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Future-proofing your business for success with Xero apps, add-ons

by Jacqui Logan, chartered accountant
Jacqui Logan, chartered accountant and information systems manager at BDO Gisborne

Having the reassurance of knowing that Xero and its suite of online add-ons was effectively managing the financial “ins” and “outs” of your business was certainly a welcome relief to many business owners over the lockdown period.

For others, though, lockdown was a completely frustrating time. Out-of-date business processes became challenging, consumed far too much time, and were difficult or near-on impossible to administer.

Whether lockdown inspired you to explore a “new norm” of working remotely, or the disruption motivated you to make improvements, these relatively simple solutions are well worth investigating. Let’s explore them in a little bit more detail.

First cab off the rank: how to manage your bills and the trail of paper

Are you the type of person who:

• Waits for the bills to arrive in the mail?

• Enters bills manually into your accounting

system?

• Has a detailed filing system with separate

folders to store all incoming paperwork?

Have you considered the benefits of going paperless? If the answer is yes, then take the time to familiarise yourself with products such as Hubdoc and ApprovalMax.

A system like Hubdoc can manage your bills directly in the “cloud”. It can also assist with receiving bills and statements using the “fetch” feature, reducing manual input by reading and extracting key data

automatically, and storing your bills into supplier-specific folders.

The best part is that Hubdoc is completely free for those using Xero Business edition.

Want more? Go one step further and address your drawn-out approval processes — scanning, emailing, printing and then emailing again once approved. Eliminate the wasted time following up with the right person at each stage of this process.

With ApprovalMax your customised approval workflow takes all the guesswork out of the process.

Purchase orders and bills are sent to the appropriate person for approval — whether that’s through the ApprovalMax app, via email notification, or in the website itself.

Next stop: encouraging cashflow — make it easier for customers to pay you

Cashflow can be a huge pain point for many businesses, regardless of the current economic climate.

You may find that cashflow is starting to slow down, and it has become cumbersome, reviewing records and balances, forever chasing up those outstanding payments.

Don’t despair, there are ways to help encourage cash to come your way.

For starters, simplify your payment process and make it easier for your customers to do business with you by using Stripe. This is a Xero add-on that lets your customers pay invoices immediately using a credit or debit card, with the obvious benefit being that you are able to get cash in hand straight away.

Debtor Daddy is another Xero add-on that offers assistance; from setting up an accounts-receivable workflow, through to providing a debtor specialist that does all of the chasing for you. How great is that!

Financial literacy, Xero Master Classes

We’ve invested in programmes to help you understand your business better — equipping you with the necessary tools and skills to engage in purposeful conversations and to make more informed decisions for your business.

• Do your eyes glaze over the information

from your accountant each year?

• Do you really understand the story

behind the numbers?

• Or maybe you understand your numbers,

but your managers don’t?

Keeping an eye on your financials helps create success — but for some people it’s a foreign language.

If this accurately describes you, then Colour Accounting will be worth considering. The goal of this product is to teach business acumen to non-financial people. It does this by using a visual, hands-on, language-driven approach that is delivered in a fun workshop style.

Another option available is to join our Xero Master Classes. These sessions are designed to take you through the most useful features of Xero irrespective of your experience. Split into three sessions — beginners, intermediate and advanced — you can attend all three or just one, taking you from what you know now, to what you want to know going forward.

These are just a selection from a wide range of apps and add-ons that work with Xero to relieve the burden and automate day-to-day processes. If you would like to get an understanding of what else is available, contact our Business Transformation Team at BDO Gisborne, and they can tailor a solution that suits your business needs.

■ Jacqui is a qualified chartered accountant and information systems manager at BDO Gisborne, which is an independent member of BDO New Zealand and part of the global BDO network. See: www.bdo.nz