All posts by Labyrinth Learning

Payroll Accounting – Teaching Today’s Students

Are you looking for new ideas on keeping students engaged in your Payroll Accounting class?

We’ve got some tips and techniques to help you change up your typical routine.  There is no right (or wrong!) way to teach payroll, but we hope to help you optimize the results you can get this year.

Finding the time to research new ideas and solutions can be overwhelming, so we have created a series of webinars that we’re sure instructors will find valuable this time of the year.

Whether or not you are using a Labyrinth Learning Solution, tune in to a webinar to learn ideas, tips, and techniques for adding elements to your class, and improving student outcomes.

Join our webinar: 8 steps you can take to improve student outcomes in your payroll course to learn:

payroll classroom

  • Methods for implementing a practical approach
  • Tips on maintaining student interest
  • Techniques to help prevent students from feeling overwhelmed
  • Issues associated with teaching payroll-related federal forms, various calculations, and state payroll nuances
  • There will also be a live question-and-answer period at the end

Presenter Eric Weinstein, an instructor at Suffolk County Community College (NY), will share best practices for both in-class and online courses.

Two sessions:

Friday, Sept 9, 2016
Time: 10am Pacific / 12noon Central / 1pm Eastern

Wednesday, Sept 14, 2016
Time: 1pm Pacific / 3pm Central / 4pm Eastern

 

Are you SURE you have the best materials for your course?

Our fourth edition textbook comes with eLab for automated assessment. Who doesn’t like to have automatically graded practice sets – and lots of them!

We think you’ll find that using our materials will provide your students with a significant advantage over their peers upon entering the workforce with the skills they need to be successful!

Our product manager, Jason Favro,Payroll-fourth-edition will present our text: Payroll Accounting: A Practical, Real-World Approach, and all of the solution elements that are complimentary for both instructors and students.

Rick Street, Professor at Spokane Community College (WA) will join us to share his experience switching to Labyrinth, as well as the success he has had with his students using the this payroll accounting solution.

Join our webinar to hear about the:

  • Table of Contents, and how our approach follows the payroll cycle
  • Structure of the Labyrinth approach, including practice set and problem methodology
  • Solution components and the ease of switching to Labyrinth
  • Practical approach elements of the textbook that can help your students be more successful in the course
  • eLab Homework Grader featuring automated grading of practice sets

Two sessions:

Tuesday, Sept 20, 2016 1:30pm PST / 3:30pm CST / 4:30pm EST

Friday, Sept 23, 2016 12noon PST / 2pm CST / 3pm EST

 

Check out eLab – for automated assessment and grading!

If you think that the Labyrinth solution might be just what you need to kick-start your Payroll class into gear – then join us for our webinar: eLab Homework Grader.

In this webinar, we will:LabLearning-eLab-joint-logo

  • Set up eLab and the “ready to go” course for Payroll Accounting
  • Demonstrate eLab Homework Grader (one eLab license comes free with every textbook)
  • Explain customization features – set up the Practice Sets to best meet your class needs
  • Create assignments and tests for student practice, for homework, and for testing.

We will have plenty of time to answer questions, and walk you through how easy it would be to switch to our Payroll Solution in time for January.

One session:

Wed, Sept 28, 2016 1pm Pacific / 3pm Central / 4pm Eastern

QuickBooks 2015 Author Pat Hartley Wins Top 100 ProAdvisor Awards

Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Labyrinth Learning would like to announce that our QuickBooks Pro author Pat Hartley has won the Top 100 Pro Advisor Awards for the second year in a row!

Pat is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and an Advanced Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor. She offers hands-on workshops, one-on-one training specific to the user both in-person and remotely, and cleanup services where she will clean up a QuickBooks data file, then provide the training needed to maintain it going forward. “My business is dedicated and passionate about providing the business owners and accounting professionals with the keys to success using QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online,” Pat says.

The Top 100 ProAdvisor Awards are presented each year. To qualify, nominees must hold a current certification in QuickBooks Desktop and/or QuickBooks Online and have an active practice with one or more clients. Open nominations begin in January, and once candidates are nominated, they complete a very detailed application providing information on their businesses and any other applications that they use or are certified in. Candidates must complete and submit this application within ten days of their nominations. The application is then scored by a committee. Once this is complete, all qualified nominees are announced, and a ballot is sent out for clients, associates, and friends to vote for their ProAdvisor.

As a QuickBooks expert, Pat sees the popularity of online banking and accounting rising in the near future, which would follow the trend of other online versions of apps and services taking off. “Small businesses are becoming more mobile,” she says. “They need to assess Customer and Sales data on the spot. I see less and less of business owners wanting to be tied to a computer at the office. Business owners want the info available on their phones or tablets.”

Pat is the author of our QuickBooks Pro 2015 books, and is currently authoring our upcoming title QuickBooks Online, which will be released next spring.

Everyone at Labyrinth Learning congratulates Pat on her achievement!

QuickBooks Desktop (Windows) or QuickBooks Online? What Is the Difference?

By Pat Hartley, MBA

I am asked almost daily, “What is the difference between QuickBooks for the desktop and QuickBooks Online?” Or “Are they different?” Or “Aren’t they the same?”

To give an answer is to be put in a quandary. You may as well ask, “What is the difference between the Windows operating system and the MAC operating system?” They both do the same thing – operate our computers – just differently!

Intuit’s QuickBooks desktop software has been one of the staples of accounting software for small- to mid-sized businesses since the late 1990s. It has grown, and new-and-improved features and images have been updated annually since then. Businesses and accounting professionals have become comfortable with QuickBooks for the desktop. Still, Intuit has recently increased its emphasis on and resources for QuickBooks Online, a different accounting software product. It does the same thing that QuickBooks for desktop does – our accounting – just differently!

QuickBooks Online is not a copy of the QuickBooks desktop software that has simply been enabled for the web. QuickBooks Online is new and different! Below are some features found in QuickBooks Online that you won’t find in QuickBooks for the desktop.

  • Remote access – You have access to the software anywhere on any device that is web-enabled.
  • Automatic Daily Bank Feeds for bank and credit card accounts.
  • Automatic updates – QuickBooks Online is updated frequently, and you’re always on the most current version.
  • FIFO inventory valuation
  • Location tracking, which is a second level of class tracking.
  • Invoice automation – You can automatically create an invoice from unbilled activity.
  • Delayed charges and billing
  • Allows more than one Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable on a single journal entry
  • Report automation – You can schedule reports to be sent automatically.
  • Activity Log – Allows you to view login dates and times

These are just some of the features that I use, and there are many more. Each month more features and improvements are made. There is truly a big difference in the general workflow.

QuickBooks for the desktop has some robust features that I miss in QuickBooks Online, like the multitude of reporting options and a more extensive inventory-management feature. However, QuickBooks Online has added features every day, noted on a monthly blog for users.

Below is a comparison, provided by Intuit, of a few key features between the two types of software. It’s a good idea to analyze your business and how it functions to make the best choice. You can even take a test drive of QuickBooks Online. Good luck!

qb online

 

 

Pat Hartley is a Top 100 QuickBooks ProAdvisor 2015, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, an Advanced QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, and a member of Intuit’s Trainer/Writer Network. Pat teaches courses on QuickBooks at multiple colleges and runs her own business, www.accountingonthego.com. She is author of the Labyrinth Learning textbook, QuickBooks Pro 2015, and is currently authoring Labyrinth’s QuickBooks Online title.

Sleeter Certified QuickBooks Consultant

Member National Advisor Network

New! Computer Basics for Windows 10.

We are excited to announce the launch of our new title: Welcome to Computer Basics: Windows 10 and Office Online.  It will be in-stock and ready for purchase on February, 22, 2016.

This book uses our effective instructional design and provides you Cover-Welcome-To-Computer-Basics-125with an easy way to teach students basic computer tasks in a Windows 10 and Office Online environment.

One great feature that is included is a unit on File Management.  We all know the importance of keeping files organized in a logical manner.  The exercises help students practice key elements that will help them be organized in the workplace, at school, and at home.

The book also provides beginner practice for using the Internet and Email, including creating the most common types of email accounts. The practice examples help students computerlab-students-g-354-236 get up to speed quickly and ensure a solid foundation for school or on the job.

We have posted resources for you to preview the highlights as well as the table of contents and content.

If you are teaching a computer basics class in a Windows 10 environment, be sure to check it out and let us know what you think.

 

QuickBooks is changing – are you ready?

If you’re planning on teaching a QuickBooks course next year, we have news to share — and we’d like to hear from you in a survey.QB16_700x449

Intuit recently announced that educational site licensing (Lab Packs) and 140-day QuickBooks student trial software will not be available for QuickBooks Pro
2016. If you upgrade every year, or you had planned to upgrade to the 2016 edition, this may leave you in a bind.

We have learned that Intuit will be making available, for the first time, educational site licensing and 140-day student trial licensing for QuickBooks Online, Intuit’s cloud-based version of QuickBooks. We also learned that educational site licensing and student trial software will still be available for QuickBooks 2015.

What am I going to do now? This is a question that many of the educators we have spoken to have asked themselves. I know many start offering the newest version of QuickBooks in summer classes, and the rest all switch to a new version in Fall (if they were planning to switch.)

I’m sure the last thing you need is yet another decision to make, so let me help with a few scenarios for you to consider:

  • You buy retail QuickBooks 2016 licenses, one for each computer in your lab (and expect students to purchase this also if they want to work from home), or you teach only-online classes, and expect the students to purchase the software themselves. Estimated retail cost is $199.95.
  • You feel that this is a push to try QuickBooks Online, and you’re up for it. You’ll write new curriculum that teaches only the QuickBooks Online features (which may have features different from QuickBooks Pro) and find exercises that work within the QuickBooks Online environment.
  • You’ll stay with QuickBooks 2015, or upgrade to this if you were on a previous version, and see what Intuit does next year for 2017. You also explore QuickBooks Online, from both a feature standpoint as well as the publisher materials for curriculum.

Any way you look at it, you have to make a change. And most educators we spoke to had no idea that this was happening, and now don’t know quite what to do.

We want to ensure that Labyrinth Learning’s plans for QuickBooks materials align with the plans you have for your courses. We invite you take a brief survey about your QuickBooks course plans. Your input will help us make publishing decisions in this subject area.

Championing Study Abroad for the Future Workforce

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Currently, 9.4% of college students study abroad. In an effort to increase this number, the Institute of International Education recently held a Generation Study Abroad Summit. The goals of this event were to promote the benefits of studying abroad and increase the number of students who study abroad, as well as diversify the types of students who have access to the opportunity through its Generation Study Abroad Initiative.

In an increasingly global economy, participation in a study abroad program is a valuable experience for one’s employability. Immersion in a different culture can aid in the development of important job skills, such as problem-solving, teamwork, cultural awareness, intercultural skills, and fluency in a foreign language. The IIE wants to reach more students and encourage them to study abroad to gain intercultural competencies that will make them more competitive candidates in the workplace. They would especially like to reach more students who are historically underrepresented in study abroad, like racial minorities, first-generation college students, veterans, and students who have disabilities.

This year, over 350 colleges have signed on to the Generation Study Abroad Initiative, which aims to double the number of students who study abroad within the next decade. Through this initiative, colleges have committed to various goals like increasing financial support for underrepresented students, expanding their international program offerings, and expanding short-term programs, like internship and volunteer abroad programs.

Contact Labyrinth Learning today for more information about our textbook offerings and full solutions.

 

 

Office 2016 Now Available

blog2Microsoft’s Office Suite is a mature and much-used product. According to the Verge, there are approximately 1.2 billion Office users worldwide. Being a mature set of programs, Office 2016 doesn’t have many new features, but there are a few key changes and additions.

The most visual change in Office is the new look and feel of the program, including some changes to the program menus, that closely resemble Windows 10. However, even with these changes you will still find most of the tools you use in the same locations as the previous version of Office.

The “cloud” is a major focus of Office 2016. You will still be able to purchase a boxed copy of the software, but Microsoft is really pushing users to the cloud. When you subscribe to Office 365, you get 1 terabyte of space on OneDrive for each user, and the integration between Windows 10, OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage) and Office 2016 becomes very tight. Also, saving and opening documents to the cloud has gotten a lot more seamless. The new Outlook, for example, just sends a link to attached documents that are saved to OneDrive. This allows for faster emails, less used space due to saving multiple copies of the same attachment, and the ability to edit the document after the link has been sent.

blog1

Office 2016 will be available on a variety of devices and computers.
This version of Office will be available across eight or more platforms including Android, Windows, and Mac devices. Your settings and documents will be available on whichever device you use.

The most exciting new feature is the collaboration feature in Word. When a document is stored on OneDrive, multiple people can edit that document at the same time. Google Docs has had this feature for years, but Word 2016 is a much more powerful program with even more complex tools.

Skype is now integrated into Office, and the new Microsoft Sway makes its debut in this version. Sway is a new online-only program for creating webpages and presentations. Think of it as Word and PowerPoint mashed together with some great special effects. You can use Sway for free (without buying Office) at https://sway.com/.

More information about Microsoft Office 2016 is available at https://products.office.com.

President Obama Gets the Ball Rolling on Free Education

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

President Obama is working to gain support for his efforts to make community colleges free for qualifying students. At an event at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan, Obama announced the creation of a national advisory board to promote the idea that education should be free for any student willing to work hard to achieve their goals. It was in January of this year when he first announced his plan to spend $60 billion over a period of ten years to make community colleges free for students who maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.

In addition to free community college, Obama will announce a new round of federal grants meant to encourage a “learn as you earn” model where businesses hire apprentices who can learn skills on the job while earning a paycheck, rather than in a classroom. The administration will give $175 million in grants to partners, including colleges, private businesses, and labor organizations, for the purpose of hiring about 34,000 apprentices in various fields.

Give students the best education and job training for their dollar with our computer science and business and accounting solutions, which use the context of real-life business situations within lessons to emphasize the necessity of the skills being taught. To learn more, contact Labyrinth Learning today.