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Performing Weekly Reconciliations in Xero

Why it Pays to do Regular Bank Reconciliations

bank reconciliations weekly
Doing regular weekly bank reconciliations will help avoid confusion or errors later on.

In our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries Course, you’ll learn how to carry out each step in the reconciliation process, in particular how to set up bank feeds. Bank feeds are an important function that allows transactions on your linked bank account or credit card to automatically show up in Xero, so you (or your bookkeeper) don’t have to spend time entering the details from scratch.

Both contract bookkeepers working from home or employees working remotely or in the office can log in and perform bank recs using bank feed data. Continue reading Performing Weekly Reconciliations in Xero

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How Bank Feeds Save Time and Money

Making Light Work out of Bank Reconciliations

Xero bank feeds
Incorporating Xero bank feeds will save you time, money and stress.

Cloud accounting software’s greatest innovation was not putting the software in the cloud; it was introducing bank feeds. You’ll learn how to set up bank feeds in the latest version of Xero in our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries course. For now however, we’re going to explain why you should — whether you’re a business owner doing your own bookkeeping or whether you’re a bookkeeper employed to do it for your clients — be using bank feeds.

Bank feeds in brief

A bank feed is an automatically created list of the transactions (spent and received) in your bank account that is imported into your Xero accounting software. For this to occur, you have to give Xero permission to access your account. Some people feel funny about this, but bank feeds have been around for so long now that, just like online shopping, there’s really nothing to worry about. I won’t go into how the technology works, but I will say that no one looks at your account data; you’re just allowing the free flow of information between your bank and Xero.

Direct bank feeds save time (and indirectly, money)

There was a time when you or your bookkeeper had to wait until your bank statement arrived before any transactions could be reconciled in your accounting software, usually at the end of the month. For businesses with a lot of transactions, either in the form of receivables or payables or both, reconciling a month’s worth is a finicky job that’s prone to errors.

With bank feeds, transactions will show up in your accounting software as soon as the payment leaves your account or credit card. If you (or your bookkeeper) get in the habit of reconciling your account on a daily, twice weekly or weekly basis, it makes it easier to accurately code each transaction because you’re only dealing with a few at a time. This results in fewer errors and fewer hours spent fixing them, and that saves money (read: time = money).

The Xero online courses we offer

Xero online training course bank feedsBank feeds are an important aspect of reconciling your (or your client’s) accounts. Our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries Course covers setting up bank feeds, plus much much more. Alternatively, to take it back a step, you can learn about invoicing, credits and reporting in our Xero Day-to-Day Transactions Course.

Using an old version of Xero?

You might like to read this prior post we wrote explaining how you can add bank links on an older version of Xero or enrol for our Xero courses here.

 

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MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks: Which Suits Your Business Best?

Which is the Pick of the Bunch?

xero myob or quickbooks which is best
It’s a competitive accounting software market place out there … which is the pick of the bunch for you?

IN A PREVIOUS POST, we highlighted some of the biggest differences between QuickBooks and MYOB

However Xero is also a serious competitor to MYOB (and QuickBooks to a lesser degree).

So let’s take a look at the different capabilities of each accounting application and the kinds of businesses they best suit.

Continue reading MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks: Which Suits Your Business Best?

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Reckon One or MYOB?

Just What Do We Reckon?

find-a-good-bookkeeper
Reckon One was the original distributor of QuickBooks.

Not so long ago, we looked at the major differences between MYOB and QuickBooks. We also explored some of the other benefits of Quickbook more generally over MYOB, but Reckon One, which used to distribute QuickBooks in Australia before striking out on their own with their cloud accounting software, is also becoming a major player in the cloud accounting space for small businesses.

We thought we would take a look at how Reckon One stacks up compared with MYOB, which is still the market leader in Australia and the mostly widely used account software application among accountants.   

Reports

The reporting functions in Reckon One are extremely powerful. This is true of MYOB, as well, but with one major difference: Reckon One has the ability to customise and save the reports you’d like to run. This is a big time-saver, as it renders all your reports just one click away, rather than several. If you’re using a bookkeeper, they’ll be able to run your reports for you the first time, and then you’ll be able to go in and generate them as often as you like afterwards.

Payroll

Both products offer a very good payroll system for businesses that need it (Reckon One, at the time of writing, charges an additional $3/month to turn this feature on), while unlimited payroll comes standard with the MYOB Essentials Unlimited Payroll plan. Both products are also SuperStream Compliant, so if you’re looking for a stable, yet flexible, payroll system, either products are a good choice. Of course, depending on your business’s other needs, you may lean more toward the cheaper Reckon One option.

User Experience

MYOB AccountRight, even to this day, looks dated. The MYOB Essentials platform, however, has a much cleaner interface, as does Reckon One. The product you choose will depend on the size and needs of your business, the features you require, and who will, primarily, be using the software. MYOB is famously more difficult to use compared with Xero, QuickBooks or virtually any other accounting software. Indeed, everything you can do in Reckon One takes about three or four more clicks to perform in MYOB, so, again, it’s a matter of personal choice. There are many Apple users who can’t understand why people still use IBM computers, just as there are many IBM users who can’t understand why people use Apple products.

In selecting a cloud accounting package for your business, remember not to choose solely based on price. Make a list of the needs of your business and the functions you’ll require, and then select the accounting package that suits your needs the most. It’s also a good idea to speak with your bookkeeper before making a choice. 

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Right now, for a limited time, we’re offering over $300 off a number of our online courses — we also have new great courses in QuickBooks online daily transactions and, if you’ve ever struggled with filling in a timeline of posts on social media, or you want to start promoting yourself or your business in social media, try our Digital Business and Social Media Marketing Courses.

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Is MYOB really a CRM and which CRMs are best for people in sales?

CRM = Customer Relationship Management

THE PURPOSE OF HAVING a CRM is so that when you call one of your clients or prospects, you know everything about them and can start a conversation based on what they’re looking for — their needs.

This might seem a little strange when you think about it because you could be out of date with your info (say you’ve entered old information on this particular client) but, casting this quibble aside, CRM’s are generally a terrific way to provide excellent customer service, on a consistent basis, and this is often the competitive edge that will you need to stay in business. (I’ve written a little comparison of real estate agent CRM’s but I wanted to add a couple other ones to the mix for good measure.)

Accounting Software and CRMs

Cloud CRMs that integrate with MYOB AccountRight - online training coursesIn the early days, MYOB used every aspect of their software to sell itself to small business clients.

The fact that the software enabled business to keep contact details and search for past orders was a good reason to call the software a CRM.

However, times have moved on and even with powerful and well known CRM brands like Salesforce, there seems to be dozens of CRM providers to choose from, with prices ranging from $15 per month/ per seat to over $150! In fact if you head over to MYOB’s Add-On Centre you’ll find plenty of CRM’s that now integrate with their software.

We are now entering the integration phase of software development – which cloud-based services integrate with other services you’re using – and we wrote an article at the beginning of the year about a home appliances technician who uses accounting software integrations on his tablet to run an efficient and profitable little business.

Real Estate Agent CRM’s

best-real-estate-agent-crmsOne thing that has become apparent to our team lately (we’re working on social media marketing for real estate agents) is the difference in mindset between bookkeepers and real estate agents and if you think about it for a second it makes sense.

Bookkeepers are usually people who just want to get themselves into their work and sort out the financial and accounting details whereas real estate agents want to find big shiny things to sell and earn a commission based income.

It’s the classic back office versus front office personality style, the salesy and bold vs the unassuming and detailed office admin person.

The thing that real estate agents are looking for in a CRM are:

  • Quick and Easy contact detail collection (do it once and get all the data) – ideally at open homes
  • Automated categorisation of contact (Who’s keen and what are they looking for) – often defined by the type of property they enquire about
  • Constant messages pinging prospects with their brand (like weekly emails about their open homes this weekend)
  • Great reporting to see what works (so they can repeat it) – like how many emails sent, calls, open homes etc

The relationship with a real estate agent is often brief and very intense because property owners (vendors) will be speaking sometimes every day with their sales agent to see how the selling process is going. With property marketing campaigns in the capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne only lasting a couple weeks in some instances there is a massive amount of information to be collected yet the reporting needs to be simple.

My Preference for CRMs is Simple

zoho-crm and cloud based integrationAlthough I’ve had some exposure to Salesforce when I originally spoke to that company (many years ago and much has probably changed) they only offered yearly plans (but showed them as a low monthly fee) and the upfront cost was too high so I didn’t go down that path.

Instead I found some great nimble tech startups (at the time, now they’re quite a bit bigger) who offered software that did all the basics very well and offered normal cloud-based pricing ie. low monthly fees: Zoho CRM and HighRiseHQ

I found that these two programs did many useful things. They:

  • enabled me to integrate with our form collections (no need for double entry)
  • gave me the ability to very easily make comments every time I spoke with them
  • integrated with my email marketing software
  • enabled me to use tags to categorise and find contacts
  • offered a low monthly cost!

The Dark Horse in Real Estate CRM’s is CreataCRM

CreataCRM integrates with MYOB Cloud and is used by top performing McGrath real estate agentsI had the pleasure of meeting Reece, the managing director of CreataCRM, at Cebit 2016 and was amazed I’d never heard of this company before.

When I took a look at their software I was blown away – here is an Australian based software developer who has worked with some of the top performing McGrath real estate agents to build a complete and thorough cloud-based CRM with all the integrations you could ask for, including:

  • MYOB AccountRight (live and even the old v19)
  • Xero
  • VoIP telephony
  • Email broadcasting
  • Workflow Automation

The most amazing part about their software is that it costs just $11 per user per month! Now that is a lot of software and a VERY low price. I’m thrilled to be able to share this information with you because here is a company with a great product that focus more on their product development and software features and less on making themselves look big and flashy.

If you have had any experiences with CRM’s I’d love to hear from you and add further depth to our conversation and study into CRM’s.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design). 


 

 

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MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks Beat Reach and What About Your Data?

Be Wary of Small Accounting Software Companies

MYOB Training Courses Online
MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks Beat Reach

Reach Accounting ceased operating in April 2015 [RIP Reach], after only four short years operating in the cloud-accounting space. When it launched, and Net Registry bought a 50 percent stake in the company, it was billed as the Gmail of accounting software for Australian small businesses.

Net Registry actively sought out small business owners, sole traders particularly, and if they were existing Net Registry customers, offered the Reach Software to the for free for the first two years; for any non-Net Registry customers, the software cost just $14.95.

But Reach Accounting is one of many online accounting programs which now compete with each other globally for small business clients.

I wrote earlier about an accounting program called Wave Accounting which is free for most bookkeeping features until you get into the more advanced features like merchant services and payroll.

We’ve always maintained a commitment to MYOB and our MYOB Training Courses because as a large company they have a wide client base and the money to invest in their software when industries go through change like we’ve seen in cloud accounting.

Reach was the cheap option for sole traders

Its small price tag made it a highly attractive option for small business owners who really only needed the invoicing, estimates, and expenses side of an accounting package, but with Reach could have the whole dog and pony show for very little.

In 2011 when it launched this was a huge drawcard. At the time, there were few other offerings available for less than the cost of Xero, which started at $25 a month, for a very limited offering. Now, however, there are at least three other players all vying for the same sole trader demographic.

If you were using Reach, then hopefully you made the switch to another accounting program before the April 30 expiry date, after which point, you data would have been lost forever. Sucked in to the cyber vacuum of nothingness, along with your Kazaa playlists and MSN Messenger account.

Any data in Reach needed to be retrieved by April 30

This is probably one of the biggest downsides to using cloud-accounting software – if the company shuts up shop, then you have a limited amount of time to export your files before your data is lost forever. If you’re a n00b or a bit illiterate when it comes to accounting software – which, let’s face it, most small business owners are – this can be tricky as some data may not transfer across or may need to be manually re-entered, which could spell an accounting disaster when it comes tax time. In fact, any time you cancel a service with one cloud-accounting provider you run the risk of not being able to access your data once your account is suspended or cancelled.

That’s why MYOB continues to remain as popular as it is with accountants and bookkeepers – because even if MYOB decides tomorrow that it’s going to cease producing its software and exit the accounting software space altogether, you can still go back to the software installed on your computer to retrieve certain data any time you need, even after you’ve found an alternative accounting package.

MYOB and similar software the safer choice

You obviously wouldn’t be able to use the cloud or smartphone and tablet-based applications, but the software installed on your computer would continue to work offline, just as any old piece of software would continue to work. There are plenty of organisations that continue to use MS Office 2003, even though it’s about a decade out of date. In fact, I’m still using MS Entourage for Mac 2008, even though that particular product was discontinued in favour of a Mac version of the email client Outlook.

While cloud-accounting software is great and can be produced cheaply, MYOB and similar software that needs to be installed on computer remain a safe choice, and it’s why it continues to be popular with accountants and, in turn, our most popular training course. If you’re a new bookkeeper and you’ve been wondering what software you should become skilled in, it’s most definitely MYOB.

There are plenty of Xero bookkeepers, and while it’s important to know your way around Xero too, MYOB is by far the preferred choice by accountants because it’s well established, so it’s unlikely to be going anywhere soon, but even if it does, a client’s data and information doesn’t disappear until you’re ready for it to disappear.

If you’re a new bookkeeper or a bookkeeper looking to brush up on your skills, make sure MYOB is one skill you master. We offer an online training course in MYOB that takes you through each step in the bookkeeping process, including payroll, reconciliation and BAS.

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What is SuperStream?

Does SuperStream streamline superannuation payments?

SuperStream Superannuation Start Dates for small businesses with under 19 employees and contractorsIf you’re a small business with nineteen or fewer employees, then come July 1 this year you’ll need to begin making superannuation contributions for your staff using SuperStream, the government reform introduced last year to improve the efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system.

The purpose of SuperStream is to ensure employer contributions are paid in a consistent and timely manner, while also setting a common standard for how super contributions should be managed, which had previously been lacking from legislation relating to superannuation contributions. Medium-large businesses with more than twenty employees have been able to use SuperStream since July 1 last year and have until June 30 this year to become compliant. From July 1 this year, small businesses with nineteen or fewer employees will until June 30 2016 to meet the SuperStream requirements for their business.

What’s the benefit to employers?

Prior to the reforms, there was no standard for making super contributions. This meant that employers could choose to make superannuation contributions as frequently or infrequently as they liked, providing they made them at some point over a the course of an employee’s employment with them. SuperStream now makes regular contributions mandatory and easy to comply with. Other benefits to employers include:

  • The opportunity to use a single channel when dealing with super funds, regardless of how many funds your employees contribute to
  • Reducing the time spent dealing with employee data issues and fund queries
  • Offering greater automation and reduced cost of processing contributions and payments
  • More timely flow of information and money in meeting your superannuation obligations.

What measures will businesses need to adopt to use SuperStream?

Businesses can use software that conforms to SuperStream requirements – MYOB released a software update for most of its products, which is SuperStream compliant, for instance – or a provider who can meet the SuperStream requirements on their behalf. The ATO recommends investigating the following options:

  • Upgrading payroll software
  • Using an outsourced payroll function or service provider
  • Using a commercial clearing house or the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (for businesses with fewer than twenty employees).

We haven’t made any updates in our MYOB Training Payroll Course for this, but we’re keeping a watchful eye.

What if your business mainly uses contractors?

If you employ contractors to work for you, either on a one-off or ongoing basis, you will still need to make super contributions on their behalf, which means you’ll also need to make sure you’re compliant with the SuperStream requirements. You’ll need to make superannuation contributions to a contractor if they have a contract with your business where:

  • The contract is wholly for labour and skills
  • They perform the work personally
  • They are paid for the number of hours worked

In this case, they’re considered an employee for the purposes of the superannuation guarantee, so you’ll need to ensure you’re also compliant with SuperStream, even if that contractor has an ABN and invoices you.

You won’t have to pay the superannuation guarantee for a contractor if the person is hired to complete a specific task for which they are paid to complete only, and they are responsible for fixing any defects to the work.

If you hire contractors to provide mainly labour services on a regular basis, where they are paid for the time they spend working, rather than on a project basis, for the purpose of SuperStream, they will be counted as employees. If you have more than twenty contractors that fit this description, you need to ensure you’re compliant wit SuperStream by June 30 this year; if you’ve fewer than twenty, you have until June 30 2016 to become SuperStream compliant.

It’s a good idea to review the SuperStream section of the ATO’s website for more information on SuperStream or visit the section on contractors if you’re unsure whether you should be making super contribution on your contractor’s behalf.

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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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An Aussie Dies In Accounting Wars

R.I.P. Reach Accounting

Reach Accounting Service Shut DownA member of our team was recently asked to recommend a few low-cost, cloud-based invoicing programs to a friend. He’d recently started his own business and for the last few months had been using Excel to create and send invoices to his clients.

[quote]Surprisingly, Microsoft Excel is still a very popular way to create and send invoices for many small business owners,[/quote]

but since Xero and other cloud-accounting programs appeared on the scene, I didn’t think many people still used Excel for invoicing.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Beginners training courses and certificateThis person was using Microsoft Excel because, while he found Xero impressive, the majority of its functions would go unused, so he couldn’t justify the price tag. He was just after something that would allow him to create invoices, estimates and input his expenses. We’ve mentioned three low-cost options in this blog: Quickbooks, Zoho, and Reach Accounting, the latter of which I championed due to it being Australian-owned. EzyLearn developed a course for Reach Accounting and we were the official training provider but sadly they recently shut down their services.

Reach Accounting was officially shut down at the end of April of this year as it’s parent company Net Registry pushes further into the online marketing space to position itself as a one-stop small business start-up shop.

Google reveals Reach Accounting is shutting down

Google Reveals Reach Accounting is shutting down

With Net Registry, you can register a domain name, build a website, and market your business; cloud-accounting seemed, like a logical extension of their offering, and they marketed it heavily to small business owners – sole traders, in particular.

Then, in March, Reach Accounting notified users by email that, effective April 30 of this year (2015), Reach Accounting was closing. And without any fanfare, it did just that and quietly disappeared. There’s no longer any trace of it at the Reach Accounting domain name, and no reason given for its departure from the online accounting space that it so actively pursued not so long ago, but there is still a hint of life on the NetRegistry website – at the time of writing they were still showing the service at their main website: http://www.netregistry.com.au/resources/reach-accounting/

Reach Accounting’s life was a short one. Net Registry acquired a 50 percent stake in the Aussie start-up in 2011, and immediately began offering the software to its existing customers for free. Anyone else looking for a cheap accounting package would pay $14.95 a month.

Can you be too cheap to survive or is there more to it?

In 2011 $14.95 per month was cheap for accounting software – it’s nearest serious competitor at the time was Xero at around $50 a month, and Zoho, which was, and still, is an American-based company with no local operations. Then came the Aussie offerings, Saasu and Reckon, as well as the re-entry of the US-based Quickbooks. The marketplace was suddenly very crowded.

In 2014 Melbourne IT acquired Net Registry for a cool $50M. The acquisition came off the back of some upheaval at Melbourne IT, whose long-time CEO had left the previous December while it struggled to compete in the cloud-computing space; in March the previous year, Melbourne IT had sold off it’s highly lucrative digital marketing unit to a US-based company for $152m, which was nearly equal to the company’s entire market capitalisation at the time.

Perhaps, then, when faced with stiff competition from other local and overseas cloud-accounting services, under the direction of Melbourne IT, the newly realigned Net Registry saw no commercial value in continue its accounting service. If we hear any news for Reach Accounting users we’ll pass it on.

Does this teach you a lesson in your own business?

The skills taught in the Small Business Startup and Admin course have a foundation in researching the:

  • Need for your services,
  • Product and service offering, and
  • Pricing structures

Once you master these skills you should be honing them all the time to understand what you need to do to remain relevant in the market place for your services.

[quote]If you operate a bookkeeping business for example it is a very good idea to learn how to use Xero Accounting software now because more and more small businesses are using it and want someone to do their books for them.[/quote]

We offer all of our Xero Training Courses for one low price (and 12 months access).

Is MYOB the future of cloud accounting?

Intuit Quickbooks is the elephant-in-the-room for MYOB and Xero Cloud AccountingI’ve written before about how MYOB could get SMASHED by it’s VERY large US Competitor, but MYOB could still be the future of cloud accounting. New players could spell the end of the long-established MYOB or possibly even Xero, but maybe the biggest thing MYOB has up its sleeve is its long, rich history. As far as market share goes, MYOB still occupies the majority of it and, while it may appear slow at adopting new features, you can at least count on it being around in the near future.

That’s why our MYOB training courses have always been, and remain to be, the most popular out of our entire suite of training courses because, despite the grumblings of many small business owners, MYOB is still a major player in the accounting software space. As for our friend, he ended up choosing Zoho for his invoicing needs. He was sold on its ease-of-use, powerful smartphone and tablet app, and its easy-to-decipher pricing plan.

Long live Reach, the Aussie accounting software that could(‘nt)!

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MYOB Accounting – Fighting to Stay In Control?

Is MYOB Just Another Program In Your Control Panel?

MYOB Accounting software online training coursesI was cleaning up my computer this morning and went to my Microsoft Windows Control Panel to discover MYOB Accounting Software sitting in the program list. I was removing any programs that I may have installed to test or get to know with a goal of REMOVING all that I didn’t need, when I saw MYOB software in the list.

I didn’t see WordPress and I didn’t see Commonwealth Bank Internet Banking in the list and at that moment I felt a little sad, realising that if I changed computers that I would need to go through the program installation process with my accounting software AND that EVERY person who needed to access our bookkeeping software would have to go through the same process.

Cloud Software Doesn’t Need to be Installed On Your Computer

I’m used to going to websites, logging in to do my work and then logging out at the end. Yes, with some I have to change the password regularly and others there is 2 level authentication using a mobile phone number as well, but the great thing about these “cloud-based” services is that I don’t even need my own computer! I can log in using an iPad, laptop or even my smart phone.

Cloud accounting should be like Xero and Quickbooks onlineWith services like Google Apps, we can run our entire company “server” in the cloud and have experts make sure it is up and running all the time for the cost of less than $100 per month, compared to several thousand dollars to buy the hardware (and have the floor space, data, power and air conditioning) , thousands of dollars in software licences and then having to hire an expert IT service person to manage it all for thousands of dollars per year – particularly if something goes wrong.

I’ve always wondered why MYOB didn’t focus all of their efforts on building a fully featured accounting program for the cloud only and wrote about how it seems like MYOB is computer based accounting program with the functionality of Dropbox. Some people think it’s more secure or safe to keep your accounting information local, but I’m not convinced.

How does MYOB compare to Xero and Quickbooks Online

I recently wrote about Ken from Love My Home Theatre and why he loves Xero Accounting Software (not Zero) and also about how the new market for cloud accounting software is not only introducing new competitors like Xero, but also enabling MASSIVE competitors like QUICKBOOKS back into the Australian market for accounting software once again.

If you are a regular reader you’d also know that we’ve had Xero Training Courses for quite a while now and that our focus is to help people looking for bookkeeping work AND small business owners learn bookkeeping software to help them run their business more efficiently and be compliant with the ATO.

The most impressive features of Xero Accounting Software are:

  • Xero can be accessed from anywhere at any time
  • Xero can accommodate multiple users (accountant, bookkeeper, business owner) no matter where they are located (which is great for virtual assistants doing bookkeeping from their own home)
  • Xero integrates with other cloud software programs (watch the video interview about Xero accounting with a small business that love it)

The best thing about cloud based software services (apart from having experts making sure it is always up and running) is that when new features are built they are available to you immediately. Xero recently announced the capability to create quotes and manage inventory which brings it even closer “feature wise” with MYOB and although I haven’t had a chance to see it in action, Margaret Carey (who contributed to our XERO vs MYOB feature comparison) notes that:

[quote]Any business that requires more than basic tracking will need to continue to look at the add on solutions such as Unleashed or Dear but it is a promising start.[/quote]

Xero is Definitely Becoming More Popular

Whether Xero has just done some great marketing this year, or that people genuinely want the benefits of a cloud-based accounting program, we are experiencing increased enrolments into our Xero Training Courses.

It could also be because all of our Xero courses are included for the one low price – we don’t sell them separately AND we include new content during a students membership period.

We use all of the major cloud-based accounting programs and I can say personally that I like what I have seen with Xero and Quickbooks Online. The fact that you don’t have to go through that labourious process of downloading, installing and registering your software (for each user) is a great bonus, but the fact that you can use these programs from any computer is even better.

Stay Tuned for QuickBooks Online Training Courses

This year will become a very interesting year as online accounting software companies fight for your business as well as loyalty from bookkeepers and accountants. I can reveal that we have started writing the content for our soon to be launched Quickbooks Training Courses! Jacci, our Register BAS Agent is working to replicate the small business accounting processes we use in our MYOB and Xero courses to teach students how to manage business accounts using Quickbooks Online.

If you want to receive updates and launch information about this course please visit our Quickbooks Online Training Course page.

Is there a wave of innovation in online accounting from Canada?

Wave accounting has 1 million users and is free_freeWould you like to hear about MORE innovation in accounting? Want to learn about a cloud-based accounting program that boasts more than twice as many users as Xero?

I was speaking with an insurance agent who is contributing to the risk management components of our Small Business Management course and he was telling me about this great accounting software that is completely free unless you use their merchant services and/or payroll. I haven’t confirmed any of these features of the software, but a quick visit to their website shows an interface that looks very much like Quickbooks Online with the navigation panel on the left of the screen.

My insurance agent friend Ruben is sharing information with us about how Workcover works for small business owners as well as public and product liability. He’ll also share with us how these relate to contractors who might work for you and go to perform work at a customers site.

If you decide you’d like to take a look at Wave Accounting or you are already a customer of this accounting program please share your opinions with us at our Facebook page.

 

 

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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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Are Xero and MYOB going to get SMASHED by QuickBooks Online?

Is QuickBooks Online the White Elephant in the Room?

I recently wrote about QuickBooks, once the great competitor to MYOB accounting software, and I thought I would delve a little deeper to see what has happened with the company that use to be their Australian distributor, Reckon and how big they are in the US. I looks to me like we have a period of consolidation on our hands with some very big companies and many of them listed trying to earn the cloud accounting dollar.

We have online courses in MYOB and Xero and are exploring a QuickBooks Online training course.

What do you Reckon about Reckon?

Reckon 5 year Share Performance
Reckon 5 year Share Performance. Information from Commsec. Click to Enlarge

As a public company you can see Reckons financial results and industry commentary at the ASX website and in their latest financial announcements they confirmed that they had parted ways with Intuit as the Australian distributor earlier this year (saving them $2.5M in royalty costs).

Reckon is now a competitor to their previous partners, Intuit, and a participant in the online accounting and bookkeeping software market with their own software service called Reckon Hosted.

If I were Reckon the scariest thing for me would be that the brand that I helped to build over such a long period is now strongly competing directly against me in the local market. Let’s hope they built some good relationships with accountants who’ll continue to work with and recommend their new product lineup. Their share price seems to indicate that they are currently falling out of favour.

Xero vs QuickBooks Online

Xero Oct 31 2014 Share Performance. From Commsec. Click to Enlarge
Xero Oct 31 2014 Share Performance. From Commsec. Click to Enlarge

Xero is the nameplate for online accounting software because they pioneered accounting software that ONLY works in the cloud. A major shareholder in Xero is Craig Winkler, the man who successfully helped MYOB dominate the accounting marketing in the PC era and sold out to Archer Capital who then sold to another large US private equity company Bain Capital.

I wrote about Xero’s financial performance not long after they listed their XRO shares on the ASX (they are a New Zealand company) but their recent share price performance seems to indicate that they are not popular in Australia. The next frontier in online accounting and bookkeeping seems to be integrations and accounting suite tools for accountants. These integrations and add-ons are one way of making their software more important in the suite of programs that small businesses use and a good example is the recent announcement of Xero’s integration with Microsoft’s Office 365.

Visit Xero’s website and you’ll quickly be able to get to their Add-on Market Place.

MYOB vs QuickBooks Online

Bain Capital paid over 1 billions dollars for MYOB to include it in it’s bag of technology investments – see if you can spot MYOB! Although they are no longer an Australian public company they are listed on the ASX and Aussies can invest in the company that now offers a wider range of services that just accounting software. Their revenue has grown significantly in the 2014 financial year according to their announcement on 25th August 2014.

MYOB had many partners in their PC based software but went through a very tough period when accountants were refusing to recommend MYOB customer upgrade their software. MYOB had to re-write their software to cater for the cloud accounting market and some integrations just didn’t work as a result. It appears that the online version is still popular with MYOB Partners and you can learn more about MYOB Add-ons here.

MYOB is still the market leader for accounting software in Australia an although they appear to be a laggard in the online space they are agressively competing with Xero for new customer acquisitions. A recent article by Peter Dinham at IT Wire about Xero and MYOB customer numbers highlights how dirty the fight is getting and how important accountants are in the sale of accounting software. Peter talks about MYOB being the 800 pound gorilla but when you explore the global market for accounting software you cannot ignore Intuit.

QuickBooks Online and the Global Accounting Software Market

Go to Intuit.com and you’ll be presented with a message that says “we’ve gone global” and the option to go to your local country website site. Let’s face it, they’ve been global for a while but it’s apparent that their online marketing for Quickbooks Online is becoming stronger. I read a recent blog post from Sholto Macpherson’s popular Digital First website about the Top 5 Most Popular Features of QuickBooks Online and note that at the bottom of his post he disclosed that he travelled to QuickBooks Connect as a guest of Intuit. It’s a sign of the impending marketing blitz that a massive US company is capable of.

Visit Intuit’s investor relations website and you’ll see that the revenue for Intuit in 2013 was almost 4 times the total capital purchase price that Bain Capital paid for MYOB when they bought it. With that size, established software brand in Quickbooks and a network of Intuit Pro Advisers ready to help small businesses I think this is the space to watch for online accounting software.

Again, as a very established software publishing company Intuit have an impressive range of Add-ons to help improve the functionality of the software as small business look for ways of integrating the ever widening range of cloud-based software they use.

QuickBooks Pro Adviser Offer

Whilst writing this post I became aware of the big launch that Intuit are doing in Australia to strengthen their network of accountants and advisers. It’s started with a blubbery story about the great history of a 30 year old US company, but I found this video which shows what they are willing to do to help Australian Bookkeepers increase their knowledge, get new sales and better support their customers (Small Businesses).

Here it is..

Join our Bookkeeper Directory

Startup Academy - work from home as an independent contractorIf you are a MYOB bookkeeper and want us to help you get exposure and find new small business bookkeeping clients register with our partners at Workface as we build a national bookkeeping database to help you find new clients and help small businesses find honest, hardworking bookkeepers who operate their own home based bookkeeping business.

To be a bookkeeper in this cloud accounting era means that you can perform bookkeeping from your own home office if you do a great job and have a good reputation. Although you can perform this work from home its becoming more important to get that reputation and one of the tried and trusted ways is by meeting people face to face at networking events. When people get to know you and like you they’ll start recommending you to people who they know need a bookkeeper and that is when you’ll discover the power of referral marketing.

Registering for the bookkeeper directory is the first step in our plan to help people operate a business from home. If you want to read more about how we plan to help ordinary people start their own business as independent contractors visit the StartUp Academy website and learn more. You can subscribe for the free guide that I created to help people on that journey.

 

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Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

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

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

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

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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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MYOB: What is an Induction?

Our MYOB course will help induct you into the role of bookkeeper.
Our MYOB course will help induct you into the role of bookkeeper.

The word ‘induction’ has many uses, which can make it rather subjective. It can refer to the time interval between the cause and the first measurable effect in an experiment; it can refer to stimulating the process of childbirth; it can refer to a rite of passage or ritual event, like a Bar of Bat Mitzvah; even our MYOB training courses act as a kind of quasi induction into the world of bookkeeping.

Exposure to Real-World Scenarios

Even though our MYOB courses are primarily teaching you how to use an accounting software package, we deliberately created training courses that would expose our students to real-world bookkeeping scenarios, so they would properly understand the software.

When you complete the day-to-day transactions module of our MYOB course you’re taught how to receive money and pay bills, record a cash-sale, settle credits and returns, and analyse payable, among other things.

Each module within our MYOB training courses teaches you a fundamental aspect within the whole bookkeeping process, and in that way our courses act like an induction into the role of a bookkeeper.

Inducting You as a Bookkeeper

An induction helps to give a person a basic understanding of what to expect of a particular situation or circumstance. In the instance of our MYOB courses, we’re helping you to understand what is expected of you as a bookkeeper, and what you should expect in turn.

Many organisations provide new employees with induction training to help them understand how the business operates, and to keep their existing staff up-to-date with changing policies and procedures – such as work, health and safety.

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As Australia’s leading provider of online training courses, EzyLearn has recently ventured into providing companies and organisations with the facilities to provide their staff with online induction training.

If you’d like to learn more about the kinds of induction programs you can offer your staff, visit our website or request a quote.