We’ve used Xero since 2010 and we’re still in the honeymoon period. Much like a new romance, we love it and talk about it more than we probably should but unlike a new romance, our friends aren’t getting bored of hearing about it.
There’s no doubt it provides huge benefits for us as accountants when helping our clients but it benefits us as a small business too.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
When we started Raedan my main drive was to harness technology in accounting. Given the advances in technology in that time it feels odd to write this but I was looking for a solution for paperless working paper files (for non-accountants that means removing the need to print all our accounting schedules and store them in filing cabinets for 6 years).
So, I started, on Google naturally, looking for accounting software. Somewhere in my search I stumbled on Xero and immediately loved the message they were telling, that it didn’t look like accounting software and that I could integrate it with other software…not made by Xero. I’d never heard of the cloud, I’d never heard of Xero but this was so much more than I’d been looking for, it was paperless, it didn’t matter what hardware I had and it allowed me to work from anywhere.
For us Xero is the best choice for any modern creative business but the first client we put on Xero was actually an established (15 years old) group of companies who’d been using MYOB for as long as they could remember. They were a brand new client for our brand new practice and in one of my first meetings with them, I turned up and told the Directors that they needed to change accounting system and that no, I hadn’t used it before
Fortunately for me, as they were a tech focused business, they didn’t ask me to leave but saw the obvious advantages. We switched straight away, setup the HSBC bank feeds and haven’t looked back.
In September they will have been on Xero for 6 years. [Update – in September 2018 we’ll be celebrating 8 years!]
WHY WE ARE STILL EXCITED ABOUT IT
IT’S LIVE DATA
As a business owner it helps me keep on top of our finances, bank feeds provide such a real time view I go to Xero before going to my online banking app.
IT HELPS US MANAGE CASH
The ability to send out invoices straight from Xero combined with daily bank feeds greatly improves cash flow. We can also pull in add-ons like Chaser [Update we now use Fluidly ] and GoCardless to automate payments and chase overdue invoices.
IT HELPS US SEE OPPORTUNITIES
We’re a growing business and as such we need to make sure we make key decisions, like recruitment, at the right time. Having current information in Xero and using add-ons like CrunchBoards [Update – now FUTRLI], help us understand performance and get those decisions right.
At Xerocon 2016 we were shown a great stat. It’s long been known that most startups fail in the first five years (41% survive), however, in the UK, a huge 88% of startups that used Xero survived over the same period, no doubt due to being able to make better decisions and recover cash more readily.
IT KEEPS IMPROVING
Every week we see updates, tweaks and new functionality that makes running our business that bit easier. Whether it saves a little more time or provides a better insight, the product is constantly evolving.
IT MAKES US LOOK GOOD
Our clients love Xero too and they tell us all the time.
When talking to potential clients, many state one of their biggest frustrations as a lack of visibility and therefore often a lack of understanding of their accounts. They send information off to their accountant and sometime later are told to pay some tax. No wonder people think accounting is boring!
Xero completely changes that model. We get to have more interesting conversations with clients and that leads to greater growth of their businesses.
Clients thank us every day for taking away data entry, piles of paper and most importantly, uncertainty.
IT MAKES OUR JOBS EASIER
Adding my first bank feed to Xero blew my mind, no more typing up lines of data, no more typos to hunt down when the bank doesn’t reconcile. Spending less time finding errors means more time to understand what the data means.
For clients, Xero’s Sales Invoicing system means they can email out invoices straight from the software. No need to print off copies for us, we already have it in Xero!
Add-ons like Receipt Bank (which we strongly recommend alongside Xero) can then take away the pile of receipts they used to accumulate in bags and shoeboxes and provides data to us in real time.
IT GROWS WITH OUR BUSINESS
There’s a huge add-on marketplace for Xero, far bigger than any of the other cloud accounting solutions can offer. With Xero at the core of our business we can plugin additional software as we need it and Xero will play nicely when we do.
Look out for our blog post on our favourite Xero add-ons coming soon.
SO, WHY SHOULD YOU USE XERO?
We’ve used Xero to grow our business and our client’s businesses but growth isn’t just about finding more clients and winning more pitches.
Growing a business requires you to understand your business. Understanding which clients and which types of work are most profitable. Understanding how to manage cash and the importance of it.
All the things we love about Xero, will help you achieve that understanding.
WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES?
Well, there is a subscription fee, chances are if you’re using a spreadsheet at the moment or just posting records to your accountant you don’t see a cost involved.
You’d be wrong though.
You might be spending anything from 30 minutes to a full weekend doing it yourself or collating papers to send to someone else. In that time most creatives we work with could have earned more than £22 (the fee for the Standard Xero subscription). In that time, you could be gaining an understanding of what all those bits of paper tell you about your business and how to succeed rather than just stuffing them in envelopes and getting paper cuts.
So if you’re not on Xero yet, get in touch and we’ll show you how it can improve your understanding of your business.