Xero’s app marketplace has over 800 apps to help small businesses and their advisors reach their goals. Each month we celebrate an app partner who stands out for helping small businesses thrive. Find out more about becoming a Xero app partner here.
We’re excited to introduce September’s app partner of the month, Syft Analytics – a cloud-based reporting app that uses your Xero data to produce beautiful, simple reports and insights. Syft was also named ‘App Partner of the Year’ at the 2019 South African Xero Awards.
Founded in South Africa in 2016 by Matt Stephanou and Vangelis Kyriazis, Syft joined the Xero app marketplace in 2018. We chat with Vangelis about how his own practice needs inspired him and Matt to create this clever app to help business owners make better decisions. We also speak about how they’ve been able to help businesses in the midst of a global pandemic.
Saving time by making data beautiful
Syft began life when Vangelis was working at an accounting practice. The standard reports they were presenting to clients were often very tabular, and technical, leaving non-financial clients struggling to understand or use them to make informed business decisions. Vangelis got in touch with Matt, who was with another startup at the time, and spoke to him about the issue. The potential of using the cloud accounting data in Xero to create a solution became clear, and they realised that it could not only help the practice, but help other businesses too.
“We saw an opportunity to take accounting data and visualise it, to show trends and seasonality, and then make these quick to produce on a monthly basis for our clients. As we started building a solution, we thought ‘wow, this product’s saving us time’, why don’t we build it out and offer it to other businesses and accounting practices to save them time too?” says Vangelis.
Building Syft was a journey of learning and testing, with customer feedback shaping what its features look like today. Syft’s time-saving secret lies in quickly producing reliable, regular and beautiful reports and insights for their customers. Joining Xero’s app marketplace ensured these features could be enjoyed by Xero customers worldwide.
“Initially we were focused on South Africa, but integrating with Xero opened up the global marketplace for us, connecting us with customers from all over the world,” Vangelis adds.
For instance, Syft has enabled a Brunei-based shipping company to consolidate reporting from 10 Xero accounts into a simple and up-to-date dashboard. This gives them real-time visibility across their entire business.
Vangelis also filled us in on how a UK Xero accounting partner saves time by using Syft across 600 Xero accounts.
“By connecting all 600 entities to Syft, they’ve automated their monthly reporting to clients using a feature called ‘Scheduled Reports’ that emails clean and professional PDF reports to the accountants to double-check, to then forward to their clients,” explains Vangelis.
Global connections and global challenges
In the face of a pandemic, having a global reach brought with it a new challenge – helping customers across time zones from a single-office in South Africa. And with COVID-19 restrictions hitting many of those customers, Syft pivoted quickly using their tight customer feedback channels, and data-driven forecasting features to help.
Many businesses were applying for financial assistance, which often required detailed information. Using customer feedback, the team at Syft responded by creating a ‘Funding Pack’ containing reports and information typically needed by financial institutions. This utilised Syft’s powerful forecasting tool that captures the last 24 months of a business’s Xero data to provide a 12 month forecast. This allowed businesses to get this information at the click of a button.
“We created the funding report pack using both the business’ historic results and forecasted results. The process became very simple – taking around 30 seconds from creating a Syft account to generating the 20-page report – what’s normally a very lengthy process,” Vangelis explains.
As a customer-focused team, Syft likes to stay flexible, focusing on what customers want. When looking to the future, their current focus is on growing their forecasting capabilities, and group consolidation tools.
“Simplicity and building things that customers need is always number one for us. If we can make it easier to do and easier to understand, it’s better for everyone. This year, we’ve seen the importance of enabling planning and budgeting by being able to predict the next few months for your business. So building out our forecasting tool and making it easier to use will be a focus. We’re also building a feature called ‘Practice’ for accounting firms, and ‘Overview’ for businesses, that lists all your Xero connected orgs in one place,” Vangelis concludes.
Get beautiful, simple business insights and reporting by checking out Syft Analytics on the Xero app marketplace. Use our seamless ‘Sign Up with Xero’ tool to quickly create your account with Syft using your Xero login. You can then use your Xero login to access Syft at any time using our ‘Sign In with Xero’ feature.