Your Business


July 13, 2023

How Do Your Books Stack Up?

Andrew Rogerson


It's a new year (well, kinda for us it is!) and it's time to have a dive into bookkeeping and ask the question, how do your books stack up? Well, legendary bookkeeper Rogo is ready to run you through it all here! Have a read!


Technology has got to the point where the term “bookkeeping” might need a bit of a rethink. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen anyone hauling around a big set of physical ledgers lately. As a result, small businesses around the world have traded in those old book stacks for software stacks.  

Your software stack is the customised list of programs, apps and tools which work together to help you run your day-to-day business operations and keep your books in order. Everyone’s needs are different, and picking the right tool for the job will ensure you can spend less time micromanaging your books and more time making…stacks.  

Here are five key components of your software stack to consider, and a program for each that gets Illumin8’s tick of approval:  

Cloud Accounting

The cornerstone of your software stack, your cloud accounting suite will be the ocean that every other river flows into, bookkeeping wise. This is where you’ll be categorising bank transactions, processing pay runs, calculating BAS’s, reviewing reports and much more. Picking a program that you’re both comfortable and familiar with will make everything else beyond this point much easier.  

Illumin8 recommends: Xero  

Call us biased, but we’ve had a love affair with the NZ-created success story for over a decade, and pride ourselves on being Xero specialists. It’s fast, easy to learn, STP compliant (meaning it talks to the ATO about payroll in the right language) and integrates with over 1,000 third-party apps. As someone who’s worked with each of the “big three” cloud accounting programs in my career, I can vouch for Xero being the most user-friendly and aesthetically appealing too.  

Bill Management

No one likes paperwork, and there’s nothing worse than dumping out a shoebox (or two) full of muddy and tattered receipts at the end of a financial year and trying to sort through it all. Precise and accurate bill management keeps your bills paid on time and ensures every expense and GST credit is accounted for.  

Illumin8 recommends: Dext  

Formerly known as Receipt Bank, Dext uses AI and machine learning to extract accurate data from bills, statements and receipts, and then publishes these straight through to your accounting software where they can be paid or reconciled. It can sync with a large range of supplier portals and its Bank Match feature makes updating your books quick, easy and seamless.  

eCommerce Solutions  

For those of you using Shopify to run an online storefront, you might have dozens of sales happening a day, each using a different payment method. A good eCommerce solution helps collect and streamline this sales data into a form that your accounting software can recognise. If you want to make a mark on the sprawling digital marketplace, it’s a must.  

Illumin8 recommends: A2X  

A2X (originally standing for Amazon 2 Xero) automates the syncing of sales, fees and tax data settlements from your digital storefront to your accounting program. It’s the perfect way to make heads and tails out of your Black Friday sales and comes with full support for a range of payment gateways, including BNPL (buy now, pay later) providers. I have been consistently impressed with the quality of their tech support team as well.  

Timesheets and Rostering  

Managing staff? It’s a tough task to keep track of everyone’s availabilities, shifts, leaves, and pay rates without a little outside help. Old school timecards have been passe for years and failing to keep good records in this space could lead to all sorts of headaches, like Fairwork knocking at the door. Do yourself a favour and spend some time investing in a competent workforce management tool.

Illumin8 recommends: Deputy  

Popular amongst the hospitality industry, Deputy offers an end-to-end solution for rostering, time clocking and staff management. It even lets you set a labour cost limit for each day and play around with worker combinations to see which ones keep you under budget. Intelligent auto-scheduling tools help fill gaps in your rosters quickly, and the award interpretation options take the headache out of working out pays.  

Advanced Reporting  

Your accounting suite will usually come with reporting tools, but what if you want to experiment with profit forecasting or KPIs? This is where an advanced reporting plugin can be invaluable, allowing you to leverage your present accounting data to inform and inspire the future of your business. It’s like your very own financial crystal ball.  

Illumin8 recommends: Futrli  

Futrli (pronounced future-ly) is a visually engaging reporting software which combines your current financial figures with industry benchmarks and customisable assumptions to produce up to 3 years of forecasting. Users can model "what-if" scenarios, such as changes in pricing, market conditions, or operating expenses, to evaluate implications on profitability and make informed decisions. With challenging economic conditions continuing, our clients are turning to Futrli to help weather the storm and thrive on the other side.  

So, there you have it, five solid pillars to help keep your software stack strong for years to come. If you’d like to talk further about building a better software stack, reach out to our team here.

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Andrew from Illumin8

If it sounds like we might make beautiful business together, why not get in contact and discuss your accounting and bookkeeping options with our team.

*PLEASE NOTE* We are currently only taking on clients that operate a business at this time. If you are on the lookout for an accountant to look after your individual return, we can connect you to a couple that we think are ace! 

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