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Teri Cotta walks you through the A-X of Xero.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work closely with our friends and partners at Xero to help our clients get to grips with their bookkeeping.

And there is still a lot to get to grips with.

That’s why our accounting crackpot, Teri Cotta, has been working hard to bring you the top tips to be a Xero whiz and understand its processes, from the terribly simple to the terrifically complex.

In today’s Teri Tips, you’ll discover the cloud and explore how cloud accounting software like Xero can help your business.

We’ll look at the main features of Xero and give you some helpful tips to get you started.

And if you’re a visual learner, don’t worry… a full video showing each of these points step by step can be found on our YouTube channel.


What is the cloud?

First things first… what is the cloud?

The cloud lets you store and access your data over the internet through a network of servers.

Instead of a computer drive, you can use software in the cloud from any device with an internet connection.

The cloud is changing how we work, bank communicate, buy and sell.

You might be using the cloud already without knowing it.


What platforms use the cloud?

Let’s look at some common scenarios you might have experienced using the cloud.

Account information only used to be available during bank opening hours, but online banking stores your financial data securely in the cloud to access 24/7.

  • Online communication software (like Skype and Slack): Video chat functions that use the cloud
  • Calls and instant messaging services: These use the cloud so that conversation lines are available whenever you’re online
  • Streaming services (like Netflix and Spotify): Use the cloud to watch films, listen to music and view live events.

Xero is cloud accounting software that lets you access your financial data anytime, anywhere, and on any device with an internet connection.


Cloud-based software – The Pros

Businesses can benefit significantly from using cloud-based software like Xero.

Accessing cloud software through a web browser or mobile app means you can always retrieve your financial information.

  1. Multi-access

Cloud software lets all users work from the same information simultaneously.

  1. Changes are made immediately

There are no discrepancies, and every Xero user has a unique login, so you can easily track who carries out each task.

  1. Cloud software updates are automatic

You’ll never lose time or money to software upgrades.

  1. Automatic version updates

When you log in to Xero, you always use the most up-to-date version.

Data stored locally on a computer risks being corrupted, stolen, or lost.

But cloud software is stored securely and backed up automatically.

If something unexpected happens to your office equipment, you can get a new laptop and be back on the job straight away.

  1. Secure connection

Cloud software connects securely to organisations like banks, bringing the information directly into the software.

Data flow between software applications means reduced processing time and data entry errors.

  1. Automates labour-intensive tasks

Reconciling accounts and chasing overdue invoices are done automatically, freeing up your time to work on your business.

The long and short of it is, that Xero is a complete platform with all the features you need to run every part of your business, depending on your region and subscription.

Xero can even include payroll, expenses or projects.


The main features of Xero

So, let’s do a quick tour of Xero’s main features.

The navigation bar lets you move easily and quickly around Xero.

Create new or find other transactions

Use the ‘Plus Icon’ to create new transactions like invoices or bills directly from the navigation bar.

Search for contacts or transactions like quotes and view notifications to keep up to date with all things Xero.

Custom Dashboard

The custom dashboard shows key business metrics like your cash flow position, outstanding items to reconcile, and upcoming invoices and bills payable.

It also gives you an up-to-date picture of how your business is performing at any time.

Bank Feeds

Bank Feeds’ automatically import transactions from your bank or financial institution directly into your Xero organisation.

Thus, removing the need for a manual import.

It helps keep your account current and gives an accurate view of your business’s performance.

Here, Xero shows bank statement lines on the left with suggested matches on the right.

Suggestions are based on existing transactions like invoices and bills, bank rules or previously reconciled transactions.

Click ‘OK’ to quickly reconcile the transactions and update your cash flow.

Invoices

Another way to keep on top of cash flow is to send online invoices with online payment options.

Create professional-looking quotes and invoices and send them when you’re still with the customer.

If you register for your Xero organisation with the global E-invoicing network, you can also send and receive an invoice.

Add your logo and payment details to promote your business brand.

And send the invoice with just a couple of clicks.

Xero lets you know when online invoices are sent, viewed or paid.

Let Xero do the hard work and get paid faster with automatic reminders to help manage overdue invoices.

Just decide when and how often you want to send them.

The more ways and the easier you make it for the customers to pay, the less time you’ll spend chasing payments.

Xero research shows that invoices are paid 50% faster when the business connects to a payment service.

They let customers make secure payments directly from online invoices in just a few clicks.

Collated client details

Add all your business contacts to Xero and keep your supplier and client details in one place.

Create groups to manage your contacts and use smart lists to target clients.

Go paperless and store important documents and business information online in the Xero files library.

With automatic backups, you don’t need to worry about ever losing financial data.

You can even send documents directly to your Xero file library using a unique email address.

Templates and reporting

Every Xero subscription comes with financial and accounting reports and budget templates.

Customise them to show what matters most to your business.

Set the date range, compare periods, and modify the columns to change the layout of a report and then save it as a custom report to reuse later.

Staying on top of cash flow is essential for a business to survive.

Many business functions rely heavily on cash, like paying staff and buying supplies.

Xero analytics makes it easier to make the right decisions for your business.

It has two easy-to-read dashboards.

Use short-term cash flow to spot opportunities and risks ahead so you can act immediately.

Use the business snapshot to track key performance indicators like income and expenses and see how quickly your customers pay you.


What Xero does for you

You’re probably already using software in the cloud, and now it’s time to get the benefits of cloud software for your small business.

Xero affords you:

  • A full picture of your business’s financial information is accessible anywhere, anytime from any device with an internet connection.
  • All the tools you need to run and grow a successful business.
  • Direct bank saves and daily reconciliations for the most up-to-date financial data.
  • Online invoicing and payment services to help you get paid faster and improve cash flow.
  • Insightful reporting that leads to better business decisions.
  • Collaboration with unlimited users, all with a unique and secure login and access.

Need help with Xero?

Teri Cotta is joined worldwide by Rosemary Bookkeeping’s network of Xero-certified bookkeepers.

So, whether you need help choosing the right software for you, using Xero or outsourcing your books, our experts can help.

Take the hassle out of your bookkeeping by contacting your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeper for expert bookkeeping and software support today.

 Teri Cotta walks you through the Xero Business Account setup process.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work closely with our friends and partners at Xero to help our clients get to grips with their bookkeeping.

Starting things is hard, and there is a lot of merit in that adage of nothing being scarier than a blank slate.

That’s why our accounting crackpot, Teri Cotta, has been working hard to bring you the top tips to be a Xero whiz and understand its processes, from the terribly simple to the terrifically complex.

Specifically, in today’s Teri Tips, we’re walking you through how to get started with Xero by setting up your Xero Business Account.

And if you’re a visual learner, don’t worry… a full video showing each of these points step by step can be found on our YouTube channel.


  1. Getting Started – Confirm your details via email

To start, go to Xero.com and try it for free.

Enter your details, agree to the terms and conditions, and click “Get Started”.

Then, Xero should send you an email to confirm your details.

Go to your inbox, find the email, and click the link to get started.


  1. Activate your account with a password and details of your business

Next, enter a secure Password and then click activate your account.

Xero needs a few more details to complete the initial setup.

Begin by entering your organisation name, which Xero will display on your invoices.

Then, check that your country and currency are correct, as once you start the trial, you won’t be able to change this information.

Next, enter what your organisation does.

Start typing your industry and select the best option that applies to your business from a dropdown.

Xero will use this information to recommend connected apps for your business.

Set your financial year-end, which feeds into your reporting.

And finally, select your current accounting solution.

When you’re done, click “Start Trial”.


  1. Navigating the Xero Dashboard

Once you have completed the above, the first thing you’ll see is the Xero dashboard.

First, watch the introduction video to get an overview of the setup process.

As you start to use Xero, you’ll see more information on this dashboard—for example, invoices owed to you.

To manage your trial account, click on the organisation name and select my Xero.

There are a few things you can do here when you’re ready to convert your trial account. Click pay now and follow the steps to buy a subscription.

If you run multiple businesses, you can click “Add an Organisation” to create another Xero account for the same login.

Xero provides each user with their own demo company.

You can use this to practice new skills and try new features.

It consists of test data that resets automatically every 28 days.

It’s also handy to know that you can also manually reset it any time you want.


  1. Accessing Xero Support Features

If you have a question or need support, click the help icon and click any of the links provided.

For example, go to Xero Central to explore help articles.

Alternatively, enter a search criteria and press enter.

If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, scroll down and click “Contact Xero support”.

This takes you to Xero Central, where you can submit a query, enter detailed information, and click Send.

Xero guarantees that a support specialist will contact you within 24 hours.

And with that, you’re all done.


Need expert bookkeeping support?

Teri Cotta is joined worldwide by Rosemary Bookkeeping’s network of Xero-certified bookkeepers.

So, whether you need help choosing the right software for you, using Xero or outsourcing your books, our experts will be able to help.

Take the hassle out of your bookkeeping and get the time back to focus on what matters most by contacting your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

Need help creating an invoice on Xero? We can help.

Xero can be a very useful tool when it comes to sorting out your finances but as with many of the accounting software options available, it has its shortcomings and should not be used as a substitute for a bookkeeper. One of these shortcomings is that they’re not always easy to use without help. That’s where we come in. Each of our Rosemary Bookkeeping business owners is trained on Xero and can provide you with any help you might need – including how to create an invoice.

One of the most crucial things to know about Xero is how to create an invoice. But this is not always easy if you don’t know how to. Luckily, our bookkeeping experts have put together this handy guide to walk you through creating an invoice on Xero, step by step.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKsKsuabKVs&t=3s

Where to start

Before you get to creating an invoice template on Xero, the first thing you need to do is check that your company details are all correct.

To do this, select the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the homepage by clicking on your company name and navigating to your settings, then Organisation Details. From here, you need to make sure that your name and logo are in the correct place under Basic Information. If it isn’t, don’t worry, you can simply upload it now using the links on this page, and by adding in details like your company address, website, and contact information yourself.

You will also need to ensure that the button at the very top of the page has the “On” option selected, to make sure that some of this information is included on your invoices.

Then, as you scroll down this page, you select which information you would like to include by ticking the boxes along the right-hand side. You can then save this information once you have confirmed that you have read the terms and conditions and community guidelines.

Creating a new invoice template

Now that you have confirmed that your company details are in order, you can go on to create a new invoice template.

To do this, use the drop-down menu in the top-left corner once again to access your settings. But this time, navigate over to the top of the right-hand column and click Invoice Settings.  Once here, you should be able to see the standard theme set up by Xero. You can make as many different themes as you like in Xero, so feel free to experiment with your options. For this tutorial, we are going to use the standard theme, but modify some of the finer details to fit our needs.

You can do this by selecting the Options tab in the top-right corner of the first menu box and clicking Edit. Doing this will open up a dialogue box titled Edit Branding Theme.

The first thing to come up is the name of your invoice, followed by its size. Normally, we would advise keeping this as the default A4 size, so that when it is saved as a PDF file, it remains A4. As a result, we would normally recommend leaving the margin sizes as they are as well.

However, we do recommend changing the information next to Approved Invoice title and Overdue Invoice title by changing both to simply say INVOICE. This is because the use of the title of “Tax Invoice” is an Americanism set as Xero’s default. In the UK, we are used to the title “Invoice”, so it’s better not to confuse matters and stick to what most people are familiar with. As for the rest of the information on the left-hand side, we are going to keep the default settings.

Moving over to the right, you will be able to see 10 checkboxes for various settings:

  • The first allows you to Show your tax number, which is important to include on your invoices.
  • You will also want to ensure that you have the second option of Show column headings selected as well, to allow quantities etc. to be easily identifiable.
  • The third option of Show item code can be checked in some circumstances, but you can leave it blank for now.
  • If your business involves supplying products in terms of numbers and price, then you may need to have the Show unit price & quantity box selected. But the choice is yours, depending on the setup of your business.
  • The Show payment advice cut-away is now quite old fashioned and antiquated as it would be the procedure for posting a check. Therefore, we advise leaving this box blank.
  • Leave the Show tax column on
  • Leave Show registered address on, as this is a required field
  • Leave Show logo selected
  • Have Hide discount deselected
  • Leave Show Contact Account Number deselected

You will then want to leave the default settings of Show tax subtotals by dropdown below at its default setting of tax rates and leave the default setting of Show currency conversion as on net amounts with tax totals. You can then leave each of the Payment Services dropdowns blank.

Then you will need to fill in the bank details that you want the payment to come out of in the Terms & Payment Advice (Invoice and Statement) box. This is the name of the bank, the sort code, and the account number. As well as the payment term – the date the payment is due. This serves as a reminder more than anything, as this is shown once the invoice is raised.

As a general rule of thumb, we advise also changing your logo alignment to Centre from the Logo Alignment column in the top-right corner if you have elected to display a logo on your invoices – which we also advise.

With that, your template is complete, and you can now Save it by clicking the button at the bottom of the dialogue box.

You can now Preview your invoice template from the Options dropdown menu, which shows you what your invoice will look like when displayed on both a computer and a mobile.

How to raise a new sales invoice

Now that your template is ready, click the Dashboard heading at the top of the page, and click New sales invoice under Invoices owed to you in the top right-hand dialogue box, which will now let you raise a new sales invoice. Congratulations, you have successfully generated your first invoice on Xero! This template can now be amended to fit any billing that you may need to send and can be a reference for you to come back to in generating different invoices.

Our bookkeeping experts know how difficult it is to run a small business and stay on top of your finances, and will be able to offer you expert support and advice wherever you need it most. At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we help you with the books, so you can get on with the important bits.

For more help on online accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks, or any other help with your bookkeeping, get in touch with us by finding your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business today.

 

You can’t leave it all to tech.

Bookkeeping is tricky. Especially for small businesses, when you are juggling a million other things. So, it’s understandable that you want to ease the burden of this task any way you can. Nowadays we can turn to technology to solve most of our problems, and bookkeeping is no exception. You may have even seen adverts praising digital bookkeeping aids. Popular software like Xero and Quickbooks promise to make bookkeeping easy, help you track and manage expenses and stay on top of taxes. But how true is this?

What bookkeeping software does

Quickbooks promises three major things:

  • The ability to stay on top of taxes
  • The ability to track and manage expenses
  • Keeping data that allows for ‘no-nonsense’ payroll

This technology is all designed around one central premise: streamlining your bookkeeping experience. Everything bookkeeping software do is about using technology to save you time.

The bottom line is, using online software depends on you. Your ability to use this software depends on how much you know about bookkeeping and how up to date you are with recent legislative changes etc. For example, Quickbooks and Xero both rely on the use of VAT codes. But they do not provide support on what these are, and how to use them. For all their data and efficiency, they do not help much if you don’t know a lot about bookkeeping. As a result, relying on this software means taking a big risk depending on how much you know. If you are not confident with your books, you would still be better off using a bookkeeper.

What a bookkeeper does better

Having a personal bookkeeper involves all the benefits of bookkeeping software and more. They help you keep on top of your VAT returns, payroll and tax obligations. A bookkeeper also helps you track and manage your expenses, produces debtor and creditor reports to help with your cash flow and daily management of your business. They provide you with industry-specific knowledge and help you make more educated business decisions. This means you receive support all year round with any bookkeeping queries you might have. With a bookkeeper, you are not reliant on technology. QuickBooks and Xero are fantastic tools that can automate a big part of the bookkeeping process, but when it comes to technology, errors made by automated systems cannot be avoided and need somebody with experience and knowledge to check if the entries and codes are correct. Using a bookkeeper allows you not to be reliant on the software and automatic data entry. A bookkeeper also assures that your business is compliant, you meet all the deadlines, and your information is archived properly. Thanks to this you can avoid costly mistakes, save time and money. knowing that your business finances are in good hands.

For a reliable and professional bookkeeping service, contact your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business today.