Xero, a cloud-based accounting software provider, is expanding its integration with Gmail and Google Apps for Work to make it easier for small businesses and their financial advisors to collaborate on bookkeeping.
But that’s only one of the benefits the integration provides.
It also brings with it the prospect of saving the business owner time, fostering better customer relationships and speeding up invoice payments.
James Maiocco, general manager at Xero, tells Small Business Trends:
“Small business owners put an enormous amount of time and energy into what they do. Time is their most precious asset, and anything that creates redundancy or duplication presents a challenge.”
According to Maiocco, the Xero and Google apps integration takes advantage of technology platforms small business owners already use and seamlessly connects them, thus minimizing redundancy.
“Most small business owners spend an inordinate amount of time on email,” Maiocco said. “Flipping back and forth between browser tabs for Xero and Gmail, attempting to track conversations regarding the status of an invoice or see comments from a customer, can be quite a hassle This integration means not only can the business owner get paid faster but can also be more responsive to his customers, leading to better relationships.”
Xero Expands Integration Features
The latest updates build on a range of established integrations between Xero and Google’s services, including the ability to:
- Get actionable insights from a single view of a customers’ activities. A redesigned, single-screen view of all contact activity and a redesigned cash-in graph make it easier to understand financial relationships with customers.
- Access the latest information about business contacts with Gmail. Business owners will now see a live view of Gmail messages alongside other contact information, giving them a complete, up-to-date view of current and prior communications with their customers or suppliers.
- Drive new revenue opportunities with Smart Lists. Smart Lists enable businesses to segment contacts based on factors such as location and purchase history, to find revenue gaps, chase debt, create sales and marketing campaigns and identify opportunities.
- Use Single Sign-on (SSO). Users can sign-in to the Xero dashboard using their Google account.
- Find customer locations with Google Maps. Xero integrates with Google Maps on both desktop and mobile devices, allowing business owners to find customer locations without leaving the dashboard — a feature those in the home services industry (i.e. contractors, appliance repair technicians, housepainters, etc.) would certainly appreciate.
- Take actions with reports. Users can export Xero Reports to Google Sheets to collaborate, share and analyze data with their customers, suppliers and financial advisors.
- Enhance their Google Plus profiles. Xero users can automatically display their Google Plus URL on customer invoices if they choose.
How to Integrate Xero and Google Apps
According to Maiocco, all that’s required to establish the integration between Xero and Google Apps is to connect via a Gmail account.
“You click a button, and Xero requests your Google account credentials,” Maiocco said. “It then asks if you want to connect your account, to which you reply yes, and you’re done. After that, you can log in to the dashboard using your Gmail credentials.”
Once connected, Xero will pull in all the contact’s information from Gmail, including past email communications, essentially merging the two platforms into one, giving users a unified view of their business data and activities across Xero and Google Apps.
Mobile Integration With Android
Xero also supports Xero for Android, used by Xero’s mobile small business owners and accounting providers, enabling them to create and send invoices, add receipts and create expense claims while on the go. Xero for Android also integrates with Google Maps in the event users need to visit a customer or send an invoice.
In summarizing the value the integration between Xero and Google Apps for Work provides, Maiocco said:
“Time is the small business owner’s most precious commodity. This integration bolsters Xero as a realtime business platform that provides a smarter and simpler way to manage the daily workflows associated with all aspects of their business operation.
“It offers the ability to have Gmail fully integrated into the dashboard, along with detailed contact information. Users can export content more easily, get paid more quickly and collaborate more efficiently with financial advisors and suppliers.”