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Practice Manager release coming soon

Mid-June will see the first release of Practice Manager, a Xero-branded re-imagination of WorkflowMax Practice Manager.

Practice Manager is a core part of Xero Practice Studio, our suite of solutions for accountants, bookkeepers and financial advisors that also includes Workpapers, Reporting and Tax.

Over the past 12 months we have applied significant resources into reimagining and rebuilding WorkflowMax, taking another step on our journey towards ensuring Xero Practice Studio is the leading integrated solution to manage your practice and work with your clients.  This first release of Practice Manager is a culmination of months worth of analysis, design, engineering and investment and is a major milestone on the journey towards our Practice Studio vision.

With this release, we have done much more than simply update the user interface: we have taken the time to build efficiencies into the interactions, to improve the usability and to allow each user to distill the information down to only the subsets of data that relate to them.

Due to the complexity of the update and the complete rewrite of the interface in the latest technology available, in order to mitigate any risk, lower any training time and to ensure a smooth transition, we are going to be rolling out the release incrementally – both in terms of the product itself and to targeted sections of our user base.

Today I’m excited to announce the first modules of the new user interface are set to be released in mid June to all of our users who are currently using the WorkflowMax Practice Manager version. Version one of Practice Manager will contain all new:

  • Client Module
  • Global Search
  • Adhoc Time entry
  • Invoice and Quote Manager screens
  • Header navigation
  • WIP Management
  • Tax Preparation (for New Zealand only)

Across the next month I will post a series of blog posts delving deeper into the functional enhancements in each of the above modules, with screenshots and videos detailing the new features.

Following this initial release of Practice Manager, we will continue to evolve the solution, with Reporting and Time Sheets targeted for release over the coming months.

The appeal of the iterative release approach means you can progressively experience significant parts of the new user interface and its capabilities without having to wait for the entire application to be finished. It also means that any learning or up-skilling is a kept to a minimum as small changes are included in each release cycle.

Organisations currently using WorkflowMax (the non-accountant version of the product) should monitor the WorkflowMax blog for updates on its release schedule.

If you want to find out more, check out our FAQ page.

 

Read more about Accountants

 

23 comments

Timothy Munro
2 May 2014 #

Looks great Xero Team! We can’t wait to start using this, and we’re especially looking forward to the new Xero Tax. Great times ahead!!!

David Rynne
2 May 2014 #

Excellent news and great work, really looking forward to this new release, the new “Xeroesque look and feel” for WFM. I’ll be honest and say the current WFM lacks the intuitive usability that we are accustomed to. The new Practice Studio will be a huge leap forward.

Jerry Zhao
2 May 2014 #

Great! can’t wait!!!

Jay Kimelman
2 May 2014 #

The long anticipation will payoff. Looks great, can’t wait to put this to use!

Carl
2 May 2014 #

That looks pretty awesome, we like WFM but this takes it to the Xero level.

Jody
2 May 2014 #

Looks good! would be great if we are able to duplicate contacts (eg husband, wife, kids, company may have all same contact details)….

Charles Klvana
2 May 2014 #

We’ve been using WFM in our practice for 2.5 years now, and setup many clients in it as well. But I have to say this large type “touch” interface for a media/info creation software is very inefficient.

On these screenshots, we see just 10 clients one one screen without having to scroll. Currently in WFM I can see 23 clients on one page without having to scroll or click next page. That’s just one example of the inefficiency.

To manage my million dollar practice, I have 2 x 24″ monitors not an ipad. But makes no difference, I see just 10 clients because that’s all that fits on the screen vertically with the new layout.

I understand Xero being based on large fields and text for touch, but really? How many accounting practices manage their practice predominantly on a touch device? Do you think Crowe Horwarth, your largest accounting partner in Australia, manages their clients and lodgements on an ipad?

I know it’s far too late along the design path to redesign, especially considering you seem to want to match Xero for some reason (different function software), but is there some way you can reduce the font and line spacing???

Charles Klvana
2 May 2014 #

Following on; in regards to that “New Client” screen with the multiple drop downs to open up each section, will they open automatically when simply using TAB on my keyboard to navigate between all the fields for easy data entry? Or will I be constantly moving my hand from mouse, to keyboard, to mouse, to keyboard over and over?

George Mathew
2 May 2014 #

Will the Lead Manager module be released shortly?

Chris Spence
2 May 2014 #

@Charles – We appreciate your honest feedback. I’d like to give you some insight into the logic behind some of our decisions with this new grid design. The new layout that you are not so fond of at the moment was designed to make the client grid easy to scan and read but also provide tools that allow you to find your desired client quickly, using both search and our new custom filters. While custom filters aren’t shown in detail with this particular design I can assure you they are part of the release and very powerful. You’ll probably agree that it’s less about having all your clients visible at once and more about having only the clients you want visible.

As you’ve noticed we have moved towards a Xero look and feel. We made this move as it allows us to borrow from all the hard work the Xero team have put in around interaction design helping create a better Practice Manager and a consistent experience across our products.

re the “New Client” screen, keyboard entry will be supported so you will not have to use a combination of the keyboard and mouse.

@George – After the first release in June we will be focusing on the Reporting, Timesheet and Job modules. We’re still working on the design for the Lead Management module so the re-development is yet to be scheduled.

Elizabeth Salter
2 May 2014 #

Yee ha! Can’t wait. :)

Elizabeth Salter
2 May 2014 #

@Charles – We’re certainly not the size firm you are talking about, but we have all Windows8 touchscreen pc monitors & laptops. I, for one, love the new progression to touch-friendly.

Charles Klvana
2 May 2014 #

@chris – Yep fully realise that grid layout is the Reports 2.0 type layout from Xero, and of course you’re going to leverage the same infrastructure and coding across every software and screen. As new screens are designed in Xero they all use the new touch interface. Expected, and as a decent sized shareholder of Xero, I expect you to be cost-efficient like that! :P

I’m constantly pointing out the difference between media consumption and media creation, and I like giving some critical feedback that I don’t feel Practice Manager requires the same touch focus. Being a fast touch type, and productive database data entry person, I’ve found the new touch friendly fields to be a lot slower at entering/manipulating/creating data in Xero, and can see that it will be the same in Practice Manager.

One can already see that it requires 2-3 more “clicks” or “touches” to get the same task done in the new design than in the old. I don’t see this as a move forward just to make it easier for someone to use touch. But I understand the philosophy and USP that Xero is promoting by pushing it through.

Ironic how the screenshots supplied are hosted invisionapp, and requires use of the keyboard to scroll between the images promoting touch :P it’s fast and easy to simply hit the right keyboard button 5 times to quickly navigate through those screenshots :P

vatsal patel
3 May 2014 #

love the software

Dean Mele
4 May 2014 #

Sounds like we should forget about an xero tax return system for another year.

Justin Ward
5 May 2014 #

Great News!!! I have been waiting eagerly for this update. Great to now have a firm date.

Oliver Furniss
6 May 2014 #

@Dean, you can file Activity Statements for your clients through Practice Manager now and during the February roadshow we gave partners a sneak peak at Company Tax Returns and an overview of our release plans. The first release isn’t far away and we’ll have ongoing regular releases to add forms, functionality and features. Stay tuned for more announcements.

Greg Lam
13 May 2014 #

Regarding the touch friendly design, is it not a possibility to have a “compact” setting that can be toggled on? QBO does this as well as Gmail.

Larissa
15 May 2014 #

I must say that i am confused in the way that Xero / WFM is pitching Practice Manager so strongly towards bookkeepers and accountants. Most of the functionality that is within Practice Manager is a lot more valuable to project based companies such as the ones that my business manages. We use WFM purely for what we call ‘Project Accounting’ and Xero is the generator of all things bookkeeping and tax related. In a lot of the implementations that we do we get rid of the ‘Tax’ tab in Practice Manager as it adds no value to what our clients use WFM for.
Am i missing something or do you need to reconsider the market that Practice Manager is being aimed at? Not sure just thought i should share!!! :)

Chris Spence
16 May 2014 #

Thank you for feedback Larissa, and we really appreciate the awesome effort you are making promoting WorkflowMax to your client base.

As you know WorkflowMax Practice Manager (soon to be re-released as Xero Practice Manager) has some additional functionality which is specific to the requirements of accounting firms. It is this additional functionality around client data, client relationships & groups, KPI reporting and tax preparation that allows accounting firms to enjoy the same core benefits such as integrated quoting, jobs and invoices that thousands of customers experience everyday in the standard version of WorkflowMax.

So going forward Xero Practice Manager is the tool that we will be promoting to our accounting and bookkeeping partners. Whereas WorkflowMax will continue to be sold to other service industry verticals, as it is today, such as creatives, engineers, consultants, architects and construction.

Den
20 May 2014 #

Hi Chris
For the past 6 months we have been promised and assured that individual tax returns would be ready for 1 July 2014. We have only now been advised that the 2014 individual tax returns have not been planned in the first release of tax forms?

Deborah Harris
10 June 2014 #

So have you built in being able to allocate one contact to a number of different clients? I couldn’t quite work this out from the videos which glossed over a lot of the client tab and certainly didn’t cover the set up of a new client. We have clients with a large number of entities and we don’t want to have to create &/or maintain multiple contact entries for the same person but need to see them appearing on some or all of the entities (clients) in the group. Is this functionality available from Thursday?

Chris Spence
10 June 2014 #

@Deborah – The ability to allocate a single contact to multiple clients is not included in the release on Thursday. This is definitely an area we will be focusing on in a future release.

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