Quickbooks

My 3 favourite productivity tips

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“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” Dr Seuss

As a business owner, your productive days are the ones that keep you moving forward. They keep you one step ahead of the competition. Importantly, they mean that you can put your feet up at the end of the day with a smile on your face, feeling good about your day and what you’ve achieved.

Today I’d like to share my 3 favourite productivity tips to help you, in Dr Seuss’ words, get on your way!

Play music

Playing music whilst working BUT…only when doing easy tasks I don’t need to think too hard about. For me this includes scanning documents for filing & uploading receipts to my software. It’s surprising how much work you can power through when you have music to boost your mood and it’s almost like a reward for getting through your tougher work earlier on.

Use online invoicing software

Is this how you prepare Invoices? Open up a Word document, change the Invoice number (after checking it’s the next number), add the customer name and details, save it, attach it to an email, type up a professional-sounding email message, send. Oh and remember to back-up all your Word documents in case your laptop fails etc? Well you have probably already guessed what I’m going to say. Of course there are much more efficient, hassle-free ways to do your invoicing and this includes using online invoicing software. Using your mobile or iPad you can send an invoice to your customer whilst you are right there with them and you know they’ve received it. If you send the same invoices to customers every month, you can set up recurring invoices to go out in a fraction of the time than if you had to do it manually each month. For those in the UK, you can try Quickbooks’ online invoicing software free for 30 days.

Do the difficult tasks first

This is a gem of a tip that has really helped me in my business and in life overall actually. It sounds so simple, yet it can have huge productivity benefits. When the weight of a difficult task is lifted off of your shoulders you really do fly through the rest of your day feeling confident and able to tackle anything. I’ve come to believe that success comes to those willing to do the difficult things others put off doing. Pick up the phone and make those difficult phone calls first thing in the morning before you have too much time to think about it. Head out the door and introduce yourself to potential clients. Leave the fun stuff like updating social media until after the uncomfortable stuff is out the way. I tend to overthink things and before I know it part of my day is gone whilst I wait for myself to “feel like” doing the tough stuff. Since adopting the habit of doing the difficult tasks first I wouldn’t do things any other way.

So for me being productive is all about working smarter and not harder, embracing technology and remembering to reward myself. Not all of my days are productive ones, and that’s okay. As a bookkeeper sometimes I get weighed down with the numbers and just need a good break so I can come back and tackle my work another day with fresh eyes!

 
Let me know – how do you stay productive? Have you changed your habits and become more productive?

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Happy bookkeeping…

Sarina

Trying Accounting Software for Free

Trying accounting software for free

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.Alternatively, there is a sample company file
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.

For some more good info on cloud accounting products in Australia you might like to check out 2015 – The year that was for cloud accounting software.

How did you go about choosing accounting software for your business or organisation? Was it recommended to you or did you do your own research? Love to get your feedback.

If you’ve enjoyed this post feel free to share it on your Blog or Facebook.

Bookkeeping Tip – Queries for Accountant

Question MarkI just had to share this bookkeeping tip – it’s too good to keep to myself.

If you use Reckon for bookkeeping, you’ve no doubt used the “Find” feature at some stage to track down a past transaction. It’s quick and easy to use and I couldn’t do without it. Ctrl + F are the shortcut keys.

But just using the Find feature isn’t my tip.

Do you have transactions throughout the year that you aren’t 100% sure you have entered correctly and that you want your accountant to have a look over before your financial reports are finalised? Perhaps you have some GST transactions that you want your BAS Agent to look over before they prepare your BAS?

Well when you enter those transactions simply type “??” into the memo field. When it comes time to meet with your accountant or BAS Agent you simply use the Find feature (Advanced tab) to search for those transactions and generate a report. You can either print this off or memorise the report so that your accountant or BAS agent can simply click on each transaction and be taken straight to it.

No more having to stop and write down your queries on scrap pieces of paper or scrambling to remember what it was exactly you had trouble with throughout the year!

I can’t take full credit for coming up with this idea. It’s a gem of advice I picked up when I recently attended a Reckon workshop that I wrote about in my post So I attended a training workshop today.

For more Reckon tips you can read my previous post 4 Reckon Features to Save you Time.

Happy bookkeeping…

Have you heard about cashflow forecasting?

Have you comColourful building block graphe across the term cashflow forecasting whilst skimming through business material? Maybe you have heard about it and thought to yourself that it’s pretty important but I don’t have time to look into it now?

Typically, a cashflow forecast shows your bank balance at the beginning of the period, the money you expect to come in, the money you expect to go out and then your final bank balance at the end of the period.

It gives you a chance to see periods in the year ahead where cash may be tight and periods where you may have extra cash on hand. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, you can make more informed decisions about when to make your more expensive purchases or when you may need to look for additional finance.

For example – maybe you have kept an eye on your Profit & Loss Statement and your business is making a profit, however you don’t seem to have much cash on hand to pay your bills. You may have been spending money on capital items, have had to pay GST owed to the ATO or have large amounts of outstanding customer invoices – these transactions aren’t reported on your Profit & Loss Statement and are easily overlooked when trying to figure out where your money is going!

Reckon and MYOB both have cashflow forecasting tools. Otherwise a spreadsheet will also do the job. If you have been in business for a while you can use figures from the previous year and build on those.

If you would like to read more cashflow tips, click on the link to my previous article 14 Cashflow tips for small business.

Do you use some form of cashflow forecasting in your business – maybe the MYOB or Reckon tools? What do you think of them – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

4 Reckon Features to Save You Time

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If you are paying good money to use a well-known accounting system then you may as well make the most of it. If you aren’t using these features then it is worth making yourself a cuppa, starting up Reckon and setting up one or more of the following.

Emailing invoices
Save yourself postage, paper, envelopes and having to stop at the letterbox on the way home. Every time you get a new customer, ask them how they would prefer to receive their invoices. I have found that about 90% of customers request emailed invoices.

  • Ensure you have the correct email address in the customer’s email field.
  • Tick the Email box down the bottom – Save & Close (or Save & New)
  • Select FILE – EMAIL
  • Just like printing invoices, you can wait until you have created all your invoices, then send them off all at once in a batch.

Memorised transactions
These are particularly useful when you have loan repayments automatically coming out of your bank account at set intervals, for example on the first day of the month. When you go to reconcile your bank account, the transaction will already be sitting there to match up.

  • Enter the transaction, for example Write Cheque
  • Select EDIT – MEMORISE
  • Give the transaction a relevant name
  • Select AUTOMATE TRANSACTION ENTRY
  • Complete details as required
  • OK
  • Select CLEAR if you don’t want this transaction to go through today

Bank feeds
In my previous post 4 Common Bookkeeping Mistakes I mentioned that regular bank account reconciliations were a must-do. If you are using a cloud based accounting package then this feature will reduce time spent on manual data entry, reduce the risk of errors and reduce the time taken to do reconciliations – the transactions are fed directly from your bank to Reckon Accounts. Not everyone is comfortable with cloud based accounting solutions and this is another whole topic in itself. Don’t forget to do a back-up just before setting this up.

Shortcuts
These are a couple of the useful ones, but there are many more if you want to be super-efficient.
CTRL + A  Chart of Accounts
CTRL + F  Find
CTRL + W Write Cheques
CTRL + I   Create Invoices
CTRL + P  Print
T               Today’s date
A handy idea is to print out and laminate the ones you use most and attach it to your keyboard or monitor until you have memorised them. Don’t have it too far from your computer or you won’t bother referring to it. You could print them out for your employees or co-workers as well.

What time saving features of Reckon or Quickbooks have you find indespensable?