Managing the books can be the least fun part of running a business. However, if you use Xero, these clever tips can make life easier.
If you use Xero to manage your business, here are four simple tips that can make life a lot easier for you:
1. Import your Gmail or Outlook messages into Xero
A lot of businesses use Gmail or Outlook to stay in touch with customers while using Xero to manage their accounts. Thanks to a couple of new features the cloud accounting company has introduced over the past year, bringing all that information together in the one place is easier than you might think.
To set it up, click on the ‘Contacts’ tab at the top, select ‘all contacts’ and then click on any of your contacts. Below the bar graph, you’ll notice three options: ‘activity’, ‘notes’ and ‘email’. Click on email.
A big button that says ‘connect’ should now appear. When you click on it, two options will appear: ‘Gmail’ or ‘Outlook’. Click on the email provider.
You will then be taken to a login screen for your email provider. Log in with your usual email and password. You will then be asked whether you want to allow access to your email account through Xero. Click accept.
Now when you click on the emails tab on any customer, all your emails to or from that customer will now appear.
2. Add an email message to an invoice or quote
There’s an added bonus that comes with integrating your Xero accounting with your Outlook or Gmail: being able to embed an email message in a quote or invoice.
This is particularly useful if you’ve been exchanging emails back and forth with a customer.
After setting up the integration between Gmail and Outlook (see the tip above), click on the ‘Contacts’ tab at the top, select ‘all contacts’ and then click on any of your contacts. As with last time, click ‘email’.
To the far right of any of the email messages, next to the date, you should see a small arrow.
Click on this arrow and a pull-down menu should appear with four options: ‘add email to new activity’, ‘add email to a new invoice’, ‘add email to a new quote’ and ‘add email to a new bill’. Choose the appropriate option.
Now set up your new invoice or bill as you normally would, and that email message will automatically be embedded in it.
3. Set up a repeating invoice
While sending a once-off quote is useful, what about if you want to send a particular customer a regular repeat invoice? In Xero, it’s actually quite easy to do.
Just click on the Accounts tab at the top, and then choose ‘Sales’ from the pull-down menu. There should be a button near the top with a pull-down arrow that says ‘new’ next to a button that says ‘send statements’ and ‘import’.
Click the small arrow on the ‘new’ button and a pull-down menu will appear with a number of options. One of them should be ‘repeating invoice’.
You will now see the set up invoice form with a number of new options. These include the ability to set a number of days or weeks to repeat the invoice, set a first invoice date, set up how long the due date falls after the invoice, and also set up an end date.
4. Use Xero’s built-in calculator
So you quoted your customer a percentage-off discount, and you want to make sure you got the price right? No worries, Xero has a built-in calculator.
In the quantity, unit price and discount fields, you can actually add a basic multiplication sum and Xero will figure out the right answer for you.
Just insert a plus sign (+) between two numbers to add (so for example 495.12+56.89), a minus (-) to subtract, a star (*) to multiply or a backslash to divide.
Xero will do all the maths for you.
Do you have a clever little Xero tip we haven’t included? Tell us in the comments section below.