Receipt Scanning Software enables business owners, managers and employees take a photo of their receipts so that they can be stored digitally.
Some accounting software programs integrate with more advanced Expense Tracking and coding accounting apps, while others include a basic image storage service.
These apps are great if you have receipts printed on thermal paper and the figures disappear after spending time on the dashboard, in your wallet or in the shoebox.
Popular Receipt scanning software includes Hubdoc, Receipt Bank and Auto Entry but some accounting programs like QuickBooks and Wave Apps have receipt capture software built into their smart phone apps.
Receipt Scanning and Data Coding takes a lot of the workload out of daily transactions and end of month coding tasks performed by junior bookkeepers.
DO YOU GET frustrated when you see the little box at the bottom of the BAS lodgement form? You know, the one where they ask how long it took to complete the form because I feel like writing, “It took 10 minutes to complete the form, but 4 hours to do the data entry and bank reconciliation work!”
Junior bookkeepers, accounts receivable and accounts payable clerks, and office administrators will all share that their most time-consuming work is data entry, coding and bank reconciliations. However, there is software available which almost totally automates this work — and it’s becoming increasingly accurate and speedy.
I RECENTLY HAD the pleasure of visiting the Reckon head office in Sydney to learn more about their new Reckon One product — and it’s quite a compelling offer.
To start with, Reckon, a listed company, was not allowed to sell its accounting practice management software (APS) to its competitor, MYOB, because Xero HQ wasn’t much chop.
Yes, that’s right, Xero HQ was deemed so “insufficient and unsophisticated” that it wasn’t viewed by the ACCC as offering any competition in this marketplace whatsoever and therefore they wouldn’t allow MYOB to hold the monopoly.
This made me, and no doubt, many others, realise just how powerful Reckon could be in the online accounting market if it had the right software offer — and now it does.
What makes Xero so popular is that it is inexpensive software that’s simple to use and has lots of time-saving features.
In doing so, it’s basically left MYOB to hold the mantle of the accounting software used by accountants and bookkeepers.
Now, however, Xero is looking to close that gap, with the launch of “Xero HQ”; a data and insights platform for bookkeepers and accountants who are part of the Xero Partner Program.
Xero HQ wants to help you grow
To shake MYOB’s stranglehold on the accountant and bookkeeper market, Xero had to do something to differentiate itself and tempt accountants and bookkeepers away from MYOB.
And they’re betting that Xero HQ will be the thing that does it. Xero HQ will provide bookkeepers and accountants with data and insights tools so they can provide “advisory level” services to clients.
Xero’s focus on “advisory level” services is important here, because it reveals a couple of things Xero plans to do with the industry. The first is to continue to automate many of the tasks a bookkeeper would traditionally carry out — the introduction of bank feeds eliminated data entry, for instance — and the second is to up-skill junior bookkeepers, while simultaneously embedding them within the Xero ecosystem — which will fit nicely with their recently launched Xero Lifelong Learning platform.
What exactly is the Xero HQ platform?
If you’re part of the Xero Partner Program already, then access to the Xero HQ platform is free. The Xero HQ platform is essentially a separate workflow that you access online, which provides a number of features not available though your regular Xero software.
These Xero HQ features include the following:
Activity feed: When your clients’ GST or activity statements are due, a notification will appear in the activity feed to alert you.
Client list: This is essentially like a contact book, where you can store all your clients’ information in one place; even those clients who aren’t on Xero.
Explorer: This feature pulls data Xero knows about your clients to help you provide them with better advice, or help you up-skill in areas you know are important to them. For example: it will show you which apps are popular across all your clients, so you can learn how to use them.
Xero HQ app marketplace
The Xero HQ platform also has an app marketplace, which has a focus on apps that will help bookkeepers and accountants with their business. That’s different to the existing Xero app marketplace, which is geared towards small businesses in any industry.
The Xero HQ app marketplace is split up into three tiers, depending on the size of your bookkeeping or accounting practice.
Which Xero HQ app marketplace will suit you?
If you’ve 100 or fewer clients, then you’d be best suited to the “activate” package of apps especially “curated” by the Xero HQ team.
If you have between 100 and 200 clients, then you’re best suited to the “energise” package of apps; practices with 300 or more clients suit the “supercharge” package.
It’s up to you which apps you switch on, but Xero has eliminated the leg work involved in finding apps to suit your business needs.
Some common third party apps, recommended across all three Xero HQ app marketplace tiers include:
Futrli: A forecasting and reporting app designed to help control cash flow and accelerate growth. Technically, you can pull all these data out of Xero by running a number of different reports and exporting them into Excel, but this app does all that work for you, and just delivers the insights. Partner pricing starts at $399 per month.
Receipt Bank: Extracts relevant information from paper receipts and invoices, imports the data into Xero, categorises it, and stores both the data and receipt safely in the cloud. Your clients just snap a picture of the receipt using the Receipt Bank app on their smartphone or upload from their PC.
BOMA: Is a marketing and advertising platform that lets you export data from Xero and use it for your marketing and advertising campaigns. With BOMA you can create and broadcast marketing and advertising messages across five channels (email, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter), including sponsored advertising posts on those platforms. It also provides you with all the imagery, templates and other design needs to create your campaigns. It’s basically a one- stop -shop for digital marketing and advertising. Partner pricing starts at $49 per month.
Xero HQ is where accounting meets CRM
In essence, the Xero HQ platform is where accounting and customer relationship management meet. Xero provides bookkeepers and accountants with a platform that enables high-level analysis and data management through integrating third-party Xero HQ partner apps.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, Xero HQ serves dual purposes: it encourages bookkeepers to move away from providing basic bookkeeping services to deeper analysis and advisory roles; and they can use the Xero Lifelong Learning platform to up-skill and provide those services.
“Xero HQ serves dual purposes: it encourages bookkeepers to move away from providing basic bookkeeping services to deeper analysis and advisory roles…”
FOR BUSINESSES WORKING on large projects spanning weeks or even months, keeping track of time, cash flow and profitability is imperative. This is even more so for businesses that work on fixed-rate contracts or tenders.
Such fixed-rate projects are common in the building and construction industry, but also the creative, engineering, and IT industries.
Many of these businesses manage a project’s workflow across a number of different documents (spreadsheets, their CRM, accounting software) — and many don’t manage it properly at all.
As a consequence, projects often come in over budget. A number of cloud-based project management and workflow apps aim to change that, however.
That’s not to say there are no expense apps that integrate with MYOB. There are. Receipt Bank is one, Squirrel Street is another, and there are probably a lot more on the MYOB marketplace (or add-ons page). Probably the best expense tracking application we found is ExpenseManager, and it only integrates with MYOB.
WE’VE ENTERED QUARTER 4 for the 2016/17 financial year, so we’ve been writing about the things your business should be doing this quarter in preparation for the end of the financial year. In our last post we wrote about writing off stock and inventory. Now we’re looking at business expenses.
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