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How Bank Feeds Save Time and Money

Making Light Work out of Bank Reconciliations

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

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

Bank feeds in brief

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

Direct bank feeds save time (and indirectly, money)

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

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

The Xero online courses we offer

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

Using an old version of Xero?

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

 

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Bookkeeping Basics: Cash vs. Accrual Systems

Bookkeeping Basics apply to every cloud accounting platform: MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks (QBO)

lifelong learning platform woman online learning for life

BOOKKEEPING IS THE PROCESS of keeping accurate records of the financial affairs of a business, and every business operating in Australia, whether it employs staff or whether it’s owned and operated by a single sole trader, must keep their bookkeeping up to date.

Bookkeeping plays a key role in the lodgement of your tax returns and business activity statements. It can also provide valuable information on the financial health and performance of your business.

The bookkeeping process for a business starts the very moment you begin trading, so it’s extremely important that you set up a system for managing your bookkeeping early in the life of your business — ideally, at the same time that you’re setting up your other operational systems (email accounts, websites, invoicing, etc). We’ve included bookkeeping basics videos in our MYOB training course for several years already but now these basics are part of a separate guide!

ezylearn-bookkeeping-basics-training-course-workbook-logo

If you’ve never been self-employed before, just the idea of setting up a bookkeeping system is probably enough to strike fear in your heart, which is why we put together a free guide to setting up your own bookkeeping system, called Bookkeeping Basics, which you can download, for free, from the EzyLearn website.

The Bookkeeping Basics guide is an instruction manual on basic features and terminology used in every bookkeeping system, and will provide you with some good foundation knowledge of how your accounting software works, which you can use before you enrol in one of our cloud accounting training courses or find a good bookkeeper to take care of your bookkeeping for you.

Bookkeeping Basics Topic: Understanding cash vs. accrual accounting

The main difference between cash and accrual accounting is the timing of when when revenue and expenses are recognised. Although, the two methods are distinctly different from each other, there are many businesses that use a combination of both.

Cash-based accounting

A cash-based accounting system records transactions at the time the cash was paid or received, regardless of when the transaction occurred. With this method, if you get an invoice from a supplier, for instance, you won’t record the cost in your books until you’ve paid the invoice. By the same token, you won’t record a sale in your books until you receive the money from your customer.

Cash accounting is common among small businesses, especially contractors who work on small projects or are on weekly retainers with their clients, as it’s the simplest way to manage cash flow.

Accrual-based accounting

An accrual accounting system, on the other hand, recognises both income and expenses when the sale takes place, rather than when cash changes hands. When a web designer, for example, raises an invoice for a website they’ve completed, the sale would be recorded in their books, even though they haven’t received payment yet.

With accrual accounting, debtors and creditors are created in your accounting software, which shows what is owing to you and when, as well as what you owe others and when. This helps to give you a truer picture of your financial situation, in particular it helps you keep track of money you do and don’t have in real-time, rather than after the fact as is the case with cash-based accounting.

Which system should you use?

Before cloud accounting software, like MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks came along, a lot of small businesses used a cash-based accounting system simply because the alternative required a lot of grunt work, a lot of the time. Cloud accounting has made it significantly easier to set up and maintain an accrual-based accounting system — in fact, many small businesses that use a cloud accounting system often use this method by default, without even realising.

That being said, there are some things to consider when selecting a system for your business, such as:

  • The size of your business — i.e., will you be employing staff or using lots of contractors?
  • How complicated your business transactions will be
  • Whether you will have the resources to manage an accrual system.

Accrual accounting and GST

There is one last thing to consider, and it relates to GST. For small businesses whose annual turnover is less than $2 million, but greater than $75,000 per annum, they must register for GST and they may choose whether or not to register on a cash or accrual basis. (Businesses with an annual turnover of less than $75,000 are not required to register for GST, but may do so if they wish to.)

How you choose to register for GST will greatly affect your business’s cash flow. If you choose to register for GST on an accrual basis, GST will be payable on sales for which payment hasn’t been received yet, and could leave you out of pocket until your client pays you. That being said, GST can be claimed on unpaid expenses if you hold a tax invoice. If your business has a lot of expenses, this may balance out in the wash. If you run a leaner operation, however, it most probably will not, so this is something you should give careful consideration to.

This blog post is part of our Bookkeeping Basics series, which are being published to complement our new educational guide, also titled Bookkeeping Basics, which you can download for free from the EzyLearn website.

[box type=”info”] This blog post is part of our Bookkeeping Basics series, which are being published to complement our new educational guide, also titled Bookkeeping Basics, which you can download for free from the EzyLearn website.[/box]

Featured Mandurah (WA) Bookkeeper

deb-crompton-bookkeeper-from-mandurah-wa-local-myob-and-xero-portrait-smlIf you’re looking for a reliable bookkeeper to manage your daily or weekly bookkeeping and accounts, either remotely or in-person, Deb from Mandurah WA is a qualified bookkeeper with tertiary qualifications and the practical experience of having operated her own business in the past. Deb has a lot of experience in the day-to-day accounting functions of a small business and you can contact her directly as a fully licensed member from her profile page.

Our National Bookkeeping website has recently gone through a significant upgrade so watch out for more stories about featured bookkeepers in forthcoming blogs! Join and we can feature YOU in our articles too.

Start a bookkeeping business in your local area

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseMany bookkeepers starting a bookkeeping business for the first time also find it quite daunting; after all, they have moved from the corporate world where various and multifaceted aspects of running the business are managed by other people.

We put these bookkeepers through our EzyStartUp Course to help them define their goals, pricing strategies, marketing message and professional profile. They also get support from a business mentor and brand building from our digital marketing team.


 

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Bookkeepers need help with Xero ANSWERS

EzyLearn Answers for student support in online training courses in MYOB, Xero, Quickbooks online, Microsoft Excel, Word, Powerpoint and WordPress

Xero enrolments for bookkeeping businesses

EzyLearn Answers for student support in online training courses in MYOB, Xero, Quickbooks online, Microsoft Excel, Word, Powerpoint and WordPressDespite the fierce competition from MYOB to own the cloud-based accounting market, Xero cloud accounting software is powering along and many of our course enrolments have come from existing bookkeepers who are being directed towards Xero by their clients. We’ve priced our Xero course to be comparable with our MYOB course so it’s currently cheaper but we’re listening to our bookkeeping students to add course content that is relevant to their needs.

What xero bookkeepers want to know

Xero enables you to login from any computer via the internet so trades people, professional services providers and even retail and food outlets can access their accounting software from a tablet, Mac, Windows PC or even their smart phone so it’s little wonder that small business are moving to Xero in the cloud. It’s also proving popular because bank reconciliations can be performed from anywhere by Xero bookkeepers using bank feeds as opposed to printed bank statements.

Payroll is live and constantly updated AND the payroll function can be performed by experienced payroll bookkeepers no matter where they are located in Australia or around the world.

Xero Answers for Xero Bookkeepers

MYOB and Xero training courses created by certified bookkeepers and registered BAS agentsNot long after we began offering LIFETIME course access for our online MYOB courses back in 2011 we introduced a service called EzyLearn ANSWERS and we’re now extending that service to our Xero training courses. We’ve included our Xero course in the EzyLearn ANSWERS service because of the large number of bookkeepers asking questions about how to use the more advanced functionality, because we want to add more new content to the course and we want to add new content that is relevant to bookkeeping working with their small business clients.

The best news is that every Xero course student has access to this service and our bookkeeping course creator, Jacci, who is an assistant accountant and registered BAS agent is keen to see how she can help.

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Is Xero really the easiest accounting software to use?

Xero was a market leader, but what do accountants think of it now?

xero cloud accounting software works on tablets phones and desktop computersWhen Xero was launched a few years ago, one of its selling points was that, compared with other accounting software – in particular, MYOB – Xero was incredibly easy to use, and it was also cloud-based, which meant you could access your accounts from any computer, any device, anywhere, anytime. This helped Xero to get a major foothold in the marketplace here in Australia, where MYOB had always reigned supreme.

But it wasn’t long before we started getting requests from bookkeepers and accountants for a Xero training course, in addition to our already existing MYOB training courses. It turned out that, as more businesses (tradies, for example) started using Xero because of its cloud functionality, their bookkeepers and accountants were finding that they needed training in some of Xero’s features and functions, despite Xero being billed as the easy alternative to MYOB.

Perhaps Xero isn’t that intuitive to use without a training course?

Since introducing our Xero training course, we’ve also noticed a significant upswing in enrolments, especially from bookkeepers, with many noting that the bank reconciliations and adjustments features in Xero are difficult to navigate. This got us wondering as to whether Xero really is that easy to use compared with MYOB, or whether it there might be an easier alternative out there, especially for small businesses managing all of their own accounts.

QuickBooks wants to be the small biz accounting software of choice

Since QuickBooks re-emerged in Australia, with full backing from their US-based parent company, Intuit, they’ve been cornering the small business market, with their inexpensive pricing plans and now by announcing a partnership deal with PayPal (paypal want you to be paid quicker) that enables a two-way flow of data between both QuickBooks and PayPal.

The QuickBooks-PayPal deal follows a similar union between Saasu and Westpac, which promises Saasu and Westpac customers with direct bank feeds to provide business owners with real-time insights into their cashflow. As one of the Big Four banks – and, quite often, the preferred bank for most Australian businesses – the union is hoped to give Saasu a leg up into the increasingly competitive cloud-accounting market, which saw the shuttering of the Australian-owned Reach Accounting earlier this year.

QuickBooks is well-placed to topple Xero

At more than half the price of Xero’s ‘standard’ plan (the starter plan at $25 per month is the most limited ‘starter’ plan I’ve seen), QuickBooks’s starter plan is already appealing to the money conscious small business owner; the PayPal deal only strengthens that.

Ever since PayPal spun off from eBay earlier this year, it’s been announcing new services that specifically target small business owners primarily doing business online – first by introducing inexpensive invoicing, card readers, and now by integrating with QuickBooks. As PayPal is the only online payment service operating in Australia, the two companies are now exceptionally placed to take the Australian small business market.

Perhaps losing the small business market isn’t a primary concern for Xero, which seems to be aligning itself to take the MYOB medium-sized business market, anyway. Regardless, QuickBooks is definitely a force to be reckoned with (forgive the pun) in the Australian cloud accounting space.

Join the wait list for our Quickbooks Online training course

We’re in the process of developing a QuickBooks training course, so if you’d like to register your interest to receive alerts and announcements about its progression, you can do so at our website. Alternatively, if you’re looking for training courses in either Xero or MYOB, you can enrol in either course online today and do your course over the Christmas and holiday season when you might have some time to do one while you reflect on your goals for 2016.

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Free Xero Course with Excel and MYOB Courses

It’s a Good Year for Xero Cloud Accounting

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.

It’s been a surprising year this year for our Xero Training Courses. Xero must be doing something right with their marketing and strategy because we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of students enrolling for this course.

I was just speaking with one of our students only recently and she mentioned that of all the software programs she uses (and she uses them all) that Xero makes bookkeeping so easy that some of her clients who’ve gone onto it have reduced the number of hours that they employ her!

[quote]It’s a scary thought if you are an independent contractor who doesn’t have a professional services agreement in place for regular work with their clients, but it’s also a sign of the times for bookkeepers in the cloud (online) software era.[/quote]

The biggest reason for the ease of use? Bank Feeds. See below for our free Xero course offer..

Do Bookkeepers Need to Change What They Do?

Blog about Content Marketing and inbound marketingI recently wrote about content marketing and whether a bookkeeper is someone who can discuss or even recommend this service to the people they work for. The best way to think about this is how the bookkeeper role works in many companies, for example, do small businesses look for a bookkeeper who can provide a wider range of services than just bookkeeping? It’s common for a bookkeeper to work in the administration areas of a small business because finance and administration go hand in hand and it’s common for contractors who understand cloud based services to delve into and explore other cloud based services.

I was speaking to another bookkeeper who is a Registered BAS Agent about her website and online marketing and she was telling me about all these fantastic things she was doing to promote her own business.

[quote]After talking to her for an hour I started thinking that she is a good person to talk to about Internet marketing – and that perhaps she starts offering these services to her clients too![/quote]

In the end it often depends on the size of a bookkeepers clients and the type of work they want to do. When you develop your bookkeeping and accounting skills you become more valuable as an accounts contact, particularly as a Registered BAS Agent, however you can become more of a small business administrator if you are aware of how to manage many different parts of the business.

It’s a Great Time for Free Xero Courses with MYOB Course enrolment

Sorry, I digress.

[box type=”tick” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]What I really wanted to announce was our new fantastic special offer of a free Xero course or Microsoft Word course when you enrol into a Microsoft Excel or MYOB Training Course with EzyLearn.[/box]

Xero is great to know if you want to delve deeper into the various software programs available to do bookkeeping (and a great tool to offer if you want to operate a bookkeeping business from home). Microsoft Word is a great program to master if you want to create documents for yourself or the business you work for and the tool of choice for creating a great resume so you can get that next job you’re going for.

 

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Financial Settings in Xero (FREE Training Video)

In our quest to always present you with the latest information about bookkeeping for your own business or someone else’s, we are pleased to present you with another free training video from our recently added Xero online training courseLast time we showed you how to enter a credit note in Xero, but this time we’re going to show you how to enter a business’ financial settings — something every bookkeeper needs to set up for their clients.

Knowing how to set up a business’ financial settings is important as every business will need to enter their financial information (such as the GST collection method, frequency of GST calculation, PAYG withheld, and so forth). As a bookkeeper, all of this is probably familiar to you, given that MYOB, too, requires this information in order to produce accurate reports. That being said, there are some differences between how you enter this information into MYOB and Xero, and in this training video we break it down for you:

 

 

Xero is currently one of the most straightforward, yet powerful pieces of accounting software and fast becoming a major rival to MYOB for its simplicity of use. Check out our new Xero training course. We also provide an online training course in cloud-based accounting program, Reach as well as our flagship MYOB training course.

 

 

 

 

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Entering Credit Notes in Xero (FREE Training Video)

At EzyLearn we are constantly refreshing the content of all our courses, such as our MYOB training course and our Xero training course — which we have recently added to our suite of online training products. Xero is the cloud-accounting software that is fast becoming one of MYOB’s key competitors. So that you can benefit from all the new information that is always emerging about being a bookkeeper and running your own bookkeeping business (or doing the books for someone else’s business) we want to share with you the following video about how to enter a credit note in Xero:

 

 

Where Xero Differs from MYOB

If you’re familiar with MYOB, then you know that when you enter or approve a transaction in MYOB, you can still delete it from the system at a later stage — in the event you need to give a customer a refund, for instance.

In Xero, however, you can’t delete a transaction once it’s been approved. In one sense, this is great for auditing purposes as you can see everything that’s occurred in the account over the past month or quarter or year. But it also means putting through credit notes, which in MYOB is notoriously hard.

The fact that pretty much everything in Xero is easier to do than in MYOB, including entering a credit note, is one key reason why Xero is fast becoming one of MYOB’s biggest rivals. Again, we invite you to check out our new Xero training course. EzyLearn also offers courses in other cloud-based accounting programs, such as Reach.

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Want to take a peek at XERO, part owned by MYOB founder?

xero online accounting for remote bookkeepers dashboardI 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.