There are 700 different applications that hook up with Xero — it's overwhelming. How can we know which Xero apps are best for your business?
Making the right choice can help streamline your business. Making the wrong choice can lead to spending half of your life entering data (not to mention the mess which results in your Xero account).
In this blog, we're covering why you'd use an app, what we use in our businesses, and how we make recommendations on what apps our customers use. Finally, we're covering what you should use in your business.
Why use a Xero app?
When we're working a customer to help them increase their performance, we focus on what we call the Six Pillars. The Six Pillars work together to:
- Improve your bottom line
- Increase the value of your business
- Reduce the reliance on you as the business owner
The pillars are Process, Planning, People, Data, Sales and Marketing. Here's how they relate to each other:
Xero's add-on apps can improve the performance of your business in all of the Six Pillars.
To demonstrate — recently, we started working with a new business owner. Her biggest hurdle was not having enough cash. She had a wildly profitable business, but no cash in the bank (and a significant overdraft).
At first glance, it appeared like she just had slow-paying customers. When we dug a little bit deeper, however, and it turned out she had:
- Staff who turned work around slowly;
- Little planning on how much stock they should keep on hand; and
- No data on which which stock would sell the quickest (beyond her gut feeling)
She also found it difficult to chase slow-paying customers. This is usual — most of us don't like offending people, and don't want to risk losing them as customers.
The slow payers we only a small part of the problem. Cashflow would largely take care of itself if she could:
- Lower stock levels;
- Prioritize quick moving stock;
- Get jobs out the door more quickly; and
- Get terms of trade signed by customers with explicit, and discussed, payment terms
There's not any one factor in isolation — they all combine to create the poor cashflow. Each factor can in turn be resolved through a Xero add-on app. For example:
- Projects can give visability of jobs on the go, and in turn get them out quicker
- DebtorDaddy can collect cash quicker
- Unleashed gives visability on inventory and stock levels
- Harvest makes it easy to record time, and in turn make you record more time
- Fergus makes it easy to manage job sheets
If you're not convinced how Xero apps can help your business, here are three more reasons...
1. Unlock growth
By connecting their Xero accounts to the right apps, small businesses can unlock profit and efficiency within their business. A recent study showed that businesses who use apps will grow revenue 30% faster than those who do not (2016 Xero Study).
2. Boost efficiency
Xero's apps help small businesses increase productivity and, because they share information seamlessly with Xero, data entry is taken care of. You'll get an up-to-date view of your business from a single platform that’s accessible anywhere.
Using apps allows businesses to easily scale up their operations and grow rapidly, because the technology does the heavy lifting. You'll have a platform for success from day one.
Which Xero apps we use
We're 100% cloud based, and always has been —our business has grown from the ground up in the cloud. This has given us access to helpful data on our business, and how we can drive it forward.
Below a selection of some of the Xero apps we love, and which help drive our entire business. We're not covering the non-Xero apps we use — more on those another day.
Xero Payroll — Simple payroll for consistent wages and staffing levels.
eWay — Make it easy for people paying by credit card, and pass the cost on.
Zapier — Connects anything which doesn't connect to Xero.
DebtorDaddy — Get paid more quickly, and delegate the awkward calls chasing payment.
Spotlight — Understand how cashflow is tracking in real time.
ReceiptBank — Paperwork is no fun. This takes the pain away.
uCollect — Remove the admin from direct debiting your customers.
PowerBI — Dashboard reporting and insights from your Xero account.
In short, we have an app for every area of our business.
There are also apps for people (Trello), processes (OneNote), planning (WorkflowMax), sales (Process Street), data (Xero) and marketing (AutoPilot).
Each app is then connected back to Xero, and to each other (via Zapier - which acts like a pipe sending data between each App, like the pipe from the water mains on the street to the tap in your kitchen).
The connections give us an insight into each area of our business, alongside the context from other areas of our business. So, if turnover is down, we need to know how our sales are performing, and if jobs are being completed on time. The connections give us that context.
How to decide which Xero apps are right for your business...
We'll help you decide which apps are best for you in Getting the most from Xero: Part III.
As always, if you would like any personalised advice on Xero and Xero add-ons, please get in touch with one of our advisors today.
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