How to Achieve Awesomeness with Xero Data & Excel

Giorgos Psistakis

The cloud is transforming Financial Management for small and medium companies. By adopting cloud solutions, advantages once gained only through economies of scale are now accessible to all businesses regardless of their size. As it is reported in The small business revolution: trends in SMB cloud adoption:

Currently more than 60% of SMBs are using cloud-based apps for their operations with the average adoption being 3 applications with the potential to move the average number of applications to 7 in the next 2-3 years.

Based on the same report, Financial Management is one of the areas where SMBs engagement is consistently high with almost 30% of businesses already using cloud applications for tasks like bookkeeping and giving to this category a sizeable growth opportunity of 75%. Tasks that are typically included in this area are:

  • Invoicing
  • Recording expenses
  • Managing VAT
  • Filling financial statements
  • Forecasting cash flow
  • Managing payments

Financial Management in the Cloud

Considering all the above, it’s no wonder why cloud solutions like Xero are so popular with currently more than 600,000 subscribers. Such an application transforms the way that SMBs are doing business and consequently affects the way that accountants and bookkeepers do their work and how they deliver value to their clients. For this reason, applications like Xero are working hard to deliver products that can satisfy both the businesses but also the accounts and bookkeepers who work with them.
In the way that things work today, a business will use Xero to automate invoicing and payment management while the bookkeepers and accountants will use again Xero to take care of tasks like financial reporting, cash flow forecasting and fill financial statements on behalf of their clients.

Why we need custom solutions for Financial reporting and Financial Analytics.

Although applications like Xero are trying hard to deliver products that fulfill the needs of everyone involved in the financial management of businesses, the complexity of such a process makes it almost impossible to deliver something that will maximize the value for everyone. For example, although Xero offers everything a business needs to perform online accounting, the financial reporting capabilities of the platform are not flexible enough to meet the needs of every business. In order for an accountant to generate from Xero, custom reports, has to either:

  • Download manually data from the Xero platform.
  • Figure out how to use the provided Xero API.
  • Use one of the financial reporting add-ons that are available through the Xero add-on marketplace.

All of the above solutions have a number of advantages and disadvantages:

  • Manually downloading Xero data is a time-consuming process with minimum control over what data can be exported.
  • To use the Xero API requires more advanced technical skill set, although it offers maximum flexibility in terms of what data can be retrieved and how often.
  • Using reporting add-ons is an easy solution but it suffers from the same problems that Xero itself has, as we mentioned at the beginning. It is really difficult to find a reporting solution that can be flexible enough to cover every possible need.

So how we can have businesses happy by using an application like Xero to automate their accounting tasks and at the same time help accountants and bookkeepers optimize their work and maximize the value they receive from such cloud applications?

How we can do it easily

By connecting directly Microsoft Excel to Xero.

Excel is probably one of the most commonly used software among accountants and bookkeepers. Excel’s expressivity guarantees that powerful and flexible reports can be generated.

To successfully do that we need to ensure that access to the complete set of Xero data will be provided and that up to date data will always be available.

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The above connection can easily be done using Blendo and its integration with Xero by the accountant in a few minutes without requiring any technical skills at all. With Blendo:

  1. You can have access to all the Xero data through its API directly from within Microsoft Excel
  2. Your data will be always up to date
  3. The integrity of your Xero data is guaranteed.

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What we can achieve:

By using Microsoft Excel together with Blendo for working with the Xero Data, accountants, bookkeeper and business owners can easily achieve the following:

  • Freedom: Free yourself from the limited reporting capabilities that Xero is offering. You can create the exact custom reports that you need and have them always available with your latest Xero data. Create easily weekly or daily dashboards and cash flow reports.
  • Always on time information: Extract Xero data automatically and have reports delivered always on time for your clients.
  • Extent: Use the information that is not available through the standard reports that Xero offers
  • Customize: Create custom reports without having to use the Xero API which requires technical skills.
  • Forecast: Do you want to go one step further and do financial modeling and forecasts? You can easily do that by exploiting the richness of the data Xero capture. An expressivity that Microsoft Excel offers and the always up to date data that Blendo will give you access to. Forecast your cash flow without having to perform any double entry.
  • Consolidate fast: Easy data consolidation of groups of companies without having to go to each organization individually download files and then try to figure out how to merge them.
  • Perform multi-currency data consolidation.
  • Backup: Backup your data using any on-premises or cloud storage solution.
  • Use any tool you prefer: By using Blendo it is possible to work with any version of Excel, on Windows or Mac or even to use Google sheets if you prefer.

And finally, not good with Excel? Or you want to use a different data analysis software or reporting tool? With Blendo apart from Excel, your data is available to be used with any tool or platform that you like. You can use Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Metabase or any other tool that will help you to answer questions about your data and keep your customers happy.

Read more:
How to automate your Xero Reporting with Excel?
How to load data to SQL Database in Azure?

Building Financial Analytics Dashboards- an eBook for accountants and CFOs