Our Favorite Apps: Xero
We're starting a new feature, here on the blog, covering some of the systems and add-ons that we use and love at Optimal Ascent. We'll talk more in-depth about a particular software, who it would work best for, and key features of the product.
To start off with, we thought we'd talk about Xero, the cloud-based accounting software that we recommend to all our clients. Xero serves as the hub, and foundation, of the business system, with data flowing in and out of it.
If you've never heard of Xero, check out this quick overview video:
What is Xero?
Xero is an online accounting software, designed with efficiency, automation and a nice user interface in mind. It's intuitive, so even if you aren't familiar with the system (or accounting), you can poke around for a few minutes and pretty much find what you're looking for. It operates in the cloud, so there's no software to install and you (and an unlimited number of users on your team) can access the system from anywhere, anytime, on any device.
All processes in Xero are designed with automation in mind. For example, you can set options to automatically send invoices to clients on a set schedule, automatically collect payments, set up rules to automatically categorize transactions every time they come in. On a transaction basis, when items come in through the bank feeds (which automatically pull data from your banks and credit cards), Xero's internal search looks for transactions that are already entered to try to match the transaction, so you can just click "OK" to reconcile the transaction instead of spending time searching and trying to match it.
If you utilize the mobile app, you can take photos of receipts as you are spending the money, create the transaction right from your phone, which will upload the photo of the receipt to that transaction, and match it to the payment when it comes in from the credit card company bank feed.
The real strength of Xero, though, is it's ability to "hook-up" to other software, or "add-ons." Xero can integrate with as many add-ons as you want, and the data will flow seamlessly through all the systems - no more duplicate entry or exporting/importing to try to understand what's happening in your system. Making Xero the hub of the business means that you can actually get real-time data to be able to make good decisions.
Here's an example of how this might work:
Our company, called Cool Stuff, is a retail brick-and-mortar based business, getting ready to open and they want to make sure that when they do, they are as efficient as possible. So... they want to make sure all their systems talk to each other, and they are going to use Xero as their accounting system, so it can function as their "hub."
They pick VendHQ as their point-of-sale system, and integrate it with Xero. They ring up all their sales, run real-time sales data, manage their inventory, etc. in VendHQ. At the end of each day, when they close their register, sales and cost of goods sold are automatically sent to Xero, along with the payment methods, which are automatically matched to the incoming credit card payments from the credit card processor. No need to enter sales data, or to work to reconcile credit card payments, Xero does it all automatically.
Just the beginning
We've only covered a very brief overview of the basics here, so look for up-coming features where we'll dive deeper into some features & tips. Also, if you're interested in trying Xero, give us a shout and we'll get you set up with a free trial to check it out!