Running your business from anywhere has become a critical factor for success in today's ever-changing world. This accessibility is necessary in a world where easy access to a central office location isn’t always available. Utilizing accounting software that is capable of providing real time data about your company is key to making informed decisions.
At Aprio Cloud, our advisors understand that there isn’t a one-size fits-all solution. That’s why our team assesses each client’s needs to help them determine what software will grow with each company. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting the different accounting software solutions we recommend and what makes them stand out among the competition. This week, the spotlight is on Xero.
Xero recently announced that it has been named a worldwide leader in the IDC MarketScape Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Small Business Finance and Accounting Applications 2020 Vendor Assessment (Full Report). The report emphasizes the significance of the over 800 third-party apps Xero connects to in addition to its open API. This is a key feature in Xero’s versatility.
A key component to having real time data in accounting software is being able to seamlessly connect bank feeds to bring in transaction-level data. These connections eliminate the need for manual entry and remove the risk of human error while saving the user countless hours of manual entry. Once this data is brought into Xero, rules can be set to automatically code incoming transactions based on amount, vendor, description, etc. Xero takes the guesswork out of coding by suggesting matches based on invoices and bills awaiting payment.
“We see a future in the accounting industry where artificial intelligence and machine learning could reshape the role of an accountant or bookkeeper,” said Ben Richmond, US Country Manager at Xero. “Our teams are building machine learning and data capabilities into the Xero platform to surface real-time insights that help small businesses make smarter decisions and allow them to focus on growth. The Aprio Cloud team demonstrates how firms can serve as trusted advisors and bring the true power of technology to life by providing clients with real-time financial insights and efficiencies that help their businesses succeed.”
Billing and Invoicing - Both Automated and Customized
Xero’s connections don’t stop with bank transactions. Bills can be entered directly in Xero or users can take advantage of third-party apps that use OCR and machine learning to avoid even more manual entry. Apps such as Bill.com and Receipt Bank extract data from bills and receipts and send it to Xero. Rules can be set for vendors within these apps, allowing the bills to sync with Xero already coded and ready to be matched with transactions in bank feeds. Businesses can auto-forward statements or connect directly to certain vendors, such as utility companies. This means that a business owner can see where cash flow is in real time. This capability has been key for Aprio Cloud clients making informed decisions about purchases and investments.
The versatility of Xero expands into invoicing as well. Businesses can customize invoices based on what their customers need. Some businesses require quotes and invoices to list very specific information in order to release payments. In Xero, multiple invoice formats can be set up ahead of time so that invoices can be created quickly and formats chosen via a simple drop down menu. For clients that are accustomed to downloading invoices to edit them in another software before sending, this feature has saved an immense amount of time and need for manual entry. Third-party payment services can also be integrated so that customers can make payments directly from the invoice. These features have made it easier for Aprio Cloud clients to receive payments faster, which has a big impact on cash flow during a time when cash flow is increasingly important.
Reporting That’s Customizable Without Being Complicated
Automating all of these processes saves time and improves accuracy, but without the ability to report on them, businesses wouldn’t be able to secure funding or provide their investors with required reporting. Standard reports don’t always meet the needs of different industries; what a health technology company requires can look much different than what an e-commerce company needs.
If an Aprio Cloud client depends upon reporting grouped by certain account types or comparative statements for specific dates, Xero can do it. Reports can be edited or built from blank templates. Xero also utilizes its connectivity with third-party applications such as Jirav and Fathom to do even more custom reporting and dashboards. All of this equates to more real time information to make decisions without the need to download and manipulate information manually.
Aprio Cloud can meet the needs of growing businesses by automating books, compliance and financial processes and leveraging data to use in growth planning and decision-making. Our advisors provide valuable support, tax planning, and business advice you need to grow your business.