How Xero could save you money and help grow your business

If you want a more efficient business with lower overheads and clearer management information, the answer is Xero

BookCheck helps customers grow through clever bookkeeping and management reporting – and its expertise at moving customers to the next generation of accounting software is proving to be transformational for the businesses it works with.

A whole new sister company, BookCheck X Ltd, is being launched to deliver the specialist service of migrating businesses accounts to the industry-leading cloud-based Xero platform, which the Five Valley’s firm says will save businesses money, remove IT issues and deliver better management information, too.

Why is Xero BookCheck’s preferred accounting software for clients?

We grew up with Sage software from 27 years ago, but it’s had its day. In our opinion Xero is quite simply the best accounting software for our clients – and for BookCheck. That’s why we decided some years ago to be exclusively Xero, apart from a few clients left on Sage that we would expect to migrate.

As well as being easy for clients to understand and use, it’s naturally very efficient and time saving for them – having things such as automatic feeds of information from banks. There is a great list of useful features inbuilt.

In addition, Xero add-ons (apps) provide a massive range of complementary help, such as order processing; stock control; linking to web sales; payment systems; credit control and debt chasing; expenses; forecasting and more. In fact, there are 1,000 add-ons to choose from.

Being exclusive to Xero enables our whole team to be totally focused and fully trained, rather than being spread thinly across multiple platforms – so we’re significantly more efficient and cost less.

What are the key advantages of moving a business to Xero?

In short, significantly lower staff costs and it’s much easier to use. Xero costs only about £30 per month, which is really nothing. The staff cost savings can be substantial as it automates many processes, such as a manual bank reconciliation. It would not be unusual to save say £10,000 to £15,000 per annum, plus benefiting from much quicker and easier to obtain information.

A key benefit is that Xero is cloud-based and it works really easily. There are no IT issues affecting its use, compared with likely problems with other accounting software, including Sage cloud.

Access to Xero add-ons can literally transform a business, at the very least significant efficiencies will be achieved. We have one client whose turnover has quadrupled in the last two years. It simply would not have been possible to cope on the old Sage system, at least not without a huge increase in staff costs.

Now the critical Xero add-ons for complex stock control, production and order processing are at the hub of the company’s systems, with a whole range of staff interfacing. This massive improvement will be worth some tens of thousands per annum in cost savings.

A not-so-obvious benefit is that, quite simply, the whole business just feels an awful lot better using good systems and software. It reduces stress and simply makes everyone feel in control – that’s worth a lot.

How long and involved is the process of migrating a company’s accounts and can businesses expect a smooth transition?

The migration moves all the accounting data such as full details of the sales ledger and all the transactions for years past. The task varies from fairly straightforward to complex and demanding.

If it’s not handled properly then problems and errors will be caused. It’s false economy not to handle this one-off task professionally. The actual migration will take a very short period, like a few days. BookCheck will handle the whole process to a clear timetable and that will definitely be smooth, as it always is in our experience.

Will a company’s staff need lots of training to cope with the new system going forward?

No. Xero is very intuitive and easy for clients to learn and use. It’s lovely software, designed for non-accounting trained users. Surprisingly it’s fun to use, too. We will naturally support and train clients on their Xero work, it’s very straightforward.

BookCheck has just launched a stand-alone business, BookCheck X Ltd (MAD – Migration & Add-on Developments). Why is that?

The new company is exclusively focussed on just two services that we call MAD: Migration to Xero and assistance with Add-on Development.

On the migration side, we handle the whole task of moving all the accounting data from any system to Xero. Often this is tricky and demanding, but as we do everything, the client doesn’t need to worry.

Add-ons are like apps on an iPhone. They are extra features which plumb into Xero. This includes stock control and order processing going beyond the basic Xero. Other examples are purchase invoice processing; paying suppliers; credit control and debt chasing; processing of expense claims; forecasting and so on.

All add-ons improve efficiency – some massively and some are transformative. Our role is to check the client’s specific requirements then shortlist maybe three options, together with a summary of pluses and minuses. Then we assist the client in making a decision.

We then onboard the add-on data and plumb it into Xero. Sometimes the client assists with this workload but mostly we handle the whole task.

How future proof is Xero? How will it cope with a fast-growing business – and will a company’s preferred accountants will be familiar with the technology and onside with the move?

Some sceptics, including some qualified accountants, wrote off Xero as ‘only good enough for the corner shop’. How wrong they are – and worse, as it’s denying benefits to be gained.

We have clients of £20 million turnover using it without restriction. Accountants generally will have no problem at all with Xero. It’s very quickly taking over from what was the market leader, Sage.

What is clear is that the only important party to consider in this choice is the business, not the accountant.

How COVID has strengthened further the business case for outsourcing Bookkeeping

The COVID pandemic has had a dramatic affect on many aspects of our daily lives. For businesses though some aspects of these changes are likely to have a lasting impact and may even become a new type of business as usual. In this blog we look at the arguments for why COVID has made the arguments in favour of outsourcing bookkeeping even stronger than pre-COVID.

The challenges of shifting from an office based role to Hybrid working or working from home.

The ease at which businesses have been able to adapt to hybrid or home working has varied greatly from business to business. Some firms didn’t have the technology in place to facilitate this, the quality of supervision and quality control / oversight varied greatly. These difficulties would be a problem for any role, but when it is in a crucial area such as finance and an area like bookkeeping then it can threaten the very existence of the business itself. Inaccurate information, failing to meet HMRC deadlines, losing a grip on cashflow and debtors, are all possible consequences. Outsourcing alleviates these concerns as it is the outsourcing organisation’s responsibility to ensure that none of these problems occur.

Over reliance on one person or a small team

Many businesses don’t have the luxury of a large finance team, relying instead on one person or a small team. When this person or a key part of a team is ill or the productivity, quality or accuracy of their work suffers, then it can quickly impact on the business. With an outsourced solution they have the responsibility of maintaining business as usual when somebody is off ill on holiday and their management structure will ensure service levels are maintained at the required level.

Difficulties in retaining staff or recruiting replacements

COVID has made it even more important that businesses retain key staff and where this is not possible recruiting has become more difficult than ever. Businesses that outsouce their bookkeeping don’t have this headache as it becomes the responsibility of the outsourced provider.

Wage inflation pressures

Labour shortages in many areas is leading to upward pressure on wages. For some businesses wages have had to be increased to improve the chance of retaining staff. For other firms they have found they have had to increase wages to attract recruits for vacant roles. With an outsourced solution these pressures have to be handled by the outsourced service provider.

COVID has sharpened the focus on the need for understanding a businesses performance and quality management information

Understanding how a business is performing, particularly around areas like debtor days and the relative profitability of different products or services has always been vitally important. A crisis such as a pandemic makes this even more important and can quite literally be the difference between a businesses failure or survival.

BookCheck are experts and specialists at providing outsourced booking with management information and payroll services. BookCheck can provide an extensive list of references that are testament to the quality and the reliability of their services. If you would like to find out more about BookCheck’s services or you would like to contact our team to find out how we can help then you can visit our website