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Remote Working? Remote Learning? What Will You Get Done This Week?

Work remotely and study from home online by setting goals and todo lists - Learn Xero, MYOB, Digital Marketing, Microsoft Office quickly and cheaply - EzyLearn

One of the scariest things about working remotely or learning remotely is that you’re more of your own boss. With no one glancing over at you or engaging with you face to face there are more of those moments when you think to yourself, “what will I do now, then?” 

The bigger question is what do you expect to achieve by the end of the week!? There are a couple tools that I use and here are some of the tips that I use to stay on track each week. 

Continue reading Remote Working? Remote Learning? What Will You Get Done This Week?

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Are You Living Your Best Life?

smiling woman who works from home

COULD YOU EARN a second income by running a website? Thousands of Australians already are; if you have bookkeeping or creative skills, perhaps it’s suited to you too.

Most people now know that the old way of working — long hours in an office at a job they don’t really enjoy — is not living their best life. And simply dreaming of a better one simply won’t cut it, but there is a way. Continue reading Are You Living Your Best Life?

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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.

Continue reading What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Setting Prices

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QuickBooks Isn’t SuperStream Compliant, But It Doesn’t Matter!

How QuickBooks Palms Off Payroll

quickbooks superstream compliant
Quickbooks is gaining traction in the Australian marketplace.

I’m a fan of QuickBooks as the functionality is excellent and the cost of the software is still low. I’m really pleased to announce that you can now enrol in our QuickBooks Online Daily Transactions Course — but does QuickBooks fulfil Australian legal obligations to be SuperStream compliant?

The background is that from July 1 this year, all Australian businesses with fewer than 20 employees were required, by law, to be SuperStream compliant.

SuperStream is a government initiative to improve the efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system, namely by making superannuation a totally electronic process.

Most cloud-accounting packages that have been developed for the Australian market (such as major applications, like MYOB, Xero, Reckon and so forth, but not smaller apps like Zoho or QuickBooks, which can be used in Australia but don’t interface well with Australian tax procedures) are now all SuperStream compliant, with one exception: QuickBooks. Continue reading QuickBooks Isn’t SuperStream Compliant, But It Doesn’t Matter!

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

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What is your WHS policy at your home office like?

Work, Health and Safety is a concern for home offices

contractor management using online contractor inductionsIn a few recent posts, I’ve written about some of the co-working spaces that have cropped up all over our metropolitan suburbs, but in particular, the ones that have started operating out of some of our regional town centres, like the Nexus Hub in Wyong, on the Central Coast of NSW.

All of these smart hubs and co-working spaces have a commitment to the health and safety of the people using their spaces, particularly those smart hubs which are backed by the Government’s Smart Work Hub pilot program.

Smart hubs looks out for your ergonomics and health and safety

From providing ergonomic workstations to ensuring common areas are free of debris and other hazardous materials to having any electronics and technology checked and tested to confirm they’re fit for use, a commercial co-working space or smart work hub must adhere to a strict WHS policy, as do customers of each smart hub or co-working space.

If you’ve ever been to a co-working space before, then you’ve probably been given a WHS procedure document to read and sign. That document sets out the responsibilities the co-working space has to maintaining a safe working environment for everyone visiting the co-working space, as well as the responsibilities you have as a user of the space.

Typical items that you would find in a WHS agreement at a co-working space include:

  • Adopt a relaxed posture while working
  • Align computer monitor and keyboard to create comfortable work posture
  • Clean up any spills and breakages immediately
  • Notify site supervisor of any broken or damaged power leads.

Teleworkers will also have to adhere to WHS policies, set out by their employer

If you work for a company that has a flexible workplace policy that allows you to work from a different office, from home, or at a co-working space (like the Nexus Hub), then you should be given a teleworking document, outlining your responsibilities when working offsite, and your employer’s responsibilities to you too.

In WHS agreement from an employer, you’d typically find item such as:

  • Traffic ways, hallways, and aisles should be kept well lit and clear of materials, equipment, rubbish, and electric leads
  • Floors are level and any spills or breakages are cleaned immediately
  • Freestanding fittings are complete stable or secured to the wall or floor
  • Filing cabinets do not open into hallways or halls, and filing is performed from bottom up, with only one door open at a time to maintain the cabinet’s stability
  • The temperature should range between 21-24 degrees Celsius with 40-60 percent humidity and good ventilation.

For employers that allow their staff to work from home, the workplace practices and procedures of the agreement is pretty extensive. Some employers may even send a WHS specialist to your home to check that your workstation is ergonomic and also complies with the company’s WHS policies and procedures.

But what about you – what are your teleworking WHS guidelines?

But there are a lot of small business owners who work from home; I wonder what their WHS policies and procedures are. I bet they don’t have any policies or procedures for WHS; I don’t even think many people give much though to the ergonomics of their home office.

How many of you hunch over a laptop most days? Do you have a separate monitor connected your laptop to help with your posture? Do you have a laptop stand? Do you make sure that you take regular breaks, every 30 minutes or so, for at least five minutes to give your body a rest? How many footsteps are you taking each day? Are you getting the 10,000 recommended by the World Heath Organisation to ensure optimum health? (For the record, 10,000 footsteps each day is the equivalent to walking about 9km.)

No WHS guidelines = ill health

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above, then you’re like the majority of home-based workers, but you’re probably also causing yourself untold musculoskeletal problems, from issues ranging from poor posture to shoulder and neck tension (one of the leading causes of tension and migraine headaches) to lower back problems.

Most of these issues can be resolved quite simply by paying better attention to your workspace – ensure your monitor is adjusted to suit your height, and that your keyboard and chair promote good ergonomics. And make sure you take regular breaks and make a decent enough dent in those 10,000 steps each day.

If you’ve ever suffered from tension headaches from hunching over laptop all day (which a member of my team does), just switching to a desktop PC or making sure you always use a laptop stand.

Even though you might have a healthier state-of-mind working from home – you’re not stuck for hours each day in stressful traffic – you might not be healthier physically, unless you take care to implement some basis WHS procedures in your home office, as well as your daily routine.

Are you a business owner? How do you share information about your WH&S Policies and ?

EzyLearn is an online training business and we’ve been creating our own training courses since 2003 so we have plenty of experience in course design, creating training content, implementing it into an online LMS and managing the enrolment process for thousands of students – we’re in a great position to create and manage an online induction system for your contractor management or staff training. Find out about our online induction services and request a quote.

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Becoming a National Bookkeeping Bookkeeper

Starting a Business as a Bookkeeper is about Business Knowledge, Skills and Support

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

It’s not easy starting out as a bookkeeper running your own business. We think our partnership with National Bookkeeping is going to help you get underway.

If you’ve subscribed to our blog and followed our recent posts, then you probably know that EzyLearn has partnered with National Bookkeeping.

National Bookkeeping can now administer training courses to their new licensees, along with a range of other perks and benefits to help you launch your own bookkeeping business. Continue reading Becoming a National Bookkeeping Bookkeeper

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More People Are Working From Home Than Ever Before

Local Government Councils Encourage Home Businesses and Working from Home

Australian Bureau of Statistics office door reveal the majority of micro businesses use the Internet to let their staff work from homeIF YOU’RE THINKING about whether to start your own home-based business, consider this fact I stumbled across recently: More than a third of all Australian micro businesses – that is, a business with four or fewer employees – use the Internet to allow their staff to work from home, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

[quote]That’s an 8% increase in 2 years[/quote]

Continue reading More People Are Working From Home Than Ever Before

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Has the Australian Government shelved its Teleworking initiative for good?

How Teleworking Began in Australia

teleworking
Our Team are teleworking independent contractors and they can help you do the same

In 2011, the then-Gillard Government introduced a teleworking initiative, established to encourage private sector employers to allow their employees to regularly work from home. The teleworking initiative was soon followed by Gillard’s own commitment in 2012 to have 12 percent of all Australian public servants teleworking by 2020. But the initiative also served another purpose: to promote the use of the national broadband network (NBN).  

That was then. By 2013, the Gillard Government had been ousted, and the NBN has been through many different incarnations since it was first announced – it’s still moving forward, albeit as a significantly scaled back offering to what was originally proposed. Also ousted in 2013 was the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), which oversaw the Government’s Teleworking initiative.

In place of the DBCDE, the Government formed the Department of Communications. It’s primary functions are the same as the DBCDE’s, with one exception: there’s no teleworking initiative, which has ostensibly gone the way of the clog (remember those?). For whatever reason, it now appears that the Federal Government isn’t very interested in encouraging Australian businesses to have their staff telework or to utilise teleworkers, who may be scattered across Australia.

Employed Teleworkers not Independent Contractors?

Could it be that the telework initiative stepped on the toes of various of state and territory level telework initiatives that involved funding, what the NSW Government has dubbed, Smart Work Hubs? Smart Work Hubs, like the one at Wyong on the NSW Central Coast, are essentially co-working spaces established to encourage employers to allow their staff to telework – from one of the government-funded smart hubs, of course.

This is an interesting move, but it relies on people who are already employed and already commuting to a major city centre or business district to utilise the smart hubs, which come at a cost to either the employee or their employer. The locations of the existing five pilot smart hubs in NSW are already located in major areas – Western City and the Central Coast; all areas with easy access to high speed internet services.

For more smarts to be rolled out in other regional areas – Newcastle is rumoured to be next – the existing ones need to prove they’re worth the investment, and that relies on numbers. A significant number of teleworkers, the emphasis here being on teleworkers and not the self-employed, need to be using the smart work hubs regularly enough for the NSW Government to rollout the next phase of smart work hubs.

But as I hinted before, this relies on people who already have access to high-speed internet services at their home and who are still within commuting distance to their place of work, to be willing to pay to telework regularly. Maybe the reason the Federal Government really scrapped its teleworking initiative had nothing to do with the NSW Government’s smart work hubs at all. Maybe it had more to do with it’s new-look NBN.

What the scaled back NBN really looks like

When the NBN was originally proposed, the original plan was to deploy high-speed-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband for most Australians, but that was soon ditched by the Abbott Government for being too expensive. The new-look NBN now consists of a mixed network that prioritises fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology, which means that fibre optic cables are run to each internet node and the rest of the connection is completed through Telstra’s ageing copper wire network.

Under this NBN, the speed of your internet will vary on how far you live from the node. The further away you live, the slower it will be. But it’s okay, the Government has promised that the slowest NBN speeds could ever get to is 25 Megabits per second (Mbps), the same speed the US Federal Communications Commission defined as the absolute bare minimum to be able to call an internet connection broadband.

The other issue, of course, remains the copper wire network, which the Government now has to buy back off Telstra for $11bn (after the Howard Government sold it to Telstra a decade ago) when it discovered there was a lack of infrastructure in most regional areas of Australia that prevented many households from even connecting to the exchange, never mind the port – as well as some households in major cities.

So what now for teleworkers?

If you’re a teleworker and you live near a NSW Government smart work hub, use it. Certain hubs offer discounts to the NSW Government’s definition of a teleworker – someone who usually commutes to their workplace – while the self-employed can still reap the benefit of working from a smart hub, which are located near or offer child minding facilities, cafes, parking, and gyms.

If you were counting on the NBN to make it easier to work remotely or start your own business, don’t give up on it yet. The Government knows that the key to remaining competitive in the global marketplace is to have access to high-speed telecommunications networks, so the NBN is still, and will continue to be, a major priority.

If you’d like to start your own home-based business, but don’t know where to go for advice and support now that the Government has, seemingly, abandoned it’s teleworking initiative, visit the WorkFace website. WorkFace is an EzyLearn business partner made up of a network of teleworking professionals who have helped many EzyLearn graduates start their own home-based virtual assistant businesses.

Blogging is a Teleworking Task

The article you’re reading is part of the EzyLearn blog and this work can be done from anywhere in the world so it’s a popular outsourced task. If you want to explore blogging for your business or want to learn how it works so you can offer it as a service then discover our Blogging for Business Online Training Course.

 

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The NBN will make it easier to move out of the city and start a business

Regional Australia Is Available To Work For Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth

Is the NBN available in your suburb - national broadband networkA lot has been said in recent weeks about the cost of housing in Australia’s capital cities, but in particular, Sydney, which has the highest median housing prices in the country; a figure that, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, has increased by 30 percent since 2012 and is continuing to rise, seemingly unabated.

As a result, people – and I mean all people; couples, families, singles – are moving out of the city to regional areas, where housing prices are lower. Continue reading The NBN will make it easier to move out of the city and start a business

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Good news (childcare subsidies) in this year’s budget for mums working at home

Childcare Subsidies for Home Based Businesses

work from home businessIn the federal government budget for 2015/16 the changes included bonuses for small businesses and cuts to daycare subsidies for stay-at-home parents who still send their kids to daycare. The reforms will mean that for families with an income above $65,000 a year, they’ll no longer have access to childcare subsidies if one parent is not working. For families with an income under $65,000 a year, they’ll be limited to twelve hours of childcare a week, unless both parents are in work or study.

What this mean for mums who want to work from home

Well, the good news is that for families where both parents work, they’ll be able to access 24 hours of subsidised childcare each week. That’s regardless of where your employment is; if you’re employed and you’re paying taxes, then you’re entitled to access the childcare subsidy.

For mums (or dads) who need flexibility in their employment so they can still meet the kids at the school gate or take care of them when they’re sick, the reforms to childcare subsidies offer that flexibility.

We’ve written posts about the many benefits of working from home on the EzyLearn blog before, and it’s why our MYOB training courses became so popular. A lot of parents want the flexibility of working from home and decided that the best way to do it was to work for their husband or partner’s business doing the books.

Working from home is easier and more popular

In the last few years, a lot of things have changed. Working from home has become more prevalent as workplaces have downsized and the job market has contracted; the rise of online tools like Dropbox have made it easier for people to telework effectively and efficiently, and we partnered with The Australian Small Business Centre to deliver a Small Business Management Course.

There are now virtually no barriers to starting your own home-based business, regardless of the industry or profession you choose. Just take a look at the number of networking groups now on Meetup, where nearly every member is a home-based office worker or self-employed. And the government just made it a whole lot easier for families with one parent at home to start a home-based business and have the distraction-free time they need to get their work done, too.

If you’ve been thinking of starting your own home-based business or becoming an independent contractor, EzyLearn offers a number of training courses to give you the skills you need to get started, including a new course on content marketing, which is a huge growth area, requiring many skilled, Australian writers, and will be the subject of another blog post soon.

For now, though, learn more about content marketing on our website or by reading our blog and stay tuned for some fantastic news very soon about the new updated offer for anyone interested in starting a bookkeeping business! We’re going to extend our 30 Day money back guarantee for this too!

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You’ve Already Got a Business Coach – YOU!

being your own boss
Every time you set goals and generally act like a boss, you’re serving much the same function as a business coach.

Ever since EzyLearn’s early days, when we still had our training centres in Sydney, I’ve always gained a real buzz out of helping our students start their own businesses.

I still do, which is why I recently presented a seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo and why EzyLearn has partnered with the StartUp Academy.

The StartUp Academy is a start-up incubator for entrepreneurs who want to work in industries currently experiencing rapid growth — like the work health and safety industry, for example — but who also want to have balance in their home and work life; to be their own bosses. Continue reading You’ve Already Got a Business Coach – YOU!

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Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

Who wants to work from home?

Ever since we started offering our MYOB training courses online, thousands of students have enrolled and learned how to become MYOB bookkeepers. Many of those students are mums, who were looking to become skilled in a job they could do from home.

In 2012, we added the Small Business Management and Start-up course to our online training platform, to help students to learn a new set of skills that would help them start their own businesses as independent contractors, so they can earn more money, work their own hours, work closer to home, and spend more time with the kids.

Continue reading Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

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But Networking Isn’t Making Me Any Money! Putting Together a Marketing Action Plan

marketing action plan networking
With a Marketing Action Plan, you’ll be able to isolate which marketing strategies are working best for your small business.

In the marketing module of our Small Business Management course, our students learn about marketing action plans, and throughout the course come to create their own marketing plan for their soon-to-be business.

We also talked about referral marketing and networking in our last post, in which we outlined what every business should be doing to grow their customer base. For this reason, it should also be included in your marketing action plan. Continue reading But Networking Isn’t Making Me Any Money! Putting Together a Marketing Action Plan

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Working For Free: Why You Should Give With No Expectations

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

In a recent post we talked about the times when businesses should work for free, which we referred to as ‘added value’. We cover value-related exercises, such as determining and setting your prices in the module of the same name in our Small Business Management Course.

Sometimes working for no charge at all and outlining where this so (that’s important — people need to be informed that you’re doing something for nothing otherwise they mightn’t know!)  discourages hagglers and nuisance clients always looking for a discount at every opportunity. Continue reading Working For Free: Why You Should Give With No Expectations

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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. Continue reading Don’t Stress: Start a Home-Based Business