Cloud-based apps and tools, like those in the Xero App Store or wider Xero Ecosystem, have given small businesses the ability to use a combination of apps to build their own bespoke business engine. And according to the numbers, the more apps the merrier. Our research has shown that organisations who use five or more apps have seen sales growth of 4.3%, while those who don’t use any at all have experienced a 3.4% decline (year to December 2020).
It’s said that 10 years’ worth of digital transformation have taken place in just the last two years. The shift towards working from home has more businesses than ever transitioning to the cloud – and to a new level of automation, streamlining, data accuracy, and insight.
Here are five apps that have joined the new Xero App Store since launch in August 2021, and are helping small businesses seize the post-pandemic opportunity.
Fathom: Gaining deeper insights into the present and future
Fathom is a reporting, analysis and forecasting tool that has been a part of the Xero Ecosystem since 2012. The app integrates with Xero to automatically sync data, changing reporting from a once-a-year event into a continuous feedback loop. For businesses, this means decisions informed by real-time data, and the ability to confidently plan for the future. And Fathom’s customers are seeing tangible benefits. One of the app’s users, Grow CFO, used Fathom’s reporting tools to help their small business clients save over $240,000.
“Xero hasn’t just created a product, they’ve created a platform where small businesses can join the dots between their problem and the app that can help them solve it,” says David Watson, Fathom Director and Co-Founder. “Xero is like the hub at the centre, and the other apps are the spokes plugging the gaps – whether it’s point of sale management, inventory management, or reporting.”
Datamolino: Streamlining data from bills, invoices and receipts
Datamolino streamlines and automates the accounts payable process. The app links up with Xero to automatically and accurately extract key data from invoices in any format – PDFs, emails, even paper.
Bookkeepers traditionally don’t process a business’s financial documents until month-end. With Datamolino, documents are captured continuously in near real-time. This means bookkeepers can give more accurate cash-flow predictions based on the business’s current finances, instead of the month prior.
By automating the data capture process, Datamolino also saves accountants a huge amount of time and energy. “Old paper-based systems create a real bottleneck for bookkeepers. Filing, fetching, scanning, sending – every time they touch paper, they lose time,” says Datamolino Co-Founder, Jan Korecky. “With Datamolino, users can automate more than 70% of their total accounts payable volume. With the extra time this frees up, bookkeepers have told us they’ve been able to take on up to 50% more clients with the same amount of staff.”
Clarity: Bringing high-level advisory services to small businesses
Clarity is another app designed to help accountants help small businesses. Accounting advisory services have long been bespoke, expensive, and difficult to resource. This means they’re often only offered to the top 10-20% of clients in a typical accounting firms. Clarity uses technology to give accountants an advisory framework, plans and processes to build better businesses; and the confidence to make it happen. So they can offer advisory services to many more small businesses, at a price that they can afford.
For small businesses, access to those services can be transformational. One accounting user, Acumist, used Clarity to show their small business client potential areas for improvement. After just three months of working with Acumist, the client had achieved 70% of their target net profit and cash increase – a sum well over six figures.
“We want to democratise business advisory, and make sure that all small business owners can access it,” says Aynsley Damery, CEO and Founder of Clarity. “We’ve leveraged the power of technology to create structures, plans and processes around what business advisory means. So small businesses can more easily see the value in what an accounting firm can deliver, and accounting firms can create a new revenue stream from advisory, effortlessly.”
XBert: Creating an automated future
XBert began as a solution to help business-owners automatically flag data inaccuracies, so they could solve them before they became major issues. As they went deeper, they found they could use the same automation technology to replace a large number of manual processes.
Today, XBert helps business-owners automate everything from compliance to payroll, helping its users grow at an astonishing pace. For example, XETA – an innovative accounting firm – saw 300% growth every quarter in the company’s first three years. This is thanks in large part to XBert, which XETA says is the only tool they found capable of managing their high-level workflow and workload.
Aaron Wittman, XBert Co-Founder and Director, believes automation has a key role to play in future business success. “It’s not a question of ‘should I think about it?’ anymore. It’s going to be a must,” he says. “Those who embrace automation will be the ones who will come out in front. It’s come to the point where the manual processes that people have been trying to perform at scale can – and should – be replaced by checks of technology.”
Joiin: Joining the dots across multiple entities
Consolidating data across multiple entities can be a major challenge for businesses. Joiin is a simple, low-cost, and accurate solution. Plugging into Xero and Joiin, users can consolidate data across anywhere from two to hundreds of companies. It makes identifying trends and insights simple. In terms of time saved, it’s a game-changer for small franchises and huge multinationals alike.
“One of our newest customers, Maria Cavallaro and Co, said Joiin would save more than 4.5 days of work per month across three clients. That adds up to 430 hours per year.” says Paul Shipway, Commercial Director at Joiin.
Since joining the Xero App Store in late 2021, Joiin has recorded a noticeable uptick in sign-ups. The first week of January 2022 alone saw an increase of 400%. “When you’re managing people’s financial data, trust is really important,” says Paul. “Xero is a huge, globally recognised, trusted brand. So when people can see you’re part of the Xero ecosystem, the customer immediately understands that you’re a trusted partner. That clearly goes a long way.”
Xero connects with over 1,000 apps like these – many of which are available in the Xero App Store. Talk to us about how you can start building within our ecosystem of small business apps today.