How Xero saved my marriage
If you’re a Canberra small business owner like me, chances are you’ve spent too many Friday evenings alone in the office, generating invoices. You need to send out invoices, sure. But if you’re using traditional accounting software like MYOB, it’s a time-consuming process.
What if there was a better way?
Times have changed. Technology has evolved. I got married, and my wife prefers to spend Friday nights with me, not alone on the couch while I work.
I’m not interested in working harder. I want to work smarter. I don’t want to copy and paste info from bank statements into my accounting software. It sounds easy, but it chews up a good chunk of my time.
Unlike MYOB, I need an accounting software product that is readily available on a mobile or PC. I don’t want to waste time on manual downloads or updates. I am tired of taking files to my accountant and discovering that MYOB data doesn’t match my bank statements. It’s a never-ending saga!
Then I discovered Xero. Now, instead of staying back late on the first Friday of every month, I have time to take my wife out to dinner. I can honestly say that Xero helped save my marriage. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Bank feeds
This is a fantastic feature. Xero integrates with your bank accounts to automatically pull in transaction information, which prevents double handling. You don’t need to re-enter information from your bank statement, saving countless hours every month. Xero and your bank accounts just talk to each other – in the same way that I wish I was Caesar Milan and could talk to my dog!
2. It’s cloud-based
When I used MYOB, downloading software updates and tax tables was a frustrating experience. Long wait times for customer service didn’t help my stress levels. In July 2016, I spent more than five hours resolving a single MYOB maintenance issue. As someone who has built a business around helping customers solve IT problems fast, this was far from acceptable.
On the other hand, Xero requires almost zero maintenance. Nil. Nada. None. Because it’s cloud-based, you don’t need to worry about upgrades or patches. I can access accounting information from anywhere on my smartphone or PC.
3. Online payments are easy
Xero makes it easy to accept and make payments online. You generate an invoice, send the link to your client, and they can choose to pay online by clicking the Pay Now button.
Xero also integrates with Canberra’s own online payment company, eWay. This partnership is particularly valuable, and a must for businesses that need strong cash flow.
4. No fuss integration
Integration with Xero is super straightforward. I’d guess that it can easily talk to thousands of predefined apps on the market. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Quotient App – Aruna at Anti Chaos Solutions recommended this tool to me. It’s an intuitive online quoting software for creating, sending and managing quotes. It integrates with Xero to take the hassle out of turning quotes into invoices.
- Zapier – Zapier automatically adds new Xero contacts and generates invoices when you perform certain triggers, like adding a new receipt, contact or invoice.
- Receipt Bank – Harry Hoang from Canberra accounting firm Tailored Accounts is a big fan of Receipt Bank. It’s a tool that simplifies expense management. If you take a client out to lunch, for example, you upload the receipt to the Receipt Bank app afterwards. Receipt Bank pulls out relevant information and turns it into a draft bill in Xero. This app saves some businesses several hours per week in data entry.
Xero, QuickBooks or MYOB?
Xero isn’t the only cloud-based accounting software product giving MYOB a run for its money. QuickBooks is also making serious inroads in this space. Like Xero, it has a good support channel too.
Whether you choose Xero or QuickBooks, one thing is clear. It’s too late for MYOB to release a stable cloud version of its accounting software. I’d say its odds of recapturing lost market share are low.
Every day I see and meet people who are moving to Xero. It has surely saved my marriage, as I’m no longer stuck at the office sending invoices and performing manual finance tasks.
When I spoke with Harry from Tailored Accounts in Canberra the other week, I was excited to learn how I can implement even more simple and robust solutions using Xero, including timesheets, receipts and more. I’m looking forward to exploring these options in coming weeks and months.
What IT services businesses can learn from Xero
Just like Xero saves time (and my marriage!), IT services firms should strive to do the same. At Technowand, for example, we specialise in helping you with the technical aspects of your business. We keep your IT running so you can focus on what really matters to you.
When you work with us, you’ll never spend hours figuring out what went wrong with your IT, and failing miserably. We take care of all of your problems. By the time Friday evening rolls around, you can wholeheartedly listen to your significant other’s problems instead of drifting off and thinking about yours.
In summary, I’d like to thank Xero for saving my marriage. I’m grateful for all the products and apps that make my life – and relationships – easier. Now, the challenge is to spend less time staring at screens and more time enjoying life. Will this happen or not? Only time will tell!