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When should you hire an accountant?

When to hire an accountant

Research we did in the small business community showed that many small businesses are unsure about when to hire an accountant and about the value they can bring. Xero’s latest Small Business Guide ‘When to hire an accountant’ provides all the top tips you need to know.

If you’re a small business owner, the chances are pretty high that you didn’t start your own business to be swamped in the financials. This is where it makes sense to get a professional to take care of the numbers so you can focus on what you do best – running the business.

Growing small businesses need well-managed finances

Small business owners are always looking to save money, so an accountant can often be considered an unnecessary expense. But certain tasks (such as filing taxes) can be very time consuming for someone without experience  – and even then the tax return can be riddled with errors. The best accountants and bookkeepers will be looking for ways that your business can make money. They are coaches, always encouraging and training you for better results.

Continue reading ›

 

NZ Data Futures Forum final recommendations

NZ Data Futures ForumWe welcome the New Zealand Data Futures Forum final report – Harnessing the economic and social power of data – released on Monday 28 July. This is a good example of the public and private sectors collaborating to deliver positive change and sets out ambitious recommendations to derive value from New Zealand data.

Data has the potential to be an incredibly valuable resource for all New Zealander. It’s great to see the Government is focussing efforts in this area and that feedback from the private sector has been taken on board in this third paper.

We’re now in the third generation of the internet revolution which is all about big data. This data must be managed in an ethical manner and in a way that creates value and instills trust.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to open data and its innovation potential to address business, social, environmental and community issues. Already, globally we are seeing great potential for data to play a role in emergency management, weather patterns, tourism, geographic segmentation and customer trends – just to name a few. The opening up of London’s transport data through the London DataStore has been a good example that has seen many innovative uses developed.

Three out of the four foundations that underpin the report’s recommendations specifically place individuals and their comfort at the forefront. This indicates the Data Futures Forum has really listened to people’s concerns and that it is likely there will be a lot of opportunity for people to have ongoing input and feedback to ensure those foundations are upheld. Here in New Zealand we have an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage through a data-sharing ecosystem built on trust, control and inclusion. Continue reading ›

 

Giving accountants and bookkeepers an even bigger voice

We want to give accountants and bookkeepers even better representation in XeroAs a fast-growing business, we’re always looking for new talent, from developers and designers to people with an uncanny ability with technology, numbers and relationship-building. We’ve recently posted two exciting new roles that have been getting quite a bit of attention:

Head of Accounting

Head of Bookkeeping

A number of enquiries have come in, as well as questions from partners wanting to know more about what we’re up to. So, I’d like to share some thoughts and background with you.

The term ‘disruption’ comes up a fair bit in our industry. While it could be deemed an ‘overused buzzword’, I don’t think too many people involved in accounting would deny that disruption is precisely what cloud technology has brought to the table. Our belief is that this is a positive change with the scope for many benefits to the industry. We are also realists, however, and understand that new technology, and change in itself, can be challenging for some to embrace, and we want to do everything we can to help.

Several practitioners and journalists who follow this industry have not been shy in sharing their views, some provocative, on disruption and, notably, Xero’s responsibility in stepping up to the plate as a new industry leader (see some links below). As proponents of the cloud and this new model of working, we have to keep our eyes and ears open to feedback and commentary and, most importantly, we have to be proactive and take action to make sure that we stay focused on driving this progression and giving people the tools they need to succeed.

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ANZ Flying Start Business Plan Competition

The ANZ Flying Start Business ANZ Flying Start Business Plan Competition – enter now logoPlan Competition is back for 2014 and ready to uncover New Zealand’s next big thing in small business.

Xero is pleased to support the competition in 2014. Run by Business.govt.nz, part of MBIE, the business plan competition is now in its fourth year. It gives existing both small businesses and those with an idea that are yet to start up the shot at a prizes worth over $65,000.

All you’ve got to do to have a chance at winning is enter your business plan. It must show an original idea that is geared for growth and sustainable revenue. The best and most innovative plan will see the supreme winner win a prize package worth $45,000.

Last year local Nelson business CHIA was the supreme winner. CHIA received a prize package worth $58,800, including $30,000 in cash from ANZ.

Why a business plan competition?

The competition is about getting businesses across New Zealand to take a proper look at their business plan and see where they are and what opportunities they have.

The second and third prize winners each receive $5,000 in cash from ANZ. The competition’s 10 regional winners each receive $1,000 cash from Silver sponsors Ernst & Young, OfficeMax and Xero.

The competition is open now and entries close on 12 August:

ANZ Flying Start Business Plan Competition

Xero wishes all the 2014 entrants the best of luck.

 

The biggest myth about CRM

Today’s guest post is written by Gene Marks, small business owner, technology expert, author and columnist. He writes regularly for leading US media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur. He has authored five books on business management and appears regularly on Fox News, Fox Business, MSNBC and CNBC. Gene runs a ten-person CRM and technology consulting firm outside of Philadelphia. Learn more at genemarks.com.

CRM systems and databases

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The rebranding of CRM

My company has been selling Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for more than 15 years. During that time I’ve watched these products go through multiple rebrandings, from “contact managers” to “sales force automation” to “collaboration” to CRM, which now encompasses not only sales but service, marketing and operations.

But, rest assured, these are all just elaborate names for one thing: databases.

The makers and marketers of today’s CRM systems will throw around all sorts of buzz words to describe what they do. “Social CRM.” “Workflows.” “Automation.” “Call Center.” They will dangle cool and exciting features in front of their customers Continue reading ›

 

A new way to enter your EC Acquisitions and Reverse Charges

You’ve probably already seen some of the new functionality that we announced in our 23rd June update to Xero. There were a lot of great new features in this release, and one we really want to highlight is the way you can now enter EC Acquisitions and Reverse Charges from inside Xero. When you’re purchasing goods and/or services from EU Member States, the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requires you to declare this information in certain boxes on the VAT return. Which box this information goes into depends on the type of transaction. In terms of Reverse Charges, there are occasions when purchasing items from the EU where the VAT has to be declared (paid), but then ‘reversed out’ (refunded) directly at the same time.

Now, providing you use one of the three new tax rates that we’ve set up, Xero takes care of all of this for you. Xero automatically reverses the purchased items out – and that’s quite a time-saver if you’ve been doing this manually up to now. The three tax rates that have been set up are:

  • EC Acquisitions (20%)
  • EC Acquisitions (Zero Rated)
  • Reverse Charges (20%)

Watch our how-to video

We’ve put together a short how-to video that runs you through the process and shows you where the items will appear in your VAT report. Take a look and see how easy it is to deal with Reverse Charges in Xero.

 

KANZ Technology Summit 2014

kanz

Photo Credit: @TurnbullMalcolm. From left to right: Yoon Jong-Lok, Vice-Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Korea; Amy Adams, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, New Zealand; Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications, Australia, at KANZ.

Earlier this month I was fortunate to be invited by NZ Trade & Enterprise to the Korea, Australia, New Zealand (KANZ) Technology Summit in Auckland. The conference brought together members of the technology communities of all three countries to forge links and share ideas about how to grow and support the ICT sector and strengthen the high-tech economy.

For me, the highlight of the event was Dave Birch’s stream on digital identity and money. Dave is the Global Ambassador for Consult Hyperion, a UK based consultancy focused on security around electronic transactions. Dave is something of a payments raconteur, whose wisecracks about ATMs needing thatched roofs and assuming anyone using cash is a drug dealer were funny and insightful – but they were all inching toward the point that despite all the innovation in financial services, all that we’ve really done is move physical payment paradigms into the digital world, and it’s not all that great an experience. Proving and managing identity for online financial transactions is still a big barrier to efficiency, and establishing identity, even in the physical world, often gives the illusion of security without any true validation. It’s “two people acting in a play about security” rather than an exchange that is truly secure.

Also, all the innovation in payments is happening on networks that were Continue reading ›

 

Technology and the British economy

This week saw the IMF upgrade the UK’s economic growth forecast to 3.2%, placing the UK at the top of the class for growth among the world’s developed nations. In general terms, the health of the British economy has now recovered to a position equal to or better than the state it was in 2007 at the onset of the Global Financial Crisis.

While the UK has been clear of the technical definition of an economic recession for a few quarters now, these latest reports hopefully signal a period of coming prosperity, not just economic convalescence.

At long last.

However, what piques my interest is that while the curtain of economic frost shrouded the UK, a wave of broad technological innovation endured and even accelerated, meaning that as the UK’s population of five million businesses steps back into the global economic limelight, it does so with a clutch of quite different technological enablers that weren’t around back in 2007.

bookends

I’ve actually seen this movie before. Continue reading ›

 

Annual Meeting 2014 – our biggest yet

The event we look forward to most at Xero is our Annual Meeting. It’s when we get a chance to meet our shareholders face-to-face and show them what we’ve been doing, how the business is going, and what our plans are for the next year.

We had a great turnout this year– with a huge number of shareholders present and some big news to share.

The video below shows some excerpts from Chairman’s and CEO’s presentations.

PDFs of the presentations can also be downloaded on our website:

Xero Investor Reports and Presentations

Thanks to all who attended the Annual Meeting

To our valued shareholders – thank you so much for your ongoing support. We’re all very excited about where we’ll be in the next 12 months.

 

Warehouse Stationery integration announced

Warehouse Stationery logoI’m excited to share that we have a new partnership with Warehouse Stationery. This is part of our vision to connect small business with big business.

Warehouse Stationery and Xero

The integration will let Xero customers receive invoices from Warehouse Stationery directly into the Xero platform. It will go live in mid-August this year.

Small businesses will also be able to easily pay their Warehouse Stationery bills direct to their bank through our Xero Banking 2.0 initiative. This has already gone live with ASB, KiwiBank and TSB.

We know that cashflow is paramount for small businesses and this latest innovation reduces time consuming manual entry. It will enable small businesses to get a complete view of their cashflow position more quickly.

Warehouse Stationery is becoming a leader in digital business and we’re extremely excited to have this major New Zealand brand on board.

There is so much potential for big businesses to work with small businesses to deliver dual benefits. This is another example of homegrown Kiwi innovation that, once proven locally, will be taken up globally.