Xero arrived from New Zealand a decade ago and has been winning friends ever since. A recent change in leadership looks likely to result in cloud accounting embracing AI and small business finance.
The concept of your accounting software pre-approving you for business finance is an interesting one.
Whilst that prospect is a year or two away we thought we’d give people wondering whether Xero is right for them a rundown based on experience with a few of our current clients/Xero users:
- Contractor · financial services (working with high street banks) · Westbury
- Contractor · financial services with overseas clients · Kingswood
- Professional · management consultancy · Horfield
- Professional · legal services · Clifton
- Design & Manufacture of games · Clifton
- Property · Combe Dingle
Clients working in the services sector love the ability to provide quotes with expiry dates and setting up sales invoices with a ‘pay now’ button enabling fast payment within the invoice by the customer. Customers have the option of asking a question or querying invoices as soon as they are issued to them.
Clients with staff on the move love the ability to add documents as a photo from a phone and add this to transactions with Xero using the ‘Xero Files’ facility. Files can also be clicked and dragged into documents.
All Xero users have their own unique email address for their files stored within Xero and so can transfer documents such as loan/HP Agreements straight into their transactions or into their chart of accounts. Other Xero users such as client’s suppliers can email invoices and statements using the Xero email and it will be stored direct within the platform. No more hunting around through emails or electronic folders.
As small business advisers, we’ve come to expect bank feeds and reporting to come as standard from online platforms but Xero offers complete flexibility across the board from setting up templates for regular reporting, inventory records, tracking facilities, CIS reporting and the new project modules.
Time saving elements
- Bank feed pulls data in each day – Xero is intuitive and suggests postings of entries based on previous transactions. Bank rules are great here to take away the posting of volume/regular items.
- The dashboard has everything you need to know about your business in one place and can be customised to suit. You can add the accounts you want to “watch” such as dividends or director loan account balances so these are easily visible to the user without having to run separate reports.
Xero – costs
- Entry level of £10 plus VAT for 5 invoices per month will work for freelancers/contractors and includes the ability to prepare and file VAT returns within the platform
- Basic version allows unlimited quotes/bill/invoices and bank transactions and so suits many growing companies and is priced at £22 plus VAT per month
- if your business does business in multiple currencies you’ll be looking at the Premium £27.50 plus VAT a month
The basic option works for most companies.
Xero – security
We suggest people make use of the 2-step authentication option.
Xero is GDPR compliant.
Switching to Xero
Xero has a vast range of resources to facilitate a smooth switch including dedicated teams to assist with full migration of data from Sage and Quickbooks and a series of templates to import customer and supplier contacts and chart of accounts.
If you are looking to switch from another platform, please get in touch and we can discuss a migration plan with you.
Setting up Xero from Scratch
If this is the first time you have used an online platform, we will spend time with you to discuss how you would like Xero set up including the chart of accounts most applicable to your type of business and what accounts you’d like added onto the watch list on the dashboard. We can also set up tracking if you have different locations you wish to track.
If you have lists of contacts and account codes, we will be able to import these into Xero for you.
An Accountants View of Xero
We love the document sharing functions – importing files and photos mean all of the back-up documents are already within the system, ready for us to review as soon as we need it.
Bank rules save a huge amount of time meaning we can spend more time on reporting.
Where entries need to be re-posted, Xero has a great ‘find and recode’ option enables a quick review of entries and re-posting in bulk.
Lock dates ensure that data filed is protected from accidental input.
Any drawbacks? We simply can’t think of any! This is a great secure tool which is continually being enhanced to support businesses grow and understand their finances.
Alternatives to Xero
One size does not fit all – whilst some practices concentrate on just one platform, we offer clients the choice. As well as being an accredited partner with Xero, we also work with:
If you’re evaluating accounting software please get in touch – the chances are we’ve got experience that will be useful to you.