20 February 2014

Xero - "accounting in the cloud".  Is it really "beautiful software"?


You may have heard of Xero or one of their competitors – being promoted as the new generation of accounting software.  Indeed they are undertaking a significant advertising campaign at the moment.


Without getting too involved in the details, the advantages of using Xero are claimed to include:

            -  no need to upgrade programs (they do this for you)
            -  no need to keep software backups (they do this for you - although note certain constraints here, covered below)
            -  able to access the software from any device that has access to the internet (e.g. lying on a deck chair in a resort in Bali)
            -  automated bank feeds - sending bank data direct to the software for easy reconciliation
            -  additional features on a regular basis
            -  economical charges (on a per company file basis)
            -  a
number of automation aspects to make accounting easier, and lots of "partners" who have add-ons that can also automate many functions.

With all things, there are always disadvantages (either real or potential).  These could include:

            -  loss of access when the internet goes down
            -  l
oss of ability to restore to a prior period (e.g. if the data gets corrupted for any reason.  Note that you can work around this with data exports on a regular basis)
            -  a
relatively immature product compared to e.g. MYOB

We have taken the time to become familiar with Xero and, in fact, are converting our own practice accounting to the software.  Our experience is that, similar to all significant changes, there are some teething issues and a time investment.  However our conclusion is that the benefits outweigh this initial investment.


We have also been involved with a number of client conversions from QuickBooks and MYOB to Xero – so have built up some expertise in this area.


Xero have advised that they will be offering some form of free conversion assistance between April and June 2014.  So if you would like to consider this option, as well as the overall benefits of a change, please call and we will be happy to discuss and share our experiences.


* * * *
This Newsletter, of necessity, has dealt with matters of a technical nature in general terms only. Clients should contact us for detailed information on any of the items in the Newsletter. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting in reliance upon any material in this Newsletter can be accepted by any member or employee of the firm.

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