Anything that makes a person’s job easier has to appeal – that’s why, in my role as Finance Manager at i-Dynamics, I adore both Xero and the new Zoho Books.
I was introduced to Xero (my first experience of cloud accounting software) in December 2013 as a new employee at i-Dynamics and instantly loved the highly usable dashboard and the layout with easy-to-use reporting, credit control and invoicing. Plus the extremely useful live bank feed for quick up-to-date bank reconciliation. Having previously manually reconciled paper bank statements at the end of each month, this was a complete luxury and a huge aid in maximising efficiency and accuracy.
Now, however, with the newly launched Zoho Books there is some competition!
Until now Zoho Books has been mainly geared towards the American market, but as from last month it is now able to handle the VAT returns and corporation tax reports required under UK regulations.
The interface gives an instant snapshot of the business and is even more user friendly than Xero, with a simplified overview of Total Receivables and Total Payables and a pictorial overview of expenses by way of bar chart and graph (which you can change for personal preference). The information is visually streamlined and therefore easy to absorb. Both packages store all information on the Cloud too so I can work from anywhere, giving amazing functionality which allows for multiple users (with access) to see up-to-date accounting information on the go.
Streamlined data between Zoho CRM, sales estimates and projects is all brought together
meaning my workload is and will continue to be greatly reduced. I no longer have to add new clients by copying them from the sales team data on the CRM, they are automatically added to Books, along with the essential financial information thus reducing time and the chance of human error.
Our sub-contractors can update timesheets and project work directly, using a login that only allows them to access the information they need. No more chasing for timesheets and inputting information from emails and spreadsheets to update my invoices, it is up to them to add the information on a timely basis!
The sales team can directly add their own expenses,
including a photo of the receipt, to submit for approval and also assign them to a project so that I can track what we are spending on each project, linking it to the budget manager – a highly useful tool.
Estimates that are sent out to prospective clients can be accepted at the click of a button by the client,
thus automatically converting them to Sales Invoices within Zoho Books, a far smoother process than we used before. In addition to this, busy sales people always on the go can create estimates and invoices from the Zoho app, a tremendous tool allowing for a quicker client response time. This can really give us the edge over a potential competitor if the client is gathering quotes from more than one supplier.
As with Xero all invoices are emailed to the client and can be paid by the click of a button through an online gateway, perfect for credit control and also stopping the need to print or send invoices and statements, making our office a totally paperless environment. Clients can also choose to pay in their own countries’ currency if applicable and Zoho Books will show currency adjustments and up-to-date exchange rates within reporting.
I can analyse the financial health of the company quickly and simply through the many reporting options and export a report when requested at the click of a button, very useful for weekly management meetings.
With a single sign-up to Zoho you can access 25 products including Zoho Books, which has got to be a clear contender for becoming one of the top accountancy packages in the UK. I’ll continue to keep you posted on my love of Xero and Zoho Books… watch this space!