Xero has released a major change in reporting including their ‘Reporting Templates’ functionality. This change is set to transform the way that accounting related reports are prepared and utilized by users, consultants, accountants and parties with whom financial information is shared. The new functionality is a sophisticated cloud reporting solution that overcomes many of the barriers imposed by a diversity in the configuration of ‘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. I can say that I was very excited about the ability for literally similar data to be used for comparative purposes without invasion of individual data-sets.
The mapping of individual accounts to their appropriate ‘Report Codes’ creates a level of conformity and standards that is unprecedented within the industry. While in ‘my example’ below, a single account from four different clients can all be mapped to a unique ‘Report Code’ using the new functionality, each of these four different clients could just as likely represents 100’s, 1000’s and even hundreds-of-thousands of clients.
An Insightful Accountant illustration.
Xero Report Group Mapping Example
Reporting based upon this schema means that an accounting professional could run reports across all their clients with ease, it also means that the same reporting nomenclature and classifications can conform to the applicable standards of reporting. But dynamic flexibility in the reporting allows for not only standardized sets of reports at a practice level (and beyond) but permits customization of reports at the client level. Changes made to the reporting standards can then ripple down to the customized client reports.
Mark Blundell, Product Owner at Xero, who gave me an in-depth one-on-one demonstration of the new functionality told us, “We have designed Report Templates to be intuitive and approachable, without sacrificing the features. This means partners can harness the power and timesaving benefits of practice-wide templates, while still retaining the ability to customize the reporting outcome to the needs of each client.”
Xero Reports & Templates
The reporting engine and templates make reporting more efficient and accurate. The U.S. release, scheduled for September, will be delivered with a number of predefined templates which can be easily tweaked and customized with almost unlimited flexibility of the reports using a wide variety of display tools including drag-n-drop display capabilities, all within a clean and crisp user interface.
Current Xero partners using Report Templates have reported the new functionality has reduced the time they spend on client reporting by up to 60 percent, bringing quantifiable impact to their practices. Amanda Aguillard, Principal Consultant at Aguillard Accounting in New Orleans, LA and Salt Lake City said, “With Xero's powerful reports we now have the flexibility to build a customizable report that can be used across clients; I used to spend about three hours per month manipulating data in spreadsheets. Now I just push a button and all our reporting is done.”
Xero's new innovation is clearly ‘ahead of the curve’ when it comes to reporting. I'm sure other financial software vendors will be rushing to follow suit.