Interaction

Working in a Cloud - The way forward

The Cloud

Well, what is it? Does it really matter?


Let's focus on a question that should be key to all decisions to buy something, what benefit does it provide me?

If we focus on this in purely a benefit/cost analysis:


  • Free to trial the majority of software and cheap to purchase
  • Access anytime, anywhere
  • Less hardware requirements, you need only an internet connection
  • Regular, free, updates with little/no downtime
  • Support? - It's usually free & included
  • Simple to use

Who can benefit from the cloud the most?

Small business has the most to gain, however, everyone that likes information and places a value on it's availability should be looking into this.

For instance, Google, now has an "apps" site, with programs that provide the basic spreadsheet & document platforms that can be stored online, shared amongst peers and usage history tracked at no cost. 

What's available in the cloud for my business?

  • CRM - Client Resource Management (Client Database). We use WorkFlow Max
  • Payroll - Paycycle has a great, easy to use product
  • Mail - Google can actually host your mail and domain for free
  • Share Portfolio Management - Sharesight, can link into platforms like Xero and provide all the extra data on your portfolio automatically. 
Other options are available, for other processes and information you wish to manage. The list and features of these platforms is growing exponentially every day.

So, I want to work in a cloud with my business where should I start?:

Xero is a great way to get started in the cloud, with a simple, easy to use, versatile platform.
 
From September live feeds from all major banks & credit unions will be in place daily. No more bank reconciliations!

Want some help deciding what to use? Why not drop us an inquiry.

Alternatively, all the sites mentioned above have free trials, try them out for yourself and see the potential in the fluid concept of the cloud.
Guy Pearson Friday, August 13, 2010
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Packaged Fees & the Cloud - The perfect match

Packaged Fees - what does it give me?

Packaged fixed fee accounting has come to light in recent years as a better way of doing business. Whereas previously clients were/are usually charged on a time cost method, a fix fee method allows you to fix things outside of just the cost of accounting:

  • Fix the engagement parameters, so you get what you want from your accountant
  • Fix the cash flow scenario to avoid any ugly surprises once your work is completed
  • Fix the level of support provided

All of the above points are pluses for the consumer in any engagement as the expectations, costs and timing of payments are now outlined and agreed upon.

In addition, like most package deals, your accountant should throw more in with a package for the same fee as he used to charge as it's now guaranteed income.

Moving to the Cloud - How does this help me?

What we have seen happening, especially in the instances where the clients made the move into the cloud for their day to day accounting, is that the fees overall for the client are reducing and actual service is able to be rendered as opposed to a set of accounts and a tax return, which, let's face it, is an undesirable product that most people don't look forward to come 30 June.... It's just another expense... 

With the move online, the barriers of access to information are significantly reduced and that question you're too worried to ask your accountant can be answered and dealt with on the spot included in your package, along with tax planning reviews of your structure and potentially management reports being generated on a regular basis with feedback given by your accountant. What you should find, is that to get all this extra SERVICE, it won't cost you much more than you were paying your previous once a year visit to the man wielding the abacus.

How is this possible?

Online accounting platforms have made it easier to compute the raw data, which should allow for a higher focus on service and a reduction in your compliance fees.  With secure automatic bank feeds & data recognition the leg work is done for you.

How do I move online?

At present, Xero is the front runner in this space of Cloud Accounting. Designed by a CA in Wellington and one of his tech industry clients to make advice more clear cut, Xero was born. Now with 22,000 businesses online & a range of additional plugins seamlessly online. It's in a league of it's own, ask the founder of MYOB, who now sits on their board and not MYOB's.

How do I take advantage of this?

You can inquire about how Interactive can help you today here , alternatively if you look after the books yourself Xero provides a free trial on their website.


So why not ask your accountant how he can help you reduce your fees, increase your advice and provide that advice in real time? If their answer is sub-par, we are more than happy to provide an obligation free quote and introduce you to the Interactive way of working.....

Stay Tuned for an exclusive offer by Interactive Accounting to get your books online in the coming weeks....
Guy Pearson Friday, August 06, 2010
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Starting a new business


Starting a New Business…. So what do I need to consider?

Having just gone through the exercise, it has dawned that advising on this as an accountant really didn’t give me the best insight to the number of challenges faced by a new business owner/operator and the stress that goes along with the process.

Let’s run through some of the major pros and cons and the challenges you face and the rewards that hopefully will be there for you at the end of the line:


Write yourself a business plan you can build on:

Before you set out on the venture into the unknown of your own business, make sure you have one of these laid out and that you can adapt it to your business as it develops, as a stagnant plan will leave you behind the curve. Here are some key areas to focus on:

  • A budget and projection of the costs of setup and the first 12 months of operation. This needs to be done on a monthly basis, with a month by month comparison, if possible and the worst and best case scenarios factored in. (If you have Office 2007 or later, there is a great set of templates to use. If not then you can purchase one from here at a low cost)
  • Define your target market – define who you want your clients/customers to be and why you have chosen them.
  • SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) – look at the market you are entering and consider the current state of the market and what you can offer that stands you apart from the market. This allows you to determine how you should position yourself in a given market.
  • Exit strategy – this is perhaps the point most overlooked on the setup of a new business. You need to consider how long you want to be involved with this business? Do you want other owners involved? If an offer comes along, will your business be sale ready?
  • Key point of differentiation from the market – what is your businesses unique selling point? What makes your business different from your competitors and the market leader?

These are just some general points that are elaborated on in many business and strategy books available in the business section of your chosen bookstore.


Mentors

Probably the most overlooked, but most crucial step in starting a business is to have a great mentor. That second set of eyes to look at things from a 3rd party perspective and act as the potential client. Like with most scenarios two heads are better than one and this will stop the urge to stick you head in the sand and simply follow your own thoughts without using anyone as a sounding board.


So, how do you choose a Mentor?

Don’t assume that this person has to be a trusted advisor that you already have appointed. The best mentors usually come from someone who has no knowledge of your particular industry, but like you, is an entrepreneur that has developed a business model.

Where the opportunities were presented to IA, they were taken advantage of. It was/is a special privilege to have had the opportunity to meet with so many successful people, whom, had at one stage or another in their lives been in the same position. Now their industries and generation were all vastly different, but, they spoke from experience, not quoting a text book and experience should never, ever, be discounted. Some of the comments made were as follows:

  1. It’s not just about having a fantastic product; you need honesty, integrity and the courage to stand behind that product in the face of adversity. That is what will separate you from your competitors,
  2. The best way to grow a successful business is to be able to spend your time working on the business, not in the business.
  3. You need to ask, as a consumer, why would I choose your business to represent me? What can you bring to the table that others can’t?
Now all these comments are great. But, in essence they demonstrate that passion, a business like mind, a fabulous product and personal qualities are all great starting points. But each one alone is not enough to get you to the next level. That is achieved by finding a unique balance between them all.

This is easier said then done…… but there’s an old saying, if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I think a more apt comment, is that if you find a business you love, you will never grow weary or tired of it, you will always be looking to be the lead in the industry and your passion will infect those in your organisation and your customers. This in turn with a realistic and honest view of yourself and your businesses performance will enable you to make the right decision and not let things such as pride, get in the way.



So what do I need to do to register a business in Australia?

You need to ensure that you have filed the correct registrations:

Lasting idea……

Have a unique idea you are passionate about and always remember to keep that idea fluid and not stagnant. If you are unable to develop and reinvent yourself, then ultimately your time at the top is limited by the time it takes a competitor to supersede your business. Don’t get stuck analysing the past, you can’t change what has happened, try and keep it fresh and exciting, set goals, targets and always focus on the next step.

Guy Pearson Thursday, July 01, 2010
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Interactive Accounting Goes Live!

Welcome to Interactive Accounting's official online presence! After some experimentation, we've brought to you a website that will develop, as we do.

We hope to use this as a medium to keep you updated, in future, it will allow you to keep us updated as well. Have a look around and feel free to provide any feedback to us, using the feedback link on the Action tab on the homepage.

Guy Pearson Thursday, July 01, 2010
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