Keeping Our Accountant Happy

by Franz Neumann

A creative studio like ours spends most its time problem-solving. Whether we’re writing copy, designing print materials, or coding a website, what we’re really up to is providing our clients with effective solutions.

Sometimes, though, we have problems of our own, like how best to invoice, collect payments, track expenses, and keep the gears of our creative studio turning. Back when we started Copy & Design, we thought we were being clever by using an Excel spreadsheet to track the money going in and out of our business. Well…one visit to our accountant let us know—she wasn’t having it.

At the time, just about everyone was using Quickbooks. Not exactly enamored by Quickbooks, we looked elsewhere—fast. Enter Xero, a then-new web-based accounting system out of New Zealand. We haven’t looked back since.

With a web-based system like Xero, we’re able to access our books from any web browser, on any device. We get at-a-glance views of our cashflow, projected income, and expenses for any category. And we’re able to give our accountant access from her office to help with tax planning.

We also use Xero to create and email invoices and track our business expenses. Don’t like reminding clients when an invoice is due? Use the automatic reminders that’ll bug clients for you. (We haven’t had to use that yet.) Want to keep track of your payments to outside contractors? Put that account up on the dashboard. You can even import bank statements when it comes time for our least-favorite small business task—reconciliation.

We’ve been paying $30/month since we first signed on with Xero years ago and couldn’t be happier. In all the years we’ve used the service, I can only recall one episode where the service was down for awhile. Best of all, there’s no need to worry about software updates, backing up data, or theft. With just a few hours a week of bookkeeping, and an affordable accounting solution in Xero, we’re able to keep our overhead low and our costs competitive. And, most importantly, it keeps our accountant happy.

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