Success as a student


Managing yourself for study – Success as a student.

We all desire success when commencing a new study. This blog is the first in a series that will provide more insight into getting the best out of your study.

What is expected of you?

In vocational and higher education, there is more freedom of when and what time you learn – however, this also means you need to have more determination, persistence and self-discipline. That last one especially. You need to be independent – which includes looking for your own answers instead of asking the course facilitator or lecturer. Be self-motivated, organised, goal-orientated, and open to group work. You need to figure out how you learn best, and how you study best. This could be at a particular time of day, in a certain space, with or without music, etc etc. It’s also helpful to make goals and keep track of due dates. I find this works best for me with a monthly calendar and a whiteboard to write the weeks priorities. You are expected to manage your own time and life, which often requires a bit of organisation.

How vocational and higher education differs from previous levels?

The teaching methods are different, with you partly being responsible for your own learning. The work is harder, more complex, and takes more time – which makes time management is essential. Lecturers/tutors will encourage debate and self-research, but ultimately, it requires you to be open to new learning opportunities, and take some initiative with your own education. You will find that a lot of the material and content requires you to be tech literate.

How to make the best of the experience?

Studying in vocational and higher education, it may feel like you have more time, more choice, but you also have more control, more responsibility, and less guidance.

To make the best of the experience, you will need to learn some new skills (some mentioned in the “what is expected of you” section). Self-discipline and time management are the most critical student skills. Building your self-discipline, i.e. the thing that makes you sit down and finish the reading or assessment instead of bludging or going out, will enable you to stay on top of work and meet deadlines. None of which can happen if you aren’t organised, and don’t manage your time well. The best thing to do is to write out all the due dates, and plan some time in the weeks before to get the work done. Once you get the hang of it, you will find student life less stressful – and you may even have a better study-life balance.

How to build resilience as a student to maximise success:

Resilience helps you manage when study and life gets stressful and tough. Starting a vocational or higher education course can feel like a lot of change, but have confidence in yourself. When you are challenged, it is resilience that makes you push back. Key skills that aid resilience are; motivation, perseverance, routine, perspective, problem solving and stress management.

Other things to consider are:

  • What success looks like for you?
    • what makes you feel successful
    • realistic goals
  • What are your anxieties and resources?
    • stresses, pressure
    • family, friends, college or university student services, experience
  • Student relationships that are beneficial for both parties
    • study buddies
    • going to class together

 

Inspiration taken from ‘The Study Skills Handbook’ by Stella Cottrell, 4th Edition.

Do you want to become a BAS Agent?


Do you want to become a BAS Agent?

Have you ever considered becoming a BAS Agent, which is a specialist Bookkeeper? A Bookkeeper maintains the records of the financial affairs of a business, however, a BAS Agent advisors on the BAS tax affairs of the business. The path for this career is simply a case of having the relevant experience and qualifications. There are two qualifications that will enable you to work as a BAS Agent.

What do BAS Agents do?

BAS Agents provide their clients with advice, in addition to completing a BAS Service for their clients business. A BAS Service requires you to work out and advise on any taxes that are included in the Business Activity Statement (BAS). Usually this will include working out or advising on the taxation liabilities, obligations or entitlements of clients. These taxes typically include the following:

  • goods and services tax (GST) law
  • wine tax law
  • luxury car tax law
  • fuel tax law
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) system, and
  • Applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN) or Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Dealing with Superannuation

The Tax Practitioner’s Board website provides more information about BAS Services, and the qualifications and experience which are required to become a BAS Agent.

BAS Agent requirements?

To become a BAS Agent, you must meet the requirements to be registered. Anyone who provides a BAS service for a fee, must:

  1. Complete a FNS40615 Certificate IV in Accounting or FNS402015 Certificate IV in Bookkeeping or higher to be eligible for registration.
  2. Complete an approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles, such as the BAS Agent Registration Skill Set.
  3. Register with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and follow the requirements of the TPB, which are:
    • Be a fit and proper person
    • Have the education outlined above
    • Have the relevant experience
    • Maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance
    • Meet the continuing Professional Development requirement

The approved courses in basic GST/BAS taxation principles are:

The current approved GST/BAS taxation units offered are within either the FNS40615 Certificate IV in Accounting, as well as through the BAS Agent Registration Skill Set. To meet the education requirements, you must complete these two units:

  • FNSBKG404 Carry out business activity and installment activity statement tasks and
  • FNSBKG405 Establish and maintain a payroll system.

Gain the relevant experience

To become a Registered BAS Agent you must have at least 1,400 hours of experience. If you have been a member of a professional organisation over the last four years, it’s only 1,000. This includes hours working under the supervision of a registered Tax Agent or registered BAS Agent.

Study Options

If you are interested in becoming a BAS Agent and are seeking further information about possible study pathways, please contact us at: info@lindencollege.edu.au

Linden College School of Finance offers the following courses:

BAS Agent Registration Skill Set

FNS40615 Certificate IV in Accounting

Business: The Start Up


Tips To Starting Your Business

You have this great idea, it’s awesome, and you cannot wait for everyone to know and think it’s awesome too. That’s great! Maybe you’ve been working in your field for a while and are thinking it’s time to branch out on your own. Fantastic! I admire you for striving towards your dream. However, there are a few points to notes before beginning your business owner journey. Many of these may be tough questions, or require some time to answer, but starting a business is a big thing and it’s always best to be prepared. It always requires planning and a lot of attention.

Are you ready?

  • Is this the right time for you to start a new venture?
  • Do you have the time?
  • Why do you want to start a business?
  • Will it be your sole source of income?
  • Take time to think about the future if your business succeeds, but also if it fails, all businesses have ups and downs.
  • Make a pro’s and con’s list, and if necessary, adjust the time frame accordingly.

Assess your idea

  • Do your research! Is there a plausible market – is there a demand?
  • Do a SWOT analysis, what are the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats?
  • Does your product meet a niche market?
  • Does it have the ability to evolve with time?
  • Will it keep up with competitors?
  • Will you need employees?
  • Do you have the money or investors?
  • Will you need to work with a partner?
  • Do you need help from other professionals?

Choose your business structure

  • Sole trader, partnership, trust, company?
  • These all have pros and cons and THIS gives you a good idea of what they are.

Making a plan

  • Make a detailed and structured business plan outlining your operational and financial strategies for the start-up, short term and long term.
  • This is important to work out the finer details here, it helps you avoid getting stuck in the mud later. (We’ll cover doing a business plan in a future blog)
  • Use your answers from the first two sections to help you.

Check your legal obligations

Build your support team

  • This could be your family, your business partner, business contacts that you will be working with, friends or potential customers.
  • These people are going to be trustworthy and reliable advisers who can help you at various stages in growing your business.
  • Who will be your business advisers for legal, accounting, bookkeeping, marketing, etc

Figure out your finances

  • Your business plan should have addressed some of this, but think about it in even more detail.
  • Do you have a good credit score?
  • Are you good a keeping financial records?
  • Do the financial projections in your plan look positive?
  • Can you analyse financial statements?
  • If finance is not your strong suit, one of your support team members, such as an accountant or bookkeeper, may be able to advise and assist you.

Market your business

  • By now, your business name should be registered and your finances and support team will be in check.
  • Marketing to your potential consumers will be the biggest part of setting up a small business to grow successfully.
  • There are many marketing courses and professionals that can help you, only a quick google search away.

Linden College offers a short small business course to work through these with you, including customer service strategies, how to build customer relations, and grow networks. With this guide and our course, you will be well on your way! Good luck!

 

4 Tips To Improve Your Mid-Year Performance Review


Mid-year performance review – What’s on your career horizon?

We all feel a bit of fear coming up to the mid-year performance review, but one of the best things you can do for yourself and your workplace is be prepared. A performance review should be a productive, genuine two-way conversation that is part of a wider work practice of mentoring and staff development, and associated business development. You should feel a little nervous; but by keeping track of your accomplishments and taking note of where you need to or want to improve, you can bring something worthwhile to the table.

Things to think about:

  • Reflect & report on your achievements: 
    • reflect on and honestly assess what you have produced – keep track of you highs and lows, and moments where you received feedback from others, and other outstanding… or not so moments.
  • Focus on what’s next:
    • Think about what you want to achieve – and what you need to make it happen.
    • Do you need to upskill? Set goals, objectives and targets that are realistic and achievable.
  • Don’t take it personally:
    • Critique from your manager should be expected. Constructive criticism is important for you to know where and when to improve yourself and your work.
    • When confronted with a legitimate critique, take a solution focused approach and identify how you plan to correct it moving forward.
  • If you feel you’re due for a promotion or pay rise:
    • You’ll need to have gone above and beyond what was expected of you in your role.
    • State your case, but be prepared to manage your expectations against the business needs.
    • Develop a list of all accomplishments over the year, and be as detailed as possible in expressing targets met and new skills acquired.
    • Demonstrate your commitment to ongoing learning, leadership, coaching or mentoring and further development.
    • Possibly, consider other benefits you might like to receive instead, as a reward for your great efforts. E.g. external training, flexible working arrangements, parking, health insurance or even a gym membership.

This doesn’t need to take a lot of time, keeping a diary throughout the year can save time and stress. A few dot points or prompts can keep your mid-year performance review smooth and fear-free.
We hope these tips can help you get the best from your review!

Small Business Beginnings to Growth


Start and Grow Your Business; big or small business

Get the structure right: Business Structures

The beginning steps to launching your own business includes understanding business structures and knowing which type of structure will best suited to your future business. There are four main types of business structures;

  • Sole Trader – A sole trader is one of the simplest forms of business. As a sole trader you have complete control over your business, however, you also have unlimited liability, meaning if something goes wrong your personal assets are at risk.
  • Partnership – A partnership structure can be implemented when there are between 2-20 owners of a business. Partnerships are similar to sole trader structures, where the owners of the business are held liable for the debts.
  • Company – Company structures are very popular, in this structure your business is recognised as a separate legal entity. Company structures are more complex however they allow you to have limited liability.
  • Trust – A trust is a different style of organisation where a trustee holds the property and assets for the benefit of others, known a beneficiaries. Although slightly more complicated than a company, a trust can be the most suitable business structure for tax planning and asset protection purposes.

Sole trader and company business structures are most common for small business.

Build the Framework: Compliance and Risk Plan

Once you’ve decided on your business structure, it’s time to create a framework. Implementing a compliance and risk framework allows you to create a structure as well as an understanding of how your business will work.

Implementing a compliance framework will allow you to create guidelines that all business processes must comply by. The risk plan will manage your compliance plan to ensure all aspects of your business are running effectively.

Make it Happen: Financial Planning

It’s imperative that you look at your finances and build a financial plan. Financial plans show a comprehensive evaluation of your current and future financial state. Once you have a financial plan you will know exactly how much money you have to spend on your business and allocate it accordingly.

Get Known: Marketing Plan

This is an exciting phase of the journey, this is where your idea becomes a reality. Developing a marketing plan creates a blueprint for all of your business’s marketing and advertising plans throughout the year. Your marketing plan should include your goals, detailed plans on achieving them, the budget that you are putting towards it and the time frame that you want to reach your goals by.

Putting it all together

The Final Step, a business plan!

A business plan steps through all of the different aspects of your business. Your plan will look at competition, marketing & sales, operations, goals & milestones, your financial plan and projected financial statements. Your plan will be a step by step guide on how your business will work and outline the steps that must be taken to achieve your business goals.

Once you have your business plan ready, it’s time to start your business!

 

Check out our Small Business training course!

Accounting Career Under the Microscope


If you are considering or starting an accounting career? Then you will need to understand the accounting career pathways. In this article, we explain some accounting career choices by putting Accounting Career Under the Microscope.

What is an accountant

If you think accountants are only boring, bean counters or poor old pencil pushers sitting alone at in a small cubicles, then you’d be mistaken. Accounting is a fairly social profession with many different streams.

OK, perhaps being an accountant isn’t always social. It is a serious job. Then again, no job is completely social. Let’s think about it for a moment. Because, in today’s world we network, use social media and go to meetups, no accountant is going to hide in a cubicle.

So just where do accountants work?

There are so many different streams of accountants. We thought it best to start with where accountants work. With so many streams to choose from, people with accounting careers in accounting practices, business, industry, government, education and IT.

Personal characteristics

If you are considering an accounting career, then you may possess:

  • a need to learn new things
  • embrace technology and innovation
  • outstanding work ethics
  • leadership potential

Which qualification is best for me?

This is a not as straight forward as you might believe. The following table matches the qualification to a job role. You can use this table as a guide to choose your course.

Certificate III Certificate IV Diploma Advanced Diploma
Accounts Clerk

Payroll and Accounts Clerk

 

Accounting Support Officer

Bookkeeper

 

Assistant Accountant

 

Accountant

Tax Agent

 

What is the accounting career outlook?

The job outlook to 2020 appears good for those considering an accounting career. According to myskills.gov.au, the demand for accountants, with a Certificate IV in Accounting is above average. The demand for accountants with a Diploma in Accounting or an Advanced Diploma in Accounting is high.

 

You can become an SMSF Accountant!


Being an SMSF Accountant

SMSF stands for Self Managed Superannuation Fund, which is a type of superannuation fund run by the members for themselves.

Being an SMSF Accountant involves more than just counting the money and preparing reports. SMSF accountants learn quite a lot about the SMSF law, SMSF Tax, investments and retirement planning. Being an SMSF accountant involves dealing with a number of other professionals which may include: a financial planner, a registered SMSF auditor, a lawyer, a registered valuer, or actuary. Who the SMSF accountant deals with each year will  depend on the transactions in the fund.

SMSF Accounting services

SMSF Accountants prepare the superannuation fund’s financial statements, typically using specialist accounting software such as BGL or Class.

The financial report must be prepared with knowledge of the Australian Accounting Standard. The standard applicable to superannuation funds is AAS25: Financial Reporting by. Superannuation Plans. Although an SMSF, is not a reporting entity, and only needs to comply with the section relating to asset valuations at market.

The SMSF accountant also prepares relevant minutes, members’ statements and the Annual Tax Return.

Often this is completed once-in-the-year, however with the advent of online SMSF accounting software, it is now easier to be a pro-active accountant and prepare the financials on a more regular basis. This could be daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the size of the SMSF and the trustees needs. 

Caution

SMSF advisers, including accountants must understand ASIC regulation RG146. Because an SMSF is a financial product, an SMSF accountant is limited to providing only accounting and taxation services. Note: the SMSF Accountant cannot make any recommendations on the investment process, although there are exceptions.

Benefits of becoming an SMSF Accountant

Being an SMSF Accounting is an interesting and rewarding career choice. You get to understand a lot about the various investments and deal with different professionals than you would normally.

 How to become an SMSF Accountant

Linden College offers a specialist stream of FNS40615: Certificate IV in Accounting (SMSF). To find out more, contact the college on 1300 228 338 or email study@lindencollege.edu.au. Click here to find out more about our FNS40615: Certificate IV in Accounting (SMSF)

Staying Healthy While Studying


Studying is hard, and it takes a lot of brain power. So to keep you fueled the healthy way, we’ve put together some tips for you.

8 Tips to keep you healthy:

  • Obviously I’m going to say eat your fruit and vegetables. Not only do these delicious foods supply us with nutrients and vitamins, but also are much healthier than the chips I bet you ate sometime this week
  • Don’t forget the carbohydrates! Try to keep it minimally processed (e.g. brown rice, instead of white). Plants are grown to be the perfect package.
  • If in need, baked beans are a poor/time poor student’s best friend.
  • Snacks (YES!) Snacks are what students are all about. Keep it light with some nuts, blueberries, or watermelon to keep you hydrated and fueled (yes, frozen is fine). Bananas are also great for a rushing-to-class snack.
  • Cook in bulk, if it’s easiest. You can make enough rice and curry to last a week without too much fuss.
  • Drink water regularly! Being dehydrated slows you down, both mentally and physically.
  • Exercise – going for a walk around the block (or further) lets you take a break from study and keeps your muscles and lymphatic system pumping.
  • Take breaks. Extended periods of sitting and reading can be just as harmful to you and not studying can be to your grades. Get up and do a quick tidy up, or cook a meal while you listen to music, grab a coffee, or if you dare – watch a YouTube video.