Xero is cloud based (access via the internet) accounting software for small and medium businesses. Designed for ease of use, it can either be cashbook analysis, such as analysing the bank and petty cash, or full software having debtors, creditors, bank analysis and much more. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access the live software from anywhere and a smartphone app can raise invoices on the go, or see if someone has paid their bill – great for sales rep’s and trades businesses.

Sales invoices can be emailed, and with the bank transactions kept up to date, automatic debt chasing via email really does help collect the debts in, in turn helping cash flow.

If you use multi-currency, for a small monthly fee, the headache of working out exchange rates is a thing of the past – daily rates for around 160 currencies are populated from XE.com – enter the amount in the relevant currency and Xero converts back to sterling (or whichever currency is set as the base currency). Exchange rate gains/losses are calculated and entered automatically once an invoice is paid.

Bank feeds are recommended, although not essential. A bank feed is where your bank transactions automatically come into Xero on a daily basis helping you be right up to date with debtors and creditors – know who owes you and who you owe every day. If you are an internet trader, Paypal bank feeds may be of interest – your Paypal account becomes a bank account and with automation can speed up data entry.

Although Xero is good software, it is a “one size fits all”. If you want something tailored to your sector, there are more than 800 different apps. These range from manufacturing, stock control, staff time sheets, legal work and farming to simple mileage logs. All link to Xero in one way or another and are designed to make businesses record keeping easier. While these generally are an extra cost (some are free) they can pay for themselves due to time saving – to find out more, go to https://apps.xero.com/uk

If you have employees, the payroll function of Xero may be of interest. Process basic payroll for your employees and file with HMRC – you can also file directly with NEST pensions. The Xero payroll functionality can be used for most employees, be it hourly pay, overtime, salary, deductions or bonuses.

Once the data is entered, a multitude of different reports provide all the essential reporting a business may require. Filing VAT returns is literally clicking a few buttons.

If you want to know more about Xero, then please contact our Xero team.

Will Robinson Accounts Manager, Carlisle