I’m a self-confessed XERO fangirl.

I recently joined MAP as a Client Financial Controller.

Initially, I was drawn here because of how Paul and the team have utilised cloud-based apps to integrate and partner with their clients.

Over the last 10 years since Xero came to our shores, cloud accounting software has revolutionised UK accountancy. Finance systems are now constantly advancing as digitalised software allows apps to become more inventive.

I was excited to work for MAP as a winner of 2 coveted Xero awards. I knew there was so much more value I could add to my clients. Gaining additional expertise in the apps is having a huge impact on how I help make businesses efficient and empowered.

Why we get so excited about Xero

Let’s be honest, the accounting industry is not exactly synonymous with excitement and enthusiasm. Yet Xero and apps always have us eager for more.

  • Getting real-time information and engaging with it, help businesses thrive. The more information business owners have, the more empowered they become and I love to be part of that journey.
  • Forecasting becomes easier and more relevant, even in times of uncertainty. I’d argue that financial forecasts are even more relevant in times of uncertainty as we are forced to focus our attention on how and where we spend, and what we have control over. 
  • I can produce a financial report that anyone can understand. Honestly! I have clients whose eyes glazed over when they saw a P&L account, but a chart of income streams or a graph showing trends in spending suddenly makes it clearer and more engaging.
  • Automated invoice processing is a godsend. It means the creditors’ reports are up to date so we can monitor cash flow, which saves so much time. Also, knowing that I never have to manually enter a box full of paper invoices again makes me a much happier person!
  • That’s only the tip of the iceberg. I could also mention bank feeds, automated sales invoice systems, user-friendly operations, easy VAT reporting, credit control, adaptability, low cost… but we don’t have all day.

Not all Xeros are equal

I’m sorry to break it to you, but simply transferring data to Xero will not give you all the added benefits of the ‘beautiful software’. Accuracy and consistency are vital and both you and your accountant need to engage with all Xero has to offer. Then, by adding the relevant apps the finance function can flourish. 

The apps we love

MAP won the ‘App Advisor of the Year 2019’ as Xero recognised our extensive and knowledgable adoption of apps. The apps become such a big part of our work it’s hard to pick favourites. With that said, here are a few that we love.

  • Receipt Bank 

If you’re familiar with cloud-based software, you’ll already know this invoice processing and document storage app. Receipt bank saves us hours and days on data entry. The app started in 2010, making it practically middle-aged in terms of accountancy software. Instead of stagnating, their offering continues to mature, meaning it does much more than just read receipts.

  • Chaser

Chaser is a game-changer in terms of credit control. Our team at MAP use this system to look after the client’s correspondence with debtors. Using Xero to keep the balances bang up to date, we prepare tailored emails and statements to chase debts and produce clear insightful debtor reports to the business owners.

  • Fathom 

Management accounts are worthless if they aren’t providing you with real insight into the business. Fathom makes this possible by letting us monitor your KPIs and provide clear simple reports. 

  • Xavier

A fellow 2020 Xero award winner, Xavier offers a toolkit aimed at accounting professionals. Which helps us highlight errors and inconsistencies in bookkeeping systems. It limits the risk of errors being submitted to HMRC and helps us support our clients’ teams with the right training and guidance to get accurate consistent financial information.

How does Xero compare to other cloud-based software?

I’ve used other cloud-based software, but it is evident they are trying to emulate the sheer success that Xero has created for themselves. Xero has always been one step ahead.

It has never felt that making accountancy easier would take work from the accountants who engage with Xero. Instead, the opposite is true; it gives us the space to do what we’re good at. 

Now more than ever, having the ability to confidently manage and understand finances is essential for business owners. Talk to your accountant and make sure you have all the knowledge and power at your fingertips. I promise you, the more you engage with this, the more you and your business will benefit.

Rachel Armstrong

Head of Finance Partnering