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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.

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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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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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. 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.

The Qualities of Entrepreneurs

Mental Fortitude

Even just having a brilliant idea and passion isn’t quite enough — although they’re two fantastic qualities to get you off to a flying start. To start your own business you need to be mentally strong so you can face the various disappointments that sometimes come with self-employment and come out the other side.

We have found in our experience that mental fortitude seems to go hand in glove with 5 other qualities possessed by successful entrepreneurs:

1. You don’t waste time with self-pity: entrepreneurs don’t have the time to waste feeling sorry for themselves when something doesn’t work out the way they hoped — they emerge from trying situations with self-awareness and gratitude and soldier on even after a failure. Indeed, I’ve heard one successful entrepreneur say that in order to attain his successes, he probably first failed more than anyone he knows.

2. You don’t give away your power: entrepreneurs avoid spending time with people who make them feel inferior because they understand they’re in control of their actions and know that their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3. You’re excited by change: entrepreneurs embrace change — and in some cases, even seek it out. In fact, becoming complacent is probably one of their biggest fears and so they seek out new challenges regularly.

4. You don’t make the same mistakes over and over: a good entrepreneur takes full responsibility for past behaviour and is willing to learn from mistakes. They don’t repeat the same actions, hoping for a different result.

5. You know the world doesn’t owe you anything: So the economy is bad — that doesn’t mean anyone owes you anything, least of all a living. Entrepreneurs know this; they know that their success is entirely dependent on their drive, ambition and motivation to do well in their lives and careers.

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So do you feel you have what’s needed to take the plunge and start running your own, or someone else’s, small business? Perhaps you believe you have the mental strength to succeed in your own venture but could do with some more direction by others who have proved they have what it takes to launch and maintain successful businesses of their own?

Then take a look at our Small Business Management Course — it takes you through every aspect of managing a small business and introduces you to successful entrepreneurs and like-minded business people: invaluable resources for seeing to it that you can truly succeed in your own small business. What are you waiting for!

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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.

A lot people do this already without even knowing it – when they like your Facebook page, retweet one of your tweets, or recommend your services to their friends, for example.

Blogging and Getting Referrals

Having and maintaining a blog is one of the best ways to get people talking about your business. The more you write about topics that are relevant to your readers, the more likely they are to refer you to their friends and colleagues – just as we’re doing right now!

Referrals Via Social Media

In the last few years, social media has come to replace some of the ways we communicate with our customers – or at least the way we keep in touch with them.

Using social media platforms like LinkedIn is another fantastic way to not only stay in touch with your clients, but to also promote your skills as a business owner at the same time.

LinkedIn is your online CV that represents you, the business owner. It shows prospective clients how well-skilled you are to carry out work for them.

But it also allows your current clients to see what you’ve been up to, and for this reason, it’s a powerful marketing tool.

We’ve written about some of the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn previously, but one of the most important things to remember about LinkedIn is that, even though it is a social media platform that can be changed or updated whenever you like, you should still keep your profile as professional and consistent as possible.

Referral Marketing and Networking Events

So far we’ve talked a lot about the virtual world – but what about the real world? Going to networking events is one of the best ways you can connect with other business owners, who are looking to connect with you too.

Join meet-up and get amongst it with other business owners in your local area – you’d be surprised how many people didn’t know that it was your business they were looking for!

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Referral marketing is an exceptionally powerful marketing tool, providing it’s done right. Make it one of your daily goals to always devote some time to maintaining your referral marketing activities. So whether it’s your blog or social media feed, spend a few minutes each day getting others to talk about your business. Find out more about our comprehensive Small Business Management Course.

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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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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 are now using Xero instead of MYOB so it’s important for bookkeepers to be trained in this.

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.

Upskilling to Xero

We developed a Xero training course for bookkeepers who’d like to add another skill to their CV, or for business owners looking for an alternative to MYOB. Like MYOB, you can add bank feeds to your Xero package, something that  is very popular because it saves you time and money.

Here, Xero Certified Advisor, Jacci Quinlivan, talks us through setting up the bank feeds function in Xero:

“Automatic Bank Feeds are becoming increasingly common and if you are using Xero, it has never been so easy to automate them and make your data processing even easier.

When you are initially setting up your bank account details in Xero, the program will automatically tell you if your bank has the availability to get live data feeds (most banks are Xero partners these days). This involves pre-populating a form with your bank account information and sending it off to Xero’s bank feeds department (a scanned, emailed copy does usually suffice).  The turnaround time from when you email or post the form usually takes between 7-10 working days.

You will receive an email from Xero once this has been completed and your data feeds will automatically sync with your bank. There is now no more uploading manual bank statements and the like from the new processed date. If your accounts aren’t quite in sync there may be a variety of things to check from the accuracy of your opening balances, or maybe you had missed a few transactions when you were manually importing them.

If you need to go back with your data feeds you may need to do this manually as a once off until you reach your current live bank feed date. This will involve you obtaining your banking history in a CSV format (OFX and QIF is fine), ensuring the columns are in the correct format and uploading to your Xero AIS. This may seem daunting, especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of transactions to reconcile, but by using the “cash coding” tab within your program, this can be done much quicker than imagined.”

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We cover setting up bank feeds along with many other aspects to get you working proficiently in Xero in our online Xero Training Course.

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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.