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Data & Insights 5 min read

What’s the ‘One step’ you’re taking this year?

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Tim Bradley

Apr 5, 2022

As humans, we are hardwired to fear the unknown. At the same time, with rapid changes in modern technology, it’s important for small businesses to stay open to the progress this innovation brings. 

When we recently published our landmark behavioural insights study One step, surveying more than 4,200 global business owners, our aim was to help them see how impactful just one step in the direction of embracing innovation could be.

We know that you have big plans for your business or practice this year, and right now many of you will be in the process of deciding what to tackle first. To get you going, here are our top four recommendations on what products you might have been putting off in Xero that offer the biggest bang for your bravery.

‘One step’ to more streamlined financial analysis? Try new reports

New reports is where all of the exciting new features and additional value of reports within Xero can be found, and has been a huge focus of development for our product teams. Each report has been designed so that it’s not only easy to use, but offers powerful, valuable insights you can trust. 

By taking your one step towards new reports, you’ll be gearing up for crystal clear analysis throughout the remainder of the year, customised to just how you like to see it. If you’ve been using older reports for a while, though, we recommend switching whatever report you use the most first to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

For example, Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet could be a perfect place to build out that refreshed birds-eye view of the numbers in order to glean a quick overview of performance and position. Within it, there’s more flexibility of what’s coming in and out, as well as how transactions have been recorded. From there, you can try drilling into the details with Account Transactions, in order to validate figures and find coding errors.

Finally, exploring all of the valuable new reports in Xero’s report centre may be worthwhile. With improved search functionality, report descriptions and up-to-date management reports that you can bundle and share, you’ll get the answers you need, fast. 

Slowly, as you learn one report, you’ll find it easier and easier to switch over to the newest version of the next, just like this Xero customer did. We’re constantly working on making new reporting better — if you like what you see after taking your first step, here’s what’s coming next.

To get started, our reporting playlist on YouTube has a number of handy tips and tricks. 

New reports will get you ‘One step’ closer to:

  • Making more informed, impactful decisions about your business or practice
  • Tailoring information in a format that you really understand
  • Reducing the effort of finding the answer to your questions

‘One step’ to better cash flow? Take new invoicing for a spin

With one in three small businesses considering themselves as technology ‘delayers’ (versus ‘adopters’), it’s actually your bottom line that really feels the pinch of this fear. New invoicing is a great way to combat this, offering a simpler, faster way to send an invoice, easier onboarding if you don’t have an advisor, and a range of new features like credit limits, delivery addresses and even eInvoicing for customers in select regions.

We know that jumping in head first can be scary, so perhaps your ‘One step’ here is to create a test invoice in new invoicing as a demo company before you commit to the real thing. This way, you can use fictional data without having to add any of your own organisation’s details, and simply play around with how things work and what you can expect. 

When you are ready to take it further, creating an invoice is easy. You don’t need to re-build out your company profile, either — it will all simply transfer across so you can immediately start reaping the rewards of a range of features that only exist in new invoicing.

These are things like auto-save, which automatically saves your invoice every few seconds once you’ve added a contact, as well as smart invoice fields (which we’ve recently redesigned so you can show and hide fields to your liking). You can also add currencies and contact details as you go, register for eInvoicing (if you’re in Australia, New Zealand or Singapore) and set customer credit limits.

In short, new invoicing is only set to get better as we continue to invest in it, helping you to get your invoices out polished and promptly. If you haven’t yet, why don’t you take just ‘One step’ and give it a try?

New invoicing will get you ‘One step’ closer to:

  • Creating, and sending an invoice that looks good and gets you paid
  • Saving you time and toil with smart automation features
  • Staying at the forefront of digital transformation

‘One step’ to predicting the future? Give Xero Analytics a go

According to research, 80% of small businesses who close their doors cite cash flow issues as the primary reason, and for advisors — it’s not always possible to have a straightforward means to communicate financial information to clients.

Our hope when building Xero Analytics was to change this, so that you could gain real-time insights that would help you or your clients’ better plan for the future. It’s free for all business edition plans, and includes a short-term cash flow projection, as well as a business snapshot tool that helps you to compare key financial performance metrics at a glance.

If you’ve not used it before, perhaps your ‘One step’ this year might be to take a look through your Xero Analytics dashboard in order to familiarise yourself with your cash flow position? Being able to analyse where things are now, without the need for complicated Excel spreadsheets or jumping from report to report can help you to make more confident decisions and action any gaps.

From there, you may find benefit in setting up a meeting with your accountant or bookkeeper to discuss any concerns or areas for opportunity. Business snapshot, for example, offers an easy-to-read dashboard that helps you to understand your profit and loss, income and expenses and gross profit margin — all on the one page. 

Your accountant and bookkeeper can then provide tailored insight that may help you make more efficiencies in your spending, or even give you that vote of confidence to invest in other areas of the business. For a more detailed picture, upgrading to Analytics Plus can offer you a range of extra features for more advanced analytics.

Xero Analytics will get you ‘One step’ closer to:

  • Maintaining oversight into your cash position based on invoices and bills
  • Feeling confident to strategise with your advisor
  • Enjoying real-time insights, with automatic updates from real transactions

‘One step’ to enjoying more for less work? Consider hiring an advisor

With only three out of 10 respondents telling us that they would consider themselves worse off if digital investment was postponed, our research showed that resistance to change, uncertainty around outcomes and the perceived hassle of digital adoption were common themes to making moves toward digital adoption. 

While it can often feel easier in the moment to delay things, the long-term risks are high: business owners work harder, for longer and with less to show for their efforts. You might be interested to know however that the same goes for non-digital progress, like delaying working with an advisor who can provide specific advice to your unique circumstances.

Xero’s Advisor Directory has been designed to offer small business owners an easy, centralised place to find an advisor that meets a number of requirements they have — including being nearby, understanding their industry (and that of their clients) and experience with their business size.

Getting started with a resource like this can be the hardest part. So, what if your ‘One step’ this year was to fill out our online matchmaking form that pairs you with the three best advisors that met your needs? There’s no obligation to go with any of our suggestions, of course, but they’ll be right there in your inbox if you ever need them.

Advisor Directory will get you ‘One step’ closer to:

  • Taking the hassle out of finding a partner who understands you
  • Benefitting from professional accounting support and advice
  • Operating with confidence and planning for the future

No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, embracing innovation and change is a fundamental part of the road to success. As always, we’re here to help you at every step — however small it might be (or big it might feel). We hope that you’ll consider some of our recommendations to enjoy a more prosperous and enjoyable 2022, and do reach out if we can be of any assistance

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