Rhys: Today we’re going to talk about small business accounting and the move to the cloud and our guest today is Kirsten Barrie, she’s the owner of Verte Consulting, a small-medium-sized business virtual CFO Service, specializing in retail. And Kirsten is certified in both QuickBooks and Xero so she can give us a little perspective on both as well as bunch of add-ons for both of those. So, thanks for being here.
Kristen: Thank you for having me.
Rhys: Let’s start and jump right into the benefits of being in the cloud as opposed to on the software, because that is one of the basic differences between what people are most currently doing with QuickBooks.
Kristen: When you do books, locally, and you are actually doing accounting on this file, you send it to a CPA who does adjustments. You then have to take those adjustments, and then actually put them in your system. When your file is on the cloud, everyone’s accessing the same file.
Kristen: So there’s no difference between what they’ve adjusted compared to what you’ve adjusted. They adjust it, it’s done and you can continue to move on. It saves a lot of money for the client and a lot of frustration and time for the bookkeeper.
Rhys: So what about the security of the cloud?
Kristen: A lot of people think that, it seems like its not secure but it’s actually more secure. They’re hosted on servers that repeatedly do back-ups, they have tons of employees and tons of staff and tons of technology that actually keep these things secure. And if you had a file on your own computer, you can password your file but people can still break through that, you could format a hard drive unfortunately people can still recover. You know information from that so…
Rhys: Or in addition to theft, do you have fire or flood, or you know, your computer’s crashing, or,
Rhys: Hopefully you had a back-up.
Kristen: Having it locally is a lot less secure, especially someone actually took your laptop, and walked away with it or took your computer, and walked away with it even perhaps, a disgruntled employee has accessed that file, I have to do is, have a copy of it and you have everyone’s security number, all their vendor information, it’s very dangerous actually.
Rhys: Ok so now let’s get to what became my choice when I surveyed the landscape which I went with Xero and I actually and you both come into the conclusion that Xero was what we think is a good solution for small businesses, and I’m not a partner, or any way affiliated it’s just my own, particular feeling.
Kristen: Well at the end of the day, what’s best for the company is the right product. So Xero is great for small to medium-sized businesses which is really the backbone of our economy. Xero is great for start-up companies, companies that do in voicing, companies that provide services, and it is also used for almost every other niche by adding the add-ons to it.
Kristen: When I set up clients of Xero I set them up with add-ons. I don’t have clients that actually don’t have add-ons connected to Xero and that’s exciting because Xero has over 250 certified add-on companies, they actually go through a certification process.
Rhys: Take me through a typical business that would use several different add-ons and what that might look like so that people could get an idea what, how they can make some sort of a complete package out of this.
Kristen: Well what I set up for people right now, the most common set up is of course Xero, and then I add then, which is their point of sale, which is how they sell in the actual store, then when they do their e-commerce, so they’re online shopping, they use add-on called shopify.
Kristen: And because I don’t want them to lose receipts or worry about getting audited or have a pile of receipts that they don’t know what to do with and legally we need to keep these receipts, I set them up on another add-on called receipt-ing, which puts their receipts into digital form and then, I also set them up on something called bill.com which pays their bills and allows me to run the bill payment system remotely.
Rhys: So when it comes to security there’s various levels of encryption in security. Let’s talk about that.
Kristen: So, yes, Xero is actually secured twice as much as when you log in to a bank to do online banking. So people I’ve had approached me and wonder, “Is Xero secure?” Xero is secure twice as much in the log on process. So when you log into a bank, it’s encrypted, and that’s at a level that’s called, 128-bit encryption, when you log into zero, that’s actually a 256-bit encryption.
Rhys: Okay, well that’s great.
Kristen: Yeah. So it’s very secure from wherever you’re accessing on any browser, and then like we mentioned it’s hosted by Rackspace which does back-ups and secondary back-ups all the time.
Rhys: So the other thing about cloud computing, that’s different from other things. A lot of people, some people don’t like it. It’s an idea of a subscription. So you don’t have to go with the lump sum and pay the software like with QuickBooks it’s three hundred-something, right?
Kristen: Yeah, if you were to stay up to date on the version of QuickBooks, it’s three hundred dollars a year.
Kristen: Every version they release, and it’s about once a year,
Kristen: is that amount.
Kristen: And if you were to compare that to Xero, where you, because it’s cloud-based they do updates incrementally, probably every three to six weeks and maybe offline for an hour while they do that and then you log on and it’s upgraded right then is just a little over three hundred dollars. So as far as actually cost of accounting software, it’s pretty much the same.
Rhys: So if people want to find out more about this there is a free demo of Xero on the Xero website.
Kristen: It’s actually a free trial.
Rhys: It’s a free trial?
Kristen: Yeah. And they can log in, set up their bank accounts, play with it, see how it works, see if they like it, and if they do, they can continue to use it.
Rhys: Okay. And if there are retail customer they should probably talk to you about getting all the integrations put together.
Kristen: I can put all the puzzle pieces together for them.
Rhys: Ha-ha, that’s great well thanks for being here.
Kristen: Thank you for having me.
Rhys: And for the full in-depth interview, go to smallbusinessfile.com, click on the in-depth tab and find the full expert lessons underneath there and you can find the full version of this interview.