If you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably came across my post from a few weeks ago, These Are the 67 Tools I Use For Podcast Junkies.
I wanted to dive in a bit deeper to one of the specific tools I mentioned, which has been extremely useful to the day-to-day operations, Xero. For my needs, it is clearly the best small business bookkeeping software out there.
It's been interesting to see the dramatic increase in cloud-based services over the past few years. I remember when I was living in Atlanta, GA, and working with my half-brother in his construction business (more on that another day). All the accounting was done via Quickbooks, and the software needed to be installed and constantly updated with the latest version.
Fast-forward to present day, and it's almost a given that any software that you use as an entrepreneur has to be cloud-based first.
Features and Benefits
When shopping around for a solution, these were the benefits that stood out for me.
- Up-to-date details – This may seem like an obvious one, but it's so important for me to understand my current cash flow, the status of my invoices, and the total expenses.
- Support – Having bookkeeping and accounting experts on-hand for quick one-off questions is a must.
- PayPal Integration – 90% of all of my payments come through PayPal, and having the ability to integrate these within Xero has been a game-changer.
- Templates – I'm a huge fan of productivity and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), so being able to streamline and standardize the look and feel of templates to clients is something that puts a smile on my face! Additionally, I can create rules for expenses that repeat over time.
- Integrations – Another tool mentioned in my earlier post was Zapier, and the fact that Xero has provided a Zapier integration has been a huge win. I'm always looking different ways that I can take advantage of those connections. For example, when I have a new client on-boarded via Typeform, one of the Zaps adds the client information straight into Xero.
- Partners – One of the strong points in Xero's favor was their partnership program. Working with accounting companies like DoubleRule or Acuity, you can also leverage their bookkeeping experience.
- Updates – Since I've signed up a few years ago, the team at Xero has not stopped innovating. Heck, in 2014 and 2015, Forbes named Xero the World’s Most Innovative Growth Company.
- Accounts – The ability to link my bank and credit card accounts and have them update automagically is a must-have feature for me.
- Design – OK, I'll be the first to admit, this isn't directly tied to Xero's financial features, but the simple design is something that immediately caught my eye. I'm a sucker for minimalist look and feel. It just makes what could easily become an arduous task, that much more enjoyable.
Prior to going with Xero, I did look at some of the other small business bookkeeping software solutions out there, such as Quickbooks Online and Freshbooks, but for my needs, they didn't fit into the workflow, and I got the sense that the learning curve was a bit steeper.
To recap, I've been extremely satisfied with my choice. The quest for the best small business bookkeeping software wasn't easy, but now that I have Xero, I don't need to look any further.
Some additional great features not mentioned above are the ability to upload and email documents directly into Xero, invoice reminders, and that great dashboard which summarizes everything at a glance.
My next step is to dig into the App Marketplace and start to connect to other applications that will make my workflow even easier.
If you have any questions about my current workflow and how I'm using Xero in my business, please reach out!