Xero Review

An Addition to the May 2013 Newsletter

The cost of Xero can actually be less than the monthly charge for MYOB Cover (see below), depending on your needs. 

If you lose your internet, then a visit to McDonalds (free wifi) is on the cards (half kidding). There are many other options to overcome a temporary loss of internet access, eg wireless broadband, plus most of you will still be connected by mobile phone or iPad. It's not really an issue. 

If you can't pay for your Xero subscription, then you probably can't pay for a bookkeeper either. Get your reports from Xero and figure out a new business strategy, if that's where you're headed.

None of these problems are insurmountable.

Bookkeeping My Business

After extensive testing, hours of research, and entering different scenarios to the demo file, I had so much confidence in the software that a few weeks ago I transferred my practice bookkeeping into Xero.

While I still use Billings Mac for time-based billing billing (it works fantastically for me, with timers I can stop, start from any device I own), the rest gets entered into Xero (as it did to MYOB), including payments for my Billings Mac invoices. Update: I have switched to Harvest, a Xero Add On, for time-based invoicing. It's a seamless integration with Xero. 

For the first time ever, my own bookkeeping is completely up-to-date on a daily basis. It takes me a couple of minutes every day to reconcile the bank accounts, unlike the ages it used to take me every month because I had to download a month of transactions from several bank accounts and PayPal! It takes much less time overall (for my business) with judicious use of Bank Rules in Xero.

My Services

Becoming a Xero Partner extends the repertoire of services I offer and takes them to a completely different level.

In my opinion, Xero is professional and sophisticated.

Moving to Xero

For me and for clients who've switched, the conversion of MYOB contacts and balances to Xero wasn't at all difficult. Within a couple of hours (depending on whether many employees' data also had to be moved), the Xero system was ready to use! There's even an export/import function, which I've used successfully.

Collaboration

The collaboration opportunities (the bookkeeper, the client, the client's staff, and the accountant) are pure magic! Any authorised user, according to their user role, can access the same data from anywhere and on any device that has a browser and Internet. It's platform independent, and the cloud file means there's no more sending huge files around and trying to figure out who has the latest version of the data file. 

Want to ask me or your accountant a question? Type it straight into Xero, and we'll will be notified. 

While it's unfortunate that MYOB has continued to separate versions for Mac and PC, it remains a problem for anyone who wants to use the software on both platforms. MYOB is losing users because of this and for many other reasons. While it's still one of the best out there for non-cloud accounting, Xero trumps it in quite a few ways.

In Xero, you can create invoices, check your bank transactions, enter timesheets for employees (who also can enter their own for approval), look at reports or to do anything else in Xero, while I'm also entering data with my login, and the accountant can be looking at other management or tax aspects. Xero is the easiest and best option I've seen to facilitate that kind of multi-user, multi-location collaboration.

One thing that Xero can't yet do is keep inventory levels per item (that you may invoice to your customers). Unless there's a really good reason to do so, you will know that Idon't recommend keeping inventory in MYOB in the first place. There are many add-ins for Xero, including inventory-keeping cloud software, Point of Sale and tons more that integrate seamlessly.

As a Xero Partner, I can also offer 'Managed Client' versions of Xero that aren't available to general users.

Cost

The cost varies from $20 per month for a cashbook situation, to $50 per month for an average business with less than 20 employees to $65 per month for everything, including 20+ employees, automatic superannuation payments and foreign currency. 

The cost for the average Xero user, with less than 20 on the Payroll ($50 per month) is less than the monthly cover charge from MYOB! That's not only money-saving but Xero has many advantages!

If you have no payroll and no invoicing, then a cashbook option might suit.

Employee Access

Employees, if you let them, also have access to their own payroll records (and nothing else). No more hunting for old payslips or finding out what leave they have due. They can enter their timesheets for approval every day, if you want them to. They can apply for leave online. They can see their year-to-date information and reprint any payslip they want. They can update their contact details, but they can't make any changes to their pay records.

Updates

If Xero updates its software, which it regularly does, the updates are instantly incorporated, and you'll see them when you log in though any browser on any computer.

Confidence

One of the attractions for me is that a founder of MYOB in Australia, Craig Winkler (who I've had contact with from before MYOB), is now on the board of Xero.

Quite a few ex-MYOB people have moved to Xero. That speaks volumes. They're in for the long haul and obviously want to keep making it the best cloud accounting out there. Xero is currently available in Australia, NZ, UK, USA and there's an international version, without country-specific features like GST.

Learning Xero

The learning curve for Xero was minimal for me. It works logically and as expected. The online help is very comprehensive and email support is free! I can also train you to use any aspect of Xero.

Features

In addition to the easy collaboration feature, there are many other features, too many to highlight here. What I do is completely transparent in Xero. I like that and so will you because you can check up on me anytime. There are also opportunities to flag bank transactions with a 'discuss' option so you can log in, look, and tell me more about it right in Xero.

Many of the features are equal to or better than MYOB, including:

  • automatic bank feeds for most types of bank accounts in Australia (mostly makes for faster bank reconciliation), including 
  • PayPal feeds
  • comprehensive payrollscaned invoices or receipts can be attached to billsnotes can be attached to many transactions
  • there's a history attached to every transaction - who and when it was created or editedbetter reportingcost centre reporting
  • easy invoicing (even from your iPhone) and receive invoices from other Xero users
  • lodge expense claims or business spending from personal funds
  • a dashboard - view what money is owed and what's due in, your bank balances (you can choose which bank accounts appear), your current GST liabilities and more. In fact, you can 'watch' almost any General Ledger account on the dashboard.
  • your accountant has access to tax return reports directly from Xero

and lots more!

Signing up

Don't sign up yet! 

If you'd like to discuss a move to Xero, please don't hesitate to contact me. I know your work and can recommend the right version for you. I can set up your business bookkeeping under my partner subscription, which gives you more version options, or you can create and manage your own subscription. The 'ownership' of the file can be moved to any other subscriber, at any time.

Anywhere, anytime, connect to your bookkeeping from any device with a browser and an internet connection! Let us consider your bookkeeping needs and recommend the right Xero version for you, including versions only available to Xero Partners.

Do beautiful accounting with Xero.