Software

Festival Bookkeeping Cliniko

Cliniko – A Business Owner’s Perspective

Trying to choose the right software to use in your business can be difficult. Having the opportunity to see what other business owners who are already using that software think about it can be a huge help. So I was lucky enough to have Merel Purmer of The Art of Expression tell us a bit about her business and her own personal experiences with using Cliniko.

What services does your business The Art of Expression provide?

We provide counselling and art therapy services

Can you please tell me a bit about your business journey – where you started and where you are now?

I started my business in July 2014. I have slowly built my business. At first still working in a part time-job, then moving full-time in my own business and now I have 2 employees working with me.

How did you find out about Cliniko software?

I did extensive online research into the different practise management software systems. This helped me working out what exactly I wanted from a system and which one would than suit me best.

How long have you been using it?

I have been using Cliniko since January 2017

Did you try any other similar software prior to deciding on Cliniko?

No I haven’t tried anything else. I use the free trial period to find out it I liked it. Once everything is set up it does not make it easy to move to a different system. Having said that, I have not once thought about moving to a different system.

Did it take you long to learn how to use it? Did you teach yourself or did someone show you how to use it?

I taught myself how to use it. It did not take me very long to understand the main components of the Cliniko. It is very easy to navigate, I like the lay-out and all the features it has.

Cliniko has very good support. I can ask a question at any time and someone will help me out.

What is your favourite feature of Cliniko and why?

I like how from my booked client appointment I can easily add the notes for the session and create an invoice for that particular session, and Cliniko sends the invoices to Xero. The best thing is that I can give you Sarina, as my bookkeeper, access to Cliniko to create all my invoices!

I am now also using the ‘forms’ feature with my clients. I create my own customised form, for example my assessment form, and send this to my clients to fill out. Clients don’t need a laptop or any special software to fill out the form. They can access the form by following the link I send them, on their phone/tablet/computer.

Have you had any feedback from clients as to whether they like/don’t like it?

I have asked for feedback when I send of the first assessment forms and the feedback from clients is that it is easy to use. The only negative is that they have to fill out the form in one go as it does not safe anything you have entered previously.

I also use the online sessions, Telehealth, feature with clients. This has been absolutely fantastic during COVID. The connection is secure, encrypted from both ends, giving my clients the privacy and confidentiality they need. Clients have appreciated still being able to connect during COVID. Some clients still access the online sessions.

Do you use Cliniko in conjunction with any other software or apps?

Yes, I have my Xero account linked to Cliniko.

Is there anything you wish the software would do, that it doesn’t currently do?

I don’t think I am using all the features yet!

Finally, would you recommend Cliniko to other business owners in the same industry as you?

Absolutely!!

Hopefully this will help you in your business journey as you navigate your way through software selection.

Festival Bookkeeping specialise in assisting business owners with their Xero and Cliniko bookkeeping needs. You can find out more about us on our website: http://www.festivalbookkeeping.com.au/

Happy bookkeeping...

Sarina

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Cliniko – Writing off bad debts

Most of us have had to do it at one stage or other – writing off an invoice issued to a customer because we are just never going to get payment.

Writing off bad debts is relatively straight-forward in Cliniko. I think because it’s not something you do every day, you do feel a bit of dread at the thought of having to do it. But fear not and read on for some simple instructions to get those bad debts dealt with.

Step by step instructions:

Head to SETTINGS and then BILLABLE ITEMS. If you don’t see the option to select SETTINGS on the left-hand side then this is because of the level of user access that you’ve been given.

From here create a new Billable Item by clicking on the ADD OTHER button. Set the price at “0”.
For those registered for GST you will probably want to create one new Bad Debt item called “BAD DEBT with GST” (the tax box should be GST 10%) and one called “BAD DEBT no GST” (the tax box should be N/A).

Make your way to the Invoice you want to write off and open up that invoice. At this point I like to write down on paper the amount and Invoice number, just in case I get interupted part-way through.

Click on the REVERSE button up the top.

What you will see next is Cliniko’s version of a Credit Note. If you haven’t dealt with credit notes before – don’t let this scare you off. Credit notes are the perfect way to adjust or “0” out an invoice whilst still keeping proof that the invoice existed in the first place. This new Credit Note will display the same Item name and amount as the original invoice, but the quantity will now be showing as a negative number. Go ahead and click the REMOVE button to the right of that line.

Add your new billable item called BAD DEBT. Enter the unit price with a negative sign in front of it. The amount will need to be what you are writing off.

I always like to add good descriptions where I can and there’s a handy NOTES box where you can explain the circumstances surrounding the write-off of the invoice.

Click the CREATE CREDIT NOTE button and you’re done!

Extra tip:

Oh and if you’ve got Xero integrated with Cliniko, don’t forget to hop over to Xero and write the Invoice off as a bad debt in there as well. Reversals done in Cliniko do not feed through to Xero.

Festival Bookkeeping specialise in helping Australian small business owners with their Xero and Cliniko bookkeeping needs. You can find out more about us on our website: http://www.festivalbookkeeping.com.au/

Happy bookkeeping…

Sarina

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Improve Cashflow with Flow Software

 

Business owner man cashflow Xero Flow Software

My favourite thing about Flow is that it doesn’t mess around. No need for studying accounting books or endlessly Googling how to read your financial reports.

It’s a daily cash management tool for small business. It pulls your hidden, critical information out of your accounting software and brings it right out into the light of day.

It’s great if you’re feeling overwhelm and just need the simple facts so you can get stuck in.

From the Futrli website, some of the ways Flow can help the small business owner:

  • Quickly identifies hidden poor payers
  • Calculates the right time to pay bills
  • Helps you understand how to make the right decisions to keep more of your cash in your account

An example of how Flow communicates with you:

FlowScreenshot2Snipped

And this:

FlowScreenshot1Snipped

Once you connect Flow to Xero they sync on average every 12 hours – giving you up to date information to work with. Because your software is integrated, as you’re scrolling through your posts in Flow, you can click on those posts and you’ll be taken over to Xero to look at the actual Invoices and Bills that Flow is referring to (with the Pro version).

I recommend pinning posts in Flow so that you can go straight to the information that’s important to you if you are short on time.

Soon Flow will also integrate with Slack and Gmail.

Getting on top of your debtors and creditors is one of the easiest ways to improve cashflow. I think we tend to just accept things how they are though and honestly we don’t realise how much of a difference working on these key areas of our business can help turn our business around. Whether it’s in a time of urgent need to stay afloat (like a lot of small businesses are experiencing right now) or during those times when our business is looking strong and we’re wanting to spend some money and take it up a level.

Flow is very easy on the budget and easy to use. There’s a free version with the basics and the Pro version with some nice extra features that are worth the small monthly subscription.

Happy bookkeeping…

                                              Sarina

 

Interested in more great software that integrates with Xero? Try reading:

10 Tips for Reconciling with Smokeball Software

Tips for reconciling with Smokeball software

It’s a great feeling when your trust account is in order and reconciled!

Smokeball is online software, primarily for those working in law and conveyancing. It integrates with Xero accounting software. If you haven’t seen their promotional video with Calista Flockhart, you can check it out here http://www.smokeball.com.au/calista.html.  I got a giggle out of it!

If you’re new to Smokeball, here are my 10 tips for reconciling your trust account.

  1. If you’re moving towards a paperless practice, work from an electronic copy of your trust account bank statement instead of printing off a hard copy. If you open your Statement with Adobe Acrobat Reader you can use the Highlight Text tool to highlight discrepancies or use the Sticky Note tool to add notes. For your first few reconciliations you may feel more comfortable working from a hard copy that’s been printed out, and then progress to using electronic copies later.
  2. Once you select RECONCILE you can’t undo that action. So be sure to fix any discrepancies within that date period first if you can.
  3. Anything that is on your bank statement but missing from Smokeball will have to be recorded in the ADJUSTMENTS tab until it has been fixed and can therefore be ticked at a later date.
  4. Make use of the SAVE DRAFT feature – this will enable you to come back and finish reconciling when you’re ready. You’ll be able to pick-up your reconciliation where you left it.
  5. If you have to reverse a transaction to fix a mistake, it will default to the current day’s date and this date can’t be changed or backdated. You won’t be able to reconcile these entries until you complete the reconciliation for that period.
  6. Don’t select RECONCILE until you have a “0” variance in the brackets below the Reconciliation Balance figure on the right-hand side.
  7. Always record the details/reasons for any Reversals or Adjustments. If someone else logged into your software, would they be able to see a complete story of what has occurred and why? You’re aiming for an easy to follow audit-trail of all your clients’ trust monies and any problems that you’ve fixed.
  8. You can go back and print off your Bank Reconciliation reports at any time, regardless of whether you’ve closed off (clicked RECONCILE) or not.
  9. Save electronic copies of all your bank statements and reconciliation reports in one place and in date order so that they’re easy to find.
  10. Reconcile regularly. The more transactions you have, the more often you should be reconciling to keep on top of it. You don’t want to let your reconciling grow into a bookkeeping monster that you’re afraid to face!

For further information on working with trust accounts, you might like to read my post Working with trust accounts

Festival Bookkeeping specialise in helping Australian conveyancing firms with their bookkeeping needs – including trust account reconciling using software such as Smokeball and CATS. You can find out more about us on our website: http://www.festivalbookkeeping.com.au/

Happy bookkeeping…

Sarina

Is it time to Marie Kondo your accounting software?

Marie Kondo

Does doing your bookkeeping spark joy?

If it doesn’t (and you’re only human) I’m not suggesting you get rid of it from your life completely. It might be a good time to tidy it up though.

Messy data means inaccurate records. Does this really matter? Well yes, because inaccurate records can mean:

  • Paying too much income tax
  • Paying too much GST
  • Underpaying super for your employees
  • Missing out on a bank loan
  • Making bad business decisions because you’re looking at incorrect figures

 

4 common issues that I come across when working with client’s accounting software are:

1.  Doubling-up of expenses

2.  Not reconciling bank accounts correctly

3.  Old unpaid Bills and Invoices

4.  Recording superannuation, GST, PAYG withholding and income tax payments

     using the wrong Account code

 

Here are some examples, using Xero accounting software:

1.  Doubling-up of expenses

You receive a bill from a supplier and enter the Bill into your accounting software. You pay the bill at a later date and when it comes through your automatic bank feed you enter it directly from the Bank Feed screen as a Spend Money transaction instead of closing off the Bill. The bill sits there as unpaid in your system with the expense now being recorded twice.

2.  Not reconciling bank accounts correctly

You merrily work your way through your Bank Feed – hitting the Green “OK” button and watching those transactions disappear from sight. You get the message “Congratulations. You Reconcile!” But wait – your bank had a glitch a couple of months back and several transactions didn’t feed through. You also deleted some bank statement lines because they were for personal purchases. And you had closed off a couple of bills that you never ended up actually paying. The result is missed income and expenses, doubled-up expenses and incorrect Asset and Liability figures in your Balance Sheet.

3.  Not checking for old unpaid Bills and Invoices

Old unpaid bills still sitting in your software can be the result of doubling-up (refer no 1), paying bills from personal funds but forgetting to record them and bills that need to be closed off due to credit notes being issued or contra agreements being made.

Old unpaid Invoices still sitting there might need to be followed up with your customers, or could be mistakes that need to be dealt with, or written off due to non-payment.

4.  Recording superannuation, GST, PAYG withholding and income tax using the wrong Account code

These errors are made really easily, especially if you aren’t familiar with double-entry bookkeeping. Knowing when to use Expense type accounts and Liability type accounts in your software can get confusing. There are also special rules regarding how Income Tax payments get recorded in your software.

For me, the 4 abovementioned issues are the ones that crop up the most. They need to be fixed correctly so that financials are accurate.

And who doesn’t love a good de-cluttering?

 

Happy bookkeeping…

Sarina

 

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4 reasons to choose Xero accounting software

Laptop beach working Xero

If you’ve been following my blog, Facebook or Instagram feed for a while you would have noticed I talk a bit about Xero. It’s cloud-based accounting software that came out of New Zealand in 2006 and it’s pretty much changed the landscape of accounting software as we know it.

I’m around small business owners a fair bit and get to hear what their frustrations are with regards to their bookkeeping – as well as hearing what’s working well for them.  So based on feedback from clients and also my own experiences, I’ve come up with 4 reasons small business owners choose to use Xero over other accounting software.

Bank feeds

Xero’s bank feeds are the bees knees.  When you log into Xero in the morning, your previous day’s bank statement shows up in Xero.  It’s all right there – customers payments, bill payments, transfers between accounts. A couple of clicks later and your data entry and reconciling is done in one go.  The risk of doubling up on anything or missing anything is greatly reduced.  Transactions can be dealt with while everything is still fresh in your memory. And the real magic starts when you set up rules telling Xero how to deal with the information showing in your bank statement. Brilliant.

Easy access

Your bookkeeper and accountant can log in and access your data via the cloud without having to access your computer. No more having to export data and risk problems later when you import changes back into your file.  No more printing out endless pages of reports to pass on.  You can give access to anyone you want to for no extra charge. Employees can login and submit time sheets and leave requests without having access to the rest of your business data. Going on holidays and want to be able to keep one lazy eye on the books for a couple of minutes each day? The mobile app will allow you to do just that.

It’s beautiful

Xero is a joy to look at. It’s clean, fresh and easy on the eye.  Who wants to be overwhelmed when logging in to do their bookkeeping? Not me. You can even customise what information you want to show on the first screen, depending on the type of data you want to keep a close eye on.  Small business owners are wanting and demanding more from their technology and Xero have got this right.

Easy to use

This is what I hear most from Xero users.   There are other accounting software packages that are more powerful and have more in-built features than Xero, but in my experience this also means that business owners can get their bookkeeping into more of a mess too.  As your business grows or you need extra features, you can use the appropriate Xero add-on. There are over 500 add-ons to choose from so chances are there’s one out there that does exactly the job you need it to do.

I could go on and on about why I would recommend Xero over other accounting software, but I wouldn’t want to bore you – bookkeepers tend to get excited about these sorts of things 😊.  If you’re looking to get organised with your finances, or you don’t love the software you’re using, then have a look at Xero.  Give the 30 day free trial a go and teach yourself two or three easy things from their free video tutorials.  Even if you plan to outsource your bookkeeping I would recommend knowing your way around the basic features of the software and making sure it’s the right one for you.

Happy bookkeeping…

Sarina

Timely Software – A Salon Owner’s Perspective

Makeup Rabbit Shelf Jar

I recently booked in for a massage at Silvana’s Beauty Salon and noticed that they used the scheduling software Timely to manage their client bookings.

The booking process from my point of view, as a client, was easy.  I went to the salon’s website, clicked on the “Book Treatments Now” button and was taken step by step through the process of booking. I could see at a glance what times were available, pick the type of service I wanted and was able to choose who I wanted to do the massage.

Once booked, I received an email confirmation with all the details and my invoice.  I also received an email and SMS reminder the day before the massage – so no risk of embarrassingly forgetting to turn up for my appointment. (Hey we’re all busy – it can happen!)

But what I really wanted to share with you today is Silvana’s experience and thoughts on the software. Timely is one of the big names in online scheduling software for salons and for those in the beauty and wellness industry in general.  It integrates with Xero accounting software, which is where my interest in the software originated.  So please read on and enjoy my interview with Silvana of Silvana’s Beauty Salon.

Can you please tell me a bit about you and your business journey

I started working for myself from home approximately 9 years ago.  I initially offered nails, waxing and massage treatments from a room in my home.  Business grew steadily (I worked it around family and other work commitments).

Four years down the track, we built a beauty studio outside our home with street access – creating greater privacy and professionalism for myself and my clients.  Business grew more rapidly after this.  Four or so years later and that brings us to today… with a beautiful salon on Milne Road (Modbury) which I hope creates a relaxing and welcoming space for clients to come in and have quality, professional treatments in privacy with a caring and friendly therapist.

How did you hear about Timely?

Via Facebook.  I was looking for a versatile booking system that allowed me to also monitor stock sales etc.

Did you try any other scheduling apps prior to using Timely?

I was trialling Cliniko ($50) and have also trialled Shedul (free) but find Timely more suited to my needs.

How long did it take you to learn how to use it? Did you teach yourself or did someone show you how to use it?

It didn’t take long at all to learn to use it.  Setting up took some time as I have a lot of treatments to enter into the system… so I wouldn’t be too keen to change systems and have to re-enter all those details.

It’s pretty user-friendly.  There is a Help at hand with information available at any stage if a user is unsure.  You can also chat to a staff member if you’re really stuck.

What is the main advantage for you? ie less interruptions due to answering phone, easier for clients to book etc

Using Timely and having online booking has increased my business.  I have only had positive feedback from clients.   They love the confirmation SMS’s / emails and some of them have said their appointment is even uploaded to their phone calendar!!

They love how they can jump on and book an appointment whenever it occurs to them… eg midnight as they try to go to sleep but their mind is racing with all the different “to do” lists.  And they don’t feel bad about messaging me so late etc.

I love how it frees up my time – no more back and forth texts regarding available times etc with clients…. They check the dates/times that suit them and see if I’m available.

I also love that I can sync my Timely bookings with my personal Google calendar too.

Do you use all of the features? If not, what features do you mainly use?

I use most of the features, especially the schedule/calendar… still getting used to the reports.  But I love the packages (create a package, allocate a package & then keep track of package treatments taken etc) and gift certificates (clients can purchase online gift certificate…. Letting them buy a gift at any time).

Have you had any feedback from clients about whether they like it/don’t like booking appointments with Timely?

All the feedback I’ve had is very positive.  My clients love it.

Do you use Timely in conjunction with accounting software, such as MYOB or Xero?

Not yet.

Do you use Timely in conjunction with any other apps, such as PayPal or Vend?

I use PayPal and love it.  My clients can pay on line if they choose to and I can send them invoices if they prefer it.

Is there anything that you wish the app would do, that it doesn’t currently do?

Its’s pretty good for my needs.  Although it would be handy to select individual booking timeline limits for each staff.  For example, I’d like my clients to be able to book up to within 3 hours of their appointment, however my staff member needs at least 24hrs notice.  Currently we have it set at 24hrs booking notice as we cannot do it individually.

Finally, would you recommend Timely to other business owners in the beauty and wellness industry?

Absolutely 🙂

 

So if you’re thinking of using Timely to manage your client bookings, I hope this has given you a bit of an insight and helps you to come to a decision.  There are lots of options out there!

Happy bookkeeping….

Sarina

 

PS. For more information on scheduling software,  I provided a comparison of some of the popular options in my post Which Scheduling Software? and wrote about Cliniko software in my post Cliniko + Xero.

Xero apps – What are they?

Headphones calculator coffee pods

Do you love technology or have you been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century longing for the good old days? I think I’m a bit of both.  I enjoy cutting my teeth on new technology for my business but I still love teaching Journals and Ledgers to students the old-fashioned way using pencil and paper. I prefer the comforting tap tap tapping of a big clunky calculator to whipping out my smartphone (my hubby & kids will attest to this).

If you’re a Xero user, you may have heard of Xero apps (or Xero add-ons). They’re cloud-based applications that work with Xero to perform one or more extra functions. There’s an app for pretty much every task and every type of business.

Some apps are ‘horizontal’ apps that are made for use across a range of industries. Others are ‘vertical’ apps that are made for one main type of industry.

They come in varying shapes and sizes and some are more complex than others.  For example, Receipt Bank is straight-forward to use and once integrated with Xero correctly you can be up and running pretty quickly. It has a couple of main functions, which it does well.  Mindbody is an example of a more complex app with many functions, and will therefore take more time and energy to integrate with Xero and to learn to use correctly.

Most of the apps allow you a free trial period at first, so you can try before you buy. Once you’ve decided to go ahead with the product you’re often required to pay by monthly subscription that automatically gets charged to your credit card.

It’s a good idea to make sure you’re comfortable using Xero first before you go add-on shopping. But if you live for learning new technologies, then hey – don’t let me stop you jumping right in! You might also start the other way around, using an App first and then integrating it with Xero down the track. I’ve seen this work successfully as well.  If you use a cloud-based accounting software other than Xero such as MYOB, Quickbooks or Reckon, many of the apps will integrate with these too.

Why are people using Xero apps?

  • To provide a better experience for their customers
  • To save time
  • To get organized
  • To streamline processes
  • To improve cashflow
  • To keep a closer eye on their finances

Happy bookkeeping….

Sarina

 

Looking for more info on software & technology?

Which scheduling software?

Diary glasses

Continuing on from my post “Cliniko + Xero”, I wanted to share some more thoughts on scheduling software.  In particular, scheduling software that integrates with Xero.

I found that once I started looking into these types of software solutions it was like a vortex dragging me in deeper and deeper.  So many options – all offering slightly different features and aimed at slightly different target markets.  It took all my willpower not to drown in the sea of information and to remain focused!

So after extensive research, I came up with 5 software solutions that all have something to offer the small business owner looking for scheduling software.  Some are more suited to the health and well-being industry, some are aimed at the hair and beauty industry and some are general in nature and could suit consultants or personal trainers. They’re all hosted in the cloud, so no need to mess around installing software. Being hosted in the cloud also means you can access them from mobile devices. They all offer the ability for the business’ clients to book appointments for themselves online.

Once you outgrow booking in client appointments with paper and a pen, these types of software solutions are a huge asset to the busy business owner. They offer so much more than appointment scheduling and are complete practice management systems.

I’m only covering the basics here.  This list doesn’t cover everything that you’d want to know before making a decision to commit to one solution over another.  It will give you an idea of some of the differences, though, and an idea of cost.  Prices are in Australian dollars and include GST (as at the date of writing).

xero scheduling app comparison

My research has uncovered many more variables between each of the products listed.  Each of your businesses is unique and has its own needs – I would recommend you delve deeper than this table and look beyond the “features” listing on the respective software websites.  Alternatively, invest in the services of a Xero adviser who can do the research for you. It will save you a lot of time and they will also be well placed to assist you with your Xero integration if needed.

Looking forward to sharing more of my findings – there are some great small business solutions out there that integrate with Xero.

Happy bookkeeping…

Sarina

 

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Cliniko + Xero

 

Bookkeeping desk laptop software

I’ve been having a good look around Cliniko lately, and have a client who is particularly happy with it.  She’s recently integrated it with Xero, so I thought I’d give a bit of an insight into the software.

Cliniko is a cloud based practice management software that can be integrated with Xero accounting software. It’s particularly suited to healthcare professionals – so counsellors, massage therapists, chiropractors and the like.  They have over 20,000 healthcare practitioners worldwide using their software.

Client bookings are managed in Cliniko and as invoices and invoice payments are entered this information feeds through to Xero daily. If set up correctly your reconciliations in Xero are quick and easy to do and you have access to accurate, more powerful financial reporting in Xero.  As your business grows you can take advantage of Xero’s payroll.

You can add treatment notes and client letters can also be prepared and printed or emailed directly from the software. Clients can book directly through your calendar and the email or SMS appointment reminder feature can help reduce appointment no-shows. Different methods of client payments are catered for, such as EFTPOS and cash. Basic financial reporting is available and you can get good insight into client bookings and missed appointments.

It’s important to note that information entered in Cliniko feeds through to Xero, but changes made in Xero don’t feed back to Cliniko. If there are problems during the integration stage and data has been linked to the wrong accounts in Xero then these will need to be identified early and the adjustments will need to be undertaken in Xero.  An understanding of your business Chart of Accounts and Xero reporting will help here. The date you choose as your integration date is also important.

You can try out Cliniko yourself by signing up for a 30 day free trial.  During this time you can integrate it with Xero and get a feel for how the two work together.

Some other alternatives for health practitioners, that currently integrate with Xero, include Timely, Mindbody and Coreplus. They’re at different price points and the features that are offered will vary. Many software providers charge per practitioner.  Tip:  if you’re in Australia the online prices are often quoted as GST exclusive, so don’t forget to factor the extra 10% into the cost.

Xero have over 500 apps that can be integrated with their software – be sure to research all the options available to find the one best suited to your particular business.  This can take some time.  Some things to consider are whether you are a solo practitioner or have a team, whether you have multiple practice locations and whether you need the ability to do online Medicare claiming.

Do you use scheduling software in your business? What do you love about it?

Happy bookkeeping….

Sarina

 

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