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Xero Hour - Synergy syncs with Xero for cloud 9 integration

“… [This] is our next step towards providing an end-to-end cloud platform for the AEC industry…”

As part of the latest Synergy Practice Management software update, we’ve updated our Synergy Connect product to introduce a new strategic partner to the Synergy community — (drum roll) — Xero!

Synergy’s latest release — 4.8.5 — includes Synergy Connect for Xero, a clever interface that synchronises project accounts with one of the world’s leading cloud accounting applications (so clients don’t have to enter data twice).

Xero is growing rapidly around the world with SMEs in general, but is also earning a good reputation in the AEC industry. We have a number of clients already using Xero with many more trialling or expecting to make the switch in the near future.

Here at Synergy we made the switch to Xero in July 2012 and have found it to be, well, pretty good! It has fantastic user experience (UX) and the company and team are great to work with because they are so client-focused and friendly – brand qualities that match our own. This led us to make Xero a key partner, so adopters of cloud software can continue their migration skywards.

Scott Osborne, our founder and fearless leader (aka CEO), said cloud-based software such as Xero is changing the way business is being done.

“Cloud software is making business not just more efficient, but more enjoyable,” he said.

“An example of this occurred when I was actually at a Xero conference in Perth. It was on a Friday about 12 months ago — a client license was due to expire the following Tuesday and they needed to amend an invoice. Ordinarily I’d have had to wait until I was back in the office on the Monday, meaning the invoice probably wouldn’t have been paid until after the license expired resulting in down-time for the client.

“I was able to login to Xero on a tablet, make the changes and the client paid the invoice that day… cloud accounting heaven!

“This is precisely why we have moved to the cloud ourselves and our software integration with Xero is the next step towards providing an end-to-end cloud platform for the AEC industry.”

Beta for better

In developing new functions like Synergy Connect for Xero, a bit of work goes into hooking the two bits of software together for a seamless, practical and functional experience. Our chief propeller-head (software architect) Greg Swanson said the Xero API had been easy to work with and the integration was working well.

“The well designed and documented Xero API allowed us to produce one of our best financial integrations yet,” Greg said.

Once internal testing is complete, we move on to live ‘beta’ tests. For this we work with clients who are already using Xero and Synergy and have a need to connect the two applications.

Neil Stebbing, founder and director of N.G. Stebbing and Associates (NGS), a firm of consulting structural engineers based in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, is one such client that has switched to Xero.

Neil said NGS had come to Xero after a trial of the personal application.

“I started using Xero personally about six months ago and through that learned it had a corporate application,” he said.

“Up until then we’d been using a desktop application but had found it increasingly frustrating… things like trying to manage licensing [for the desktop accounting application] and accessing financial data and reports over our two offices.

“We were looking for something easier to access and understand with an interface that had a much nicer all-round user experience. It was also brilliant to be able to have financial advisers, accountants and bookkeepers access data from anywhere without having to send data files, hard copies, or have them physically present.”

Complementariness

NGS has been a Synergy client for several years and Neil’s use of Synergy with Xero highlights both the need for mobile access and the complementariness (yes, it’s a word) of the two products.

“For us, Synergy is 100 per cent project related — project accounting, work-in-progress, profit on jobs, project admin, and so on… Xero is used to then review financial data,” Neil said.

“We use Synergy to the point of invoicing [sending invoice out of Synergy] then Xero picks up all financial management roles – debt collection, reviewing of age debtors, profit and loss statements, add-ons to look at performance as a company...

“The integration allows us to give project staff and consultants access to relevant, project-related financial data in Synergy — they can raise invoices for the job, check on payments, review work-in-progress and see the overall performance of the project — while key management and administrative staff can access Xero for higher-level financial information.

“This is why integration between the two is so important, so project data is relevant and up-to-date.”

Cloud Convert

We asked Neil about his views on cloud-based software in general. It seems he’s a convert.

“I can see big upsides to cloud – mostly through having two offices,” he said.

“We’re not a ‘big’ firm but can see real competitive advantage in being able to relocate or start up in a new region with immediate access to all project and financial information. It also allows for mobile operation remotely.

“We have now put our whole server into the cloud and are no longer reliant on on-premise hardware and software.”

To find out more about Synergy Connect for Xero go to our partner page or contact us for more information.

Total Synergy - Xero Add-on Partner 

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