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Xero launches suite of tools to help entrepreneurs and advisors navigate the gig economy

Posted 2 weeks ago in Product by Sarah Richards
Posted by Sarah Richards

In the US, the gig economy is booming, with 36% of the nation’s workforce now freelancing. In his keynote at Xerocon Austin, Herman Man, Vice President of Product and Partnerships at Xero Americas shared how Xero wants to help solopreneurs and their advisors meet the demands of this growing segment.

Herman provided a picture of just a handful of the 2,500 product and platform releases we’ve supported over the last year. After migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS) a year ago, we can leverage the considerable investment AWS has made in platform services to build and deploy software with shorter delivery timeframes like these.

Herman announced tools for the US market to give small businesses and their advisors more insights and control over business performance, including Xero Projects. Projects makes managing projects easier and enables them to be more profitable than ever. Built inside Xero, Projects works seamlessly with our single ledger and other Xero features.

“We know though feedback that it’s difficult for service businesses to keep track of all the moving parts when running jobs and projects – they have bills coming in, proposals and invoices going out, people working on different tasks and managing expenses,” Herman said. “Understanding where you at, what to invoice and whether you are making profit can be dark art.”

Having an inefficient expense workflow can mean less predictability in cash flow, with unaccounted for expenses creeping up at inconvenient times. We want to simplify this process for small business owners and their advisors, and today Herman announced the availability of Xero Expenses for US advisors, a modern, mobile-first approach to expense reporting.

We know mileage is an important part of the self-employed economy, and today Herman announced a partnership with Microsoft MileIQ – the leading mileage tracking application in the industry.

MileIQ allows independent contractors to automatically track mileage, classify drives and accurately report in Xero. Plugging directly into Xero+C, MileIQ enables independent contractors to more accurately deduct their mileage on their Schedule C reports. The integration will be available early next year.

“Integrating with Microsoft’s MileIQ is another example of Xero embracing the gig economy,” Herman said. “Together, Xero and Microsoft provide a smarter, simpler way for our users to manage their businesses. Now, with the addition of MileIQ, we’re making it easier for independent contractors to reap the benefits of a more simplified mileage tracking and accounting process too.”

As a value-added benefit for accountants and bookkeepers, MileIQ is also launching MileIQ for Xero Advisors – an exclusive partner program for Xero Advisors. The program benefits include a free MileIQ Premium subscription, 20 percent discount for clients, unique MileIQ + Xero educational and sales enablement materials.

At Xero, we’d like to thank all of you for helping us solve real problems for small businesses and making their lives better. We’re looking forward to what lies ahead.

2 comments

Matt
December 7, 2017 at 10.00 am

This is great!! They look like awesome new features. I hope they roll out to Australia too. I am a young freelance Architect working for bigger firms and my own private clients. Another great feature would be to enable me to fluctuate my capacity on a given project by getting subcontractors to book hours directly to my projects. My understanding is Xero project doesn’t have this yet. I am currently using WorkflowMax (a Xero product). It has something similar, however, In order for me to successfully capture the hours (not input them myself) they need to be an ‘employee’ and I need to pay for a subscription for each subcontractor. This is not viable as I, one business, shouldn’t have to pay for another business’s subscription. In addition to that the projects and demand fluctuate one week I may need three contractors on a project and the next week none. What would be great is if each subcontractor had their own Xero subscription and I could authorize them to book hours to my project. This would help me track more accurately, in real time, the profitability for a project. I have hit up Xero/WorkflowMax a could of times but am happy to talk further if needed. I love Xero and keep referring any business owner to the the platform because it is so great. Thanks, keeping innovating!

Sarah Richards in reply to Matt Xero
December 11, 2017 at 9.02 am

Thanks for your lovely feedback and great ideas, we can definitely see how that would be a helpful feature for your business. Projects is a fantastic tool for simple time and cost tracking on jobs and we will be continuing to build out functionality that should make it even more suited to architects. That said, it’s the simplicity and integration with Xero that sets Projects apart, so we need to focus on enhancements that meet the needs of a majority of our users. Obviously we’d love to make it perfect for everyone, but this isn’t something that’s come up before, and isn’t on our roadmap I’m afraid.

If you do decide to add contractors to Projects, you only pay the base fee, plus any users who were active that month. Not sure how feasible this is, but perhaps you could invoice your contractors for their Projects fees.

Sorry I don’t have the answer you’re looking for. Really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us, have a great day!

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