The Latest Bookkeeping Software
Nowadays, the way small businesses can do their accounting has become much more varied. Previously many people would use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of their accounts, which could become time consuming and difficult.
To make accounting much easier, there is now online accounting software and apps which allow you to keep all your records in one place, with all information being stored in the cloud. There is a large choice of accounting software to choose from which means companies are working hard to make their software the best. We have previously reviewed two other accounting software: QuickFile and QuickBooks.
Here we will review the popular Xero accounting software and app, which is described as ‘the UK’s leading online accounting software’ on the website.
Xero is cloud based accounting software developed for small businesses. The aim is to enable business owners to keep track of all their accounts in one place. As the software is cloud based it can be accessed on the go from all devices (desktop, tablets and mobiles). The company has created an app which can be accessed via phone and tablet to make accounting quick and easy.
Xero offer a free 30 day trial so you can test out the software before subscribing. If you do choose to subscribe there are three options to cater for all requirements.
Signing up to Xero was fast, only requiring essential information such as name, company details and email address. When this was completed we arrived at the dashboard which contains important information such as invoices, bills and expenses. The user interface is basic but easy to navigate around. We reviewed the key features below.
At the top of the dashboard there is an option to add a bank account so that all your bank transactions can be imported. This is a simple process of entering the banks name and some essential bank details. Once the bank account is added all your transactions are automatically imported in Xero and it is constantly updated so you can keep track of your money.
We particularly liked the fact that you can also add credit cards and PayPal accounts to Xero as this means you can keep track off all transactions in one place.
Invoices and Bills
We found that Xero makes it extremely easy to manage your cashflow. You can create and send invoices in a few steps and you can allow clients to pay you online by accepting debit, credit card and Paypal payments. This is useful as it can make receiving payments a much quicker process.
Any upcoming bills can also be added and you can create recurring bills (every week, month, quarter etc). This is beneficial so as to not forget when payments are due.
The reports are always a great feature of accounting software. With Xero we had access to over 40 reports which we could view by simply pressing on the desired report. These reports can also be shared with others and can be edited if required.
Reports save a lot of time and are a good way for businesses to see how their company is performing. Choice of reports is brilliant on Xero with so many to select from.
Xero enables you to add a list of contacts to the software. But this feature is more than just an address book. Once contacts have been added you can view all the business you have conducted with each client/supplier.
Under each contact you can view: invoices awaiting payment, payments over the last 12 months, notes and emails correspondence (by connecting to an email account).
This is a real stand out feature as it allows you to view all the essential information you need for each contact.
Payroll is an optional feature which you have to pay extra for. It may prove very useful for some individuals. With payroll you can add employees, set up payment accounts, create payment dates on the calendar and add tax information. This means you can manage your payroll direct from Xero.
Pricing for payroll is £5 per month for up to five employees and £1 per month for each extra employee.
We found this accounting software to be well designed and have an array of extremely useful features. The software is easy to use on desktop and on the app. Accounts are managed in an organised, simple way allowing users to easily keep track of their income and expenses.
The app allows you to enter using touch ID on Apple devices or with a 4 digit code. This makes the app secure but faster to access which is a brilliant feature to have. The one slight disappointment with the app is that you cannot access all the features that are on the desktop version such as bills, reports and payroll. However, all the essentials can be accessed including dashboard, contacts, invoices and bank transactions. You can also take photos of expense receipts and add them to Xero via the app.
We would like to mention one stand out feature on the desktop software which is the video tutorials that are provided. When we came to adding a bank account and adding contacts, videos appeared on the screen which gave steps on how to complete the process. These were easy to follow and made the process a lot easier as we knew exactly what to do.
We did find the subscription prices (there are three options to choose from) to be slightly higher than competitors such as Quickbooks and Kashflow which is something to take into consideration when choosing which software to use.
For the ease of use, amount of features and the step by step videos this would be a definite contender for us. Although, other companies do offer accounting software with similar features for less.