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Xerocon Australia Partner Awards winners

This year’s Xerocon conference in Sydney attracted over 1300 attendees from the accounting, bookkeeping and financial advisor industries. The conference closed on a high as we celebrated the contribution of some of Australia’s leading partners at the Xero Partner Awards dinner on Friday evening.

Xero Australia MD Chris Ridd says “These prestigious awards honor the top performing add-on developers, accounting practices and bookkeeping professionals that our partner ecosystem has to offer.”

“We are delighted to see the huge efforts of our many partners in what was hotly contested awards ceremony that celebrated some amazing innovations and best practices. Our partners are absolutely critical to our success and these awards shine a spotlight on their successes.

Congratulations to each winner on this incredible achievement.

Winners of the Xero Partner Awards

Accounting Partner of the Year –
Mulcahy & Co.

Mulcahy & Co

Bookkeeping Partner of the Year –
CFM Bookkeeping

CFM Bookkeeping Continue reading ›

 

It’s a Workpapers world

We’re making changes on a few fronts in Xero Workpapers today: we’ve made a number of enhancements for our existing users and we’re pleased to announce Workpapers is now available globally.

Global availability

Today we’re launching a global edition of Xero Workpapers. Our accounting and bookkeeping partners anywhere in the world can now manage their workpapers, letters and client queries. Compiling management and year-end accounts has never been easier – head on over to the new global help centre to see what we have in store for you, then set up a free trial.

New and improved workpapers

The Home Office workpaper has had a major update – we’ve added a new tabbed design for those times when there’s a change of address or there are multiple claims to be made. It also uses the smarts behind our Permanent workpaper to remember key details from period to period.

Laurie's Hairdos Co – Home Office

We’ve also built a brand new workpaper for operating leases: this helps you keep track of your clients’ lease documentation and calculate their future commitment. To save you even more time, this is also remembered across periods.

Laurie's Hairdos Co – Operating Lease Commitments

Workflow improvements

When you send bulk queries, Xero Workpapers has some new smarts to decide how the packs are assigned, based on your most recent staff allocations. This makes it much easier to ensure your staff know what they should be working on.

Going green!

The Xero Workpapers and Practice Manager teams are working together closely to combine our powers. It’s going to take a while but work is already under way to bring two major parts of Practice Studio closer together and take advantage of each other’s strengths.
In the coming months, Xero Workpapers will have a new look and will be much more tightly integrated with Xero Practice Manager. This is pretty exciting for all of us – more news as this work progresses.

 

Introducing Australia’s new Head of Accounting – James Solomons

Many exciting announcements were made at Xerocon 2014. The one that had the most impact for me came on day two when Chris Ridd welcomed me to the main stage with the news that I had been appointed to the role of Head of Accounting of Xero Australia.

It’s a unique role that has been strategically designed to enable me to keep a foot in both camps, so to speak. So while I will be the Head of Accounting for Xero Australia, I’ll be performing this role alongside my position as director of EFS Strategic. This means I will continue to be hands on with my practice and clients. You could say I am on both sides of the ledger now!

The response from Xero Partners and the Xero Team has been amazing and proves that the industry is ready to embrace change. Thank you to everyone for their words of support.

Head of Accounting James Solomons – retweet

One thing I would like to make clear is that while I have strong opinions and beliefs on how a financial services firm can operate successfully, I’m very aware that businesses do things a little differently. We each have our own unique selling points and personalities. That’s why our clients choose one firm over another to build a relationship with as part of their own business advisory support network.

So, this role is not about coaching or training the Xero Partners. It’s about listening to you and collating your feedback and finding out what is frustrating you and holding you back from operating your own best practice firm. I will offer support and guidance and share my experiences with you, however my overriding goal is to be a sounding board for all things relating to our industry.

There is no doubt that there are a number of practitioners in the industry worried about what the future may hold. The key to prospering from this disruption is to embrace change and to start building your practice so that it can adapt to the ever-changing digital world. The compliance-only model will not survive as our industry becomes more automated and the government continues with its mandate to reduce red tape. If I am starting to sound like a broken record on this point then I make no apologies.

I said that I am committed to ensuring that Xero delivers market leading solutions to partners to help them run a modern practice. Taking the partner’s wants and desires direct to the product and development teams will ensure that your voices are heard at the table.

It is obvious that the missing piece to the puzzle remains a full tax suite for accounting practitioners. The Activity Statement and Company Forms now in Xero Practice Manager have worked well, but there is no doubt practitioners need to see the entire suite and they need to see it soon. That was the key piece of feedback I received as I walked the floor during the event. And this was not just feedback from partners, it came from the Xero Team themselves who all spoke with me about their goals to deliver what the partners want!

The other important aspect of my role is to be the voice of Xero and its partners direct into the accounting industry. What Xero has been doing has captured the attention of the ATO and Government (as highlighted by Chris Ridd) and Xero now not only sits at the round table when it comes to industry focus groups but leads the discussion. My task is to leverage this hard work and elevate it to the next level in all parts of the industry. I’ll ensure our voice is heard by the ATO, our professional bodies, the media and most importantly by businesses across Australia and the world.

And I got off to a good start judging by this tweet…

Rod tweets about Xero's new Head of Accounting

As for my vision… Well, I want to work towards seeing an industry filled with professionals who get technology; who challenge the status quo and who equip themselves and their clients with the market-leading accounting solution to ensure that maximum value is added to their business and their clients’ businesses at every single opportunity.

I encourage you to contact me whenever you feel the need; I’m here to listen and help you any way I can. Drop me an email james.solomons@xero.com or jamessolomons.com And check out the short video we put together while I was at Xerocon.

Welcome to Xero, James Solomons

 

Xerocon 2014: that’s a wrap on the largest tech event of its kind in Australasia

After months of planning, preparation and brainstorming, the curtains have been drawn on Xerocon 2014. And what an event it was. From the number of attendees and the scope of ideas and content to the sheer size of the venue, everything about Xerocon was big. We were thrilled to welcome 1,300 delegates (a record for us) to two days packed with sessions spanning consumer psychology, branding and culture, digital disruption and more.

Attendees gathered in The Dome in Sydney for Xerocon 2014

Continue reading ›

 

The Xero Add-on Marketplace

This morning the Xero team released our new Add-on Marketplace.

It has been clear that we needed to solve some new problems as a result of the size of our add-on ecosystem: with over 350 integrated applications, it was difficult for customers and partners to find the specific add-on application they or their client needed.

The new marketplace allows users to search by keyword, category or for industry specific solutions, helping everyone find the right tools for the job. Whether you need a niche application for wineries or you are after a general small business CRM, the new add-on marketplace helps you find what you need.

Continue reading ›

 

When the bank says no: alternative ways to fund your business

Today’s guest post comes from Gene Marks, author, columnist and small business owner. He regularly contributes to top US media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes and Inc. Magazine. 

To learn more about how to finance your business in the US, sign up for Xero’s webinar on Sept. 4 at 1 pm Pacific Time  in which Gene moderates a discussion with representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Kabbage. 

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There’s one thing that many of us forget about bankers: They’re businesses, too.

Banks have shareholders and owners — and they have a responsibility to make money. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. But ultimately it can impact your small business funding. Because when you take a step back and think about it, are you worth it? Is that $10K or $100K that you need worth the trouble to a bank? Will the earnings from your interest payments be substantial enough to justify the risk? Is it worth the banker’s time to monitor you, review your financials, look at your ratios? Do you really have enough liquid assets to collateralize that debt? Will you ever lose that extra ten pounds you put on since college?

Unfortunately, the answer is no (and not even if you work out a lot). A bank doesn’t want to lend me money unless it’s going to be a profitable deal for them. My company is too small. Being in the service business, we have no assets. Sure, I can get a car loan or a second mortgage — but those are personal. And I’ve been offered a small ($25K) line of credit but my cash (which would be used as collateral) has always well exceeded that amount.

For most of us — at least until we reach a certain stage of maturity — trying to get bank financing, just like losing weight, isn’t going to work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try something else. In fact, there are ways — good ways — to lose those extra ten pounds. It’s all a matter of eating better. Oh, and there’s a few good ways other than banks to get financing this year, too. Here are three. Continue reading ›

 

Xerocon Australia 2014 – Day 2

We’re back at Xerocon Australia 2014 for day two! Xero Australia MD Chris Ridd kicks off the day by telling the crowd about how Xero is investing in its partnerships.

Beautiful stage at Xerocon Australia 2014

Chris revealed Xero’s new Head of Accounting: James Solomons, a director of Sydney-based EFS Strategic, who said he was humbled by the appointment.

Chris also announced a new Partner Advisory Council, made up of accountants and bookkeepers from different states. They will be tasked with giving Xero input and feedback to make sure we make the right decisions on issues that affect partners.

Chris Ridd addresses our accounting Partners

“Partners – you guys – are absolutely baked onto our business model.” Chris Ridd, Managing Director, Xero Australia

Chris finished by outlining Xero’s inspiring work with the Foundation of Young Australians. The groups helps demystify the world of work for young people and supports them to become ‘work-ready’ by spending a week at the Xero head office.

Attendees take in the sights at Xerocon in Syndey

Adam Ferrier – Understanding consumers: Don’t listen to a word they say

Adam Ferrier, Chief Strategy Officer at advertising agency cummins&partners, explained how to change people’s behaviour.

He said there are two factors that will allow their behaviour to change – their motivation to change and the ease with which they can change. So getting people to do what you want them to do involves two things – increasing their motivation or making it easier.

The best way to get someone to like you is to get them to do something for you and businesses should use that strategy, Adam said. Continue reading ›

 

Xerocon Australia 2014 – Day 1

Xerocon has kicked off and it is huge. We have 1300 delegates gathered at The Dome in Sydney Olympic Park to hear the latest news about Xero and 82 exhibitors showing off their clever add-ons and services. Xero founder Rod Drury has come well prepared – he’s zipping around the conference on a skateboard.

Rod Drury skateboarding around at Xerocon Australia

Xerocon venue in Sydney

After a quick welcome from comedian James O’Loghlin – who earned cheers from the audience with the news that there are rides on the dodgem cars outside the hall – it was down to business. Continue reading ›

 

Xero Developer Day 2014

This year’s Australian Xerocon conference in Sydney was also the venue for the global Xero developer conference, breaking another record for attendance with over 300 in the room. Add-on partners and developers from around the world are in town, many of them exhibiting at Xerocon on Thursday and Friday.

The crowd lines up for Developer Day

It is really humbling to see the amazing following the Xero ecosystem has – we announced over 18,000 developer registrations at the conference, but nothing brings home the vibrancy of the ecosystem more than meeting developers in person who have come from far and wide for developer day and Xerocon. We have attendees from various parts of the US & UK here in Sydney, but the prize for furthest traveller goes to Dublin based Transfermate, a distance of 17,203km!

Chris Ridd – Xero in Australia

Chris Ridd on stage at Developer Day

“I’m so stoked to be standing here today kicking off Dev Day,” – Chris Ridd, Managing Director, Xero Australia

Chris outlined Xero’s rapid growth in Australia – from 7 staff when he joined the company in 2011 to 161 today – but adds that the company is building sustainable growth. Xero in Australia has facilitated $54 billion in transactions, and processed $1 billion worth of payroll in July alone.

He told add-on partners & developers that Xero remains committed to having an open platform, and is forming great partnerships with developers and with accountants.

Cloud is still the most effective delivery model for software. The company is investing more in the cloud integrator channel – there are currently 27 cloud integrators – because a lot of accountants don’t have the skills to implement some of the Xero add-ons. Small businesses also need to be reassured about the safety and utility of the cloud.

Chris announced that an improved new add-ons directory will allow searching not only by function, but also by industry – news that was met with cheers from some of the developers in the room.

The company has 35 developers in Melbourne alone and has already released the first product developed there. That capability will only grow as Xero builds a facility for developers at the Melbourne head office and hires more developers. Continue reading ›

 

Award-winning customer experience team

Bronze Stevie® Award for Xero's Global Customer Experience teamIt’s awards season! Alongside the recent announcement that our Design team are finalists in NZ’s Best Awards, our Global Customer Experience team won a Bronze Stevie® Award in the 2014 International Business Awards™. The award is in the Customer Service Department of the Year Category – Computer Services and Computer Software.

We always feel the love from our customers, but it’s still great to get the recognition across our peers and to put an official stamp on what we do. We set out to be different and we take massive pride in helping our customers get the most out of Xero. We also take pride in having real Xeroes looking after our customers and it completely validates how Xero support just works.

The theme of our entry was on keeping Customer Support ahead of the game in the fast-paced environment we operate in. The way we train our very own Xero superstars on all things Xero and how important it is to deliver fantastic and timely service to our customers. Continue reading ›