There s little doubt that cloud-based inventory management is the future for any forward-thinking business, but choosing the right software for your company can be a real challenge.

Looking at the current cloud-based accounting & inventory landscape, there are two dominant methods of running your inventory management; both with their own unique advantages.

Bundled model

The bundled approach to inventory management brings together all your primary accounting, billing, tracking and inventory management activities. The advantage of this bundled software is that everything is in one place and all your major business processes can be managed from just one easy-to-use piece of software.

Bundle drawbacks

There are some important drawbacks to this model.

With an in-built solution, what you have is going to pretty much be what you hold, and there s very little flexibility in terms of adding new features and customising software to suit your evolving business needs.

The bundled option may also mean a more basic set of functions and capabilities, as developers concentrate on improving their software as an entire piece, rather than focusing in on particular add-ons and ensuring they re as robust and up to date as possible.

Add-on model

Xero is currently the leading provider of the add-on model and as with the bundled approach it has many advantages for your business.

It s sometimes wrongly assumed that having add-ons, as opposed to built-in tools, means you have to take a dual entry approach to inputting your data, but this certainly isn t the case with Xero and the advanced features of an add-on like Unleashed can really set it apart as a leader in the field.

Xero & Unleashed

A Xero add-on such as Unleashed offers a seamless connection with other Xero accounting services and the easy to use interface allows you to comfortably manage your accounting side by side with stock, sales, supply, purchase and dispatch processes. If you use a browser like Google Chrome it is as easy as having Xero open in one tab and Unleashed open in another tab. Sales, purchase and adjustments are seamlessly pushed from Unleashed into Xero via an integration connection between the two programs.

Making a decision

When it comes to deciding between these two approaches the choice is very much based on the individual business and what is the best fit.

Both options will give your business the massive benefits of using cloud-based software to manage your inventory, which in itself is a giant leap forward.

Click here to read why cloud-based inventory management is the future

Xero advantages for small businesses

For the small business, the advice would probably be to take the Xero option and use add-ons for your inventory management.

Not only will you be able to choose from a range of add-ons and work out which one is best for your business, you ll also be able to customise your add-ons to your specific needs and scale up and down from an enterprise level package as and when required.