Manage your money

Unless you were one of those strange people who actually enjoyed maths at school, doing your business accounts will probably fill you with dread. You can solve this problem by paying a fortune to one of those swots who did understand quadrilateral equations and went on to use that knowledge to become an accountant. Or you can keep control of all your financial data and put it to some use, by entering the details into an accounting software package.

This month we are focusing on the latest version of MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) Accounting Plus, ($595; This software promises to take the pain out of compiling your accounts, and all those tedious financial tasks that are the by-product of making money. These include generating invoices, keeping track of unpaid bills, sales and purchase order processing, managing VAT, producing returns and so on.

The best thing about MYOB is its ability to create more than 190 reports to help you see exactly what all those pesky figures mean for your business. Doing this enables you to get a better understanding of your company and how it works. While there's plenty of support provided with the software, we'll show how to add value by putting your logo on all the documentation the suite generates. And we'll deal with the tricky question of handling payments for others. Perhaps your shop takes in hire charges for equipment for someone else, which you then pass on to them each week. We can show you how to organize these extraordinary payments using MYOB.

your logo to MYOB documents

1. Here we will show you how to add your logo to cheques, but the same process applies for many other types of form. First, save your logo as a .bmp (bitmap fi le) using an image editor. Open MYOB and create or open your Company File. Go to the Command Centre and click on the Purchases icon.

2. Select Print Cheques from the Purchases Command Centre. Choose the correct account from the drop-down list next to Selected Bank Account and click Use Account. Then click the Advanced Filters button. This pulls up a window with various printing options. Click the Customise button.

3. From this screen you can customise how your cheque will appear. To add your logo, click the picture tool in the toolbar to create a picture box. Click the location you want on the grid. A picture box will appear. Double-click on the smaller of the two picture boxes to bring up the Field Properties window. Now you can add your logo by clicking Load Picture.

4. When you've located your logo file, a preview of how it will look appears onscreen. Click OK to paste the image on to the cheque template. To resize the image, click on the black handles of the picture box and drag them to the size you want. To move the logo around, click inside the box and simply drag and drop.

5. Once you have resized and positioned your logo and applied any formatting within the Customise window, click the Save Form button. Type the name of your form in the 'Form File Name' box and add a description and click OK. Hit OK again in the customise Window. Click OK in the Advanced Filters window. This customised form will now be used for all cheques, regardless of which account they're printed from.

6. Click the Advanced Filters button and then on the arrow next to 'Selected form for cheque' box. You'll be presented with all the available options. Select the form you want and check 'Use form'. Just remember to switch back afterwards - whatever form you select will remain in place until you change it.



Cheques that aren't honoured are a problem for any business. Fortunately, there is a simple way to deal with them in MYOB - this tip works for all versions.

Choose Setup-Preferences-Security. Check that the Transactions can't be changed; they must be reversed. Then you should click OK and begin a search to locate the customer payment that has bounced. Bring up the payment information onscreen and select Edit-Reverse Payment, then change the Preferences back as above. The customer payment is now on both sides of your bank account and the money is outstanding on the customer's account.



If our workshop has whetted your appetite for MYOB software, you can try out the different editions and fi nd out which best suits your business. Download a free trial version now. In particular, check out Accounting Plus, which we used for our example, or the cheaper BusinessBasics.


Easy Time Tracking provides tools to track billable hours. It helps manage customers, projects and tasks. You can create summary and detailed invoices, too, plus time reports. A paid-for version ($US30) adds multi-user support and password protection, and lets you export to .csv (commaseparated value) format.


Easy Cash Manager is a basic bookkeeping package that, as the name suggests, prides itself on its simplicity. ECM provides a dedicated tool to manage books with details of income and expenses. It will sort and filter a cash book, create a survey of a specific time period and password-protect your book.


If you need to check if credit cards are valid, Easy Credit Card Checker can help - and for free. Use this tool to validate numbers for Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express and other major credit cards. It uses the LUHN10 checksum algorithm and first digits verification.

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