Christmas in July? It’s possible with Xero.

It’s now a freezing cold July in Brisbane, marking the start of a new financial year for most small businesses and sole traders. Although it’s only mid-year, my mind’s already thinking of Christmas and the wonderful holiday period it brings. This morning, I thought: wouldn’t it be nice if Christmas came early?

And then it struck me that it could – at least for small businesses.

How, you ask?

The period between Christmas and New Year is a wonderful time for most of us. You’re relaxed and free to go anywhere you please because you’ve finished all your work at the office and deserve a well-earned rest. In short, you have plenty of time in your hands.

Well, I’m telling those who have never used an online accounting solution, that you can gain more free time. Christmas can come early for those of you who are still stuck with manual tasks such as balancing the books, organising your receipts, chasing or making payments. Small businesses that keep their financial data in the clouds get the chance to relax more often.

You simply switch or sign up to Xero.

In the spirit of starting this new financial year on the right footing, allow me to explain in detail how you can make July feel like it’s already Christmas.

  1. Organise your finances once and for all in the clouds

By using an online accounting solution such as Xero, you will keep all your data in the cloud. This means you won’t lose a thing in the event of disaster such as a fire, break-in or a vicious virus on your servers. You won’t misplace a file or invoice and lose your records.

Attach your invoices, quotes, purchase orders, receipts and documents to the corresponding transaction when it happens so you don’t have a bunch of paperwork to do at the end of the month.

Xero provides a live dashboard that shows you all the important data of your business such as current cash flow position, payments owed to you, your bank balances and how your budget is tracking. You’ll never have to scour around for the latest data or an invoice at the last minute. Best of all, your accountant and bookkeeper will have access to your online data easily without you meeting them or sending a big file over an email.

Another great benefit of using an online accounting solution is you’ll never have to worry about updating your software to get the latest features. Everything is done for you in the cloud. Xero’s already working on integrating the data from credit bureau Veda so you can access the latest information on your contacts, such as their ABNs and credit rating.

Think of how much time you will be saving with this efficient organisation.

  1. Automate tasks and save time

Bank reconciliation is a feature which pulls all your bank transactions regularly into Xero, so you can reconcile them with payments made or received. This is done automatically, and all you need to do is to check that they match and click ok.

Another excellent feature is scheduling your payments so you will never forget them. You can also batch the payments so you pay them off in one transaction. Quotes can be done in minutes, and managed from Xero. The client has an option to click yes, no or give comments. Once accepted, turn the quote into an invoice within a few clicks.

There’s more goodies coming soon. A technology called the New Payments Platform is being built by the banks that will enable near real-time payments on a 24/7 basis. No more waiting for several business days. It is an open platform where accounting software can access it. This means you will be able to pay your suppliers and creditors from your accounting software without logging into your online banking. You will also get paid faster if your debtors use this feature.

  1. Work from anywhere you like

Work from any place you choose and avoid the rush hour traffic jam. Remote working is one of the biggest trends this decade and will only grow more popular in the coming years. Using an online accounting solution, you can access your financial data from any device such as your laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Just like Christmas, you are free to go wherever you please and take life at a slower pace. Time to sort your accounts and finances at the end of the month? Prop up your laptop at a coffee shop, work from your phone at a park bench, or use your tablet in the comfort of your bedroom with your pyjamas on.

Don’t wait until December to reward your hard work. I’ve found that the key to a healthy mind is to balance your work, play and rest regularly so you’re not burning out too soon before the holiday season.

If you’re a small business, I would love to hear your grievances in accounting and finance. I promise I will try to alleviate your burden so it feels like Christmas all year round.

Specialising in Xero bookkeeping, Notch Above is a Brisbane bookkeeper and BAS Agent located in Alderley that offers Xero setup, as well as training and ongoing support. Notch Above can take care of all the bookkeeping tasks you would rather not do, like bank reconciliations, supplier payments, payroll services, debtor control and BAS returns.

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