The benefits of Xero and the Xero app ecosystem
Running a property business can sometimes feel like a juggling act, with a multitude of different ‘plates’ to keep spinning. Whether you’re a landlord with a small portfolio of buy-to-let properties, or a bigger limited company with a large number of properties to run and manage, the administration tasks can begin to mount up.
As a minimum, you’re going to need to balance these basic requirements:
- Management of the properties – including renting out properties, dealing with tenants, liaising with the suppliers and contractors needed to maintain these houses and completing all the necessary paperwork.
- Finance – taking rental payments, managing your property income, paying your suppliers and covering your own costs and overheads.
- Record keeping – keeping all the relevant records regarding your tenants, properties, income, costs and expenses.
- Compliance and legal duties – meeting all your legal requirements as a property owner and landlord, and meeting the required deadlines for paying your income tax and business taxes.
- Dealing with expenses – recording, managing and minimising the expenses you incur in order to make the best possible profit from your property income.
As you can see, this is a fair amount of work to factor into your working week! But they’re all essential elements of making your property business successful in the long term, and bringing in the right level of profit from your investments.
So how do you make it easier to deal with all these elements of property management? And what tools are available to help you become a more streamlined and efficient business?
Let cloud technology do the hard work
The short answer is to let technology do as much of the heavy lifting for you as possible – and to use software to deliver the most transparent view of your finances, records and property project management.
Making use of the latest in cloud technology, online accounting and business software apps helps you reduce the workload, become more efficient, meet your compliance duties AND make more profit from your properties.
And because of the way most cloud apps integrate with your core systems, it’s possible to build your own tailor-made software system that’s designed specifically to overcome the main challenges of running a property business.
Let’s take a look at some of the core apps you’ll need – and how they’ll help you become a more productive business.
Re-leased – to help manage your properties
Managing your properties and keeping track of dates, costs, payments and maintenance is one of the biggest headaches you face as a landlord or letting agent.
Re-leased is a project management tool that’s designed specifically to help property businesses keep on top of all these tasks. It’s a cloud-based solution, which means you can access it wherever you are – not just in the office. That’s a major advantage if you need to be mobile and still want to have a great overview of the management side of the business.
Re-leased will help you to:
- Save time by keeping you 100% organised and making your property business as efficient and productive as possible, with minimal admin.
- Work on the move by giving you a mobile solution that’s accessible from your laptop, or an app from your smartphone, iPad or tablet device.
- Save money by moving you to an affordable, monthly subscription cloud software service, with no need for expensive hardware, servers and IT costs.
- Manage your day by providing you with a calendar that reminds you about appointments, meetings and tasks you need to complete.
- Delegate and collaborate more effectively with other people in your business, or contractors and suppliers you work with on your rental properties.
You get an overview of the occupation stats for each property, helping you cut down on any under-occupation or void periods. And because you have cloud storage, you can upload all your important compliance paperwork, forms and health & safety certificates – and be confident that everything is to hand straight from the app.
For landlords and lettings agents, Re-leased allows you to manage your properties, costs and revenues in the most holistic way possible.
Xero online accounting – to manage your finances and reporting
One of the key reasons for poor profits and limited growth of property businesses is a lack of focus on good financial management. So having a reliable, easy-to-use accounting system in place is an absolute must.
Xero online accounting is the perfect way to keep on top of your bookkeeping and get the transparent view you need of your key numbers, cash flow and profits.
Xero is also a cloud-based solution, and links seamlessly with your Re-leased property management app to pull all your financial elements through and keep your bookkeeping, accounting and reporting totally up to date.
With Xero as your financial bedrock, you’ll get:
- Mobile access to all your important numbers – including your bank balance, cash flow, outstanding invoices and profit and loss – wherever you are, 24/7.
- Real-time reporting on each property, through simple cost codes that allow you to track, measure and improve your costs, overheads and income from each of your rentals.
- Full integration (through Xero’s open API) with a huge ecosystem of other third-party business tools and apps, such as Re-leased.
- Easier and more productive collaboration with your accountant, through simple access-sharing of your Xero accounts with advisers.
- Better business advice from your accountant, through the core benefit of having meaningful, real-time numbers in front of you when talking through business planning or dealing with any financial issues you’re facing.
- Improved recordkeeping for tax purposes, with all receipts, invoices and expenses backed up in the cloud and ready to be submitted with your returns.
This improved overview of your finances isn’t just about saving time and improving financial administration, of course.
If you’re approaching banks, lenders or other investors for funding, they’ll want drilled-down, detailed breakdowns of your financial affairs. With the powerful reporting and budgeting you can produce in Xero, you give potential funders the big numbers they need and improve your ability to borrow – and that’s key to funding your business plans, growing your portfolio of properties and making the best possible profit from what you do.
And, another vital advantage of Xero is the access you have to the other business apps within their expanding ecosystem. Lets take a look at two apps we think are fundamental to making your property business run like clockwork.
Receipt Bank – to reduce your data entry and bookkeeping time
There are still plenty of paper receipts and invoices involved in running a business, even in these digital times. What the Receipt Bank app does is make it easier and faster to deal with your receipts and bookkeeping.
- Take a snap of your receipts with the Receipt Bank mobile app and they’re instantly smart-scanned and turned into digital data that’s pulled into your Xero accounts.
- Email invoices and online receipts to your Receipt Bank email address and they’ll be collated, digitised and sent through to Xero.
- See instantly in the Receipt Bank dashboard which receipts and invoices have been received and whether they’ve been processed.
Tripcatcher – to capture your mileage when visiting properties
If you’ve got a large portfolio of buy-to-let properties, or your properties are spread across a wide geographical area, you’re going to spend time and money driving between these properties as part of your landlord duties.
Capturing that mileage, keeping all the fuel receipts and remembering to enter all this into your bookkeeping system can be hard work – and, remember, if you don’t keep these records, you can’t claim your mileage when it comes to filling out your income tax or VAT returns.
What the Tripcatcher app does is allow you to capture all this information from your smartphone while you’re out on the road.
- Record your business journeys and get a clear record of the mileage.
- Snap your fuel receipts and push them through to your Receipt Bank account or straight through to your Xero online accounting.
- Get clear reports on the mileage covered, fuel used and VAT you can claim back against this.
A holistic system for property businesses
Those are just a few of the ways you can combine Re-leased, Xero online accounting and a selection of Xero apps to build your ideal property management system. Every business is different, and with over 500+ apps to choose from in the Xero app marketplace, there will be other solutions and tools that will help you become more productive and profitable.
Here at Square Mile, we’re big advocates for the Xero way of working and we know just how powerful a customised, Xero-driven business system is for our clients. We can help you identify the core needs of your property business, look for the potential efficiencies and help you choose and integrate the most productive Xero apps with your core system.
With a totally tailored Xero system, you’ve got the flexibility, the financial transparency and the productivity you need to start seeing those profits rise.
Get in touch with the team to find out how we’ll help you become a more profitable property business.