An Asset Register is an important part of a not-for-profit’s financial records.
It’s used to record the details of all the fixed assets that your organisation owns or leases. This can include assets you bought new, second hand or were given. The types of assets you might include are:
So by fixed assets I mean assets that you use in your organisation over the longer term to produce income, but not assets that you would sell as part of your day to day operations (eg inventory).
A simple Asset Register may look as follows:
Include all costs incurred in making the asset usable – for example installation costs, computer cabling and delivery/transportation.
Your accounting software may have a feature that enables you to enter these asset details, or you can draw up a simple spreadsheet using Excel.
An up to date Asset Register will help with depreciation, insurance, statutory obligations and assist with decision-making in regard to further investment in assets. Furthermore, an auditor may request to see your Asset Register as part of your annual audit.
Choosing accounting software can be hard. Each product comes with slightly different features, looks different and the prices vary. Don’t think that you have to jump right in and purchase straight away – make use of a free trial and you can play around and have a good look at it before you decide whether to go ahead and purchase it. Even if you outsource your bookkeeping, you still need to be comfortable with finding your way around the software and getting access to essential information.
MYOB Essentials and Xero are popular cloud based accounting products in Australia. You also have Reckon One, Quickbooks Online, Sage One and Saasu. For tips on getting started with Sage One head over to Steve Bicknell’s blog and look at: How do you switch over to Sage One.
So I thought I would show you my experience of getting started with the 30 day free trial of Xero.
I went online to the Xero Australia homepage, clicked “Try Xero for Free” and filled in my name, contact number and email address.
From there nothing happened for quite a long time and I couldn’t move on to the next step. I refreshed the page a couple of times, which did nothing. I have “Ghostery” set up in my browser and I noticed it was blocking something – once I selected unblock I was instantly through to the next step. Success!
Entered my basic organisation details in the next screen. There is an option in this screen to convert your MYOB datafile over to Xero, if that is what you want to do. Xero had entered a default conversion date, which was not the date I needed. Not to panic – it also tells you on this screen that you can change the date via the Settings screen once you are set up.
Up and running – straight into my business dashboard.
Watched the 2 minute information video.
Went into Settings / General Settings / Conversion Balances and changed my conversion date.
And that was pretty much it! Ready to get into the finer details of setting up contacts, customising the chart of accounts, setting up bank feeds etc. You will need all your business accounting information handy for the next stages of set-up if you are taking it that far.
Just a side note – I had a question about something which I had typed into the Xero website and less than 24 hours later a representative from Xero phoned me (yes – not emailed, but phoned) to discuss. I thought this was good customer service.
If you are wanting to look at MYOB, then the Student Edition of MYOB is a great way to sample the product – it costs $15.00 at the time of writing and you get the desktop product in CD-ROM format. There is a limit to the number of transactions you can enter (is still quite a lot) but there is no timeframe that you have to finish using it by, which is handy. Students at TAFE use this when studying accounting and bookkeeping.
Alternatively you can try the 30 day free trial of MYOB’s online products here.
Thanks for your support throughout the past year. I’m looking forward to providing more information and insight into not-for-profit and small business bookkeeping in 2016. Hope you can come along for the ride.
As a small business owner or non-profit are you contemplating moving your accounting software to the cloud, or thinking of changing which product you use?
This is a really great round-up of significant improvements and changes in cloud accounting software throughout 2015, as well as some insights into where accounting software may be headed in 2016. Margaret of Cloud Accounting Buzz knows her stuff when it comes to accounting software, so I hope you might be able to get something out of this post. Enjoy!
Have been using cloud computing to do non-profit bookkeeping for a while, so I thought this was a great article. In particular, being able to access information anywhere, anytime is a great bonus for non-profits. For example, with cloud based accounting software your bookkeeper and Treasurer can both access the business books whilst one is in the office and the other is at home.
Have been looking over the latest figures provided by the ACNC in relation to registered charities in Australia.
1,045,676 employed staff
1,806,495 estimated volunteers
Total income $101.9 billion
Our small charities in Australia rely more on donations and bequests, receiving 32% of their income from those sources, compared to the largest charities which receive only 2% of their income from donations and bequests. That’s a big difference.
Smaller charities are receiving 2% of their income from government grants, compared to 44% for the largest charities.
What I also thought was interesting was that the smaller charities are spending 10% of their funds on employee expenses, compared to the largest charities spending 57% on employee expenses.
What do you think of these latest figures? Do you work or volunteer for a registered charity? Do these figures surprise you?
I was reading back over my previous blog posts and thought this particular one may be helpful to the small business owners and non-profits that follow my blog. It covers some key bookkeeping concepts that can easily be overlooked and can cause some real headaches if not picked up.