Is Xero the right cloud accounting software choice for your business?
Are you thinking about moving to Xero? Maybe because you’ve heard everyone talking about it and saying that you should? Or on the strength of a suggestion from your accountant perhaps?
Hold that thought – for the few minutes it will take you to read this article, at least. Because you really need to understand what the key drivers are in determining which cloud accounting software platform is best for your business…
There’s no denying that Xero gets a lot of attention, predominantly because its marketing is so good. (And it’s done a great job of whipping the industry into 21st century ways!) As a result, it’s the default choice for many SME business owners looking to make the switch to a cloud accounting system. And it is a good option, in many instances. But it’s not the only option.
Make the best decision for your business
When professionalising your finance function, the right solutions really can make a massive difference to your business. So it really pays to make a properly considered choice.
Who can you talk to about your needs?
Many local accountants are unlikely to be completely unbiased about the cloud accounting software they recommend you use – because they’ve often got significant skin in the game. Most accountants have opted to align themselves with one of the top providers by becoming a Platinum or Gold partner. This means they can be rewarded for persuading clients to switch to their chosen software provider. Many even manage the monthly subscription for their clients, charging full cost for that service while paying a lot less for it themselves. On top of that, they’ll use the software to automate many of the tasks, but continue to charge traditional rates for the work.
At YRH, we don’t believe it’s right that you relinquish responsibility and control over your financial database to someone outside your own business. So we’ll never manage your subscription for you. Instead, we’ll get you set up on the system of your choice, offer expert training for your staff and help you manage it, if that’s what you’d like. But whatever advice we offer or however we may end up working with you, you’re always in control – and we receive no financial incentives for recommending one platform over another.
We’re happy to help you work through the key considerations and talk through your options (in a friendly, easy-to-understand way) – because we want to be able to help you make the best choice for your particular business and the industry you operate within. You can book a free call with our team.
We’ll give you a totally independent (and highly experienced) perspective on the best solutions for your specific needs, as well as additional insights that you may find affect your eventual decision.
Out of all the clients we work with, about 40% are using Xero, because it’s the best choice for the business. So it’s not actually as ubiquitous as you might have been led to believe. Our sole interest is in helping you identify and implement the best solution for your specific business.
Take the time to carefully consider all the options
The functionality of all the leading cloud accounting software platforms is fundamentally the same. But their interfaces, interactions, ease of use for your staff and suitability for your business will differ. So you need to be able to discuss your options with someone who’s had a good poke around under the bonnet – someone who is able to discern how different features will help or hinder the way you want it to work for you and your team.
The top three cloud accounting software platforms for SMEs are Xero, Sage and QuickBooks. Xero has been very progressive in its approach and continues to lead the way in terms of innovation and an intuitive user experience. Sage and QuickBooks have had to play catch-up, but also have good cloud products now. So to be sure of the best fit for your business, you need to lift the lid a little…
At YRH, we’ve opted to be a gold champion partner, or equivalent, for all three of these leading software providers (and we continue to keep an eye on and explore the smaller players, as well as the bigger systems like Navision, SAP and Netsuite). Because this level of affiliation gives us an inside track on their software development, plus access to expert training and accreditation for each solution – while also ensuring that we can remain independent, so we don’t have to force our clients along one particular cloud accounting software path.
This independence is hugely important to us, because we know that certain software options are more appropriate for some industries than others. Sage, for example, is still better for clients in the construction sector – it’s streets ahead of Xero. On the flipside, we tend to recommend Xero to companies in professional services and e-tailing, because we know it (and the additional apps) works really well for those types of companies.
We also partner with various app providers – because, whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ll also always need a good selection of those to support and streamline your chosen cloud accounting software system.
Jump onto the app marketplace for Xero and you’ll find a dizzying choice of 500-odd related apps. How will you know which ones are right for your business? The simple answer is: speak to us.
Every quarter, we invest in learning about and re-training ourselves on the latest software solutions. When we’re looking at different apps, we need to know how to bolt them together to get the best results for clients like you when it comes to streamlining your day-to-day accounting requirements. So we spend time working out which ones are best for a variety of different needs. What business owner wants to spend their evenings doing that?
Which would you be inclined to choose from these leading app options, for example:
- Receipt Bank or Hubdoc or AutoEntry or Expensify for expense management?
- Workflow Max or Xero Projects for project management (and time tracking)?
- Stripe or PayPal or GoCardless or Opayo for payment handling?
- Vend or Magento or Unleashed for inventory management and sales order processing?
And that’s just a tiny snapshot of all the thousands of apps, automations and integrations available to you… The upshot of all this insight and research and training is that we know what works – and what’s likely to work well for your business (even before we have that all-important initial call).
Whichever cloud accounting software platform we might end up suggesting you use, you can rest assured that our recommendation will always by driven by your business needs – not ours or those of the software provider in question.
It all starts with a simple conversation…
By all means, pick up the phone and talk to us about Xero – but know that we’re not here to sell you on that particular solution. We’re here simply to help you get the most value out of your investment in back office systems.
We’ll actually talk to you about what your needs are, as a business. Because the best place to start is by assessing the current situation. And out of that conversation will come three options:
- Do nothing, because you’re doing it all brilliantly at the moment already.
- Move to Xero, because it will suit you better – and we can help you do that, to maximise the benefits for your specific business.
- Don’t move to Xero, but get more out of the system you’re currently using instead (most businesses only use around 30% of the full functionality of their accounting software).
A system change doesn’t automatically deliver efficiencies and cost-savings
Just changing the accounting software you use doesn’t help you have better systems; switching a subscription doesn’t help streamline the whole finance function. You’ll still need support with updating the way the tasks are all carried out. We know, for example, that most businesses have inefficient ways of managing the day-to-day accounting and use complex spreadsheets for cashflow forecasting and management reporting.
If and when you change your system, your processes will also have to change. So put some work into that – or make it a painless process by asking us to do it for you, for example.
We can help you get switched to a new system and all set up in a day. Where you go after that is entirely up to you.
If you decide you would like to tap into our expertise, we can help you look at what everyone in your finance team is doing, when they’re doing it and how they’re doing it – because those processes will invariably change when the system changes.
We can also help you consider what additional apps or analysis could be useful for you – how you could be using the system to understand profit on different business units, profit by client, etc. There are lots of different ways to enhance the information that’s available to business owners, so you can see where you’re making money and where you don’t make money.
Implementing budgets? We can help with that. We can even build reporting for you in Xero, so you don’t have to put up with the standard report that the software produces by default, where everything comes out in alphabetical order. Did you realise that your reports can be customised to suit your specific requirements? That you can track against multiple budgets, that simple projects can be managed with tracking codes? And all summarised in a custom dashboard so you can see at a glance exactly what you want to see? It’s all possible (when this is what you love to do every day)…
A fantastic opportunity to help you grow your business faster
If you’re considering moving to a cloud accounting software platform, think of it not with a sense of overwhelm but as a fantastic opportunity – something that can help you grow your business faster.
The key is to look at your accounting platform not simply as a depository of bills and bank transactions, but as something that could become a profit centre in itself – because of the value of the information that’s in there.
Your accounting system shouldn’t just be a place where your bookkeeper or your accountant (or your spouse) deposits bits of data and that never see the light of day again – that’s a bit like having an overhead. Instead, make sure that your accounting system is fit for purpose and providing solid foundations for the meaningful business intelligence you’d like to be able to derive from your data.
An appropriately configured cloud accounting software platform will help you look ahead. It will help you see which clients are the most profitable, help you know what margins you’re making – and be the go-to place for your essential business metrics…
So, bearing all that in mind, which platform is the best choice for you and your business?
If you’d like to get the low-down on Xero (or Sage or QuickBooks) and how making the move to cloud accounting could deliver everything you and your team are looking for, get in touch for a free initial chat with our friendly experts. We’d love to help.