When it comes to streamlining your Field service business processes, there are two important parts of a complicated puzzle. How you bill customers and how your business does its accounting.
Accounting can be a massive pain for small businesses without in-house resources. Thankfully we have some new kids on the block shaking up the industry and making it easier for small businesses without a dedicated accounting team.
We are going to take a look at one of the biggest new players in cloud accounting: Xero accounting.
In comes Xero
Xero is a cloud based accounting system that has grown to be one of the largest in the world. With over 500,000 users**, the New Zealand-based software company now services most countries in the world. Their main markets being the USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
What is “cloud based”?
What do we mean when we talk about technology being in “the cloud”? It means, in simple terms, that the service you are accessing is available anywhere at any time on any device. An example of this is your online banking. In technical terms, your data is being stored and served to you from servers which can be housed anywhere. Thus eliminating the need for data to be stored in one location.
What’s the big problem with traditional accounting software?
Technology is moving at a rapid rate. We can think of many different reasons why cloud based accounting far outweighs traditional accounting programmes. We’ve listed some of the key reasons below
- You purchase a copy of traditional accounting software. Then you install it on a single computer in your office or at home. You have no way of accessing the data if you are not in that location.
- If you want to give the data to an accountant, they have to come to your office. This can be expensive and you might have to put the data on a USB stick or disk. Which is very insecure.
- Key people in your team cannot access the system at the same time. Reporting is time heavy.
- Its costly and time consuming to keep backups
- If rules or regulations change the software is not automatically updated
Why Cloud Accounting is great for field service businesses
Real time data: Xero gives you a clear overview of your current financial position, in real-time
Bank feeds: Bank feeds allow you to automatically import account transactions from your bank account into Xero on a daily basis. Setting up is really easy, and once live you will no longer have to manually import transactions into Xero again.
Get paid faster with electronic invoicing: Invoice customers electronically and get paid fast. You can also add the ability for customers to open your invoices electronically and make payment via debit or credit card.
Low cost: You can sign up for Xero for as little as £4 per month depending on the size of your business and what functions you need. There are no upfront costs and its free to trail for 30 days.
Work from anywhere on any device: Xero’s cloud based software gives you the ability to access and update data from anywhere – you could be at home, the office, on a mobile device, PC or on the beach!
Give key members of your team access: Provide access to the staff that need to see accounting information. You can also provide access to an in house or external accountant without them having to come on site and collect data. As a result, it’s also easy to limit what staff members see, as well as revoke access to any users from within your account.
Simple Payroll: Xero have fully integrated payroll for businesses with up to 200 staff members, so you can pay your staff directly via your accounting system. Xero connects fully with HMRC’s Real time submission (RTI) and you have the added ability to create P45’s and P60’s with the click of a button.
Automatic upgrades: Never have to worry about upgrading software again. Your software will update automatically, behind the scenes.
World class security: Lose your PC, laptop or smartphone no one can access your accounting data unless they have your login details. As a business owner, you may have some reservations about storing your data in the cloud, however this is one of the most secure ways to store your data with nothing being saved on your device. If you
Connect your accounting software to other Applications: Create the perfect business process by combining Xero with some of your favourite online tools. Xero have lots of add-ons which include payment providers, CRM’s, Email marketing, Job management and Field service management software.
How do I get started with Xero?
Start with Xero and sign-up for a free trial! You can do this by going to their Website. Once you have created your account you can test drive the system for 30 days free of charge. Subsequently, you may want to import some of your data into the software. (Link to template is below, in the useful links section)
Useful Xero Links
Videos & guides: www.xero.com/uk/tv
Training & events: www.xero.com/uk/training
Template for importing your data into Xero: https://help.xero.com/uk/BankAccounts_Details_ImportTransCSV** Data correct as of April 2016