With so many SaaS, PaaS and desktop software services available, businesses can sometimes find it hard to achieve truly streamlined processes and systems. Being able to effortlessly extract, update and sync data across multiple applications, without the worry of duplication, omission or incomplete insights, can give us a competitive edge and make our business more efficient and effective.
Supporting modern business
Thankfully, Xero is designed specifically for easy integration with other systems and applications, to the extent that Xero actively supports and encourages developers to build new apps. By linking Xero to the other services your business relies on, you can get valuable and accurate business intelligence, improve your decision-making processes and achieve seamless fluidity between tasks.
The answer is in the cloud
Interoperability across business systems and applications is still an ongoing struggle in many industries, due to the fast-moving nature of software development. New applications appear every day, but the integration between these various types of software is often either an awkward and clunky process, or simply not possible.
Xero is ahead of the game in this respect, because it is one of the few cloud-based accounting software systems available on the market. Xero’s SaaS model allows for the kind of flexibility that closed server-based systems simply cannot offer in terms of integration possibilities.
How does Xero integrate with other business systems?
Xero assumes that businesses require a simple and effective single point of information for all the applications and systems they use, with successfully synced functionality and reporting. Xero provides this by supporting clear and precise communication between applications with their sophisticated application programming interface (API).
Systems and applications ‘talk’ to one another via their respective APIs. Xero’s API will communicate with the API of another system and information will be sent, and vice versa. This allows for effective, real-time exchange of information, in and out of Xero.
Struggling to choose which applications to use?
The Xero app marketplace offers over 600 different off the shelf applications, many of which connect to Xero is less than 30 seconds. Linking with these applications is easy: simply go into your chosen application, go into Integrations, choose Connect to Xero, enter your password and that is it, the sync will begin.
The real challenge is deciding which application to link to in the first place! All applications are organised by category (job management, e-commerce, CRM, sales, etc.) and there are many to choose from.
This is the process we at Beyond use to decide which application is right for us:
1. Define your need
What function are you trying to fix? What key features are essential? Define the difference between your actual needs – the deal breakers – and your secondary preferences. Then conduct an extensive search for applications which supply the solution to your needs.
Review and rate each of the applications and, based on your findings, whittle them down to your top 3 or 4.
3. Conduct a trial
Trial your top 2 or 3 application choices with Xero, and make sure to conduct some key transactions that relate to those deal breaker requirements.
During this process, the application most suited to your needs and preferences will naturally surface. However, this process can be greatly sped up if get advice from experts in this area. Ask Xero and/or some savvy software developers for their advice and guidance. App development is a fast-moving industry, with new products appearing on the market all the time, so it is always worth talking to the people whose job it is to keep up to date.
Popular Xero applications
- Shopify (Point of Sale)
- Unleashed (Inventory)
- AutoEntry (Bills & Expenses)
- Chaser (Debtor Tracking)
- Stripe (Payments)
- GoCardless (Payments)
- Directli (integrates GoCardless with Xero)
Xero supporting developers
Xero has designed a sophisticated API to ease the integration process and enable business owners, however Xero does not conduct the integration between Xero and the systems and applications requiring middleware. Middleware, also known as ‘software glue’, is what enables communication between APIs when they are not directly compatible.
Rather than taking on the responsibility of every middleware application that is used in an integration process, Xero instead has a fully functioning website with a department attached to support and provide resources to developers who require it. On Xero Developer, software developers are even encouraged to build applications which they can sell and market as a product to other Xero users.
With over 1 million Xero users worldwide, this can be a very attractive proposition for a software development company willing to provide the support desk and regular updates required to successfully maintain the application they have built.
For the business that doesn’t have its own software developer at hand, there are many cloud integration services available that will do this for you. Integration between applications is not a code-heavy task, but rather a process of getting the best out of each application to satisfy your requirements.
Still not sure if Xero integrates with your business systems?
Some applications claim to integrate with Xero, but it may be a very surface level integration; for example, the integration may solely consist of mirroring contacts. We highly recommended you investigate what level of integration the application is offering, especially if you require a seamless sync between the functionalities of your chosen applications. It is also worth checking if the integration will work in your country. Some applications integrate with Xero in the USA but not in Europe, for example.
The simplest way to know for sure if your applications will integrate with Xero without any drawbacks is to set up a Xero demo account using a 30-day free trial. This way, you can test key functionalities and features before you purchase.
Let us know if you have any questions
At Beyond, we can answer any of your Xero integration questions and can set up a free, no-obligation demonstration – either in our offices or by video call. You could either pop along to one of our monthly demonstrations in our Dublin 2 offices, or get in touch to arrange one at your convenience. We promise there’s no hard sell! After the demo, we’ll set you up with a trial version so that you can try it out in your own time.
We are experts in selecting, installing and customising Xero applications. We also offer training for Xero and Xero applications. If you would like help with Xero, call us on 01 639 2963 to arrange a meeting.