How to Reduce Your Fail Rate in Business by 50%

What You Can Do this Christmas

business start up online training course christmas holidays2
There’s lots to do in preparation for starting a business and the summer holidays is a good time for the ground work.

DID YOU KNOW research shows that by taking just one short course on small business management, the chance a business will fail is reduced by as much as 50 percent.

This is because business mismanagement is the primary reason businesses fail; the other most common reason is because owner/s fail to implement appropriate credit management processes. In both cases, this failure has come about because the owners, directors, partners or managers lacked the appropriate management skills to make it a success.

Learn the basics in business

The Christmas holidays is a perfect time for taking the steps needed to start your small business. While everyone else has gone on holidays, you’ll be ready to take on your first client or customer by the time business really starts kicking off again at the end of January.

business start up online training course christmas holidaysSo let’s get to it: there’s work to be done. And this work generally requires some rudimentary knowledge of Australian tax law, copyright law, trademarks and patents.

You should also have knowledge of particular software applications, and digital marketing.

Other key areas of business you need to know

The key areas business owners should understand before starting a business include:

Ordinarily, to become skilled in each of those areas, a person would have to take, at least, five different training courses. But few people are ever likely to do this. Instead, they’d be more likely to cherry pick the areas they’re least familiar with, and fly blind with the others. Needless to say, that’s where people run into problems.

Take Advantage of our Christmas Savings!

We don’t want you to wing it or fly blind — our goal is to help small businesses succeed which is what we’ve been doing for nearly 20 years.

We cover what you need to set up a small business in our EzyStartUp Business Course, priced at just $297. This course covers each of the key areas mentioned above that a small business owner needs to be familiar with, in addition to the following:

  • Originating and developing concepts
  • Establishing legal and risk management
  • Product packaging
  • Marketing your business

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When you enrol you will also receive FREE ACCESS to a bunch of our other online training courses, including Xero Set Up and Beginners’ Excel and Word.

Our Last Dasher Sale is also on now with special Christmas discounts on our online training courses in social media, and cloud accounting software (MYOB, Xero) and Excel, Word and WordPress.


Don’t Wait — Become the Head Honcho Today

Use your time off from work this summer to begin working on your new small business. All of our training courses are delivered online, and can be completed at your own pace, so you can complete them while you’re actually on holidays, or relaxing at home or at a cafe.

And since one of the best ways to start a new business is by operating it as a side project to your other job, if you get all the start up stuff out of the way while you’re on holidays, it’ll be ready to go by the time you back to work.

Learn more about the EzyStartUp Business Course at our website or view all of our special offers to save on your next EzyLearn training course.

start your own business online training course videosAnd as a gift to you, remember our Bookkeeping Basics Guide is yours’ for free!


 

Don’t Wing It With Customer Service – Plan It

Great customer service doesn’t just happen.

learn online training videos about small business customer service
If you’re unsure about what makes up the kind of customer service people rave about, then perhaps you should look into our EzyStartUp Course.

HOW TO PROVIDE REALLY exceptional customer service is just one of the modules covered in our EzyStartUp Course which teaches you all about how to start up your own business.

We handpicked this inclusion as our experience is that, time and time again, good, nay excellent customer service goes a long way to ensuring a business has longevity.

We’ve mentioned in a previous post the issues inherent with Zoho’s customer service, which wasn’t bad as much as it was hampered by geographical differences and the strength of Aussie customers dealing with Aussie customer service workers and telephone operators.

Defying customer expectations

For many, good customer service is something many of us have come not to expect. Most of the time when you go into shops to buy something, you come prepared – you’ve already researched the kind of TV you want online and why, and you know the sales girl will never tell you if your butt looks big in those jeans.

Is there too much churn and burn?

Is churn and burn a problem with the quality of customer service? Certainly in many chain or department stores now, where there’s a huge turnover of staff, many employers seem to have given up on trying to teach their staff the art of customer service.

And the ambivalence toward customer service has slowly crept into other areas of business, as companies downsize, move online, or shift jobs offshore.

As a business owner, I have always prided myself on providing the very best customer service possible. When I moved EzyLearn online, one of my major concerns was how would I manage the customer service side of the business, now that my customer service resources had shrunk?

Using a ticketing support system

That’s when I decided to use the Zen Desk ticketing support system to manage all of my online customer enquiries. Zen Desk does this in a way that’s professional for my customers and also easy for me and my team to use.

Incidentally, Zoho also offers a similar support ticketing service and, like most of the Zoho products, the most basic offering is free to use forever. But even if your business decides to use a ticketing support system like Zen Desk or Zoho, remember: It’s only as good as the customer service processes you implement for your business.

Good customer service is structured

Fantastic customer service — the kind that makes people tell their friends and keep coming back to you for their purchases — doesn’t just happen. This is why we cover customer service in our EzyStartUp Course. Most people don’t realise that, like everything else in business, you have to plan to deliver good customer service. And as the business changes, your strategy can adapt and change too.

This might take the shape of a policy which outlines things such as ensuring phone calls aren’t answered before the third ring (so as to not startle or fluster callers), replying to emails within a few working hours (even if it’s just to say you’re looking into the issue), or following up on sales enquiries with a phone call (which increases conversion rates).

Definitely use tools like Zen Desk to help you fine tune your customer service policies, but remember that good customer service starts with you. Develop your customer service strategy (our EzyStartUp Course can help you) and commit to it.

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Planning how you’ll provide great customer service — that’s what’ll give you the edge over other businesses. Good customer service is so rare these days that when people find it, they flock to it. So find your flock, and if you need help, take our EzyStartUp Course.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

What to Do When You Have More than One Income Stream

Why it’s important to track your income streams

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It can be easy to lose track of separate income streams; Excel is a great tool for monitoring which work your income is coming from.

IF YOU’RE AN INDEPENDENT contractor, or you’re a full-time employee about to start up a side business, then you need to be able to keep a good track of all your income streams. There are a couple of reasons for this and both of them relate to tax. 

Basically, income is income, regardless of how you earned it, and you’ll pay tax on the total amount. As an employee of another business, you’re likely to be earning money through your tax file number. Each week, your employer will withhold tax commensurate with how much money your employer has paid you. But this doesn’t take into account any other income.

If you’re also earning money from a side business, using an ABN, there’s no one to withhold tax on your behalf, so you need to keep a close eye on your income to ensure you have enough money in the bank to pay your tax bill — which you will get, I’m afraid — after your tax return has been filed.

Two tax returns? Use Excel

Although income is income, you will still have to file two tax returns, one for each income stream. That’s why you need to keep an eye on your accumulative income, and not just the money earned through your business.

There are lots of personal finance and budget apps that help you to track and manage your income, but the easiest, most flexible and most straightforward way to do this is to create an Excel spending or expense sheet, which our Excel training courses will teach you how to do.

Reasons why people have two income streams

It’s not just full time employees who are starting their own side business that have two income streams. Plenty of freelancers and independent contractors earn money through their ABN and TFN.

There are some businesses that prefer to put contractors on the payroll, usually because they’ll be working on a regular basis, onsite, and it’s just easier for the business to employ them as casuals. Often for insurance purposes, but it’s also because the work involved doesn’t conform to the definition the ATO uses for an independent contractor.

Other times, it’s because the contractor or freelancer is working in an entirely different industry on the side — hospitality or retail, for example — to supplement their freelance income, which is how a lot of people get businesses off the ground.

Focus on how to earn money

The main take away from all of this, is that when you’re tracking your income, focus on the ways to earn more income. If you discover that each month, you have a week where your income is lower, there’s an opportunity to fill that gap with another job or other income stream.

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You can learn how to create and manage your expenses or spending in our Excel training courses, where you’ll be able to create your own spending or expense sheet, and how to perform daily bank reconciliations in MYOB or Xero in our cloud accounting training courses. For more information, visit our website.


learn to use excel online training course videos cheap best

Learn Microsoft Excel from scratch or brush up your Excel skills, at your own pace, with our affordable Excel online training courses — where you get THE LOT (that’s 9 courses in total) for ONE LOW PRICE — everything included! Volume corporate discounts are available.


 

What Happens if You Have Backlog of PAYG and Super Payments?

Don’t get lumped with penalties when you don’t need to!

failure to lodge penalties how to manage payroll in Excel online training course
It’s not only frustrating and disheartening, but a waste of business funds to be penalised for lodging your financials too late.

A LOT OF SMALL BUSINESSES have trouble managing their payroll, especially when they only have a few employees and paying to access a payroll system in their accounting package is an unnecessary expense. You’ll learn how to use Excel to manage your PAYG and super contributions in our Intermediate Microsoft Excel Training Courses. However, sometimes you may have a backlog of PAYG and super payments. Let’s take a look at how to manage these.

Rescue bookkeeping

A backlog of PAYG and super payments that date back more than three months is known as rescue bookkeeping, although it can often include other bookkeeping issues, like bank accounts that don’t reconcile with statements.

PAYG payments

For businesses that only withhold up to $25,000 each year, you’re supposed to make PAYG payments and file a withholding report each quarter. You have 28 days from the end of the quarter to do so, after which time, you may incur a Failure To Lodge (FTL) penalty.

Superannuation payments

As with PAYG payments and reporting, you can also incur a FTL penalty for not lodging or paying your employees’ superannuation contributions in time. All businesses, regardless of size, have to make superannuation payments each quarter — the ATO sets out the due dates for each period on their website.

Lodging late PAYG and super payments

The ATO only applies penalties for failure to lodge reports or make payments for each period of 28 days (or part thereof) that a document or payment is overdue. Each period incurs one penalty unit for each document, up to a maximum of five penalty units.

From 2015 onwards, the value of a penalty unit is $180 (previously it was $170) for small businesses, which are defined as entities with an assessable income or GST turnover of no more than $1 million a year.

The maximum penalty a small business will pay is $900 for each document or payment that is overdue. Note too that FTL penalties will also incur a general interest charge (GIC), applied on top of the penalty.

Managing late PAYG and super payments

Use the Ad Hoc Payroll Guide, a new case study that is included in our Intermediate Microsoft Excel Training Courses to determine the rate of PAYG tax to withhold and the required super contribution amounts in Excel. Once you’ve worked out the required amounts (visit the ATO website for tax tables prior to 2017), lodge the necessary PAYG payments and reports to the ATO; pay super contributions using the SuperStream super clearing house.

The ATO will write to you if you are required to pay a penalty — sometimes they are waived for first-time offences, or if the amounts are small.

Our courses now include real-life case studies

learn excel online training course

Our Intermediate Microsoft Excel training courses will also teach you how to create a payroll spreadsheet from scratch to suit your own business, so you can easily work out your PAYG and super obligations. Visit our website for more information on all of our Excel training courses.


learn PowerPoint online training course

Create brilliant presentations and graphics for all kinds of business purposes.

Gone are the days of excruciatingly dull PowerPoint slide presentations. Nowadays PowerPoint is the hidden gem used to generate animations, videos, movies, advertising and graphics. It’s a great ally to the marketer or social media person in your organisation.

This creative program can also be used to conjure up the most beautiful and modern pictorial slides to enhance any presentation or induction. Find out more about our 2016 version PowerPoint courses.


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


 

Which Transactions Affect Balance Sheets?

Avoid Any Nasty Surprises: Balance Sheets Matter!

EzyLearn Xero Balance SheetA business’s balance sheet is a snapshot of its financial position at a particular period of time, which is not to be confused with a profit and loss (P&L) statement. Unlike a P&L, which just shows whether the business is making a profit or loss during a given period, a balance sheet, will eventually, show nearly every activity that has occurred within a business.

However, there are some transactions that will show up immediately. You’ll learn how to run a balance sheet in our Xero Daily Reconciliations Training Course, but we wanted to show you the transactions to look out for and why.

profit and loss statement xero online training course
A balance sheet reveals the nitty gritty of your business’ transactions.

The purchase or sale of assets

When an asset, such as a car, is bought, it will reduce the cash account and increase the fixed-assets account. Both of these accounts are listed in the asset portion of the balance sheet, however, cash is part of the current assets section and fixed assets are part of the long-term assets section.

When an asset is sold, the way the cash is accounted for is a bit more difficult. Here, both the asset’s book value and any accumulated depreciation are removed from the books at the same time that the cash account is increased by the sales price. If the sales price does not equal the book value, the difference is accounted for as a gain or loss on the sale of equipment. This gain or loss is recorded on the P&L statement.

Purchases on credit

When a business purchases supplies or inventory on credit, the business will debit the asset account (supplies or inventory) and credit the accounts-payable account. Almost always, accounts payable are considered to be current liabilities and are shown at the top of the liabilities section of the balance sheet.

Debt and lease arrangements

When a business issues debt or enters into a leasing arrangement, a liability must be recorded in the long-term section of the company’s balance sheet. For example, if a company issues bonds for cash, the company would debit cash and credit bonds payable in the simplest bond-issuance scenarios.

Capital-lease transactions affect the balance sheet in a similar manner. When entering a capital-lease arrangement, the business will debit a fixed-asset account to show that the company has taken economic possession of the leased asset. At the same time, the business will credit a capital-lease obligation account to show the offsetting economic liability.

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For a balance sheet to be correct, you must code each transaction correctly in your accounting software. Our Xero Daily Reconciliations Training Course covers balance sheets, and much, much more. Why not enrol today?

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Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

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


 

How and What Kind of Receipts Do You Need to Keep?

Online Receipt Keeping is the Way to Go

A HUGE PART of reconciling your bank account involves coding business expenses or purchases. You then need to keep a record of those expenses in the event you’re ever audited.

Our Xero Bank Reconciliations and Journal Entries Course covers how to code an expense or purchase in Xero, and it’s important to also store your receipts and get them to your bookkeeper if they’re working remotely.

Many people have used Dropbox to capture images of receipts but there are even better ways. Continue reading How and What Kind of Receipts Do You Need to Keep?

What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Setting Prices

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel: Glean Relevant Info from the Property Industry

how much to charge as a bookkeeper
As a bookkeeper you can learn much from the humble, or not so humble, real estate agent!

As a bookkeeper, or someone thinking about becoming a bookkeeper, you may be surprised how much you can learn from real estate agents. For an example, take the way a real estate agent has to price a property for sale.

The key to selling a property quickly and efficiently, is setting the right price. A real estate agent who sets a price that’s too high for the market, isn’t doing her or his job properly. In such cases, the property will sit around for many weeks, or possibly even months, until the price is eventually reduced to one the market will bear, sometimes to well below market value. Real estate being what it is in this country, agents rarely undervalue their properties. When a buyer tells their friends they got a great deal on their new home, it’s usually due to the property being originally overvalued, rather than undervalued.

Most New Contractors Set their Prices Wrong

When business people, such as first-time or newly contracting bookkeepers, first start freelancing or contracting professional services to other businesses, very few know what their services are actually worth. Therefore they frequently overvalue or undervalue themselves. In the case of the former, they’ll discover pretty quickly that they’re overpriced (they don’t get any clients), but in the case of the latter, it may take a while longer to determine that they’ve undervalued themselves and their services.

The lesson bookkeepers can learn from real estate agents — good ones, at least — is to never do either. Here’s how you should value your booking services, to set the right price, just like a real estate agent would.

Value Your Services Like a Real Estate Agent

Know Your Market:

We cover this in our EzyStartUp Course; and it’s important to note that knowing your market isn’t simply confined to the start-up period. Continue to look at the market throughout the life of your business, because times change and you need to move with them. When we first put our training content online, we were one of the first training companies to do it; now you can do a whole university degree online!

Value Your Services Strategically:

Have you ever seen a real estate agent market a property as being identical to another one, even if it’s right next door? As a bookkeeper, you’re already competing in a crowded space, so always establish a point of difference between you and your nearest competitor(s) — a niche industry, a particular way of doing business. Whatever it is, find it, and capitalise on it.

Don’t Try and Be All Things to All People:

Know where to find your customers. Real estate agents know where their buyers come from and precisely what they’re looking for, then they market directly to them. You should do the same. Think about your local market, your services, and the type of customer who’d be looking for a business like yours. Then market to them and them only. Don’t waste marketing money trying to be all things to everyone.

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Valuing your services correctly, and setting the right prices, is vital to the success of your business. Our EzyStartUp course covers researching the market, setting prices, and an introduction to marketing and business planning. If you’re starting a bookkeeping business or you already have started on, enrol in our EzyStartUp course to ensure you’re not selling yourself short.

Why Partnerships Can Be Risky Business

An Understanding of Business Partnerships is Essential

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

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

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

You might if:

1. You need your ABN or business name registered NOW

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

2. Your business structure is complicated

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

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

Or — 3. Learn about partnerships and do it yourself

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

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

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

FREE Digital Business Course

Learn How to Run a Business Online

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It doesn’t matter whether you have a specifically online business, or a gift shop, clothing store, cafe or other bricks and mortar business, as a business owner, we can help you understand the digital economy.

In a post I published about starting your own business in January 2017, I said that all small business owners should have an understanding of traditional and digital marketing. You’ll be surprised how many don’t!

All businesses have a digital aspect to them these days so it’s vital that business owners and managers know how to manage the digital aspects of their business. This starts by understanding some of the terms used and how websites, domain names, hosting and the Google search engine works.

It doesn’t matter whether you intend to start a fully digital business (i.e. a home based bookkeeping business or online shop for example) or if you will start a more traditional bricks and mortar business (a cafe, retail clothing or gift shop, or some other business with office or retail space), you need to understand how to use the internet to develop new leads, engage with your existing customer base, and build your presence online.

Register for Our FREE Digital Business Foundations Course

I created a free Digital Business Foundations Course to help new and existing business owners understand how to digitise their business. You can register for our free Digital Business Foundations Course (scroll about half way down the page) to begin receiving the free course content. Some of the things you’ll learn include:

  • Insights into websites
  • Domain names
  • Web hosting
  • How Google Search works
  • How businesses use Content blogs for SEO
  • What SEO really is, plus much more.

Each of the principles discussed in the free Digital Business Course were applied to EzyLearn, when it transitioned from a bricks and mortar training centre business to an online only training business, and have been used by 123ezy, which provides content marketing for real estate agents, content writers and bookkeepers across Australia.

Case Study: Baby Massage Business

baby-massage-helps-new-parents-bond-with-their-newborn-child-wordpress-training-courseI wrote about Sonia Mitterdorfer and her baby massage business in August this year. For most of her working life, Sonia had been a registered nurse. After raising her family she wanted to return to the workforce in some sort of meaningful capacity and heard about baby massage. Her first introduction was a seminar (incidentally, run by a middle aged bloke holding weekend retreats helping new parents understand and bond with their babies!)

Sonia had her website created by a registered BAS agent who wanted to have add another feather to her bookkeeping bow (and wanted to do more “creative” work). Sonia’s website has been pivotal as a means for her to demonstrate her credibility and explain about the nature of her work.

There’s Much More to Domain Names

So many business people think (wrongly) that a domain name is simply the cost of a website, but that’s just the name — you need to:

  • point it (DNS) to a web host
  • set up your email at the web host (I prefer to outsource that to Google Apps — now called Google G Suite)
  • install website design software like WordPress
  • create the pages and menus
  • insert images (source them and edit them)
  • write some words (that Google thinks are relevant).

Don’t worry if you feel a little bamboozled — we cover all of this in our WordPress course!

Add an Online Dimension to Your Business

The majority of people, when they’re looking for a product, service, restaurant, cafe, real estate agent, bookkeeper, virtual assistant — online training course, even — will search online. Even if you think your business is already doing well, if it’s not optimised to deliver online leads, then it could be doing much better.

Reach your business’s full potential, register for our free digital business course to start a digital business or transition into one today.

Start Your Business NOW for the New Year!

The Christmas Holidays is a Terrific Time to Start a New Business

start-your-own-small-business-this-christmasIF YOU’VE DECIDED THAT 2017 will be the year you start your new business, don’t wait until January to begin your journey to becoming the head honcho.

Right now is the best time of the year to begin — because while everyone else (businesses included) has gone on on holidays, you’ll be ready to take on your first client or customer by the time January 2017 rolls around.

Before a business can commencing trading, there’s a lot of work to be done. This takes time and requires some rudimentary knowledge of Australian tax law, copyright law, trademarks and patents. You should also have knowledge of particular software applications, and digital marketing.

One of the most common reasons a business fails is because it was mismanaged; the other most common reason is because the business failed to implement appropriate credit management processes. In both cases, businesses fail because the owners, directors, partners or managers lacked the appropriate management skills to make it a success.

Don’t Become a Small Business Statistic

Research has shown that by taking just one short course on small business management, the chance a business will fail is reduced by as much as 50 percent. The key areas businesses owners should understand before starting a business include:

  • Business planning
  • Digital and traditional marketing
  • Intellectual property and general law
  • Researching the market
  • Cloud-accounting software
  • Working with content management systems.

Ordinarily, to become skilled in each of those areas, a person would have to take, at least, five different training courses. But few people are ever likely to do this. Instead, they’d be more likely to cherry pick the areas they’re least familiar with, and fly blind with the others.

Take Advantage of Our HUGE Xmas Discount

start-your-own-business-in-january-2017We don’t want you to wing it or fly blind — our goal is to help small businesses succeed which is what we’ve been doing for near on 20 years. As a special offer, we’ve reduced the price of our EzyStartUp Business Course to $297 (down from $697). It covers each of the key areas mentioned above that a small business owner needs to be familiar with, in addition to the following:

  • Originating and developing concepts
  • Establish legal and risk management
  • Product packaging

Plus, you’ll have access to ALL of our software training courses for 12 months at a big discount, which includes Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint training.

Don’t Wait Till January — Become the Head Honcho Today

Use your time off from work this summer to begin working on your new small business. All of our training courses are delivered online, and can be completed at your own pace, so you can complete them while you’re actually on holidays, or relaxing at home or at a cafe. And since one of the best ways to start a new business is by operating it as a side project to your other job, if you get all the startup stuff out of the way while you’re on holidays, it’ll be ready to go by the time you back to work.

Learn more about the EzyStartUp Business Course at our website or view all of our special offers to save on your next EzyLearn training course.


 

Running Multi-Period Profit and Loss Statements

Be Aware of the Ebbs and Flows of Your Business: Multi-Period Profit and Loss Reporting

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Multi-period P&L reporting helps you capitalise on the peaks and troughs in your business.

Nearly every business has its busy periods and its quiet ones. Crucial to the success of a business is knowing when these busy periods and quiet ones occur, so you can capitalise on them. For a lot of Australian businesses offering professional services, December through January is usually when business winds down for the year. In the hospitality and accommodation industry, however, it’s typically the busiest time of the year, so planning for increased business is essential.

Muriel, a bookkeeper based in Dee Why, in Sydney’s northern beaches, encourages businesses to run a multi-period profit and loss (P&L) report in their accounting software in order to best determine these trends and to plan for them. Previously, this function was only available in MYOB and, in a roundabout way, in Xero, but the functionality has just recently been made available in QuickBooks, too.

Key Takeaways from P&L Statements

As the name of the report suggests, a profit and loss statement illustrates whether your business is making a profit or a loss, and for what period losses and profits were recorded. The best part about multi-period P&L statements is that you can run one report for, say, May, June and July off 2016 and, at the same time, run a P&L for the same period, the previous year.

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Cause for yippee: When business slows, you may be inclined to think things are down on the previous year, but multi-period reporting can often show you’re actually ahead.

In MYOB and QuickBooks, each month will be shown in columns next to each, so you can easily compare each one, and also look for patterns or trends in your business. It also makes it easy to identify if there were any problems that should be investigated further, because they stick out like a sore thumb. Most of the time, the issues that are turned up are the result of a keying or coding error in your bookkeeping, but occasionally, it could indicate that your business isn’t as healthy as it should be — or, conversely, that it’s outperforming your expectations, in which case, yay!

If Your Business Sells Goods

In addition to running multi-period P&L reports, inventory businesses that sell goods, should get in the habit of running inventory sales and stock-on-hand reports. These reports allow you to see how your business is performing. In particular, you’ll be able to monitor your product lines, to see what’s selling, what’s not selling, what you have too much of, and what you have too little of.

Ask your bookkeeper to run regular P&L statements and, if you’re a business selling goods, inventory sales and stock-on-hand reports, too. They’ll provide you with invaluable insights to help you better understand your business.

Precious Help Finding A Bookkeeper

Like GPs, there’s usually a bookkeeper on every corner, but how do you find someone who’s top of their game, will save you time (and very probably money) and who will be a true asset to your business? Some business owners are unsure where to start when looking for a bookkeeper they can trust and rely on. It’s also extremely concerning how many Australian small businesses suffer — to the point of insolvency — as a result of inadequate cash flow. A large portion of cash flow problems stem from credit and debt management and the systems business’ put in place to do this.

Muriel is a highly experienced, accounting degree qualified bookkeeper, looking to work with businesses located in Sydney’s northern beaches suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah, Beacon Hill, Collaroy, Dee Why, Frenchs Forest, Manly, Manly Vale, Narrabeen, Narraweena and Warriewood.

Muriel is comfortable using MYOB, Xero and SAASU accounting programs and can provide bookkeeping tasks ranging from invoicing and reconciliations, to accounts receivable, payable, business activity statements, and inventory asset management or high level financial analysis and reporting. Read more about Muriel at her profile page.

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently undergone a significant upgrade so keep a look out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs. Join now and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

 

The Secret to an Error-Free BAS Report

What To Do So You Don’t Lose Money When Doing Your BAS

lodging correct business activity statements
Why pay more money to the ATO at your expense? A good bookkeeper may save you money when it comes time to lodge your BAS.

If your business is registered for GST, it means you have to file regular activity statements with the ATO, usually each quarter. A lot of business owners export their Business Activity Statement (BAS) data straight from their accounting software, like MYOB or QuickBooks, and quickly prepare their BAS’ that way. But this is an imprecise method, and one that could be costing you money.

Tracey Marino, an experienced bookkeeper based in Rockingham, WA, knows how important it is that businesses of all sizes keep their Business Activity Statements error-free so as not to end up costing business owners money. 

An Error-Free BAS in 6 Steps

Here’s six steps you can take for an accurate BAS:

  1. Check to ensure all bank, credit card, overdraft, loan, and petty cash accounts are reconciled with the original bank statements at the end of every BAS quarter.
  2. Print your monthly profit and loss (P&L) report for the respective BAS quarter, and check for abnormalities in income or expenditure over the three months. You should also compare this quarter’s P&L report with the P&L report from the previous quarter (in the same financial year), as well as the P&L report from the same quarter in the previous financial year to detect any unexpected transactions.
  3. Print out the balance sheet as at the end of the BAS quarter. Note the balances for the wage and salary, payroll, payable, super expense and payable, and PAYG and GST accounts, and investigate any abnormalities.
  4. Generate the general ledger exceptions report to review any abnormal transactions. This report will indicate any differences in the GST codes for the same types of purchases or sales by comparing the current transactions with previous transactions.
  5. Print your BAS and compare with it with last quarter’s BAS, as well as the BAS from the same quarter of the previous year, and ensure that your GST, PAYG, sales, and purchases are consistent across all three BAS’.
  6. Lodge and pay your BAS on time to avoid penalties, and remember to record the BAS payment in your accounting software.

Although this may appear to be ‘double handling’, in fact, it eliminates double handling by ensuring that the activity statements you lodge with the ATO are correct and error-free. Typically, the mistakes this method turns up are ones that would be of benefit to the ATO and not to the business owner. So rather than give the ATO more money than you need to, make sure you follow this method for an error-free BAS lodgment.

An Experienced Bookkeeper in WA

bookkeeper-rockingham-wa
Tracey Marino is available to provide bookkeeping services in the Rockingham area of WA.

Looking for a reliable and accurate bookkeeper to manage your business’ daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either in the cloud (remotely) or in-person?

Tracey Marino is available to service businesses located in Port Kennedy, Warnbro, Baldivis, Secret Harbour, Golden Bay, Safety Bay, Shoalwater, Rockingham and Cooloongup, WA. Tracey is a an expert in MYOB AccountRight, QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel and can prepare and lodge your company’s BAS, set up credit management systems, along with carrying out all manner of day-to-day accounting functions for small to medium businesses. Find out more about Tracey’s experience at her profile page.

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently undergone a significant upgrade so keep a look out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs. Join now and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

Three Things Your Bookkeeper Shouldn’t Be Doing

Is Your Bookkeeper Making Stuff Up?

how-to-find-a-good-bookkeeper
Some bookkeepers may fudge their way through your books, but you can spot this before it ends up costing your business.

In a previous post we wrote about the three tell-tale signs that your bookkeeper isn’t paying attention and we thought we’d expand on this a little further by writing about three of the things your bookkeeper shouldn’t be doing — and what it means if they are.

 1. Your Bookkeeper Adds Adjustments to Reconciliations

The reconciliation is just a comparison between your records and those of the bank, so if you see reconciliation adjustments, something’s wrong. A bookkeeper should never make reconciliation adjustments, because it means they haven’t accounted for something properly and, instead of trying to find it, they gave up and made an adjustment instead. This is a classic example of why daily reconciliations are a good idea.

2. Vague Descriptions for Transactions

A good bookkeeper should know exactly what descriptions to use for each of your transactions, so if you see strange or vague ones like “opening balance??”, it’s a sign your bookkeeper doesn’t know what they’re doing. By the same token, if you see that the description field has been left blank or there are lots of journal entries, this should likewise raise a few red flags.

3. Lots of Old Transactions in Undeposited Funds Field

In most cloud-accounting software packages, such as QuickBooks, Xero and MYOB, there’s an undeposited funds account, where certain unreconciled transactions may sit. If you see lots of old transactions sitting there, it’s a sign your bookkeeper doesn’t understand what this feature is for or how to work with it, and as such, they’re manually recording deposits, which will overstate your income or sales.

If you’re seeing any of these things happening with your bookkeeping, you should speak to your bookkeeper straight away. It’s a clear sign that they don’t understand your accounting software properly, and you will pay for it later — usually when you go to see your accountant at tax time. Ensure your bookkeeper is qualified to work with the accounting package you’re using, and, ideally, that they have the equivalent of a Cert IV in Bookkeeping or higher.

 

Finding the Right Bookkeeper

finding the right bookkeeper for your businessBookkeepers seem to be ‘ten a penny’, but like in most professions, the really good people tend to stand out. A competent bookkeeper — someone who really listens, who understands the software and who prioritises your business — is crucial to a business of any size. A quality bookkeeper will help see to it that you’re not overpaying tax and meeting your payment obligations to staff, of course, but they can also help you put in place proper credit and debt management procedures and processes, something vitally overlooked by many small businesses (and yet most small businesses go insolvent as a result of cash flow problems — many of which stem from non-paying or late paying clients).

If you are after an efficient bookkeeper and you run a business in Meadow Springs, Parklands, Silver Sands, Mandura, Halls Head, Erskine, Dudley Park, Coodanup, Furnissdal or Barragup or Rockingham in WA, Deb Crompton is a tertiary-qualified bookkeeper with plenty of experience in bank reconciliations, invoicing, accounts receivable and payable and reporting; she also has the practical experience of having operated her own business in the past. You can see more details about Deb at her profile page or request a quote for a similarly experienced bookkeeper in your area. Our directory includes many degree qualified local bookkeepers, who are ready to start working with your business, in person or in the cloud.

Check out our National Bookkeeping website which has recently undergone a significant upgrade. We will keep feature more of our bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs — join now and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

The 3 Tell-Tale Signs Your Bookkeeper Isn’t Paying Attention

Are You Getting the Best from Your Bookkeeper?

find-a-good-bookkeeper
You don’t need to be a whizz at bookkeeping to recognise when your bookkeeper isn’t prioritising your business.

MANY BUSINESS OWNERS LACK an in-depth knowledge of the bookkeeping process so they hire a bookkeeper to manage it for them.

But this can also make it hard to know whether the bookkeeper they’ve hired is paying close attention to their business’ books or not.

Ricky is a tertiary qualified bookkeepers from Blacktown in NSW, and he reveals there are three tell-tale signs your bookkeeper isn’t paying attention.

1. They’re always behind with your books

This is pretty common among a lot of bookkeepers, and it’s usually because they’re not motivated to do a good job. A good way to nip this in the bud, is to communicate key dates or timeframes with your bookkeeper.

If you need bills entered every Wednesday and a profit and loss statement on the fifth of each month, say so. That way you’ll know whether snoozing on the job or not.

2. You accountant’s bill is still high

If the bill from your accountant is still as high as it was when you didn’t have anyone managing your bookkeeping, it’s a good sign that your bookkeeper’s work isn’t up to standard. If your accounts are unorganised and unbalanced, it means your accountant will have to go through and review the information before they can do their job. That’s double handling, and you need to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible.

3. They don’t understand cash vs accrual

finding-the-best-bookkeeper
Is your bookkeeper puzzled? A good bookkeeper knows what they don’t know. If they’re unsure about cash accounting, they should let you know this.

Because many bookkeepers today, particularly contract and remote bookkeepers, got their start after cloud-accounting software became popular, lots of them don’t understand the difference between cash and accrual accounting systems simply because software like Xero and QuickBooks defaults to an accrual system.

Cash and accrual systems each have their own merits, depending on the size and complexity of the business. So it’s important that your bookkeeper knows the difference between and understand the benefits of each.

 

Does Your Business Need a GREAT Bookkeeper?

Tertiary-Qualified, Thoroughly-Vetted Bookkeeper Available in Sydney’s West

Like GPs, there’s usually a bookkeeper on every corner, but how do you find someone who you really trust and who genuinely has the best interests of your business at heart? Some business owners are unsure where to start when looking for a bookkeeper they can trust and rely on.

It’s also extremely concerning how many Australian small businesses suffer — to the point of insolvency — as a result of inadequate cash flow. A large portion of cash flow problems stem from credit and debt management and the systems business’ put in place to do this. This is something that can be handled by a competent and experienced bookkeeper. But it’s also about business owners understanding the need to make this a priority.

In finding the right bookkeeper, word of mouth can be helpful, but some people are reluctant to even do this for fear of losing a cherished and valuable resource. A great deal of trust is also placed in giving such sensitive financial information to bookkeepers and some people don’t like their bookkeeper doing work for other people they know.

If you’re looking for a reliable, thoroughly-vetted bookkeeper, capable of managing your daily/weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either remotely or in person, our National Bookkeeping directory features dozens of tertiary qualified bookkeepers available to assist you.

If you are located in Sydney’s western suburbs, Ricky from Blacktown, NSW, is a qualified bookkeeper with tertiary qualifications; he is also a registered BAS agent. Ricky has a great deal of experience in the day-to-day accounting functions of a small business, from invoicing, accounts receivable and payable, to payroll, financial analysis and reporting. Visit his profile page and request a quote for bookkeeping services.


find a local bookkeeper

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently undergone a significant upgrade so keep a look out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs. Join now and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

 

Is Credit Management Just About Getting on the Phone?

It’s Good Business to Set Out Your Credit Management Policy at the Outset

credit-management-bookkeeping-business
Spelling out your credit management procedure at the start with a client helps avoid payment-chasing phone calls later.

CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF ANY BUSINESS is the ability to maintain a healthy cash flow. But doing so requires effective credit management processes.

Unfortunately, too many business owners feel uncomfortable talking about credit and debt management upfront with new clients.

They (falsely) believe it begins if, and when, a customer doesn’t pay a bill. But, in fact, credit management starts much, much earlier than that — long before the two businesses even agree to work with each other, to be precise.  

The 3 Stages of Credit Management

Credit management falls, generally, into 3 broad stages, beginning with how new customers are assessed before you do business with them.

If you extend a line of credit to your customers, payable on a 30-day account, then a credit check is an imperative first step. But even if you don’t offer credit, a credit check should be a routine part of the new customer set-up process.

If you provide services to customers that aren’t paid for in advance or upon receipt, and you allow that customer between 14 and 30 days to pay your invoice, you’ve essentially just extended them a line of credit.

Indeed, it’s recommended that any business, whether they’re a sole trader, freelancer or independent contractor, carry out credit checks on any new, ongoing customer for jobs over the value of $1000.

Stage 1: Assessment

The assessment stage of good credit management involves taking the following steps:

    • Create credit application or work authorisation form
    • Establish terms of trade
    • Obtain a credit check

As long as the credit check doesn’t raise any issues of concern in relation to the business’ previous track record with paying suppliers on time, you can then decide to take them on as a client. From here you move to the next stage of credit management.

Stage 2: Management

This is the most involved stage of the credit management process, as it requires diligence to ensure your processes don’t slip. Some aspects of the management stage may require a phone call to your client to find out why they haven’t paid.

However, for the most part, cloud-accounting software has made it a lot easier to stay on top of your debtors. Ensure your process includes the following:

  • Prompt invoicing (as soon as goods / services have been provided)
  • Establish payment reminders, either by email or text
  • Send regular statements (if customer is on a 30-day credit account)
  • As soon as payment is overdue and in breach of terms of trade
  • Send to debt collection.

If you speak to your client twice about an overdue invoice / account, and they still don’t make payment within an agreed time, refer them to your debt collection agency, however harsh that may seem.

Stage 3: Enforcement

Although debt collection agencies can chase a debt that’s as much as 5 years old, the older the debt, the harder it is to collect payment.

As soon as a client is in breach of your terms of trade, and your other attempts to collect payment have failed, refer the debt to your collection agency.

If debt collection is unsuccessful, you should speak to your accountant or financial advisor about writing the debt off in your next tax return.

Good Credit Management Should Mean Few Phone Calls

credit management chasing payment
Avoid time-wasting and unpleasant phone calls by eliminating the chances of late payment through a professional credit management policy.

So the upshot of all this is a big part of a good credit management process is properly vetting all new customers before you do business with them. If this is the case, you should rarely have to pick up the phone to chase them for payment.

In that sense, credit management is not about getting on the phone. Rather, it’s about implementing a range of procedures for managing your debtors, and it begins before you even do any work for them.

We Can Help You Set Up Your Credit Management and Much More

Is your business yet to set up proper credit management systems?

Having the assistance of a reliable, experienced professional to help you do so may cost a lot less than you think. We have thoroughly-vetted, reliable bookkeepers across Australia, capable of setting up your systems so you can continue to do your bookkeeping yourself, or able to keep managing your daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts.

In your office or in the Cloud

This can be done remotely or in person, with most of our bookkeepers tertiary qualified and able to assist in basic bookkeeping to more complex accounting tasks. These might include accounts receivable and payable and payroll, or financial strategising.

We also have registered BAS agents in our national directory. See our newly upgraded website, National Bookkeeping for more information.

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.