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New Feature Review - Exploring Xero Projects (Part 1)

If you are part of a business that still manually tracks hours and costs or manages professional projects using as spreadsheet, thenyou should most definitely read on. Currently, many companies continue to coordinate projects usingpaper or spreadsheet tools, whichcan cause problems. These can include:

  • Limited Access and Lack of Visibility: Limitations of data visibility can inhibit your overall perspective of the projects. It is also very difficult to see the status of projects, meaning external communication with employees are constantly needed to coordinate the work.
  • Duplication: Sometimes, information must be re-submitted multiple times in traditional spreadsheets if auto-filling is not possible. This can be time consuming and lead to mistakes.
  • Loss of Data: Since the software does not interact with employees in real time, it may result in loss of data.Some inputs or outputs may not be included in the record, which can lead to worryingly inaccurate data being collected.

Luckily, there is a solution. Xero recently introduced a new feature called ‘Xero Projects’ which is fully integrated with Xero to provide an interactive project management tool. It works with new, on-going or archived projects to solve all the issues detailed above, whilst maximising profitability and efficiency. It is essential for business owners and managers to easily identify the projects that deliver the best return on investments, as well as those that may need restructuring. Xero Projects provides a simple platform to assist in meeting these goals.

For businesses undertaking complex projects, good project management software is undeniably essential. Smaller businesses, however, may be more reluctant to invest in a formal accounting software program. In an effort to reduce costs, businesses owners continue to waste hours of their precious time on managing these projects manually. It is important to understand that having a simple way to capture, track and report the time and money spent on each job allows owners to proactively invoice, make informed decisions and manage the projects more efficiently. This will ultimately lead to higher profitability and increase understanding of your finances. Further, it helps to streamline the workflow and be a great asset to the business without adding unnecessary complexity.

Primarily, Xero Project was developed for businesses seeking to tracks hours and costs of their business (Job costing). The functions can easily serve a number of professions, including IT professionals, accountants, tradies and lawyers. Having said that, suitability does not solely depend on company size or industry, but rather the complexity of the client needs.

So, it’s important to understand what Xero Projects offers before making a decision.

When you first login to Xero Projects, a Dashboard will display all the on-going projects. In this page, you have the option to create new projects, alter the project settings or view the closed projects. Each project lists the logged jobs (tasks) and expenses, current invoices and the cumulative time recorded for the project. From the Projects page, you can create new tasks, add expenses incurred, and input hours worked for your business. Projects can also be reviewed in an overview format, which shows a breakdown of the project on the left and a summary on the right.

The beauty of Xero Projects comes from its integration with Xero. Using the Xero Sales function, customers scan invoice for a project simply by clicking on the invoice or deposit button sitting on top right corner. Likewise, when entering a bill or spend money transaction, you can also assign the expense to a specific project. This will save time invested in managing income and expenses for a project and improve the standard of bookkeeping.

The most integral aspect of Xero Projects is the reports section. The 'Project Details Report' shows the project details and status (All, In Progress, Closed).Filters can be added to customise the items. The program can also show the estimate, actual cost and projection of costs once invoicing is complete.Since there are likely multiple projects for a particular customer, these reports can show both separate and merged views of projects. This can give the manager an overall view their professional and financial situation, even with a complex client and project base.

Tailored Accounts will continue review Xero Projects to bring you the best insights of this innovative Xero feature. Keen to learn more about Xero or Xero Projects? Contact us today.