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A week has passed since I completed my first paperless GST return using Xero. It took about a day. That’s only slightly less than it took with Quickbooks. Yet considering I’m using an unfamiliar system, it represents real progress.

Xero isn’t hard to learn. My problems are more to do with accounting than with the software – I wonder if I will ever understand double entry book-keeping?

Setting up Xero is easy. Importing bank account data is a breeze. Reconciling accounts is fast. And Xero learns about my accounts as I enter data, so it will get faster.

And that’s what I was hoping.

Xero isn’t cheap compared with packaged accounting software. But at NZ$50 a month, I’m in front if I save just one hour. I’m well on target. Which means I’m likely to make the full commitment and switch over by the time my next GST return is due.

Paper bank permission form

One hiccup was the bank permission form I needed to download, sign and then send, before Westpac would allow Xero automatic access to my account information. Finding an envelope wasn’t easy in a paperless office. Thankfully Xero uses Freepost so I didn’t need to search for a stamp. But I still managed to leave the letter sitting on my desk for a few days before posting.

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