYOB had eaten their market share and prevailed as the preferred accounting package for accountants, bookkeepers and small businesses alike.

Now, however, QuickBooks is being distributed in Australia by its parent company, the software giant Intuit, and it’s also gone online. Like Xero, QuickBooks is an entirely cloud-based accounting package, complete with mobile and tablet apps. Where QuickBooks differs from MYOB, however, is that it doesn’t allow you to update your accounting software offline and then sync it later (but nor does Xero, for the record).

Targeting Small Businesses

Where QuickBooks once positioned itself as the nearest rival of MYOB, this time around, QuickBooks is aiming for a different segment of the market – the small business owners who don’t want to spend a bundle (pun, of course, intended) on their accounting program. In this way, they have put themselves in direct competition with Xero.

We added Xero to our suite of training programs a little while back, because we recognised that Xero’s easy-to-use interface and intuitive features made it MYOB’s biggest competitor, particularly when MYOB, at the time, seemed to be lagging behind when it came to developing their software for the cloud.

With QuickBooks now looking for the customers that aren’t quite ready for Xero – and certainly aren’t ready for MYOB – QuickBooks is a very real competitor for both MYOB and Xero. Indeed, a study commissioned by Intuit, found that 8 out of 10 Australian small businesses found QuickBooks easy to use, compared to 5 out of 10 for Xero.

QuickBooks

More tellingly, however, the same study also found that 79 percent of Australian small businesses surveyed found that it’s easier to finish tasks in QuickBooks online, compared to just 49 percent for Xero.

It also seems QuickBooks has learned some lessons from its previous failings, this time offering a QuickBooks Online Accountant package, which was specifically developed for accounting professionals.

What’s in Store for MYOB?

But what does this mean for MYOB? Well, if QuickBooks succeeds in becoming a real, lasting competitor for Xero, together QuickBooks and Xero may just push MYOB out of the running as Australia’s preferred cloud-accounting packages. (Think: Apple and Samsung vs. Nokia.)

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Only time will tell, although with QuickBooks’ competitive pricing structure (starting at just $15 a month for the basic package), it looks promising.

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How Bad Do You Want It? (Money, That Is!)

invoicing small business
Don’t do all the hard work and not get paid for it: consult our checklist for what you can do to get paid – and faster.

If you’re working as a contractor and using an Australian business number (ABN), rather than a tax file number (TFN), you’re self-employed, and this means you will need to invoice your customers for the products or services you provide in order to get paid.

If you’ve only ever worked as an employee before, you’re probably used to being able to set your clock to payday, but unfortunately this isn’t often the case when you’re a contractor.

Getting paid late — or worse, not at all! — can seriously affect your cash-flow, and in turn, affect the success of your business, which is why we cover things like financial planning in our Small Business Management and Start Up Course.

Continue reading How Bad Do You Want It? (Money, That Is!)

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Is Google Your Sugar Daddy?

google marketing networking
Show Me the Money: A thorough understanding of how to use Google can help you – and your business – earn more.

We been speaking about referral marketing a lot lately, and in a recent post about marketing action plans, we talked about why you should include referral marketing and/or networking as a marketing strategy in your marketing plan. That may seem silly to some people, since networking doesn’t always translate to sales straight away, but we’ve discovered another reason why you should include it in your marketing plan: Google!

Google Outlines My Referrals

We were recently at our web stats using the Google Analytics app for Android, when we discovered that even Google separates the traffic to your website from other websites as ‘referrals’. This really highlighted the fact that you can be receiving referrals online from any news or content you make available on the web.

How to Create Great Online Content

The most accessible way to create good content online that will drive independent referrals for your business is to maintain a blog. If you publish a few posts each week that are highly relevant and highly targeted to your readers (your customers), the more likely they are to tweet, like or share your content with their friends, families, and colleagues.

Use YouTube

You could even take it a step further. Maybe you’re an IT consultant and you’re looking for other ways to connect with your customers and provide them with informative content – why not create a few YouTube tutorials that you can embed in your website and share on your social media platforms. With a little care, and some thought to the execution, you’ll set yourself apart from the other IT guys who only talk in gigabytes and mainframes.

Move Up the Google Rankings

The other upside of creating regular content is that you’ll move your way up through the Google ranks, which in turn, will bring you more referrals from Google, too. SEO also plays a big role in your Google rankings, but only so long as you’re creating the content people want.

If you truly want a Google Sugar Daddy, then you need to keep pushing relevant, informative content online, so you can engage with your customers and clients online.

Thinking about starting your own Bookkeeping business – or any other kind of business? We cover more about the powers of Google and how to market and advertise your business in our Small Business Management Course

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Pimp My Business: Networking How-To’s and an Apple Case Study

networking2
Once you start networking it becomes easier and more natural.

We recently wrote a post about referral marketing and how it can genuinely grow your business. We talk about different marketing strategies in our Small Business Management course, and particularly the different mediums – newspapers, online, etc – that you can use to advertise your business, but referral marketing is one marketing strategy that doesn’t cost a lot and that you can – and should! – begin today.

Apple: A Case Study for Using Referral Marketing

Besides driving sales, getting people talking about your business, its products or services (or creating ‘awareness’) is the goal of pretty much any marketing campaign. Consider Apple, for example. As a company they came back from the brink in the mid-2000’s when they launched the iPod. Apple had always created far superior products to IBM, but it wasn’t until Apple really pushed themselves as the trendier, far superior alternative to IBM and Microsoft-based products that they could become the company they are today.

The success of Apple is not just that their products were better (because they always were), but the way they marketed them to their customers, which relied heavily on referral marketing. Apple knew that once someone tried an iPod, they’d tell their friends about it and they’d, in turn, tell their friends about it, and so on.

Basic Networking How-To’s:

That’s basically what happened. And you can do the same for your business, even if you don’t have Apple’s marketing budget (or even their technological know-how). It starts with networking, so we’ve put together a few networking How To’s to get you on your way:

  1. Find your tribe: Whether you’re looking to connect with other local business owners or perhaps you’re specifically looking to connect with other bookkeepers, you need to find your tribe and make connections with them. You’d be surprised just how many other business owners are out there, just like you, looking to connect with others. Check your local newspaper, the noticeboard at your local shopping centre, gym or café. There are also a number of great online tools that facilitate networking – meetup.com is one of them, and a personal favourite of ours.
  2. Use social media: Social media is another great way to connect and interact with your customers and clients. But it’s also a great way to connect with other movers and shakers within your industry. Twitter and LinkedIn are especially great platforms for cultivating online connections with people in your industry. It’s important, however, not to treat Twitter as your own personal spamming platform. Your Twitter feed should be interesting and informative – and show that there’s a real person (or group of people) behind the Twitter handle, rather than a robot pushing out links to your website.
  3. Follow up – When you meet a new person, always ask for their business card and always offer yours. Remember that networking is not about selling, and in fact, you may not actually sell anything to that person, but if they like you, they may just refer you to their friend or colleague who is looking for your services. The key to getting to this point – where this other person is referring you to others – is being genuine. Take an interest in that person’s business and follow-up with them. Connect with that person on social media, send them email – follow up!
  4. Get outside your comfort zone: Instead of always going to your local networking group, try a group somewhere else. Business Networking International, or BNI, is a global networking organisation that is always looking for new members. It is very structured and not for everyone, but its huge success is partly because of the structured way they operate. Find a chapter near you and see if it works for you (tip: you may try a couple of chapters before you find your tribe).

So what are you still reading this blog post for? Go forth and pimp your business! Network, people!

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Business Efficiency: Have You Said Sorry Today?

business efficiency tips
If you’re often apologising to clients because you can’t keep up with the work, you may be over-promising.

Maybe this sounds familiar: one of your clients has been calling you about a job you said you would do. You’ve been dodging their calls, because you haven’t had time to do it. Eventually they email, so you send one back. It begins: “Sorry, I’ve been really busy lately…” or “Sorry, I haven’t had a chance to…” “Sorry…” “Sorry…” “Sorry…”

Does Sorry = Inefficiency?

In one of the modules of our Small Business Management Course, we take you through business planning, where you learn about how to set processes and procedures to make your business operate efficiently. So if it feels like all of your emails begin with “sorry”, it could be because you’re not as efficient as you’d like to think you are.

If you’re new in business sometimes it’s a simple case of trying to seem more accommodating than is feasibly possible. If your clients regularly request work from you by a certain date that conflicts with your other work, suggest an alternate date rather than agreeing to something you can’t deliver.

Under Promise, Over Deliver

Good clients appreciate the honesty, and if they value the work you do, they’ll be happy to wait. It’s often not a question of efficiency. Those people who aren’t happy to wait, and would rather something that is rushed or who constantly give you short notice, possibly aren’t the kinds of clients you want anyway. Being honest establishes trust and clear communication with your clients, and paves the way towards a better, more efficient business relationship.

By having enough time to complete your work properly, you’re less likely to make errors, forget things or experience other setbacks in getting the job completed, which also reduces the number of “sorry” emails and phone calls you’re making.

But if you’re still finding yourself apologising, it could be a sign of a much bigger problem. Perhaps the processes and systems you have in place are failing you, and they need to be revised. It could be a case that you’ve outgrown the processes you have in place, and they’re slowing you down.

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At the end of the day, your customers are counting on you and if they can’t rely on you to complete something when you say you will, they’ll go elsewhere. So stop apologising and get it right the first time!

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Am I Better Off Doing Some Work for Free or Discounting My Rates?

working for free
Working for free is often better than discounting your fees.

We’ve spoken about working for free before. In one post about setting prices we discussed why you should outline the free work that you do as ‘added value’, but if that’s still not working, maybe you should consider working for free. This may sound counterintuitive, since you’re trying to get paying customers and now we’re telling you to give your services away for free, but stay with us.

Wetting People’s Appetites with a Free Work Sample

We mentioned in another post that many companies start out by offering their services for free and then gradually introduce fees once they’re established. As a new business trying to get those first few customers, this is a great way to offer people a taste of your work.

Snack food companies have been doing this for years: they’ll give you a free sample of their new banana flavoured chips, you’ll fall in love with them and buy them next time you’re at the supermarket.

Perhaps you’ll tell your friends about it – after all, they’re banana-flavoured chips! This simple act of giving something away for free just achieved what could take multiple newspaper or TV ads to achieve; what could even take years of working for people to achieve.

Why Working for Free is Better than Discounted Rates

There is a clear benefit of working for free in the initial start-up phase of your business as opposed to charging discounted rates, and that is that you don’t have to work for free forever and few people would expect that.

By offering discounted rates, however, you enter into a grey area. At what point can you increase those rates, and by how much is acceptable? Even once you’ve decided that it’s fair and reasonable to increase your fees, it’s often a difficult discussion to have with your client.

But by offering your service for free at the outset, it leaves the ball in your court to raise the question of payment the next time they want to use your services.

Besides, if you do good work, and your fees are fair and reasonable, there’s no reason to think those customers won’t employ you again at your full rate. If they don’t want to, then they’re not the kind of customer you would want anyway, even if you secured them as a customer at a heavily discounted rate.

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Working for free in the initial stages of your business, pays far more in the long run than offering discounted rates. If you’re struggling to get those first few customers, consider offering your services for free to give customers a taste of your work.

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Invoice Your Customers Directly Using PayPal

We were recently surveying our PayPal account and discovered that you can now invoice customers directly using PayPal. While it doesn’t eradicate the need for a good piece of accounting software, this facility makes it very easy for people to get started in business — particularly businesses with very few expenses.

PayPal 2014 Screen - Manage Invoices - New Invoice Screen

It’s a Great Time to Start a Business!

If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, then there has never been the more perfect time to do it. Really, we mean that! In fact, it’s why we started developing our digital business course, because there are now so many online tools to help people get a small business off the ground — it’s just a case of knowing what those tools are and how to use them.

EzyLearn Digital Business Course

This is where we come in. Our Digital Business Course is designed to take you through every step involved in starting an online business — from creating a website to understanding how to manage and operate a small business.

One great facility for any online business, whether you’re selling products or services, is having a PayPal account, which allows you to accept payments from customers all over the world.

The Benefits of PayPal for Your Business

Using PayPal for your business transactions also enables you to expand your business networks right around the globe. You can tap into the global marketplace of remote workers and ensure your transactions are safe and secure every time.

With PayPal as your primary method for accepting payments from customers, you’re able to invoice clients and offer them the option of paying by credit card for free. As a remote worker, this is an easy way to send invoices and reconcile payments all in the one place.

But say you’re not just an online business. Say you’d like to be able to take credit card payments in person too. Well, PayPal also offers a service, called PayPal Here, which allows you to turn any smartphone into a credit card processing terminal, so it doesn’t matter where you are — you can always get paid.

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There really has never been a better time to start a business than now, so if you would like more information on our Digital Business Course or our Small Business Management Course which equips you with the knowledge you need to run your own or someone else’s small business (plus you conclude the course with a comprehensive business plan), then contact our team today — we’ll help you get started!

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Does Your Bookkeeper Have a Clue?

bookkeeper induction program
Having a bookkeeper induction program will add value to your business.

Having accurate business records is vitally important for any business — and most of that hinges on accurate account keeping. If you’re a small business looking to hire a bookkeeper, you want someone who’ll be able to manage all of the data entry and coding for your company accurately and efficiently. The best way to ensure this is to have a bookkeeping induction program.

The Benefits of Induction

We’ve written about induction programs before, where we talked about how induction programs help boost morale and keep staff engaged. But they’re also important to ensure that each new employee understands what’s expected of them, what they can expect of you as an employer, and what your company’s processes and procedures are.

Employing an MYOB bookkeeper is a good start — particularly if you employ an ex-EzyLearn student. This is because our MYOB training courses act as a quasi induction program to bookkeeping.

But by establishing a bookkeeper induction program at your company, you can make certain that each new bookkeeper, whether they’re a contractor or a permanent employee, will manage your accounts the same way.

Low Cost Online Induction Program Options

At EzyLearn, we offer low-cost online induction program options that are perfect for small businesses. Depending on your requirements, you can create your induction program in PowerPoint and upload it to a learning management system.

From here, you’re able to update and add to it as frequently as you like. Best of all, you can create as many induction training courses as you like. You can separate contractor inductions from new employee inductions, accounting inductions from admin inductions, and so on.

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It’s important to have systems in place for your business, and an induction program allows you to easily train staff in your company’s processes and procedures. It adds value to your business as well. If you’d like to learn more about our induction programs, visit our website or contact our team.

 

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Will Xero Dethrone MYOB as the King of Accounting Software?

Xero may not have toppled MYOB's crown, but they've certainly forced them to find new ways to remain relevant.
Xero may not have toppled MYOB’s crown, but they’ve certainly forced them to find new ways to remain relevant.

We’ve been offering MYOB training courses for a very long time and that’s largely because they have long been the market leader in accounting software. But in the last few years there’s been a definite shift in the accounting software space, and with cloud-based technology, a number of other players have entered the marketplace.

Xero — Forcing MYOB to be More Competitive

One of those new players happens to be Xero, which has quickly gained momentum as the preferred accounting software among accountants and small business owners. Because of its increasing popularity, we decided to branch out from MYOB training courses by developing a Xero training course as well.

Although it’s unlikely Xero will topple MYOB from their position as the best known and most widely used accounting software, Xero’s presence has forced MYOB to get up off their laurels and find new ways to remain competitive in the marketplace.

For some bookkeepers the increasing fragmentation of the accounting software space is a drag and one that forces them to learn how to use a number of different account software packages as their clients move away from MYOB.

The upside is that all this competition in the marketplace has led to some very useful developments as MYOB, Xero and others battle it out in a bid to stay relevant to their customers. The first big development was MYOB’s decision to follow Xero into the cloud, by launching MYOB Account Right Live.

This was soon followed by the introduction of automatic bank feeds (which we’ll cover at length in a future post), and then MYOB Essentials, the low-cost option for small businesses.

The developments in the accounting software space are likely to keep coming — all to the benefit of you as a bookkeeper and as a consumer.

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So while Xero may not take the crown from MYOB, they are an increasingly popular accounting software choice for many accountants and businesses. If you’re a bookkeeper and you’d like to stay relevant in the marketplace, Xero is a must-have skill.

For more information on our Xero training course, visit our website or contact our team.