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Xero is a new cloud accounting software that lets you and your business spend more time focusing on what you do best. Rather than sitting there pulling your hair out doing the accounts by hand, you can do it all online and store it in the cloud as you go. At the end of the financial year it’s just a matter of checking it over and filing it off. Nice and easy. But is it really that simple?

Xero facts

Based in New Zealand, Xero already supports more than 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses with doing their accounts around the world. The software has been designed to reduce the inefficient accounting process and increase collaboration, while providing a multi-layered security system. Businesses pay a small monthly fee for the privilege.

The benefits

So what do businesses get out using this service? The main plus point is based around efficiency. One of the key barriers to growth for small businesses is inefficiency. And doing the accounts is one of the key areas in which businesses waste time.

Xero allows you and your staff to keep up to date with accounts and services from anywhere. There is no need to drive back to the office to upload or download information. It’s all accessed on the move. You can look up the necessary financial information wherever you are, using any computer, smart phone or tablet.

Most of the time-consuming manual processes are also redundant. So put your calculator and ledger in a draw and forget about them. Xero pulls information from bank feeds, generates invoices and automates the whole process. This streamlining of the accounting process can help small and medium businesses to save time and money.

Collaboration

Building effective working relationships takes energy, time and understanding. Coming to terms with how your colleagues operate can be a testing period. But if everyone is on board with the same platform, then it’s not such a big deal. Using Xero, you can collaborate in real time on financial data, helping to create a more efficient group dynamic.

There’s no sending round long email chains and having to locate necessary figures on spreadsheets. It’s updated in real time and everyone has access, no matter where they are. Multiple people can work on any account at the same time which helps to speed up the decision-making process and reduce bottlenecks.

Security

Of course, the safety and security of your financial information is paramount. Xero takes your private information very seriously indeed. That’s why they lock it all away behind a wall of up to the minute technology. It prevents all unauthorised entry to sensitive information and guards against systems failures.

If you’re a small business and don’t have an IT department or adequate IT security, then your financial information is always at risk. Xero offers the benefit of an increasingly secure online presence, with dedicated professionals looking after your online security. Your accounts will be guarded with passwords, firewalls and third party inspections.

The cloud

You’ve probably heard a fair bit about the cloud in recent years, unless you’ve been living with your head in them that is, and for good reason. This technology is really unlocking a lot of potential for small and medium businesses. It’s levelling the playing field and makes doing business that bit easier for companies with limited funds.

By deploying the potential of the crowd, using services like Xero, small business are working smarter. Taking the information stored in Xero, it is possible for businesses to get a clearer picture of what they are strong at and the areas they need to improve. It helps them to think about their next phase of growth and gives them access to sophisticated technology that was once the preserve of large multinationals.

Xero gives businesses a real time view of how they are doing. There is no waiting until the end of the month or year to do the accounts and see where you stand. It is a constantly evolving and updated process and one that is accessible from anywhere on the planet. Making better informed decisions is now a real possibility for small and medium businesses.

How to use Xero

There is no software that needs to be installed, you simply need to make sure your device has the necessary requirements. The dashboard is clean and easy to use. You can use it on any of the supported browsers and with a good internet connection, away you go. There is a free 30 day trial and no obligation if you find it doesn’t work for you.

At the end of the trial, if you think it could work for you and your business, you can set up a training session for your staff.

In a world where small businesses need every help they can get to succeed, Xero has come at exactly the right time. It smooths out the accounting process and helps you to work smarter and quicker in a world where those two qualities are essential.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to Xero. For example, at the moment there is no way to control stock as part of the Xero system, which makes it more suitable for businesses without an inventory. And there is a reliance on the internet, so if you’re going to be doing business anywhere without a reliable connection there could be an issue. But these days that applies to ever fewer places on the planet.

If you find that accounting is taking up more and more of your time, then it could be the right moment to give Xero a go. If security issues are causing a headache then get behind a more secure wall with a dedicated security team keeping all your information safe. And if it is time that you utilised the power of the crowd, then sign up for a free trial and see how its potential could boost your business.

Robert Marjoram

I deal with clients, new business and the development and strategy of the business. I recruit the staff and I suppose you could say set the agenda and vision.

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