Setting Up Automatic Bank Feeds In Xero

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

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

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

Upskilling to Xero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Xero Dethrone MYOB as the King of Accounting Software?

Xero may not have toppled MYOB's crown, but they've certainly forced them to find new ways to remain relevant.
Xero may not have toppled MYOB’s crown, but they’ve certainly forced them to find new ways to remain relevant.

We’ve been offering MYOB training courses for a very long time and that’s largely because they have long been the market leader in accounting software. But in the last few years there’s been a definite shift in the accounting software space, and with cloud-based technology, a number of other players have entered the marketplace.

Xero — Forcing MYOB to be More Competitive

One of those new players happens to be Xero, which has quickly gained momentum as the preferred accounting software among accountants and small business owners. Because of its increasing popularity, we decided to branch out from MYOB training courses by developing a Xero training course as well.

Although it’s unlikely Xero will topple MYOB from their position as the best known and most widely used accounting software, Xero’s presence has forced MYOB to get up off their laurels and find new ways to remain competitive in the marketplace.

For some bookkeepers the increasing fragmentation of the accounting software space is a drag and one that forces them to learn how to use a number of different account software packages as their clients move away from MYOB.

The upside is that all this competition in the marketplace has led to some very useful developments as MYOB, Xero and others battle it out in a bid to stay relevant to their customers. The first big development was MYOB’s decision to follow Xero into the cloud, by launching MYOB Account Right Live.

This was soon followed by the introduction of automatic bank feeds (which we’ll cover at length in a future post), and then MYOB Essentials, the low-cost option for small businesses.

The developments in the accounting software space are likely to keep coming — all to the benefit of you as a bookkeeper and as a consumer.

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So while Xero may not take the crown from MYOB, they are an increasingly popular accounting software choice for many accountants and businesses. If you’re a bookkeeper and you’d like to stay relevant in the marketplace, Xero is a must-have skill.

For more information on our Xero training course, visit our website or contact our team.

Working For Free: Why You Should Give With No Expectations

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

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

At the Beginning, When Things Were Free…

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

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

Why Working for Free Works

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing the MYOB Bookkeeper Directory

MYOB Bookkeeping Directory
The MYOB Bookkeeper Directory: Helping to connect bookkeepers with clients

At EzyLearn we’re passionate about helping our students start their own bookkeeping businesses — it’s why we offer a suite of training courses to help you hone and develop the skills you need to start your own bookkeeping business. But we’re even more passionate about helping those people and businesses succeed long after they first start trading.

Two-Way, Trusting Relationships with Your Bookkeeping Clients

The key to your success as a business owner is having a pool of customers who need and value your work just as much as you need and value their business. This two-way relationship helps to establish trust; the foundation of every successful business relationship.

But sometimes finding these customers is difficult, even if you’ve been in business for some time already. This is where EzyLearn can help.

The MYOB Bookkeeper Directory: Connecting Bookkeepers with Clients

The MYOB Bookkeeper Directory is a service that helps connect bookkeepers with clients. Effectively, it’s a talent pool in which bookkeepers create and upload a profile of their business, their skills, location and so on, to the MYOB Bookkeeper Directory.

Each time a business is looking for a bookkeeper whose skills or location matches your profile they can make contact with the MYOB Bookkeeper Directory team, who will vet those businesses before putting them in contact with you.

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For EzyLearn students who have completed our MYOB training course, paid for lifetime access and receipt of the certificate, we are offering you a free 12-month membership to the MYOB Bookkeeper Directory. (Membership fees are usually $97/12 months.)

If you are interested in taking up this offer, drop us a line or contact our team by phone.

 

 

Are You a Bookkeeper? Find Clients Online FOR FREE!

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

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

The Value of Networking

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

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

The ICB

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

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

Partnering Up and ‘Affiliating’

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

 

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.

Will vs Skill: How Desirable are Your Employees in the Workplace?

Employees possessing both will and skill are the most desirable in the workplace.
Employees possessing both will and skill are the most desirable in the workplace.

At EzyLearn, our flagship training course is the MYOB training course, which is sort of like an induction into the role of a bookkeeper in that it provides students with an overview of the duties typically carried out by a bookkeeper. Most of our students take our MYOB training course because they both want and need to know how to use the software in order to find work as a bookkeeper.

In the world of business training and coaching, this is called the Will vs. Skill Matrix. Employees who have both the will to succeed and the skill to succeed are highly desirable in the workplace.

Transparency, Will and Skill

Employees who have only one of those attributes, however, are less desirable. Helping staff maintain both the will and the skill to succeed in their jobs has a lot to do with how transparent you are as an organisation.

We’ve mentioned transparency in business before, notably in relation to induction training programs. Induction training programs are a highly efficient way to communicate easily and efficiently with your staff, while also testing their will and skill to succeed at their jobs.

While most induction training programs are used to merely address the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act, or to induct contractors and consultants to a business’ premises, induction training programs can also be used to further your employees’ professional development.

Furthering your employees’ professional development can be done by providing your staff with online training courses that are relevant and useful to their jobs, such as a Word or Excel training course. By delivering this content online, it allows your staff to complete the course at their own pace, in an informal environment – at home or at their desk at work, rather than in a dedicated training centre on a dedicated day – and it also allows you to monitor their progress.

As the business owner, by being able to see how your employees are getting on with the training courses can illuminate areas where your staff could benefit from further training; it can also highlight those staff member who possess the will and the skill to succeed.

Those staff members who are have both the will and the skill to succeed in their jobs also happen to be highly engaged, and as we mentioned in a previous post, more productive.

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If you’re looking for ways to keep your staff highly engaged with your business, we can help you tailor and deliver highly engaging induction training courses to your staff. Visit our website for more information, or contact us today for a quote.

Bookkeepers: Stand Out from the Crowd and Become ICB Certified

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

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

How to Get ICB Stamp of Approval

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

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

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

Good Ways to Gain New Business

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

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

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

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

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

Entrpreneurs Share: Why All Businesses Need an Exit Strategy

Exit strategy
Plan from the outset where you want your business to go.

Perhaps to some it sounds a little pessimistic to talk about having an exit strategy for a business you haven’t yet started, however, an exit strategy is actually a very wise move. We talk all about the things you need to consider when starting a business in our Small Business Management Course, but of equal importance is how you’ll end the business, which is something you need to consider when writing your Business Plan.

How Will You End It All?

Knowing how you’ll exit your business when the time comes will determine a framework for how you’ll set up your business up in the first place. This could involve creating a name for your business, rather than using your own name, so that you can sell your business later without having to relinquish your right to use your own name.

Exit strategies have never been more important than they are today when it’s not uncommon for a start-up to be sold maybe two or three years after its inception. Take Flickr, the image hosting website, as an example of case in point; it was only 18 months old when it was sold to Yahoo! for $30 million in 2005.

Three Key Reasons to Have an Exit Strategy

We spoke to our network of fellow entrepreneurs and business owners recently, and they gave us three reasons every business should have an exit strategy.

1.    It gives you a roadmap: Mark Darling of Sip Water says: “Begin with the end in mind.” Operating a business without an exit strategy is like going on a road trip without taking a map. “How are you going to get there if you don’t know where there is?” The smaller things tend to fall into place much more easily when the bigger things have been decided.

2.    It’s motivating: “When you’re working towards a specific goal, it really helps you to stay motivated on those days when everything seems to be going wrong,” says Vic Cherikoff of Australian Functional Foods. Your exit strategy helps you to put certain problems in perspective.

3.   Get the best sale price: “Knowing when and how you will sell your business can help you think about what you need to do to maximise your business’s value,” explains Robert Crane of CIA OPS. Without an exit strategy, you may find yourself accepting fire sale prices just because you want to exit your business quickly. Having an exit strategy helps you avoid this.

Having an exit strategy is just as important as having a start-up strategy. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow it down to the letter. Like most things in life, often the best-laid plans don’t actually go to plan, but having a framework to work off will help to make your business more successful and ultimately, more profitable in the long run.

You can find out more about writing a business plan in our Small Business Management Course by clicking here.

Should Your Final Price Include GST?

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

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

Pricing Your Services for GST

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

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

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

Automatically Include the GST!

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

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

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

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

Bank of Queensland not Using BankLink – and Others?

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

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

Bookkeepers Still Vital!

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

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

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

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

Redundancy is Not a Dirty Word: The Positives

Waving a job goodbye through a redundancy can often be a positive step for your career.
Waving a job goodbye through a redundancy can often be a positive step for your career.

There was once a time when saying the word “redundancy” in a workplace stirred much the same feelings as saying “Bomb!” in an airport. But today, as workplaces adapt and change to suit an ever-evolving marketplace, redundancies have become much more commonplace.

Adapt or Die.

Adapt or die. It’s true for businesses, and it’s certainly true for workers. That’s why we find many of our students come to EzyLearn to following a redundancy, taking our MYOB courses and Small Business Management courses to add to their knowledge base — and indeed, add an extra accomplishment under the “education” section of their CVs.

For more on CVs, see our post where we interview a recruiter to find out what makes a fabulous CV. Indeed, when we spoke to Fiona Neumann, recruitment specialist and director of Sydney-based recruitment agency, Skills Savvy, she told us that employees today could expect to be made redundant at least once in their career, if not twice. One young job seeker she interviewed for a position had been made redundant three times in almost as many years.

There was a time when to be made redundant reflected poorly on your skills, capabilities and desirability as an employee. Today, however, that’s no longer the case. In fact, there are many positive sides to being made redundant; we’re going to take a look at just some of them here:

1. Firstly, no one makes you redundant: this is an important thing to remember: you weren’t made redundant; your position was. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Accept that and go forth into the world of employment.

2. Why did you leave?: now when you’re asked that question during an interview with a prospective employer, you don’t have to try and romanticize or find the silver lining in the fact that you couldn’t stand working for your former employer a minute longer. Your position was made redundant. The business was restructuring, and there was cutback in your department. It happens. Employers get that.

3. It gives you the opportunity to do something new: it could be a new job, a new experience, or a new business startup, but with a redundancy payout comes the financial opportunity to do something new. In fact, it’s often after a redundancy that many people decide to go into business for themselves, as an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website last year found.

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So if you’ve been made redundant, it’s time to polish up your skill set — and your CV — by taking course with us. You may also be interested in starting a home-based business as an independent contractor so you can work your own hours close to home. And remember: there’s nothing dirty about a redundancy.

2014: There are Currently More Opportunities THAN EVER for Home-Based Bookkeepers

The numbers don't lie - find out why statistically now is a better time than ever to begin your bookkeeping business.
The numbers don’t lie – find out why statistically now is a better time than ever to begin your bookkeeping business.

With 2013 now come to a close, many of you may be thinking about how you will work in 2014. Now is a better time than ever to start a home-based bookkeeping business! It’s why we offer online MYOB training courses, in addition to Reach and Xero, so you can learn how to use the most popular accounting software in the world. But now, let’s give you three tangible reasons why NOW is one of the best times you could start your own bookkeeping business, working from home:

1. Health and Well-Being Reasons

The reasons for starting a home-based bookkeeping business are many and varied, but some of the first are to do with your own physical and mental health. In a post we published earlier this year, we listed five reasons why you should start a home-based business; we’ve also discussed the benefits to your health that working from home can bring, particularly in reducing your stress. Working from home has never been easier, and it’s a trend that’s fast catching on, particularly in the accounting and bookkeeping industry.

2. Cloud Software and Low Capital Investment — Creating More Opportunities

Cloud-based accounting software is also creating more opportunities for home-based bookkeeping businesses. According to market research firm, IBISWorld, in the five years to 2013, revenue in the bookkeeping and payroll industries has reached $2 billion, with an increasing trend among companies to outsource bookkeeping functions due to the higher level of connectedness — thanks in part to cloud-based accounting software.

But there’s even better news for people looking to start their own home-based bookkeeping business: capital investment is extremely low, and for every dollar spent on capital, the industry spends an average of $26.25 on labour. This is largely due to capital investments being small, and usually only include, computers, access to the internet, accounting software and office furniture.

Due to the industry becoming increasingly fragmented — in 2013, there were some 1,892 registered bookkeeping businesses operating in Australia — there’s a huge demand for bookkeeping services, particularly among SMEs, who usually don’t have any payroll or bookkeeping staff employed full-time.

3. LOTS of Work Available — And Accounting Services Growing

According to ABS data, 96 percent of the businesses operating in Australia are small businesses, of which the largest number operate within the construction industry (16.2 percent), followed professional and scientific services (11.7 percent), and rental, hiring and real estate services (10.5 percent). For bookkeepers that are highly skilled in these industries, there’s no shortage of work. That’s why we also offer a Small Business Management Course, to provide bookkeepers, virtual assistants, or simply anybody who wants to work for themselves, with comprehensive training in what you need to know to run or manage a small business.

But for those bookkeepers hoping to strike up a working relationship with a local accountant, there’s good news on that front, too: the accounting services industry has recorded annual growth of 2.9 percent in the four years since 2009, and annual revenue totaling $16 billion, according to IBISWorld.

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If you’re a bookkeeper and you’ve been thinking about starting a bookkeeping business, you know better than anyone that the numbers don’t lie — the time to start that business is now!

Superannuation News: What is the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House?

Allocating everyone's super into different super funds can be taxing! Now the government's stepping in to help.
Allocating everyone’s super into different super funds can be taxing! Now the government’s stepping in to help.

One of the modules we cover in our MYOB course is the tricky business of payroll, which includes the even trickier business of superannuation. Over the last 12 months there’s been a raft of changes to the superannuation guarantee, including its gradual increase to 12 percent, which came into effect this July. But super just got easier.

Super: Confusing and Consuming

Many small business owners find managing the day to day items confusing enough without having to look after payroll — a complex, but all-important aspect of any business. Fortunately, the Australian Government has recognised that the superannuation requirements are making payroll and increasingly complicated business that many small business owners struggle with.

Making super contributions for your employees is not just complicated — it’s also time-consuming. Under the current tax laws, each of your employees have the option of selecting their own super fund, which means you can be making super contributions into different super funds for each of your employees. With the Government’s new initiative The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, those days are over.

The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House

Every small business with 19 or fewer employees is eligible for this free service that enables you to make just one secure superannuation payment to The Super Clearing House, which is then distributed among your employees to their nominated super funds.

The Super Clearing House minimises the paper work and red tape associated with superannuation for small businesses and also allows you to nominate a regular contribution amount for each of your employees, so you can easily meet the superannuation guarantee obligations.

Using The Super Clearing House won’t affect the rest of your payroll requirements in MYOB — though it does look like it’s a direct competitor for MYOB’s M-Powered Superannuation — and once you register for The Super Clearing House service online, you can access it 24/7.

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For more information on The Super Clearing House, visit their website, the Department of Human Services website or download The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House reference guide here.

Don’t Stress: Start a Home-Based Business

Are you happy in the workplace or would you be happier working for yourself?
Are you happy in the workplace or would you be happier working for yourself?

In a previous post we gave you five reasons to start a business and work from home. In fact, taking the plunge to embark on your own business is something we refer to a lot at EzyLearn, but for good reason — being happy. Often we forget just how incredibly important this is, but if you’re not happy at work, it will impact your home life and your health.

Being happy at work is one of the reasons we’re so passionate about helping people start their own business through our online training courses. Because if you’re like me and you spent time in the corporate world then you know how demanding it can be.

Office Politics and Long Days

It’s not just the pressure of completing your work within the designated timeframes, but it’s juggling that with the meetings and the office politics, and the bureaucracy and red tape that comes with working in the corporate world.

Then there are the long hours — the only place 9-to-5 seems to exist is in a Dolly Parton song.

Australians already work some of the longest hours in the developed world, putting in an average of 42.5 hours at the office a week (compared to many European countries that cap working hours at 38 hours per week), according to  think-tank, The Australia Institute.

Throw into the mix the fact we’re connected to the office virtually 24/7 thanks to email, smartphones and cloud software that means even when we’re not at the office, we’re still at the office. And it’s our health that’s paying the price.

Sleeplessness and Stress

A study conducted by The Australia Institute last year found that over one third of respondents had experienced high levels of stress and anxiety in the workplace as a result of long working hours; a further quarter of all respondents said that their working conditions had adversely affected their sleep.

Sleep deprivation, stress and anxiety are so intimately linked to the workplace that authorities have taken to referring to it as “presenteeism”, which is now so commonplace that in 2009 it was estimated to have cost the Australian economy $34.1 billion dollars, according to a study commissioned by insurance firm Medibank.

If you’re sleep deprived, stressed or anxious at work and your productivity is suffering as a result — in turn worsening your sleep deprivation, stress or anxiety — that’s presenteeism, and it currently costs the economy more than the days lost to absenteeism, which equated to a 2.1 percent decrease to the GDP in 2010.

The most common medical conditions associated with presenteeism include depression, hypertension and diabetes. Stress, anxiety and a lack of sleep has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for 37 percent of deaths in Australia and is currently this country’s leading cause of death, according to the UN.

Turn it to Your Own Advantage By Working for Yourself

But there is a silver lining. Although the almost inescapable emails, smartphones and cloud software mean work is always around us, the tide is now rolling the other way.

Emails, smartphones and cloud software also make it possible to leave the stress of the workplace behind and put the balance back in your work/life. These technologies are enabling people like you to service clients all around the globe. Perhaps you have some business ideas and concepts but need help fleshing them out and assessing their viability. Our Small Business Management course covers all the aspects you need when starting a business and our first subject focuses on originating and developing concepts.  So, there’s never been a better time to start a home-based business and turn that frown upside down.

Be Happy: Start a Business and Work From Home

You may find that one of the key benefits of starting your own business is that your work actually makes you much happier.
You may find that one of the key benefits of starting your own business is that your work actually makes you much happier.

Are you toying with the idea of starting a virtual or home-based business? Well EzyLearn is your one-stop training-shop for everything you need to start a business — all via our Small Business Management training course, MYOB training courses, WordPress training courses and MS Office training courses. But what are the real benefits of working from home?

The Pros of Working from Home in Your Own Business

We look at some of the upsides to being your own boss here:

  1. Fewer Expenses: This may be an obvious one, but it’s often what makes or breaks a bricks-and-mortar business. Operating your business from home incurs fewer expenses; namely the overheads of rent, power and telephone services. But there are those other little expenses that can start to add up: coffees, lunches, petrol and other travel expenses. When you work from home you can say goodbye to forking out $4 for a coffee everyday and hello to the $960 you’ll save each year by having a cuppa at home instead!
  2. Manage Business Expenses: Working from home can allow you to cutback on certain things or splurge on others, which is sometimes not possible with a physical office. Using cloud accounting software like MYOB also allows you to keep track of your day-to-day more efficiently so you can see how you’re tracking on a daily basis.
  3. Improve Your Business: Without the overheads and expenses that come with operating a business with a physical office space, you can reinvest that money to improve the overall operations of your business — whether that means updating your computers, systems or expanding your business into an area you previously couldn’t because of the golden handcuffs.
  4. You’re Greener: Most people spend between 10 and 20 hours every week just sitting in peak-hour traffic. When you work from home you can finally do your bit for the environment and ditch the car, including all the costs associated with it. Between the cost of fuel, car services, rego, insurance and tyres you’re looking at around $5,000 a year — that’s a trip to Europe!
  5. You’re Happy: Sometimes when you’re trying to rationalise to friends and family the benefits of working from home we forget to say this because it sounds like a cop-out, but it’s actually a biggie. You spend 48 weeks of the year at work, and an average of 40 years working — why shouldn’t you strive to be happy? Confucius once said: find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

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So on that note, what are you waiting for? EzyLearn can provide you with all the training you need, from managing your business and doing your books to finally getting your head around Excel and website design.

So don’t worry. Be happy — start a business and have a job you actually love.