Part 3 of 3

One thing I have noticed in researching a lot of these solutions is that there are two very separate issues to the problem. Firstly, how good is the solution and secondly, how well is it recognised in the market.

When Jeri and I set out on the monumental task of reviewing all the add-ons in the Xero ecosystem, it was truly to educate customers about what solutions are available; and to cut through the marketing hype in some cases and get to the heart of the solution. We never want to be blunt or put any add-on down, as we know all the hard work it takes to get an add-on to market.

Prior to drawing my final conclusions, I would like to make an honorary mention of CreditorWatch, an Australian based debtor management add-on.

Honorary Mention – CreditorWatch

CreditorWatch doesn’t share the same profile as the add-ons reviewed in this article, but that does not mean it is far behind either. I believe in many ways CreditorWatch is Australia’s version of Satago, which is a really powerful solution that does not have the full functionality of some of these more complete add-ons.  What it lacks in some areas it more than compensates in others.

Key standout features

Creditor watch has quite a few useful features that give you the business owner a real sense of power.

When you first setup Creditor watch with Xero it pulls through all the typical debtor information out of Xero like the customer’s name, invoices, payments, etc. But one good thing it focuses on more than other debtor management add-ons is pulling out ABN’s and it does this with good reason.

Utilising company ABN’s, CreditorWatch accesses a variety of government databases that include ASIC and Magistrate’s Courts in the States and Territories of Australia.  Armed with this information CreditorWatch builds a risk profile. If some of your clients are missing ABN’s, it automatically attempts to match these up and allows you to assign suggested ABN’s to any companies that haven’t provided you with this information.

This serves a twofold purpose, firstly it ensures it can begin the process of creating a risk profile for you to make the correct decisions and secondly, to a lesser degree it weeds out any illegal businesses that you may be dealing with inadvertently.

You also have the option to purchase credit scores when you are taking on a new customer, and this again gives you information that is critical for day to day decision making.

You are also provided with a summary of your accounts receivable, which will clearly identify key debtor metrics that are important for making informed decisions. Highlighted in this section are bad payers that you can put on a watch list.  You can also put your entire customer base, where the dashboard breaks down your customer list by risk profile. Again fantastic information alerts are also brought to your attention, such as changes to customer credit files, ASIC notices, etc.

What this does, in essence, is it helps you to monitor problem customers and be able to take action if they refuse to make payment. It’s the ease of being able to do this that is really useful (creditor watch does have a stringent system that ensures that you just cannot impact credit files on a whim) and might help ward off other potential victims of these types of businesses.

If you want to read the full review, please go here.

Final thoughts

Recently as we spoke to an end user, he mentioned that most people would go with an add-on that is well priced, i.e. the cheapest. I think that’s a real fallacy in many ways, as some of these add-ons are really amazing, and are real game changers in their own right.

I’m not going to tell you there is one add-on in the list reviewed that is perfect or heads and shoulders above the rest, but I would rather suggest that from this group of add-ons each seems to have features that better lend themselves by the region they were first developed.

Satago which is based in the UK, is an amazing add-on for that respective market, it has the looks, it’s easy to use and is definitely a job enricher or killer, depending on how you look at it. EzyCollect does the same in the Australian market, and Invoice Sherpa for the US. Each of these add-ons would love to stretch their influence past the intended geographical region, but as they do, they seem to lose a bit of functionality. These three add-ons are truly very comprehensive solutions that cover the gambit of all the functionality of a typical accounts receivable role.

Debtor Daddy is the old man in the game and has been around the longest.  Even though it might be a step behind in the game, that does not mean it isn’t a good solution, but when you compare apples with apples, it’s nowhere near as powerful as the other solutions.

So why is Chaser the most reviewed add-on in the marketplace?

I think it comes down to one thing, its darn easy to use.  No! it doesn’t do near as much as Satago, EzyCollect or Invoice Sherpa, but neither does it pretend to do so. It works for a lot of small businesses, and it does so very well. But when you start moving into businesses that have turnovers in the millions, you really can’t go past the big 3.

The challenge in the future will be to see who can stretch their arm across international regions, and whoever does this successfully without losing functionality will ultimately become the best debtor management add-on in the Xero Ecosystem.

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