Business Software and SystemsBusiness Advisory

Streamline your business with Xero apps

Michael Alexander Michael Alexander
4 December 2023
7 min read

Xero has become one of the most popular cloud-based accounting platforms for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Australia. With its user-friendly interface, robust reporting, and integrations with hundreds of business apps, it's easy to see why Xero is one of the main choices for modern businesses looking to improve efficiency and insight.

One of the biggest advantages of using Xero is that you can connect it to a wide range of third-party apps and extensions to enhance functionality. There are Xero apps available to handle everything from invoicing and expense tracking to inventory management and HR.

However, with so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to determine which apps are right for your business. Many small business owners simply don't have the time or technical know-how to choose the best software and implement them into their processes.

In this article, we'll discuss how strategically choosing and integrating the right Xero apps can help your business minimise expenses, mitigate risks, and maximise productivity.

Why integrate Xero with other add-ons?

Integrating complementary Xero apps into your accounting and operations flows delivers some major benefits:

  • Automation - Apps can automate many repetitive, manual processes like data entry and invoicing to save you time.

  • Accuracy - Automated workflows reduce human error that occurs with manual work. Apps also ensure data flows accurately between systems.

  • Insights - The right reporting and analytics apps help uncover trends and insights from your financial data.

  • Risk mitigation - Apps add layers of control and approvals to prevent fraud and accidental mistakes.

  • Productivity - By eliminating busywork, apps give you and your team time back to focus on important tasks.

  • Cost savings - Efficient apps optimise workflows to cut down overhead costs and wastage.

Choosing Xero apps by business function

There are thousands of apps on the Xero marketplace, so choosing the right ones for your needs can feel overwhelming. Here are some of the top categories of Xero apps and how they can optimise key business functions:

Expense payment automation

Managing expenses well is crucial for any business. Apps like Hubdoc, Receipt Bank, Expensify, and Concur automate expense tracking by extracting key details from receipts and bills directly into Xero using AI.

This saves time spent on manual data entry while also creating more accurate records for claiming and accounting. Advanced apps even allow you to set spending rules and limits for employees to control expenditure.

Job Management

Whether you are a builder, plumber, engineer, designer or anything in between, having a central job management system is central to your business and everything should feed off this. Timesheets on your phone, online quoting, scheduling and invoicing to your customers all from one platform.

Depending on your industry, tools such as Aroflo, Fergus, Workflow Max or Project Works are just the beginning of the list of tools available in this space.

Time tracking

Understanding where time is spent in your business helps identify profitable work and wastage. Apps like Timely and Deputy let you track employee and project hours seamlessly, generating timesheets that integrate into Xero payroll.

This provides better cost visibility by job and gives managers data to help schedule resources efficiently.

Inventory management

For product businesses, inventory apps like Unleashed and Cin7 integrate stock data directly into Xero. This allows you to accurately track inventory costs and maintain optimum stock levels.

Features like barcode scanning and inventory alerts also help minimise wastage and pilferage, saving on expenses.

Retail Point of Sale

Apps such as Lightspeed Vend are great tools that you can integrate into the front house of a retail store talking directly with your accounting system. Having an online sales tool such as Shopify that also integrates into your ecosystem means you can have multiple sales channels and one central stock system so you know where you are at in your business.

This speeds up payment collection while cutting down on administration work required for invoicing and payments.

Reporting & analytics

Business intelligence apps like Spotlight Reporting pull data from Xero to generate customisable reports and dashboards covering metrics like cashflow, profitability and revenue. Use these tools to create forecasts for your business and play with the different scenarios you are considering.

Advanced insights help you identify problem areas and opportunities for growth you may have otherwise missed.

Overcoming implementation challenges

While Xero apps deliver tremendous value, we understand that implementing new systems can be challenging, especially for time-poor business owners. Here are some tips to help overcome common barriers:

  • Evaluate thoroughly - Don't just look at popularity or price. Consider how well features match your needs, ease of use, customer support levels, and integration with Xero.

  • Start small - Introduce apps gradually for different functions, rather than all at once. This allows your team time to adjust to new workflows.

  • Train adequately - Learn-as-you-go is ineffective. Provide ample training resources and documentation to get team members up to speed.

  • Customise configurations - Take time to tailor apps to your workflows and reporting requirements for optimal efficiency.

  • Integrate apps - Ensure apps sync seamlessly with each other and Xero. Mismatched systems lead to double handling and discrepancies.

  • Review regularly - Assess usage and performance of apps regularly. Adjust configurations or adopt new apps if needed.

At Findex, our experts can partner with you to review your business, select the right apps, configure them for your specific needs, train your team, and ensure full integration with Xero for maximum business benefit.

Achieving an Integrated Xero App Ecosystem

The key to extracting maximum value from Xero apps is integrating them into a seamless ecosystem that connects your core business software systems:

When accounting, sales, inventory, procurement, HR and other apps are interconnected in Xero, data flows effortlessly to provide whole-of-business visibility and agility.

The apps automatically share vital information without teams having to manually export and import data between siloed systems. This unified ecosystem approach is the hallmark of some of the most efficiently run modern businesses.

Staying up-to-date

The Xero app ecosystem is constantly evolving as new innovative apps are added. Here are some tips to help you stay updated:

  • Check the Xero app marketplace regularly to see newly added apps or updated app features.

  • Pay attention to app ratings/reviews to gauge user sentiment and experience.

  • Attend Xerocon events to connect with app providers face-to-face and view demos.

  • Follow Xero (and popular app companies) on social media to hear the latest announcements.

  • Sign up for app company newsletters to receive update emails and feature highlights.

  • Set calendar reminders to review your app usage and see if any processes can be further optimised.

  • Work with a specialised team that can ensure full integration with Xero, stay up-to-date on new apps available and can review your integrated system whenever needed.

Key Takeaways

Integrating a best-of-breed app stack with Xero offers an end-to-end business management ecosystem that can help you minimise expenses, reduce risks, and boost productivity. But the key is choosing the right apps for your needs and implementing them effectively.

With domain expertise across accounting systems and business processes, Findex can guide you through Xero app selection and integration. Book a complimentary business apps, software, and systems health check to help build your digital foundations on Xero.

Book here


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the thought or position of Findex

Michael Alexander
Author: Michael Alexander | Partner