They say that a poor workman, blames his tools.
With software fast becoming an integral part of the bookkeeping profession, it is becoming increasingly important that you are able to use your chosen accounting software to the highest level.
Doing so, ensures you can consistently demonstrate your bookkeeping skills and business acumen in the best possible light to either your clients or your employer.
Over the years, we’ve worked with both businesses and bookkeepers who are new to Xero as well as those who are already up and running. The clear majority of them love Xero as much as we do. However, this isn’t always the case.
Some bookkeepers who are new to Xero tell us that it’s making their job take longer. Others feel that Xero isn’t a complete package and they miss certain functionalities. In every single instance, it hasn’t been Xero’s fault. It has actually been down to poor training and a lack of support.
Understand Xero better
Because Xero is so loved by so many bookkeepers, there are a lot of blogs and soundbites out there which sing its praises.
Taken in isolation, we wouldn’t be surprised if some of you expected Xero to walk into your office and do the bookkeeping for you. And all within 5 minutes.
But it is still an accounting software. It still needs to be learnt and the tricks taught. You still need to ensure that it is set up correctly. And whilst it can make your job considerably easier when all this is done, it is not a bookkeeper replacement. You still need to be a great bookkeeper to get the best results.
Ensure Xero is set up correctly
Starting at the beginning, you need to ensure that your Xero account has been set up correctly.
If you are starting from scratch, then this could just be setting up the bank feeds and reviewing settings and the chart of the accounts. For others, you may need to request a year-end trial balance from your accountant and make sure that the conversion balances are inputted.
For those who are having SAGE 50 or QuickBooks transactions converted and pulled into Xero, our top tip is to thoroughly review that information first and be confident that it is correct. Poor SAGE 50 data is going to convert into poor Xero data. Using a different accounting software will not improve anyone’s past bookkeeping efforts.
This is why we always ensure that our client’s bookkeeping is clean and tidy before we move them over to Xero. We talk about this process in more detail in our case study with The Distillery, which you can read here.
Undergo Xero training and have access support
Because bookkeeping in its entirety is so vast, most bookkeepers learn as they do.
This makes absolute sense as, for example, there is little point investing the time into learning how to integrate and reconcile a Stripe account, until you have a client who needs you to be able to do this.
The result is that learning how to bookkeep is an ongoing and never-ending process. Learning how to use Xero is no different.
We see time and time again, bookkeepers who undertake the Xero certification and think that is it. However, Xero, as a product, is continually evolving and that alongside your own personal development, means that regular training and access to ongoing support is essential.
Even if you are an in-house bookkeeper, the same method should apply. The business that you work for will be constantly making small shifts and seeking better and more efficient work processes, so keeping your Xero knowledge up to date will ensure that the bookkeeping systems work alongside this.
At Fresh Financials, we love working in partnership with in-house bookkeepers to create accounting systems that really work. We cover an example of this in our Zetteler case study which you can read here.
Explore Xero’s app selection and integrations
To get the very best from Xero, you need to understand what it can and can’t do.
Xero has never been a one size fits all accounting software, no matter how much it can do.
Once you are confident on Xero and believe that you are using it to its full potential, the next stage is often to reach out and explore the various apps that, if used correctly, can supercharge its efficiencies and capabilities.
As an example, you can take photos of receipts and create expenses reports within Xero. So, if your business or your clients need this functionality, then Xero can do this. However, integrate Receipt Bank and you’ll halve the time and effort this task takes.
We run through our 5 favourite Xero software apps in this blog, which will help to get you started.
Ready to start using Xero to the best of your ability?
As Xero experts, we constantly get asked questions from both in-house bookkeepers and those who run their own bookkeeping businesses, about Xero.
As a result, we have decided to create Fresh Bookkeepers, to enable us to really help fellow bookkeepers with their Xero training and provide the ongoing support that the Xero certification just doesn’t offer.
We’ve decided to create a monthly support and training package as well as offering one-off ask me anything sessions so there is help available for every budget and situation.
So, it doesn’t matter whether you are in the process of moving your bookkeeping business over to Xero, or have an employer who wishes to invest in you and your training, we will be there to support you on your Xero journey.
So, if you would like to begin to use Xero better, you can find out more about Fresh Bookkeepers here.