The 6 time-saving ways Xero can help you build a better business.

Talk to any small business owner about the most maddening aspects of running a business and it’s likely that “accounting” will soon come up.

It may be all rules, red tape and arithmetic where accounting is concerned but it’s vital to get it right. Lost revenue and business, missed deadlines and opportunities, under-paid tax, over-paid tax, fines, legal action and even insolvency can all result from a slap-dash, inefficient approach to accounting.

And there’s more to accounting than just keeping the tax man happy, too. A clear insight into your financial state-of-play, at any single point in time, is critical if you want to help your business grow.

So, what’s the answer? Employing an accountant is an obvious one. And sometimes there’s no alternative. But for those of us that want to keep a real-time handle on our own business finances, there’s a very viable solution in the vast array of online apps.

Here’s my look at one of the best, and the 6 ways Xero can transform your accounting and help you build a better business.

1. It’s easy to use and you can use it anywhere.
You don’t need any IT experience or technical knowledge to have Xero up and running in minutes. The handy dashboard clearly shows all of your key accounting stats, so you always know where you stand financially. And, because everything’s in the cloud and you can use it on just about any connected device, you’re not tied to your desk and can do your accounting on the go – in front of the telly, on the train, in bed or even on the beach! Maybe you’ll even learn to love doing your accounts!

2. You’ll be more organised.
If you store all your receipts, bills and invoices in box files or shoeboxes, with Xero you can reclaim some space in your office. Just take a quick snap in the Xero app and add them straight to Xero in seconds. Or if they come in by email, simply forward them on to your Xero account. No mess, no fuss, no paper – just a job well done!

3. You’ll look more professional and your reputation will soar.
A professional image is essential for securing new and repeat business. And Xero has a huge range of features to make almost every accounting task easier so you’ll be more streamlined, seamless and reliable. In just a few clicks you can even file your VAT and PAYE, which’ll keep HMRC onside. And connecting apps like PayPaliZettleStripeVend and CIN7 makes Xero even more versatile and powerful.

4. You’ll get paid quicker.
Import your bank statements straight into your Xero account to make reconciliation easier than ever. Then with a quick click from your dashboard to see who owes you money, you can immediately send them a reminder. You can raise professional invoices and quotes at the press of a button, and if you connect an app called Float (or outsource The Business Caddie to set you up a simple spreadsheet), that’s cashflow sorted too.

5. You’ll make more sense of the numbers.
Xero’s smart budget function helps demystify your accounts by quickly and smartly showing you where your forecasts differ from your actual spend and income. Combined with the at-a-glance dashboard, you can see in an instant how business is going and start making smarter decisions.

6. Your business will be in better shape.
You’ll have crucial, easy-to-understand information that’s bang up-to-date and right at your fingertips whenever you need it. You’ll be in total control of your incomings and outgoings. You’ll have a clear view on profit, loss and gross margin. So, wherever you are, whenever you want, you’ll be able to pin-point and troubleshoot potential problems and spot trends and opportunities as they happen – not just at year-end.

At The Business Caddie, we’re experts in Xero. So if you need help getting going, just get in touch. We’ll help you get to grips with its features and train you on ways to make it work best for you and your business.

You’ll be surprised by just how much fun you can have doing your accounts with Xero, and your business will thank you for it too. But if you’re short of time or need extra help that even Xero can’t provide, why not consider bookkeeping service, which is the ideal bridge between you, your accountant and Xero.