I’ll hold my hands up, and I’ll admit it, I’m not a numbers person. I very ashamedly fit the stereotype of a creative when it comes to my accounts. Whether it’s the simple things like keeping track of invoices, or saving my receipts for expenses to the bigger issues like working out profit and loss! It’s all been an uphill struggle for me and I’ve definitely had to learn on a trial and error basis. I know that I’m not alone in this, a quick chat in my Facebook group of small business owners, Coffee Work Sleep Creatives, showed that many of us struggled with the same issues. We focus on the side of our business that we love and can do well and the other bits get put on that ‘to do’ list that gets regularly ignored until panic mode is reached!
As time has gone on I’ve taken the right steps to get a handle on my business finances as a blogger, coach and events organiser. I’ve got a separate bank account and Paypal account just for business so there’s not mix up trying to remember what’s personal spending and what’s business related. I keep spreadsheets to track my invoices and attempt to record my expenses by photographing and logging my receipts. However when it comes to pulling all that together and getting a good overall view of my business accounts I’m left scratching my head.
Xero is a cloud based accounting software platform for small businesses – could it be the answer to my prayers?
With Xero everything is in one place, I can keep track of my blog income, send out invoices to my coaching clients and get all the ticket sales info from my Coffee Work Sleep Creatives meet ups. All the information is at my finger tips, whether I open it up via the Xero app or use the website it gives me a real-time view of my cash-flow, anytime, anywhere.
You can sync your business banking as well as any business Paypal accounts, this is really useful for me as my meet up tickets are paid through Paypal, and sometimes clients pay me via paypal for ease. Once all your banking info is sync you can label all your in coming and out going transactions making doing your tax return so much easier! If you are VAT registered it even helps you prepare for Making Tax Digital, it makes online submissions easy with simple, accurate tracking for any VAT scheme.
If you set aside a little time each day, week or month, depending on your level of business, to check your bank statements are imported and up to date, and to reconcile your accounts it soon gets done and just becomes part of your working routine. No more spreadsheets, or folders with receipts and invoices.
Any kind of change or moving over from one system to another can be really daunting. When I had Xero set up for my previous business, an online shop, my accountant set it up for me. If you have an accountant and you’re interested in Xero it’s worth checking and asking if they are Xero partners and if they offer this kind of service. You can find a list of accountants that offer this here – Find an accountant. It makes things even more streamlined. If you’re going it alone on Xero don’t worry it’s very intuitive and easy to use.
My top tips for getting started
- make use of the guides and tutorials to get what you need from the platform
- reach out to the support team if you get stuck, they are super helpful
- if you get overwhelmed then just take it a step at a time, you don’t need to master everything at once
It even integrates with other platforms, for example when I had my store I paired it up with WooCommerce via Trade Gecko, I know it works with Shopify too. There’s are loads of different apps you can integrate with it which are definitely worth researching depending on your business needs.
Xero can do so much, and once you’ve taken a little time to get to know what it does and what you need from it it will make your life as a small business owner so much easier. Whether you are a blogger, a freelancer or have a handmaid business it’s worth looking into.
If you’d like to try out Xero for yourself then they offer a no obligation 30 day free trial via xero.com
I’d love your thoughts on this.
How do you keep track of your accounts?
Are you a natural numbers person, or like me, do you need all the help you can get?
Morgana is a social media coach for small businesses and entrepreneurs, specialising in Instagram and Pinterest. Based in the North West of the UK, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She particularly enjoys a Netflix binge watch and cannot function without black coffee and dark chocolate digestives.