We are into April, and 2017 is progressing at a serious pace. Another thing for sure is that the pace of technological change in business continues unabated. That is certainly the case in the world of cloud accounting technology. So naturally we thought this would be a good time to talk about some of our favourite technology solutions and apps. We know these can have a dramatic impact on efficiency and profitability for all SME’s. This is based on what we are helping our clients implement in their businesses.

Cloud Accounting technology is the starting point

The starting point for us when looking at SME technology solutions is the cloud accounting software. We use Xero with all our clients. It’s user friendly and intuitive, and not full of accounting jargon. As a company launched around a kitchen table back in 2006, it retains that entrepreneurial spirit today, and you can see that in how they continue to push the boundaries of research in this area. We are going to see developments in AI and machine learning in the cloud accounting field over the next few years, and Xero will be at the forefront of that push. In fact, they are already trialling machine learning on invoices all with the goal of saving SME’s time in their administration.machine-learning-cloud-accounting-technology

Also, Xero now has over 500 apps in its add-on market place. Working with other specialist providers is key to getting the right cloud solutions for a particular business. Let’s talk about some of those add-ons now.

Help for the basics

Firstly, there is plenty of help for some of the basics of business administration. Receipt Bank allows you to digitally store all your paper, email receipts and invoices, and puts you well on the way to being a paperless business. Chaser gives you an automated invoice chasing services. Alongside the ‘Pay Now’ buttons and different payment methods that are available in Xero, this provides a suite of tools to get you paid faster.

Industry Specific Solutions

Then there are some industry specific cloud solutions that can be put together. For pubs, restaurants and cafes you can use Vend point of sale software for real time tracking of sales and stock. Linked up to Xero, with the help of Receipt Bank, you can get an instant view of sales and margin. You can also easily allow for the complexities of reporting for VAT.

Next you can build on this with Deputy real time staff scheduling and time and attendance software. You can pull in sales information from Vend and push payroll information to Xero. Now you have a completely integrated sales, stock and staff cloud solution. We look at packages of solutions like this for clients in a number of different industries.

Accessing Finance in the Cloud

Now, the Xero eco-system is also making it easier to access finance. Xero itself is focussed on making it simple for small businesses to provide secure and high integrity information to third parties through the financial web. As an example of how this is starting to work in practice, our previous blog discussed how online lending platforms are opening up a world of lending outside of the traditional high street banks . Using Xero well can improve the chances of accessing this funding.

invoice-financing-cloud-accounting-technologyAnother example is faster and more secure access to invoice financing though Xero add-on market place providers. This is particularly useful when you are dealing with enterprise level clients who tend to have longer payment terms. Getting quicker access to cash through invoice financing allows an SME to be able to work on larger projects. Additionally, they do not have to stall work due to having to wait for payment from the last job.

The key role that Xero plays in these various funding options is to provide real time and secure information. Often produced in conjunction with an accountant, potential lenders feel assured by this quality of information. It also allows SME’s to make lending applications across a range of lenders without having to fill in multiple applications.

Solutions specific to your SME

This was a whistle stop tour through some of our favourite cloud accounting technology solutions. We are currently talking about many of these with our clients, ensuring they are always specific to their requirements. If you want to find out more, please get in contact with us at Chilli.