“we reviewed the resources involved in developing and supporting Xero Personal compared with putting this resource into our business offerings” is what Rod Dury said in a blog post announcing the winding down of my favourite personal finance software Xero Personal.
My initial reaction was of upset, especially as I saw them wasting money (read: resources) on ridiculous street posters around Melbourne such as:
Seriously, did any of these generate a visitor, let a long a new business subscriber ?
Anyway, who am I to sit here and throw stones, their stock price is up over 200%+ in the past year. Clearly they are doing something right!
In any case, I’m a big fan of their software, and not only use(d) Xero Personal, but we also use their core business offering in a number of entities I’m involved with.
So what to do with my personal financial book keeping with the end of Xero Personal coming up… Well, I turned to a previous PreneurCast Podcast guest Heather Smith, who since our conversation authored Xero For Dummies.
She offer some great advice, which I asked her to turn into a guest post we can all to benefit from:
Here’s Heather with Alternatives To Xero Personal…
If you’re currently using Xero Personal to manage your personal finances, it’s likely by now you know this product is winding down and will cease to exist November 2014. If you were using Xero Personal, and are looking for a personal cloud based budgeting tool to move to, there are several options available.
One of them is a little known offering – Xero Cashbooks:
Xero Cashbook [pdf] is a simplified version of Xero, only available through your accountant. It is designed to help you manage your cash and allows your accountant to manage your books – all over the internet. There is no software to install, and it’s no hassle to set up. Xero simply allows you to get on with your “business” and not have to worry about accounting.
Accessed in exactly the same way as the standard version of Xero – Xero Cashbook allows you to manage your cashflow over the internet with no software to install and no hassle to setup.
A LITTLE OR A LOT
Xero Cashbook has two roles to meet the level of input you want to have in your accounts.
- The Managed role gives you access to add comments on bank transactions, which your accountant can then code.This helps you become familiar with accounting without having to learn all aspects, and it’s perfect if you turned upto your accountant’s office last year end with a ‘shoebox’ of receipts.
- The Cashbook role provides more functionality. You can easily code transactions and prepare cash based sales tax reports. Ideal if you’re already using installed cashbook software or Excel spreadsheets. In both cases your accountant can review your information at any stage and provide input for your business during the year.
The Xero cashbooks option has several features I really like. It sits on your Xero dashboard alongside your Xero business products, so it’s easy to access. Xero cashbooks has the look and feel of the Xero business editions, except you don’t have unnecessary business functionality like invoicing and activity statements – options you don’t need to manage your own personal finances.
What’s incredible is Xero Cashbooks have a published API, meaning it has the ability to integrate with all the Xero add-on solutions. This makes it a powerful personal budgeting solution, that wasn’t offered with Xero Personal.
If you have investment property you can plug Pocket Rent right into your Xero Cashbooks, and use the add-on online solution to assist in managing all administrative aspects of renting property. Pocket Rent starts at free for one property, and builds up its pricing through Monopoly inspired pricing packages.
If you have a share portfolio you can link it with Sharesight to manage your transactions. Sharesight minimises the need for data entry, offers instant performance reporting and can handle an international portfolio. Like Pocket Rent, Sharesight offers a free option, a single portfolio and up to 10 shareholdings, so you can really test the solution.
You can plug both Pocket Rent and Sharesight into Xero CashBooks and operate them simultaneously. These innovative timesaving solutions help you keep on track of your personal affairs, and minimise your administrative burden.
I’ve seen clients move to solutions like this, and once they learn how they work, and they understand the information generated, there in an informed position to make decisions, and they then feel comfortable growing their investments.
Ok so there is one small snag, not the sizzling sausage type of snag. As you may have picked up earlier, currently you can only purchase a subscription to Xero cashbooks via a Xero partner such as me. If you’re interested in this alternative option, I’m happy to facilitate arranging a Xero cashbook solution for you.
The other choice, you have moving from Xero Personal, is PocketSmith.
PocketSmith describes itself as a personal finance application. You can schedule your household or business budget in a calendar, and forecast your future bank balances. Xero and PocketSmith have come to the party by a special offering; if you sign up for PocketSmith by 31 December, you can get a great deal – $59.95 for the first 12 months (instead of the usual $120).
Furthermore they have worked out a migration path, so you download your information from Xero Personal, in one year chunks, and upload it to PocketSmith, via their Xero Express process.
— Joel Hanna (@joelihanna) November 26, 2013
— William Chong (@wchong) November 27, 2013
And PocketSmith also tweeted their support:
Good morning Xero Personal migrators! Pop on in and try out Xero Express, drop us a line if you need a hand :xjs
— PocketSmith (@PocketSmith) November 25, 2013
If you want a comprehensive robust solution to help manage your growing share and investment portfolio then take a look at Xero Cashbooks, if however your finances are straightforward then PocketSmith should amply meet your budgeting needs.
Heather Smith is the author of the Xero For Dummies series of books. She provides XERO Training, Xero Set-Up, Migration & Support, plus especially Xero Cashbook access via http://www.heathersmithsmallbusiness.com