YOU’VE BEEN USING YOUR ACCCOUNTING SOFTWARE FOR YEARS BUT IS IT NOW STILL THE BEST OPTION FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

When we are out networking or meeting other business owners and they ask what we do ‘ we say we are bookkeepers and Xero trainers’ and so often we get the response ‘ah – that’s interesting I’ve heard about Xero and I have been wondering if it’s something we should be looking at as we have used a software for years that is costing us a lot of money or maybe isn’t as efficient as it could be for us’.  

So I thought this may be a topic worthy of a blog as it is really interesting that business owners often have a strong awareness of other options out there and are reflecting on whether their bookkeeping processes are now current, up to date and taking advantage of the latest technology.   

The questions is, will they then be able to find the mind space and time to really consider this for their business and to make the change if it is right for them to do so?

Like anything, there has to be an incentive for us to do anything.  So as business owners, what would we want from changing software?

  • To save costs on software?
  • To be more efficient in our business and save on staff costs or reallocate staff time to other functions?
  • To operate in a more modern way?
  • To be able to integrate our accounting system with other systems we have?
  • To be able to access our financial data from anywhere giving us greater flexibility?
  • To have greater day to day control on our finances?

If these are real desires in your business, then taking some steps to explore and potentially move to another software would make complete sense.

There are lots of great softwares on the market out there and it’s about finding the one which suits you best.  Desktop Sage and Quickbooks softwares really used to be the only options and we often hear business owners say that they are only using a very small proportion of the functionality of those systems.  Xero, Quickbooks Online, Kashflow and Freeagent are probably the most popular cloud based softwares now out there on the market and have great features and really appeal to the small and medium sized business owner.  Depending on what type of software and the package you choose, costs are anywhere between £10 and £30 per month (plus VAT).

The advantages of these type of software are;


  1. USER FRIENDLINESS

We really like how user friendly and these software now are.  The look and feel of the layouts are clear and simple and it is more logical and easy to find your way around.  


  1. ACCESS IS GREAT

With being cloud based softwares, there are the obvious benefits of being able to log in on any phone, tablet or computer and from anywhere.  This means that business owners can be sending out quotes and invoices every day and from anywhere or logging in to get the information they need.  It also means that the accountant, bookkeeper, the business owner and the business owner’s designated staff can also access the software when they need to.


  1. IT’S FLEXIBLE – THEY DON’T TRY TO DO AND BE EVERYTHING 

We come across a lot of businesses with Sage software which is extremely well known and an excellent software. However, what we often see with small and medium sized businesses that we work with, is that only a fraction of the functionality of the Sage is actually being used.

The newer cloud based softwares haven’t tried to complete with Sage and to do everything.  Instead they provide a user friendly software which has all the functionality needed for most businesses and have then partnered with over companies who have software which will interface with them.  Therefore, if a company wants something more sophisticated or tailormade for their industry for particular elements of it’s customer, sales or financial management processes, then they can simply purchase this and link it to the software.  This can save costs and time and improve processes considerably and allows the business to choose and select what it really needs to have streamlined processes in their business.


  1. REPORTING FUNCTIONALITY

Reports are very quick and easy to run within these softwares – occasionally if there is a huge amount of data, it can take a few moments to produce the reports but no more than that.  In other softwares we have used, you have to set reports to run and then walk away and do something else whilst you wait for it.

You can also usually edit report formats and tailor reports without needing a degree in software development which is also a good thing.


  1. SAVES TIME 

There are many aspects of the functionality of these softwares which can save huge amounts of processing time.

For example, the most efficient way to work in Xero is from the reconciliation screen where it will reduce the amount of time needed in matching payments, creating bank payments, creating bank transfers and reconciling.


  1. PAPERLESS

If you have desires to streamline your office processes, reduce paperwork or just be more environmentally friendly, then using a cloud based software will help you do this.  

You can scan receipts, invoices, expenses and bills into your software and, in some softwares, you can also store all of your other financial information e.g. lease agreements, PAYE notifications etc so that you have everything in one place where you, your staff (where relevant), your accountant and your bookkeeper can all access the information they need where and when they need it.

You can get these documents into your software by using one of the software’s own free apps or using other apps which enable you scan your receipts when you are out and about.    Some of these apps will also extract key elements from the documentation for you so that it considerably reduces bookkeeping processing time.  Receiptbank software is a good example of this but there are now many others on the market too.


  1. MORE THAN BOOKKEEPING ……..GREAT FOR HELPING US WITH OUR DAY TO DAY BUSINESS OPERATIONS

Our clients like getting ‘hands on’ with their software to use it in their day to day operations.

Many have great quote functions which are ideal for businesses who quote clients for the work upfront.  This is easy to use and it helps the business owners keep a track of the quotes they have sent out and which have been accepted.    When the quote has been accepted, this can easily be converted into a sales invoices saving more time.  If they are a person who is mobile, then they can create quotes and invoices whilst out on the road or in between jobs.  Our clients that use this have told us that this function has saved them loads of time already.

Credit control is also really easy. You may be able to set up automatic reminders, you can send statements to clients where payments are overdue and you can tailor the communication depending on the stage and lateness of payment.

The bank accounts in your software can be reconciled on a daily or weekly basis – there is no need to wait until the end of a month to do the accounts in one go.  This makes it really easy for the business owners to use it to keep a track of who owes them money, who they owe money to and to monitor what is happening throughout the month rather than waiting until after the end of the month. 


  1. PACE OF CHANGE

The pace of change in these new technologies is quite incredible and is dramatically enabling bookkeeping processes to be much more automated which saves on processing time.  We like the fact that these sofwares are continually enhancing their offering by developing new reports and new functionality to make the system more time efficient and more effective for customers to use.

So, where does this leave you?  Have I encouraged you to think about whether your existing software is still the right software for you?

We are bookkeepers and specialists in Xero software and we support businesses who want to transition from their existing software to Xero and provide training on how to use it effectively for your business.  If you are interested in finding out more or would like to speak on the phone or to meet for a demonstration of Xero to see if it the right software for your business, please get in touch for a no obligation consultation email: lynne@thebookkeepingdepartment.co.uk or Tel: 01462 455455.

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