Is my accounting data safe in the cloud?

This is such a popular question.

It’s all very well to be signing up for subscriptions for accounting software willy-nilly but when you think about it….you are trusting a provider with all your information including linking your bank accounts and personal tax information. And its all up there. Floating around in the ether. And possibly being plucked out and used without our consent.

Or is it?

Now I can’t answer that entire question about everything we put in the cloud as then, well, I’d probably be tapped into the whole meaning of life area. A little much for my blog to be jumping into.

But maybe I can help shed some light on Xero and MYOB. My preferred tools for keeping all of your and my own data.

Everything that is entered into Xero and MYOB cloud programs are held in an encrypted form. What this means is that your information is in the cloud written in a complicated code to protect you against hackers and such. And your password in the key that unlocks this code!

You know…that same password that you maybe use for every single thing??? Even for your  coffee rewards membership???

Might be time to rethink the use of keeping one password for your whole life, hey?

Are you aware that there is a function called Two-Factor Authentication on both Xero and MYOB? This is an opt-in area in your settings so that you can link either a list of questions to be answered or alternatively a random number that is sent to an app on your phone. This gives an extra layer of security as well as using your password to gain entry into opening your program.

So, if you were to misplace your phone or your laptop, anyone trying to get into your accounting data will be have to do a whole lot more than guessing your dogs favourite food or your mum’s maiden name. And any outsider that attempts to hack into your data will have a jolly tough time of cracking the encryption code on your details.

For detailed instructions on how to set up this process, I’ve included some links to get your started.

For Xero

http://help.xero.com/au/MyXero_TwoStepAuthentication

For MYOB

http://help.myob.com/wiki/x/bwfq

Just to assure you, it is mandatory for all bookkeepers and accountants to have this Two Factor Authentication on all our client files by 30 June 2018.

But you would be crazy to wait till then. Get started today!!

 

 

 

Where does my money go?

Generally this is said with a hint of resolution that said funds did not end up in a high yielding investment or stashed away in some clever choices that didn’t involve shoes or handbags. When it comes to the end of the financial year and you can see in black and white what you’ve actually earned during the year, this question comes to mind with a hint of regret and resolve to do better…next year.

But with Our Working Life, it takes on a different meaning. A 10% portion of the money coming in from BAS agent services and bookkeeping goes into helping the RSPCA and Wildcare.

These organisations are my passions. They are my “why”.

So, to be transparent, here is the run down of our story so far.

Each month a direct donation goes straight to RSPCA. We are sitting on a modest $50 per month for the last few months, but as at 1 June, will be increased to $100 per month. As RSPCA exists entirely on donations and no government funding, we are making a contribution to the $100 million it takes to care for those in need.

The funding going to Wildcare is quite direct and personal as it assists for the Brushtail Possums I have in care on a constant basis. The possums that I have been asked to care for are generally orphaned joeys that have lost their mothers in road accidents and are unable to live outside of a pouch and need specialised formula, sometimes 6-7 times a day….yes…that makes for coffee to be on constant supply in those times. (NB: OWL does not fund the coffee…shame hey?)

The possum babies are then kept in various sized aviaries until they reach a maturity that they can be released and slowly adjust back into the wild. From woe to go, that takes about 4-5 months. During this time, I need to have a consistent supply of marsupial formula, fresh fruit and veg, enough native plants to provide daily fresh leaf as well as the cost of supplying housing. To date I have received a grant from Brisbane City Council for $500 for an amazing aviary that to me is like Versace Possum Hotel!

And of course, every member of Wildcare Australia is a volunteer. From the carers like myself, through to the President, the trainers, the hotline people and the amazing rescue members who are first on the scene in often dangerous and unpredictable situations.

So that’s my answer to that question. But words do not capture what a photograph can. So here’s some of the possum joeys that have been in my care and then all released into nature. A couple come back to visit sometimes but hopefully they are all too busy  being wild to care!

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Is “fake it till you make it” really such a great idea?

We have all heard the expression, to pretend we have it all going on, even when the world may be crashing down around us. Or have you been that duck, floating calmly across the pond while your legs are doing the washing-machine-spin-cycle under water.

But is this phrase just giving the world a false impression, similar to those instagram feeds that have filters altering reality? Who is really eating their yoghurt and muesli in buddha bowl patterns EVERY DAY!!!

And who hasn’t been the one at the meeting or party, not knowing many people, and inwardly cringing and wishing they were back on the couch with a glass of wine and Netflix? We have all been there. And yet in a business situation, you better rock up to that meeting or you will be spending more time on that couch than you may really want.

So off we go and show up. And in this situation, walking calmly into the meeting or after work drinks and masking a little self confidence is not a bad thing in my opinion. A smile and a few head nods and you have made it over the threshold. You are in. You are doing it. You Go Girl/Boy! And before you know it, the meeting has started and no one is the wiser that you are anything other than the professional ass kicker that you have presented.

But what about that CV. Have you embellished? Have you polished those skills up a little in order to get through the door? Or were the skills you had 15 years ago maybe a little dusty but, BOOM, there they are, shining out on your application like you were just kicking those goals yesterday.

I’m thinking this is a dangerous place to be and can generally end up causing more damage further along. In the last, say, 10 years, there has been so much advancement in technology, that the skills you may have acquired a number of years ago, although brilliant and worthy, may need to be adjusted to suit the current trends.

An example is my field of accounting and bookkeeping. The last couple of years, the cloud based formats have changed the profession almost unrecognisably. The fact is that our dealings now with the Australian Taxation Office are via portals, AusKeys and MyGov accounts and rarely is paper the preferred method of communication. And I can tell you from experience, there are skills in this area that take time to cultivate. This is not something you can fake and learn on the run once you have the job!

So, fake it till you make it? Sure fake that you have the confidence to stand in front of an audience an present that speech or even that you can get a whole business plan done in 24 hours…and THEN bust your butt getting that thing done!

But in a skill set? I prefer to be honest with what I know and put the effort into expanding that knowledge every day.

Then I won’t need to ever fake it cause I’ll have already made it!

Your book report is due today!

Do you remember hearing that phrase in school and breaking out in a cold sweat? I sure do. Now don’t get me wrong. I still have a very healthy reading habit, often known to have at least two on the go at any one time. And I’d rather not go into the fact that I have never passed a newsagent without feeling the urge to get a glossy mag and pour over it and sneakily sniff the perfume satchels. Mmmmmm……samples……

But I digress.

Fiction books. Love ’em. Business books. Snore. Generally the best way to fall asleep while still looking halfway smart.

Black and white picAt least that what I’ve always thought. Until recently I’ve noticed some pretty clever people have realised that not all self-help business books need to be filled with appendix’s and graphs.

One such book that I will probably read again and again is Daring and Disruptive by Lisa Messenger of The Collective magazine. (See! Not all time was wasted in those news stands.) Messenger has written a whole collection of amazing, quick to read and inspiring books that give sound advice to self starters to get off the couch and try that winning idea out. And then what to do if that first attempt fails, how to stay off the couch and try again with a different approach.

Now this is something I can get my teeth into. My previous attempts at reading business books never told me what to do if things went awry. How to get back up. How to be a survivor.

My second pick of amaze-balls books is Words That Sell by Richard Bayan. Yes, this can be a book to read…but is more a reference book that’s handy for writing those letters, putting together your ads and stepping away from your computers thesaurus into something much more magical. It’s divided up into sections ranging from Teasers to Justifying a High Price. Intrigued? Many people have also been as its been around for donkeys years!

So, that’s my book report for the week. I hope its given you something new to try. But, I’m still not ready to give up the trashy mags for The Financial Review…..baby steps.

 

 

 

 

Are you paying your casual staff the right rates?

Did you know that from January 2018, if you have casual and part-time employees, they can actually be earning overtime rates once they work over 38 hours in the week? Or even if your employee only needs to work for one hour on a particular day, you may be liable to pay them for a minimum amount of hours?

Another change this year, if your casual employee has been employed by you for over 12 months continuously, then they are entitled to change their terms with you to become a permanent employee, therefore be earning pro rata holidays and sick leave.

Some awards have already covered these provisions, and you may have already got this covered. But if they hadn’t specified these details up until now, the Fair Work Commission have revised many awards so these rates and provisions may now effect you as of the first full pay in January 2018.

It really pays to stay on top of these changes and ensure that you are familiar with the awards covering your staff.

I’ve included an extract from the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (Newsletter Jan 2018) as to what awards have specified these changes.

Name of Award Overtime Paid Minimum Hours Condition Determining Overtime (OT)
Fast Food Industry Yes No Employee works:

  • More than 38 hr per week; or
  • Average 38 hr per week over roster period
  • More than 11 hrs on any day the excess is overtime
General Retails Industry Yes No Employee works:

  • More than 38 hrs per week; or
  • Average 38 hrs per week over a roster cycle
  • More than 9 hrs per day provided that one day per week casual worker may work 11 hours without attracting penalty rates
  • Outside the span of ordinary working hours
  • Penalty rates applied to the ord. hrly rate of pay, with the casual loading also to be applied to the ordinary rate of pay. Rates are not cumulative upon casual hrly rate of pay
Hair and Beauty Industry Yes No Employee works:

  • More than 38 hrs per week; or
  • Average 38 hrs over a roster cycle; or
  • More than 10.5 hrs on any day excess is overtime
Hospitality Industry (General) Yes No Employee works:

  • More than 38 hrs per week; or
  • Average 38 hours per week over a roster cycle; or
  • More than 12 hours on any day, excess is overtime
Passenger Vehicle Transportation No Yes School bus drivers transporting students to and from school can be rostered for one or two shifts per day. Each shift is minimum 2 hrs
Pastoral No Yes Minimum hours for dairy operators that are 18 years or younger, which are full-time secondary school students, is 2 hrs
Registered and Licenced Clubs Yes No Employee works:

  • More than 38 hrs per week; or
  • Average 38 hours per week over roster cycle; or
  • More than 12 hrs on any day is excess is overtime
  • May be entitled to meal allowance when working overtime.
Restaurant Industry Yes No Employee works:

  • more than 38 hr per week; or
  • Average 38 hr per week over roster period
  • More than 12 hrs or per shift on any day the excess is overtime
Wine Industry No Yes An employee working throughout pruning or harvesting work during unexpected wet weather has the minimum hours reduced from 4 to 2.

 

 

The Feel Good Factor

Did you know that by appointing Our Working Life to look after your bookkeeping needs, you are not only adding a valuable team member to your business, but you are also supporting a company that puts its own money where its mouth is, when it comes to the environment and animal welfare?

I aim to reduce our ecological footprint by restricting paper use, recycling what I can and use Cloud based software to reduce the need for unnecessary travel.  By also committing to donating 10% of the monthly gross revenue to favourite causes of RSPCA and Wildcare Australia, Our Working Life is setting the groundwork for becoming a sustainable business model.

As the director of OWL, I have long been an animal lover and more recently an active permit carrying rehabilitator of wildlife, so these causes are close to my heart. For this reason, I choose to combine my two missions in life. I enjoy making sense of the books of businesses while also playing a small part by keeping the other volunteers for these not-for-profit organisations equipped with formulas, pet food and the occasional fluffy toy!

And why?

Cause it feels good to have Balance in Our Working Life!

PS: Check in with my blog to see updates on the work OWL does in the community…of course accompanied by pics of a few wild-lings. You never know…you may become part of our story!

 

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton