Here in the United States, we’re relative Xero newbies. As a Regional Sales Director, I spend a lot of time spreading the message of what Xero is and does — and spelling out X-E-R-O. In fact, my first Partner meeting is a great example:
Taking place in beautiful Santa Monica, California, my team and I were managing a Xero Certification training for a Partner and their staff of 15 employees. One attendee was particularly having trouble. She just couldn’t log in. Despite my instruction, she was adamant that there was no login on her screen. Confused, I went over to help. When I got there, I saw the Xerox.com homescreen. Oh so close, but not X-E-R-O.
The secret is out: Meet Xero
For over a year, experiences like this were common. But now, things are changing.
Across California, Xero US is going local with Meet Xero events. Officially, Meet Xero is a learning session on technology in the accounting profession. You get to meet your local Senior Account Manager, see Xero in action and leave with a better understanding of what modern small businesses really want.
Unofficially, Meet Xero is a fun time, run by smart people who are all passionate about small businesses. After meeting a Senior Account Manager, more Partners see the value of Xero and realize how our team can help them grow and thrive. Many even begin this journey on site by selecting clients to switch to Xero.
Meet, greet and Accelerate
If you’re new to Xero, or know someone who could benefit from meeting us, check out our Meet Xero event and registration page. It’s free and a guaranteed good time.
And if you’re a more seasoned Xero expert, consider our Xero Accelerate workshop to really power up your practice. Your Senior Account Manager will be alongside you there as well.
Lastly, as an update from my first Partner meeting: Today, that same Partner has achieved Xero Gold status and created a new division in their firm. Best of all, they absolutely love working with their Senior Account Manager. See, success really is spelled X-E-R-O.
Last week I visited the Xero Melbourne HQ to spend a few days with my new Xero team members.
The first thing that struck me when I walked in the office was the ’buzz’; lots of meeting spaces filled with Xeros (Xero employees) collaborating and communicating on the go, account managers speaking with partners, the marketing team brainstorming ideas, and the customer care team working together to solve support tickets. Everyone was getting on with the job at hand, and while you’d expect that to be the case, seeing it happen from the ’inside’ brought it all into perspective.
As I met with my fellow leadership team over two days of strategies and ideas, I got a real sense of why everyone in the office was so focused on their job. I realised it’s because Xero empowers ownership at all levels, within every role. The entire team is passionate about their work and take their roles very seriously – although you could always hear a laugh coming from somewhere in the office. After all, when it comes to Xero, it is all about doing what you do and having a good time while you do it.
From my hot desk I couldn’t help but be inspired by the workspace I was in. It was a bit of a change working at a 1.6m x 70cm desk but as I noticed Chris Ridd, Trent Innes and other senior managers working at the same open plan desks, it was clear everyone was working towards the same goal. No imposed hierarchy, titles or offices – just one unified team committed to delivering a leading solution to market. Continue reading ›
Read more about Accountants
The big announcement for me at the Apple Event last week wasn’t the new iPhone or the Apple Watch, lovely as they may be. Apple have long been rumoured to be entering the world of payments, and now with Apple Pay, they finally have. With more credit cards on file than any other company in the world, they, along with Google, Amazon and PayPal, represent the greatest disruptive threat to established payments systems than anything else out there.
Many, including me, were probably expecting a more aggressive payments entry around storing value, the development of an Apple merchant terminal product, and moving funds from one customer to another through a closed network with low fees like PayPal or newer entrants Dwolla, bypassing the banks altogether and undercutting them and the card companies on fees.
Pay your taxes with Federal e-pay
With US Payroll You can now electronically file (Federal e-file) and pay (Federal e-pay) Federal payroll forms and taxes, directly from payroll with the IRS. This includes Federal 940 and 941/944 Payments and Federal Forms 940, 941 and 944.
This allows you to easily stay up-to-date with you tax obligations from anywhere at anytime with a few clicks or touches. To ensure your payment is received on time you need to allow two business days before the due date to ensure the payment arrives. We’ve made this easy by displaying both the Agency Due Date and the Send by Date. Filings and payment obligations are also displayed on the Payroll Overview and we’ll be introducing email and other forms of reminders in the future.
US Payroll in Xero uses the agency rules and guidelines to track your accrued payroll taxes and displays the amounts and due dates under ‘Taxes & Filings’. From Taxes & Filings, you submit the payments and Xero tracks and stores the transaction information including a full audit history of what was done and when.
For step by step instruction in setting up your tax payments using Federal e-pay in Xero click here. Federal e-pay requires a Premium subscription.
We’re working on W-2 forms including e-file so you’ll have these way before you need them at the end of the year. We’re still focused on the seven States that we currently support including bringing e-file and e-pay for our Californian customers as a priority. You’ll also see US payroll specific payroll reports coming soon and improvements to the time off area.
For more release information please see the release notes.
A few years back Microsoft had a series of commercials where the tag line was “to the cloud.” This was a super quick way to communicate and explain what “cloud computing” was and its potential. I always liked those ads because they reminded me of the Adam West Batman TV Show and because they got me wondering why no one has ever taken the “to the cloud” idea literally.
I believe the funniest things are the most literal and obvious translations of an idea so when I was asked what would be the first place I would take Xero in my new role as Chief Evangelist I explained quite enthusiastically “to the clouds!”. Apparently that wasn’t descriptive enough since no one got that excited I went on to explain that I wanted Xero to be the first cloud-based platform (that I could find) to tell our story via skywriting.
So we did.
Anytime you present something to the world you never can be 100% sure about how it will be received, because art after all is subjective.
But in this case the reactions were amazing. Initially I assumed it would only be seen in the immediate area. But as you can see we received tweets and pictures of cloud-based accounting in the sky from all corners of San Francisco and as far as Oakland.
— GetApp (@GetApp) September 9, 2014
— GetApp (@GetApp) September 9, 2014
— Yennie SolheimFuller (@YennieSolheim) September 8, 2014
…and we even got a mention during the Apple iPhone 6 and iWatch announcement.
— Mike Klein (@dezguy) September 9, 2014
We believe that it is equally important to have a great product that people actually know about. This takes an investment towards both goals and, yes, this cost a little money – not as much as you’d think – but in the grand scheme of things and taking into consideration how many people saw it, Tweeted, Instagramed, texted us and emailed staff saying this was really cool we feel it was money well spent…and we had a groupon. #justkidding #maybe
Starting out in business? Beginning your journey as a start-up? Then you’ll know that getting the right support and advice at this critical point in your evolution is vital to success. And that’s something that The Pitch sets out to achieve – getting the right mentoring and support to the best of the UK’s new and start-up businesses.
If your business is under three years old then your company can enter The Pitch, pitch your idea and be in with a chance of winning an awesome package of mentoring, support and advice from the best in the business. Plus the winner gets a free year using Xero, our leading cloud accounting software. Pretty pukka, eh?
Supporting UK small business
On 4 September the London heat of The Pitch took place at 15Hatfields in London. Xero was incredibly pleased to be there at the event to lend our support to this extremely worthwhile cause.
Two trusty Xeros, Ashley and Helen from our Education team, were on hand to explain the benefits of cloud-based accounting, and to showcase ways that Xero’s web-based and mobile accounting software helps small businesses keep on top of their finances.
We met a lot of very inspiring new businesses who are bringing their energy, innovation and creativity to the UK marketplace. And, gratifyingly, many of these entrepreneurs are already Xero users.
Read more about Business
We’ve always been proud of our internal culture at Xero, and today we have another reason to be: we have just been named in the top 50 at BRW’s 2014 Best Places to Work.
We ranked 16th in the category for companies of more than 100 employees. That puts us in with some tough competition, so the fact we placed at all is a recognition of our efforts to make Xero a fun and passionate place to work.
Three years ago we started out as a team of seven in Melbourne, now we have 163 employees in five offices around the country. One of our main goals is to stay true to our values as we’re going through this rapid growth.
From our open seating plan to our pool tables to our industrial kitchen, Xero works to make sure the space reflects our culture. And we’re always looking for new Xeros to join our team.
To view the complete list of Australia’s 2014 Top 50 Best Places To Work, head over to the BRW website.
It’s all about efficiency
When I first spoke to accountants who adopted Xero as a platform to service their small and medium-sized business, they glowed about how efficient Xero made them. I regularly heard about accountant firms that grew their practice by 20 percent while reducing staff time spent on clients by the same 20 percent. In business, efficiency gains such as these are unheard of.
There are many efficiencies gained from cloud accounting software. But sometimes, older processes — through their familiarity — are efficient. For example, Excel in the hands of an experienced accountant is lightning fast. A check register is a quick way to update the accountant’s view of a bank balance. With the new Xero quick tools, you can experience a workflow that is efficiently familiar.
Read more about Accountants
When you’re running a small business, getting the most from your finance software is really going to help you drive the business forward. And at Xero we also understand the importance of training and education when your business first starts using cloud-based software for your accounting. That’s why we’ve created a series of ‘day2day webinars’ aimed specifically at small business owners.
Improving your day2day use of Xero
Getting into the detail and functionality of Xero is really going to help you get more from your numbers, reporting and day-to-day bookkeeping. So our brilliant Education team are running a series of webinars where you can learn first-hand how to get more from your day2day accounting.
The webinars will run you through a variety of key features and functions to help you with your everyday accounting, from entering sales invoices, setting up payment services, using the bank reconciliation and understanding your numbers.
Sign up for our webinars
The first one in the series is ‘Basic bookkeeping’ which helps you get to grips with the basics of accounting so you can understand a little more about how your accounts are put together. The other two webinars are ‘Using Xero’, where we run you through the basic functionality of the Xero software, and ‘Reconciling and reporting’ which takes an in depth look at the bank reconciliation and also drills down into some of the reports that are vital for running your business.
You can register for the webinars here:
If you’re brand new to Xero, these webinars will really help you to hit the ground running, so please do sign up and start expanding your Xero experience.
Read more about Business
This follows our announcement earlier this year about Xero forming a strategic alliance with their UK branch.
It’s great that we have been able to grow our global relationship with KPMG, one of the world’s Big 4 accounting firms, and bring this relationship back to Xero’s home market, through group platinum partner status.
As a platinum partner, we move from working with individual KPMG offices across New Zealand to provide a more holistic approach. A national strategy will combine their knowledge and skills with our cloud accounting platform – to allow them to work more closely with small businesses. This will include delivering training, education and marketing strategy to help KPMG provide a consistent offering of services back to the market.
Our relationship with KPMG is going from strength to strength. They are also an early adopter partner of our farming solution, Farming in the Cloud, and we have many similarities when it comes to empowering kiwi small businesses – we both recognise that they are the lifeblood of the New Zealand economy.
One thing that really stands out is their work to help small business and in particular KPMG Private Enterprise clients. This work firmly aligns with our vision to make it easier for small businesses to meet their compliance requirements and ultimately run things more smoothly. And there is no doubt that Xero is the effective platform for KPMG to access small business data and reduce compliance costs.
Through our partnership, KPMG has active plans to migrate more clients to Xero cashbook.
This relationship will enable KPMG to offer value add services to their small business clients through the KPMG Private Enterprise group, reinforcing its position as a market leader in the private business space.
Having KPMG on board as a national platinum partner is really significant, and we look forward to working with them on this mutually beneficial partnership.