I started my business, making the leap from being just self employed to running a company, a couple of years ago. It made sense to do that and made me feel like a grown up suddenly being able to write “company director” when asked about my job title. No longer would I have to mumble something about what I used to do, or that I was a mum “does that count?” or try and explain blogging when I had to renew my insurance premiums. Company Director sounds very grand, though in reality it means bugger nothing, the dog still has no respect for the office, and I still have to make my own tea.
What I hadn’t really figured on though was with the title comes responsibility, and legal obligations. I found a fabulous accountant, a fellow blogger, so she looks after me and tells me when things need to be filed but I need to keep on top of everything in the meantime. Apparently asking if I could send her a box of receipts and email a few invoices “because I can’t find the others” is not acceptable to HMRC. So I had to pull my finger out and do it properly.
Not easy when you are phobic about such things. And I mean properly phobic. I am not even joking. Anything like this makes me wince. So when Xero said “we can help you with that, you should take a look at us” I sat up and took notice. In a nutshell it is one stop shop for keeping track of finances if you are a small business. All on one dashboard you can see, raise and send invoices. You can connect it to your bank account so you can view your finances in real time. If you need to, you can even run the payroll and create pay slips, make RTI payments to HMRC, create P45s and P60s.
I only have one employee, Jonnie, so the payroll side of things isn’t too complicated for me (and my accountant handles that) but I can imagine it’s a god send for anybody who has more than one employee and needs to keep on top of these things.
Where Xero really came into its own for me was with expenses and invoicing. I have so many receipts each month, that getting into the habit of using Xero made it SO much easier to keep track of them. You input the information and then Xero helps you keep track of them and to produce reports:
Ditto invoicing. No longer do I have to create an invoice in Word, save it as PDF and then put a note in my diary to remember to check if I have been paid. It is a sad fact of blogging that invoices are not always paid on time and chasing them becomes a way of life. Xero made it so much easier to keep track of them all as you can see at a glance what has been paid, and what is still outstanding. It also makes it easier to create them in the first place too:
You can also add in any bills to be paid, and if they need to be assigned to a particular customer.
It couldn’t be more simple, even for a finance phobe like me. There are different pricing plans, with the lowest price being the one I am on as it is perfect for freelancers and has all the options you need if you are a one man band, but it can handle multiple users and multi currency transactions on the top plan, perfect if you are working with overseas suppliers.