Agony Lance: Paper headache

I hate accounting, loathe dealing with the IRD and yet it’s all so important for my business. Get me out of this mess.– Jared, Wellington

I’m delighted with recent developments in bookkeeping and accounting, which make management of accounts so much easier now. For a start, dump MYOB and anything else and get Xero. Not only is it easier to use, but it opens up a completely different way of working that puts you in control.

Then change your accountant. Pick someone who refuses to work with anything but Xero, and who can offer smart advice about the really complex issues. Work with them to set everything up, and then enjoy never having to meet them again unless you want to. Xero lets accountants and advisors operate remotely, and the really smart ones are offering monthly retainers rather than hourly fees, which works for both parties. Each morning transactions from your bank accounts appear in Xero, and the system will match them to any existing invoices or let you create your own. Your accountant can move things around from afar and ensure that your GST and annual returns and the like are timely and correct, and have time to focus on the tax and other advice you need.

I’m not a shareholder in Xero, and I have no financial interest there, but these days I have little patience for companies working with any other system. I’ve yet to see it work well for businesses with huge bills of material and inventories, but there is no excuse for pretty much anyone else.