Dext launches browser extension to enhance GL integrationsby
With accountants calling for deeper inter-app connectivity, Dext has released Dextension, a browser add-on built to enhance the integration between Xero and two of Dext’s main products, Prepare and Precision.
A major theme to emerge from the autumn conference season this year was accountants’ frustration at the lack of interconnectivity between different software applications, and the time they have to spend switching between products and moving or copying information around.
One product that may help to start bridging this workflow gap is Dextension, a Chrome browser extension built as a way of deepening the integration between Dext and Xero and reducing the number of clicks users of the two products make.
Currently available by invitation (users can register their interest here), when the tool is fully live in November it will be accessible via the Chrome Extension Store at no additional cost to Dext and Xero customers.
While its functionality only extends to connecting Dext with Xero, the developer is also working on a similar integration with QuickBooks Online. Dext hopes to expand it to other general ledger products in time.
Dextension also works in Microsoft’s Edge browser but is currently not supported for Safari or Firefox (although Dext is working on a solution for this).
Paul Lodder, VP of accounting product strategy at Dext, told AccountingWEB: “Our team sat with accounting professionals, watched them do their day-to-day bookkeeping and tried to work out how to improve their workflow. We watched how people moved between Dext and their general ledger system and it was obviously inefficient.”
Stephen Edginton, Dext’s chief product and technology officer added: “People are jumping between products, making lots of clicks and losing time by not having the right information to hand. We’re hoping Dextension is part of the solution for this.”
What does Dextension do?
In Dext Prepare, which collects and extracts data from paperwork before pushing it to accountancy software, users can see how previous transactions from a particular supplier were coded to help select the correct category for a current transaction, rather than open Xero and search the transaction history of a particular client.
From the Dext Prepare client list view page, users can also open a client’s dashboard in Xero by clicking the Xero icon button next to the relevant client.
From the Xero client dashboard, users can view warning triangles from Prepare when there is data in the Dext system that has not yet been published to Xero. Users can click the triangle to be taken to the relevant page in Dext. Warnings include “invoices owed to you” and “bills you need to pay”.
On the Xero bank reconciliation screen, users can hover over the attachment icon and view an image of the item directly inline to add context, rather than have to look at it in a separate viewer, saving clicks when making bank reconciliations.
Another feature accessible via the extension is the ability to order “matches” first. Typically, Xero’s bank reconciliation page orders transactions by date, meaning matched transactions are distributed throughout the page. Dextension allows matched transactions to be placed at the top of the page, making it easier for users to review and reconcile them.
Users can also collate and customise paperwork requests for clients in a new screen accessible via a button in Xero. This offers the ability to list all unreconciled transactions (paid or received), their dates and values, and any notes relating to them. Users can customise or pre-populate the request, then send them either in a customisable email via Outlook or Gmail integration or as separate requests in the Dext mobile app. The recipient will receive a list of required information and a link to the Dext web or mobile app.
Dextension also offers a range of other features in Dext Prepare, a comprehensive list of which can be found on its user page.
For Dext Precision, formally Xavier, which reports on the quality of bookkeeping data, users can access health scores directly from their Xero client dashboard, without having to have two screens open with the two different products in order to check the bookkeeping quality. Users can also access client-specific tags added in Dext Precision.
Users can also customise their desired Dextension settings via the Chrome browser to enable or disable specific features.
The use of a browser extension is an interesting development in the world of software integration, which has focused in recent years on API connections.
While the likes of Mayday Recharger and XBert have deployed Chrome extensions to work with Xero, Dext’s move brings this trend further into the mainstream.
With accountants crying out for more integration and interconnectivity from their software vendors, Dext’s move represents a step in the right direction, and the innovation may help to smooth over the recent turbulence caused by changes to its pricing structure.