Here at Fresh Financials, we have fallen deeply in love with cloud accounting software. Xero online accounting is the financial bedrock on which our whole approach to modern bookkeeping is based – and what we love about Xero more than anything is the huge ecosystem of cloud solutions (or Xero Add-ons) that you can integrate into your business system.
Whether it’s speeding up your quotation process, or managing your project workflow more efficiently, there’s a Xero Add-on out there that does the job. But with well over 400 Add-ons out there to choose from, how do you know which cloud tools to choose?
To give you a solid foundation for your financial management, we’ve picked our top three Xero Add-ons, and given you the lowdown on how they’ll help your business get on top of its numbers.
Bear in mind that setting these up on your own may seem simple, but in our experience you will get the greatest results when you get some expert support to ensure they are set up and integrated properly. Talk to us about that if you need help.
Receipt Bank – Smart-scanning and data management
Receipt Bank is a Xero Add-on and mobile app that allows you to quickly take a photo of your receipts, expenses and paperwork and then magically scan the data straight into Xero (fairies are involved, we’re reliably told).
It’s a central storage space that pulls all your documents (and the associated data) straight into your Xero accounts. As soon as you upload a receipt, we can start the expenses process. So it’s easy and it’s quick. And, crucially, with your paperwork being scanned in automatically, you get totally real-time numbers in Xero, with all your recent transactions included – making bank reconciliation a breeze.
And once you’ve scanned that receipt or invoice, you don’t even need the paperwork anymore. That document is backed up in three different places: in Receipt Bank, in Xero and in our own Fresh Financial back-up.
You can make Receipt Bank as complex, or a simple, as you want. Every business is different, so it’s possible to set up rules for each of your suppliers and even record the credit cards they use so the whole process is speeded up. Wherever possible, you can streamline and automate your financial input processes – saving you hours of extremely tedious keying in!
Receipt Bank also keeps you in the loop. If you’re automating your expense process, Receipt Bank tells you many receipts were published to Xero and is constantly giving you information and updates – and that’s a huge bonus when you need to follow an audit trail back to locate a particular document.
As the market leader in data management, and probably the favourite Add-on among Xero users, we think you’d be mad not to use Receipt Bank.
Chaser – Automated credit control and debtor chasing
Credit control is so important to the financial health of your business. With Chaser, there’s no need to dread it – just get on top of those outstanding debts.
Chaser is automated credit control, but with a human feel to it. Once plugged into Xero, Chaser sends out tailored, personalised chaser emails as soon as a customer invoice becomes overdue. It speeds up payment, it saves your team hours of chasing time and it gives your cash flow a nice boost too.
If you’ve ever had to call a late-paying customer to chase an outstanding invoice, you’ll know how awkward those conversations can be. With Chaser, you eliminate those awkward calls and help to preserve a great relationship with your customer.
It takes five minutes to set up Chaser. You integrate it with Xero and then write out the email templates your want Chaser to send. It’s your words, your style and your personal touch – just improved with the efficiency of automation.
And remember the golden rule of credit control: polite, persistence gets you paid!
For a small business, with limited resources, Chaser’s a massive time saver. It helps to keep you focused on tidy invoicing processes, while taking all the hard graft out of chasing any late payers – what’s not to like, eh?
CrunchBoards – Cloud reporting and forecasting
If you’ve ever tried to produce a financial forecast in an Excel spreadsheet, you’ll know how fiddly, time-consuming and (ultimately) ineffectual it can be.
CrunchBoards is a cloud-based Xero Add-on that delivers real-time reporting and forecasting for your business – and delivers these forecasts not in cold, dry numbers but with colourful, graphically engaging charts and data visualisations.
It’s forecasting for people who hate boring numbers – and, in our experience, that’s a large number of entrepreneurs and business owners
CrunchBoards integrates directly with your Xero accounts, and pulls all your financial data straight through into its reporting and forecasting engine. No keying in numbers, no fiddling around with complex Excel formulas and no hours spent trying to create the most basic of pie charts – you can forget about the spreadsheets and use CrunchBoards data visualisations to REALLY see the future story of your business. [link to June blog 2 – What story is your bookkeeping telling you?]
Your forecasts and KPIs can be pulled into discreet ‘boards’ that gather data together on sales, purchases, revenues and even non-financial data like the number of hits to your website, or recent followers on social media accounts.
You can design your main CrunchBoards dashboard to report on anything – you’re not just limited to baseline numbers. You could look at the cost per lead, or compare forecasted sales figures against the month’s actuals – whatever you want to do.
And it’s amazing for scenario planning and posing those all-important ‘What if…?’ questions. Take the core data you want to work with, and project the numbers forward to try out different scenarios, different plans and different models.
With CrunchBoards plugged into Xero, you can report on anything you want – so it’s definitely time to wave goodbye to Excel.
Talk to us about finding the right Xero Add-ons for you
Every business will have different financial needs, and different challenges that its industry throws in the way. But the sheer number of Xero Add-ons out there means whatever business you’re in, there’s almost certainly an Add-on that’s tailored to solve your particular issue.
Talk to us about implementing these core three Add-ons – or explore more about them now!