Software technology has evolved massively in the past decade, with cloud-based apps now fundamental to many of the internal and external processes in your business. To ensure you’re getting the best from the available tech, it’s important to choose the right apps and to create the ideal ‘app stack’ for a business in your specific sector
But how do you know if the latest ‘must-have app’ is really going to be an asset or just an additional software cost? The Xero app store is a good place to start so that your apps integrate with your accounting system.
Building the perfect app stack
Before you dive headfirst into the Xero app store, it’s important to do your homework and give yourself some firm foundations on which to base your app purchase decisions.
- Decide on the main aims of your software systems – Look at the specific aims of the business and tie each app into the various operations within your business model. A construction company, for example, will need a job management tool, staffing solutions, health & safety tools and an inventory app, to mention just a few.
- Make sure your apps integrate with Xero – Xero’s open API (application programming interface) allows all the apps in the app store to connect directly with Xero. This means that data and financial information can flow seamlessly between your apps and Xero, helping you keep all your management information up to date.
- Look for opportunities to automate manual processes – if there’s a low-level manual process in your business, try to find a way for your apps to automate this. For example, a credit control app, like Chaser, will send out automatic payment reminders to your customers if their invoice becomes overdue. And a bookkeeping app, like Receipt Bank, will snap photos of your receipts and automatically digitise and code the contents.
- Research the app market in depth – Look at online reviews, talk to your industry network and find out which apps your peers trust and would recommend. Where possible, try out free trials and demos, so you have had some hands-on experience of the apps in your shortlist. The more user time you have, the easier your purchasing decisions will be.
- Look for an excellent user interface (UI) – if you and your team are going to be using an app every day, it needs to be easy to use, with a small learning curve. Choose apps that have a great UI and offer a quality user experience. The sooner you can get up and running with your solution, the more value this app will add for the business.
- Partner with apps who offer excellent customer support – the functionality and ease-of-use of your app are obviously important considerations when you’re looking to buy. But don’t underestimate the importance of solid, helpful and personalised customer support. Look for apps with phone support, good customer service ratings and a happy and satisfied user base – check app forums to get the lowdown on this.
Talk to us about choosing the right apps
Our job as your accountant isn’t just to deal with your numbers. We can also help you review your operations, formulate the most efficient systems and choose the apps that can deliver the most efficient and productive business performance.