Rental Workbook FY2018 Tax Year Update – FREE DOWNLOAD for current subscribers

Now that everyone is pressing on with the new financial year, don’t forget to download and process your FREE update to your Rental Workbook so that it has the latest tax year updates.

Excel 2016 (Office 365), Excel 2010 and Excel 2013

How to identify – this version has a BLUE user interface

If you have not yet updated your Rental Workbook for the current tax year, you can visit this link from the URL:

Important: After downloading your new file, EXTRACT it from the zip folder and place in EXACTLY the same folder as your old one, and from that point onward use the new file instead of the old one. Tip: Do not open or run it from the zip file, it simply will not work and you will see errors as the zip folder is only a temporary location and not the same folder as your other file. Look for your database file if you are not sure – it will be named rentalworkbook.mdb

You must Enable Editing at the Protected View message, and Enable Content at the Security message, otherwise the new file will not update your file.

NOTE: This is not a renewal reminder – to check when your licence expires, click on the View Licence Details button. If you need to renew, use this link:

Excel 2003 & 2007 (and some copies of Excel for Mac)

As such, we purely make renewal amendments and tax year changes; but no longer make enhancements to this version and is no longer available for sale.

How to identify – this version has a GREEN user interface and uses only ONE file – it is not linked to a database.

If you have not yet updated your Rental Workbook for the current tax year, visit this link to get the FREE download:
If you need to renew your v12 RW, then please use this link: To order your Renewal for version 12, visit this link:

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Tax Time Financial Year End June 2017

It’s that time of year again, and we are busy creating our tax update for you.

Among all of the bits & pieces that the government has updated, is a change to some things we can or can’t claim with our investment properties.

As from July 2017, travel is no longer permitted as a valid expense for your investment properties.

There are many articles one the web about this – I came across this one from KPMG which helped to sum it all up really well.

As always, we would advise you to refer to your accountant with regard to specific queries.


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Upgrade or Renew?

A common question asked at this time of year, is whether to Upgrade the Rental Workbook, or to Renew.

 The upgrade is completely separate to the renewal.

Your renewal may be due at any time during the year – it is the anniversary of the date you originally bought the RW – It has no relationship with the date of the tax year upgrade.

The tax year Upgrade WILL NOT edit your renewal date, it merely replaces the relevant tax related information with the most current data to ensure your RW is in line with the current ATO requirements.


The upgrade file is FREE to all current subscribers, and is made available early in the July of each tax year.
If you are using the RW, but your licence has expired, you will need to first purchase the Renewal subscription and then download the tax year upgrade.


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Enable Macros / Protected View

In Office, to open any files that contain Macros, you will need to make sure that your Excel settings are not too strict, as the Rental Workbook will not open correctly otherwise.

Rather than Enabling All Content (Not recommended), we suggest that you add the folder where you store your Rental Workbook to a Trusted Location – for example My Documents > Rental Workbook.

Microsoft regularly makes updates to its programs, and Office is no exception, however this link will take you to Trusted Locations – Microsoft

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An error has occurred within WritePropertyToDb

We often see this type of query – please refer to the screen shot below

if you see n particular, you have possibly tried to use the program from “inside” the zip folder, as it is only looking in a temporary location. See that it says “Temp” as part of the location address?

Any file within this type of folder will not open properly.
You need to extract the files elsewhere – e.g. into My Documents and open directly from there, do not open from the compressed/zipped files.
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Common Issues and Solutions

Since we upgraded to the Excel plus Database file solution back in 2014, there have been a few common queries, most of which are easily solved.

The new system is based around TWO files.

RentalWorkbook VersionNumber.xslm  – This is the Main Excel file.  It does not contain any data, but it is linked to the database file (explained below)

RentalWorkbook.mdb  – This is the relational database containing all your properties and data. You don’t open this file, however it MUST be saved in the same folder as your Rental Workbook Excel file.  Do not rename this file as the Excel file needs to refer to it. Please ensure this file is backed up as part of your normal backup process.

Running problems:

Initially, the biggest issue is that the mdb file has not been put into the same folder as the Excel file, or has been renamed – please refer to the note above about the two files.

When you receive the files, they are “Zipped” – this is because the purchase program lets you download a single file, not two or more separate files. Please ensure that you UnZip and put the files in the same folder as one another.  Do not run anything from within the Zip program itself – the database will not be able to be found by the Rental Workbook file as the Zip program will store this in a Temporary location only. This also applies to any file opened from an email and not just Rental Workbook – we recommend that you always save the document somewhere else rather than opening from an email – files opened in this way are always read-only and only stored in your computers’ temporary location.

As small number of users are having problems with Windows 8 and or Excel 2013.  According to Microsoft, any such issues should be resolved by making sure that all the latest Service Packs and Updates are installed. We test on fully updated software at all times.

We create and test the Rental Workbook on a very stable system of Windows 7 and Office 2010, however tests on Windows 10 (home version) with Office 365 work as normal too.

NOTE: If you have the 64 bit version of Office (This is a business version), you will find that a lot of issues will be resolved if you replace it with the 32 bit version.  This is the default install and does not have the same system problems as the 64 bit install.

NOTE: Windows is not Office – Windows 7 is the operating system, and is built as a 64 bit system, whereas Microsoft Office program suite (with Outlook, Word, Excel etc) is by default installed as 32 bit. You may find the Office program files stored in a folder named with “x86″ – this is the 32 bit version of Office, and is normal and works just fine.


Enable Macros / Protected View:

In Office, to open any files that contain Macros, you will need to make sure that your Excel settings are not too strict, as the Rental Workbook will not open correctly.

Rather than Enabling All Content (Not recommended), we suggest that you add the folder where you store your Rental Workbook to a Trusted Location.

Microsoft regularly makes updates to its programs, and Office is no exception, however this link will take you to Trusted Locations – Microsoft


Moving Between Properties:

Jumping between properties is done by using the Retrieve Property button. Choose the property, and the tax year you need to edit and then click OK. If you do not choose a tax year, you will see an error message.  That message simply means you haven’t chosen a tax year before clicking OK to the open dialog box.

As the Rental Workbook allows you to keep and refer to many tax years, you always need to know which tax year you are editing.

You can stop accidentally editing old tax year data by using the Close Tax Year feature, however this is not compulsory. If you have closed a tax year, you will not be able to use that year for ANY of your properties.

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Upgrade or Renewal Tax Year 2014 and onwards

Version 14 is now available, ready for Tax Year 2014 (July 2013 to June 2014) – Yes we missed out 13… because we created a MAJOR upgrade involving a new database and separate Excel file – this means you will only need to use a new Excel file each year – no need to keep finding your old files, as long as you save in the same place.

Want to know more? If you’re an existing user, refer to your UPGRADE email.  If you did not receive the email, we may not have your up to date details, please complete the contact us form to ask for your Upgrade link.

Firstly, load BOTH files to the same folder that you intent to use.

The Rental Workbook is compiled of TWO files that work with one another.

The Excel file is the one that you use, and will need to work in unprotected view and enable macros for according to the screen shots below.

The other document is very important, as it is a database file containing all of your property information.

For backup and safety purposes, we recommend using an online duplicate storage option such as Dropbox, where you can store information both online and on your computer at the same time.

If you have any questions, please check through this manual and the FAQ’, or visit our blog at

  1. Open Microsoft Excel.
  2. When you first open Rental Workbook, you should see a security warning.
  • Click on the Options button – a Security Alert – Macro window will display.
  • Select Enable this content.
  • Click OK.

(Excel 2010 and 2013) A Protected View message will appear – choose Enable Content

(Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013) A security warning message will appear as before; select Options and Enable this content.

To ensure that the Rental Workbook continues to work correctly, ONLY use the Rental Workbook Ribbon

So remember, Protected View – always Enable Editing / Enable Content

Please refer fully to your user guide, as screen shots are included for all relevant Excel versions.


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Office 2013 or not 2013

So where was I? … Ah yes, last year seems so very far away, however I had to set work aside to look after family – all now good, and Excel can have its day again!

Recently, we’ve had a lot of users buy themselves new computers, loaded with Office 2013 – they’ve had a few questions, and some are Rental Workbook users who’ve had some troubles.

So do I like it?

The short answer at the moment, is no.

Microsoft have done their usual – release a product that hasn’t been fully tested.  At the moment, I can see its possibilities, but I can also see its faults.

From experience, trying to run the Rental Workbook fails miserably – why, you might ask? I wondered the same thing… so I found out from Microsoft that when you have a program that checks protection, Excel now has a new algorithm that takes a minute to run. Microsoft assures us that it’s for our own protection, but unfortunately  when you have a product that is protected (with a password, just like the Rental Workbook) it means that when you change from one sheet to the next, it takes a minute to change – which in turn, causes the user to think that Excel has crashed. Especially when you press Save, and it’s checking each of the 16 pages!

Luckily for us, we’ve been working on a different model and have released a RW that will work with Office 2013 (see our Rental Workbook page).

Anyway, what else about it?

Massive sheet tabs – For so long, I’ve used Excel with a multitude of sheet tabs – often over 12, so now Office 2013 is tablet-user ready, you can only see four tabs in the same space. Great if you’re going to click with a finger, but not so great if you’re still using a mouse…

Office 2013 also assumes you work in the cloud, and some of us do, however I don’t like the fact I have to click open 3 times to get a file just because it’s not saved in the cloud belonging to Microsoft… My personal cloud storage is with Dropbox – brilliantly sorted out so that it automatically uploads my phone photos, I can use it just like a normal storage folder from my computer, yet it’s storing ‘onine’ – in the cloud. yet… when I try to use it from Office 2013 it becomes a chore.  Whilst I understand the marketing issue behind getting users to use Microsoft’s own cloud (SkyDrive – a great at the moment ‘free’ product in itself, I’m not saying Microsoft’s online storage is bad), it really doesn’t help people who already store their information elsewhere.

Perhaps when Microsoft have fixed the protection issues, it might be worth upgrading, until then, I’d recommend using Office 2010, it’s a fantastic, stable product that works brilliantly.  After searching online, you can till buy the full version for only $109, so that’s considerably cheaper than an upgrade to 2013 (around $500).


Edit: Since the automatic updates, Office 2013 has become much more stable, and some of the new quick analysis features are really exciting.

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Getting Complex with Dates – Part 2

Having dealt with normal date calculation, and then working days, it’s time to look at some of the other date functions that are often used.

This week, we’ll look at Weekday.  Here’s a scenario: If you want to check some dates to see if any of them are Sundays, you could simply type them all in and change the formatting.  If however, you’d like that list of dates to be changed, and have another cell highlight if a date falls on a Sunday, then you need to use a function.

Use this example: Type the date 1st January for each year from 2010 to 2015 in a row on a spreadsheet, going from A1 to E1.  If you like, to prove the days of the week, format the dates as Long Date style, which shows the day of the week as well.

What you will see, is that 1st Jan in 2011 fell on a Saturday, and in 2012 it was a Sunday.

To work out the date that should be the Public holiday, if it’s a Saturday we need to add 2 to the date, and if a Sunday, then add 1.

IF functions will be looked at in another post, but we’ll use one in this example as a final result.

We will first use the WEEKDAY function to find out the number which represents Saturday or Sunday.

The syntax for WEEKDAY is: =WEEKDAY(Serial_Number,Return_Type)
where Serial Number is the stored number for the date (remember we talked about dates having values, so today (19th December 2012) has the value of 41,262
and Return_Type represents what day of the week you think of as the beginning – we’ll use Monday as the start day, so we will type in a 2 here (Sunday start is 1, Monday start is 2).  This means that if the number returned is a 6 or a 7, then it’s a Saturday or Sunday.

In cell A2, type the following:  =WEEKDAY(A1,2) then press ENTER

You should see the result of 5, as 1st Jan 2010 was a Friday.

Copy this function across to E2, and you will see the numbers representing the other dates.

To find a simple answer to the scenario, type the following into cell A3: =IF(A2=6,A1+2,IF(A2=7,A1+1,A1))

This is going to put a date number into cell A3, if the result from A2 is a 6, then the date number has 2 added, and if the result in A2 is a 7 then 1 is added to the date number.

Copy this function from A3 over to E3.  You will see a series of numbers – simply format then the same as A1 to E1, with Long Date.

You will see a list of dates, which have adjusted to the following Monday’s date compared to the top row, if the start date had been over a weekend.

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Getting Complex with Dates

After last week’s note about dates, a few people asked me about different ways to deal with dates and calculations.

Excel has a variety of different functions to use, and the most commonly used is NETWORKDAYS.  The syntax for the function is =NETWORKDAYS(start_date, end_date, holidays) where Start date is the “oldest date”, End Date is the “newest” date, and Holidays are dates to exclude.

This function works out a number of working days between two dates, assuming that Saturdays & Sundays are not working days.  any dates referred to as holidays are also excluded.

To work out how many working days there are until Christmas day, you would use, for example: =NETWORKDAYS(“12/12/2012″,”25/12/2012″,”25/12/2012″) The last argument showing that, of course, Christmas day itself is a public holiday.

In the newer versions of Excel, there is also a new function NETWORKDAYS.INTL, which has an added argument Weekend – the syntax being =NETWORKDAYS.INTL(start_date, end_date, weekend, holidays) . The Weekend element allows you to choose which days of the week are to be used as weekends – refer to the following table to decide:

1 or omitted Saturday, Sunday
2 Sunday, Monday
3 Monday, Tuesday
4 Tuesday, Wednesday
5 Wednesday, Thursday
6 Thursday, Friday
7 Friday, Saturday
11 Sunday only
12 Monday only
13 Tuesday only
14 Wednesday only
15 Thursday only
16 Friday only
17 Saturday only

So, if you run a hotel and have Mondays & Tuesdays as weekends in place of the traditional Saturday & Sunday, you would use the function like this: =NETWORKDAYS.INTL(“12/12/2012″,”25/12/2012″,3,”25/12/2012″)

Note: It is easier to use cell references than to type the dates into the function, but if you do type in the dates, you MUST use the inverted commas: “12/12/2012″ as Excel would othersiwe try to calclate 12 divide by 12, divided by 2012 – which calculates are 0.000497!

More on Dates next week…


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