Why Do You Want Xero and MYOB for Free?

If money is an issue there are alternatives when it comes to accounting software programs

WaveApps Transaction journal in the free accounting software competitors to Xero, QuickBooks Online and MYOB with receipt scanning built inWE’RE OFTEN ASKED whether Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks software is provided free with our training courses.

Unfortunately, we’re not given free access to accounting software, so we can’t pass free software access onto our students either. However, we do let you know where you can access trial or student versions while you complete our courses.

It made me wonder: Who’s driving the demand for these programs? It turns out, it’s usually someone’s bookkeeper or accountant recommending them. And this is usually because they’ve done a training course and learnt how to use one or more of the major accounting packages.

Does your bookkeeper or accountant disclose whether they’re earning a commission?

Some bookkeepers take a 15 percent cut of the monthly subscription fee because they’re a certified MYOB / Xero / QuickBooks consultant — and that’s why they recommend a particular package. I personally think that bookkeepers or BAS agents who do this should disclose that they are earning an ongoing commission — just as real estate agents need to make these declarations in their agency agreements.

Businesses don’t know any alternatives  

It also happens that a lot of business owners don’t know about alternative accounting packages. Therefore they simply choose the brand name they’ve heard about the most. I discovered this with real estate agents when it comes to who they choose for their social media marketing services — most of them ask what software or which person Joe Blow uses and then assume it’s good enough for them.

Selecting an accounting package to use is often one of the first things a new business owner does. At this stage, however, they may not even be aware of what they require from an accounting package; never mind what sorts of alternatives they should be looking at. When first starting out, they’re just anxious to be able to invoice and get paid by their first client.

Freshbooks, Zoho, WaveApps alternatives to Xero & QuickBooks Online

Three low cost alternatives to the “three brand names”

Zoho, Freshbooks and Wave are three other accounting packages that are either free or very inexpensive.

These three also include many of the same features you’ll find in the three big name accounting packages — MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks.

Zoho: Free invoicing software allows one user, invoice up to five customers; paid subscriptions from $7 U.S. per month; add extra features (expenses, subscription management, inventory management) as required. Pricing for Zoho Books, the complete accounting package, start at $9 U.S. per month for 2 users, 50 contacts, 5 automated workflows.

Freshbooks: Complete accounting software includes unlimited invoices, accept online and credit card payments, multiple devices, reports, payment reminders, notifications when clients have received, viewed, paid invoices; pricing starts at $15 U.S. per month for 5 active contacts (customers).

Wave: Forever free invoicing and accounting software includes unlimited estimates and invoices, generate reports, scan receipts, bank feeds (accounting package), and more; accept credit card and online payments for a fee (1.75 percent for ever 30 cents AUD); payroll $36 AUD per month.

Consider your business needs first

We recommend either Wave or Zoho for small but growing businesses, looking for a cheap or free accounting solution. Wave, in particular, provides a fairly robust accounting package that’s entirely free, and remains so if you don’t intend to take credit card or online payments (lots of businesses do, but many more don’t). In fact, they even have their own smartphone apps to capture receipts and create invoices while you’re at a clients!

If you anticipate you might want to add other productivity apps, like a CRM, inventory management, IT helpdesk, recruitment tools, or collaborate in a team project, Zoho is a good place to start, as these features can be turned on and off as required.

Of course, these accounting packages are rarely used or recommended by accountants or bookkeepers, who prefer to work with Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks because they provide the functionality needed to complete and lodge activity statements. If you’ll be working with a bookkeeper or accountant, it’s best to stick with one of the brand name three.

***

If you need training in MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks, our online training courses will show you how to set up and use various aspects of the software. More importantly, they will take you through detailed case studies where you can enter all the transactions performed by various different business types eg. professional services, trades and even the sale of inventory products. Visit our website for more information or to enrol.

 

Ref: #715

Don’t Wing It With Customer Service – Plan It

Great customer service doesn’t just happen.

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

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

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

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

Defying customer expectations

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

Is there too much churn and burn?

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

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

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

Using a ticketing support system

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

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

Good customer service is structured

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

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

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

***

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


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

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


 

The Lowdown on Zoho Invoice

If you're mainly just invoicing your clients, Zoho Invoice may be all you need by way of bookkeeping software.
If you’re mainly just invoicing your clients, Zoho Invoice may be all you need by way of bookkeeping software.

In a previous post we discussed Zoho and the range of turnkey solutions they offer small businesses. We specifically mentioned Zoho Books, which is the bookkeeping component of the Zoho Business Apps package and not that dissimilar to MYOB.

We offer training courses in MYOB, because it’s the market leader in accounting software and because it’s the preferred software of choice for most accountants. For start-ups or other small businesses, however, Zoho Books or Invoice might be all you need for your business, which is why we’re going to provide some videos on how to use Zoho.

Just What is Zoho Invoice?

For now, though, we’re going to look at the functions of Zoho Invoice. If you have recently started your own virtual assistant business or another business that really only requires you to invoice your clients, then Zoho Invoice is all you would really need.

The best thing about Zoho Invoice is that if you have 5 or fewer customers and only need access for one user, it’s completely free — forever. After that, the next step up is the standard plan, which allows you to have up to 500 customers and 3 users for $USD15 a month; the professional plan costs $USD30 with unlimited customers and unlimited users.

Even if you use the free plan, you can still access all of Zoho Invoice’s features, including time tracking, recurring invoices, expense, tracking, multi-currency, payment gateways and automated overdue payment reminders; you can even customise your invoices with your company logos and branding.

As your business grows, you can upgrade your plan to the standard or professional versions of Zoho Invoice, or even upgrade to Zoho Books if you’re in need of a more comprehensive piece of accounting software. There’s also an iPhone and Android app for Zoho Invoice, which allows you to create invoices on the go.

While Zoho is an American owned and operated company, you’re still able to customize the settings for an Australian business. This means you’re able to charge in Australian dollars, add GST, and you’re able input information like ABNs.

The downside is that there isn’t a local number for their customer service team, so you have to get in contact via email. That being said, Zoho has an online forum where you can ask and answer questions and they also provide a number of videos to help you with troubleshooting.

***

Overall, Zoho Invoice is a good piece of cloud-based invoicing software that is both inexpensive and highly functional. For a virtual assistant or a start-up that only needs to invoice customers, it sure beats the hell out of that tired, old Excel invoice! Stay tuned for more on Zoho and the Zoho Office Suite.

Is Zoho the Small Business Solution?

Check out the numerous Zoho apps for small business.
Check out the numerous Zoho apps for small business.

It’s fair to say the MYOB is the undisputed market leader in accounting software. Even despite the number of new cloud-based software packages that have sprung up in recent years, MYOB is still the software of choice for most accounts and it’s why we offer MYOB training courses. But for someone starting a new business, MYOB might not actually be the must-have accounting software; there’s a new player in town, offering turnkey solutions for small businesses: Zoho Office Suite.

Cloud-Based Zoho for Small Business

Gone are the days of needing several different, rather expensive, software packages installed on your PC; with Zoho Office Suite you don’t even need one. Entirely cloud-based, the Zoho offering is broken down into three app packages: Zoho Business Apps, Zoho Collaboration Apps and Zoho Productivity Apps.

The Many Zoho Apps

Zoho Business Apps includes CRM, books, invoicing software and a website builder, along with other more ingenious tools such as, the support app for managing your customer service, a custom app-builder tool and a recruitment app that allows you to collect resumes and schedule interviews with candidates.

Zoho Collaboration Apps includes a project management app, a social network app called, Pulse, along with chat, mail and docs apps.

Zoho Productivity Apps features a number of word processing apps, including Writer, Sheet (like Excel), Show (like PowerPoint), Notebook, and a Calendar app.

Select a package and a plan that suits your business needs, pay a small monthly fee, and your business has access to each of the apps within that package whenever and wherever they’re needed. The downside: there’s no pricing plan for all three packages, bundled together.

Zoho Books

But say you don’t want all that anyway; you just want some decent invoicing or bookkeeping software. No worries — each Zoho app is available separately. Zoho Books, which is the closest thing to MYOB and offers unlimited invoicing, expense tracking, reconciliation, time tracking, multi currency support, and the newly added automatic bank feeds and credit card feeds feature, costs only $USD24 per month and includes access for two users.

***

For new businesses, Zoho is certainly an affordable option, whether you only sign up for Zoho books, or whether you take on an entire business, collaboration or productivity apps package. For bookkeepers, however, MYOB is still the preferred accounting package. That means training in MYOB is still as necessary and vital a skill as ever.