Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, so set yourself a timeframe of say, 12-18 months, to make the transition from bricks-and-mortar business to a virtual one. This should give you ample time to help your clients and staff get used to the idea.
But while it’s important not to rush the transition, you shouldn’t dilly-dally, either. Use this time to implement new systems, structures, procedures and protocols — and test them.
Help your staff get into the habit of working from home but you’ll inevitably encounter a few glitches, so make sure you work on resolving them before you do away with your physical office space. This may involve upgrading existing infrastructure, software and computing equipment.
Keeping the Team Spirit Alive
You should also consider ways to ensure your employees continue to function as a team even when they’re removed from the team environment. People are known to be more productive when they feel valued, so you might consider reinvesting those rent-cheque savings in regular meet-ups or team building exercises, and more efficient computing equipment like tablet devices.
Prepare People for Change
Importantly, make sure you communicate with your staff and clients along the way so that they’re prepared for the new virtual realities of either working with a virtual business or being employed by one. This will also help you gauge any potential pitfalls so you can nip them in the bud before they become larger issues.
While you were busy with EOFY analysis — see our tips and checklists to ensure you haven’t missed anything important — you may have missed the Fair Work Commission announcing that the minimum living wage has increased by 2.6% from 1 July this year.
The New Minimum Wage
The new minimum wage for every Australian worker is $622.20 per week or $16.37 per hour and this affects all employees; even if they’re not covered by a modern award.
You’ll need to update your payroll records in MYOB to reflect this new change (we cover changes to payroll in our MYOB course if you’re not sure) so that you don’t get caught out paying your staff at the old pay rate.
If your staff are covered by a modern award and you’re not sure what their new rate of pay will be, you can check the Fair Work Award Finder on the Fair Work Commission’s website to ensure you’re paying your employees the correct rate of pay.
This means that for businesses that pay their employees on a fortnightly or monthly basis, where part of their employees’ pay covers a week or few weeks in June and another part of their employees’ pay covers July, the employer needs to pay the old rate for that entire period and apply the new pay rate from the next full pay period commencing after 1 July.
It’s also important to keep in mind that most allowances (such as, leading-hand and industry allowances) are based on a percentage of the base rate and since this has increased, those allowances will increase, too.
If you’re unsure what these allowances will increase to, check the modern award on the Department of Fairwork’s Award Finder or register for email updates from Fairwork about how the changes apply to each particular award.
Bookkeepers Who Want to Provide BAS Services Need TPB Certification
Whether you are a bookkeeper who uses Xero or MYOB or one of the other accounting software packages that we offer training on, you are probably aware that Australian tax legislation has changed recently. As a result, providing BAS services to clients is not as simple as it once was.
All bookkeepers who wish to provide a BAS service for a fee, must now hold a Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping or Accounting) or higher to be eligible for registration.
Becoming certified with the TPB is a lot like getting your drivers license: you need to be able to demonstrate the relevant experience of at least 1400 hours, or 1000 hours if you’re already a member of a professional organisation — like the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers — which you can become a member of for free when you complete an applicable EzyLearn Training Course.
If you’re working under the supervision of another registered Tax or BAS agent, you cannot provide any Tax or BAS services to any clients you may pick up of your own. In other words, you must only provide tax or BAS services to clients known to your supervising Tax/BAS agent.
For some newcomers to the industry, this may seem daunting. But that’s just because conventional wisdom suggests that you must take on some form of permanent employment, working for a bookkeeper or accountant who is registered with the TPB and can supervise you while you gain the necessary skills to go out on your own.
But that’s not actually the case. While this is an option — and a good one if you’ve never worked as a bookkeeper before — it’s not the only one. You can still work with another registered Tax/BAS agent as a contractor, providing these services to the registered Tax/BAS agent’s clients until you’re eligible to go out on your own.
Kick start your own business
This is a great way to get a start on your own business — perhaps just offering non BAS services to start with — while you gain the skills to become registered to offer GST and BAS services. Contract bookkeeping jobs of this nature are actually easier to find that it may seem — often by striking up a working relationship with an accountant or another certified bookkeeper.
A large number of bookkeepers who have completed our online MYOB course have successfully started their own businesses and to reiterate a recent blog post from Steve, the first step in starting your own business is making the decision to begin. Secondly you have to come up with the idea, and whether it seems like it or not, all of us every day are full of ideas. It doesn’t matter what your level of education is or how old (or young) you are — we all have ideas and desires, so the initial stages of starting a business are really pretty simple. And never think you’re alone; did you know that small businesses (defined as having less than 20 employees) employ a whopping 47 percent of Australia’s total workforce. That’s a lot of people who had ideas and keep growing them.
Making Sure You’re Relevant
The actions you take after you’ve come up with your idea and how you develop this idea into a product or service that others are interested in or need is critical. We provide online training for Australia’s most popular accounting software, MYOB, and it’s clear there’s a strong demand for bookkeeping skills in small businesses around the country. Indeed, if you have accounting or bookkeeping skills and qualifications and are interested in starting a business, then there’s never been a better time to explore a Small Business Course that has now been loaded on our Learning Management System (LMS).
The Small Business Management Course for Self Starters
Our Small Business Management course covers all the aspects you need when starting a business. Our first subject covers ‘Originate and Develop Concepts‘. As you progress, the course provides you with the skills you need to create a business plan so you end up with something tangible and that ensures you’re idea can actually come to fruition. But the course is not only suited to those people thinking about starting a business; it’s also a terrific course if you want to elevate your skills in your current work too.
Our course has been designed by Maggie Richardson from the Australian Small Business Centre. Maggie has helped over 1,000 people build business plans that have turned their ideas into profitable realities.
Remember: Businesses are proven to be more successful when they operate to a business plan.
If this is your year to start a business, come and join us online with the Small Business Management Course or visit the Australian Small Business Centre and get started by subscribing to their blog posts.
In the dark ages when technology was primitive, the fear of losing data left people in a constant state of printing. Archive-box-after-archive-box was filled with printouts and photocopies so that, in the event of a system crash, records could be easily re-entered — after first wading through archive-box-after-archive-box filled with printouts and photocopies to retrieve the lost data, of course. Now, thanks to cloud accounting software, that’s all changed.
Cloud Accounting Stops the Fear of Crashing
We’ve recently blogged about some of the benefits of cloud accounting software (namely avoiding the commute on cold, winter mornings!) — but two of the other great benefits are no longer having to live your life in fear of a system crash and those dreaded three little words: did you back up? Nor do you have to house a labyrinth of archive boxes filled with enough paper to blanket a small country.
Cloud accounting software backs up all of your data and stores it on an online server, so if you change computers or (heaven forbid) your computer crashes, it won’t require a computer genius to retrieve your important information — just a username and password. Plus, most cloud accounting software — like Reach, Xero, FreshBooks and Zoho — is accessed through a web browser, which means you can access your accounts from any device, anywhere.
MYOB Account Right Live and the Cloud
The only exception is MYOB Account Right Live (which, by the way, we also teach online). With MYOB Account Right Live, before you can access any data stored in the MYOB cloud, the software must first be installed on a main device. However, by having the MYOB software installed on your computer you can safely “check out” a client file to work on offline. By checking out a file, other users are then only able to view a “read only” file, so you don’t have to worry about whether another user will update the same file you’re working on.
It’s worth nothing that this option of working on a file offline is limited only to MYOB Account Right Live and isn’t available on other web-based cloud accounting software — FreshBooks does allow you to download a file to work on, but this doesn’t stop another user from updating the file in the cloud at the same time.
In short, using cloud accounting software offers you enormous flexibility. By using a cloud-based accounting package, you’ll put an end to the printing and hoarding of hardcopy files, or worrying about hard drives and backing up. Instead, you’ll have piece of mind that all your data and important information is stored safely on an online server, accessible at any time. Sounds good, huh?
Based in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Pollenizer, which was founded by Mick Liubinskas and Phil Morle — the former chief technology officer of infamous file sharing site, Kazaa — aims to co-found companies and grow them to a point where the founders can then exit for a profit.
Pollenizer’s most recent success story is that of group-buying site, Spreets, which was sold to Yahoo for $40 million dollars after only 12 months.
When Morle and Liubinskas spot a start-up they’re interested in, they invest up to $150,000 to help get what is often just an idea scribbled on a napkin off the ground.
Pollenizer’s Start-Up Science
How do ideas make it to some kind of fruition? This involves employing what Morle calls the Pollenizer “start-up science” where each start-up is dragged over Pollenizer’s so-called technical and marketing coals.
Discovery, Validation and Efficiency
Starting with discovery, the Pollenizer team looks into whether a particular start-up solves an existing problem and whether customers will pay for the solution. Next, is validation — testing whether real people will actually want to pay for the product. The last stage is efficiency: ensuring the business is capable of operating when more customers come on board.
But about half of the start-ups don’t make it past the second stage.
But one of the most interesting aspects to the way Pollenizer operates occurs before you’ve even opened your doors for business, so to speak: Pollenizer’s “start-up science”.
By methodically looking at your business idea and what your business aims to do, you’ll discover any pitfalls you may encounter, giving you the chance to modify and refine your business idea.
We all like to think we have a great business idea that could change the world. But as Pollenizer shows, for half of us it’s just an idea.
That doesn’t mean give up; it means research, reassess and retry.
As the mornings get colder, darker and less inviting, getting up to go to work is that much harder. But what if you didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and commute into the office? What if you operated your own bookkeeping business from your home office? With cloud accounting software like MYOB Account Right Live — you can. (If you’ve never used MYOB Account Right Live before, our MYOB Training Course will help you get up-to-speed.)
The Rise of the Cloud
Although cloud computing has been around since the mid 2000s, its use had largely been limited to those companies with access to high-speed Internet; your average sole trader using cloud-based accounting software was rare, confined mainly to contract IT experts.
But as time went on, access to high-speed Internet connections increased — and will increase even more when the NBN rollout is complete — which made cloud computing more easily accessible for individuals working from home; even bookkeepers.
MYOB entered the cloud accounting space in 2012 with their MYOB Account Right Live software that still looks and feels the same as their hugely popular offline versions, but with the added benefit of using an online storage server.
Benefits for Bookkeepers
In moving their software online, MYOB’s intention was to make bookkeeping easier for the business owner, but MYOB also made it easier for a bookkeeper to access their client’s accounts. It also made operating a home-based bookkeeping business easier, too.
[quote]You’ll be pleased to hear that our Small Business Management Training Course has a slant towards operating a business from home using the latest internet based services like Google, WordPress and more..[/quote]
For bookkeepers one benefit of having their client’s accounts online is that they don’t have to physically go to their client’s place of work; instead, bookkeepers can login to their client’s accounts from their own home or office.
The ability to work offline (known as “checking out”) also means that if your Internet connection is down, you can still keep working as normal; once you connect to the Internet again, MYOB syncs the data with the version stored in the cloud.
For bookkeepers, cloud accounting software like MYOB Account Right Live makes operating a home-based bookkeeping business a more convenient career option — in more ways than one. Avoid cold mornings and the long commute; start a bookkeeping business.
We are constantly refreshing the content of our MYOB training course so that you are privy to all the latest information you need for becoming a bookkeeper, running your own bookkeeping business, or doing the books for the businesses of others.
Certainly, technology has reshaped the way most of us work, learn and interact with each other. Whether working from home or from an office, many of us spend the bulk of our time online, and for many, it’s not uncommon to feel increasingly disconnected from others, lonely, even. However, in this ever-increasing virtual world in which we live and work, there are ways to combat loneliness — things we’ve probably learned from our mother’s and grandmother’s: to mind our P’s and Q’s.
If you are thinking about working from home and running a bookkeeping business in 2013 (or you already do this), it goes without saying that things are substantially different to the way they were 20 years ago; different, even to just 10 years ago. Instead of seeing your clients often and chatting regularly on the phone, you email. On a daily basis, your Inbox fills with emails from clients — emails you rarely read in full, scanning instead for keywords or instructions that you mentally note down for later; the email is then closed. Rarely a response longer than “No problem”, “Done” or “Sure, will do” is sent back (something I’m guilty of myself!).
However, there was a time when a client would have phoned through their request or query, you’d have chatted, built a relationship, and some of the loneliness of working from home would have been assuaged. Today, we rarely indulge in such pleasantries — and we complain we’re lonely.
But loneliness is so easily rectified, particularly in business. Instead of emailing a one-word email back, engage with your customers. Get to know them; ask them how they are, how business is travelling and, above all, thank them for continuing to do business with you. People like to feel appreciated; they like to feel that they’re not alone in the world.
At EzyLearn, we’re in the business of helping people build profitable businesses working from home. With all of our online training courses, we strive to ensure our online students don’t feel detached or lonely. We know that studying online can sometimes feel like you’re missing out on the student-teacher, student-student interaction, making your road to graduation a long and lonely one. It’s why we implemented the ZenDesk customer support system — to handle and respond to your queries quickly and efficiently — and why we’re also active on social media so you can connect with us quickly and easily, every time.
Next time you feel lonely when working or studying online or from home, perhaps consider whether technology has effectively placed a barricade between you and those around you. Are you likely to be regarded as a real person by your clients, or more a faceless, voiceless email that happens to bear your name? Use technology, instead, to connect (or reconnect) with people — and what better place to start than by saying, “Thank You”!
I’VE WRITTEN A NUMBER of posts about the power of LinkedIn to replace the traditional resume, but after speaking with an expert from CIA (Sydney-based company, Computer Information Agency or CIAOPs) I learnt some new secrets about Linkedin. Robert Crane, CIA’s Director, shared some tips as to how and why LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to help you get a job AND find more customers.
Here’s what Robert had to say…
One of the greatest advantages that Internet based technologies can provide is leverage. Nothing could be more the case than with social media. Unfortunately, too many businesses and professionals fail to see the potential that it can provide themselves and their businesses. Probably the most effective social network for business is LinkedIn.
You may be surprised to know that LinkedIn in has been around for over a decade. It was around long before Facebook and Twitter as a source of connecting business people together. LinkedIn allows you to create a personal or business profile to which you can add all kinds of information.
[quote]Many professionals use LinkedIn as a “living CV” where they can post their career and achievement records for others to view.[/quote]
Sharing that information with others help them grow their potential network and makes it easier for others to locate people with the right skills.
The True Power of LinkedIn
This is where the key technology of search begins to reveal the true power of LinkedIn, for not only can you share your information with others, independent parties can search LinkedIn and locate individuals with the skills they need. This is reason why so many HR people use LinkedIn to locate and target individuals with the skills they require.
[quote]Posting resumes and trawling employment website is now ‘old school’. Indeed, the highest quality applicants are signed up via Linkedin even before a job is offered.[/quote]
Is It Too Late for You?
This means that if you are not using Linkedin your competition probably already is. So what can you do to catch up?
Firstly, you’ll need to create a LinkedIn accountand then fill in the information about yourself. The more professional information you provide the better. It is also important to include a professional headshot as part of the profile so if you don’t have one of these go out and get one.
Once you have all your information entered start looking for people and associates you know who are already on LinkedIn. When you find them send them an invite to ‘connect’ with you on LinkedIn.
Once you network starts to grow make sure that Linkedin becomes an ongoing part of your business strategy. Don’t let the information you have entered get stale. Revisit your account regularly and ensure it is always as current as possible. As you meet new contacts look them up on LinkedIn and ask them to ‘connect’ with you. Always be looking to grow your network and don’t be afraid to ask people in your network for introductions to others on Linkedin.
When you start to feel comfortable with Linkedin use the testimonial feature to ask business contacts and clients for referrals. These referrals can be directly posted on your profile for all to see.
Nothing lends credibility like endorsement so always continue to seek them out and grow the number that you have. Once the endorsements start to flow make sure you direct other information about your business to your LinkedIn information. Use it on your website, business cards, etc.
Other Powerful LinkedIn Uses
The more you work with LinkedIn, the more powerful you will find it. When you need something you can ask your network of contacts, you can search their skills for what you need, and you can join any number of special interest Linkedin groups on the very topic that you are seeking assistance on. Because Linkedin has become such a worldwide tool for business, chances are you’ll find the person or business you’re looking for, if you know how to use it.
Jump On the Social Media Bandwagon
I went to a seminar recently and heard Nick Bowditch from Facebook speak. He said that the businesses engaging with, and using, social media will be the ones still around in 5 years. Perhaps it’s arrogant to think that social media is so mighty, but given the speed with which technology is moving these days, and the ferocity of competition, it’s better to build a profile, reputation and brand that people know, like and trust — and social media is the opportune way to do this.
Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.
A good percentage of the students who complete our MYOB training courses want to start their own business. Getting into any new venture can be daunting if you have never been in business before and if that’s you a bookkeeping franchise might be the way to go. There are many aspects to Small Business Management and they include:
how that business works,
how to get and maintain customers,
how to provide great customer service
how great customer service will bring new customers
ensure you do a consistently great job, and
manage your finances well
The key aspects to consider when looking at a bookkeeping franchise are the costs. When we ran our training courses in Dee Why (Sydney) there were many business owners in surrounding shops and I recall speaking to one franchised business owner who said that he chose the wrong location and his overheads were killing him. This highlights the most important gripe that most people have about a franchise; “what am I paying for?”
Franchising is regulated now which means that bookkeeping franchise operators like all others, now need to disclose more information about existing franchisees. StartupSmart recently wrote about the harsh franchising reality check that a couple went through in South Australia and it’s an interesting read if you want to explore a bookkeeping franchise further. The article quotes Phil Blain, Co-author of The Franchisee’s Guide:
[quote]Thanks to recent legislative changes franchisees are now able to access critical details in the disclosure document like full details of existing franchisees and also people who have left the system.[/quote]
What are you paying for with a bookkeeping franchise?
If the franchise you are researching charges you a percentage of sales it’s good to know exactly how they are going to get you new customers and justify this payment. It’s also important to know that if you buy into a franchise you will have to sell your business to someone who also wants to buy into that franchise. Sometimes the franchiser can have a sale in who buys your business.
The other popular alternative is to go it alone and start your own bookkeeping business by yourself. If you are in this category you will have to spend more time at the beginning choosing your logo and other branding aspects of a small business. You also won’t have the leverage in advertising that a larger company can offer.
MYOB Training Courses
If you are looking for work as an MYOB Bookkeeper and have contemplated buying a bookkeeping franchise feel free to ask questions and share your story at our Facebook page. We have teamed up with Workface to help not only our MYOB Training Course students, but any bookkeepers find work or new customers if they operate their own bookkeeping business. If you are looking for work as an MYOB Bookkeeper feel free to register at their site.
I recently wrote about our MYOB Training students and how many of them want to start a bookkeeping business so I thought we would go through some of the costs involved. Remember that these are the startup costs and you may incur more marketing costs as your business grows.
Basic Bookkeeping Skills
If you have some basic Microsoft Excel skills, are good with numbers and using a computer and understand basic concepts like income and expenses you can get work performing data entry into a bookkeeping program.
Using word of mouth with friends and family you could also pick up some work for people you know. In this scenario you could start a bookkeeping business cheaply and quickly but we are really only talking about data entry jobs.
MYOB Bookkeeping Skills
If you complete a MYOB Bookkeeping Training Course you will have more advanced skills and understand how MYOB manages GST and other tax liabilities for Payroll, this will make you more valuable. It also helps to have a copy of the software which we provide in our MYOB courses.
Start a Bookkeeping Business
If you are going to get serious about starting a bookkeeping business you’ll need to be a BAS agent and that means you need to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board. These are the costs involved:
Professional Indemnity Insurance with policies starting at $400
15 hours of continuing education every year, costing about of $1,200.
How much can you expect to earn
Employed bookkeepers at the most basic level earn a minimum of $15 an hour, with most employed bookkeepers earning between $20 and $30 an hour. When you start a bookkeeping business and perform bank reconciliations and/or produce reports, you can expect to earn up to $45 an hour, while BAS Agents and consultant bookkeepers can earn $55 to 150 an hour or more. Learn more about hourly rates for bookkeepers operating their own business..
Start a bookkeeping business without joining a franchise
Franchising is a good way to start a business and get up to speed quickly, but is it worth the cost? You end up paying a percentage of your earnings and need to sell to someone else in that system. A licencee model enables you to pay a fixed annual fee for as long as you want to be part of the system and doesn’t require the buyer of your bookkeeping to be a member if they don’t want to.
You get many of the benefits as well, such as a bookkeeping business plan template created by a registered BAS agent.
I AM REGULARLY SURPRISED at the number of our students who are learning how to use MYOB because they want to start their own bookkeeping business.
Many of them already have accounting or bookkeeping qualifications, but these are usually in larger accounting systems and so they learn to use MYOB to apply their accounting skills to help small business owners.
Start a MYOB Bookkeeping Business
I recently wrote about the Australian small business startup scene and have been working with like-minded, successful business owners to put together a series of bookkeeper business building webinars. Indeed, one of the critical parts of starting a new business is the business plan.
To some business owners this is the “art” part of starting a business, particularly if you are starting something from scratch! I’ve often heard people ask:
How can I possibly predict my future income?
How do I work out how much to spend on advertising?
What price should I charge?
What if I don’t get that many customers?
Business plan for your bookkeeping business
The best answer I can give is that a business plan is really just some solid information that you have collected from your research about the industry you want to work in.
It’s the best estimate that you can make at the time. But the best part of it is this:
You can always modify your business plan
Your next business plan will be more precise
[quote]The most commonly asked questions I hear about business plans is: Where do get one? Can I see yours?[/quote]
Where can I get a business plan?
The EzyLearn StartUp Course comes with a business plan template that will help you determine, not only the viability of your business, but also how to achieve your business aims. It will enable you to justify to your clients — and yourself — why you charge the fees you do. It is a dynamic blueprint that you can look back on and go over as you need to, in order to remind you of your goals, your business mission statement and keep you on the right path.
Oh, and please don’t underestimate the importance of a business plan. There is a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin:
[quote]“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”[/quote]
The Australian Government’s www.business.gov.au website also has a free business plan template you can modify. Watch their video below:
I recently wrote about my discoveries of the preferred accounting software for local startup businesses in Sydney and wanted to share something that our resident BAS agent, certified bookkeeper and MYOB trainer has created for you. A training video about how to enter a payment for an invoice you create using Xero online accounting software.
If you are looking at starting your own bookkeeping business it is useful to learn more than just MYOB accounting software to widen your potential client base. It is also good to learn about an online accounting program that is growing very fast in user adoption, such as Xero. Why is Xero growing so fast? There are several reasons, but one simple reason is that you can access your accounting file from anywhere.
As you can see in the free Xero training video at the bottom of this blog, using online accounting software is just like using many other online services, you login and click, type, tab etc. One of the other great features that we have discovered from speaking with accountants and some IT professionals is that your accountant or your bookkeeper can use your accounting system at the same time as you do, without having to worry about sending a data file and wondering who has the most recent version of that data file.
One of the new great features of doing your MYOB training courses with EzyLearn is that you have 12 months free access to the Bookkeeping Academy, through which we will be releasing hundreds of bookkeeping training videos to help budding bookkeepers learn a wider range of software as well as develop new skills to help them find work or build their own business.
Feel free to let us know if you are a XERO user and share your experiences at our facebook page.
We use this blog to explore what is happening in the world of small business, including the technology they use and what they plan to use in the future. I’ve recently been speaking with a start up entrepreneur who has built a website that helps people like you and I find a place to park our car in our congested cities, by linking car space owners with car owners.
In the time we’ve known each other Daniel started with an idea and a passion to build his website and now has a live website for the world to use. Now that’s a start up business isn’t it? But what about your business?
A survey of students who have recently graduated from our Bookkeeping Academy after completing their MYOB training courses revealed that 18% of them want to start their own bookkeeping business. Is that a startup business? It is in my mind. It’s about having an idea and determination and the drive to start a brand new business and we are committed to helping startup bookkeepers build and grow their business.
The career and business building professionals at our Training Partners, Workface, write a blog about things that you can do to get that dream job or build that bookkeeping business you have thought about for years.
We are also in the production phase of some more great training videos about bookkeeping software that will come out shortly as part of our bookkeeping academy CPD program.