A question we are regularly asked is why do we recommend Xero as an accounting system over and above Sage, Quickbooks or one of the local accounting products in Ireland?
For us it comes down to three reasons, Xero:
- Is the easiest accounting system to use for SMEs in the Irish market
- Combines a company with global scale with a consistent level of innovation in their product, and most importantly
- Can be used to improve our clients overall business workflow
Ease of use beats functionality 9 times out of 10
I’ve implemented IT systems for multi-nationals and run global technology projects. And I have yet to find a perfect IT system for a business. Ultimately, you need to balance the features a system has with how easy it will be to implement and run. Too often companies are focused on features and not enough on ease of use.
Easy to use systems tend to:
- Be used properly with less errors
- Be easy to learn, reducing the time and cost required for training
- Improve job satisfaction for your staff
A common concern with Xero for the Irish market is the lack of a specific Irish VAT reporting feature. Obviously, it would be better if that feature was included in the product. However, using a quick workaround the relevant VAT report can be generated correctly. Basically, VAT reporting is a minor inconvenience rather than a reason not use the system. On the other hand, we find Xero a very easy system for new users to learn. The user interface is clear and well laid out. Generating invoices, bookkeeping, generating reports and the other key features of an accounting system are easy to follow. And the training guides and videos provided by Xero are excellent. This makes it a far more likely system for our clients (and our own team) to use properly.
Xero the company
In my multi-national days when we made decisions on the best system for our business, we would ask ourselves the questions:
- Will this company still be around in 2/3 years?
- Does this company have a roadmap of new features planned for this system that will make it even better?
On both fronts, Xero stacks up well. It’s a global company, which is listed on the stock market with over 2 million clients. And they have driven innovation in accounting systems for SME’s globally. While Sage and Quickbooks are also big businesses, they have been behind Xero in terms of their SaaS (Software as a Service) accounting products. This could change and Quickbooks in particular has been making improvements. However, both are ultimately trying to improve the multiple accounting systems they own at the same time while Xero can focus their energies on their core product. This becomes apparent when you see the number of improvements they have made to the system over the last few years – https://central.xero.com/s/article/Xero-Releases.
In summary, Xero combines a big global company with a constantly improving product – a good combination.
Improving your business workflow through Xero
Improving your business workflow is the most important, and least understood reason, to use the system in your business.
Ultimately, Xero is an accounting system. It is not designed to manage projects, hold inventory or run your e-commerce store. It’s job is to be the easiest accounting system to connect to your project management system, inventory management system or e-commerce store.
Think about your business as a set of processes:
- Do want to improve your cashflow? Xero can help by linking your invoices to Stripe to accept credit card payments or to GoCardless to collect direct debits
- Do you run a consulting business where you need to invoice by the hour and track profitability? Then you can link to Harvest to automatically generate your invoices from timesheets
- Do you run a business which sells online? Then link to Shopify or Magento to track and account for your sales automatically
- Do you want to build a custom workflow for your business that links to your accounting? Then connect to Xero through their open API and build your own link as we’ve helped many clients to do
At present Xero connects to 1,000+ other cloud systems. This allows you to run the best system for your core business, while connecting to an easy to use, constantly improving accounting system for your back office.
How aperio can help
By connecting Xero to your overall company workflow, and the systems that manage your sales, inventory and costs, you can build better processes for running your business. And build a better, more scalable business with automated accounting and bookkeeping.
At aperio we’ve been supporting clients as a Xero partner since 2012. Please contact us for more details on how we can help.