From XU Magazine, 
Issue 19

Make business simpler: SuiteFiles + Xero Practice Manager

You know what’s really confusing? Stepping into the world of cloud-based technology. Even if you’re a digital native, even if you’ve been an accountant for years, even if you consider yourself forward-thinking. Choosing the right mix of tech can save you hours each week, but where do you start?
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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I’ll be honest, my background is not in technology, or cloud-based anything. This puts me in a unique position, because I firmly believe that if I can learn to use a piece of technology effectively, then anyone can. Across the last 6 months I’ve made my way through using cloud-based technology, looking for the best ways to save time (because we all need more time) without huge costs or complications. I’ve listed my key points when choosing what new technology to integrate into your business below.

Make sure everything works together

There is nothing worse than a communication breakdown, and this applies to your technology as much as it does to human communication. SuiteFiles stores your files online, rather than syncing them to a file management system, which means that updates show in real time. There’s no risk that you’ll close your laptop before the changes sync, meaning no-one can see what you’ve just updated. SuiteFiles also has a two-way integration with Xero Practice Manager (XPM). This means that when you add a client in XPM, a folder will also be created for them in SuiteFiles, without you having to leave XPM, or manually do the work. You can also browse your SuiteFiles documents from within Xero Practice Manager, giving you access to all the documents you might need for a specific client or job. Less clicks = less work. Plus, with both applications fully integrated, you’re guaranteed consistent data across the platforms, removing errors and double work.

Choose the apps that work for you

No-one knows your business, or how you work, better than you do. It sounds so simple, but don’t choose products that won’t work with that structure. SuiteFiles integrates with Xero deeply, but we also know you don’t just need data from Xero, which is why we support hundreds of file types, and why you can upload files into SuiteFiles from any source. If you’ve got clients in other systems, SuiteFiles can store their relevant documents and data too.

We also built Suite so that we can meet people wherever they are on their technology and cloud journey. If you’re an advanced technology user, there’s powerful search and meta-tagging capabilities that mean you can find your content quickly. If you’re newer to the cloud (like me) you can still browse your files in the file explorer through our Drive app. Files here look exactly like they would do if you were accessing a local drive, but they’re still stored and saved in the cloud, so that anyone can access them.

Improve access to information

The biggest win from being cloud based? It’s improved the visibility of the work I do. My colleagues can log in at any point and see my communications with clients they’re also working with, the progress of our joint projects and what my plans are in the next six months for SuiteFiles marketing. This is because I can save emails in a single click, straight from Outlook. I can easily share documents with them, and I can set user’s permissions so they can see everything they need to within the marketing folder, while restricting permissions to anything that might be confidential. It means if I’m away sick for a week, it’s easy for someone to step in and see what needs to happen, it’s all at their fingertips. It also means that I can access anything I need quickly, so if I’m on a plane, or remember something when I get home, it’s a matter of two clicks to access what I need from quite literally anywhere that has wifi.

Keep it simple

Technology should make your life easier, not more complex. Which is why Xero Practice Manager and SuiteFiles are built as simple but powerful tools, especially when combined. Their integration allows users to auto-populate your document templates and emails with any client data you have stored in XPM. Letters of engagement, end of financial year reminders, standardised follow-up emails, you name it, you can template it, and then automatically populate the client details in a single click. You can also automatically have job, client and quote folders created in SuiteFiles, and changes made in XPM automatically show in Suite, removing the need for you to access multiple systems.

There’s also several simple but effective automations built into SuiteFiles. Your data backs up automatically each day, storing a copy as well as an audit trial should you ever require one. If anything is accidentally deleted, you can restore it yourself using the Suite Backups app, and you can see what a specific document looked like at any given point in time.

Our email tool, mentioned above, means that your emails are filed to the right place, every time, with a single click. None of these features require complex set-up, they’re all ready to go right from login/installation, meaning you start saving time from the beginning.

As technology advances, it is so easy to get caught up in the complexity of it all, and it can seem overwhelming. If I’ve learnt one thing in the past 6 months, it’s that if technology is truly intuitive and easy to use, the fundamentals shouldn’t take you too long to grasp. Make sure you take advantage of the training resources available and ask questions when you need! Support teams are aptly named, their role is to support!

Why leave it there?

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