Cloud accounting company Xero launched its report packs feature yesterday for Australian accountants and bookkeepers. The update let Xero partners create templates for management reports and standard accounts.
Xero claimed the update was the first time accountants, bookkeepers and small business owners could work on the same set of information. The report packs included “special purpose” templates for companies, partnerships, sole traders and trusts that could be copied to create customised reports.
The templates used report fields (launched in September) to automatically insert repeatable information such as the address of an accounting practice or the details of a client’s banker.
New Zealand partners who had been using the report packs for nearly a year said they were a big step up from the earlier reporting which had very limited customisation.
Before the report packs, reporting was “a way off” compared to MYOB Accountants Office, said Margaret Holmes, chartered accountant of New Zealand-based firm Engine Room.
“Now we’ve got reporting of the quality that we had prior to implementing Xero. And a lot cheaper too,” Holmes said.
Report schedules, also released in September, showed detailed schedules for shareholder current accounts, loans, hire purchases and other summarised items on the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet.
The firm had set up standardised management accounts for budgets, clients that reported on a cash-only basis, and an industry-specific set of accounts for its farming clients.
“Now I know that when a client wants something in particular, it doesn’t matter who in the office pulls it office it’s going to be the right set of accounts,” Holmes said. “The report fields have been a huge improvement for us. Before we were typing the same information into every set of accounts.”
The practice had spent a lot of time setting up the templates in the first year including setting up report fields. “We’ll see the real benefit when we go into the next round of financial reports from the end of April,” Holmes said. (The New Zealand financial year ends 31 March.)
Xero had released the report packs as a free upgrade. Financial reporting tools were usually sold as part of practice management software which could cost several thousand dollars a year for a small practice.
“Rather than pay for both client and accountant software Xero eliminates the double dipping,” Xero said in the press release. Several New Zealand accountants facing costly upgrades for their practice management software had moved to Xero’s free reporting instead, Holmes said.
Australia was the second country to receive the report packs update after New Zealand.
Xero was demonstrating the report packs at its Australian roadshow which started in Perth yesterday. Report packs would be released in the UK and the US next.