Author Archives: Amos Jonathan

50% off Xero for six months – limited offer

50% off Xero for six months – limited offer

Xero accounting software is currently running a great offer:

  • Free until 31 March 2016
  • 50% off for six months after that

Available versions are:

  • Starter -               normally about 2,400 yen p/m, now about 1,200 yen for the first 6 months
  • Standard -           normally about 3,600 yen p/m, now about 1,800 yen for the first 6 months
  • Premier -             normally about 4,800 yen p/m, now about 2,400 yen for the first 6 months

See for more information or ask me.  To catch this offer, you must sign up with me by 31 March.


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Finding a Japanese Tax Agent

Most businesses need to engage a tax accountant to help them prepare and lodge a tax return at the end of each financial year.  I also recommend that businesses with employees should generally get a Japanese tax accountant to prepare the employee payroll, or at least have a Japanese tax accountant on call for questions and the end of year tax adjustment.

I have come across a quite a few Japanese tax agents with a various skills, services and fees so it pays to find one which suits your requirements.  I recommend you consider the following when choosing a Japanese tax accountant:

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WorkflowMax project management software

WorkflowMax is an integrated, online all-in-one project management software program. It handles the whole process from lead to quotes, job management, time-recording, purchase orders, invoicing and reporting all in the cloud. It’s a Xero product and so integrates well with Xero accounting software. Find out more at or ask me for a demonstration.

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Xero Accounting Software Free for 60 Days

Xero online accounting software is now being used by over 400,000 small businesses around the world. If you’re thinking of trying it or want to set up another business on Xero, now is the time to take advantage of a special 60 days free trial.

Just ask me to create a new Xero datafile for you before 31 December 2014 and the first 60 days will be free of all software charges. I can set the file up with my standard chart of accounts or you can go through the set up assistant and set it up yourself.

After that you can start to subscribe at US$12 per month for the Cashbook plan, US$20 per month for the Starter plan, US$30 per month for the Standard plan (most popular) or US$40 per month for the Premium plan.

Visit or ask me for more details.

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The KISS Principle – Keep it simple, stupid

Business owners like to get into some overly complicated or even dodgy deals from time to time, which may be OK if you’re on your own but may not, in my opinion, be such a good idea if you employ staff. “Tone at the top” is what auditors call it: owners should be leading by example to encourage staff to work hard and to help prevent their staff from committing fraud and other unethical practices.

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MYOB Premier v11 (Australian) for sale

Ex wholesale stock, new, never sold, never registered with MYOB, still sealed in original packaging with manual and CD.   Runs on Windows XP or Windows 7.   May be upgradable to latest version free of charge by MYOB upon registration (please check with MYOB).  3 user licence including multi-currency, payroll, inventory and time billing.

Free postage within Japan.  Outside Japan, postage & packing charge extra on application OR receive serial number and software download only (no box, manual or CD) to avoid all postage.

AU$1,400 each.  (1 in stock)

SPECIAL OPTION: Buy the software and get me to set up your data file for a 10% discount off the total package.  Offer ends 30 June 2014.


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MYOB or Xero?

A few years ago I took a quick look at Xero and felt its accounting features were not strong enough to justify changing from MYOB. It was totally online but I didn’t consider the benefits of an online accounting program at all. In October 2012, MYOB released its online version and I was keen to use it. I then began to realize how amazing an online accounting program could be: it offers all the business owners, all the staff, all the consultants, all the tax accountants and in fact anyone who is given permission to access the data file from any internet connected computer from any location at any time. It makes local area networking methods completely redundant.

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It amazes me that in this age where just about every piece of information on earth has been digitized on to computers that we have not standardized the date, which is absolutely critical to any accounting system, if not life in general. The British and the Australians say DD/MM/YY, the Yanks and Canadians say MM/DD/YY, the Japanese say YY/MM/DD. So if you are looking at a document with a date of 11/9/13, it could be the 11th day of September 2013, the 9th day of November 2013 or the 13th day of September 2011, depending who wrote it. But wait, in Japan it gets worse, they not only use YY/MM/DD but they also have their own calendar starting with the accession of each emperor. The Heisei period started in 1988 and so 11/9/13 could now be the 11th year of the Heisei period, the 9th month and the 13th day, which would be the 13th September 1999.

With a little bit of extra effort, all this confusion can be avoided by writing the year in full, e.g. 11/9/2013 or 2013/9/11 or H25/9/13. Unless you are a Yank or a Canadian as writing 9/11/2013 still means September 11th 2013 to them but 9th November 2013 to the British. To me, this seems to be deliberately confusing the issue, illogical and in the minority so please, Yanks and Canadians, I think it’s time to DD/MM/YY.

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The trouble with banking & bookkeeping in Japan

There once was a time and place when making payments from your bank account also produced almost automatically a nice little booklet containing all the necessary information about such payments: date, payee, description and amount.  This was called the cheque book system which, interestingly, has never existed in Japan as far as I know.  As part of writing out the cheque, you also wrote out a cheque stub with all these details and ended up with little booklets of 25 to 50 cheque stubs which were a vital part of your bookkeeping records.  At the end of each financial year, you could present all your cheque stub booklets to your accountant and off he’d go and happily prepare your accounts.

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MYOB turns Japanese

In all the old versions of MYOB, it was impossible to enter Japanese characters, which probably didn’t bother most users in Australia but was a little frustrating for us in Japan.  On the other hand, old versions of MYOB have tended to work better for us than in Australia as most new features were tax and payroll related which are of limited use in Japan.  Well, MYOB has now been rewritten on a different code base to allow for future cloud migration which has brought with it some new features which will help Japanese users, not least that MYOB now accepts Japanese characters!

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