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First Thing First
I know a lot of you out there have thoughts in the back of your mind about leaving a job you don’t like and starting a company. I used to be like you and can tell you that the thought will probably never go away and will nag at you until you just do it. We are the Entrepreneurship Generation. We start stuff. We build stuff. We lead.
You might be wondering what in the world this has to do with treats, eats, and cheats? Well, several people have asked us about starting a blog, so we want to drop some knowledge every now and then to help others pursue their passion.
Pursue Your Passion
So, as we noted in our end of year reflections, we wanted to treat this endeavor as a business and not a vanity project. That means we are forced to do tedious tasks like tracking expenses, bookkeeping, and tax filings. Definitely not the most fun tasks in the world. Just like with my day job, I strive to make these mundane but necessary tasks as seamless as possible. I’ve been personally using a good accounting program for a couple years now but it is super wonky (good for me but not necessarily for novices), doesn’t have the best design, and has a steep learning curve. So I decided to seek out other providers.
If you know me, then you know what happened next, a multi-day research binge with charts, colored-coded notes, etc. And I started to settle on a service called Xero.
Background on Xero
Xero is a relatively new cloud-based accounting software born in New Zealand. Their tagline is “Beautiful Accounting Software” and you can tell how seriously they take this with how sleek their design and user experience is. It puts my current provider to shame.
But beauty isn’t everything, so let’s talk about how it can save you money and time. We aren’t going to get too far down in the weeds as I have not extensively used it and they have a 30-day free trial that doesn’t even require a credit card. With no long-term commitment, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
Ten Reasons to Try Xero
Beautiful and Intuitively-Design Dashboard – Keanna must be rubbing off on me because it was the first thing that I noticed was how sleek and pretty the dashboard was. As a business owner, I am constantly thinking about the health of my business. Xero puts the key metrics at the forefront for me, so I find myself just checking in every now and then just to be like “yep, everything is good here.”
25% Discount for Nonprofits – y’all know this makes me incredibly happy as helping nonprofits soar is my life’s calling. A company that has a mission to aid nonprofits at its core is a winner in my book.
Affordable Pricing – Xero offers five scalable pricing plans beginning at $9/month and goes up basically based on how many invoices and bank reconciliation you need. The $9/month plan sounds perfect for a freelancer/solopreneur but I probably opting for the $30/month plan as I see lots of growth in our future. Plus, in addition to your first month being free, you get 30% off your plan for the first six months.
Easily Import Data From Other Providers – Unless you are using Google Sheets like I was in the beginning, you probably already have some sort of accounting program. Xero makes the switch pretty simple. Must say that the process was easy, but did take 3 hours of processing time, but I just inputted the information then everything synced in the background.
Integration in Over 500 Other Apps – whether you are using something to manage billable hours or PayPal, you can easily link the programs together and share data. Ain’t nobody got time to keep entering the same data into different programs over and over.
Very Easy To Set Up Rules – This is kinda in the weeds, but as you do your bookkeeping, you have to put everything into categories, etc. Here you can make a simple rule that says every time you see a bill from Verizon, categorize it as utilities. This might sound minor, but is a big deal to me.
Sleek and Simple Invoicing – Guess what? When you work for yourself and contract for companies, they don’t just send you a check after your work is done. They have their own accounting systems and require you to send them an invoice. Formatting, printing, and mailing invoices not only takes an insane amount of time but you also makes you look like you are stuck in 1982. I recently saw a study that sending digital invoices get you paid faster and can testify that to be the case with my day job.
Amazing Customer Service – Well, I can’t actually vouch for this yet, but that is because everything has been so simple that I haven’t needed to ask for help. But unless everyone on the internet had a big meeting to create a massive and wide-spread lie, their customer service is top-notch and available 24/7.
Unlimited Number of Users – I like being able to give my accountant access so that she can make sure that I’m on target, spot any red-flags, and generally keep me accountable. Some programs make you pay per user which is silly. Xero lets you have unlimited users and actually have different levels of permissions.
Seamless Updates – As this is a product that lives in the cloud, when Xero has an update it just happens. It isn’t like the old days when you’ve had to go buy the new CD-Roms with every new product update.
Basically, while there are many upsides of being your own boss (like being able to take almost three weeks off like I just did) it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It can be soul crushing at times. Especially, when you have to focus on things that you don’t care about but are important ie sending Uncle Sam estimated taxes quarterly. In fact, in my day job, I consult mainly with nonprofits to do a lot of the tasks that they do not want to do. When I have tasks that are not ones that I’m not passionate about, I try to use services that make them as seamless as possible. Xero is a great answer for your business accounting needs.
Now get out there and start that business before you regret missing the opportunity. Please let us know in the comments if you have tried Xero or if you are planning on starting a business. We would love to support you on your journey.
Keepin’ it Pretty & Simple,