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Xero – Handling Overpayments in Xero

Xero – Handling Overpayments in Xero

Handling Overpayments in Xero

From the Xero blog, here is how to handle overpayments in Xero and resolve them –

Overpayments can be challenging at times, or even forgotten. There are some easy ways to handle overpayments within Xero.

Let’s take a look at a few ways we can record an overpayment and apply this to an invoice/bill or refund it directly. In Xero, the term “invoice” relates to a sale, and a “bill” relates to a purchase. I’ve only referred to invoices below, but these processes relate to both.

To Record (handle) an Overpayment, you can either:

  • Simply enter the amount paid directly onto the invoice, and if the amount exceeds your invoice total, Xero will automatically calculate an Overpayment transaction.
  • Create an Overpayment Receive Money / Spend Money transaction in your bank account
  • During reconciliation, create an Overpayment Receive Money / Spend Money transaction

Allocate or Refund an Overpayment (Resolve the overpayment)

Once the Overpayment transaction has been entered into Xero, a cash refund can be recorded or you can allocate the overpaid amount to an invoice for the same Contact in Xero.

  • The Allocate option will appear in the Overpayment Options drop down menu while viewing your Overpayment transaction.
  • If a contact has a new invoice you created Xero will ask if you wish to allocate the overpaid amount against this invoice.
  • You can record Cash Refunds on the Overpayment directly and then reconcile them with your Bank Statement line.

(XERO) have some great Help Centre pages that step through Overpayments in Xero. You can check them out here, and call us for help!

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today! 0407 361 596 Aust

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Business Tips – 3 Favourite Productivity Tips

Business Tips – 3 Favourite Productivity Tips

3 Favourite Productivity Tips

A fellow blogger in South Australia – Sarina Abbott shares her 3 favourite productivity tips

“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…

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!

I think Sarina has great tips – so true!
Especially the tip to do the difficult tasks first – sometimes I just say to myself – JUST DO IT! But I still have days I put off the call or the hard item…

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MYOB / Reckon / Quickbooks / Xero – Clear / Remove / Delete the “to be printed” items from print queue

MYOB / Reckon / Quickbooks / Xero – Clear / Remove / Delete the “to be printed” items from print queue

MYOB / Reckon / Quickbooks / Xero – Clear / Remove / Delete the “to be printed” items from print queue

A client called and saidWe had ticked in our invoices to be printed and never did the printing. Now when I go to print a batch that I want to print, all these non-printed invoices are highlighted. There are about 400 so it does take some time to scroll to the few I want. Is there any way I can delete this instruction without bringing each invoice up and deleting the instruction?

A good solution 1 – Turn off your printer – go to print all unwanted items, then delete the print job in the queue on the printer (usually the printer status window that opens, or from icon lower RHS in task bar or hidden icon area.

A good solution 2 – Choose a PDF printer to create a file – it may need some time to be left to run.

And sometimes using the Reckon PDF creator may not take them off and they re-appear next time, so try using Cute PDF (download FREE here http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp  and click the top “Free Download” on the right, it will also automatically tell you to download the Ghostscript converter, the second free download on the right, say yes as well) or another PDF software.

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today! 0407 361 596 Aust

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You also get FREE 30 min to assist in setting up your company in the software, and FREE ongoing email or phone support – No-one offers as much!

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Cashflow Tips – How to Improve Cashflow in 30 days!

Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieve

Cashflow Tips – How to Improve Cashflow in 30 days!

One of the services we help our clients with is teaching how to improve cashflow – and our aim is 30 days! – mainly how to get paid sooner is the top issue they face! A simple method we found is simply send statements EVERY FORTNIGHT – the majority of busy business owners and accounts people forget – you are not their priority.

Results we achieve –

  • Frequent reminders has cut accounts payable / debtors from 60-90 days to majority 30 days and fewer in 60 days! – nearly halved the average payment time in many cases!
  • Calls have been more than halved!
  • Regular email saves time, stress and cost! – The squeaky wheel gets attention!

But there are always the stragglers or those in financial stress that may not be their fault, and often they are a bit embarrassed to call to explain – so sometimes a follow-up call is needed.
And then there are the down-right determined to string you out (the old-fashioned attitude to lean on creditors (YOU)), or financially tight businesses that are only in to win themselves – sometimes they may become a loss.

Here are 5 other tips from Elan Pamensky at Dynamic Business

Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business and more SMBs have been destroyed through cashflow issues than from any other cause. The last thing you need is to be stressing about whether you have enough cash to pay your own suppliers when you should be running your business

1. Compare Your Budgeted and Actual Cashflow

When you made your realistic budget for this financial year, you predicted  your income and expenses so that you could use those figures in your planning. The purpose of this budget was to check whether your cashflow was on target and take action if it is not.

If you are having cashflow issues, you need to determine what is at the root of the problem – lack of income, out-of-control expenses, or late payment of accounts by customers are the most common causes. Once you identify the cause, you can do something about it, but it all starts with awareness.

2. Be Clear About Your Payment Terms and Follow Up

You’d be surprised how many businesses forget this step, and it’s one of the easiest ways to improve your cashflow. Clearly defining your payment terms at the start of your relationship can transform the speed at which you are paid, and it also gives you a chance to negotiate.

If you are asking for 7 or 14 days payment and your prospect wants 30, 60, or 90 days you have the opportunity to negotiate a higher fee in return for your concession on terms, and you have the opportunity to ask yourself whether this client is going to be worth working for at all. This also puts you in a much stronger position if they are late paying your invoices because you have already had a discussion about the terms.

Once you have established the terms of payment make sure you follow your clients up quickly and professionally when they are overdue. This increases your client’s respect for the value you deliver, and helps you get paid sooner

3. Invoice Immediately

Businesses that invoice weekly or monthly are more likely to have cashflow problems. If you invoice as soon as you complete a job the chances are you will get paid immediately … or at least on time because a client who has just signed off on a job is probably happy to pay (or at least schedule payment) immediately rather than having it hanging over their head as something to do.

Tradies are particularly guilty of waiting days or weeks to invoice, and often only invoice when they have a cashflow crisis, so using an app, or developing a system that allows you to invoice immediately is an excellent way to improve your cashflow.

4. Plan Ahead for Compulsory Payments

Set aside money as it comes into your account to pay your taxes, GST   and superannuation obligations. It’s best to put this into a separate bank account so you are not tempted to think of it as ‘available cash’ because it really isn’t available at all.

I’ve lost count of the number of business owners who thought they were having an incredibly profitable year, but who discovered that they had forgotten to set aside enough cash to pay their legal obligations and were suddenly plunged into a cashflow crisis in June or December.

5. Consider Ways to Reduce your Stock Without Affecting Delivery

While many businesses need to have a certain amount of capital tied up in stock so that they can provide efficient and timely service, it’s always worth revisiting your stock levels. From stationery and office supplies to spare parts and widgets your goal should be to have enough to operate your business without interruption, but not too much.

Holding excess stock has an effect on your cashflow as well as on your expenses (warehouse and office space) so it’s important to determine the right levels for your business, and to control it carefully. Lower stock levels also make stocktake easier to manage.

In summary, if you implement one or more of these cashflow improvement methods you will find that the additional cash you have available at any time will increase, and you will also be able to look ahead and see when cashflow problems are likely to occur so that you can work around them.

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today!

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Business Tips – Being an Open-Book business in a Closed-Book world

Business Tips – Being an Open-Book business in a Closed-Book world

Being an Open-Book business in a Closed-Book world

An interesting look at Open-Book business operating in a Closed-Book World (our own emphasis) as Michael Lumsden writes at Great Game of Business – Our company operates in the outsourced contact centre sector. We tend to have relatively few, big corporate clients with large transaction volumes and long term contracts. This means we have quite high levels of single client dependency so we are always trying to make sure we are delivering great services and anticipating our clients requirements so we can satisfy or exceed them. We do a pretty good job generally judging by our client growth and retention rates.

Most of our clients have heard us talk about open-book management but I am not sure they really understand it or appreciate the role it plays in our success and therefore the outcomes we deliver for them as clients. Often times we feel frustrated with our clients because they treat us in a “closed-book management” style. It is not uncommon for large companies to limit the information which is shared with their business partners / suppliers. Information is power and the traditional procurement led approach to supplier management is designed to help the big corporate protect their position of power in the relationship.

As practitioners of open-book management, we know that there is enormous value that can be created when organizations unleash the power and creativity of their employees. We know that an open-book approach is one of the best ways to win the hearts and minds of the employees. So when a major client imposes either deliberately or through omission a blockage to meaningful information flow between their organization and our employees (who are effectively their employees as far as the customer is concerned) we see a shortfall against the value that could be generated. So it got me thinking about how we can help build better Open Book relationships with our clients.

Here are a few ideas we are going to try:

#1 Teach clients the rules of the Game

 We teach our employees the rules of the game but we have never really made the effort to teach our clients. Our frustration at their “closed-book approach” is our own fault given we have never taken the opportunity to educate clients on the Great Game and how it impacts on our culture and performance as a business. We need to help them understand the open-book management system and agree how we can use information better to our mutual advantage.

#2 Align critical numbers

In our client relationships there is a very strong level of measurement against KPI’s. The critical numbers are usually fairly evident and we have a good ability to measure these and communicate them across our business at an aggregated and individual performance level. The “closed-book” gap with clients is not with what the critical numbers are, but with how targets are set against these KPI’s. Often times clients will set targets that are overly ambitious in the belief that they can drive performance outcomes with their outsourced providers by dangling the carrot just out of reach. If you do manage to reach the level, the bar quickly gets lifted a bit higher. Typically when targets are missed this triggers contract penalties which reduce our remuneration from the contract. This has a flow on effect in that as an open-book company we typically share our client targets with our employees and align their bonuses or “Stake in the Outcome” with the client targets. So if the targets are continually set in a way where they are perceived to be out of reach, the power of the bonus or “Stake in the Outcome” is negated. Again education is required with our clients to demonstrate the linkage between realistic target setting and the Open Book Management system.

#3 Teach clients the value of everyone following the game on a scoreboard

Large corporate companies often outsource parts of their business and keep some in house. They may also outsource to multiple providers. When the large corporate takes this multi-vendor and or in-house / out sourced approach, they will be attempting to derive the value of a competitive champion challenger mindset amongst other benefits . This should really play into the hands of an open-book management provider because we know the power that can be harnessed by sharing performance results for various teams on a scoreboard. Unfortunately, the “closed-book” thinking often prevents the client from sharing the competitive data across vendors and or their in-house operations. They will tend to release only snippets of sometimes manipulated data to support their goal of pushing the provider for better performance. This censorship or blacking out of the true scoreboard is potentially incredibly damaging to the performance across the entire estate. We need to teach our clients the benefits of everyone involved being able to “follow the action and keep score”.   

#4 Give clients a Stake in the Outcome

Our clients are naturally interested in achieving better financial outcomes. Being tough on suppliers through a procurement led approach is seen as being financially prudent and helping the big corporate drive profitability. If we want to change the “closed-book” behaviour, we need to be able to demonstrate what the client’s benefit or “Stake in the Outcome” from an open-book approach will be. We need to model the financial benefits and present compelling business cases as to why they need to adopt a more open book approach. We then need to be able to test it and make it work in the real world so that the client gets a measurable benefit.

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Cashflow Tips – How does Team-Building affect the Business Cashflow game?

Cashflow Tips – How does Team-Building affect the Business Cashflow game?

Cashflow Tips – How does Team-Building affect the Business Cashflow game?

Did you realise the effect of your team on your cashflow and profitability – and how team-building affects your business cashflow?

You know it when you get bad service from a business from a low-caring shop assistant – did you enjoy the experience so that you will go back? Unlikely!

YOUR team is an important, dynamic unit working together to achieve success in accomplishing a goal.

So – what determines how effectively a team will work together?

Lots of things. To create an autonomous, hard-working, high-producing group of individuals is challenging, and there are many factors that will influence your team’s success.

Here are 6 considerations to help you get started.

1-   Begin With the Right People

Know what you are looking for. When recruiting to your team, look for candidates who match your organizational culture. If you’re adding to an existing team, you might consider getting team members to help with the selection of a new recruit. While group cohesiveness has an effect on group performance, any group that works productively will suffer less turnover because they have enjoyed success. Look for people who will help to balance your team professionally.

2-   Be SMART About Goal-Setting

Without goals, teams are aimless. Prepare your team for success with a clear objective, and be sure to attach a value to the goal. Without seeing the value in the work they are doing, a team will lack the motivation to succeed. In goal-setting make your goal SMART:

  • Specific: Your goal must be well-defined so that the team’s direction is clear. Ask: Where do we want to end up? What steps will we need to take to get here?
  • Measurable: In order to measure their degree of success, a team needs precise objectives (amounts and dates). Be specific. If you describe your goal in general terms, such as “Increase sales” without indicating by how much or by when, it’s unlikely you’ll get the results you want.
  • Attainable: Be realistic. Aim too high (set a goal that your team has no hope of achieving) and you will only demoralize your team and eat away at their confidence. Make sure to state how and why you think a goal is attainable.
  • Relevant: Goals should be aligned with your vision of success, and relevant to the direction you want your team to take.
  • Time-Bound: Success will come that much quicker if you have a deadline.

Arrange to have your team revisit their goals regularly. The pursuit of achievement is ongoing, and reminders will help to keep things on track. Encourage open discussion about the team’s progress.

3-   Define Roles Clearly

Without goals, it’s impossible to establish meaningful, valuable roles for team members; in their absence, team member accountability becomes an issue, as do overlap and time-wasting. Clearly defined roles make it easier for each team member to set their own goals for accomplishing work effectively and for making a strong contribution to the larger goal. It is important that each team member accept the role and responsibilities of their own role, and those of their counterparts. You might consider explaining why each team member has been selected, so that their value to the team is clearly established. Clear roles help to:

  • Identify knowledge, skill and capability needed (helps you hire the right people)
  • Determine what resources and strategies are required for success and determines who will be sharing these (helps you get the proper tools to the right people)
  • Eliminate confusion, establish boundaries, and reduce overlap (so a member can focus time and energy on learning/ performing a specific task)
  • Identify any weakness that threatens efficiency and any need for training, support or reassignment

Perhaps the most important role on a team is the team leader. A quality leader who will value the ideas and opinions of its members and hold team members accountable will influence engagement (and efficiency).

4-   Build an Atmosphere of Cooperation

Efficient teams co-operate. In this environment, team goals are of utmost importance and team members support each other in working toward these goals. A member will be measured by their contribution to achievement. Have processes and protocols in place to promote co-operation. Consider the following:

Team charter: A charter defines how work will be done. It is created by the team, for the team. All members should be expected to contribute. The team charter addresses how work will be done. It deals with topics such as:

  • Purpose (A team that understands how a job will align with your organization’s key objectives and strategies is more likely to produce exceptional work. Reinforce corporate values, and business objectives.)
  • Duration and Time Commitment (Ask: How long will this take? What time is required?)
  • Scope (How big is too big?)
  • Stages of development (deliverables)

Communication: This is the most important factor in successful teamwork. The most effective teams exist where members are able to share information and expertise openly with their team, and with their organization as well. Personal expression must not be undervalued. (Points are listed to consider…)

Conflict resolution: Conflict is part of learning to work well together. It is powerful, and can contribute to a team’s success or be its undoing. Deal with conflict quickly. Where a team is relatively uniform in experience, problems may be resolved more quickly than where a team’s members differ widely in experience and approach to problem-solving. If team members cannot resolve an issue, they should have prompt guidance. Encourage openness, and have a method of feedback so that concerns can be brought to your attention. Be responsive.

Team-building: Enable your team to perform their job well. The degree to which you need to invest in team building depends on the size of the team, and member turnover. The dynamics of a team will change with the coming and going of members, and in either circumstance, you want your team to adjust, and continue to be productive. Help them build strong team systems and processes so that work goes on uninterrupted.

5-   Define Expectations

Performance expectations are, basically, the ‘Rules of Engagement’ for team work. They govern professional issues. Be clear about what contributions are expected from individual team members, and consider presenting these expectations to each prospective member during their interview to help assure that you will be working on the same page. These expectations should be laid out in your organizational policies and procedures.

Team expectations should be concrete and directly related to the achievement of team goals. They define how a team will work to achieve their goals.

Expect team members to:

  • Contribute (do their work)
  • Communicate with each other
  • Cooperate (support each other)…

It is very important to the success of your team that you enforce expectations. Make sure that you treat everyone fairly (without favoritism), and that you welcome and accept observations from team members about performance issues. Poor performance must be effectively addressed for team members to feel supported, and so to manage potential conflict. Team members must be held accountable for achieving goals and meeting expectations for the team to be effective.

6-   Recognize Good Work

Effective team members perceive their service to the team as being valuable to their organization, and to their own careers as well. Reward the results of their efforts. To attract and retain motivated and effective workers, your organization must invest in a culture that promotes improvement, and has a means for capturing individual contributions. Recognize and reward individual successes and team successes as well. Learn what keeps your team members motivated. You might consider the following:

  • Profit-Sharing (Share the wealth!)
  • Skills development (training, conferences, webinars)
  • Opportunity (promotion)…

Never let good performance go without recognition, and follow-up. If you or your team see good performance from an individual contributor, they should be sure the individual is both recognized and rewarded.

Effective teams benefit from front-end investment. Spend time structuring a work environment to foster success, and you will be more likely to see your team flourish. Recognize that you are part of the team (even if you are apart). Invest in your relationship with team members, and seek to build trust and loyalty by being accessible, supportive, and responsive. Reward good performance and deter poor performance. Review processes and procedures regularly. Take comments and criticisms, and allow yourself, and your team to grow towards success.

Condensed from http://www.corporatechallenge.com.au/blog/how-build-effective-workplace-team

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Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieve

Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieve

Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieve

We see many business financial situations, working on the business books in different industries. Commonly the owner is told by fellow business owners and often accountants, to be claiming business expenses as much as you can to reduce profit and pay little tax. That is sensible, and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website encourages tax minimisation that is lawful (but not tax avoidance by manipulation if false claims etc).

However, while assisting with the debt collection and client payment allocation to correct invoices (one service we provide – we tailor to what the client needs) and while working on one client’s books, I notice quite a few personal transactions like F&V and Meats, that they want to claim as staff/office expenses, but aren’t aware that it looks like the accountant is allocating them as NON-DEDUCTIBLE – it would be hard to justify as “office or staff” amenities to the ATO so often as well!

Additionally, IKEA and paint and Bunnings can be legitimate office Repair and Maintenance, but if purchased while your business is closed, it could look suspicious.

So be aware that it looks like the accountant is not going to claim some things for you any way, and that is probably safer for you also, in case of ATO audit.

Cashflow Tips – Claiming Business expenses – Consider what you want to achieveOften, really isn’t much value to try claiming as much as possible as business expense (from what I have seen other businesses do) and as we often hear them say they do.

WHY?

  • If there is an audit it can be denied and reversed and fines imposed – the ATO website is clear that only business-related expenses are claimable
  • The other thing is low profit can inhibit funding if required in the future via bank overdraft or venture capital, or partner investor – Not all will really look into the real detail. And if you want/have to sell, you need to show 3 good years of good profit – otherwise who would want to buy it?
  • Doing a year-end” Directors bonus” to reduce profit shows a clear easy message to potential bank or financiers. I have done that in earlier years – it clearly says you are profitable, but reduces the profit legitimately, so less company tax needs to be paid, and can be done declared after the year end!

It needs to be discussed with the accountant, but even they miss-understand the disadvantage of claiming lots of expenses to reduce profit, and the harm to your future financing and wealth potential.

I have seen that if you want to borrow or expand, it is better to have clean accounts, and take bonus wages if extra Profit and money is there, as wages are fully deductible, and don’t need to be explained or justified as some transactions such as mentioned above, may need to.

And you will also know that a good wage for you and your wife is better when you want to re-finance or borrow for an investment property in the future. The brokers I work with (and even in my own situation this year) have a hard time explaining to lenders the true story – most do not understand business and Profit and Loss (especially “Extra expenses” claimed on the business)

Yes you need to improve your home, and you need to do that, but it doesn’t bring in income like an investment property will.

The quicker you access more property or other investments, the earlier you set yourself up for better wealth later, by passive capital growth.

I wish I had that shown to me 10-20 years ago, but no-one did, and I realise only a few see how it can work or how to make it work – owners and accountants alike.

You may be in a good position to be able to get an investment property with your incomes, and growing business turn-over. But if you load up non-business expenses it gives the accountant more work, looks like they may not claim it all any way so it wastes their time, it makes extra work for a broker to convince a bank you are very profitable etc so they are comfortable to lend to you as a low risk to them (which is what they aim for!)

So consider the bigger picture – you may be able to do more, but that is up to you and when you have the time/interest to look into it.

Just my observations of other business people and how most limit the possibilities.

Need help? Not sure? Call for FREE 30min advice / strategy session today! 0407 361 596 Aust

***BEFORE you BUY ask us for a competitive software price BELOW retail – No obligation!

You also get FREE 30 min to assist in setting up your company in the software, and FREE ongoing email or phone support – no-one offers as much! Call and you also get FREE “Avoid these GST mistakes” – There’s 18 that the Tax Office see regularly – Get them right!

Email info@accountkeepingplus.com.au or call 0407 361 596 Australia