As a financial consultant, I’m commonly asked about various Xero add-ons and which ones should be used.
As a small business owner, your choice of software can have a significant impact on business performance and future growth. So I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of “all-star” apps that I use with many of our clients, and look at the pros and cons I’ve noted in how they sync data between each other.
Zen Payroll, Zenefits, and Xero
- Zen Payroll and Zenefits sync together very well, and if something needs syncing immediately Zenefits support team has been very responsive to my requests.
- Zen Payroll and Xero sync wonderfully. A bill is synced down to Xero with the payroll data in it and coded to the accounts you can set up in Zen Payroll. If you have departments, or more complicated payroll, you can edit the bill in Xero and make adjustments as needed before reconciling.
- Zenefits is free, Zen Payroll is $25/base fee, and Xero is $30. So depending on the size of your company you could be spending as little as $55/month for this setup.
- Flexibility in the accounting system to have accrual or cash basis accounting.
- Zenefits isn’t a fully featured HR system when compared to Bamboo HR or other competition (though they are iterating rapidly!)
- Currently, Zen Payroll has a 4 day holding period for payroll. That means to pay employees Friday you have to run payroll on the Monday of that week. If there is a holiday, you have to run payroll on the Friday BEFORE to get payroll paid by the next Friday and this is a deal breaker for some businesses. In fairness to Zen however, they are planning on getting this to two days later this year.
- Bill.com can work with companies of many sizes, from 1 employee all the way up to 30. They have bill approvals in place which allows for remote access by employees, so bills don’t get stuck in someone’s queue.
- Any field of any invoice in Xero is mapped to Bill.com, so tracking categories can all be entered via Bill.com’s interface and synced down to Xero. This is huge if you are using department or project reporting using Xero’s tracking categories.
- The sync with Bill.com using a clearing account allows for easy reconciliation with bills paid out of Bill.com. You only have to enter them once in Bill.com and they are automatically entered and reconciled down in Xero when the bills are paid.
- The sync is performed by a third party between Bill.com and Xero, and the support isn’t very good.
- The sync isn’t instantaneous, meaning it syncs about once per hour, so you have to manually go in and check the sync to see when it has last been ran, and you have to manually sync to get it go immediately.
- There are contact management problems between Xero and Bill.com that results in the sync creating duplicate contacts at times, or messing up the sync of bills and sales invoices going from one system to another.
- With Crunchboards, you can pull all of your historical data into their system by transaction so they aren’t missing anything.
- You can manually sync changes from Xero in about 1 minute and update your reports on the fly from your changed Xero data.
- You can easily bring in multiple companies data.
- You can report on multiple companies data on the same screen (good for franchises and industry related companies).
- Amazing manipulation of the data, including custom formulas utilizing Xero’s tracking categories (my favorite).
- Don’t have PDF export, so you can’t save reporting back in Xero or send a file to a client.
- There isn’t a sync of any data or analysis back into Xero (not a huge downfall, but would be nice to sync analysis reports back into the Xero files area).
Point of Sale
- Vend sends down register data daily so you can see your sales almost real-time in Xero.
- You can map fields in Vend to associated Xero accounts, so if you set things up correctly you’ll save yourself a lot of headache down the road.
- Contacts sync between Xero and Vend without duplicates or errors.
- Purchase orders sync down to Xero from Vend when an shipment is received.
- Not hard to reconcile Vend sales to Xero on a monthly basis.
- Sends payments down to clearing accounts (cash, cc, etc.) that are easily reconciled to bank deposits (this saves loads of time in reconciling sales and deposits each month).
- There is no reporting in Vend that helps to tie out inventory balances to Xero each month.
- The reporting on purchase orders is basically non-existent, resulting in missed PO’s and syncing problems, because it’s difficult to know if a PO didn’t sync.
- Contact information can only be updated in Xero and then synced to Vend. (This cuts down on errors in the sync, but it also creates a headache if people don’t have access to Xero to update shipping information, etc.)
I hope you enjoyed this list of our “all-star” Xero add-ons, and few brief pros and cons about them.
If you have any other questions on these apps feel free to reach out to us and we’ll give you a free consultation over the phone, and we can discuss these systems, and how well they could work in your business.