Small businesses, bookkeepers, accountants – we’re all in the same boat when it comes to adopting new tech. We’re all business owners who want to find ways to serve our customers and clients faster and more efficiently. We can all identify an area of our business that is problematic, time-sucking, that needs to be looked at (at some point, in the future, next year… when there’s more time).
We’re not here to promote Xero and the App Ecosystem because it’s trendy. We’re sharing this with you because we’ve seen the transformative effect it can have on a business. At the heart of it, being able to take care of our customers and clients better, means taking care of ourselves too. We’re able to grow the kind of business we actually want to work in.
Recently Emma met with Jamie Eddy and Aleisha Fletcher, both Partner Consultants at Xero, to tell her story about how the app ecosystem changed her business and how it can change yours – especially if you’re feeling trapped doing things ‘the old way’.
Here are the highlights:
Xero + apps open up the possibility for more efficient and flexible working
Emma: I started with Xero as I wanted to find a different way of working, I had a young family so needed remote working and wanted to find a way that worked for me.
When we talk about the Xero App Ecosystem, we’re talking about all the apps that integrate with Xero. No matter your industry, or the type of help you’re after, there is an app to help you do business better. Xero has bundled all these apps together into a marketplace here.
Jamie: The App Marketplace is a great tool to see what apps surround Xero, look at ratings and useful info. Both parties involved in this process (app ecosystem) are benefitting. Businesses with an advisor grow 23% faster with net profit. When they start using cloud apps, that accelerates by a further 30%
Takeaway questions: Ask yourself, how do you want your business to work for you? How do you need your business to work for you?
Look at the app marketplace and think ‘What problem am I trying to solve?’
Emma: When I started my business, the app marketplace didn’t exist. I asked the question ‘what problem am I trying to solve? What is it I need to do? You don’t have to use an app just because it’s there.
Some advice: try and use the app in-house first to see how it works for you. On the app marketplace, you can learn from other people who’ve already been there and used the apps, and tried different things. We have a pub as a client whose biggest pain point was running staff payroll and timesheets. We looked at the problem they were trying to solve, implemented Deputy and suddenly they have a day a week back for the time they were spending on their admin.
There are 800 plus apps on the marketplace, so it can feel a little daunting going in and looking around. When you can identify the areas in which you need help – cash flow, project management, people management, payroll… you’re in a better place to identify the right app solution.
Takeaway questions: What problem are you trying to solve? What’s the sore point in your business? What’s stopping you from growing?
What is an app stack?
An ‘app stack’ simply means stacking apps on top or on either side of Xero. As Jamie says, it means choosing the right software for you – “not getting software drunk and ensuring that every app you have actually fits a purpose”.
Emma – We have a handful of apps we use for every client and extra apps that we use for some clients that aren’t essential. Think about what’s going to help your clients save time. Invest time in setting up the app and make sure it works properly. We are very process driven and majority of our clients use the same core apps. This means we are more efficient and it’s easier for our team as well, as everyone knows the process.
Aleisha – The Explorer tab in Xero HQ is really useful. It shows what apps are being used and will start recommending apps to you based on your industry. They have case studies, suggested apps, it’s a great cheat sheet.
Our appstack: Receipt Bank for data capture, Xero, Chaser for credit control, Float for cash flow forecasting.
This is our minimum appstack. Even though it costs money to have these apps, think about the value you are able to provide to your clients and customers because of these apps, and the additional services you may be able to build on because of them.
We absorb the cost of our basic appstack, because the alternative would be having to hire someone to do these processes manually.
Takeaway questions: Is there a skills gap in your business that can be filled by creating a stack of useful apps, rather than having to source an employee?
Having real time numbers must be the starting point
Emma – Having real time numbers is so important. Can you imagine logging into internet banking and seeing that it hasn’t updated in 60 days? How can you make any decisions based on that information? It’s the same thing with your business numbers. We should help our clients see how their business is doing, not how it’s done.
The apps in the Xero marketplace integrate with Xero, because your finances are the key to financial growth. In order to best manage your internal processes and people, and build a profit, you need up to date numbers at your fingertips.
Imagine trying to use a fitness tracker without any knowledge of your personal information – weight, height, activity level. The app will work, but it won’t be of any value – and it won’t make clear your personal growth.
Get started with better bookkeeping, and then let’s explore the ecosystem!
Want to listen to the whole conversation with Emma and the Xero team? Check it out here.
*Thanks to Xero for the app marketplace image