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Working with Xero

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About Xero

Xero is a cloud-based accounting software best used for small to medium-sized businesses and is the website I use for the finances at The Apprentice Store. This accounting software is a great tool for upscaling businesses with currently over 3+ million subscribers using Xero for their financial tasks. Invoicing and billing are kept separate and is very easy to manage and can be set up to be automated which makes financing easier and a lot quicker. This software can even connect to company bank accounts allowing for a business snapshot that gives information and graphs about the business performance which are very clear and thorough.

Getting started

If you have never worked with Xero, it can be very daunting and it may feel like you will never understand a single aspect of the website.  However, with time and with a feature on Xero called demo company which allows the user to try the many features Xero offers on a fake company which gets you more comfortable on Xero and allows you to learn without possibly messing up the real business’s Xero account.  Xero even allows you to control and manage petty cash for the business by showing you the balance, showing you a graph of the balance through the previous months, and a record of everything purchased using petty cash with receipts attached.

Xero Features

One aspect of Xero that makes it very useful is there is an option to make repeating invoices. You can make it so that an invoice that you have created will be created again each month and sent to the client, this can all be done automatically saving you a lot of time.  It is very easy to update the repeating invoices if there are any changes to what is being billed.  If there are also any bills that you know will be repeating you can set up repeating bills that will be created automatically which again just adds to the speed and comfort Xero allows you to achieve.  There is also a reports system in Xero which creates a table for you in Xero where you can choose what rows to have, any grouping required or any filters needed, then you can export that table into Microsoft Excel where there are more ways to manipulate the data, for example creating pivot tables with the extracted data.

An example of when creating a report and exporting to excel could be useful is if you were needing to get a list of all clients who purchased a specific item in the last month:

  • First, you need to go to the “Accounting” tab and click on “Reports”.
Step one: Xero interface, click Accounting then Reports.
Xero INterface, showing the Reports page.
  • You are then given a large choice of reports, for this example we used “Receivable Invoice Detail”. Then you can decide the date range, which columns you are wanting to use and if you want to add any grouping/summarising.  After you decide that you can go to “Filter”, then “Description” and type in the specific item you are looking for.
Xero Interface. showing Receivable Invoice Detail.
  • Next you click “Update” and you should see the updated report.  From there you can click the “Export” button at the bottom of your report to either export to PDF or Excel.
Xero Interface, showing the excel spreadsheet exported report.

Additional Xero Features

Xero has a contact page where you can enter your client and suppliers’ details so they can be saved and easily accessed for assigning their bills/invoices, or if you are needing to contact any clients then their email address or phone number can be saved and easily accessed.  Xero also runs encrypted daily backups at multiple locations to ensure its user’s data is always safe and secure.  Using Xero to assist in financing makes a massive difference in time saving and accuracy of work. It feels safe using Xero thanks to its own personal authenticator app which adds another level of security to your account (to learn more about authenticator apps and multi-factor authentication click here).

In conclusion…

If you are looking to improve your finance experience Xero can be a great tool to use.  With many features like creating repeating invoices and automatically sending them, a dedicated reconciliation tab, and using/creating reports there could be something there to assist you in financing. At The Apprentice Store, I find this website provides the business with everything it needs to manage its finances.

Visit Xero to learn more about this cloud-based accounting software platform.

To learn about the IT services that The Apprentice Store offer get in touch at [email protected].

This blog was written by our Finance and Admin Apprentice, Donald Buchanan.