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Saasu, Westpac, St George Bank Can Help Reach Independent Contractor Clients

SAASU and the Big Four

SAASU online cloud accounting free trial and prices

Saasu recently announced a new partnership with Westpac bank to deliver direct bank feeds to Saasu and Westpac customers, including those with St George business accounts. Among the new features, the Westpac/Saasu partnership promises ‘real-time insight into cash-flow with online invoices, expenses, banking, budgets, payroll, inventory and financial reports.’

We’ve been following emerging trends in accounting software to ensure our training courses meet current market demands. It’s why, in addition to our flagship MYOB Training Courses, we offer training courses in Xero and are currently developing an Intuit Quickbooks Online Training Course.

As a St George customer, one of our team members was interested in what this new partnership would mean for Saasu customers, and even wondered whether it would be worthwhile making the switch from MYOB, given Saasu’s relatively cheap offering of cloud-accounting software.

SAASU could easily replace Reach Accounting

I recently wrote of the sad news of Reach Accounting software shutting down and there might be some good news for independent contractors who operate their own business. SAASU – a privately owned Australian company has a $15 per month plan aimed at helping small business manage their bookkeeping in the cloud with cheap accounting software.

Direct bank feeds without the use of third-party providers

What I discovered was promising. For Westpac customers, the partnership brings the ability for Saasu to provide direct bank feeds for free, without the use of a third-party provider, which so many other cloud-accounting platforms use – even MYOB utilises BankLink, for example. For non-Westpac customers, little will change in terms of bank feeds; Saasu will continue to utilise the services of Yodlee for bank feeds just like Xero and Zoho.

Bank feeds eliminate nearly all of the data entry associated with bookkeeping, and they’ve been a revolution for small business owners and bookkeepers alike. As the most time-consuming, yet crucial, part of the bookkeeping process, automatic bank feeds, which pull your bank transactions into your accounting software, allow BAS agents to get on with actually preparing a client’s BAS, while business owners have an up-to-date picture of what’s happening with their cash-flow as it’s happening.

Bank feeds are changing the role of the bookkeeper

Note that I’ve mentioned BAS agent, rather than bookkeeper. Technically, the BAS agent I’m talking about is a bookkeeper, but with bank feeds now pretty well commonplace among most cloud-accounting apps, there’s really no need for them to engage in that tedious data entry process, freeing them up to take on more clients and earn more money.

So will our team member be switching to Saasu? No, not just yet. The latest Westpac partnership is promising and our independent contractor certainly liked the pricing, but Saasu lacks one major feature that our independent contractor couldn’t live without: a mobile app, or at least a well-functioning one. The current Saasu app hasn’t been updated since 2011, and doesn’t work on an iPhone running IOS 5 or higher, so despite the volume of small businesses that invoice from the road (think: tradies), Saasu appears to have neglected it’s mobile properties.

Mobile is the future of cloud-accounting

MYOB has the MYOB OnTheGo app that businesses can use to check outstanding payments, create invoices, and even update customer records. The app allows users to manage their accounts when they have the time – like in the few minutes waiting to meet with a business associate for lunch, for instance – rather than forcing them to set aside large portions of their time to stay on top of their accounts, which is really why bank feeds and cloud-accounting have become so popular. Of course, MYOB isn’t the only company to offer a mobile app – Xero, Quickbooks, and Zoho all offer mobile apps to compliment their desktop offerings.

As for Saasu, they’re certainly the ones to watch. For what was once a nimble Aussie startup to have partnered with one of the big four banks, it shows that there’s a new frontier of cloud-account nearly upon us.

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Don’t Spend Tony Abbott’s Money Yet

Expense It Rather Than Depreciate It

Utility Vehicle for small business tax write off concessionsThe other week, we wrote a couple of blog posts, discussing the recent $5.5b worth of breaks [tax deductions for cars for small business] the government was throwing to Australian small businesses in the form of an immediate $20k tax write off for an unlimited number of asset purchases.

Tax breaks make it easier for people to start their own home-based businesses because the costs of setup are deducted from their total income and you only need to pay tax on the resulting net profit. As an example, a graduate of one of our MYOB training courses could deduct an unlimited number of asset purchases of computers, office furniture or company vehicles that they incur in the setting up of their home-based business, as long as they were each under $20k.

This is twenty times the amount small businesses were previously allowed to claim as an immediate tax deduction. Up until the budget announcement, any asset purchases, such as computers or cars or office furniture, costing more than $1000 were pooled together and depreciated over time. Here’s some information about how asset purchases and depreciation normally works (how to handle this in MYOB is included in our MYOB training courses)

Immediate tax deductions for purchases under $20k

Announced in the recent federal budget, small businesses with an annual turnover of under $2m will able to claim any asset purchase made between budget announcement night last week and June 30 2017 as an immediate tax deduction. But that doesn’t mean small businesses should go on a spending spree because, while the budget may have been very generous to small businesses, there were unpopular cuts to paid parental leave, along with changes to childcare subsidies.

The scariest thing about promises made by politicians is that they are announced to demonstrate how much a political party care, but the announcement is often just the first step in the ensuing process that any decision needs to go through before it becomes law.

What if the budget doesn’t pass through the senate?

This could be problematic if the budget fails to pass through the senate. Though it looks likely that Labor will support the small business tax breaks, they’re unlikely to support some of the other unpopular reforms, which makes banking on the tax breaks a bit dicey.

There’s every chance the terms of the tax breaks could be revised or that it possibly won’t even pass at all; there’s also a chance of a double dissolution, which has been lingering over Prime Minster Abbott’s head ever since last year’s disaster of a budget.

With such uncertainty around whether the budget will pass through the senate, it would be unwise for small businesses to make asset purchases above or beyond what they could reasonably have afforded before the tax breaks.

Don’t let the tax breaks influence your spending

Don’t go out and buy three top-of-the-range computers if you only need one. In fact, if you weren’t planning on spending many thousands of dollars on an asset purchase for your business (or new business), it’s still wise to shop smart and, if necessary, be frugal.

If you’re thinking of starting your own small or home-based business, we offer a number of online training courses to help you get your business idea off the ground, including a Small Business Management Course and training courses in MYOB. For more information, visit our website or continue reading our blog.

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Finally! Tax Deductions for Cars for Small Business Owners in the Federal Budget

Instant Tax Deduction, Just Add Money

invoicing small business
Here’s a carrot to start a new business and get instant tax deductions rather than deptreciation

In a recent post about subsidised childcare, I wrote about how the federal government has made it easier for families with one parent working at home to access subsidised childcare. In that post I also mentioned how much easier it is to start your own home-based business (for one, you’ve got all these marvelous training courses from EzyLearn to guide you on your way!) now than it was a few years ago.

But there’s some more good news for small business owners: the government also announced a raft of tax cuts and bonuses to the tune of $5.5b in this year’s federal budget, among them an unlimited number of tax deductions for buying cars, machinery or any other equipment valued under $20k each.

The government to inspire innovation

This is a huge increase to the previous amount small businesses were able to claim as tax deductions, which was a mere $1000 per item. Anything above that $1000 had to be depreciated via the decline in value process. Treasurer, Joe Hockey said the reason behind the tax breaks for small businesses was to encourage and inspire innovation in Australia, which has for years, suffered from a lull in home-grown innovation.

[quote]“This will be of enormous benefit to their bottom line and help businesses with their cash flow. It means innovation. It means jobs. It means more money to invest and grow your business,”[/quote] Mr Hockey told parliament in his budget speech.

For purchases over $20,000, they can also be claimed but will go into a pool to be depreciated; at 15 percent in the first income year and then 30 percent for each year after that.

But wait! There’s more: tax cuts and FBT allowances

Small businesses will also enjoy a tax cut of 2.5 percent for the 780,000 small companies with an annual turnover of fewer than $2 million, while sole traders will get a 5 percent tax cut, capped at $1,000.

Small businesses that give their employees more than one work-related portable electronic device (tablets and laptops, for example) will also be eligible for a fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemption from April 1st 2016. This could prove to be a big motivator for small businesses that would like to see more of their employees working remotely from home or while they’re out on the road.

If you’re already in business and you’ve been thinking about upgrading that PC or company car, if you do it before June 30 this year, you’ll be able to claim it as a tax deduction for this financial year. The same goes for those of you who may have been thinking about starting your own small business, be it a home-based one or otherwise – any of those capital purchases you may need to make to get your business off the ground can be immediately claimed as a tax deduction so long as they’re under $20k.

For now, though, you can still get yourself skilled in MYOB before you start your business and claim it as a tax deduction by taking one of our online MYOB training courses, which give you access to ALL MYOB Training Courses for 12 months or LIFETIME access. Or for more on starting a home-based business, subscribe to our blog or browse the many training courses on our website.

Oh, and Did I Mention The Bookkeeping Business Opportunity?

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseI hinted at the 30 day money back guarantee that we now offer for the Bookkeeeping Business Opportunity, but you’ll be thrilled to hear that we will shortly also be announcing the inclusion of all of our software training courses!

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Good news (childcare subsidies) in this year’s budget for mums working at home

Childcare Subsidies for Home Based Businesses

work from home businessIn the federal government budget for 2015/16 the changes included bonuses for small businesses and cuts to daycare subsidies for stay-at-home parents who still send their kids to daycare. The reforms will mean that for families with an income above $65,000 a year, they’ll no longer have access to childcare subsidies if one parent is not working. For families with an income under $65,000 a year, they’ll be limited to twelve hours of childcare a week, unless both parents are in work or study.

What this mean for mums who want to work from home

Well, the good news is that for families where both parents work, they’ll be able to access 24 hours of subsidised childcare each week. That’s regardless of where your employment is; if you’re employed and you’re paying taxes, then you’re entitled to access the childcare subsidy.

For mums (or dads) who need flexibility in their employment so they can still meet the kids at the school gate or take care of them when they’re sick, the reforms to childcare subsidies offer that flexibility.

We’ve written posts about the many benefits of working from home on the EzyLearn blog before, and it’s why our MYOB training courses became so popular. A lot of parents want the flexibility of working from home and decided that the best way to do it was to work for their husband or partner’s business doing the books.

Working from home is easier and more popular

In the last few years, a lot of things have changed. Working from home has become more prevalent as workplaces have downsized and the job market has contracted; the rise of online tools like Dropbox have made it easier for people to telework effectively and efficiently, and we partnered with The Australian Small Business Centre to deliver a Small Business Management Course.

There are now virtually no barriers to starting your own home-based business, regardless of the industry or profession you choose. Just take a look at the number of networking groups now on Meetup, where nearly every member is a home-based office worker or self-employed. And the government just made it a whole lot easier for families with one parent at home to start a home-based business and have the distraction-free time they need to get their work done, too.

If you’ve been thinking of starting your own home-based business or becoming an independent contractor, EzyLearn offers a number of training courses to give you the skills you need to get started, including a new course on content marketing, which is a huge growth area, requiring many skilled, Australian writers, and will be the subject of another blog post soon.

For now, though, learn more about content marketing on our website or by reading our blog and stay tuned for some fantastic news very soon about the new updated offer for anyone interested in starting a bookkeeping business! We’re going to extend our 30 Day money back guarantee for this too!

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The Power of the Homegrown Australian Business

When ‘Aussie’ is a gold winner

Reach Accounting free course from EzyLearnIN ADDITION TO OUR MYOB and Xero online training courses, we also offer an online training course in Reach Accounting, the cloud-accounting software by Aussie-owned company, Net Registry.

Not many people are aware of this, and I’ve been quite remiss when it comes to talking about it on this blog. In fact, I’ve spent more time talking about Zoho and QuickBooks recently, than I have spent time talking about Reach.

This is partly because I’ve been quite interested to see how QuickBooks has been resurrected by it’s American-owned parent company, Intuit, as it attempts to take on Xero and MYOB in the Australian marketplace again.

Zoho is both comprehensive and cheap

My interest in Zoho, meanwhile, stems from one of my contractors, who uses Zoho Books to manage her business accounts; she was telling me about Zoho’s many features, and I surprised to learn just how comprehensive the Zoho Books software is for such a low price.

Zoho and QuickBooks are both positioning themselves as low-cost accounting packages to appeal to the substantial small business market in Australia, but there’s just one thing they can’t compete with Reach Accounting on, and that’s ‘Australianness’.

Reach Accounting is an Australian owned and operated business, and as the owner of an Australian owned and operated business, I like to support other Australians in their business ventures. Reach Accounting focus their accounting software towards people who start a business as a website designer.

Why it’s harder for Aussie businesses to compete

I’m always saddened when I hear of Australian businesses being sold to overseas conglomerates, which take the Aussie jobs back overseas with them, where the wages and materials are cheaper. It makes it all the more difficult to compete for customers in the Australian marketplace when your once-Australian competitor is now producing products or services at a much lower price at their offshore headquarters.

It’s also difficult to compete with the increasing number of overseas-owned businesses entering the fray, now that the Internet has unlocked a global marketplace. What many Australian businesses don’t realise, however, is that they possess a power those overseas businesses don’t: they speak Aussie.

Whether you’re a home-based bookkeeper or virtual assistant, one of your greatest assets is that you’re an Australian and that means you have a deep understanding of what it means to be Australian – from the accent to the vernacular, you get it.

The power of ‘G’day’

It’s also a lot easier to call an Australian company than it is to call an overseas one. My Zoho Books-using contractor was telling me of a complex situation she was experiencing with her account. Unfortunately, the nearest customer service office she could call was located in China, so she had to email.

Several confused emails later, she finally realised what had happened with her account, and managed to resolve the issue herself. She later told me: “It’s a good thing I studied semiotics at university, because deciphering those emails was like trying to interpret hieroglyphics.”

I suddenly thought about Reach Accounting, which is based in the Inner Sydney suburb of Ultimo. For the same price as Zoho Books – possibly even cheaper now, thanks to the fluctuating Aussie dollar – it would have been much easier to say “G’day” to one of the guys at Reach than it was to email China or India or Japan or wherever in the world Zoho’s customer service offices are based.

Don’t be afraid to say “G’day”

As an Australian business, don’t hide your Australianness from view. Wear it proudly, because it makes a big difference to customers trying to decide between your company and the multinational after their business.

For more information on any of our cloud-accounting courses, visit our website.

Become a Virtual Assistant and Start a Business

start a bookkeeping business
Business Opportunities for Ordinary People

While we are on the topic I want to mention our StartUp Academy because we are planning some fantastic ways of helping ordinary people start a business in 2015.

We’re using a combination of our Small Business Management Course and business opportunities from established companies who want to find people who can work from home and sell and support their products.

We’re also using our Small Business Management course to help our existing students start businesses using the skills they learn in their EzyLearn course – namely MYOB and WordPress. If you’re interested in starting a bookkeeping business read on about National Bookkeeping.

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Smart TV Guy Has Feet Planted Firmly In Cloud Accounting

Smart TV Installation & Cloud Accounting Guy

As smart devices and cloud-based apps have become more popular, I’ve started to see more and more tradies using their iPhones and iPads to handle their paperwork, a task traditionally left to the wee hours of the evening – or to their wives and partners!

Now, with cloud-based accounting software like Xero and a number of other great mobile apps, tradies can quote, invoice, and even take payments for work right from their smart phones and tablet devices.

Streamlined business processes with cloud accounting

I met Ken Burrows from Love My Home Theatre, a home theatre installation, TV installation and plasma wall mounting business based in Sydney recently, when he was installing a new home theatre system for some friends, and I was taken with how streamlined his entire business processes were.

Everything – from the quote through to payment – is performed entirely online, using a couple of different apps, including Xero which is used to maintain the business’s accounts. In the video you can Watch Ken talk about how he uses cloud-based apps in his business to streamline his business processes, and make him more efficient and I think it helps 1 business owner do the work of more than 1 person – perhaps he can use more people in marketing..

EzyLearn offers a number of cloud accounting training courses, including our flagship MYOB training course, as well as training courses in Xero and Reach Accounting.

Share your cloud accounting story

start a bookkeeping business
Business Opportunities for Ordinary People

We’ll soon be running meetups for our startup academy in these locations.

  • Brookvale
  • Hornsby
  • Epping
  • Chatswood
  • Parramatta
  • Blacktown
  • Penrith
  • Bankstown
  • Liverpool
  • Campbelltown
  • Sutherland
  • Hurstville
  • Randwick

If you want to come along and share your story or learn more about the StartUp Opportunities for ordinary people, make sure you subscribe to this blog to keep up-to-date.

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Xero: The Tradies Choice for Accounting Software

Xero and tradies

Rohan the painter tradie uses xeroI once wrote a post about Xero and whether it had the potential to strip MYOB of its crown as the market leader in accounting software, and I’m starting to think that maybe it will.

I spoke with a couple of tradies recently, and they’re both using Xero rather than MYOB because of its functionality and the way it ties in nicely with other cloud-based apps, allowing them to spend less time in the office and more time on the road.

EzyLearn added Xero training courses to our already existing suite of MYOB training courses a little while back after it became clear that it was a major player in the cloud-accounting space. When Xero first hit the market, though, many people thought it was unlikely to have any major impact on MYOB’s marketshare (just as QuickBooks had failed to in the past), given MYOB’s long-standing relationship with accountants.

Xero perfect for tradies on the go

What most people overlooked, though, was that Xero was undeniably easy to use. Coupled with its flexible delivery – it was one of the first cloud-based accounting programs supported with mobile apps – it became an appealing option for many small business owners who previously found MYOB too difficult or time-consuming for day-to-day use.

Rohan Calvert, the director of Men in White, a Sydney-based painting company, is one those small business owners. He had been using MYOB to manage his business’s accounts for ten years, but decided it was time he moved his accounts into the cloud. After initially looking to upgrade to MYOB Account Right Live, Rohan opted to make the switch to Xero, instead.

Xero interview with a painter

Here’s what he had to say about Xero in the cloud:

EzyLearn: What features of Xero do you find most useful for your business?

Rohan: For me, the best thing about Xero is that there is a direct bank feed, so my [Xero] dashboard will show my bank balance alongside the balance in Xero, which makes reconciling [his accounts] very easy. I don’t use the mobile app very much – the functionality isn’t there for me yet. Instead I use the web version on my laptop. My office is basicallymy laptop – I have a laptop stand in the passenger seat of my car. With Xero, I can do payroll and issue invoices while I’m sitting in the parked car.

EzyLearn: How is Xero’s cloud-based software better for your business, compared to the older versions of MYOB you had used previously?

Rohan: I have a business coach in the US and we can look at my financials in real-time while we’re talking on Facetime. I have put a lot of work into simplifying and understanding my bookkeeping and with Xero my reports are accurate and tell me exactly how I’m going, and all in real-time. Previously, when I used MYOB, the financial reports were meaningless and my bookkeeper had to print them out and edit a spreadsheet, resulting in a lot of double handling.

EzyLearn: What do you like most about Xero?

Firstly, it is elegant and intuitive; secondly, it comes from New Zealand!

For more information on our Xero training courses, you can visit our website or, alternatively, click here to enrol online.

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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. Continue reading Get Paid Faster Using Your Mobile Phone!

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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. Continue reading Thanks For Loving 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:

Continue reading Getting the Accreditation You Need for MYOB and Bookkeeping

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Is QuickBooks Taking on MYOB Online?

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. Continue reading Is QuickBooks Taking on MYOB Online?

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So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are strong-minded individuals – but we’ve found there are at least 5 other qualities they tend to possess that leads to their business success.

In running our Small Business Management Course and MYOB Training Courses, one of most common reasons we find that people want to start their own businesses is to be their own boss and work remotely from home.

This is a perfectly understandable sentiment — but it’s not necessarily conducive to making a small business work.

Entrepreneurs are known to be people who manage starting up and/or bringing to fruition their own businesses and ventures, but entrepreneurs are a certain breed and as many find out the hard way, self-employment is not for everyone. Continue reading So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

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Do You Get Other People to Talk You Up?

referral marketing
Using your clients to refer you is a great way to generate new business.

Marketing and referrals are essential components of any successful business. We cover marketing in the Marketing Action Plan and Undertake Marketing Activities of our Small Business Management Course, where we talk about the ways you can market your business to get those first few customers.

Referral marketing is a great way to gain new customers, and involves encouraging your existing client base to promote your business and its services.

Continue reading Do You Get Other People to Talk You Up?

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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. Continue reading Does Your Bookkeeper Have a Clue?

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Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

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

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

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

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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 forced them 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. Continue reading Will Xero Dethrone MYOB as the King of Accounting Software?