Not since FreeAgent finally made it possible to save Profit and Loss reports as a pdf have I had such a rush of renewed affection for an accounting programme.
Now don't misunderstand me, I think Xero is an amazing product that has forced the dinosaurs in the accounts software world to sit up and take notice.
The bank reconciliation function alone is tough to beat.
However as wonderful as it is; I have been driven to the end of my tether because basic functionality that you expect in an accounting programme was either missing or woefully inadequate.
It was like driving a beautiful Lamborghini but still having to wind the windows down manually.
So what was it that was grinding my gears? (for you Family Guy fans)
- No universal search function. Having to go the specific part of the program and search there, hoping you were in the right place. Try Supplier bills window, er no…. it must be under Account Transactions then, maybe???
- If you wanted to quickly see the state of account of a supplier, and the detail behind it in a single report? Good luck. The customer reports offered a little more, but not enough. I got tired of doing screen dumps and exporting to Excel for clients because the format of the accounts payable report only told part of the story.
- Clearing up unallocated customer money was painful if you didn't do it during bank reconciliations. Not because you couldn't easily edit a transaction; that part was fine. But often you ended up going round the houses to get the information you needed to verify the change in the first place.
- If a client made a mess of transactions in QuickBooks – Desktop or Online versions; they were fairly easy to spot and correct. But if it happened in Xero, I needed a stiff drink before venturing inside.
Consequently I would have browser tabs open all over the place so I could flick back and forth, back and forth.
I take it back
It seems that over the last few months; the powers that be in the world of Xero heard my cursing and pulled out the stops. (Ok, they could care less what I think, but the thought pleases me.)
Nevertheless, they have come out with a slew of added functionality and improvements that show why they continue to steal market share, and is a great example of listening to what the customer wants.
For the Bookkeepers and Accountants among you
- Payroll functionality to better assist with all the recent changes in payroll that we have been forced to keep up with. RTI, Auto-enrolment (pensions)
- More tools and resources to really streamline Practice Management and Client Management for accountants
- The Files section for Document Management Storage and Integration is continually being enhanced. Though not brand new, love the ability to create a transaction from the document within the Files folder.
- The long overdue “Find and Recode” facility. Universal search – Amen!
- Additional ways to assess business performance based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and Financial Ratios
- And updates to their Cash Coding tool for reconciling downloaded and imported bank transactions. In fairness, it was already a great tool, but you had to be careful where you clicked sometimes. But this update has addressed that and made it even better. I am in awe of the speed at which you can get through a backlog of client data.
That was not all the changes, but they were the ones that caught my attention.
And for the business owners (and I must admit ME too)
- A host of new Invoice Reports so you can see details about sales and purchase invoices without having to go into the invoice every time.
- And I am salivating over the Aged Receivables and Aged Payables Details reports. I could point out that these are standard issue in an accounts program. But I would hate to be accused of being petty. Only those that know the painstaking hours spent unraveling the work of months of data coded to the wrong accounts could possibly understand.
- Xero has also added more banks to the list whose bank feeds can be enabled within the software. Notably Santander Bank.
Some of the recent updates and additions have not been major, but when you put them together in the time span, it is quite impressive.
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