Xero connects with over 1,000 apps that help small businesses and their advisors succeed, with most available in the Xero App Store. Each month we celebrate an app partner who stands out for helping small businesses thrive. Find out more about becoming a Xero app partner here.
We’re pleased to reveal that September’s app partner of the month is LeaveCal. LeaveCal is a simple tool that helps small businesses gain visibility over staff leave and availability. LeaveCal was developed by the team at Finlert and was one of the first apps to join the new Xero App Store. We spoke with Finlert co-founder, Peter Horder, about why they created LeaveCal, and the importance of ‘leave transparency’.
A simple solution for a simple problem
LeaveCal was created to solve a frustrating problem that many businesses face when managing teams: leave visibility across the business.
“Like most SMEs, our customers have people wearing many hats. If someone needs to take time out, everyone needs to know about it so cover can be arranged if needed,” explains Peter.
Knowing when fellow team members are away or unavailable can be crucial to managing workflows, especially in small businesses where margins are tight. Peter saw this first hand when working at an engineering firm in Sydney.
“Our HR manager at the time would manually create a leave report which she emailed to the team every week. She then also had to inform everyone when people called in sick or changed their plans,” shares Peter. “It was very time consuming and prone to mistakes.”
Around that time, Peter met Finlert co-founder Nathan Harper, who’d already developed the first version of LeaveCal.
“Nathan and I decided there was much more we could do in the Xero ecosystem with LeaveCal, so we joined forces to form Finlert.”
Visibility across schedules
LeaveCal gives teams visibility on who’s in and out by connecting Xero Payroll with a variety of other applications across email, calendars, or even Slack. Approved leave is securely pulled from Xero Payroll into LeaveCal, which generates a leave calendar that can be shared with relevant team members.
“There can sometimes be friction or time consuming processes around the communication of leave,” says Peter.
“LeaveCal removes that friction, and reduces the time required to manually update shared calendars. Staff can even receive approved leave notifications via their company’s Slack channel.”
This level of transparency can also help businesses manage their staff wellbeing more effectively.
“LeaveCal makes it easy to see who is getting the right amount of time out of the office. It’s important for everyone’s wellbeing that they take leave, and representing it visually makes it obvious who isn’t taking time out.”
Helping businesses across the spectrum
Through the Xero app ecosystem, LeaveCal is used by Xero Payroll customers across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Reaching such a wide audience does come with some challenges, however.
“The variety of businesses that we serve is incredible! We have to evolve our product constantly to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs. Every day we see interesting and unique businesses joining us, from cutting-edge AI-tech firms, to electric skateboard manufacturers or distributors of medicinal mushrooms – it’s just amazing.”
This evolution means that Peter and the Finlert team are always looking for new ways to innovate what LeaveCal can do, evolving to meet trends such as hybrid working.
“Knowing where team members are physically is something many businesses need to know, so being able to see who’s working from home or in the office will be coming soon,” says Peter.
“When looking to the future, our minds are running at a million miles an hour coming up with new and exciting ways we can help small businesses.”