Our business toolkit: Hassle-free accounting with Xero
A common talking point in start-up circles is the services and apps we all use to power our creativity, productivity and growth.
Some I use fleetingly, as and when I need to edit a picture or top up my font list, whilst others I rely on a daily basis to track my to-dos, boost traffic, do my finances and collaborate effectively. To help you do the same I’ve pulled together a ‘toolkit’ of the top 22 services I use to share with friends, colleagues and subscribers.
To get us started I thought I’d shine a spotlight on the service that has totally transformed a critical area of my business: accounting and performance reporting. It’s called Xero.
In it’s own words Xero is pitched as ‘beautiful accounting software’ made simple. It prides itself on taking care of your precious finances, freeing up more time to do what you do best: running and growing your company.
It also gives you a lot more control in the process.
I started using Xero back in 2012 following three painful years battling with paper- and Excel-based accounts. You know, the kind of admin you never want to do so you leave it to the last minute before the HMRC submission deadline. As my business started to grow I knew I needed another way.
Get an instant view of your business’ finances
By linking your bank account to Xero you’re able to get a real-time view of all your incomings and outgoings, reconciling them at the click of a button.
Need to show directors or investors the financial health or your business in charts? No problem. Simply head over to the dashboard and it’ll do the hard work for you.
Hooks up to all your other favourite apps
A plethora of inventory, invoicing, time tracking, expenses and more all integrate seamlessly with Xero. The one I use most is time tracker Harvest, meaning I can quickly and easily turn my billable hours on projects into invoices in Xero. No more risk of double entries.
Accessible wherever you are, whatever your device
I often switch between the desktop version and mobile app to check if invoices have been paid. Staying on top of unpaid invoices used to be a big headache of mine. Now I can send out friendly but formal reminders via Xero the moment they’re overdue, which often do the trick.
Hassle-free annual accounts and VAT returns
The biggest difference I’ve felt is in my regular dealings with HMRC. Now it’s as simple as my accountant logging into Xero and processing it all for me. A great side benefit to this is that as it involves far less work than spreadsheets or anything other platform their end, it means lower fees for me. Alternatively, Xero is so intuitive that you can bypass an accountant altogether and do it yourself.
And that’s Xero in a nutshell. I estimate it saves us an average of 5-10 hours a month on our accounts and many more come reporting or VAT time. That, for me, is priceless.