Thursday, 22 January 2015 13:19

Xero plugs quote gap

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The latest release of the Xero cloud accounting service includes the capability to issue and process quotes and estimates.

Quoting has been a standard feature of desktop accounting software for years, and is also a feature of most cloud accounting systems aimed at SMEs, such as MYOB Essentials.

But one of the shortcomings of Xero has been that it didn't include a mechanism for providing customers or potential customers with a quote or estimate for the supply of goods or services. For several years, the recommended workaround has been to use a draft invoice instead.

That's changed with the latest release of Xero.

While Xero's new quotes feature is said to provide users with greater visibility of the sales pipeline, the ability to respond rapidly to opportunities (e.g., by copying a previous quote), and the prospect of getting paid faster (by reducing ambiguity about what will be supplied and at what cost), it has been given a mixed reception by users.

While many responses were positive, other users pointed to shortcomings such as a failure to give customers preset discounts (Xero has acknowledged that this is a bug), the exclusion of quotes from budget forecast reports, and the inability to convert draft invoices to quotes (a function that is on Xero's to-do list).

In addition, some users requested mechanisms for handling deposits received when quotes are accepted, or turning prepayments received against quotes into a series of invoices as the work is performed.

Xero's Sales dashboard (illustrated above) provides a summary of quotes in progress, including draft, sent, accepted and expired quotes.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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