Most small business owners I know are either already using or considering using accounting software to make their lives easier. And with several options available on the market, I wanted to blog about why I think Xero cloud-based accounting software is the best choice for any small business serious about growth – just to be clear, I’m not affiliated with Xero and have no incentive to recommend it other than I’m a big fan of what it can do for your business.
1. Xero’s features save you time
We’ll start with the extra time it’ll create for you – something I suspect is on every small business owner’s wish list. Xero is built on a true double-entry accounting framework and so is robust enough to let you track and manage sales, purchases, and inventory items – saving you time by increasing compliance and reducing the need for painstaking manual data entry. With Xero, you can connect to bank accounts online and reconcile them on the go using a simple matching system. It imports and categorises your latest banking, credit card and PayPal transactions and finds matches between accounting entries and bank transactions, so you spend less time on manual tallying. And where there’s no obvious link, you can simply create a rule telling Xero how to recognise and process these transactions in the future. Impressive, eh?
2. Xero speeds up your cashflow
Xero’s online sales transactions allow real-time communication and data sharing between you and your customers. The beauty of this is you can create records for your customers, suppliers, employees, and any other items you want, and then use them in invoices, purchase orders and quotes. Xero helps you get paid faster because it allows you to create and send professional quotes and recurring invoices and then receive updates when they’re opened. It even takes care of handling personal expenses. And you can manage accounts payable by scheduling payments and batch paying suppliers. You’ll find it’s full of fantastic features – and they’re adding more all the time.
3. Xero is so easy to use
I love how intuitive Xero is to use and how beautifully it presents you with the information you need. Let’s be honest, understanding and managing business accounts is rarely a straightforward exercise, so it’s impressive how easy Xero’s main dashboard makes it to see what’s going on with your finances, graphically summarising what’s coming in, what’s overdue and who your biggest debtors are. You’ll also find different views of your financial data, should you want them, and almost everything on the dashboard links off to more detail. For me, ease of use is a huge plus point for Xero.
4. Manage your business on the go
One of the key advantages of cloud-based accounting is you’re not tied to a single PC, but instead free to run your business on the go, any time, any place, anywhere. You access Xero through a web browser and as it supports unlimited users, you and your entire team can log on all at the same time, and from different locations. You can assign each user their own access and permissions. There’s even a mobile app for Android or iOS devices, so you can reconcile, send invoices, create expense claims and view reports on the go. And any concerns you might have about sharing financial data to the cloud should be set aside by the extensive security systems Xero has in place. If you must know, Xero software is developed using Microsoft’s .NET development environment over resilient SQL server databases, on a Windows application server infrastructure, with production servers and firewalls at 24/7/365 guarded facilities. You’re in very safe hands.
5. Xero is straightforward to set-up
Whichever of Xero’s three packages you choose, it’s easy to get started. If you’re unfamiliar with the essentials of bookkeeping you might want to read up on a few of the basics, but otherwise you only need to provide Xero with your business details, choose a chart of accounts, and add any bank accounts you’ll be using. If Xero is your first accounting software, I suggest you let the site’s excellent Setup Guide outline everything you need before it walks you through the process, with individual help pages for each step. Existing accounting software users will find Xero’s direct-conversion tool makes it easy to import records, transactions and other data across. You’ll be ready to go in no time.
6. You’ll always well supported
As well as the site’s brilliant online documentation that provides step-by-step instructions for every one of Xero’s features, there’s a global network of community focused and expert advisors available to support you 24/7. Adding new features each month, Xero has also grown quickly over the last few years in terms of usability and advisor network. And it continues to innovate at an unprecedented pace so it’s not difficult to see why it’s established itself as the emerging global leader of online accounting software. Xero is the way to go.
7. Xero’s insight is invaluable for growth
I’ve saved my personal favourite for last – and that’s the fact that Xero provides a complete ‘in-the-moment’ picture of your business. I’ve yet to work with a small business that wasn’t highly sensitive to shifts in balance sheet and cashflow, and so the ability to monitor financial performance in real-time and plan ahead is crucial. What’s more, as your accountant and business advisor, I can analyse this data and apply the latest thinking and benchmarking tools to unlock the growth opportunities that are unique to your business. Why not talk to me about how I can help your business reach its full potential?