Here at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we are all about giving you that one priceless gift back, TIME! It’s the one thing that we never seem to have enough of, and the one thing that we always waste lots of, especially when it comes to admin tasks. Learning about a new piece of software can be daunting and can take time. So to give you some of that time back, we’re here to show you exactly how to use Xero as a time saving device. Discover some of our very best Xero tips and tricks for making this incredible software really work for you and your business.
1. Use Direct Bank Feeds
Almost all banks now have the ability to connect to Xero directly, and this is called a Direct Bank Feed. Natwest, Barclays, Santander, Lloyds, HSBC, Paypal and some online banks such as Starling allow their account holders to upload information from the banking system straight into your Xero software. This can be done as often as you like, you are in complete control of it. From here you can also set up bank rules which streamlines everything even more.
Using Direct Bank Feeds means no more typing in manual transactions, which means less time bookkeeping and MORE time for you!
2. Set up repeating invoices
Almost all our clients pay us on a monthly basis. The amount is the same every month, so we use the Repeating Invoice template to cut down on the amount of time spent invoicing out. This will also work on invoices that YOU pay every month, for example, window cleaning. This is usually the same amount every month, and when your bank feed is connected, Xero will automatically want to match the payment to that Repeating Invoice amount. If the person paying you/person you are paying is the same every month but the amount changes, Xero can be set so that you can edit the amounts BEFORE they go out. More time back for you!
3. Keep track of your debtors
You can use Invoice Reminders in Xero if one of your clients has not paid their invoice to you. You can tailor the email that is sent to your client so it’s a little more personal too.
4. Make bulk payments
Anything you can do in bulk will ultimately save you time somewhere. If you are responsible for and/or know what all the payments to suppliers are for and you are comfortable that you can pay all of the invoices you are entering on to the system, then do it all in bulk!
This also works very well if you have an assistant who might be entering the supplier invoices on (potentially using an add-on like Receipt Bank) and you have to approve the invoice.
5. Invest in some add-ons
Xero as it is, on its own, will work tremendously for you and your business. It will even take some of the work away from you which is always a bonus. However, if you have a lot of receipts, expenses or a lot of debt to chase, then adding an app can give you so much MORE time back.
At Kirkwood Wilson, we use Receipt Bank for expenses and Chaser for credit control. We’ve been using these add-ons for a long time now, and the difference is incredible. Credit control used to take us at least 2 days a week, now we can have it all done in 1 afternoon, sometimes less.
6. Set up your system properly at the start
If you populate as many fields as possible and set the system up as well as you can right at the very beginning, you’re going to be able to do a lot more with it. There are so many different types of reports that you can access to help run your business, but you need to have the information in there to start with. You can also build your own reports (which we’ve also done here at KWA).
Helping you learn how to use Xero
As Xero Gold Partners, we’re well versed in getting our clients set up with Xero. If you need a hand getting started with Xero, or want to talk to us about any of the Xero tips and tricks listed here, get in touch with one of our Xero Champions today who’d be delighted to show you exactly how to use Xero. Call us on 01704 546 000 or email [email protected] .
Cloud accounting has been growing in popularity for a long while, but with the restrictions on travel, face-to-face meetings and consultations, its benefits have turned into necessities for many businesses. The efficiencies gained and user-friendly experience offered by cloud-based accounting are now recognised widely as the future for all businesses. Find out more about cloud accounting and its advantages below.
How does cloud accounting work?
Accountancy desktop software has been used by businesses for almost as long as desktop PCs have been in circulation, providing electronic means of storing, accessing and reporting on data electronically. The difference with cloud accounting is that the accounting software is hosted on remote servers and accessed via the internet.
What are the benefits of cloud accounting?
There are a whole range of benefits to using cloud accounting services and software. Because the data is stored remotely and all the functions of the application are performed on the server side (‘in the cloud’), employees in other departments or locations can access the same data at the same time on the same version of the software. Additionally, the software provider is responsible for backing up the data and maintaining the software, so the worry of your data being safe and backed-up is removed, as is the need for time and money spent on software updates.
Why is cloud accounting good for business?
Businesses of all sizes, types and locations use cloud accounting, and for good reason: it is more reliable, easier to use, more cost effective and more efficient than traditional options. Added to that HMRC’s requirement for all business finances to be digitised, it makes perfect sense that cloud accounting is the chosen solution. Here are some of those reasons in more detail:
- Reliability: any software which is cloud-based takes away the need for you to spend time ensuring that you are using the latest version, downloading and updating the package and paying to apply security fixes. All of this is taken out of your hands and is the responsibility of the software provider. Added to that you can rest assured that your data is always backed up and available to you anytime, anywhere.
- Ease of use: cloud accounting software can be used at your convenience, on any device, in any location provided you have access to the internet. In terms of flexibility, that takes some beating! Added to this the fact that APIs allow most packages to integrate with other systems that you work with (including your bank) to pull in relevant information, the need for manual uploads and keying in information is removed. Finally, most cloud-based accounting software comes with a range of extremely useful ‘off the shelf’ reporting tools, allowing you to view data in almost any configuration and providing you with helpful business insights in real time.
- Cost effective: cloud accounting packages come under the umbrella of ‘software as a service’, this means that you don’t have to buy and renew your own individual licences. The monthly subscription cost includes all software updates (handled remotely) and data storage.
- Efficiency: collaboration is a critical feature of cloud accounting. A colleague working in a different office or from home can access any information they need and discuss the detail with someone else looking at that same data, and expenses can be uploaded remotely by individuals as they spend and travel, rather than having to receive paper copies and do this manually. Access levels can be applied depending on the user’s authority and clearance level. Finally, your accountant can be given access to this same software to work remotely on it, assist you with any queries and provide you with timely advice, helping you to grow your business while you work.
What is the best cloud accounting software?
There are a range of cloud accounting software options on the market. Some of the more common ones include:
One of the original cloud accounting providers, QuickBooks is often chosen by freelancers and small businesses because of the package options available at a basic level. The reporting and monitoring tools are great, and there is the option to download and reconcile transactions. The drawback of QuickBooks is that there is a limitation on the number of users, and it doesn’t allow for barcode scanning.
A popular choice for all sizes of business, Xero has excellent functionality when it comes to invoicing, payroll, inventory and expenses. With apps for iPhone and Android it is super mobile friendly, and includes some quirky features such as a car mileage tracker and the facility to quote projects and then track profitability. With very few drawbacks, the only minor complaint is that the starter pack limits the number of transactions per month.
Sage is extremely well known as a desktop accounting package for small businesses. This can now be upgraded to a cloud-based account but the solution is more of a hybrid than a solely cloud accounting option. The main differentiating feature of Sage is that it integrates with Office 365. Because of the longevity of the software, Sage has quite a complex set of tools and may not be the best option for sole traders and simpler business structures.
Cloud accounting with a local accountants you can trust
If you would like to learn more about how cloud accounting could work with your business to provide some of the benefits revealed in this article, get in touch with Kirkwood Wilson for a more in-depth discussion on 01704 546 000 or email [email protected].
Moving away from manual accounting practices, miscellaneous receipts, and excel spreadsheets can be a daunting task. However, getting up to date with the era of digitalisation, will not only make your business compliant with HMRC ‘Making tax digital’ (MTD) initiative but, can also reap numerous benefits for your business. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are specialists in digital accounting and are here to take you through the benefits of digital accounting and explain how our expertise can benefit your business today!
What is digital accounting?
As of April 2019, all VAT registered businesses over the taxable turnover threshold of £85,000 were required to keep digital tax records and submit VAT returns via MTD compliant software. This initiative prompted a roll out of digital accounting software and a surge of online cloud accounting systems. HMRC also advised that companies that earn below the VAT threshold can also sign up for MTD for VAT voluntarily, as it would soon be a requirement for all businesses.
Digital Accounting provides the opportunity to transition your business away from manual bookkeeping to keeping all of your business’s financial information in an electronic format. Digitising your accounts will get you ahead of the game and will make tax returns, invoicing, and making payments a much simpler task.
At Kirkwood Wilson, we are a Xero gold partner and experts in Xero online. Xero is an online, cloud accounting system and also compliant with MTD. We are also experts in Sage and QuickBooks, so we can help you make the best decision about which software is most suitable for your business.
So, what are the benefits of digitising your accounts?
- Streamline your business processes
- Increased reliability – digital accounting allows you to keep your data secure
- Suitable for all businesses and industries.
Streamline your business processes
Manual accounting practices always involve a risk of human error and it is virtually impossible to store financial information in one place. This becomes a struggle when it comes to compiling a report or financial summary.
A digital accounting system will store your all of your information in one place, which gives your business access to real time financial data; from cash flow to balance sheets in a few clicks.
Xero online will provide you and your employees with instant access to your finances from any location and any time, as long as you have access to an internet connection. It can also provide daily summaries of your finances, send invoices, track projects, and so much more, saving you valuable time to focus on other business operations.
Increased reliability – keeping your data secure
Digitising your accounts and using an MTD compliant online accounting system will offer more reliability than manually handling paper documents in a filing cabinet. In the event that your business’s financial information goes missing, there will be no need to worry after digitising your accounts and years of financial information won’t be lost in a flash.
With digital accounting you can backup your data securely, meaning that all information is stored in a remote location and can be retrieved any time of the day.
Suitable for all businesses and industries
Of course if you are under the taxable threshold of £85,000, you might be hesitant or not see the urgency to digitise your accounts, as the April 2019 deadline did not apply to you.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that digitising your accounts will move your business into the 21st century, allowing you to focus on your core operations. In addition with HMRC’s mission to be “one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world”, it won’t be long until your tax returns will be required to be digitalised.
Additionally, we understand that it is important for businesses with numerous departments to be interlinked and up-to-date with key financial information. With paper-based accounting, it can be a timely process updating all departments on the latest financial reports. With online accounting software, any stakeholder, with access rights, can access financial information, leading to fluidity throughout your business.
How can Kirkwood Wilson help in making your accounts digital?
As experts in digital accounting, we can offer you expert advice about Xero online cloud accounting system. One of our experts can talk you through the range of benefits that Xero has to offer. We can also advise, how best to integrate digital accounting practices within your business and how to make you HMRC Making Tax Digital compliant.
Not only do we specialise in Xero, here at Kirkwood Wilson we understand that online accounting systems can be daunting, especially with the varied options and platforms available. We also offer training in QuickBooks and Sage to help you decide on the best approach to digitising your accounts.
To find out more about digital accountancy or enquire about our digital accounting services including Xero, Sage and QuickBooks training, contact Kirkwood Wilson today Call 01704 546 000 or email [email protected].
It is a common misconception that cloud-based accounting isn’t the safest method of storing your data. Many people are anxious about the security risks that may be encountered if you partake in online accounting. The term ‘cloud accounting’ is simply the phrase used to describe the online servers used to store your sensitive accounting data. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we’re here to ease any cloud accounting worries you may have.
Worried about cloud security risks? No need!
Instead of utilising traditional accounting methods, such as storing your information on a hard drive or USB, cloud accounting is the perfect method of digitising your financial data whilst also ensuring the security of such information. If you take a moment to consider these traditional accounting methods, you may realise how susceptible they are to being lost, misplaced, or even stolen. You’ll be happy to hear that these factors are not an issue if you utilise cloud accounting.
By investing in cloud-based accounting software, even if your laptop was stolen, all of your sensitive financial data would be automatically stored and backed up without interference or panic. Additionally, and even more reassuringly, no one could access your cloud-based accounting software without your secure login details and password.
The perks of cloud-based accounting software
Many cloud-based accounting software companies, such as Sage and Xero, dedicate themselves to offering 24/7 security protection for your financial data. Xero, for example, is proud to say that their “data is encrypted using industry-standard data encryption” as well as having “multiple layers of firewalls” in place.
Not only are there very limited cloud security risks, but by utilising such software you can have a positive impact on the environment. Think of all the trees that could be saved by going paperless!
Security and data protection are not the only selling points of cloud-based accounting software. There are many more attractive perks! By making use of cloud accounting, you can gain a simple, clear overview of your business and finances, which is aided by constant real-time updates.
If you’re already accustomed to using online banking then you’re halfway there already. There really isn’t much difference!
For more information about cloud-based accounting software, or for a Xero or Sage consultation, contact Kirkwood Wilson today. Call 01704 546 000 or email [email protected].
As a method of improving processes and efficiency, HMRC’s aim with their ‘Making Tax Digital’ policy is to go paperless. Gone are the days of filing and keeping paper records – hooray! This blog will discuss how this government policy affects individuals and very small businesses, and what you need to know during this process.
Digital bookkeeping for individuals
Making Tax Digital for individuals is not yet a compulsory scheme for self-employed people and landlords, but there is nothing stopping you from signing up anyway – it is all good practice. It has been previously announced that plans to make Income Tax part of the Making Tax Digital scheme have been pushed back until at least April 2020 – so if you are a self-employed person, you still have time!
For those who want to be ahead of the game, there is an Income Tax pilot scheme. This scheme is aimed at those who are self-employed or rent properties and it lets you keep records digitally and send Income Tax updates to HMRC as opposed to filing a Self Assessment tax return.
This has been introduced to allow individuals to see how much Income Tax they might owe as time goes by. Individuals will have to use relevant and well-suited software to keep their own digital records, and HMRC would expect you to send income and expense summaries every three months.
Online accountancy for individuals
While the Making Tax Digital scheme has been implemented for businesses earning over the VAT threshold and not for individuals, it is worthwhile for the small businesses and the self-employed to acquaint themselves with the upcoming processes and changes. These individuals should take the necessary steps to digitalise their VAT returns to ensure a smooth transition into the digital bookkeeping world, before the widespread implementation.
Due to Brexit throwing a few curveballs into the scenario, HMRC have delayed the Making Tax Digital scheme for individuals, so whilst it is not an immediate worry, it would be worthwhile setting yourself up with the relevant, compliant software to ensure you are ready for this inevitable transition.
Perhaps consider relevant software such as Xero or Sage – both are incredibly helpful and recommended for digitising your tax information.
No need to worry or rush into this, no tax information is required just yet but here at Kirkwood Wilson, we would advise that you take every step possible to familiarise yourself with the upcoming policy changes to ensure that when the time comes, you are fully Making Tax Digital ready!
For more information about our digital accounting services, or for a Making Tax Digital for individuals consultation, contact Kirkwood Wilson today. Call 01704 546 000 or email [email protected].
Since the introduction of HM Revenue and Customs’ ‘Making Tax Digital’ policy, cloud based accounting and online bookkeeping have quickly become the predominant forms of digital accounting for many individuals and businesses. All VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover of £85,000 and above must now use software to submit their VAT returns and to record their information digitally. This is where Kirkwood Wilson can help you.
Benefits of cloud based accounting
If you are looking for an efficient way to relieve the tedium of bookkeeping, investing in digital accounting could be the answer to your prayers. Cloud based accounting is extremely beneficial when it comes to keeping a close eye on your banking. It provides a secure, safe, and reliable method of working through your finances without eating into your own schedule.
One major benefit of cloud based accounting and bookkeeping is the flexibility they can provide. With accounting software, like Xero, all of your business information is securely stored in the cloud, which means that only authorised people can gain access with a secure login. This extra layer of protection is great for ensuring privacy and security. As long as you have access to the internet and a device of some sort, you are sorted!
Additionally, the multi-user aspect of the software is great for encouraging team collaboration, allowing colleagues to work together in a more efficient way. Luckily for you, Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, based in Burscough, near Ormskirk, are specialists in cloud based accounting and online bookkeeping – especially in all things Xero. We are here to cater to your every need.
Online bookkeeping with Kirkwood Wilson
The purpose of cloud bookkeeping is to provide your business with structured processes to ensure you always have well-documented records, without any unnecessary hassle.
Our specialists can provide a range of online bookkeeping services that cater to your business and everything it requires. Whether you are looking for assistance with invoicing and bills, or are simply looking for someone to tidy up and manage your records on a monthly basis, Kirkwood Wilson is here to help.
Kirkwood Wilson can offer you quick, convenient online bookkeeping with digital cloud accounting software from Xero. We are proud to say that not only can we help to fully integrate Xero into your business, but we can also provide training for you and your staff in regards to digitalisation and the full scope of Xero’s services.
For more information about cloud based accounting and bookkeeping, please contact Kirkwood Wilson on 01704 546 000 or send us a message.
With so many online accounting services available these days, Kirkwood Wilson compares Xero, QuickBooks and Sage to see which piece of software comes out on top. Read on to find out which accounting software we believe adds up to the greatest gains for you and your business.
Xero or Sage for online accounting software?
Xero is a leader within the accounting software industry because it allows users to control every aspect of their finances from their mobile. Xero lets you and your employees set reminders about payroll and invoicing, so nothing important is ever overlooked.
Sage, a fellow online accounting program, is in the process of installing this particular tool, as well as a function to record the time each project takes. Given that Xero already boasts this feature, this is an early victory for Xero.
Xero provides the potential to monitor the spending habits of your clients and customers. So does Sage, along with tools that give you the power to work out personal and corporation tax rates. However, Xero goes one step further and issues professional quotes that can be customised and turned into invoices, meaning that your employees could make typically faceless interactions more personal.
Both Xero and Sage offer the power to store all of your documents in one area for total convenience. Once again though, Xero has the edge when it comes to document storage because it offers the ability to view transactions and invoices, as well as the ability to attach several different documents to invoices, so customers can monitor their spending habits.
Overall, both programs are extremely advanced in the field of online accounting software but, with more advantages and accessories currently running on their app, Xero steps further into the lead.
Which is better, Xero or QuickBooks?
Another giant on the scene of online accounting software is QuickBooks. The main benefit of their program is that you can streamline the time, money and interactions involved with each project you undertake. This accessory would greatly improve the time management of your employees, and provides a clear overview of your clients’ spending habits.
While this is impressive, Xero yet again jumps ahead with its online accounting dashboard. This feature offers the power to see all of your bank account information in one place, in the form of charts and diagrams to make the details even clearer. Never again will an outstanding invoice be a problem because it shows you how long an invoice has been outstanding and the amount owed.
Despite that, QuickBooks manages to pull things back in its favour by offering continual professional development for all subscribers to the app. This entails gradually earning CPD credits and official QuickBooks Certification to highlight your expertise to your clients.
It’s here that Xero manages to throw in one last curveball with its business performance dashboard. This accessory displays the whole of your business dealings at a glance, which in itself offers endless professional development to your employees because they can continuously remain on top of what they are doing well and what they need to improve on. Detailed graphs showing profits, sales and debt are also included which is why, despite QuickBooks’ various helpful tools, we feel Xero is better.
To conclude, thanks to its numerous time-saving and organisational features, Xero comes out victorious. Its competitors were fierce but could not match the advanced software of Xero. Call us for a Xero consultation on 01704 546000, or for more information about its services.
Online accounting has never been easier, thanks to apps like Xero. Everything you need is all in one place, with set reminders for important tasks, tracking time on projects and automatically paying bills just some of the features Xero has to offer. As experts in everything Xero, Kirkwood Wilson has created a Xero how-to guide, so that your business can make the most of your account.
Advanced online banking software
Having the Xero app means that you can track your bank transactions from wherever you are and at any time.Your online banking dashboard provides you with clear and easy to understand graphs and diagrams to demonstrate your cash flow, allowing you to observe where business has been thriving along with areas for improvement. You are always alerted if something looks out of the ordinary.
Furthermore, because you can monitor several bank accounts and cards simultaneously, monitoring sales and spending is now far more convenient because everything you need is at your fingertips.
Along with this, you can keep track the spending habits of your customers and record the products that are most popular. You can also mass upload the contact details of customers and clients to monitor them regularly. Xero will notify you of all communication coming from them at any given time.
Experts in Xero accounting
Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we want you to understand exactly how Xero works in order to get the most out of the application. As Xero Gold Partners, our accountants are trained and equipped with all the information you and your company could possibly require.
The app is constantly updated with the latest time-saving technology. This means you can pay your invoices and bills efficiently and punctually, avoiding any inconvenience to you or your payees. The Xero app also backs up all your information on a regular basis to guarantee maximum security.
At Kirkwood Wilson, we offer one-to-one tutorials so that you and your colleagues can become proficient in every aspect of the program. Our demonstrations cover how to leverage every piece of data effectively and efficiently, so that no stone is left unturned. Below, take a look at our introductory video to Xero and learn what we can do to help you to make the most of your account.
Call us today on 01704 546000 or email us at [email protected] to hear more information, to book training or to arrange a demonstration.
Online accounting has never been easier thanks to applications like Xero. Gain access to all your important financials in one place, monitor your ingoings and outgoings and receive reminders ahead of important deadlines. Book a one-to-one with a Kirkwood Wilson accountant to find out more.
Xero is described as ‘Beautiful Accounting Software’ and we couldn’t agree more with this statement. One of the most beautiful aspects of Xero is that whether your office is your living room, a dedicated office space, or your local coffee shop, Xero Accounting Software really is the right fit for everyone.