Comparing LEAP vs Actionstep- Xero Integration

Let’s face it- most lawyers aren’t really that interested in the way Actionstep and LEAP integrate with Xero. As long as their trust account is all taken care of, they are not really worried about how the information is transferred to their Practice Accounts- that’s for the bookkeeper to worry about!

That’s fine if the firm has a strong Legal Bookkeeper but if not then the Practice Manager or Principal should understand the integration to ensure they are producing accurate management and BAS reports.

The way both LEAP and Actionstep “talks” to Xero is quite different and both have their advantages and disadvantages as outlined below:

Nature of Integration

LEAP- You need to select your method of integration based on your GST registration of either cash or accrual. You can also integrate on a “Hybrid” basis which allows you to run management reports on an accrual basis while still lodging your BAS on a cash basis. Changing between the accounting basis is problematic and requires the engagement of LEAP Consultant.

The integration works using General Journals which creates a messy ledger which can make reconciliations difficult if it gets out of balance. The hybrid integration actually creates a separate GST code that does not get picked up on the BAS reports until the invoice is paid where it reverses the original transaction and re-posts the journal with the correct GST codes.

Actionstep- The invoices and payments for both sales and purchases are replicated in Xero so there is no need for journals. This creates a much cleaner integration and allows you to run cash or accrual management or BAS reports at any time.

Xero has a brilliant bank feed function, however it can sometimes be too clever for its own good. As the invoices have been exported from Actionstep to Xero, when Xero picks up a receipt for the same amount as an outstanding invoice it tries to match it automatically to the outstanding invoice in Xero. If this is matched in the Xero bank rec before it is entered in Actionstep it will not allow you to enter the receipt in Actionstep as it will think that invoice has already been paid. This can be difficult to identify for inexperienced Xero users.

Winner- Actionstep

Credit Notes

LEAP- Credit notes export to Xero as a journal. This works quite seamlessly although their is an ongoing issue with the GST coding on credit notes so the journal needs to be manually adjusted either prior to export or in Xero.

Actionstep- Credit notes in Actionstep are applied to invoices via a payment of $0 so that the credit note can be matched up to the correct invoice. Xero can’t handle a $0 payment so it creates credit note and a payment for the value of the credit note. The payment needs to be deleted via “remove & redo” and the credit note need to be applied against the invoice in Xero.

Winner- both problematic but the LEAP solution is probably easier to handle in Xero

Debtors and Creditors Reports

LEAP- all debtors and creditors reports need to be rune from LEAP as they are only sent ot Xero in journals

Actionstep- all debtors and creditors reports can be run from either Actionstep or Xero

Winner- Actionstep

Summary

Both LEAP and Actionstep work on a one-way integration, meaning that any changes to Debtors or Income in Xero will not flow back to the Practice Management system. This means that your Legal bookkeeper should have a high level of accounting knowledge to ensure the integrity of the 2 systems.

Overall Winner– you would have to say that Actionstep has the more comprehensive and versatile integration but you need to have a better understanding of Xero if things go pear-shaped.

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Cash or Accrual Accounting for Management Reporting?

In Australia, you have a choice to remain on a cash basis for lodging your BAS while your Turnover remains under the $2M threshold. The advantages of this are if you have outstanding debtors you do not have to pay GST on those sales until the cash is actually received. The problem is that cash reports are meaningless if you are trying to monitor the performance of your company. If you incurred wages to provide a service in period 1 then you want the revenue to appear in that period, not in the period the money was actually received. This is called the Matching Principal in Accounting. Luckily, bookkeeping software such as Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks allow you to remain on Cash for your BAS reporting while running Accrual based reporting for your Management Reports.

Hybrid Basis

The Hybrid basis of Management Reporting allows you to capture all of your costs and revenue in the same period to get a true measure of how you are performing each month. You just need to be sure that all of your Suppliers Invoices and Sales Invoices are entered in the month that the transaction took place and be sure to run all of your Management Reports on an Accrual basis while leaving our GST Reports on a Cash basis.

3rd Party Add-ons

In specialist industries such as Legal, Property or Healthcare, there are many 3rd Party Add-ons integrate with your Accounting Software to provide you with Industry Specific requirements that your standard Software can’t provide. While most of these applications claim to have a “seamless Integration” with your bookkeeping software, you will find that the integration is actually driven by exporting General Journals. The problem with this is that many of these products are unable to differentiate between Cash or Accrual on a General Journal which makes it very difficult to produce both Cash and Accrual Reports on a Hybrid basis.

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Bookkeeping on the Cloud – MYOB AccountRight Live, QuickBooks Hosted, Xero and Saasu Comparison

After a couple of years delay, myob are nearly ready to go live with their full cloud product. MYOB have taken a different cloud strategy to it’s competitors which you need to comprehend when comparing the different cloud options. Each product has it’s strengths and weaknesses in which I’ve summarised below.

Quickbooks Hosted, Xero and Saasu are a fully cloud based product. This means that your data file is stored securely and fully encrypted on the cloud and you can only work on the file while you have the internet connected. MYOB AccountRight Live enables you to have the data file sored both online and locally at the same time. If the internet goes down or if you want to work on the file on a plane for example, you just work on the local file and the cloud version will be updated when you next go online. Here’s the basic monthly fees including GST and major product differences for each of the cloud based bookkeeping software :

Bookkeeping SoftwareMYOB Account Right LiveQuickBooks HostedXEROSAASU
 Simultaneous Users51UnlimitedUnlimited
Basic Monthly Package (No Payroll)$23$25.83$29$20
Medium Monthly Package$59.50$36.25$49$35
Premium Monthly Package$59.50$36.25 $64$60
 Feature Differentials:
 Purchase Orders YYNY
 Detailed Job Costing YYYN
 Detailed Budgeting YYNY
 Time Billing YYNN
 Inventory YYNY
 Offline-Online Synchronisation YNNN
 Pay Suppliers and Payroll directly from software YNNN

As you can see features offered by each product vary across the range. If your main criteria is ease of use and functionality then Xero may have the edge- it just lacks the power and scope for growth of some of the other providers. A major point of difference that is unique to MYOB AccountRight Live is the ability to pay third parties such as suppliers and staff directly from the software. This allows your bookkeeper to setup all of your payments without the need to be given access to your online banking. You just need to login and complete a simple one-step authorisation process to approve the payments. Of course price is just one factor to consider when deciding which bookkeeping software to go with. Each has it’s own functionality and user interface which you can sample by signing up to a free trial or just give us a call to discuss.

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Obtaining Finance as an SME

With interest rates at historical lows for the past few years and fierce competition amongst lenders, securing finance has never been easier…. if you know how.

Once you’ve chosen your source of finance, you’ll need to convince the lender that your business is a low risk for them.  To  do this you must be able to explain your business model and represent it’s strengths professionally in the form of a business plan.

  • The Presentation

    You should provide a background of both your business and your personal experience and qualifications. Then give your view on the direction of your business and the industry you operate in. Be prepared to discuss the following points:
    – The level of funding you require and how long you will need it for.
    – What additional revenue will be generated by the loan.
    – What risks are there and how you will mitigate them.

  • Documentation

    You will need to provide current financial statements. If they are older than 3 months an interim set of financials signed off by a CPA can be helpful. Reports from a well recognised accounting system such as MYOB and prepared by a professional bookkeeper will give the lender greater confidence in the accuracy of the accounts.
    You will also need to present a business plan which outlines the core aspects of your business and its future plans.

  • Business Plan

    Provide a brief overview of you business, including: name, address, owners, nature, history, structure, related companies, number of employees and current business assets.
    -Profile the business owners and management, including their education, experience skills and professional achievements. Outlining your business knowledge base and industry experience will help establish your business as a low risk customer.
    -Discuss your customers and how your product or service meets a market need and your companies “points of difference.”
    -Outline details of how you will use the funding, how much you need and how long you will need it for.
    -You should use the past 3 years as a template to project the next 3 years goals for sales, income, business operations, marketing strategies and cashflow projections.  Your projections should obviously show that you will comfortably repay the loan.
    -Detail any collateral you are willing to pledge as security
    -Identify the risks- lenders like to know you have considered all possible risks and have contingency plans in place to deal with them.
    -Provide copies of any printed brochures or articles that may enhance your companies profile and perceived professionalism.

Be confident, prepared and share your enthusiasm about the future of your business with the lender. Your attitude, approach and commitment to the long-term business goals of your company will help establish you as a sought after customer.

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Industry Guides for Bookkeeping

An efficient bookkeeping system should be customised to individual clients needs. At Books Onsite we get to know your company as well as you do so that we can setup the most efficient and effective system for your company.

This involves not only getting to know your business but also your key management staff who rely on accurate and timely information from the accounting system to ensure your business is maximising it’s profit opportunities.

An important part of this process is to document how we will manage your accounts in the form of a manual. At Books Onsite we customise an Accounts Procedure Manual to suit your operations and your industry.

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