How to Use Xero Accounting Software: A Small Business Guide

How to Use Xero Accounting Software: A Small Business Guide
  • It's no secret that cloud-accounting software has been a game-changer for small business accounting and bookkeeping, and Xero is a key player in the field.
  • But what is Xero accounting software and how is it dramatically changing the world of bookkeeping for small businesses?
  • In this Quick Guide to Xero, we look at the benefits, how to use it and the key features that can help you streamline your record keeping.

Have you heard of Xero – a cloud-based small business accounting software?

Founded in 2006, this program has been revolutionising the bookkeeping world by storm and 400,000 worldwide users are reaping the benefits! Xero made it to the top 2014’s Innovative Growth Companies list and it’s no wonder.

At a recent Xero Road Show at Crown Casino, Melbourne last month, it was music to my ears to listen to the speakers as they all used one buzz word many times over  “Automation.”

What Are the Benefits of Xero Accounting Software?

The beauty and benefits of this accounting software is the fact that businesses can save a lot when it comes to data entry labour. These savings can now be channelled into higher-level priorities such as improving profitability and growing their businesses. 

Unfortunately, this would also mean that some of the old fashioned data entry, number crunching, non-degree qualified bookkeepers will not be that valuable to business owners in the near future. Understandably, most will be looking for bookkeepers who can add value to their businesses.

Data entry will soon become “extinct” like the dinosaurs. Bank Statements are being automatically fed in to Xero so bank reconciliations are “as easy as pie.”  Invoices are automatically fed into Xero and attached to your suppliers. You may soon have room to set up a snooker table in your office (hardly any arch lever files and filing cabinets any more) as offices will soon be paperless!

Xero information is backed up “in the cloud” on 3 servers all over the world -- as safe as Fort Knox, so Xero users can sleep well at night knowing absolutely nothing can go wrong with their data.

Xero is real time and can be accessed on any device – PC, Lap Top, IPhone and Ipad. Can you believe an electrician can finish a job on top of a roof installing an air conditioning unit, get out his IPhone and straight away invoice his client?

How to Use Xero

For a novice, Xero offers a free 30-Day trial. Just log onto their website and you will discover how user friendly it is and the benefits are vast. You don’t need a Xero “bible” to know how to use it. Nearly every function of Xero has a 2-3 minute, easy to understand video that makes life so much easier. What a delight!

Xero is enjoyable and fun. When you hear users say they “love” using Xero, you sit up and take note. How can anyone “love” accounting software? Yes, they do because it is like playing with a new “toy”.

Yes, Xero is so different.

Turn on Xero and the first screen that appears is the business owner’s Daily Dashboard with KPI’s -- giving them an excellent snapshot of their business including cash flow changes, problem debtors, overdue creditors, bank balances etc.

Owners can easily relax in a hot bath after a hard day’s work, switch on their IPad and get a snapshot of their business. It is so convenient that it is better and faster than calling your tax accountant.

What Are the Key Features of Xero?

There are 5 key features of Xero:

  1. New dashboard
  2. Unlimited log-ins
  3. Add-ons
  4. Community forum
  5. Customer service 

1. New dashboard

In a few months, Xero will be releasing a great new Dashboard (new graphs, new KPI’s and charts) that even people who dislike accounting will enjoy checking.

2. Unlimited log-ins

Xero has unlimited log-ins with only one version. This is unlike MYOB where you need to continually update new versions (MYOB Accounting Right Live 15.1 Update crashed recently and users were off-line for hours -- this could never happen at Xero). Compared to Xero, MYOB is slow on a PC.

3. Add-ons

Xero has 150 Add-Ons that connect including Cash Flow, Forecasting, Debt Collection, Work Flow etc. at very low monthly fees.

4. Community forum

There is a Community Forum where you can quickly find solutions to any questions you may have. You can also post suggestions, improvements and changes that Xero management take very seriously.

5. Customer service

Xero has fantastic, friendly and comprehensive support (24 hours a day email support) guaranteeing to respond within 2-3 hours. What businesses can offer that? Every XeroPartner has an Account Manager so clients can get all questions and suggestions treated as high priority.

With MYOB, you can sit on the phone for about 45 minutes (you could do your shopping in that time) without getting the answer/solutions you need or engage in a live chat that is like playing ping pong as some of these customer service agents are “rookies”.

By June 2015, get ready for some great new Xero innovations including Updated Inventory, KPI Dashboard, Work Papers, FBT etc.

Final Words

Xero may not excite every single business owner, bookkeeper or tax accountant. Some people will not change from MYOB to Xero (a bit like not changing from a hand lawn mower to a petrol driven one) and there are a few other cloud-based options that are quite good too. But that’s okay. After all, Xero believes you cannot please everyone all the time.

One thing is for sure. Xero users are “enjoying the ride of their life!”

Do you use Xero? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Jeff Gordon

Principal at Prestige SME Business Solutions

I am a Specialist Financial Controller for SME'S, trusted qualified Accountant and Xero Partner Advisor with 25 years’ SME experience in a variety of industries and businesses, many in growth phases, totally result focused. We empower small Business Owners to Eliminate your Key Financial Pain Points, Make More Money, Save Money, Save Time via cloud based automation and Grow Your Businesses by utilising our Services. This ensures you enjoy a much better Work/ Lifestyle Balance.

Comments (1)
Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon, Principal at Prestige SME Business Solutions

Thanks very much to the Tax Accountants and Clients who contacted me following this feature on Xero. They were all pleased about the free conversion offer from MYOB to Xero for their clients, many who have been "sitting on the fence" for a while and are now starting to seriously plan to join the cloud and take their business into the contemporary business world. Once the change has been done, there will be no regrets. The biggest risk is to take no risk! The sooner the better! The benefits to businesses are as long as your arm!