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.


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.

SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises with 0-249 employees) make up 99.9% of UK businesses, meaning they’re the heart of the UK economy, so we’ve put together some small business management tips to help all succeed.

1. Invest in Marketing

The world we live in is a competitive one, with the internet making it easier to build a business.

As a rule of thumb, you should keep 10% of your revenue aside for marketing if you’re a startup SME and want to push your way into the crowded market place. If you’re an established SME then 5% of your revenue is sufficient enough.

Don’t ever think that because you’re established in the market you don’t need to spend any money on marketing, your market share will reduce dramatically.

Always have a marketing plan.

Here are a few marketing channels your company can invest in:

  • Facebook/Instagram Ads
  • PPC ads using Google
  • Online content marketing
  • Renting a stand at an exhibition
  • Network marketing and referrals

Use these channels from day one to build brand attention. loyalty and anticipation.

2. Invest in Employee Training

New employees are going to need to learn the ins and outs of the business quickly yet efficiently and investing in employee training will assist with this.

As well as new employees, make sure your existing ones have exactly the same training, even if they’ve been with you for a good few years.

Put together a training plan for all of your employees, you can find one specific for new employees on

Sufficient staff training can benefit your business massively, here are a few benefits:

  • Improved employee performance
  • Improved employee satisfaction and morale
  • Being able to address weaknesses and accommodate these accordingly
  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce employee turnover
  • Gives you the ability to delegate certain tasks

There are many more reasons why employee training is vital to your business and you can find out more here.

3. Separate Personal and Business Finances

If you’re completing all of your bookkeeping yourself and mixing your personal and business expenses together then you’re making things a lot harder.

You would have to sit and sift through hundreds of receipts and separate them into business and personal, we can guarantee you haven’t got time for that.

If you initially keep them separate, then this is something you won’t need to do and will give you time to do other important tasks.

When the tax return deadline comes around, if you’re organised and have split your business and personal expenses, then you’re more likely to pay the right amount of tax for your business.

4. Schedule Meetings With Yourself

This may sound a bit crazy but you should schedule meetings with yourself to set time aside to make important business decisions and plan for future growth.

Remember, you’re the one responsible for the success or failure of your business, you’re the one your employees will come to for guidance, and if you don’t run a tight, well-organised ship, then your business will sink.

So every week book a meeting room for 30 minutes to an hour to take yourself away from your office. A different environment will take you out of your routine, help with creative thinking and productivity.

5. Get Professional Help

Don’t be scared to ask for help with certain tasks like your bookkeeping or maybe even marketing for your business there are always other SMEs out there willing to help.

One of the most time-consuming tasks in business is your bookkeeping and this can take you away from growing your business.

Remember, no one is an expert at everything, therefore, don’t try to be and ask for help with certain tasks.


Why do your bookkeeping yourself when you can pass this task on to a professional bookkeeping service like Rosemary Bookkeeping?

For more details on our bookkeeping services for your SMEs, find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business and we’ll be able to assist with any queries.





Having your bookkeeping up to date is a vital part of your company’s long-term success in your business market.

With many new small businesses nowadays the owners feel like they have to do everything themselves, which includes bookkeeping.

Don’t ever feel like as a small business owner you are on your own, there are always companies willing to help with growing your business.


Organised Books Can Help With Business Growth

Being disorganised with your bookkeeping can make the job of maintaining positive cash flow and turning over a profit a lot more difficult.

Obviously, as a small business owner, you will want to make your life easier and not harder, so hiring a bookkeeper can sometimes be the best thing for your business.

One of the best things you can do in the current world is to start using digital tools, outsourcing to a professional, or both, which together can assist in managing tax deadlines and keeping up to date with any new government regulations, such as Making Tax Digital.

Accurate bookkeeping records lead to more in-depth and better informed financial projection and strategies, so this is definitely something that needs to be adopted for success.

Don’t Neglect Your Books

Your business’s bookkeeping is on your to-do list next month, great!

However, the majority of business owners will postpone their bookkeeping for a later date, this is a big no-no as you could miss important deadlines.

If you haven’t got long until a tax deadline and you rush your bookkeeping, mistakes will be made! This can result in incorrect tax submission, and potentially some kind of fine.

That is why hiring a bookkeeper like Rosemary Bookkeeping to keep your books on track will result in more time to grow your business.

Accurate Financial Information

An outsourced bookkeeper will always be able to provide you with efficient, accurate and up to date financial information when it’s needed for important times like quarterly board meetings or new investor meetings etc.

Another great reason for hiring an external bookkeeper is that you can save your company a bit of money!

Instead of hiring a full-time employee to complete your bookkeeping for you, an outsourced company like Rosemary Bookkeeping can be hired on a part-time basis when needed.


Rosemary Bookkeeping delivers an intelligent bookkeeping service to SME’s, Accountants and Franchisors ensuring a consistency of delivery and high-quality work.  Our practical, down to earth and friendly approach provides clients with information that enables them to understand and make decisions on their business, provides peace of mind that HMRC will be happy, with fair and reasonable charges.

Find your nearest Rosemary bookkeeper here.

There is one thing that most small business owners loath to do and that is bookkeeping.

We understand, there are a lot more riveting things you could be doing with your day! However, it is a legal requirement, so it needs to be done.

Good bookkeeping and accurate records are important in keeping your company running and financially healthy.

Here are 8 top tips for small business on how to improve your bookkeeping:

1.  Procrastinating is a no-no

Are you a procrastinator who leaves everything until the last minute?

Well, with bookkeeping, you can’t be! It can quickly get out of hand and pile up on your desk.

It is important that you keep on top of financial deadlines, for example Making Tax Digital on 1st April 2019.

MTD is a requirement for VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold to use the MTD service to keep records digitally and use software to submit their VAT returns.

If you feel like you don’t have time to do your bookkeeping and run other parts of your business as well, you can give Rosemary Bookkeeping a call to help with all of your bookkeeping needs.

2.  Bad filing systems

You need to make sure, as a business owner that you are keeping all of your old receipts and filing them correctly with accompanying paperwork.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “oh dear I don’t keep my receipts”, don’t worry there are plenty of business owners like this around the UK.

Get into a habit of when you get in the office every morning to pop your receipts in a folder. Even if this is being filed correctly later that day, at least you have made a start.

Are all of your invoices and bills in sequential order? If they aren’t, then they should be! This will make life a lot easier when it comes to any deadlines, or audits etc.

A quick tip is to start using cloud-based software. This software is very useful and saves you a lot of time when it comes to filing. It can scan your receipts, input important information about your business cash flow and also generate invoices.

3.  Mixing business with personal expenses

If you’re doing all of your bookkeeping yourself, and mixing your business and personal expenses then you’re making your bookkeeping a lot harder.

You would have to sit and sift through hundreds of receipts and separate them into business and personal.

If you initially keep them separate, then this is something you will not need to do and will give you time to do other important tasks.

When the tax return deadline comes around, if you’re organised and have split your business and personal expenses, then you’re more likely to pay the right amount of tax for your business.

4.  Being consistent with your accounts

If you can, set the same date every month to sit down for a good few hours to do get your bookkeeping and accounts in order for the last calendar month.

If you feel like you’re bogged down with too many other tasks, then you can always contact Rosemary Bookkeeping to take over the bookkeeping side of your business.

5.  Pay electronically

An easier way to keep an eye on and make your bookkeeping easier is to make sure all business transactions are paid on your business card and not with cash.

This is obviously, because of the information your bank would provide on a statement; amount, date and the recipients/company name.

6.  Employee classification

Many businesses have different classifications of employees, be it full-time employees, part-time employees and independent contractors.

Keeping these separate and correctly classified is important to avoid such things like any overpayment of taxes or misfiling.

7.  Backup, Backup, Backup!

We all know what technology is like, it can decide to turn off or have some kind of error at any time.

This is why backing up your data securely on a cloud-based platform is extremely important!

You need to make sure this is a secure platform that works in conjunction with GDPR to ensure the safety of your data.

8.  A light bit of reading

You would be surprised at how many business owners don’t read financial statements and just add them to their procrastination pile.

There are plenty of reasons why financial statements can help with your business and avoid a financial breakdown. Here are a few reasons:

  • See current/upcoming financial trends within your business sector
  • Gain insight into maximising your tax deductions for the year
  • Share with existing/potential investors as to how your business is performing
  • Stay in control of all of your cash flow

Those are but a few reasons why financial statements can help you run a business and keep your bookkeepers happy!


If you feel like you don’t understand the bookkeeping side of your business, or just don’t have time to do it, you can always contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeping office here.