Teacher guide. A Balancing Act Series 11 Flexible Learning Toolbox. Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) FNS40207

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Teacher guide

A Balancing Act

Series 11 Flexible Learning Toolbox

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A copy of the Toolbox Implementation Guide can be found at

http://toolboxes.flexiblelearning.net.au/documents/index.htm. It has been designed to help you get started with your Toolbox project, and is based on the experiences of training providers nationally who have been working with Toolbox products over the last few years. The guide focuses mainly on supporting teachers involved in Toolbox product implementation, but will also be a useful reference for technical, support and other staff. It contains four main sections: 1. Finding your way around Toolbox products – things you should know.

2. Different ways you can use your Toolbox product for training delivery and support. 3. Planning for the implementation of your Toolbox product.

4. Further reading and helpful websites.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2008

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth of Australia. This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to Training Copyright, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, GPO Box 9880 Canberra City ACT 2601 or email copyright@training.com.au.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ... 4

General overview of the Toolbox ... 4

About this Trainer’s Guide ... 4

Context ... 4

Target audience ... 4

Teachers/trainers using the Toolbox ... 4

Learning and Assessment ... 5

Other assessment items ... 7

Qualification and units supported by the Toolbox ... 7

Mapping and progress checklist ... 8

Holistic treatment of units ... 8

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) ... 9

Getting started ... 11

Advice and tips for trainers ... 11

Using the Toolbox for the first time ... 11

Computer and Internet requirements ... 11

New to online learning? ... 12

Maintaining the Toolbox ... 12

Customising the Toolbox content ... 12

Answers and templates for the trainer ... 12

Structure and design ... 13

Navigation, elements and pathways within the Toolbox ... 13

Basic Toolbox structure ... 13

Site map ... 14

The home page ... 15

Resources repository ... 19

Teaching and learning strategy ... 20

General learning approach ... 20

Rationale ... 20

Learners with special needs ... 20

Learner-directed design ... 20

Flexible learning pathways ... 21

Supporting different learner needs ... 21

Main screens within the Toolbox ... 22

Main screens within the Toolbox ... 23

The job brief ... 23

The Case study ... 25

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Accounting Systems ... 28

Topic overview ... 28

Alignment to unit/s of competency ... 28

Potential issues ... 28

Tasks ... 28

Payroll ... 29

Topic overview ... 29

Alignment to unit/s of competency ... 29

Potential issues ... 29

Tasks ... 29

Assets & inventory ... 30

Topic overview ... 30

Alignment to unit/s of competency ... 30

Potential issues ... 30

Tasks ... 30

Reports ... 31

Topic overview ... 31

Alignment to unit/s of competency ... 31

Potential issues ... 31

Tasks ... 31

Financial statements ... 32

Topic overview ... 32

Alignment to unit/s of competency ... 32

Potential issues ... 32

Tasks ... 32

BAS & Instalments ... 33

Topic overview ... 33

Alignment to unit/s of competency ... 33

Potential issues ... 33

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Introduction

General overview of the Toolbox

The A Balancing Act Toolbox will support a total of eleven units from the newly released FNS40207 Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) qualification.

Additionally, learning objects and support materials within the Toolbox will enable RPL processes and streamlined learning pathways to facilitate fast-track learning and holistic assessment processes.

About this Trainer’s Guide

This guide has been developed to assist and support you in using the Toolbox resource. It explains all the content the Toolbox contains, and offers suggested strategies for customisation and delivery. These strategies will provide opportunities to maximise the learning experience and take advantage of the collaborative learning environment that can be achieved through facilitated discussion and information sharing amongst a group of learners.

The delivery strategies detailed in this guide are by no means exhaustive – we encourage you to use your creativity to develop additional meaningful learning experiences for your learners.

The Toolbox can ‘stand alone’ and serve as a self-paced learning resource with minimum input from you, however this may not be the most effective delivery strategy and the learner will not be able to cover all the required competencies by using the Toolbox content alone. Your role is critical in ensuring a positive learning experience.

Context

To ground learning in a realistic context representative of the day-to-day work of a bookkeeper, a fictional setting has been created. The learner will work through a series of ‘jobs’ for their clients in the seaside town of Summerville. This metaphor is not a key component of the learning, nor does it place the learner in a ‘role-play’ situation, it merely provides a contextual framework for the tasks.

Target audience

The target learners for this Toolbox will be persons either currently working in the bookkeeping or finance field or seeking career progression from within the industry. They will already hold a Certificate III in Financial Services qualification, or be eligible for RPL at a Certificate III level based on their prior industry experience.

Typically, this group are mature-aged, well educated professionally and personally, and are independent learners. The need for flexible learning options is critical, as this learner group will most likely be employed and therefore find it difficult to attend traditional face-to-face training.

Learners are likely to be familiar with computer-based accounting, and with relevant software packages used within the bookkeeping profession. However, the Toolbox supports learning in both manual and computerised procedures and in most cases demonstrates the full manual process for all transactions.

Teachers/trainers using the Toolbox

This Toolbox will suit a range of delivery and assessment contexts, including:

• workplace trainers working in a one-to-one or group training situation

• vocational trainers and/or assessors in an educational or workplace setting who deliver training,

conduct assessments and issue qualifications

• team leaders/supervisors and/or line managers who are involved in implementing learning in the

workplace and assessing its effectiveness

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Learning and Assessment

A Balancing Act does not specifically support assessment of the FNS40207 competencies, as assessment methodologies and practices can vary greatly for RTOs nationally. However, it can definitely support the assessment process as learners will be working on tasks that directly align with the competencies and will be producing evidence of their skills and knowledge through the work they complete in the Toolbox. Further assessment requirements to supplement the Toolbox content are the RTO’s responsibility, in accordance with AQTF standards and requirements for competency-based assessment.

We strongly suggest that you read all the information in the Learning and Assessment section of the

Toolbox (available from the home page via the button pictured below), and ensure that learners also read all this information. The window will open at the ‘Learning’ section – click the other tabs to navigate through the other information it contains.

Figure 1 – Learning and Assessment

Compliance activity

Learners will need to complete the compliance activities to satisfy the requirements of the Industry Core units that are not directly mapped to the Toolbox tasks. Learners may like to complete parts of this task as they work through the Toolbox, or complete the whole task on its own, separate to the work they’re doing in the task. You should consider the option that will work best for your learner/s.

Here are some tips to help you facilitate successful completion of the compliance activities.

Section 1

Make sure all information is up-to-date and current – you may need to issue new or modified instructions if legislation and/or regulations change.

Section 2

Students are to create a procedures manual which can be used to guide themselves or their clients in the topic areas.

Check on the layout of the report and the wording as this can be used to assess the Use Business Technology and Communication units.

It’s important that learners understand the task isn’t simply to compile a file of items they find on the

Internet, they have to actually research this information and develop their own resources for assessment.

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Compliance activities

In this section, you will compose and compile various documents which will contribute to your assessment portfolio. These documents are integral in the development of policies and procedures to ensure compliance and will assist in the development of your business documentation.

Section 1 – Industry context

1. Letter of engagement

You are to create a letter of engagement to formalise your arrangement with your clients. Refer to

the Internet for examples. (A sample engagement letter is provided here)

2. Investigate professional bodies relevant to your chosen career

Create a summary of the requisites for joining, and list the advantages and disadvantages of membership of at least two such organisations.

3. Answer the following:

o What OHS issues do you need to consider when setting up your home office? o What professional organisations would you belong to and why?

o What are industry codes of practice?

o Which industries are covered by statutory codes of conduct?

o What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Non-profit organisation being incorporated?

o List the advantages and disadvantages of each type of business structure.

Section 2 – Procedures manual

A manual can be useful to store useful information that will guide your work, and perhaps even information

sheets you can give to clients. Make a start towards your procedures manual by researching the topics

below.

Your manual must cover but not be limited to the following: 1. Accounting Systems

1.1. How to register for GST

1.2. Process for petty cash including security 1.3. Process for banking including security 1.4. Controls over cash in the organisation 1.5. Application for credit forms for customers 1.6. Process for following up debtors

1.7. End of year preparation check list 2. Payroll

2.1. Employment procedures 2.2. Induction process

2.3. Employer record keeping requirements 2.4. Useful web sites/pages with descriptions 2.5. Payroll tax

2.6. Sample employee record forms

2.7. How to register for Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding 2.8. What is included in the Superannuation Guarantee Charge 2.9. Controls over payroll

2.10. End of year check list

2.11. Back up process and protection of data

3. OHS

3.1. Employer and employee obligations

3.2. Forms for hazard identification and reporting 3.3. Accident report forms

4. End of Period Check List

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Other assessment items

Case studies and networking

These sections are for your learning and contain no compulsory assessment requirements unless your trainer specifies otherwise.

Activities and quizzes

Other assessment items may include completion of activities or quizzes. Submission of these items should be negotiated with your facilitator.

Qualification and units supported by the Toolbox

A Balancing Act supports learning and assessment for a total of eleven units in the FNS40207 qualification. The four ‘industry core units’ are common to a range of qualifications within the FNS04 Training Package, and the seven ‘sectoral core units’ are specific to the skills and knowledge required in the bookkeeping profession.

The units chosen are all core requirements of the qualification and have areas of commonality in skills and knowledge, enabling them to form a coherent group for delivery of training in this area. The units supported by this Toolbox are as follows.

Achievement of the full qualification requires the completion of an additional two elective units, which are not supported by A Balancing Act as the choice for electives is varied. For more detail regarding how these units are treated within the Toolbox, please refer to page 28 onwards in this guide.

INDUSTRY CORE UNITS

FNSICGEN301B Communicate in the workplace

FNSICGEN302B Use technology in the workplace

FNSICGEN304B Apply health and safety practices in the workplace

FNSICIND401B Apply principles of professional practice to work in the financial industry

SECTORAL CORE UNITS

FNSBKPG401A Develop and implement policies and practices relevant to bookkeeping

activities

FNSBKPG402A Establish and maintain a cash accounting system

FNSBKPG403A Establish and maintain an accrual accounting system

FNSBKPG404A Carry out business activity and instalment activity statement tasks

FNSACCT405B Prepare financial statements

FNSACCT406B Maintain asset and inventory records

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Mapping and progress checklist

Within the Learning and Assessment section (click the Unit mapping tab), a spreadsheet has been provided for learners to track their progress through the topics and tasks. This is also a mapping matrix of topic/task to each unit of competency and its elements of competency, which makes it a useful tool for trainers and assessors as well. The same checklist is also available via the drop-down shortcut menu on any content screen. The checklist can be easily modified if you wish, as it is an Excel® spreadsheet.

Holistic treatment of units

As we know the learner cohort is experienced in bookkeeping fundamentals, a holistic approach to ‘delivering’ the requirements of each unit has been taken. This takes into account both the personal and professional needs of the learners.

The holistic treatment of the units embeds competencies and skill sets from several units into others. This reduces the amount of content required and enables tasks, activities and projects to be far richer, more engaging and intellectually stimulating. The following diagram shows the way in which the required outcomes for each individual unit will be addressed to streamline/fast-track content delivery and maximise engagement.

FNSICIND401B Apply principles of professional practice to

work in the financial services industry FNSICGEN301B Communicate in the workplace FNSICGEN302B Use technology in the workplace FNSICGEN304B Apply health and safety practices

in the workplace

FNSBKPG401A Develop and implement policies and

practices relevant to bookkeeping activities

FNSBKPG402A Establish and maintain a Cash Accounting System

FNSBKPG403A Establish and maintain an

Accrual Accounting System FNSBKPG404A Carry out Business Activity

and Instalment Activity Statement tasks

FNSACCT406B Maintain asset and

inventory records FNSBKPG405B Prepare financial

statements FNSBKPG405A Establish and maintain a

payroll system

As the competencies and skill sets in these two units underpin everything a bookkeeper does in daily practice, they have been embedded into all tasks, rather than treated as ‘stand alone’ units, which is exactly how it happens in real life.

These two units have common competencies, only the specifics of each system changes for learning and assessment. Therefore the core competencies will be combined/embedded together in one topic (Accounting Systems), with specific assessment tasks relative to the context of each unit.

Industry core units

From Certificate III – RPL applies Sectoral core units

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The seven sectoral core units align with the six topics in the Toolbox as follows.

Figure 3 – Holistic treatment of units

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The target learners for this Toolbox will be persons either currently working in the bookkeeping or finance field, or those seeking career progression from within the industry. They will already hold a Certificate III in Financial Services qualification, or be eligible for RPL at a Certificate III level based on their prior industry experience. They may also be eligible for RPL in some or all of the units in the Certificate IV qualification. The Toolbox offers an RPL Expressway feature that can be used to determine a person’s eligibility for RPL,

and to provide information about the RPL assessment process. Please note that this does not facilitate nor

process an RPL application or assessment as that must be managed and supported by an RTO. It does, however, provide an excellent insight into what’s involved with RPL and also offers a range of useful tools for both RPL candidates and RPL assessors.

Figure 4 – The RPL Expressway opening screen

The RPL Expressway opens in a separate window to the Toolbox, and is a fully self-contained resource. It can be separated from the Toolbox if you wish to use it as a stand-alone RPL resource. Content within the RPL Expressway is arranged into six separate areas to make it easier for users to locate the information and resources they’re interested in.

Most documents are provided in Microsoft® Word format, so they can easily be customised.

FNSBKPG402A FNSBKPG405A FNSACCT406B FNSACCT406B FNSBKPG405B FNSBKPG404A

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The contents of the RPL Expressway resource are as follows.

About the RPL Process – Provides an overview of RPL, and how the assessment process works. It also provides hints and tips for RPL candidates to help them prepare for their RPL assessment.

Self Assessment – Perhaps the most useful part of the resource, this section provides a self-assessment questionnaire for each unit that can be used by the candidate to determine whether they may be suitable for RPL. Full competency details for each unit (from NTIS) are also provided here.

Question bank – Explains about the ‘competency conversation’ interview within the assessment process, and provides an example ‘question bank’ and ‘record of conversation’ document for each unit. These are excellent tools for the RPL assessor, but also provide the candidate with an insight into what they will be asked during the competency conversation, and the kind of evidence their assessor is looking for.

Practical tasks for RPL – Contains a number of example practical tasks that may be used for the RPL assessment of each unit, and an ‘observation recording sheet’ that highlights what an assessor will be looking for in the tasks.

RPL FAQ and Glossary – Contains a list of frequently asked questions, and a glossary of RPL-related terms.

RPL documents – Provides a selection of documents that support the RPL process.

A full mapping matrix for all units to the question bank and practical tasks is available for assessors. You can find this on your Toolbox CD, in the folder lecturers_only, and then the sub-folder rpl_ass_tables. Most of the information and resources within the RPL Expressway have been copied with permission from the RPL Assessor Kit developed by the State of Queensland (Department of Education, Training and the Arts), available free of charge in document form on the Resource Generator at

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Getting started

Advice and tips for trainers

Using the Toolbox for the first time

It’s very common for people to jump straight in and start using the Toolbox, without actually reading the instructions! As a result, you might find that learners have trouble finding their way around, or feel that the structure is confusing.

Always encourage new users to go through the TOUR on their first visit. The tour is available as a link from the home page, and also from the main content screen inside the Toolbox via the drop-down shortcut menu. There’s also a printable version of the tour that can be kept as a handy reference to use any time.

Computer and Internet requirements

Nothing spoils a computer-based learning experience more than technical problems and difficulties. On the opening screen of the Toolbox (where you click ENTER TOOLBOX to get to the home page), there’s a link to SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS. As with the tour, many people don’t check this before using the Toolbox. They then discover that they don’t have the required software installed on their computer, or that their computer doesn’t meet the minimum requirements.

Having said that, Toolboxes are designed for a low specification computer and for a slower Internet connection, so most users shouldn’t experience any problems, however it’s best to check! You can help by making sure your learners have checked their computer against the minimum specifications listed, and where necessary help them to download required plugins etc. For your reference, here is a copy of the information presented on the System Requirements link from the opening page.

Hardware (computer) – IBM® compatible with a 1000 MHz processor running Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or Apple Macintosh® with a 500 MHz processor running OSX v10.3.0, with a minimum of:

• 256 Mb RAM • 1024 x 768 pixel display

• CD-ROM drive • 56K Internet access

• Sound card • Printer (optional but handy)

Software/plug-ins required (all of these are available free of charge at the websites listed)

• Internet Explorer 6.0 or above (http://www.microsoft.com/ )

-- OR --

• Firefox 2.0 or above (http://www.mozilla.com/ )

-- OR --

• Safari 1.3 or above (http://www.apple.com/ )

• Microsoft® Word 97 or a similar word processing program to open and use downloadable forms,

checklists and worksheets.

• Adobe® Flash Player 9. If you haven’t got this plug-in, you can download and install the latest free

version from: www.adobe.com

• Adobe® PDF Reader 6.0 or above. If you haven’t got this plug-in, you can download and install the

latest free version from: www.adobe.com

Incorrect versions of these applications could result in information being shown in an unreadable form or not shown at all.

NOTE: The Toolbox will immediately detect if a user does not have the required plug-ins and provide directions to specific web sites to get the free downloads. Please also note that the ‘auto-run’ function of the CD-ROM does not work on Apple Macintosh® computers, so users will need to open the Toolbox via the index.htm page that is located in the opening directory of the CD-ROM.

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Browser specific issues – Safari 1.3

Some of the features in this Toolbox will not be available to people using the Macintosh® Safari browser version 1.3, because of its limitations in handling Javascript. Specifically:

• the search feature in the ‘Resources’ section will not be available

• the table in the ‘Resources’ section will not be available

• ‘grey-box’ pop-ups will appear in a new window

• the ‘accordion’ components on the content pages will default to open view, that is they will be fully expanded at all times and users will not have the option to collapse/expand items

• the Tour will be presented in plain text format rather than the interactive version with navigation buttons

• the ‘Show Help’ feature on the content pages will not be available.

Users will not be aware that these features are not available to them, as the Toolbox will automatically detect if a user has Safari 1.3 and apply these changes. Removal of these

features/functions for Safari users does not degrade the learning experience in any way, as all vital content will still be available.

New to online learning?

Online learning is a new experience for many people, so some simple tips can really help them get the most from the opportunities it presents. If you’re using Web 2.0 technologies or communication tools such as discussion boards or chat rooms, you’ll need to provide support (eg a tutorial) for learners who are inexperienced with these media.

You also have a Duty of Care to ensure that online learners are learning safely (OHS).

You might also like to look at the web-based tutorials available from WestOne Services, which include a ‘Guide to the Internet’ and a ‘Guide to learning online’. These are available free of charge online at

http://www.westone.wa.gov.au/courses/guide.

For a great range of advice and useful strategies to maximise collaborative learning in an online delivery environment, you can look through the 'Guide to Social E-Learning', available at

http://socialelearning.flexiblelearning.net.au/index.htm.

Maintaining the Toolbox

As with any resource, information within the Toolbox may at some stage become out of date or incorrect. The Technical Guide that’s available on the Toolbox CD-ROM provides instructions on customising content, so you can alter or update text as and when required. Before using the Toolbox, you should check that any links to websites are still current, and update them where necessary.

Customising the Toolbox content

Nearly all of the Toolbox is developed using standard HTML, which is easily customisable. However, the home page (photo slideshow and blue buttons) are developed using Flash® software, and will require a higher level of technical expertise to customise. The interactive elements have been developed with Flash® software however the content is driven by XML and can therefore be easily modified.

HTML and XML pages can be customised using an HTML editor such as Adobe Dreamweaver™, Microsoft® FrontPage®, Adobe HomeSite™, or Microsoft® WordPad.

If you’re a novice at editing HTML, we suggest you seek some guidance from a person with experience, just to make it easier while you’re learning. Remember to ALWAYS keep a backup version of the original Toolbox prior to making any modifications.

For more information about customising the Toolbox, please refer to the technical guide that’s available on the Toolbox CD-ROM.

Answers and templates for the trainer

All answer keys are provided for your convenience in one location on the Toolbox CD-ROM. You’ll find them all in the folder named lecturers_only, then the sub-folder called activity_answers.

Templates for all the spreadsheets used in the Toolbox are also available. These are contained within the Source documents section for each of the tasks.

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Structure and design

Navigation, elements and pathways within the Toolbox

Basic Toolbox structure

A Balancing Act has a fairly simple structure, with a focus on clean and logical navigation for the learner. Figure 1 (below) shows a basic site map of the Toolbox structure.

Figure 5 – Basic Toolbox structure

For each topic, specific content and resources have been selected to support learning and completion of the tasks. Learners should also be encouraged to explore the larger RESOURCES repository, which holds every item of content and every learning resource from all topics and tasks within the Toolbox. This repository is explained in more detail later in the guide.

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Site map

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The home page

Figure 7 – A Balancing Act home page

(1) Photo slideshow

When you first arrive at the home page, you will see this photograph of Summerville beach. This is part of a photo slideshow that introduces Summerville, and the clients that the learner will be working with.

Clicking the (play) button will start the photo slideshow,

which will run at a set speed for comfortable viewing.

Alternatively, you can use the and

buttons to look through the photographs one at a time. A green highlight appears over the buttons when you mouse-over them.

Text will appear throughout the slideshow, to explain the story behind the photos.

1 2

3 4

5

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(2) The topic navigation

The blue buttons on the home page provide navigation to each of the six topics within the Toolbox.

Figure 9 – Blue topic/task buttons when inactive

Rolling your mouse over each button will reveal the tasks within each topic, and replace the photo slideshow with a topic overview. This gives a brief introduction to the topic, the tasks and their alignment with the unit/s of competency from FNS40207, as pictured below.

Figure 10 – Blue topic/task buttons when active, showing the three tasks within each topic, and the topic overview replacing the photo slideshow

From here, you can navigate directly to a specific task within a topic by clicking the Task title in the blue button, as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11 – Three tasks within the topic for direct navigation

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(3) Links to additional features

The grey buttons on the home page will each launch a new window. The information behind each one is as follows.

Figure 12 – Grey buttons for additional information/features from the home page

Learning & Assessment This provides an overview of how learning and assessment takes place within the Toolbox context, and provides a Unit mapping matrix to show how the topics align with the Units of competency. It also contains an assessment task that is additional to the tasks within the actual Toolbox.

RPL Expressway Launches a new window containing the RPL Expressway resource.

Toolbox Tour This tour is designed for first-time visitors to the Toolbox, and takes you through a screen-by-screen explanation of what the Toolbox contains and how to navigate around it.

(4) Text version of home page

Because the home page is built mostly in Flash® software to enable the interactivity, some users may need to access a non-Flash® version for navigation. This link will take you to a plain HTML page that contains links to all the same elements that are on the home page.

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From here, you simply click any of the green bars to open up that content, as pictured below. A scroll bar will appear, so you can navigate down the screen to read all the content.

You can click the ‘Flash® home page’ tab at any stage to go back to the home page.

Figure 14 – Content showing after clicking the green bar (5) Credits and disclaimer

Finally, the links down on the bottom right-hand corner will launch the Credits and Disclaimer information for the Toolbox, in a new window. Depending on your screen size, you may need to scroll down the screen to read it all.

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Resources repository

All of the content and resources within the Toolbox have been collected in to one repository for ease of access. This can also be separated from the Toolbox and used as a stand-alone resource if required.

Figure 16 – Resources

When you first arrive here, the list of resources will be displayed alphabetically by resource title. You can click any of the column headings to sort by resource title, topic, or resource type. Clicking a resource title will open it in a grey box-over.

To search for a specific topic or item you can use the keyword search. The search will start as soon as you type into the search box, and you will be presented with only the relevant resources. To reset the search you just need to click the grey button marked ‘View all resources’.

The glossary is also contained within this repository – simply click the Glossary tab to go there. Use the letter buttons across the top to go to each letter alphabetically, or click SHOW ALL to open up the full glossary.

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Teaching and learning strategy

General learning approach

Rationale

The content that underpins the competencies in the FNS40207 qualification consists mainly of policies, procedures, legislation and other requirements specific to the duties of a bookkeeper in the highly regulated financial services industry. In traditional face-to-face delivery, a lot of time is spent covering this content, which can be frustrating to learners as often the most effective way of learning this type of material is by reading and memorising, followed by practical application in a ‘real-life’ setting rather than passively listening in a lecture-style presentation.

The more procedural aspects of the bookkeeper’s role are very consistent throughout the industry, and often subject to legislative or regulatory requirements, and therefore also quite formal and structured. The key variables in procedure are in the interaction/s a bookkeeper has with his or her clients and the initiative they show in solving problems. These are the areas in which A Balancing Act provides a virtual client base with whom the learner interacts in their role as a bookkeeper within the learning setting and build their skills, knowledge and confidence before venturing out into the ‘real world’. It is this practical application that brings the learning to life, and counters a high level of engagement to the potentially dry nature of the content. The multimedia and case-studies used in the tasks, activities and projects in A Balancing Act help to enhance the practical learning opportunities and ground the learning in a ‘real life’ context.

Learners with special needs

The A Balancing Act Toolbox has been developed in accordance with e-standards for Training (Australian Flexible Learning Framework), and Priority 1 W3C accessibility guidelines for the vision-impaired and learners with disabilities. It is fully screen-reader compatible for users with assistive technology.

For users who require javascript to be disabled on their Internet browser, the Toolbox will still work fully however some features (eg the ‘sort’ feature in Resources) will no longer work.

Learner-directed design

Because many of the learners undertaking this qualification have prior knowledge and/or experience as a bookkeeper, often they do not need to sit through multiple ‘lessons’ for this content delivery and can find a structured, pre-determined training delivery schedule frustrating and incongruous to their needs. In A Balancing Act there are no ‘lessons’ as such. Learners are presented with a ‘Job Brief’ from their client, which requires them to work independently through a number of tasks and transactions. They can also interact with case-studies based on the books and accounts of other companies outside of Summerville, through which they can learn how to perform the transactions and follow required processes and procedures.

Learners will be able to choose and access content when and where they need to, in accordance with their own learning needs. This rather adult approach to delivery of the content is entirely appropriate for the learner cohort, and gives them full control over what and how much they need and want to learn.

Because bookkeeping is often a rather singular task, opportunities and strategies for collaborative learning with other bookkeeping students are presented in the ‘Networking’ section, to enhance the learning experience.

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Flexible learning pathways

Many learners will prefer to choose the learning pathway that best suits their needs, and make a decision about their learning requirements on a ‘need to know’ basis. The design of A Balancing Act incorporates flexible entry and exit points, a content repository, and structured tasks mapped to a competency matrix. These enable self-directed learning targeted to each individual’s needs.

Learners can choose to work through complete topics and all tasks within them, or to select individual topics and/or tasks that meet their learning needs. The Toolbox offers many different levels of engagement with the content, including:

• complete the Job brief as a stand-alone task without using the content and resources

• complete the Job brief and engage with some of the supporting content and resources, as required

• complete the Job brief and engage with all of the supporting content and resources, as required

• complete the Job brief and engage with some or all of the supporting content and resources, as

required, and explore the main Resources area to find additional content and resources

• read through the Case study to become familiar with the process and procedure required before

completing the Job brief

• select specific parts of the Case study to work through

• work through the complete Case study

• work through some or all of the Case study, engaging with content and resources as required

• work through the complete Case study, engaging with all the content and resources provided.

Of course, that is just a sample of the ways in which learners may choose to engage with the Toolbox content. However, the list may be useful as a guide for you to refer to when providing learners with guidance and support in using the Toolbox.

Supporting different learner needs

Because learners will arrive at the Toolbox with differing needs, the level of support and guidance they require will vary. Whilst it has been designed primarily for a more independent, self-directed learner with existing skills and knowledge in bookkeeping, the Toolbox will also be suitable for and support those who are less experienced and/or self-directed. The following table presents some suggestions to assist you in supporting different learner needs.

Learner profile Learner behaviour

Experienced in bookkeeping, confident computer user, independent and self-directed.

This type of learner will most likely want to just get on with the task, and need very little support or guidance. They will be confident exploring the Toolbox to find content, if and when they need it.

Suggested learning pathway

Go straight to the Job Brief and work through the instructions provided. Encourage them to explore the resources relevant to that topic by accessing the navigation at the right hand side of the screen.

Somewhat experienced in bookkeeping, confident computer user, reasonably independent but requires reassurance and guidance that they’re going OK.

Learner behaviour

This learner type should be encouraged to try and work through the Job Brief, but should be directed to the Case Study as required to assist with any procedural areas that they’re not sure about. They should be confident enough to explore the Toolbox and find the content they need, however you can direct them to the customised content menu to the right of the Job Brief, where they’ll find supporting information to help them complete the task.

Suggested learning pathway

Go straight to the Job Brief and identify which part/s they feel they can do on their own. Guide them to relevant sections of the Case Study for any part/s for which they need support and/or learning, and to the relevant supporting content.

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Learner profile Learner behaviour

Low-level experience in bookkeeping, confident computer user, requires a reasonable level of support and guidance through the learning process.

This learner type should be shown the Job Brief, and encouraged to try and work through it ‘up front’, but it will most likely be more appropriate for them to work through the Case Study first to ensure that they ‘know’ how to carry out the processes and procedures required for the task.

They will probably be confident in navigating the Toolbox to find the content and resources they need, but you should encourage them to use the customised content menu to the right of the Job Brief, rather than ‘leaving them’ to find the content themselves.

Suggested learning pathway

Go straight to the Job Brief and identify which part/s they feel they can do on their own. Guide them to relevant sections of the Case Study for any part/s for which they need support and/or learning, and to the relevant supporting content.

Low-level experience in bookkeeping, not confident computer user.

Learner behaviour

This learner type will need a high level of guidance and support, at least for the first few tasks they complete.

Suggested learning pathway

Take the learner through a Case Study in detail, explaining how to use the customised content menu provided. Once the case study has been successfully completed, support them as they work through the Job Brief, providing feedback and reassurance along the way. As their confidence grows, and they begin to build up their skills, knowledge and understanding, the level of support and guidance required should be less.

Remember, it is expected that learners have either a Certificate III in Financial Services qualification, or equivalent, and/or relevant industry experience, and therefore should be familiar with the core concepts in A Balancing Act.

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Main screens within the Toolbox

The job brief

Learners who are experienced in bookkeeping should be able to work through the job brief, accessing content and resources only if required.

Figure 18 – Job brief (1) The Job brief tab

When you first arrive at a task, you will be presented with the Job brief screen. The other tabs (Case Study and Networking) can be used to navigate to those sections, which are explained later.

(2) The job brief

This provides the learner with the details of their job, which requires them to process various transactions for the client.

(3) Source documents

In order to complete the transactions in the job brief, the learner will need to access and process a number of source documents such as receipts, invoices and other financial records, as relevant to the job.

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(4) Work to submit

This section of the job brief details exactly what work the learner needs to submit for the task. This work may form part of their evidence towards assessment if you’re using it for that purpose.

Options are provided for both manual and computer-based accounting methods. The answers for the job brief are located in a folder named lecturers_only on the CD-ROM, then a sub-folder called activity_answers.

(5) AdditionalInformation

This section will provide further instruction, as and when necessary.

(6) Customised content

The menu over on the right-hand side of the Job brief contains selected content and resources relevant to the main topic. It’s arranged under headings, as shown. Clicking each heading will drop down a list of the item/s it contains. You then simply click the item title to open it up. The content or resource will open in a ‘grey box’ over the top of the main screen. To close the grey box and return to the main screen you can either click the close button, or click on the main screen.

(7) Topic navigation bar

This blue bar along the top can be used as a short-cut navigation to get to another topic.

(8) Task navigation bar

This blue section contains links to all tasks within the topic, and can be used as a short-cut navigation to get to another task.

(9) Short-cut menu

This drop-down menu provides short-cut navigation to other sections of the Toolbox.

Clicking the arrow will reveal the menu, as shown below. You then simply click a link to go straight to

that section of the Toolbox. These sections are explained in more detail later.

Figure 19 – Short-cut menu (10) Show/hide help

This feature gives on-screen ‘help’ when you move your mouse over the sections and navigation of the page. The help feature is turned off by default – simply click the icon to show the help (this will now change to a blue icon and say ‘Hide Help’. To turn the help feature off, click the icon again.

Figure 20 – Help feature not activated (default setting)

Figure 21 – Help feature activated and ‘help’ text on screen

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The Case study

The case study presents an example sequence of bookkeeping transactions, procedures and processes that mirror those required in the Job brief. It is in essence the ‘content’ with which learners will interact to learn the skills and knowledge required to complete the task in the job brief.

The Case study provides a practice example that learners can complete and check to see if they worked the transactions correctly and successfully. All of the main features and navigation on screen are the same as they were on the Job brief screen, only the main content section changes.

Figure 22 – The Case study screen (1) Scenario and task

This section provides the background information to the case study.

(2) Source documents

This links to the source documents required to complete the case study.

(3) Steps in the job

The case study has been set up into steps, each one of which may have several sub-steps. The first heading (in the grey row) is the main step. The subsequent headings (in the green bars) are the sub-steps. You can click each of the green bars to reveal more information relating to the sub-step – this gives learners the option of just skimming through the steps to familiarise themselves with the process and procedures required for the Job brief, or they can expand each of the sub-steps to go through the case study in detail.

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Each sub-step will remain open once clicked, so the screen can get quite long and you’ll need to scroll down to read it all.

You can also choose to expand or collapse all steps by clicking the plus or minus buttons.

(4) Content and resources

Within some steps, you will find linked content and/or resources for the learner to use. Clicking the link will open up the item.

(5) Progress check

This link will open up a document that enables learners to check their progress in the case study, and confirm that their bookkeeping thus far is correct. The answers are presented in an Excel® spreadsheet, with colour coded tabs along the bottom (see picture below), so students can check all the different sections of the transactions they’re working on. The colour coding is as follows:

Journals - green tabs

Ledgers - blue tabs

Other – purple tabs.

Figure 23 – Coloured tabs along the bottom of the answer key

The Networking tab

To encourage collaborative learning, the Networking section contains a range of additional activities that learners can explore. In some cases, these will require some facilitation on your part, and some initial set-up such as making a discussion board or chat forum available.

Completion of this section is optional, so you should let students know which parts they need to complete and whether the completed work will be assessable.

If you need ideas on web-based collaboration tools you can use, visit the Australian Flexible Learning website and search for collaboration tools or e-learning applications. www.flexiblelearning.net.au

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Figure 24 – Networking screen (1) Scenario

This section provides an interesting bookkeeping scenario as a basis for student research and discussion.

(2) Self reflection topic

The self reflection topic prompts students to reflect on their own bookkeeping practice.

(3) Research topic

This provides research topics which can be explored through networking with fellow students, potential clients and finance industry professionals.

(4) Discussion topic

This section poses questions related to the scenario that can be used as the basis for group discussion. As a facilitator you should work with your students to decide how these discussions should take place.

(5) Activity

This provides students with an opportunity to build on their procedures manual. It may involve the creation of self checklists, procedures and information sheets that can be distributed to clients. Note that these sections may appear in a different order on the various networking pages depending on what is most suitable.

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Accounting Systems

Topic overview

This topic covers the core skills and knowledge related to establishing and maintaining a bookkeeping system on a cash basis, and an accrual basis. It merges two of the biggest units from the FNS40207 qualification, and provides much of the underpinning concepts and understandings that form the foundation of the bookkeeping role, its processes and procedures.

NOTE: This topic has deliberately been placed first in the list of topics on the home page, as it’s

recommended that learners complete these tasks first although of course that’s not mandatory. For learners who already have their Certificate III qualification, and/or have previous industry experience, these are perhaps the only tasks in which they will come across concepts and processes with which they are not familiar.

Alignment to unit/s of competency

FNSBKPG402A: Establish and maintain a cash accounting system

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to establish and maintain a bookkeeping system on a cash basis. This unit is a prerequisite unit to FNSBKPG403A Establish and maintain an accrual accounting system. Various aspects of the Tax Act, Goods and Services Tax (GST) Rulings and other legislation apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

FNSBKPG403A: Establish and maintain an accrual accounting system

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to establish and maintain a bookkeeping system on an accrual basis. Various aspects of the Tax Act, Goods and Services Tax (GST) Rulings and other legislation apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Potential issues

As many of the concepts and processes within these tasks may be new or unfamiliar to learners, you may need to provide more support and guidance through this topic. As the assessor you would make sure the answers are correct, paying special attention to the use of recurring or memorised transactions, and that correct GST codes have been used.

Tasks

This topic contains three tasks (Job briefs)

1. Cash Accounting

2. Accruals

3. Balance Day

and one supporting Case study for each task, with the exception of the ‘Accruals’ task that has two Case studies.

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Payroll

Topic overview

This section covers the establishment and maintenance of the payroll for a small organisation. Topics include setting up of payroll and employee cards, processing payroll, reconciling payroll and paying liabilities.

Alignment to unit/s of competency

FNSBKPG405A: Establish and maintain a payroll system.

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to process payroll from provided data in manual or computerised payroll systems. This unit is related to BSBADM505A Manage payroll and BSBADM308A Process payroll.

Potential issues

Be sure to check:

that correct PAYG rates are used

learners have applied the correct set-up for payroll liabilities and expenses linked accounts

correct pay details.

NOTE: The tax amounts in the answers provided will be different as the tax rate change each year and you will need to keep your answer key up to date.

Tasks

This topic contains three tasks (Job briefs)

1. Process Payroll

2. Process Leave

3. End of Quarter

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Assets & inventory

Topic overview

This topic covers the establishment and maintenance of asset and inventory systems.

Topics include buying and selling an asset, trading an asset, and setting up and maintaining an inventory system.

Alignment to unit/s of competency

FNSACCT406B: Maintain asset and inventory records

This unit describes those functions associated with the maintenance of records for fixed assets and inventory.

Potential issues

You’ll need to keep an eye on the following.

Correct calculations for the depreciation as per the asset cards. Make sure item invoices have been used for purchases and sales.

Note: The cost of inventory may not match the answer key; this could be due to a transaction being deleted or rounding.

Tasks

This topic contains three tasks (Job briefs) 1. Buy and Sell

2. Trade 3. Inventory

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Reports

Topic overview

This section covers the preparation and presentation of final reports. Topics include calculating and recording of accruals, prepaids, depreciation and cost of goods.

Alignment to unit/s of competency

This topic doesn’t specifically map to an individual Unit of Competency, it supports a range of skills and knowledge that are required within a number of the Units, as most of them contain a competency related to reporting. number of competencies from different unit describes those functions associated with the maintenance of records for fixed assets and inventory.

You can check the mapping matrix for a more detailed breakdown of how these tasks align to the Unit/s.

Potential issues

You’ll need to keep an eye on the following.

Correct depreciation rates have been used as per asset cards. No GST on prepayments.

Correct calculations for the depreciation as per the asset cards.

Tasks

This topic contains three tasks (Job briefs) 1. Adjustments

2. Closing ledgers 3. Final reports

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Financial statements

Topic overview

This section covers the preparation of financial statements. Topics include not-for-profit organisations and changes in partnership arrangements.

Alignment to unit/s of competency

FNSACCT405B: Prepare financial statements

This unit covers the competency to identify skills and outcomes associated with the development of financial reports.

Potential issues

Students need to be aware that these are different business structures and are accounted for in a specific way.

For the non-profit organisation:

check the sales figure in the Debtors Control includes GST and the sales figure in the income statement does not included GST

correct depreciation rates have been used as per asset cards no GST on prepayments

correct calculations for the depreciation as per the asset cards.

Tasks

This topic contains three tasks (Job briefs) 1. Single entry

2. Not for profit 3. Partnerships

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BAS & Instalments

Topic overview

This section covers the preparation and lodgement of Business Activity Statements. Topics include compliance requirements, coding of transactions and reconciliation.

Alignment to unit/s of competency

FNSBKPG404A: Carry out business activity and instalment activity statement tasks

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to carry out tasks related to Business Activity Statements (BAS) and Instalment Activity Statements (IAS), including the completion of Activity Statements. Various aspects of the Tax Act, Goods and Services Tax (GST) Rulings and other legislation apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Potential issues

PAYG will be different

Make sure income and expenses are in the same accounting period. Check on current legislation re GST and dates.

Check correct tax codes have been used

Tasks

This topic contains three tasks (Job briefs) 1. Compliance

2. Verify data 3. Lodge BAS

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Toolbox contact details: Flexible Learning Toolbox Help Desk

Phone: 1300 736 710

Email: toolboxhelp@flexiblelearning.net.au

Website: flexiblelearning.net.au/toolbox

For more information contact: Australian Flexible Learning Framework

Phone: 07 3307 4700 Fax: 07 3259 4371 Email: enquiries@flexiblelearning.net.au Website: flexiblelearning.net.au GPO Box 1326 Brisbane, QLD 4001

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