Case study: Woocommerce + XERO + SwipeHQ = Accounting Bliss

May 6, 2013 in Customer stories, Team news.

dave-robertsDave Roberts of Gurumedia shares his experience integrating his multiple WooCommerce powered eCommerce sites with Xero and SwipeHQ to ensure a streamlined accounting process.

We have several eCommerce sites and we’re looking for a way to automate things. My old system involved me re-typing each sale into my accounting software so when I saw that Woocommerce had a XERO extension I loaded up a test trial of Xero and grabbed the XERO extension from your site. I had looked at trying to integrate our old accounting package but quotes were coming in at well over $1000 to do this so the Xero extension at only $79 for a 5 site licence felt very reasonable and I am loving cloud based accounting!

I work with the Minimum viable product (MVP) principles in mind and like to try many small niche eCommerce websites, I don’t want to have to outlay full accounting setups for each niche website so I needed to be able to feed each site into the one XERO account initially. Once a business has proved it’s worth and is earning enough money to support itself it can then be upgraded to a Ltd Company and be given it’s own dedicated accounting setup To test a business/product idea I run them under my personal trading/as account package. Cheap, quick, easy!

I need to be able to see at a glance how much each website is earning so I assign each website an account number in XERO. For my example I have 2 websites Wishlantern and Modowest as shown below:

xero-sales-accounts

I then jump on over to my Niche Websites and setup XERO, I won’t go into the XERO setup as the existing tutorial on this site is easy to follow but note that the Sales Account field should reflect the sales account you setup in XERO above. (201 for Modowest, 200 for Wishlantern)

This will feed sales from each site into their respective XERO account allowing you to see at a glance each individual websites performance:

modowest-xero

Another plugin I use is the Sequential Order Numbers Pro this extends the numbering system and allows me to add a letter/code to the beginning of each invoice. This stops the chance of their ever being invoice numbering conflicts from 2 sites sending the same invoice number to XERO. In my example I have added a M- to the Modowest sales and a W- to the Wishlantern sales:

modowest-xero

modowest-numbering

Another benefit of using this plugin is that when reviewing paid & unpaid invoices in XERO I can at a glance see which site has made the most sales by looking at the letter prefixing the invoice number.

xero-modowest-wishlantern

Conclusion

Having my orders fed into XERO automatically has been awesome, I can at a glance, in one centralised place, see how each of my niche websites are performing and get a total summary of total income being generated across all sites. It helps me control my finances and set business goals. I think this setup will suit people that have a range of small commerce websites. It really does minimise the boring stuff (data entry etc) and allows you to focus on growing your business, as well as working on your next business idea. If this tutorial helps you, or you do things a different way, i’d love to hear from you. I use the SwipeHQ payment gateway which is far cheaper than Paypal and doesn’t have a transaction fee per order.

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15 Responses

  1. artofbackpacking
    6 May 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Genius!

  2. Galen King
    6 May 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Great writeup. How have you found the experience with SwipeHQ?

    (Disclaimer: I am founder of Kiwipay, another New Zealand payment platform; but I am also a web developer and we build a lot of e-commerce sites for clients and Kiwipay isn’t right for all situations.)

    • Dave
      6 May 2013 at 11:21 pm #

      Hi Galen,

      Thanks for commenting.
      I started with Paypal and am finding SwipeHQ an improvement.
      A lot of my customers get confused/put off with paypal thinking they will need to create an account. (a lot of kiwi’s are unaware of guest checkout) so the SwipeHQ process is much smoother.
      From a fee’s perspective it’s great, no transaction fee (v’s paypals 45c) and lower processing fee’s.
      I’ve had a few teething issues with SwipeHQ including my debut c/card transaction being double billed. Lucky it was my c/card testing it out but SwipeHQ never worked out what happened. Last week the credit card fields on their payment page had vanished, not good and i only found out when i received a call from a frustrated customer. SwipeHQ explained the issue as a bug in their system and had it fixed in 30mins but it is a worry and i wonder how many customers it prevented completing a transaction.

      SwipeHQ phone support is good, friendly and they answer the phone most of the time. Email support is slow and i have waited more than a week for a reply several times including when trying to sign up a new site (you’d think this is one aspect of a growing business that wouldn’t get neglected)

      All in all I am reasonably happy with them, i like that they actively push money into my account every few days and being able to call an NZ based company is nice. I realise all payment gateways have some issues so won’t jump ship just yet but I do look forward to having more faith in their bug-checking and email processes.

      I haven’t checked out Kiwipay, will have to take a look!

  3. Gayle Buchanan
    9 May 2013 at 2:49 am #

    Awesome, glad Xero is helping out!

  4. candeed
    15 May 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    So Xero is a web-based accounting software right ?

    Is data saved in their server ?

    • robertingram
      16 May 2013 at 12:05 am #

      Yip all up in the cloud :) xero.com

  5. HeatherSmithAU
    23 May 2013 at 6:14 am #

    Thanks for just a detailed blog post on this topic.

    I just upgraded to PAYPAL business account and the fees are 2.4% + 30c

    Looking at the https://www.swipehq.com site their rate is 2.75% per transaction as at 23 May, so I don’t understand your comment “I use the SwipeHQ payment gateway which is far cheaper than Paypal and doesn’t have a transaction fee per order.”

    Maybe I am misreading the fees?

    • daveuknz
      29 May 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      Hi Heather, I am guessing your Australian based? Here in NZ the fee’s from Paypal are:
      For each domestic payment you receive, a transaction fee of 3.4% of the total sale plus a fixed fee of $0.45 NZD will be taken from your received funds. If you sell a lot, you can apply for our discounted merchant rates.

      So Paypal may be a better option in your case unless you are selling low cost products and then the transaction fee of 30cents comes into play. e.g on a $10 sale the Paypal fee’s + the Paypal transaction fee equals 5.4% (this will change as the product value goes up) On a $20 transaction you’d be paying the equivalent of 3.9% (taking into account that 30cent charge)

      I like the fact that SwipeHQ actively pushes money into my account every few days but if the numbers don’t stack up for your business Paypal could be the best option.

      • ANISE
        19 June 2013 at 11:15 am #

        Hey Dave – thank-you so much for your response – yes its weird when the same thing is priced different in different countries when we are so digital!

  6. Shanell Samland
    26 May 2013 at 5:02 pm #

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  7. Lawrence Flever
    26 May 2013 at 5:36 pm #

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  8. davejay
    28 May 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    I’m confused… I’ve been scanning the Woocommerce extensions for a SwipeHQ plugin for WC and I don’t see it… How are you using Swipe in your store?

  9. ANISE
    19 June 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Hi Dave – meant to mention – your website looks great!

    RE: Plugin

    My web designer purchased this plugin for my site and I’ve been struggling for the last two weeks to get it to work. As he made the purchase on my behalf – I can not access your support – but I have sent through queries.

    I’ve gone backward and forward over everything. I’ve also had three separate experts look at it to try and get this to work. But I keep getting “XERO Error: Unable to retrieve public key.”

    My general ledger account numbers are :

    0510.06
    1570.01

    do you think this could be causing a problem? The fact that they have decimal places and start with a zero. They align to my accountants numbers.

    I cant figure out what else it could be?

    Note to woocommerce: With respect to your instructions on your site – I think I worked out the OPENSSL – but some screen shots including what you meant by administrator privileges.

    Can you recommend an expert who knows this plugin inside out and can help me with this installation?

    Heather Smith