I have come down from the New Year and Christmas hype and back at work. November & December were extremely busy months for me, learning and road testing new accounting software, catching up on a huge backlog of work and rewarding myself with much needed R&R.

BLOG: Xero On-Line Accounting

As an independent software consultant, I regularly receive calls from new/existing clients/accounting firms asking me to assist in finding a particular software application whether it be accounting, time tracking, point of sale, job costing or specific industry tailor-made applications not available as on off the shelf product.

My thirst for knowledge empowers me to seek solutions for various applications. In some cases I will merely find the application/vendor and introduce them to the client, in other instances where I feel that I can offer a specific “value added service” will spend time learning and specialize in that application. The challenge of learning new applications, features to ensure the application will suit the particular client/accounting firm is extremely rewarding.

Being in mind, most businesses rely heavily on their accountants, consultants and bookkeepers to keep the accounting side in order so that they, the business owners can dedicate quality time to running their businesses. A lot of these businesses are husband and wife teams with family commitments and they are time poor. This is why I believe Xero will assist SME. Online accounting IS the future, there is no doubt about that.

Prior to the Xmas break I set myself 2 goals and delighted that I actually achieved 4! Yeah,

GOAL # 1 – Learn Xero www.xero.com

What is Xero ?

Xero is an online accounting system that gives you and your advisors easy access to your bank transactions, invoices, GST – anytime you need it, anywhere in the world.

Why is Xero relevant to Accounting Firms/Consultants & Bookkeepers?

Xero lets you collaborate with your clients online. No messy data swaps which are often out-of-date.

No need to download or upgrade software. Back-ups are done automatically too. You can access clients’ data anywhere, anytime there is an Internet connection, including your mobile device. You can also give other staff access.

Xero is a comprehensive accounting system with bank data automatically imported daily, debtors, creditors, sales tax, expense claims, fixed assets and it’s great tool for simplifying multi-currency.

Support is unlimited and there’s a comprehensive Help Centre. Webinar/Training Events

Attended all Training & Events segments – online webinar sessions. The webinars are in New Zealand time which is approx. 3 hours ahead of Australia so nice to do an hours training early in the morning while still fresh.

Videos – action packed, informative videos found on Xero’s website “how to do’s and new releases”.

Help Centre – Huge array of features, covering everything you need to know plus selection of import help features on importing bank statements from your own bank/ institution until Automatic Bank Feeds are implemented. The staff at Xero are on the ball and proactive; Bank Feed requests are actioned within two to three working days. How is that for prompt service?

Video Link: Introducing Xero

http://blog.xero.com/2008/12/videos/

Video Link : Xero for Bookkeepers

http://blog.xero.com/2008/12/benefits-of-xero-for-bookkeepers/

GOAL #2 “Road Test Xero Accounting” - completed a couple of conversions using import features, and processed three months of accounting, published reports and sent off to client and client’s accountant who were delighted to see such a variety of reports. These reports can be published in three different formats PDF, Excel & Google Docs. See my comment on “Document Storage” further on in Blog.

GOAL #3: “Dabble with a couple of Add On Solutions” which link direct into Xero Accounting.

Fabulous Time Tracking System – whilst not all Xero users would need to use this application – it is more for consultants and tracking specific jobs/time by client. Once pinged client hours, an invoice is created in MinuteDock – this is sent to Xero using your log in details and password. I really like this application.

Minute Dock – http://minutedock.com/

What MinuteDock does :MinuteDock integrates with Xero using their API. We read across your Xero Contacts (to save you entering all your customer details into both MinuteDock and Xero), some information about your organisation (its name, tax status, and Xero version), Tax Status, the Xero Accounts you have set up.

FreshBooks – http://www.freshbooks.com/

Other Solutions such as CRM; Payroll, E-Commerce, Invoicing & Time Management

WIP – Job Costing

GOAL#4: “Find a client already using Xero” – I found a new client at Office Works of all places a couple of weeks ago. I must be blessed! Have been commissioned to work on this client’s UK/USA & Australian companies. They have Xero’s multi currency version –which is fantastic if your company has a global business. Accounting could not be easier, no messing around with rates of exchange all automatic.

I am now available to offer consulting services to anyone using Xero – please feel free to contact me.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Online Document Storage – whilst there are a huge selection to choose from, and every one has their favourites, I can recommend – LockYourDocs https://www.lockyourdocs.com/how/index.html

A USA company based in New York. Brad Berkowitz is connected to me on Linkedin and has been extremely patient waiting for me to activate my account which I have recently implemented into my own business. I originally signed up for a trial version in late August last year. Bad luck would have it, had a bad fall in the park and broke my wrist so was out of action for a few months recuperating, but pleased to say back into the wonders of Online Bean Counting.

TRAVEL /CONFERENCE IN NEW ZEALAND – JANUARY 22 2010

I am off to sunny Hawkes Bay, New Zealand on the 21st January to attend the Xero Conference which promises – Quote “Building an online accounting solution that’s fun, sexy and addictive” Unquote.

I shall be back to work on 27th January with a bounty of ideas, solutions and good memories.

Gillian Rossouw