Fashion has to be the coolest of industries. Runways, designers, beautiful people and beautiful clothes, all in the world’s greatest cities. London, Milan, Paris, New York. This year’s Spring Fashion Shows are now in full swing, with Paris last week and New York next week, where we’re lucky enough to be running some workshops.
But what does it take to run, and grow a successful fashion brand? And what do you need to know from an accounting perspective?
In this short blog series, we’ll explore the ins and outs of the business of fashion, from buying to brand building, beginning with the technology you need to keep it all running smoothly.
We now work with a growing number of businesses in the fashion industry, from local boutiques to high-fashion brands. But the one thing underpinning them all is tech. Whatever your business, you’ll need to have the right accounting system and apps set up. Getting a good stack in place at the start is critical, and will make sure that as you scale, you’ve got the right foundations in place.
So what are the apps you need to run the perfect fashion business?
First of all, as your core accounting platform, we recommend Xero. It’s the global, online market leader, and with over 800 apps that plug-in, you can tailor it to meet your specific needs. Xero has everything you need to manage your numbers effortlessly. See up-to-date cash flow at a glance, connect with leading retail apps and pay your staff seamlessly.
Underpinning everything you do is good bookkeeping, no matter your industry. The best way to do this? Automate things wherever you can. One of our favourite tools for this is Receipt Bank. It’s a data extraction tool that will extract the data from your supplier invoices and receipts and auto-publish them through to Xero in minutes. Finally say goodbye to paper receipts! With the handy mobile app, you can easily capture those coffee (or perhaps champagne!) receipts that often get lost and forgotten about. And with all of that data entry out of the equation, you can spend more time working on next season’s collection! You can read more about the benefits of Receipt Bank and how to use it here.
For your core sales platform, look no further than Shopify. Shopify is an ecommerce platform for online stores and retail point of sale systems. It’ll plug in to your website, providing a smooth customer experience, efficient delivery and tracking, and with Stripe and PayPal plugged in, you’ll be getting paid in no time. Automatically syncing your sales data into Xero, Shopify gives you a real-time view of sales and finances.
If you have your own retail store, then Shopify can also work as your electronic point of sale system. As long as you’ve got an iPad or MacBook, then there’s no need to invest in a fancy till system. You’ll just need to add a card reader like iZettle, Square or EVO and you’re good to go!
We know inventory management is one of the biggest challenges in retail. Having the right tech in place will keep things running smoothly, helping you avoid problems like having too much unsold stock, or running out of your most in-demand items. That’s where TradeGecko comes in.
With TradeGecko, you can manage your entire commerce and supply chain ecosystem from one central, integrated system, from production through to fulfillment. You’ll be able to pull in sales from Shopify, record and track your stock orders, manage your production process, and keep track of inventory. Boom!
If you’re an Amazon or Shopify seller, look no further than A2X to automate your accounting. This will ensure that the data from all of these apps flows seamlessly into Xero, streamlining your workflow and saving you valuable time. Automating the process of reconciling payouts, figuring out fees, refunds and adjustments, A2X takes care of all of this in just a few seconds.
Another important thing to consider is how you’ll manage staff expenses when they’re attending shows. At Ashton McGill, we use Pleo, the smart company card. You can control what staff can spend money on, meaning you can block the Caviar & Champagne bar on the way to Premier Vision, but allow them to buy coffees instead! In the app, admins can track spending in real-time, set card limits, order new cards, and sync all their expenses into Xero with just one click.
So there we have it, the perfect tech stack for your fashion business! These apps will ensure that everything is running smoothly, making tasks like inventory and expense management a breeze.
The total cost for all of this tech? You’ll have change from £120 a month, so it’s all pretty affordable, and with a good accountant setting it up for you, then it’ll automate most of the work.
What’s more, all of these apps plug directly into Xero, syncing all of your data seamlessly, meaning you can spend more time doing what you do best!
Look out for the next post in this fashion series, where we’ll be diving into funding and managing cash flow as you grow.