While attending a session on Xero while at Accountex USA in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to see, use and, in-fact, study several great features within this cloud-based product.
I think most of my readers know that I tend to be “hard to convince” when it comes to financial and accounting software, especially cloud software. So, when I tell you I was impressed by these Xero features, you can bet that I was really impressed by the functionality.
The Xero Cash Coding feature allows you to quickly reconcile imported bank statement lines that represent cash transactions you didn't manually enter. Cash coding lets you code multiple statement lines at once and is quicker than using the standard Reconcile feature to reconcile your bank accounts.
You can use Cash Coding to:
- Reconcile cash transactions you haven't entered into Xero
- Create a new rules based on an imported and un-reconciled bank statement line
- Apply a saved rules to one or more statement lines
Xero Cash Coding feature
You really shouldn’t use Cash Coding to reconcile invoices, credit notes, expense claims or transfer money transactions. If you use it to reconcile these, you'll create a spend or receive money and your transaction in Xero will remain unpaid.
When you have completed the cash coding process, Xero creates a matching spend or receive money transaction in your accounting records.
Find & Recode
Xero's Find & Recode feature allows you to recode multiple transaction lines at once. You can edit accounts, tax rates, contacts and tracking. Of course, you have to be aware that recoding can result in significant changes to your Xero accounts and reports.
Therefore, it is recommended that accountants and bookkeepers with a thorough familiar of accounting concepts, tax implications and experience in recoding use the Find & Recode feature.
The Find and Recode feature allows you to:
- Recode contacts, accounts, tax rates and tracking on transaction lines
- Recode transaction lines across multiple transactions at once
- Recode transaction lines on the source transaction or by using a manual journal
- When you use this Find & Recode feature, you actually make changes to individual transaction lines, not the entire transaction
Xero Find & Recode feature
From a practical standpoint you might use this Find & Recode feature to:
- Change the tax rate of transactions
- Clean up your contacts when there are variation based duplicate contact names
- Combine accounts
- Add or change tracking
Historical Activity Everywhere
Another thing I really like about Xero is the abundance of “historical activity” information everywhere. I'm not just talking about an audit trail report, I mean you can see all these details at the list element and transactional.
For example, in the illustration below, you can see the Xero list entry window displaying the historical activity, including when the item has been used in specific transactions.
But what I really want to call your attention to is an entry where it says a different item was merged into this item. It gives you the who, when, where and what. Information of this type makes “data detecting” so easy.
Xero List Element History
The same kind of activity history can be found in every transaction showing when the transaction was created – when it was approved by whom, and essentially anything you ever wanted to know about the transactional details.
Little features like this make for a big difference when it comes time to research the details.
Xero's new Reporting Templates’ functionality will change the way that accounting reports are prepared and utilized. The new functionality, just released a couple of weeks ago in the United States, overcomes many of the barriers imposed by diversity in “Accounts” from one accounting data-set to another.
The new reporting engine makes use of “Report Codes,” not individual Charts of Account, so that reporting conforms to recognized accounting standards and remains consistent across not only an accountant’s entire practice, but on a much “bigger data” framework.
Xero Reports & Templates
The mapping of individual accounts to their appropriate “Report Codes” creates a level of conformity and standards that’s unprecedented within the industry.
Such conformity allows an accountant in Oklahoma City to review data from a Xero customer in California or New York, because the Report Template looks the same once the accounts have been mapped to the Report Codes.
Take this a step further now that same accountant can look at data from Australia or France. Again, the Report Template conforms to the Report Codes so the data appears identical even if every one of the clients has a unique Chart of Accounts.
These are just a few of the features I really liked and found exciting about Xero. If they excite you as well, then give Xero a look by exploring their free trial.