Chris McKenna, Director at Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers Bulley Davey, has worked with cloud accounting solution Xero for five years… and he loves it. In his guest blog for Microbyte he tells us why he thinks Xero is a must for small businesses.
Small business problems
Time and time again, our clients face the same problems with their legacy accounting systems: storage, updates and access. The very nuts and bolts of the software hamper user experience, to make no mention of outdated interfaces and processes. This is especially the case for stodgier accounting systems like Sage. Sage, to me, seems to have been designed by accountants for accountants, while new cloud accounting systems like Xero were built by business owners for business owners.
Easier with Xero
Sage is still synonymous with accounting software, which is why most small businesses think they have to use it. But accounting has modernised a lot, and there are now far better options that cater to business owners and accountants alike.
Xero understands what business owners need to help them run their businesses better. Its terminology and layout are much simpler and clearer than the older systems. It’s part of an ecosystem, which sets it apart from other cloud accounting software like QuickBooks. It has plenty of industry-specific add-ons, from stock management to card payments, and you can integrate it with your own CRM. Xero knows that business owners and SMEs don’t want to think about the accounting side. They care about figures, sure, but they don’t want to get bogged down by heavy terminology and complicated processes.
More data, more value
One of the biggest advantages of Cloud accounting is that everyone’s party to the same set of data, wherever they access it. Traditionally with accountancy software, you’d use your program, and your accountant would use theirs. With cloud accounting though, you all have access to the same set of information – without needing to worry about updates or storage. You can of course limit user access and permissions, but the data is the same and it updates in real-time.
When your accountant can see real-time data, they can be proactive and forward-thinking. They allow both the business and finance team to see the figures and we get to help before it’s too late. Should you buy that van this week, next week or not at all? With Xero, I’m also able to have a client on the phone or a Teams call while we both access Xero. In real-time we can look at the same figures. With the recent VAT change for restaurants, I was able to tweak this with a client on the phone. It adds that layer of transparency and communication and helps business owners make better decisions.
Switching to the Cloud
The benefit of having an accountant and Cloud software is that they’ll set you up and move you over without a hitch. Even with all the available technology, some SMEs are still behind. In fact, we’ve even moved people from traditional ledger books straight to Xero.
You can switch to Cloud accounting at any time in your accounting or financial year. We’ll back up your old system and give you a fresh start on Xero with training. With other accountancy software you get a day’s training and then you’re left to it. We like to train as we go as there are always new features to learn and benefits you don’t think you’ll need at the start.
A two-hour training session is all we need to get small business clients up and running and ready to take payments straight away. After the initial session, we train as we go and many of our clients use Xero’s support section online.
Accounting has changed so much that we’re now more like an outsourced finance department, and tools like Xero help us offer more value. Like so many other outsourced services we offer a subscription model, which means we can offer real-time value throughout the year. We encourage clients to ask questions as they go, so accounting becomes a conversation throughout the year, not a last-minute rush. We have regular touch points throughout the year so we can offer support and advice when it’s needed.
Xero is only £24 a month for unlimited users, although you can pay for extra features and modules. Cloud software like Xero helps you get more value from your accountant, and an accountant gives you more value from cloud accounting.
Get your Free Bulley Davey Health Check
If you’re on Xero, we offer a free health check report by hooking up to your Xero account. We check whether you’ve got the same supplier with different VAT rates, for example, or if invoices go to different places. We’ll look for inconsistencies and let you know where there are creases that need smoothing out. Email me for your free health check today.
If you want to know how new Cloud accounting solutions will integrate with your existing systems, contact the Microbyte support team.