Xero: the best invoicing tool for designers?

by Saul Edmonds

The Dream

Xero began life in 2006 : a collaboration between Rod Drury (serial entrepreneur) and Hamish Edwards (accountant). They worked to build a revolutionary saas (software as a service ) - an online accounting system for small business that was so good, it was actually fun/ intuitive/ stress-free to use. Accounting - where you actually wanted to do the books!

The History

Every business must monitor the flow of money, expenses, debts, purchases, profits. Success begins and ends with the accounts. Even in the Clouds - accounting is still http://accounting.Traditionally, this was the time honored debit and credit double entry bookkeeping method. Xero is one of the few double-entry systems available online today. (much preferred by accountants)

The double-entry bookkeeping system has a history that extends back to the 12th century where every transaction was recorded into at least two different accounts. (Equity = Assets - Liabilities. This equation serves as a built in error detection system).

Of interest - the modern use of double entry bookkeeping is credited to Tuscan born Luca Pacioli. (1445 - 1517) He was a Mathematician, Tutor and Franciscan Friar with wide ranging interests that included religion, business, military science, art and music. He gave special importance to the disciplines of mathematics and accounting, and was a close friend and collaborator of Leonardo da Vinci.

1+1 = Xero

Xero is an online accounting application. It has accounting, expenses, receivables, payments and contact management tools which can be integrated to provide a unified view.

Favourite Features

- the centralized ‘Contacts’ database (instead of separate ‘Customers’ and ‘Suppliers’)

- the support of direct bank feeds (from most major banks)

- the Xero iPhone app (also for Windows Mobile and Blackberry)

- the handy dashboard: keeps your mind on the task at hand (ie: getting work done & payments turned over). The dashboard shows bank balances, charts, top customers ect at a glance.

- the generated reports: easy to read & comprehend for non accounting users

- handy Google Docs direct save feature

- handy Skype integration

Remote Viewing

Our main reason for moving all our accounting records into the Clouds was to enable us to run our business from anywhere in the world. (Invoices from Istanbul - very nice)

The Solution for Creatives?

The simple yet intuitive interface easily passes the first test: Xero looks good. (We like this)

It has a contemporary design feel. It’s easy to use. When work gets busy it is always a temptation to get lost in the work and put off bookkeeping tasks - not a good idea! Xero genuinely makes life easier: begin able to share your records directly with your accountant online is a good thing.

Working in a creative agency means long, busy hours. Anything that makes the process of running the business more effectively is worth a look. After all, most creatives prefer creating.

… We like Xero.

by Saul Edmonds