Carbon Business Systems Tech

Tech-ing Over the World

It’s easy as a business owner to get taken in by the hype surrounding every new tech trend, advancement or app release. Without being able to test them all (let’s face it, that would be expensive and time consuming) knowing what will increase your company’s productivity, efficiency and profitability is tough.

Our aim at Carbon Business Systems is to figure this out for you. Having gone through the rigors of testing out many of the solutions available in the market today we have narrowed it down to some very cool apps that are guaranteed to increase your efficiencies.

Other benefits?

How about being able to leave all your annoying paperwork behind and start spending more time doing the things you love.

With the advent of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications SMEs have access to the same level of technology as bigger businesses. The question left for many SMEs is ‘what applications will work for me?’

To help answer that question for you, we have decided to give you a sneak peek at a few apps our Carbonites use on a day to day basis.

To ensure fast invoice payments and simplify reconciliation, we use e-Way.

EzyCollect is great for handling debtors and credit management.

When it comes to enhancing business performance, we have our own reporting analytics powered by Fathom.

And, at the center of our business is our accounting software. We love Xero. But any cloud based solution like MYOB can work too – the awesome thing about cloud based solutions is they enable you to access, track and work on your accounts anywhere at any time.

When implemented correctly, these applications will enable to you to scale your business, keep overheads low, manage staff capabilities and increase efficiency.

If you’re finding it challenging to integrate your various business systems or even just figuring out the best technology option for you, give our specialised Business Systems team a call (08) 9446 8588

Carbon Staff Books

Should your staff know your books?

There are many schools of thought on how open you should be with staff around the performance and financial position of your company. Many small business owners find themselves stumped; How much information is useful and motivating vs. stress-inducing overload? Where does transparency end and overshare begin?

On one hand, staff need to know the business is viable and solvent to assure them of job security. It’s an important factor for their mental wellbeing, enabling them to plan their personal finances, mortgage payments, school fees, etc

On the other hand, managing staff perceptions and the resulting expectations is a tricky business. If staff see the business is performing well it might lead them to believe they are entitled to increased remuneration which ultimately impacts business profitability. If staff see the business is underperforming they might believe they need to start looking at other careers opportunities.

We understand the idea of financial transparency gives some Business Owners butterflies, and while we’re not proposing the wholesale distribution of sensitive financial information, there is some data you can share with staff.

What data you ask? The big picture.

Here at Carbon Group we have quarterly #carbonite networking events during which each division Partner tells staff about their results for the quarter; how it compares with last quarter; and what their commitment is for future growth. Why is this beneficial? It keeps staff on the same page, and encourages within them a sense of ownership and purpose.

As you move into the more sensitive financials of the business, the key is to be consistent and establish protocols early for who the information is communicated to.

We believe a good strategy for senior managers is to share only those financials relevant to their area of responsibility. All communication at this level should have a focus on areas they can control (gross profit, income, divisional cost of sales, divisional wages ect). A good incentive model for these managers is to tie performance related bonuses to their divisional gross profit numbers. This creates a win/win situation for both the company and the manager in question.

One crucial element, no matter how much you choose to share, is consistency in communication; consistency in frequency, in transparency and in detail. While senior managers might work better and smarter when they see the numbers, unless you are an ASX listed company, it isn’t necessary to share them with every member of staff. Not only can it be a distraction, it can be disadvantageous if they were to fall into the wrong hands.

Feeling overwhelmed? Carbon Bookkeeping manages the books for hundreds of businesses and can help you take control of your business finances. Give us a call 08 6444 6617.

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Four ways automated accounts receivables improve your cash flow

Ask any small business owner what keeps them up at night, and many of them will answer: the stress of cash flow problems. Recent research from Xero found while cash flow fluctuates over the year, two things remain constant. A predictable swell in December as businesses register their Christmas sales and a deep deep dive in January, where just 48% of Xero small businesses report positive cash flow.

The New Year brings holiday closures, reduced trading hours and more outstanding invoices languishing in idle inboxes. For the small business owner, it’s a stressful time, especially with fewer hands on deck to chase overdue debtors.

Small Business Insights

Enter automation.

According to Jamie Davison, Partner at Carbon Group

most business owners will neglect to follow up their accounts receivable on a regular basis. Either they get busy running their business, have other things on their mind or they choose to avoid the uncomfortable conversation. By automating this process through technology, you avoid these issues because you create predictable schedules and routines which in turn brings cash into the business.

Here are four ways automating your accounts receivables can improve cash flow:

1. Easy Reach

If your business is issuing a high volume of invoices each month, it’s almost impossible to manually contact every overdue debtor with reminders to pay. A time-poor business might prioritise chasing their high-value customers, leaving hundreds of small-value debtors to slip under the radar. With many debtors requiring multiple reminders, the burden of chasing quickly becomes tedious.

With automation software like ezyCollect, all open invoices in your accounting system, regardless of value, enter a schedule of reminders when they become overdue. Allowing you to contact every overdue debtor with reminders, hands-free.

2. Multi-Channel Approach

While email may be your preference to communicate with debtors, it is easy for your reminders to get lost in a bursting accounts payable inbox, especially if you’re one of many demanding payment. A good approach is to mix up your communications with a workflow that includes multiple channels. Doing so significantly increases your chances of reaching your debtors.

Did you know: SMS messages have a close to 100 percent open rate!

Multi-Channel Approach

3. Consolidation

It’s easy for your customer to feel bombarded if they receive reminders for every overdue invoice individually and it becomes time consuming for you to chase and accept each payments. Automation software like ezyCollect groups all outstanding invoices into a single reminder, so your debtor is prompted to pay the total overdue amount.

Consolidation

4. Escalation

Ageing invoices often become bad debt write-offs when business owners stall in the collections process. Software like ezyCollect outsources stubborn payers to a third-party agency who can keep the ball rolling. Integrated with debt collectors, the software gives you single click access to agencies who can go about collecting the debt on your behalf.

So before the stress of fluctuating cash flow becomes too much to bear maybe you should consider automating your accounts receivables. It could be just the tap that turns the trickle into a tide!

ezyCollect and Carbon Group are joining forces in a fantastic (and free!) webinar to empower you with the tools to streamline, schedule and personalise your collection activities in just minutes. As an added bonus, if you save your spot online today you will receive a free copy of ‘5 proven reminder templates’ to boost your business’ cashflow. Register Here.

When-Should-I-Prepare-My-Business-Tax-Return-Carbon-Group-Accounting-Perth-Xero

When Should I Prepare My Business Tax Return?

Many of us have our tax returns prepared through a registered tax agent. As a result, the due date for your return to be lodged can often be pushed back well into the following financial year. Agents get concessions that allow you to lodge your returns from March through to June of the following year. Consequently, a lot of business owners have to wait, and just like it was when you were at school, you try to get everything done at the due date in a mad panic.

There are however benefits to avoiding this approach, and attempting to have your return done in the first half of the year.

Cashflow Planning

Preparing your tax return in the first half of the year doesn’t mean you have to lodge it in the first half of the year. Seeing your accountant early may bring you some bad news (the dreaded tax bill), but at least you know where you stand, and you can start putting money aside for when it is lodged later in the year. The flip side of this is, maybe you are entitled to a refund that you weren’t prepared for, so now you can lodge your return early, and get access to those funds within a few weeks.

Possibly reducing your instalments

When you are prepaying tax liabilities, often you are basing this on prior year tax results. If you are entitled to a tax refund based on overpaying, these instalments can be reduced, meaning more cashflow for you in your business over the course of the next year. Alternatively, if your instalments are going to increase as a result of your increased tax liability, holding off lodging until later in the year will keep your instalments low in the short term, and understanding what they will move to will allow you time to put money aside, to stay in line with your future tax liabilities.

If you want to know more about the benefits of preparing your tax return early, contact the team at Carbon Accounting. Arrange a complimentary 30 minute consultation by calling (08) 9446 8588.

Use online rostering apps such as Deputy with cloud based accounting software Xero to streamline payroll. Carbon Group Perth

How Can I Use Rostering Apps To Streamline Payroll?

Spending too much time getting manual timesheets and punch cards into your payroll system? Sick of getting scanned pieces of paper with a messy scrawl that’s nearly impossible to read? Fear not, there is a way to make your life easier! More and more cloud-based applications are being developed to assist with these everyday problems that bookkeepers and payroll officers are having.

To put things into perspective, imaging that it takes on average five minutes to input one person’s timesheets into the likes of Xero’s payroll feature. 10 staff = 50 minutes. Assuming you process pay weekly, that is a total of 2600 minutes a year, or a little over 43 hours. That’s if there are no errors, and if the timesheets are relatively straightforward.

But what if the award your staff are on, isn’t so straightforward?
• What if for every staff member who exceeds 40 hours they are entitled to 1.5x overtime?
• Penalty rates for Saturdays (1.25x) and Sundays (2x)
• What if they work past 7pm, it’s 1.25x

Suddenly what was a seemingly simple task of putting hours into the payroll package, just got a whole lot harder. This could mean each person’s timesheet takes closer to 10 or 15 minutes each. Taking the average of 12.5 here and for 10 staff, this bumps up the required time to 125 minutes to input. That equals 6500 minutes a year. That’s a crazy 108 hours of manually inputting hours into the payroll package.

Now imagine that a prebuilt application if readily available, and can automate all of this for you:
• Staff simply need to clock in and out at their correct times on a shared device, or their own if required
• These timesheets entries are all electronic now, and once completed get sent to the manager to approve. This can be easily done the next morning, or at the end of the week if needed
• Once approved, the payroll officer now only needs to export the timesheets into an online accounting program such as Xero, and process, and your staff are ready to get paid

What could take between an hour or two per week, can be dropped down to a mere 15 minutes for all your staff. Think about the time saved and what this could mean for your business. Reduced administration time (remember time spent doing administration work, is less time that can be spent bringing in more money for the business). Some businesses find their payroll officer can double as their internal accounts as they have more than enough time now, or alternatively simply outsource this to a payroll company saving the business money and time. Less headaches that you as a business owner needs to worry about.

The best application available right now to be able to provide your business with these benefits is Deputy. Deputy was actually built by an entrepreneur in Australia, as he had massive growth in his business back in 2000, and was struggling to manage his team. As the business grew, there was less time to manage staff, and he needed something to reduce his administration workload as he could no longer grow his business. And Deputy was born! The owner’s business over the next eight years grew to more than 1,500 people.

Deputy is built for the small business owner, but is designed to grow with your business and help you succeed. What’s great is that it can be integrated into your online accounting software Xero, streamlining processes even further.

If you want to try out this awesome application get in touch, so we can discuss.

hikehead

What to do about Westpacs rate hike?

So….. The big 4 put their rates up and unfortunately it is going to cost you.

It’s just not cricket that Westpac, NAB, CBA and ANZ all put their rates up as much as 0.2% when other banks are leaving them very competitive levels. With everything naturally inflating at an alarming rate, the last thing borrowers need is banks jumping the gun.

It’s like that friend who brings nothing to the table and then eats the most. He’s also the guy that’s going to tell you a story about a much better table he went to. I hate that guy. Unfortunately you’re generally stuck with your friends/members of a friendship circle. Fortunately, you don’t need to be loyal to a loan.

The average home loan should is currently sitting at around 4.5%, but at Carbon we don’t want you to have average.  This is why we’re especially excited about a very newly released rate of 3.94%! This mean you are looking at real savings. Did I mention that it’s a fixed rate?

If you are sore about the rate rise, it may be time to look at refinancing. Maybe you would like to consolidate some of your debt and roll your credit card debt into your home loan? Maybe you would like to use some of your equity to put in a pool? At Carbon Finance we can help you with all of this and more.

Call us on 9446 8588 and ask for Jack for a free consultation. No Pressure. We do great coffee too.

 

 

 

 

 

headermerger

Making moves in Perth

We’re elated to announce that Carbon Business Group now has four locations. Swan Valley Tax Accountants and Paperchase bookkeeping have joined Carbon in our unyielding endeavor to help small businesses reach their potential. These follow GLC Bookkeeping joining us earlier this month.

These locations will be re-branded as Carbon South, Carbon East and Carbon North-East.

Swan Valley Tax Accountants is to be Carbon North-East which is in the currently booming Ellenbrook, in quite a busy area at that. Craig Anderson is staying on as Partner and we welcome his invaluable experience.

Paperchase Bookkeeping in Midvale will be known as Carbon East. They’re great people, they seem to be as crazy as we are so it’s a great fit and we’re looking forward to the future. Carol of Paperchase says:

“Having spent thirteen years building Paperchase Bookkeeping it was very important to me that my valuable clients and staff were taken care of. I am confident that Carbon Bookkeeping will take good care of my clients and that with the assistance of my staff they will continue to provide the high level of customer service that clients have come to associate with the  Paperchase Bookkeeping name”

As you may know, GLC will be Carbon South and we’re already a perfect fit together.

See on the map below, we can now offer all of Carbons services to all of Perth with ease.

carbon map

All in all, we think it’s pretty safe to say that everything is coming up Carbon.

jess-howard

Top 3 tools for electricians

The other day we held a seminar on Systems for Tradies. Now this is my jam. Like Bill Gates said, “If I had a hard job, I’ll ask a lazy person, as they’ll find an easy way to do it”. I love an easy way to do things, automation is key. I used to work for a business that insisted on pen and paper coupled with a program they’d hire a programmer to develop.

 

We’re talking about someone who refused to use Google Maps to track people on the road, or at least work out destinations for timing concerns. He insisted though that Google “doesn’t know the traffic”. Now I tried to explain that Google uses its GPS capabilities to track mobile devices and thus has a far better idea of the traffic flow in Kalamunda than we ever could, but it fell on deaf ears.

 

My excitement for embracing new systems is purely based on the fact that we know what electricians need to make them more efficient. Ever wondered what more time feels like? Let’s talk about how we can help your business achieve Systems Success.

 

Introducing ServiceM8

 

 

ServiceM8 (Service Mate) is a cloud-based application that allows you to easily manage a service business with mobile jobs.

 

ServiceM8 is designed with simplicity in mind. Your system can be accessed from literally anywhere and in real time.

 

Mobile Jobs can be performed more efficiently, making you more productive as it allows you to manage your business whilst out in the field. iOS applications are available for iPad and iPhone users and are linked to a web interface allowing managers to assign jobs to employees from the comfort of their own office or if you like working out in the field, simply assign jobs on the go.

 

Mapping and Navigational features allows you to know exactly where your jobs are over a map built-in within ServiceM8. Linked your mobile devices to ServiceM8 and track your employees on the map. See where they are to stay on top of your Jobs.

 

Introducing GeoOP

 

GeoOp is a cloud-based mobile job management application that allows for easy management of a service style business with mobile employees. GeoOp has been designed to be simple to use for Scheduler / Dispatch people and mobile workers at the same time.

 

GeoOp has a built-in Dispatch Board which allows you to see all your staff on a map and helps to make smart dispatch decisions. Easily drag & drop jobs to timeslots. Customizable job queues can be used if jobs are awaiting parts or for easier project management.

 

Create professional Quotations and Invoices within GeoOp and add third party applications such as iAuditor to create forms and procedural reports.

 

 

Eway

Take payment then and there with a simple app and gadget.

No cash? no problem. Nver again can someone use that as an excuse for delaying payment. Costs a little more to get started but if you’re looking for that convenience, it’s the best way to go.

 

Online payments

Direct link to payment through an email. Using Xero as your base makes it even easier. You can see if someone has read your invoice so if they try to claim they didn’t receive it, you can point out the date the opened it and watch how quickly they pay. Chasing up payment used to be one of the hardest parts, now you just have to focus on the job.

 

Long story short, any time you’ve thought “There’s got to be an easier way to do this”, there is, and we know them inside out.

Feel free to investigate and set these systems up for yourself but where you would advise people not to do their own electrical work, we advise you seek a little assistance when setting up these systems. We’re very good at it. Check us out at CarbonGroup.com.au/Business-Systems.

carbonglc graphic2

Proud to announce Carbon South

Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Gail Rogerson of GLC will know she is kind, friendly and an absolute riot. However, from the first moment you meet you are very aware that this is not a person to mess with. We’ve all met that powerful woman who can have a room of people jump to panicked attention with only a flat stare. It’s this combined with picking a great team that has made GLC Business Services so successful and why we are so excited to be on the same team.

GLC are located in Bibra Lake, and whilst we’re keeping on their crack team, we will be re branding as Carbon South. From this location we will offer all of the usual Carbon Services such as Bookkeeping, Accounting, Business Systems, Insurance and Finance. It’s just the start of rapid expansion for Carbon Group but we won’t give away too much too quickly.

Our sundowner last week was a blast, see what BNI’s Executive Director for Western Australia, Mark Graber, had to say.

It’s definitely exciting to be gaining such a powerful force so soon after winning Xero’s Bookkeeper of the year. As our offices are expanding, so is the Carbon crew. We’re aiming to put on 7 new staff over the next 2 months. Long story short, things are coming up Carbon.

magic-beans

Get to the front page of google with beans.

Search engine optimisation can be very confusing. You can read through the endless articles that are on offer but you’re never left really understanding what it is. There are so many broad factors that can determine a good ranking it makes it hard to prioritise. When ever I tell people I’m in marketing (digital marketing specifically) they light up and ask why aren’t they climbing the front page? They’re doing everything from social media to directories but still not rising. It’s usually at this point, I sell them magic beans.

Not to grow a beanstalk but it is a way to get the golden egg that is a prime google ranking. I’ve dealt with many people who launch massive campaigns based of fragments of information and little understanding, which in turn use an insane amount of time for no benefit. Twice now I’ve been put onto a “300 websites campaign” once my employer heard that back links increase ranking. Those back links are completely useless if no one is clicking them. So for those websites to be useful, they would need a high ranking themselves and a high level of engagement, ie, people have to give a dam. If those back links aren’t being used, it is a waste of time. From there, google tracks the time and activity people spend on your page, so even if someone comes to one of these 300 websites, they’ll leave once they see it’s simply a cookie cut website with no real value which will decrease their rating. Before I explain more, let’s look at the beans.

jars and beans

Think of your website as one of these jars. The other jars are your competitors going for the same keyword (If you’re a hairdresser, that may be “hairdressers Perth”). Those beans are users and the jar with the most weight inside will hit the top spot. Simple. The longer those beans stay in your jar, the more they grow and the heavier they get. Ie the more users stay in your site and move around, the more credibility google gives your page. Look at the counter weights in the picture as a page rank metaphor if that helps. The heavier your jar, the higher your rank. That’s makes starting out so difficult. Once they’re on the front page, they’re going to get all the new beans for “Hairdressers Perth”.

Then how do I get more beans than them?

Go around.

This is where Sun Tzu’s art of war comes in handy. Most of us has heard the story of the man with 3 horses. He put his worst horse in the first division race, his best horse in the second division race and his second best horse in the 3rd division race. He lost the first division race but was then guaranteed to win the 2nd and third divisions. An example of this principle in practice was when I was doing some work for a driving school. “Driving Lessons Perth” was very hotly contended and we were sitting on page 4. So we went around. We made a page for every suburb of Perth. Driving lessons Inglewood, driving lessons Daglish, driving lessons peppermint grove etc. We also had the benefit of 60 drivers on the road, we set up each ones address as a part of the business on “google places”. None of this was groundbreaking as some competitors had done the same, but we did it better. By branching out, we got beans we may have otherwise missed, and those pages that were suburb specific rose through the ranks within a month which was boosting our front page rank. Basically, get those beans where ever you can.

The golden question to ask before you do anything is, “Who cares?”. If the answer is no one, then don’t do it. Simple. A great example is our friends at Grub Hub. Each morning they send out an email with their specials for the day. Who cares? People who are starting to get a whisper hungry in that no mans land between 9 and 12. They care a lot, and sure enough the bags start rolling in come lunch time. What’s in these emails? Links to their website. More beans in Grub Hubs jar. If you’re a cafe, people want to see your food. If you’re the hairdressers, show people what awesome things you can do with hair. If you’re a brickpaver, give them tips on optimising a backyard layout with limited space. Blast this out over your social media channels (We’ll be doing a post on boosting your social media channels soon enough). If you aren’t getting that traffic then you’re not doing anything.

Different beans from different places have different values. You would have seen the chart below if you’ve ever googled SEO as it is handy when putting a plan together, or just to have next to a screen to remind you where to focus your efforts when making a new web page or making general social media posts.

table of elements

If you’re using wordpress, I recommend SEO tools by Yoast just to make sure your keywords are on point. Otherwise there are plenty of “SEO check” sites to be found, most of which will give you one round for free. Some are a little outdated but still a good checklist to get a base of what to do next. Once your on page ratings are higher than your competitors, just focus on getting those beans. Just remember, who cares?

Want to spend time on time on your own SEO? Let Carbon help you to take control of your business so you can spend more time doing what you want to do.

Header image by normandapito.