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

Finding the best bookkeeper for your business

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

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

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

What are Certified Advisors, Consultants and Pro Advisors?

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

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

Find a highly qualified BAS or tax agent instead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Using Excel for Client Databases

Excel does great CRM

learn excel cheap online learning training course videos
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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A Close-Up Look at a Listed Company and How it’s Performing

We show you what financial data really reveals

how to read financial reports
There’s more to profit and loss than meets the eye: Sometimes a company’s losses outweigh its revenue, but it doesn’t mean that company is in a bad position.

AS A BUSINESS OWNER you’ll need to run regular financial reports (never more so than at the end of financial year) to ensure your business is in good shape. Understanding what each element of a financial report means is critical to your business’s financial health.

You’ll learn to run and interpret financial reports in our Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks training courses, but we’re just going to look at a couple of areas of most importance.

Close up: BuyMyPlace’s financial results

BuyMyPlace is an ASX-listed service that allows property owners to sell their properties without a real estate agent. Because it’s a publicly-listed company, they have to make all of their financials public too.

As such, we got hold of their most recent financial results for the first half of financial year 16/17.

It’s not the most detailed financial report, probably because the company itself is still in its early stages — there’s actually a good argument against early stage ventures listing on the stock exchange, but that’s fodder for another post.

Revenue vs. losses for the period

The good news for BuyMyPlace is that its revenue increased 129 percent on the prior comparative period (PCP) to $1 million for H1 FY16/17, up from $133,518 in H1 FY15/16.

That’s an impressive leap in revenues in just 12 months, however, the BuyMyPlace financial results also reveal that the business made an even greater loss of $1.7 million, an increase of 1205 percent on the PCP.

A closer look at the report shows that, while the losses increased more than a thousand percent, it was due to an increased investment in marketing and advertising — principally on TV spots which totalled $517,723 compared with $98,578 the year prior.

This resulted in an 80 percent increase in the number of listings on the site (that is, the number of people using BuyMyPlace to sell their home), while order value increased 27 percent (people who were choosing more expensive packages).

BuyMyPlace is in good health

Although this business recorded losses that outweighed its revenue, BuyMyPlace is still in good financial health.

The report also shows that it has over $4 million in cash and cash equivalents, and only a little over $600,000 in liabilities. Although the liabilities have increased, it’s not due to taking on any additional debt — indeed, BuyMyPlace has paid down all of its loans — but was instead due to a 786 percent increase in staff salaries and, as a consequence, an increase in staff provisions and benefits — i.e., sick and annual leave.

Strategy for future growth

Not many homeowners actually want to sell their properties themselves — one estimate puts it at around 7 percent of the total number of homeowners. However, most people do want greater clarity around how the process works (including fees and commissions) — even if they still want assistance selling their homes.

Perhaps realising this, or perhaps in response to increased competition in the fixed-fee real estate services (see: Purplebricks, Settl, etc), BuyMyPlace also launched its own full service package, giving homeowners access to a real estate agent to sell their home for a fixed fee.

This will enable BuyMyPlace to capture a greater volume of homeowners, who are looking for a low cost alternative to sell their homes, but who don’t want to do it entirely themselves.

The other strategy for growth: increasing listing depth revenues.

At some point, BuyMyPlace will stop growing its market share. Or, in other words, the market of people looking for a low-cost option to sell their home will be tapped out.

But as a business, and as a publicly listed one, BuyMyPlace will need to keep growing its revenue, not merely keep it steady. It’ll need to do as other real estate services, such as REA Group and Domain have done, and increase listing revenue depths, by selling more expensive packages to customers.  

BuyMyPlace will need to find additional value it can sell to customers, without necessarily increasing its own expenses to do so — or putting up its prices, which a business can usually only do once it’s cornered about 65 percent of the market, and BuyMyPlace is a long way off that yet.

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That’s a lesson for every business owner out there. And it’s something we cover in our online Business StartUp Course.

You’ll learn how to run and understand the financial reports for your business in our Xero and MYOB training courses. You can also learn about strategies for business growth in our Business StartUp Course. Or for more information, visit our website.


learn to use excel online training course videos cheap best

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.


 

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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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The Wonders of Microsoft Excel’s 3D Formulas

Excel’s 3D Formulas Work Across Worksheets

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

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

The wonderful 3D formula

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

All functions work with 3D formulas

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

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

3D formulas can be modified with time

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

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

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

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

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online bookkeeping courses to earn cpd points

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

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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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Why Partnerships Can Be Risky Business

An Understanding of Business Partnerships is Essential

business-partnerships-training-course-online
Structuring your business as a partnership doesn’t have to be risky business if you arm yourself with the right information first.

As we mentioned in our previous post about doing the necessary actions to start your new business now, rather than in January, there are lots of tasks to carry out before your business will be ready to commence trading. The first, most important thing you should do, is register for an ABN.

There are lots of services available that, for a fee, will register your business name, company structure, domain name, email hosting, and even register your business for GST and PAYG. But do you really need to use these services? Well, it depends. 

You might if:

1. You need your ABN or business name registered NOW

A few years ago, we wrote about a service called e-companies, which provides all the registration services mentioned above using its direct portal to ASIC and the ATO. As a result, many company registrations are completed within five minutes, while ABN registrations are completed in fifteen minutes, providing aren’t flagged for further checks by the ATO.

2. Your business structure is complicated

The most straightforward business structure to set up and manage is a sole trader, but they’re not suitable for every business, particularly where more than one person will be running the business or where income from the business will be distributed to family members or other beneficiaries.

In such circumstances, you may need to structure your business as a trust or partnership. If you already know how trusts and partnerships work, you may choose to use a service to register your business structure, so you don’t miss any important steps along the way. Otherwise, you may need to engage a solicitor to structure your business.

Or — 3. Learn about partnerships and do it yourself

If you’re structuring your business as a partnership, a partnership agreement is crucial to your business’s success. It’s particularly necessary for businesses that intend to use PayPal, as PayPal will withhold your income until you provide a copy of your partnership agreement. Services that register business structures do not provide any guidance on how to draw up a partnership agreement, and so many businesses go without one, which can be disastrous if a partner ever wishes to leave the business or the business is later sold.

We created our Partnership Agreement Course because a partnership is the most risky business structure. The Partnership Agreement Course, which now costs just $48 (down from $97) provides you with a template, explanatory notes, and all the standard clauses, including exit clauses for when the partnership needs to be dissolved. Once you’ve drawn up your partnership agreement, you’ll also be able to access lower tax rates with the ATO.

Read more about what’s included in our Partnership Agreement Course or enrol today, and you start the course by 5pm tomorrow.

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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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Becoming a National Bookkeeping Bookkeeper

Starting a Business as a Bookkeeper is about Business Knowledge, Skills and Support

start a bookkeeping business
It can be daunting knowing where to get your first clients when you start your own business.

It’s not easy starting out as a bookkeeper running your own business. We think our partnership with National Bookkeeping is going to help you get underway.

If you’ve subscribed to our blog and followed our recent posts, then you probably know that EzyLearn has partnered with National Bookkeeping.

National Bookkeeping can now administer training courses to their new licensees, along with a range of other perks and benefits to help you launch your own bookkeeping business.

Becoming a National Bookkeeping Licensee

To begin with, as a National Bookkeeping licensee, you receive access to all of the EzyLearn training courses, including any new courses we develop in the future.

This means that in addition to our MYOB training courses and our small business management course and our WordPress training courses, you will also have access our new content marketing course along with any other course we develop in the future.

All the training you need under one roof

We made a commitment to give National Bookkeeping licensees access to our full suite of training courses because we’re big believers in continuing your professional development by constantly updating your skill set, whether it’s by learning how to use new software or getting training in new areas of study – like content marketing.

So straight off the bat, by becoming a National Bookkeeping licensee, you’re getting access to thousands of dollars worth of training courses as part of the license fee. The way we – and National Bookkeeping – see it is that the better skilled you are, the more chance your business will have at succeeding, which is a goal for both EzyLearn and National Bookkeeping as much as it is for you.

What do you get as a National Bookkeeping Licensee?

You also get the infrastructure you need to get your bookkeeping business off the ground included in the license fee. This includes:

VoIP business phone number: You can give out a landline telephone number (rather than just a mobile number) and configure it so you can use special in-dial marketing numbers to see where your calls are coming from, which is very useful to tracking your marketing activities. You can learn more about VoIP at the Virion website, who are also working with National Bookkeeping.

Business templates: Whenever you commence work with a new client, you should always have some kind of agreement in place to protect both yourself and your client. For an independent contractor – which is how National Bookkeeping licensees will operate their businesses – the most common kind of agreement you’ll use is the professional services agreement. But we’ll also give you access to other kinds of business document, such as intellectual property agreements, that can be easily modified, should you need them.

Bookkeeping business plan: In addition to the small business management course, which takes you through the process of creating your own business plan, National Bookkeeping will also provide you with an easy-to-modify business plan, developed especially for home-based bookkeepers, which you can tweak to suit your business needs.

Sales training and business coach: Even if you’ve worked in sales in a previous occupation, every new business owner can use sales training and that’s largely because as a business owner the sales process is different to when you’re working as a sales person for a large company. When you’re just starting out, the goal is to get clients – so is working for free or cutting your rates is a good way to establish yourself? The National Bookkeeping sales trainer will take you through the many common scenarios new business owners face in relation to getting clients, as well as ways to build your business through word-of-mouth referrals. You’ll also have access to your own business coach to help you keep on track to grow your client base and build a successful business.

Marketing materials: National Bookkeeping will also supply you with your own business cards, brochures, and marketing and sales collateral that you can distribute throughout your business networks and to potential customers.

What you need to do now?

Aside from registering your interest with National Bookkeeping there are a few things you will need to do in order to become a home-based bookkeeper.

Get a Cert IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping: Although you don’t have to get a Certificate IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping, we highly recommend it. Without a Cert IV, you cannot provide BAS or GST services, which are a major component of the tax process. By being able to provide these services, you make yourself infinitely more valuable to your clients, as well as accountants with whom you’ll be encouraged to network and make contact with. You can get a Cert IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping from most RTOs or TAFE.

Obtain an ABN: Every business must have an Australian Business Number, which must be quoted on your invoices. If you don’t have an ABN your clients are legally required to withhold 49 percent of your payment and send it directly to the ATO, who’ll hold it until you file a tax return for which you’ll be required to get an ABN. Thus, it’s better to get one before you commence trading.

Get in the zone: The decision to start and operate a new business is not one that should be taken lightly, so it’s a good idea to get mentally prepared beforehand. Read up on what it’s like to be a home-based office worker, get on Meetup.com and do some networking with other business owners who can share their tips, advice and wisdom on the new business journey with you; and just generally ready yourself (organise your home-office space, for instance) for diving in and taking the self-employed plunge.

But first…

If you would like to learn more about the National Bookkeeping licensee program, visit the National Bookkeeping website, read their FAQs page or get in contact with their team to discuss the opportunities available in more detail.

Otherwise, if you have all the information you need and you’re ready to get started, register now at the National Bookkeeping website and begin your bookkeeping journey today!

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How much should a local bookkeeper charge?

What is a local bookkeeper worth?

I recently wrote a blog post about whether bookkeepers could also provide marketing services to their clients, which I also touched on in another recent post about starting a bookkeeping business and the need to be diverse in the services you offer as an independent contractor. While brainstorming with Ray from the Startup Academy about the services bookkeeper charge and the rates they can earn we discovered that there is a huge variety of services that a bookkeeper can offer and as a result their rates differ.

What does it take to be a registered BAS agentWith cloud-accounting software like Xero and MYOB using automatic bank feeds (also SAASU in their new announcement with Westpac), a lot of the data entry work involved in bookkeeping is reduced because bank statement entries can be automatically matched to transactions in the accounting software. What was once a time-consuming and sometimes complicated process has now become much simpler, and many business owners can manage the data entry themselves. What a business owner can’t do, however, is file their quarterly business activity statements (BAS) because a registered BAS agent must complete those.

Some local bookkeepers may have very low rates

It’s not uncommon for a local bookkeeper these days to charge between $16 and $20 an hour if they only provide data entry services and can complete the work from their home office. Registered BAS agents can charge a lot more than that because they have to go through rigorous training – which includes a certain number of hours supervised by an accountant – before they can be accredited to provide BAS services.

But what about bookkeepers who have a background more diverse than just accounting or finance? There are many bookkeepers who have held vastly different professions in vastly different industries before they started their own bookkeeping business.

Most new bookkeepers have diverse working histories

Since we started offering our MYOB training courses, we’ve found that many of our students initially wanted to know how to use MYOB so they could look after the accounts for their family business and then later decided to work full-time as a contract bookkeeper for a number of clients.

Most of these new bookkeepers previously had careers in sales or marketing prior to starting a bookkeeping business. By combining these skill sets, these simple bookkeeping businesses could offer turnkey business solutions to other small businesses, such as complete operations management services.

Turning modest hourly rates into sustainable wages

The price you charge for goods or services should always include GST.
The price you charge for goods or services should always include GST.

In doing so, what would have been a modest hourly rate as a bookkeeper, can be transformed into a sustainable wage that will support a whole family. For people of a career change, creating a full service business is the best way to make you more valuable to clients.

That’s why, when we partnered with National Bookkeeping, we said we’d offer our accounting and office productivity training courses as part of the licensee agreement because the more diverse and better skilled a business owner can be, the better chance they’ll have at succeeding in their business.

Possessing the skills you need to understand what’s involved in managing a small business is not only useful to your clients, it’s also useful to you; you’re also running a small business, after all.

Leverage your previous work experience in your new venture

Don’t estimate the value of your previous work experience. A background in marketing, for instance, means you understand consumer behaviours, your know how to package products or services so they’ll sell, and you have a strategic mind. These are invaluable skills to bring to any business, so leverage them.

Package your skills, whatever they may be, and develop a truly unique business offering that will help other businesses become more profitable, as well as your own. A full-service Small Business Operations and Management business, for instance, could easily charge their clients upwards of $65 an hour for one of their consultants (you) to manage the bookkeeping and other business operations for a client.

The demand is high for bookkeepers

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to use MYOB or Xero. Just take one of our MYOB or Xero courses, which teach you the fundamentals involved in managing a business’s books and then use your bookkeeping services as a way to get your foot in the door with clients.

As I mentioned in my post on starting a bookkeeping business every business has to file a tax return so it’s vital that they keep their bookkeeping up-to-date. Most businesses won’t think they need someone to manage the operations of their business, but they will concede they need a bookkeeper. It’s bookkeeping that will deliver the leads you need because it’s such a highly sought-after service.

Even though a local bookkeeper may only charge modest rates for their data entry services, a more far more experienced, diversified bookkeeping business – or full service operations management business – would earn significantly more for their services.

If you’re thinking of starting a bookkeeping business, you should consider becoming a licensee with National Bookkeeping, where you’ll receive access to EzyLearn’s Word. Excel, MYOB and Xero training courses, as well as any future ones. Alternatively, to learn more about starting a bookkeeping business or about working as a local bookkeeper, continue reading our blog.

Bookkeeping work and pay rates

By the way, if you want to take a look at the indicative pricing for certain types of bookkeeping/accounting tasks, read the Natbooks page about bookkeeping rates.

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Why Start a Bookkeeping Business?

Australia needs bookkeepers!

start a bookkeeping business
It can be daunting knowing where to get your first clients when you start your own business.

EVERY BUSINESS HAS A LEGAL requirement to file an annual tax return, and for some businesses, a quarterly or monthly business activity statement (BAS).

Accurate record keeping and data entry is a crucial component of filing both, and with the increasing number of start-ups and new small businesses in Australia, the demand for a good, reliable bookkeeper has been growing steadily.

People start their own businesses for a variety of reasons, but usually it’s because they need flexibility and want to do work that is rewarding.

For some people, starting their own business is the next natural step in their career – perhaps they’ve worked for many years as hairdresser in someone else’s salon; or worked for someone else as a chef or photographer or builder, and going out on their own just makes good career sense.

Bookkeeping: the low-risk, high reward business option

However, for many, the career path isn’t so clear, or they always may have seen themselves shackled to a job working for someone else. To them, starting a business always seemed like something that hinged on a really great idea or new invention, and in absence of either, it has remained out of their grasp.

But it’s not. Becoming a bookkeeper is an accessible, low-risk new business option for any self-motivated person with good computer skills. You don’t even have to love being a number cruncher to be a good bookkeeper, because most bookkeepers don’t do much number crunching these days anyway.

The multi-talented bookkeeper

With the rise of cloud-accounting software like Xero and MYOB Account Right Live, for which we offer online training courses in both platforms, most bookkeepers set up the bank feeds option for their clients, which automatically matches transactions in their bank account with the transactions in their accounting software. This eliminates much of the grunt work associated with the data entry aspect of bookkeeping, freeing the bookkeeper up to do other things for their clients (like BAS) or even pick up some extra clients.

Increasingly, though, and this is largely due to the number of new bookkeepers who don’t come from a finance or accounting background, many bookkeepers are diversifying in the services they offer by performing other functions within their clients’ businesses. This demand for multi-talented bookkeepers brings me back to what I was saying earlier in this post about the growing number of new small businesses.

With great demand, comes great opportunity

As more people start new businesses, which only looks set to increase over the next couple of years thanks to the many tax breaks included in this year’s federal budget, these businesses require more than a good, reliable bookkeeper; they also need web developers, content marketers, virtual assistants, operational managers, and the like.

Hiring several different contractors to manage each aspect of their business is not only costly – it’s also time consuming. Most business owners would rather hire just one or two contractors who have a broad base of skills – a bookkeeper with administration and operational experience or a content marketer with web design experience, for example.

Develop valuable business skills

A bookkeeper with business administration skills, which can be obtained by enrolling in our Small Business Management Course, is a valuable asset to any business — and it doesn’t mean you have to become a Jack (or Jill) of all trades.

EzyLearn is passionate about helping people start their own bookkeeping businesses, and to this end, we have worked to help develop National Bookkeeping, an Australia-wide network of Australian bookkeepers and registered BAS agents, which helps to match small businesses with a bookkeeping professional that meets their business needs. National Bookkeeping is now looking to expand its network by licensing its business to people who would like to start a bookkeeping business.

Becoming a National Bookkeeping Licensee

Ever since we started delivering our MYOB training courses online, and watched as other tools like Dropbox and WordPress and the many Google apps made it easier and easier for people work entirely from their home office, we’ve wanted to help people to start their own home-based bookkeeping business.

Finally that dream of ours has been realised with our partnership with National Bookkeeping. As part of the National Bookkeeping partnership, we’re offering our Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, MYOB and Xero Training Courses to National Bookkeeping licensees.

The reason for this is that we believe that continued learning and professional development is crucial for every business owner, especially if they want to stay ahead of trends and new developments in their industry and if you’re interested in becoming an independent contractor running a bookkeeping business from home then these software programs are essential.

Stay ahead of industry trends

Keeping up with industry developments is something we do as a matter of priority at EzyLearn because we want to be able to provide training courses that are relevant to the latest trends, which is why we’re busy working with some of the top digital marketers and strategists to develop our Content Marketing course.

When you become a National Bookkeeping licensee, you’ll have access to this Content Marketing training course as part of the small business marketing course which is available as an optional extra. This will help you market your services more effectively.

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lifelong learning platform woman online learning for lifeIf you would like to learn more about National Bookkeeping or becoming a licensee, visit the National Bookkeeping website or register your interest online. For more information on starting a bookkeeping business, continue reading our blog, which we constantly update with news and advice on starting a business.