The beauty of integrated apps

As you know I’ve just been on holiday. We stayed in 3 different towns/cities on the edge of the map! I had to download three different German maps to my satnav in order to drive a total of about 5 hours.

This made me think about how wonderful it is to use integrated applications for business (because I often think about my business when I’m not busy working in it!)

We are a Xero based firm so there are over 1,000 integrated apps available in the official app store and other unofficial ones too. The ones we use most are:

Gocardless – raise an invoice in Xero and it automatically collects the direct debits and matches the payment to the invoice so it saves bookkeeping time too.

Dext/Hubdoc – clients can scan/photograph/email invoices to upload them into Xero (also QBO or Freeagent) where they, or we, can do their bookkeeping. Dext is the most expensive but saves much more time with their OCR (optical character recognition) and machine learning changing the roll of the bookkeeper to checking rather than typing.

Clarity – this is a big hit with clients as we can help them to see their numbers in a simple format and decide how they want to grow their business. The software uploads the latest info from Xero (also Sage or spreadsheet) so that we can discuss the current situation and improvements. It then helps to prepare an action list for the client.

These are the most valuable integrations that we use. What do you have on your list?

Xero in your hand

As accountants we’re usually sat in front of a computer and use Xero that way.

But as a business owner I’m out and about working from all sorts of places and I love the Xero apps.

The main Xero app is great for uploading receipts for expenses. Just snap and code as you go. If I receive any invoices by email I can forward them to my Xero files email address and then finish off coding when I get a moment or when I get back to the office.

I can raise invoices on the go. If I’ve written an article for you on the train I will usually raise the invoice from my phone at the same time.

I can reconcile my bank each morning I’m away so that my clients don’t get automated chasing emails when they’ve just paid me by bank transfer, card, or direct debit.

But, most importantly of all, I can see my profit in my hand.

The other Xero app I use on my phone is Hubdoc. This is like Dext but free to Xero users and perfectly adequate for us or any client with lower volumes of invoices. It’s another snap and go app. If you can take a photo of your kids on your phone then you can use Hubdoc. We capture the receipt instantly before it gets lost and then do the coding later from a proper screen/keyboard.

Xero Go is a new app for small businesses. This has the same invoice upload functionality and bank rec but there is an additional charge for raising sales invoices. It suits small landlords or those with a separate invoicing system. As an accountant we can still help our small clients but they don’t need to pay for the full Xero package.

What other useful apps do you have on your phone?