Xero Applications – What you need to know

There are a whole host of Applications which connect to Xero via the cloud, performing a wide range of services – all designed to save you time, improve efficiency, reduce costs, boost profits. You name it there’s an App for it.

But where do you start, and which ones are any good? We have gathered feedback from our clients, we have also tried and tested these apps at PennyBooks HQ – now we’re giving you a no-frills guide to which ones are worth using.

Best app for managing receipts and invoices – Receipt Bank

We love Receipt Bank – probably our favourite app for time saving and efficiency reasons. Excluding Xero this is the best tool that needed to be made for the cloud accounting era. Say goodbye to paper receipts and invoices, Receipt Bank stores digital copies of these for you, and for the full 6 years which HMRC requires.

The handy Receipt Bank app lets you take photos of receipts and upload them, you can forward emails which include invoices to your dedicated Receipt Bank email (attached or in the email body), or Receipt Bank can fetch invoices directly from a large number of suppliers.

Invoices are scanned and saved to your Receipt Bank account. The key information is extracted, matched to Xero bank transactions where possible, and then the documents can be attached and  reconciled against the transactions in your Xero bank feed.

Get rid of that shoe box full of receipts, stop missing out on claiming personal expenses and cut down your daily hassle. 100% of our clients are using Receipt Bank and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone should be using this app.

Who’s it best for? Everyone – doesn’t matter if you have 1,000 transactions a month or 100 a year. Receipt Bank is a tool you should be using. The integration with Xero, ease of use, and the fact it stores all your records is too good to pass up on. We offer a free account to all of our clients.

Viable alternatives: Hubdoc – this is a Xero owned product, but we prefer ReceiptBank.

Best app for managing cash flow – Float

Float is another one of our favourites. For clients that find it tough to manage their day to day cash flow; and need to have an accurate picture of where they are heading then this provides great value.

Float connects to your Xero account, and helps you build up an accurate cash flow forecast. It pulls out your unpaid invoices and bills and allows you to put in the expected payment dates against each, then you can create budgets against each Xero code to complete a cashflow forecast. It’s very simple to use, and beautifully easy to maintain.  

The clients we have implemented this app for love the simplicity, the reporting it provides, and the comfort it gives them knowing what their cashflow looks like for the next few months.

If you don’t have a finance manager working for you, but you want to be able to analyse your cashflow then Float is for you.

Who’s it best for? Best for small to medium sized businesses without no full-time in-house finance head, especially those businesses with lumpy cashflows and lots of moving parts.

Also good for larger companies running an accruals based cashflow, but wanting a more accurate daily picture. Especially good for forecasting short term cash.

Viable alternatives: None –We haven’t found one yet that works this well

Best app for managing jobs, projects and work – Workflow max

WorkflowMax is a project management software tool owned by Xero, offering a seamless integration directly with Xero. It provides a powerful, end-to-end business solution. It includes quoting, time-tracking, invoicing, and everything else you would expect from full blown project management software.

WorkflowMax is equipped with a rich suite of fixtures, and it’s important to define what problems you need to solve in your business before tailoring the processes in the app to meet your requirements.

Because WorkflowMax offers so much we recommend you work with an advisor to ensure you get the maximum results out of implementing it in your business.

Who’s it best for? Creative agencies, IT services, building and construction, engineers, surveryors, architects, and business consultants.

Viable alternatives: SimPRO, Xero Projects, Fergus

Best app for managing inventory – Tradegecko

There are a lots of apps dedicated to managing inventory, but if we have to pick one all round app it would be Tradegecko. It’s an order management, inventory management and reporting tool which integrates with Amazon, Shopify and Xero seamlessly to give you the information you need to manage your businesses.

Tradegecko is great for businesses selling across online and offline channels, it can handle multiple Inventory locations, and multiple websites across different currencies. It really does provide the one version of the truth for inventory and order management.

Feedback on Tradegecko has been great, and we recommend looking through their customer success stories to see how a tradegecko app implementation could help your business. They have a very helpful sales and onboarding team – book yourself in for a live demo from a specialist.

https://www.tradegecko.com/customer-success-stories

Who’s it best for? Anyone with an online store with stock, Wellness and health, Fashion and accessories, Food and beverage, Electronics

Viable alternatives: Vend, Unleased, Dear Inventory – depending on the type of business you’re in.

Best app for Reporting – Spotlight reporting

Spotlight reporting is a tool we use for our larger clients and provides excellent features to help you forecast and report on business financial performance. Spotlight helps create great looking performance reports, dashboards, forecasts and consolidations.

Spotlight reporting has been a great addition to the monthly reporting packs we provide to clients, and they are getting an up to date and in depth review of their performance. Spotlight allows us to set up the templates we want and provide these reports to clients in minutes once the figures a locked down in Xero. A great tool!

Who’s it best for? Anyone who wants to do forecasts or management reporting, but it’s especially good for businesses with external investors, Virtual CFOs and FD’s wanting to manage forecasts outside of excel, and Groups of companies wanting a great consolidation tool.

Viable alternatives: FUTRLI, Fathom, Syft

Bonus App

And if any of these add-ons can’t help you, or aren’t quite what you are looking for, there is always Zapier.

While not an add-on specifically, Zapier’s strength lies in moving information from one app to another, building processes and automation into your business just like a programmer would. But without the coding knowledge.

Zapier is the link between your systems and managing the push and pull of data. It allows you to set workflows into motion from a single trigger point. Finishing routine tasks automatically or using a fill-in-the-blank setup.

For example, you can manage workflow properly from a range of online systems – such as Trello, Basecamp, Mailchimp and Wufoo – and everything stays in sync.

James Watson