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Unlock greater success in your practice with this popular app stack

Posted 2 months ago in Advisors by Nick Houldsworth

If there’s one important message that’s come out of Xero On Air, it’s that cloud technology can make a real difference for small businesses and their advisors. Our Xero Small Business Insights special report: Pandemic Insights: Small Business Experience shows that small businesses using apps lost less revenue, and suffered fewer staff losses, compared to those not using apps during the peak of the pandemic’s impact. The benefits that apps can have are clear, but how can you see these same benefits in your practice?

During Xero On Air, Kaye Harding, GM Ecosystem Partner Experience, and Patrick Frigo, Practice App Specialist, joined me in our episode – The App Stack for Practice Success. Together we explored apps you can get started using to unlock greater success in your practice.

Our app marketplace has over 800 apps to choose from, and in this session we’ve taken out the guesswork for you by covering popular practice apps within five key categories to get you on the road to success.  Here’s a look at the key points we covered, but for full details, I recommend you watch the episode here if you haven’t already.

Take control of capturing your data

Almost every practice can benefit from a data capture app. They’re not only a great place to start, but an important foundation for your practice by getting in control of data capture.

ReceiptBank and Hubdoc are two of the most popular data capture apps in our entire app marketplace. They do away with data entry by automatically capturing information from sources like bills and receipts. They then publish this information in Xero accurately and efficiently, reducing manual entry and saving time.

Remove the hassle of managing expenses

According to Patrick, in the days of running his own practice he was bogged down with receipts: 

“Before I started using Expensify, I was constantly losing my receipts. Now I love getting my receipt, snapping a pic on my phone, and then throwing the receipt away because the app does all the work,” he commented.

Expense management apps use automation to reduce the time spent inputting, tracking and reconciling expenses. Xero Expenses and Expensify are great choices that allow users to snap a picture of a receipt on their phone, and have the details uploaded into Xero for approval. The result is an end to lost or unorganised receipts, making life easier for your practice staff.

Get paid faster

Online payment service apps can really benefit practices, especially when cash flow is a concern. Xero data shows that businesses using online payment services like Stripe and GoCardless to manage their accounts receivable get paid faster.

With Stripe, businesses can accept credit or debit card payments, and GoCardless automatically collects pre-authorised direct debits straight from a customer’s bank account. You can then easily reconcile both of these payments in Xero, just like you would with bank feeds.

Streamline your practice

Specialised practice management apps help boost productivity and improve engagement with your clients. Two powerful apps to consider are:

Xero Practice Manager a comprehensive tool for managing your practice through tracking time, managing workflow, and billing.

Practice Ignition a stand out tool that automates the creation of proposals and engagement letters to your clients. You can quickly pull together service and price info, and create a smart proposal that clients can sign and accept electronically. No printed paperwork required.

Amplify your forecasting and reporting

We know that cash flow is top-of-mind for many businesses right now. Cash flow app searches in our app marketplace spiked by over 50% between February and April this year, showing us businesses are keen to know more about how they’re currently doing, and what the future could hold.

Xero Business Edition has a dashboard that provides a snapshot view of your cash flow, including money in and out by month, an overview of bills and expenses, and a summary of accounts payable and receivable.

You can enhance your forecasting and reporting even further by using specialist apps like Spotlight and Futrli. These apps help predict your future cash flow, and create detailed financial reports in just a few clicks all using your Xero data.

You can also use them to help improve the financial health of client’s businesses while strengthening the value of your advisory services. You can use them to model growth, and provide insights into your client’s cash flow.

Because this data can be accessed in real-time, advisory conversations and planning can happen throughout the year not just at tax time.

More choice than ever

While the above apps are a good place to start, there are so many other great apps out there that you can implement into your practice. The app marketplace allows you to quickly narrow down apps by industry and function, plus if you’re logged into Xero, our machine learning powered search can surface recommendations based on your practice’s profile. 

Signing up to an app trial is also easy with our Sign up with Xero tool that allows you to use your Xero login details to register with the app.

We also have some great app advisory resources to deepen your knowledge, including our Xero app playbooks and industry-specific courses available in Xero Central Learning.

Visit the Xero app marketplace to get started, where you can explore all of our 800+ third-party apps. You can also check out our episode here.

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