Not only are my husband and I both self-employed, but we also both work from home, and share an office. It’s a miracle we haven’t already strangled each other with a USB cable!
Then, last week, I decided to help him get his accounts in order, which I’m guessing is right up there with ‘Teaching your partner to drive’ in the divorce inducing stakes.
Old school accounting
My husband is a fan of old school accounting. He has a ‘system’ that I’m pretty sure Hawkins would struggle to understand. Ask him a question about a certain customer, and after a few minutes of paper shuffling he emerges triumphant with the answer. It works for him but ONLY him, and as his business grows ever larger, his manual
processes become more and more time consuming. It drives me crazy to see him faffing around until the wee hours typing up invoices in Word, or recording payments on little yellow index cards. Finally I broke. ‘You have to get Xero!’ I screamed.
Change is good (I promise)
Okay let me be honest. It took a while before my accountant was able to persuade me to ‘see the light’. I definitely struggled to move away from Excel spreadsheets and take the leap into the brave new world of online accounting software. I’d heard about MYOB and Sassu but every time I’ve checked them out they gave me a headache, so I returned to my ludditey old ways.
But then I discovered Xero and everything changed.
What I like about Xero
For me, finding Xero was a bit of a revelation. I like the fact that you can:
- Sync several bank accounts/credit cards with the system so that they pull through transactions each day.
- Quickly and easily reconcile spends to the appropriate code.
- Raise smart looking branded invoices in a few clicks.
- Quickly see late payers and hassle them in a professional way.
- Copy old invoices and set up repeats.
- Set up different email templates for invoicing, remittance advice, etc.
But Xero isn’t perfect
There is, of course, room for improvement, and I’d like to see the following:
- The ability to brand the emails accompanying the invoices.
- A search function to find invoices, clients, etc. right on the dashboard.
- A customizable dashboard, with colours, branding, etc.
- More user-friendly reporting – possibly question based, e.g.
- How much have I earned this month?
- Who is my best client?
- Improved feeds
Love is… putting a month’s worth of accounts into Xero
It only took a few minutes to set up my husband’s Xero account (and I got the added benefit of a 15% reduction for running two companies through the system). But then the real work began. My husband and I sat side by side wading through his pile of invoices, adding them into the system, reconciling a month’s worth of payments and matching customer details to the relevant account. We got through it but boy it was tough.
Restoring the balance
Now it’s all done. The new Xero accounting system is in place. Branded invoices are shooting out to clients, payments are being tracked, business expenses assigned, and finally we have a clear picture of how the business is doing financially. You’ll all be glad to know that marital harmony has been restored. (See picture on right).
Just one question
I just have one question: how many wife points do you think I earned setting up Xero for my husband? Share your answers below.
Since writing this article I have slightly gone off Xero. They recently changed the way they manage their bank feeds and managed it terribly. It’s been 20 days since my feed was supposed to be live and it still isn’t. And the customer service hasn’t been that great either.
So, yeah – the thumbs up has changed to a little bit more of a hmmmm.
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