In my last article I focused on how Xero has disrupted the accounting profession through the launch of its “Practice Studio”, the suite of best of breed cloud based practice management programs for its accounting and bookkeeping partners.

However Xero didn’t start out as an accountant’s tool. It was and still is a business bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and management tool and it continues to improve on a regular basis with Xero’s commitment to continual updates which are based on a mix of head office vision as well as listening to user feedback and committing to implementing the most requested user updates.

Xero’s focus has always been to make light work of the accounting function for businesses and it does this by keeping it simple. Starting with a beautiful user interface, all parts of Xero are able to be accessed within three ‘clicks’ with the majority available in two thus making it quick and easy to get to where you want to go.

The Dashboard provides businesses with a simple yet powerful overview of their position, in real time which saves time having to print reports just to get a snapshot of where the business is at (ignoring the fact that for most other accounting programs data would need to be entered and reconciled first to get this ‘position’).

One of the great time wasters is data entry and Xero does away with this through the availability of live bank feeds, whereby your bank sends your transactional data to Xero and this is then available to be either matched up against accounts payable or receivable invoices or allocated to its respective account.

One of the great things about Xero is its ‘learning’ capabilities in that with the allocation of transactions, if it hasn’t been allocated via the use of a previously defined bank rule, over time if you allocate similar transactions to the same account Xero will begin to pre-empt you and suggest where the transaction should go. If Xero gets it right, you simply click OK..if it isn’t right you just modify the pre-filled data.

From personal experience and from feedback provided by our clients, the time savings from using Xero roll into the hours per week with the average client saving between 50%-70% of the time they used to spend each week on their accounting, bookkeeping and payroll. This time saving translates either into more time to spend working on your business or giving business owners and managers back some well earned personal time !

Where business owners and managers re-invest this saved time back into the business they find themselves able to interpret their trading results and begin to make informed decisions regarding their operations. This allows them to find more efficient ways to work and often leads them to look at additional cloud solutions that could further improve their business.

They don’t need to look far as Xero’s Add-On Partner EcoSystem, as touched on last month, provides businesses with the best of breed solutions for industry specific operation systems which all link seamlessly with Xero. These add-on solutions further enhance a businesses ability to operate more efficiently and effectives and ultimately increase profits.

The last area that needs highlighting is the way in which Xero allows businesses greater collaboration with its customers with the ability to send and receive invoices directly into Xero via online invoicing as well as the ability to be paid online direct from the invoice. Tack on an EcoSystem CRM system to Xero and you have a complete cloud based CRM solution allowing you to track all communications with your customers, not just record what you have invoiced them.

For any business, small medium or large, Xero is a cost effective yet powerful solution that is scaleable and can grow as the business grows. Its ease of use and time saving features are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the features available. And a common theme amongst users is that Xero has made accounting and bookkeeping fun….imagine that !

Sign up for a free trial of Xero today at http://www.efsstrategic.com.au/xero/