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Xero Personal gets closer

We’ve been amazed at the feedback we’ve received after announcing our plans to launch Xero Personal and delighted by the number of people who’ve asked to be kept informed.

Beta testing of Xero Personal is going well and the full launch is on track for some time in March 2010.

As you know we’ve partnered with Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) to help develop and launch this new service in the New Zealand market. BNZ will be opening up pre-registration for BNZ customers from mid February 2010 via their Internet Banking , with the service branded under the bank’s product name ‘MoneyMap’.

Keep an eye on our blog for further updates and feedback from Xero customers and followers. If you haven’t already, you can register your interest at www.xero.com/personal.

 

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35 comments

stuartm
1 February 2010 #

Do you need to be a BNZ customer to use this? From the screenshot you posted it looks like it will work with your other bank accounts too, but why does the National Bank Savings account have a Kiwibank icon?

Catherine Walker
1 February 2010 #

@stuartm After the initial launch by BNZ, Xero Personal will be open to Xero customers who use other banks, however if you’re a BNZ customer you’ll be able to get automated bank feeds. Sorry about the confusing screen shot – it was taken from our test system and our QA guys are particularly thorough in trying out all sorts of unrealistic combinations to make sure everything’s robust and that mismatch of bank name and logo was one such example. Apologies for letting that slip through!

Regards,
Catherine

Galen King
1 February 2010 #

Nice work. Great to see a screenshot. Looking forwarding to the launch.

Stuartm
1 February 2010 #

Thanks Catherine. Are you saying that others banks won’t be able to provide automated bank feeds?

Catherine Walker
1 February 2010 #

@stuartm Yes. Automatic bank feeds are available from the BNZ only at this stage but we’ll be working with other banks in the hope that we can provision and deliver bank feeds from them as well. Manual bank statement import will be available.

Regards,
Catherine

stuartm
1 February 2010 #

Why would it be any different for the banks that are already providing automatic bank feeds for business customers? Surely those banks wouldn’t care if the automatic feeds are going into a business or a personal account?

CJ
1 February 2010 #

Agree with @stuartm. Is this the banks not providing of BNZ wanting some exclusivity?

Catherine Walker
1 February 2010 #

@CJ @stuartm We have worked very closely with the BNZ, as our NZ launch partner for Xero Personal, to enable automated customer provisioning and bank feeds from BNZ’s Internet Banking platform. This required quite significant work to be performed on the bank side because it uses systems other than those involved in bringing the current bank feeds into Xero.

We hope in time that other NZ banks will enable automated bank feeds but at this stage these are only available for BNZ customers. Xero Personal will still work great with other banks, but you will have to manually import your statement data for a while. For Xero customers outside NZ we are also investigating the possibility of similar automated bank feeds.

Regards,
Catherine

Tarch
2 February 2010 #

Catherine: With the partnership with Yodlee, do you see a US version of Xero Personal launching as well?

Sara Goepel
2 February 2010 #

Yodlee integration is initially for business customers, but we are considering the potential to extend this into Xero Personal, particularly for customers in markets such as the US.

Sara

Lloyd Phillips
2 February 2010 #

Noting you mentioned ‘Xero Personal will be open to Xero customers who use other banks’.

Does that mean that you have to have a Business Xero Account to get access to Xero Personal or would we be able to sign up for Xero Personal as a stand alone?

Sara Goepel
2 February 2010 #

Hi Lloyd, you need a Xero user account to sign up for Xero Personal. In New Zealand the benefits of going with BNZ are the integration with internet banking and automated banks feeds.

Sara

stuartm
3 February 2010 #

You guys could probably do a better job about clearly explaining who will be able to use this product, and what features they will be getting. I’m seeing and hearing lots of confused comments from potential customers in other forums too.

Sara, your last comment didn’t seem to answer Lloyd’s question – do you need to have an existing business account to be able to sign up for Xero Personal?

And Catherine, your response didn’t answer mine and CJ’s questions about *why* BNZ get’s exclusivity, when other banks are already providing bank feeds for business customers.

Rod Drury
3 February 2010 #

Hi Stuart,

Just to reiterate and clarify our responses on these questions. As you would expect there are commercial arrangements between Xero and the BNZ around their involvement as our NZ launch partner. As is quite normal, we are not in a position to share the details of these with anyone outside of the partnership.

We can say that the current bank feeds for Xero business customers are not able to be extended in their current form to cover Xero Personal. For a low cost consumer based service like this we require an entirely automated bank customer registration, authorisation and provisioning process integrated back into the Xero platform and an associated daily account feed solution capable of handling an order of magnitude higher volume of accounts and data.

We have talked to other NZ banks about this but we do not have any projects with other banks in the pipeline at this stage. We would expect they are waiting to see more of the Xero Personal product once it is launched, including feedback form their own customers, and where it might fit in their own online channel plans.

Anyone with a Xero user account will be able to subscribe to Xero personal. However, for NZ customers we’ll be highlighting that the automated bank feeds are currently only available from the BNZ. If we have any updates on when that might change you can be assured that we’ll be communicating that to our customers and the market as soon as possible.

Thanks for you interest in the upcoming launch and we’ll of course welcome your feedback once you’ve had a chance to have a closer look.

This is a new and exciting space and we’re looking forward to hearing where people think we should take the product.

Cheers

Rod

Lloyd Phillips
8 February 2010 #

@stuartm Thanks Stuart, I think you hit the nail on the head in saying it’s still not clear who will get access.

@Rod/Sara got to say I’m still a little confused and perhaps need clarification on what you mean as a ‘Xero account’. Is a person who has a ‘Xero user account’ someone who has a business account with you?

To put it simply, and for my clarification, I don’t currently use Xero for business. I’d love too but it’s too much for too little (I’d want the medium package at the small price, I need more accounts payable and reconciliation lines and an extra $30 a month doesn’t warrant the small increase). My accountant doesn’t think I’ll get the ROI in using it and is pushing me for bank connect. However, I’d LOVE to use Xero personal. I’ve signed up to play with the demo so would this constitute me having a ‘Xero account’? Or do I need to be paying the business fee to have a ‘Xero account’.

I think allowing people to use Xero personal would be huge. I can imagine once I’m using it for personal I’d think ‘sod it’ and pay the extra to convert my business accounts over. I think it’d open up awareness to your business products too.

BTW, I’ve never heard of or used bank connect. My accountant is sitting me down and showing me the ropes on Friday. If anyone has any recommendation not to go with bank connect I’d love to here them!

Sara Goepel
8 February 2010 #

@Lloyd Xero Personal is for anyone, but the initial launch will be focussed on BNZ customers and Xero Business customers.

If your accountant doesn’t think saving 30 minutes a month with our daily bank reconciliation and being able to assist you by working on the same copy of your financial data is valuable then we’d recommend you check out our accountants directory- http://www.xero.com/advisors/accounting/

Philip Wilkinson
14 February 2010 #

Confused why the trial of this is with a new zealand bank (even though you’re based there) as I’m guessing the majority of your customer base is in the UK?

Personally I really hate hearing messages about – it’s coming soon after we’ve given all these people you don’t care about access first…

Rod Drury
14 February 2010 #

Xero personal is unique due to the seamless experience between online banking and Xero. We had to do this jointly with a banking partner first. The integrated services that make the experience seamless just don’t exist anywhere else.

We hope that together we move consumer expectations so that in a few years this level of integration is the norm.

We hope this is the start of what we call Banking 2.0, an integrated model where you get the best banking services integrated with the other things you do as a consumer or business owner.

We hope that after you’ve played with Xero Personal you will ask your bank to integrate as well.

Rod

Lloyd Phillips
15 February 2010 #

@Sara. I’m really very happy with my accountant. They’ve spent a good amount of time recently helping me evolve my business and educating me; much of this time has been F.O.C., all part of the service to help my business grow you might say. They want to put me on Bank Connect because they feel the number of transactions I have to reconcile won’t see a return on investment of $600 a year. I can’t seem to find anywhere that compares Bank Connect to Xero at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Xero, I’d prefer to use it because of the interface. My accountant loves Xero too, but he’s being honest and looking at the return on investment cost, you can’t knock him for that! In a young company every penny counts so if he’s saving me $300 or $100 or whatever then he’s doing his job. If I can be honest for a second without hoping you’ll get aggravated by this but you’re comment, ‘if you’re accountant doesn’t think saving 30 minuntes a month is worth it then you need a new account’ sounds a little pompous. There’s potentially a missed opportunity to sell the features or educate a customer and his accountant right here, I didn’t think it was good salesmanshipt to come back at me with that. I’m keen to be educated. I’m being told Bank Connect will be cheaper for what I need. I make 2-3 invoices out a month, I have about 30-50 bank lines to reconcile each month. For me $29 for that would be worth it but you limit the number of reconcilliation lines to 20, so I have to make a $240 a year step up, not worth it at the moment. I’m being told it’s cheaper with Bank Connect and whilst Xero ‘may’ save me a few minutes over Bank Connect there isn’t a ‘major’ difference. Do you have any page that I can visit that compares Xero to Bank Connect for features and cost? Are there any other features that glow over Bank Connect that may make the extra amount a no brainer, i.e. reporting?

To be honest, I’m trying to find details on Bank Connect on the MYOB website but I can’t find any, lol. My accountant has clawed me back about $30k in tax over the last 18 months. This was money I never expected so he’s my best buddy right now! :) On top of the fact he’s spending time sitting down with me to look at the future and look at my personal finance and structure of my family assets etc, that’s not a service I’ve EVER had off any accountant before, and I’ve had more than one! He told me on Friday Bank Connect will save me just as much time as Xero with less cost. Is he right or can you educate us on why we should go for Xero?

Victor
15 February 2010 #

I had a talk to my bank last week and spoke to a few different people (called at different days/times). They said that the bank was definitely keen to get the automated bank feeds into Xero personal. Though they said the reason why they can’t is because of the agreement between Xero and BNZ. Was also told they are trying to get the automated bank feeds for personal customers as soon as possible, though the agreement which allows BNZ to be an exclusive launch partner prevents them from doing so with the earliest (at this stage) would be 2011. So it seems (from what you’ve said and my bank has said) that the commercial agreement which you hold with BNZ would prevent the automated bank feeds from other banks for a certain period of time. Is this what is happening?

Rod Drury
15 February 2010 #

@Victor Can you please advise which bank you were speaking with as we would be keen to pick up on their interest in automated feeds to Xero Personal.

As already mentioned, we aren’t able to publically disclose the commercial terms of our partnership with the BNZ. However, as also previously described, automated bank feeds for Xero Personal require the development of a specific and entirely automated bank customer registration, authorisation and provisioning process, with an associated daily account feed solution capable of handling an order of magnitude higher volume of accounts and data. From our experience we believe that the development of this level of integrated solution will determine the timeframe for the availability of feeds from any other NZ banks.

David Turner
15 February 2010 #

Would someone please give the Kiwibank a bit of a prompt in the right direction with their automated bank feeds? Some of my clients are finding it tough with that bank!

Catherine Walker
15 February 2010 #

Hi David,
The Kiwibank feeds currently coming into Xero are being upgraded and we’re getting close to having a new file format from Kiwibank that contains more information – we’ll certainly let you know as soon as we get this going – should make things much easier for you guys!
Regards,
Catherine

Hamish Edwards
15 February 2010 #

@Lloyd. As co-founder and a Chartered Accountant, I would very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss with your Accountant the benefits of Xero and where it fits in terms of solutions for his different clients. I know only too well how important the relationship you have with your Accountant is and we are not suggesting we unsettle that, rather with Xero we can help supercharge it. The only product note I will make here is that Bank Connect is a solution used by Accountants to collect and process bank transactions. It is not software that you will have access to. Xero is online and as such it is a collaboration platform for yourself and your Accountant. It also means you get software and you can do the bookkeeping, see your data and reports when you want to. But it also does the data capture that your Accountant wants. So they are quite different. Are you happy to take this offline? If so, email me at hamish.edwards@xero.com.

Colden Wakely
15 February 2010 #

How do I get on the BETA of this? Am busting a gut to try it. Was an avid MS Money user til I moved to the Mac, and am currently doing everything in my head. Running out of room……

Michael McCook
16 February 2010 #

After reading Sara’s comments, I still cannot see a $600 benefit in you using Xero.

You simply do not have enough transactions to warrant the cost, you are a one-man band, working from home

Generally, you are interested in Profitability, Tax, Accounts payable and Accounts receivable –

You only have three to four receivable invoices a month

Most of your other sales are cash or credit card

Accounts payable involves keeping invoices and statements together and paying on time, again this is not large.

Knowing profitability every month would be good, and this could be achieved with bank connect. Again, the cost would outweigh the benefit

As to a 30 minute time saving – the only difference between Xero and bank connect is that you write codes onto bank statements rather than into the computer

Put the two systems side by side and I still reckon my way is more cost effective and not time excessive.

Sara’s comments appear to be commission driven or simple blind faith that their system fits all – what accounting experience does Sarah have?

Any accountant who blindly recommends Xero with out analysing the cost/benefit should not be on a preferred supplier list.

You are welcome to cut and paste this into the blog, including my contact details. I am happy to be proved wrong.

John Ahern
27 February 2010 #

Great work…

…would love to add some value in the smooth spending plan area (budgeting). What have you got proposed for this as I have seen one example that would fit perfectly. It works on the principle of knowing exactly the daily balance and let’s you know when your dailey balance is high/low.

High being a great thing – spending allowed – low being a not so good thing and gives you the opportunity on a dailey basis to make informed decisions about your cash flow right down to the point of do I spend $10 on lunch or not.

Great system that was featured on the Ray Martin show in Australia around 2003.

Keep up the great work!

Cheers,
ja

Colden Wakely
19 March 2010 #

Its sometime in March right about now………..

Ramsay Bell
19 March 2010 #

Yes any update on this? Needing this quite soon for my accounts.

Catherine Walker
19 March 2010 #

@Ramsay @Colden It’s coming! So great that everyone is eager to see Xero Personal, there’s still a bit of March left so please hang on a bit longer :)
Regards, Catherine

Kirsty
19 March 2010 #

I have a BNZ credit card which I do most of my banking though (although my accounts are with another bank) – does this make me a BNZ customer and will you be able to diretly download my credit card details?

Sara Goepel
19 March 2010 #

@Kirsty Yes, if you have a BNZ credit card and that is how you do most of your personal banking, then I would highly recommend signing up for Xero Personal through BNZ when it’s available. This means you will have the bank feeds automatically bringing your credit card transactions into Xero.

[...] Xero Personal gets closer « Online accounting software news from Xero [...]

George
28 September 2010 #

Does Xero Personal cope with investments such as stocks, shares and bonds?
There doesn’t seem to be a FAQ.

Gray Gillespie
26 January 2013 #

I have just spent a good hour and a half trying to set this up and I am a BNZ user. I registered from the BNZ site. Got sent to Xero, logged in. When it came to open my account, it says that my bank is not regognised. I went to the Xero help page, and they tell you if the message says that then your bank is not yet compatible with Xero!!! I am so frustrated!!! I have been going in circles here!!!

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