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Bookkeeping Basics: Cash vs. Accrual Systems

Bookkeeping Basics apply to every cloud accounting platform: MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks (QBO)

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BOOKKEEPING IS THE PROCESS of keeping accurate records of the financial affairs of a business, and every business operating in Australia, whether it employs staff or whether it’s owned and operated by a single sole trader, must keep their bookkeeping up to date.

Bookkeeping plays a key role in the lodgement of your tax returns and business activity statements. It can also provide valuable information on the financial health and performance of your business.

The bookkeeping process for a business starts the very moment you begin trading, so it’s extremely important that you set up a system for managing your bookkeeping early in the life of your business — ideally, at the same time that you’re setting up your other operational systems (email accounts, websites, invoicing, etc). We’ve included bookkeeping basics videos in our MYOB training course for several years already but now these basics are part of a separate guide!

ezylearn-bookkeeping-basics-training-course-workbook-logo

If you’ve never been self-employed before, just the idea of setting up a bookkeeping system is probably enough to strike fear in your heart, which is why we put together a free guide to setting up your own bookkeeping system, called Bookkeeping Basics, which you can download, for free, from the EzyLearn website.

The Bookkeeping Basics guide is an instruction manual on basic features and terminology used in every bookkeeping system, and will provide you with some good foundation knowledge of how your accounting software works, which you can use before you enrol in one of our cloud accounting training courses or find a good bookkeeper to take care of your bookkeeping for you.

Bookkeeping Basics Topic: Understanding cash vs. accrual accounting

The main difference between cash and accrual accounting is the timing of when when revenue and expenses are recognised. Although, the two methods are distinctly different from each other, there are many businesses that use a combination of both.

Cash-based accounting

A cash-based accounting system records transactions at the time the cash was paid or received, regardless of when the transaction occurred. With this method, if you get an invoice from a supplier, for instance, you won’t record the cost in your books until you’ve paid the invoice. By the same token, you won’t record a sale in your books until you receive the money from your customer.

Cash accounting is common among small businesses, especially contractors who work on small projects or are on weekly retainers with their clients, as it’s the simplest way to manage cash flow.

Accrual-based accounting

An accrual accounting system, on the other hand, recognises both income and expenses when the sale takes place, rather than when cash changes hands. When a web designer, for example, raises an invoice for a website they’ve completed, the sale would be recorded in their books, even though they haven’t received payment yet.

With accrual accounting, debtors and creditors are created in your accounting software, which shows what is owing to you and when, as well as what you owe others and when. This helps to give you a truer picture of your financial situation, in particular it helps you keep track of money you do and don’t have in real-time, rather than after the fact as is the case with cash-based accounting.

Which system should you use?

Before cloud accounting software, like MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks came along, a lot of small businesses used a cash-based accounting system simply because the alternative required a lot of grunt work, a lot of the time. Cloud accounting has made it significantly easier to set up and maintain an accrual-based accounting system — in fact, many small businesses that use a cloud accounting system often use this method by default, without even realising.

That being said, there are some things to consider when selecting a system for your business, such as:

  • The size of your business — i.e., will you be employing staff or using lots of contractors?
  • How complicated your business transactions will be
  • Whether you will have the resources to manage an accrual system.

Accrual accounting and GST

There is one last thing to consider, and it relates to GST. For small businesses whose annual turnover is less than $2 million, but greater than $75,000 per annum, they must register for GST and they may choose whether or not to register on a cash or accrual basis. (Businesses with an annual turnover of less than $75,000 are not required to register for GST, but may do so if they wish to.)

How you choose to register for GST will greatly affect your business’s cash flow. If you choose to register for GST on an accrual basis, GST will be payable on sales for which payment hasn’t been received yet, and could leave you out of pocket until your client pays you. That being said, GST can be claimed on unpaid expenses if you hold a tax invoice. If your business has a lot of expenses, this may balance out in the wash. If you run a leaner operation, however, it most probably will not, so this is something you should give careful consideration to.

This blog post is part of our Bookkeeping Basics series, which are being published to complement our new educational guide, also titled Bookkeeping Basics, which you can download for free from the EzyLearn website.

[box type=”info”] This blog post is part of our Bookkeeping Basics series, which are being published to complement our new educational guide, also titled Bookkeeping Basics, which you can download for free from the EzyLearn website.[/box]

Featured Mandurah (WA) Bookkeeper

deb-crompton-bookkeeper-from-mandurah-wa-local-myob-and-xero-portrait-smlIf you’re looking for a reliable bookkeeper to manage your daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either remotely or in-person, Deb from Mandurah WA is a qualified bookkeeper with tertiary qualifications and the practical experience of having operated her own business in the past. Deb has a lot of experience in the day-to-day accounting functions of a small business and you can contact her directly as a fully licensed member from her profile page.

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently gone through a significant upgrade so watch out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs! Join and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

Start a bookkeeping business in your local area

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseMany bookkeepers starting a bookkeeping business for the first time also find it quite daunting; after all, they have moved from the corporate world where various and multifaceted aspects of running the business are managed by other people.

We put these bookkeepers through our EzyStartUp Course to help them define their goals, pricing strategies, marketing message and professional profile. They also get support from a business mentor and brand building from our digital marketing team.


 

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Is Xero really the easiest accounting software to use?

Xero was a market leader, but what do accountants think of it now?

xero cloud accounting software works on tablets phones and desktop computersWhen Xero was launched a few years ago, one of its selling points was that, compared with other accounting software – in particular, MYOB – Xero was incredibly easy to use, and it was also cloud-based, which meant you could access your accounts from any computer, any device, anywhere, anytime. This helped Xero to get a major foothold in the marketplace here in Australia, where MYOB had always reigned supreme.

But it wasn’t long before we started getting requests from bookkeepers and accountants for a Xero training course, in addition to our already existing MYOB training courses. It turned out that, as more businesses (tradies, for example) started using Xero because of its cloud functionality, their bookkeepers and accountants were finding that they needed training in some of Xero’s features and functions, despite Xero being billed as the easy alternative to MYOB.

Perhaps Xero isn’t that intuitive to use without a training course?

Since introducing our Xero training course, we’ve also noticed a significant upswing in enrolments, especially from bookkeepers, with many noting that the bank reconciliations and adjustments features in Xero are difficult to navigate. This got us wondering as to whether Xero really is that easy to use compared with MYOB, or whether it there might be an easier alternative out there, especially for small businesses managing all of their own accounts.

QuickBooks wants to be the small biz accounting software of choice

Since QuickBooks re-emerged in Australia, with full backing from their US-based parent company, Intuit, they’ve been cornering the small business market, with their inexpensive pricing plans and now by announcing a partnership deal with PayPal (paypal want you to be paid quicker) that enables a two-way flow of data between both QuickBooks and PayPal.

The QuickBooks-PayPal deal follows a similar union between Saasu and Westpac, which promises Saasu and Westpac customers with direct bank feeds to provide business owners with real-time insights into their cashflow. As one of the Big Four banks – and, quite often, the preferred bank for most Australian businesses – the union is hoped to give Saasu a leg up into the increasingly competitive cloud-accounting market, which saw the shuttering of the Australian-owned Reach Accounting earlier this year.

QuickBooks is well-placed to topple Xero

At more than half the price of Xero’s ‘standard’ plan (the starter plan at $25 per month is the most limited ‘starter’ plan I’ve seen), QuickBooks’s starter plan is already appealing to the money conscious small business owner; the PayPal deal only strengthens that.

Ever since PayPal spun off from eBay earlier this year, it’s been announcing new services that specifically target small business owners primarily doing business online – first by introducing inexpensive invoicing, card readers, and now by integrating with QuickBooks. As PayPal is the only online payment service operating in Australia, the two companies are now exceptionally placed to take the Australian small business market.

Perhaps losing the small business market isn’t a primary concern for Xero, which seems to be aligning itself to take the MYOB medium-sized business market, anyway. Regardless, QuickBooks is definitely a force to be reckoned with (forgive the pun) in the Australian cloud accounting space.

Join the wait list for our Quickbooks Online training course

We’re in the process of developing a QuickBooks training course, so if you’d like to register your interest to receive alerts and announcements about its progression, you can do so at our website. Alternatively, if you’re looking for training courses in either Xero or MYOB, you can enrol in either course online today and do your course over the Christmas and holiday season when you might have some time to do one while you reflect on your goals for 2016.

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Why Use a Bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping may be getting easier but do you really want to do it?

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

EVEN WITH THE LATEST accounting programs, like Xero and MYOB Account Right Live making it easier for small business owners to manage their bookkeeping themselves, a bookkeeper is still an invaluable asset to any business. (It’s also the truth that, as much as companies like Xero tell you they make it a cinch to do your own bookkeeping, online account-keeping software programs are still complex and time-consuming to learn to use properly.)

We wrote a post recently about why contract bookkeeping is a good business venture for people looking to start a low-risk business. 

Here we certainly addressed the reasons bookkeeping is a good professional pursuit, but now it’s time to look at the benefits hiring a bookkeeper has to a business owner.

A bookkeeper makes a good, legal sense

The most obvious benefit, of course, is that by having someone to take care of your bookkeeping it frees you up to concentrate on the aspect of your business that you’re best at. But aside from being a legal requirement for every business to keep accurate records, it also helps you to monitor how well your business is performing.

A bookkeeper will work on your bookkeeping every week or even a few times a week, depending on your business needs, enabling you to monitor your daily income and expenditure, and if your accounting software has bank feed enabled, you can monitor it in real-time, too. This is crucial for businesses with many expenses or running costs – businesses that purchase stock or employ staff, for instance – to be able to manage their cash flow.

Paying a bookkeeper can save you money

But having your bookkeeping kept up-to-date also has other benefits, particularly in relation to regulations such as when you need to register for GST, and so forth. Here are five more benefits to your business if you hire bookkeeper to look after your books:

  1. Keeps your tax bill down: Businesses that don’t have someone taking care of their bookkeeping end up spend more with their tax accountant, so it’s really false economy if you think you’re saving money by going without a bookkeeper. It also potentially costs you money in other aspects of your business too, as you’ll find out.
  2. Can manage invoicing: Sure, it’s super easy to invoice your customers and clients now that most good cloud-accounting programs have apps for smartphones and tablets, but there are still plenty of businesses that don’t use the accounting apps on their phones or tablets because of the complex nature of their business. A bookkeeper can take care of this.
  3. To take care of your payroll: When you hire employees or sub-contractors, you’re entering a whole new realm of business. There are superannuation contributions, payroll tax, and a heap of other regulations that bookkeepers have to stay up on, but you don’t.
  4. You’ll avoid ‘late’ penalties: The ATO takes late lodgments pretty seriously, and the penalty for the late lodgment of a BAS or tax return can be up to $850 for each late lodgment. If you’re consistently late lodging your BAS or tax returns, then a bookkeeper basically pays for itself, because unlike fines or penalties, which are not tax deductible, the services of a bookkeeper are.
  5. Chasing unpaid invoices: The reality of running a business, unfortunately, is that a lot of people you’ll do work for won’t pay you on time. Chasing unpaid invoices is a delicate and time-consuming process, particularly when it starts to affect your cash flow and prevents you from taking on more work – buying stock or supplies, for example. It’s always a good idea to separate the face of business from debt collection. It helps keep the client relationship warm and fuzzy, while cash continues to come in the door.

Now that cloud-accounting programs have made it more possible for bookkeepers to work from home and contract their services to many different clients, making it easier and more affordable for small businesses to retain a bookkeeper.

— EzyLearn is Behind a New Bookkeeping Initiative 

find a local bookkeeper

EzyLearn now features the National Bookkeeping Directory, a service which connects businesses owners with bookkeepers, based on their business needs or location. If you’re looking for a qualified, local bookkeeper to manage your books, visit the National Bookkeeping website.

Alternatively, if you’re thinking of starting your own bookkeeping business, National Bookkeeping is looking for smart entrepreneurs to become licensees.

National Bookkeeping provides full access to the entire suite of EzyLearn training courses, including our MYOB training courses and Small Business Management Course, in addition to providing help getting business leads. For more information, visit the National Bookkeeping website or read the FAQs page.


 

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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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Zoho Books, You don’t want to be a high risk do you?

There’s always Zoho Books

Zoho Books and Bank FeedsYou may have a different opinion when it comes to paying your suppliers but I believe you should pay quickly. I’m talking mainly about service providers rather that product suppliers, but I think in small business it doesn’t matter.

Everyone loves to be paid on time and if you can get paid earlier, even better. It once took me 16 minutes to pay a supplier – OK, I was making other payments at the time, but still, it looked impressive.

I mention it today because one of my team told me that I was categorised by their accounting software as “high risk” and I wasn’t too happy – they use Zoho Books and it’s been recommended around here to team members who are just starting their own businesses as independent consultants. When I delved a little deeper I discovered that they offer automated bank feeds.

Zoho Books + Bank Feeds = Faster Reconciliation

We’re written about Zoho Books in several different blog posts about their free version which is ideal for virtual assistants, Zoho’s huge range of other cloud based software tools, and their fantastic automated tools to help you get paid faster and this time I was fascinated to learn about their banks feeds.

Zoho uses a company called Yodlee to enable Zoho Books users to get their bank feeds and they boast that “Zoho Books does not store any of your bank login credentials.“. This is a comforting feature in the cloud accounting wars that have erupted since MYOB started facing stiff competition online against SAASU, Xero and Quickbooks.

bank feeds in Xero and MYOB for faster bank reconciliationI wrote about the time saving features of bank feeds and showcased some of the training videos in our online MYOB Training Course. If you are interested there are two free training videos to help you understand bank feeds in MYOB as an overview and how to setup bank feeds in MYOB.

I discovered a great article by “Cloud Commentator” Sholto Macpherson at his Digital First blog where he wrote about all the different perspectives of modern day bank feeds and the opinions of ICB, Accountants and the software companies themselves. If you’re interested it’s an interesting and objective read.

Zoho Books is in the Clouds

Either way you look at it, the new online cloud based accounting programs give you the power to work from anywhere, the tools to get paid faster and the connectivity to complete your bookkeeping in much less time.

We offer bookkeeping training in our MYOB Courses, Xero Courses and Reach Accounting so please enrol with us, take advantage of our lifetime course access feature and 30-Day money back guarantee.

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

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

Start a Computer Training Business

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

Start Your Own Bookkeeping or Digital Business

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

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

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

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

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

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

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

Click here to submit your review.


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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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Working For Free: Why You Should Give With No Expectations

There are benefits in working for free, on occasion, in small business.
There are benefits in working for free, on occasion, in small business.

In a recent post we talked about the times when businesses should work for free, which we referred to as ‘added value’. We cover value-related exercises, such as determining and setting your prices in the module of the same name in our Small Business Management Course. Sometimes working for no charge at all and outlining where this so (that’s important — people need to be informed that you’re doing something for nothing otherwise they mightn’t know!)  discourages hagglers and nuisance clients always looking for a discount at every opportunity.

At the Beginning, When Things Were Free…

It’s not uncommon to see companies offering their products or services for free when they’re first starting out or launching something new. When that company or product becomes more established, however, they tend to become less inclined to offer than service for free.

But every business should devote a certain percentage of their time to working for free, whether it’s each week or month or quarter — take the time to give.

Why Working for Free Works

Aside from doing something nice for the sake of doing something nice, which is valuable in its own way, there are a couple of reasons why working for free can be invaluable to your business:

  • Those who can afford it won’t accept your work for free, because they’ll want to call on you again. There is the perception that larger businesses get ahead by using smaller ones and not paying them, but this isn’t always so. Most businesses, if they can afford to pay you, will.
  • Those who can’t afford it will never forget you, and they’ll tell anyone who’ll listen about the work you did for them. You can’t buy this kind of good publicity for your business, and though not an entirely altruistic reason to work for free, it’s still a good one.
  • You’ll learn about yourself and your business. When you’ve been in business for a while, it’s because you’ve found a formula that’s proven successful in the past and you’ve continued to replicate it. When you work for free, there’s the opportunity to try things you haven’t done before, and the things you’ll learn will prove invaluable to you and your other customers.
  • You can be creative. As we’ve just said, you’ve been in business a while, you’re successful, you have money to pay for the quick, easy, mainstream fixes. When you’re working for people with a limited or no budget, you need to find other ways of doing things, and there’s no reason why you can’t take those ideas and use them in your business.
  • More than likely, you get to feel good about yourself. How you feel about yourself and your business and what you do is important. It’s the reason you get up in the morning, no?

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Believe it or not, in business, not everything needs to have a dollar value attached to it. Sometimes the only reason you need to give something to someone is for no reason at all. Find out more about how to set your fees and charges in your small business by reading up more about our Small Business Management Course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are You a Bookkeeper? Find Clients Online FOR FREE!

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

The hardest part about starting your own business is finding the first few clients. At EzyLearn, we love helping our MYOB training course students start their own bookkeeping business, but we’re even more passionate about helping you make that business a success.

The Value of Networking

The key to building your business and getting those first few clients is networking. You can network with other bookkeepers and especially accountants who may refer a few of their own clients to you (remember, teaching people how to use MYOB or any other bookkeeping software program takes away from their core work).

Many people shy away from the idea of networking, but it’s the key to any successful business and it’s something small business owners should do regularly. Fortunately, networking in the 21st century is a lot easier than it used to be. So join a meet-up group (or start one of your own) and be sure to use LinkedIn regularly and meaningfully.

The ICB

If you’re a member of an industry organisation, like the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), you should add your professional details to their Practice Directory. Membership to the ICB is strictly limited to bookkeepers who have completed a Cert IV in bookkeeping; if that’s not you, all it still not lost! As long as you have completed our lifetime access MYOB Training Course with the certificate, we’ll add your professional details to the MYOB Bookkeeper Directory for free.

The MYOB Bookkeeper Directory is designed to help businesses looking for MYOB bookkeepers locate one. So if you’ve completed our MYOB training course, and you’re looking for a way to get your name in front of prospective clients, contact us today about creating your professional profile.

Partnering Up and ‘Affiliating’

On a final note, you can also become an affiliation partner with us by referring and recommending people to our courses and gaining additional income. Remember, we don’t just offer MYOB, but also other cloud accounting courses like Xero and Reach. There’s also Microsoft Office training courses such as Excel and Word and Internet online training courses like WordPress and how to use Google Adwords — all included in our suite of products.

 

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The EzyLearn MYOB Course Community

At EzyLearn we offer a handful of online training courses: Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook), MYOB Accounting, and WordPress website design and blogging. There are many companies who promote courses online and that’s just what they do — promote courses online — but we try to be a little different.

Here’s why:

  • We offer only a handful of courses and we do them very well
  • Our courses come with LIFETIME Membership
  • As a student you receive fresh, new content without paying extra
  • Where possible, we provide real life exercise files so you can work with the software.

Our Online Community

Our experience with thousands of students has taught us that some students need more interaction than just the videos. They also like to bounce off other people to better understand the software they are learning.

That’s why we provide our Student Community and Tutor Support — to provide our students with the ability to communicate with fellow students, as well as ask questions of our experienced community moderators. It’s like having your own tutor that you can ask questions to who can provide quality answers based on their own experience in their relative industries.

Our students range from job seekers to small business owners and existing bookkeepers wanting to learn more, to accountants who may be thinking of leaving the corporate world and setting up a small business for themselves (or even seeking greater work-life balance).

Qualified Moderators

Our student support community is moderated by our MYOB Bookkeeper and Registered BAS agent, giving students the benefit of both communication with other course attendees (to socialise and to learn) as well as obtain answers to specific questions.

Annual Membership

Our Student Community and Tutor Support is provided on a yearly membership basis and you can continue or opt-out as you please each year. The service is available to existing EzyLearn students or new students enrolling into any one of our courses.

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Bumper Content: 10 Training Workbooks Included in our MYOB Courses!

With EzyLearn, in addition to the videos, you get over 200 pages of training information in our workbook.
With EzyLearn, in addition to the videos, you get over 200 pages of training information in our workbook.

When you’re selecting a training course provider, it’s important to consider the training material and resources you will need in order to complete the course. There are many online institutions that don’t provide any training material beyond the information available in their training videos or learning management system.

But EzyLearn is Different.

Because our MYOB training courses are like an induction to the role of a bookkeeper, we provide our students with workbooks and training resources to compliment the content in our training videos and online learning tools.

When you enrol in our MYOB training courses, you’re able to access 10 training workbooks, which include over 219 pages of training material and exercises that you can refer to while completing our online training courses.

Because our training workbooks are delivered in a downloadable format that you can print, you have access to our training material all the time, even when you don’t have an internet connection.

Our former MYOB students have found the training workbooks an invaluable training resource, particularly after they’ve completed their courses and they need a refresher on some of the more complicated aspects of the MYOB software.

In fact, many of our students continue to use our training workbooks to help them transition from student to MYOB bookkeeper even after they’ve graduated from our courses.

What’s In Our Workbooks

Our workbooks cover the following content:

  • Purchases
  • Inventory
  • Sales
  • Cards
  • Banking

There’s no better companion to the MYOB software than our training workbooks, so if you’re thinking of becoming an MYOB bookkeeper or just need help using the software for you business, enrol in our MYOB training courses today.

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Bookkeepers: Stand Out from the Crowd and Become ICB Certified

You'll stand out by becoming ICB certified and BAS registered.
You’ll stand out by becoming ICB certified and a registered BAS agent.

Many of the students who take our MYOB training course in order to start their own bookkeeping business wish to then become certified with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB).

How to Get ICB Stamp of Approval

Since 2006 the ICB has had a set of requirements bookkeepers must meet before they are permitted the ICB stamp of approval. Among these requirements – which also include possessing a Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) and personal indemnity insurance – all bookkeepers seeking to become certified with the ICB must possess a minimum of two years’ working experience.

For many bookkeepers starting out, getting that two years experience is a tough hurdle, particularly since the vast majority of bookkeepers in Australia are, according to General Manager of the ICB, Rick van Dyk, “independent sole traders”. “That’s why the ICB holds networking events at 59 locations around the country,” Rick says. “Because the best way to get the experience you need to become an ICB certified bookkeeper is to network with other bookkeepers.”

The ICB also holds online webinars each month, but Rick recommends attending networking events in person, because it provides you with more opportunity to network and get to know other bookkeepers.

Good Ways to Gain New Business

While it may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through in order to obtain membership to an organisation that’s voluntary, being an ICB certified bookkeeper does set you apart from the many other bookkeepers; it’s also a way of gaining new business, as the ICB is often the first port-of-call for many businesses looking for a contract bookkeeper.

But Rick van Dyk says that if your really want to stand out as a contract bookkeeper, become a registered BAS agent. “If you’re a contracting bookkeeper, you can look after a client’s data entry and do their reconciliation, but you’re not allowed to print any of the reports and advise your client on figures and so forth, as that contravenes the Act,”

Rick explains. There are currently about 9000 registered BAS agents in Australia, so there’s plenty of opportunity for bookkeepers to enter into this field by becoming a registered BAS agent with the Tax Practitioners Board.

Rick also offers this last piece of advice to budding bookkeepers-to-be: “Learn to use Excel; Excel still plays a very important part of the bookkeeper’s role, so it’s important bookkeepers know how to use it – fluently.”

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You can find more information about out MYOB course here or our Excel course here. Alternatively, if you’d like more information about becoming certified by the ICB, visit their website.

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Should Your Final Price Include GST?

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

We are constantly refreshing the content of our MYOB training course so that you can benefit from all the new information that is always coming in about being a bookkeeper, running your own bookkeeping business or doing the books for someone else’s business.

Pricing Your Services for GST

For bookkeepers and tax agents, GST is often one of the more confusing aspects of Australia tax. We cover GST reporting in our MYOB training course, but long before you come to doing financial reports, you need to ensure your clients are accurately collecting GST in the first place — something many new business owners have trouble with, and often do so incorrectly.

We were recently speaking about how business owners should price their services in relation to GST with Julie Guest, an accountant, auditor and the secretary of YNH Services, a neighbourhood house in the community of Yarrawonga, regional Victoria. YNH Services is a registered training organisation, providing learning and development opportunities to the local community through training courses, seminars and community events, and it’s where Julie regularly teaches a business course for small business and soon-to-be business owners.

When discussion turns to setting prices, invoicing and collecting GST, Julie has one golden rule: “The price is the price,” by which, she means that business owners, if they’re registered for GST, need to set their prices to automatically include the GST component.

Automatically Include the GST!

Julie says that the reason prices should always be inclusive of GST is because it is already implied. “People assume the final price on a tax invoice contains GST,” so business owners need to ensure that any prices they quote or advertise does, in fact, include GST.

But this is where a problem arises; when business owners who are registered for GST advertise their products or services as being exclusive of GST. “It seems people are using it as a marketing ploy to advertise something at $100 plus GST because it sounds cheaper than $110, even though that actually is the price,” Julie says. This can be confusing to the consumer when today it is really standard practice to purchase something, at the supermarket, for example, where GST is included in the price.

It’s for this reason that Julie goes back to her golden rule: the price is the price. If you’re registered for GST, you need to supply your clients and customers with a tax invoice — not an invoice which is what business that aren’t registered for GST would use — that shows the final price, including GST. If you choose to break down or itemise the GST on your invoice, that is your prerogative, though you don’t really have to. If you’re not registered for GST, issue your clients and customers with an invoice — notice the absence of the word “tax” since you’re not collecting any tax. It is also handy to include a note that says that you haven’t charged any GST, though, agin you don’t really have to do that either.

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For more information on our GST reporting click here, or for more information on the YNH neighbourhood house, visit their website here.

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Bank of Queensland not Using BankLink – and Others?

It appears not every bank is using BankLink.
It appears not every bank is using BankLink.

We wrote a post last year about a service called Bank Link, which we discovered is being used by a large number of accountants to reduce the amount of data entry involved in bookkeeping. Being that one of our most popular training courses is our MYOB training course and that many of our students are bookkeepers, we wondered what the bank link service would mean for the future of bookkeepers.

Bookkeepers Still Vital!

As it happens, we don’t believe that the BankLink service will make the role of the bookkeeper redundant, given that there is so much more to be being a bookkeeper than just data entry. In fact, we found that because BankLink eliminates much of the time-consuming data entry process, BankLink should be used by more bookkeepers.

Since the post on BankLink was published, however, we heard from one of our readers who told us that the Bank of Queensland does not provide credit card transactions data through BankLink. We thought this was unusual, so we decided to look into it a little further.

After doing a little digging, we discovered that BankLink is not available to be used with all banking institutions, and Bank of Queensland happens to be one of those institutions. We tried to contact the Bank of Queensland to find out if the BankLink service would be extended to their customers, however, we were unable to reach anyone able to give us any information as to if, and when, this service would be adopted.

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For bookkeepers, or small business owners, even, who are customers of the Bank of Queensland this means that you will still need to enter your credit card transactions into MYOB manually. If you are aware of any other banking institutions that do not provide credit card data though BankLink, we’d love to hear from you — let us know in the comment section below.