Choosing the right bookkeeping software can be a daunting task. Here’s some of the reasons that as bookkeepers we picked Xero
Before I start, I should explain that as a bookkeeping practice we have used many different bookkeeping software before we made the decision to specialise in Xero software for bookkeeping. So these opinions are based on practical experience and also the feedback we get from our clients.
I should also acknowledge that that Xero is not perfect and that there are always things with any software that you would like to work differently or where you would like to see additional features provided. Xero may also not be for everyone. This blog is not really about that – it’s just a glimpse into how we saw things when we decided to nail our colours to the Xero mast and why we think it’s one of the best softwares out there.
So, if you are reading this, I’m imagining that you are probably a business or bookkeeping practice that is currently using another software and are currently thinking about or even exploring the options of other softwares you will of course want to look at a range of softwares before making your choice but I hope this blog will give you some helpful insights into Xero. We also provide free webinars where we give a demonstration of the system and how it can be used in your business which you may also want to login to and to see it first hand (more details on this later).
- USER FRIENDLINESS
We really like how user friendly and easy to navigate Xero is. The look and feel of the layout is clear and simple and it is logical and easy to find your way around. It also has great search facilities on almost every screen enabling you to work quickly and efficiently and to problem solve.
- ACCESS IS GREAT
With it being a cloud based software, there are the obvious benefits of being able to log in on any phone, tablet or computer and from anywhere. This means that the 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 Xero when they need to.
With Xero, there are unlimited users for the subscription fee and it is easy to give people different levels of access depending on the job they do. As a bookkeeping practice, we can go into our Xero practice and simply add staff to the relevant clients in one go. By comparison, we find that some of the other softwares have made this much more complex and then there are then problems with people accessing the information that they need.
One of the other features related to access which we really like is the 2 step authentication login process. This means that as well as putting in your user name and password, you have an authentication app on your phone which is required in order to login to your Xero. We require all our staff to use this and also recommend that our clients do to0. We can view in Xero whether or not someone has this set up and remind them if they haven’t done so.
- IT’S FLEXIBLE – XERO DOESN’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.
Xero haven’t tried to complete with Sage and to do everything. Instead Xero have provided an excellent and user friendly software which works for most businesses and have then partnered with over 600 add on partners who have software which will interface with Xero and so 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 Xero. 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.
- REPORTING FUNCTIONALITY
Reports are very quick and easy to run within Xero – occasionally if there is a huge amount of data, it can take a few moments to produce the reports but no more than that. Other softwares we have used you have to set to run and then walk away and do something else whilst you wait for it.
In Xero, you can also edit report formats and tailor reports without needing a degree in software development which is also a good thing.
- SAVES TIME
There are many aspects of the functionality of Xero to like and too many to mention. However, 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.
This process relies on having either an imported bank statement or the bank feed in place to make this process quick and easy (as long as you know what you are doing and careful with what you reconcile of course).
- MORE THAN BOOKKEEPING ……..GREAT FOR HELPING US WITH OUR DAY TO DAY BUSINESS OPERATIONS
Our clients like getting ‘hands on’ with Xero to use in their day to day operations.
It has a great quote function which is 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 using Xero. You can 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.
Xero 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.
- CONTINUALLY IMPROVING
We like the fact that Xero 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.
We have the opportunity to feedback on what we need additionally from Xero, sometimes to participate in testing and to benefit from the new features. As a company, it feels like they are continually trying to improve the customer experience and to be at the forefront of bookkeeping software development.
In summary ………………….
So, if you are thinking about using Xero, I hope this is of help to you.