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Five steps to choose the right apps for your business

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Emma Macfarlane

Oct 18, 2022

Apps can benefit your business in many ways, including helping you gain valuable insights, and automating time-consuming tasks, so you have more time to spend on growing your business – or just doing more of the things you love.

With over 1,000 apps that connect to Xero, the Xero App Store makes it easy to find, try and buy apps. If you’re not sure where to start, here are five easy steps to help you choose the right apps for you and your business. 

1. Identify your business needs

  • Are you trying to solve an existing pain point? Or perhaps you want help to grow.
  • Are there manual tasks that you actively avoid, or tasks that take a lot of time? 
  • If you have a team, ask them for their feedback on any business processes that they think could be improved.

2. Decide what you want an app to help you with

  • Identify the key problem you want an app to solve, or any specific benefits or features you’re looking for. For example, if you want an app to help manage expenses, you might want the ability to extract data from a photo of a receipt and automatically create expense items. 
  • Consider how an app could enable others in your business, and whether you need multiple users. Some apps limit the number of users, or more users may cost extra.
  • Get clear on your ‘must-haves’ and separate them from your ‘nice-to-haves’ to make it easier when comparing different apps.

3. Browse the Xero App Store

The Xero App Store is designed to easily help you find the right apps for your business, with search functionality powered by machine learning. Plus, if you’re logged in to your Xero account you’ll see personalised app recommendations based on your industry and profile.

You can also browse by:

Aim to identify a few apps that fulfil your ‘must-haves’ list for comparison.

4. Compare apps

Once you’ve identified a couple of apps that could meet your needs, it’s worth doing some research to narrow down your shortlist. 

  • Make a comparison checklist: These are things that matter to you, like price, user numbers, functional requirements, support channels.
  • Compare their features and benefits: Each app in the Xero App Store has a listing page with an overview, including exactly how they integrate with Xero.  
  • Read the app user reviews: The Xero App Store encourages app reviews from verified Xero customers to help make it easier to choose an app that’s right for you. 

5. Give it a try

A number of apps in the Xero App Store offer a limited time free trial, so once you have narrowed your list down, test out one or two apps to find the one that works best for your business. You can do this easily through the Xero App Store: 

  1. Head to the Xero App Store
  2. Log in to your Xero account
  3. Find the app you want to try, and click ‘Get this app’ from the listing page 
  4. Follow the prompts to allow the app to enable a free trial using your Xero profile. For most apps you will then be directed straight into a free trial
  5. Test the app

While you’re trialing an app, run through a few of your key business scenarios and use cases to make sure it meets your needs – and get some of your employees to try it as well. 

You might also like to connect it to your Xero account during your trial to see how the app’s integration with Xero can benefit you. 

Things to remember when choosing an app

An app is an investment – don’t just think in terms of price – apps will also pay for themselves in time saved, reduced mental load, and higher productivity for you and your employees. The lowest cost won’t always provide the most value in the long term. 

Talk to your accountant – some apps offer a deeper level of integration with Xero data than others, so it may be worth talking to your accountant about how best to set it up to meet any specific business or compliance requirements. 

You’ve identified the right app, now what?

Leverage the app’s support resources apps typically have resources and support teams to help get you set up and ensure you can get the most out of their solutions. They are the experts in their app and want you to have the best customer experience possible. 

Train your team – get your team trained on how to use the app right from the start, so they can see the benefit to themselves as well as the business. This will make for a smoother transition.

Set up your app to integrate with your Xero account – all apps in the Xero App Store integrate with Xero in different ways. Head to the app’s settings to complete the integration setup and once connected, your data will sync securely between systems. If you work with an accountant, this is a great time to check in with them too.  

Looking for recommended apps? Find apps to solve your top business pain points.

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