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February 2018 Xero global release update

Posted 3 months ago in Product by Ann-Lisa Niemann

That’s a wrap for February! Grab a cuppa and settle in, the start of this year is jammed full of product updates.

Read about our early-year product releases for small businesses and partners and check out what’s in the pipeline. Don’t forget, Xero changes and release updates can be found in the Help Centre, or check out the Feature Timeline for all the recent releases.

Recently released

  • Email improvements
  • Stripe ACH payments (United States)
  • TLS updates – security
  • Direct feeds for Capital One®

Tax update

  • CIS update (United Kingdom)
  • Suspend Lodgments (Australia)

Xero Projects update

Web

  • Log time on behalf of other users
  • Integration with new expenses app (web & mobile)
  • Add new contact when creating a project

Xero Projects for iOS

  • Sorting options
  • Copy time entries
  • View client details;  call, email, get map

Xero Projects for Android

  • Login security preferences
  • Close and re-open a project
  • Search by client or project

Mobile

  • Quotes search (iOS)
  • Renaming files (iOS)
  • Quick contact access from receipts (iOS)
  • See when quotes are viewed (Android)
  • View unpaid bills on the Android dashboard
  • Select new email template (iOS)

Xero HQ

  • Xero login for Xero Practice Manager

Payroll update

  • Statutory Shared Parental Leave and Pay (United Kingdom)
  • New Payroll Time Off/Leave Experience (United Kingdom)
  • Contractors in limited launch (New Zealand)

Up next – 90-day window

  • Paying Contractors in Xero Payroll (New Zealand)
  • Contacts – Multiple addresses
  • QR Codes on PDF Invoices
  • Payment options on invoices
  • Projects – limited view of the apps based on a user’s permissions
  • Copy a project (Android & iOS)
  • Projects start-stop timer (Android & iOS)

Email improvements

You’ll notice some exciting changes with our latest improvements to your emails. Now when you send an email from Xero, you can be sure it looks good on the other end. Your company logo will show on the email, an invoice email header has been added to show a summary of any key details and a ‘View invoice’ button takes your customer straight to a responsive online version of your invoice. With a payment service attached, a pay button appears on the online invoice, enabling your customers to pay quickly and securely.  

Emailing through Xero makes it easier for your customer to view the invoice on any device, and allows you to get paid faster when you connect online payments.

Stripe ACH payments (US)

We think a lot of you will be rather chuffed about this one! With Stripe ACH payments, you can now accept Automated Clearing House (ACH) bank transfers using Stripe. It’s yet another way you can offer your customers to pay you. It shows flexibility and creates a great customer experience.

And it’s easy to set up: from the payment services page, you just need to login to your Stripe account to connect Stripe ACH bank transfers as a payment option. The ACH integration can then be added to online invoices to power the “Pay now” button or appear in the payment dropdown as “Pay via bank transfer.” When your customer initiates a payment, Stripe will generate and display unique bank account details for that specific invoice, with your bank details remaining private. Stripe ACH helps you get paid quickly, safely and securely.

TLS security update

What is TLS? Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a cryptographic protocol that allows you to securely communicate over the internet. It’s used to secure all communications between Xero and your web browser. TLS 1.0 has known vulnerabilities and is no longer considered as secure, so we’ll need to work with you to make sure your browser is to date and in line with the latest security regulations. This will ensure you stay safe online using Xero.

Read more on our blog to check whether your browser is safe or needs upgrading to a later version.  

Direct feeds for Capital One (US)

Direct feeds are now available for Capital One consumer and small business checking, savings and certificate of deposit accounts. Credit Card feeds have been live since July 2017 but until now, customers have been limited to Yodlee feeds for other product types. This is a #champion enhancement to a #beautiful partnership with Capital One. Xero is one of the first cloud accounting platforms to offer a complete direct feed integration with Capital One. We are actively encouraging customers to migrate Yodlee feeds to the direct feeds ahead of a Yodlee feed shut off scheduled for March 13. Learn more on our blog.

Tax

CIS update (UK)

If you’re in the UK construction industry or do the accounting for construction clients then we’ve got some good news for you. You’ll no doubt know all about the Construction Industry Scheme, which mandates a set of rules for payments made by contractors and subcontractors. There are a number of tasks and calculations mandated, involving every single invoice or bill you send, providing subcontractors with accurate statements and filing monthly returns to HMRC. With all of this to do, how do you know you’re doing it right?

It’s easy with Xero. Since we announced the pilot of our Construction Industry Scheme features in Xero last year, almost two thousand organisations have been trying out the new features. And now that we’ve moved out of pilot into general availability, you can too.  Deductions are calculated automatically, and you can easily make payments, create reports and returns. Find out more about our current and future features on our blog.

Suspend Lodgments (Australia)

With this latest AU Tax update, when a return is suspended it can’t be lodged with the ATO or marked as filed. The return will become available for filing again on the date you select when you apply the suspension. Suspending a return doesn’t defer the return with the ATO. You need to contact the ATO to defer a tax return lodgement date. You can use the suspended status in your search filters and in the Report Builder

The suspend function is available for Individual, Company and Self-managed superannuation fund annual returns for 2016 and later.

Xero Projects

Never miss or waste a minute of billable time. Now you can select a user when adding time into Projects, or switch your timesheet view to another user so you can add time on their behalf. Plus, you can create a new contact on the fly when you create a new project. Easy and efficient!

Finally, if you’re using the new expenses app, you can now assign those expenses directly through to your projects from the web, or from your mobile when you’re out and about.

Xero Projects for iOS

Your clients are your bread and butter, so we’ve made it even easier to get in touch and find them when you’re out and about. Now you can view your client’s contact details and use the action buttons to call, email and get directions with Apple maps. We’ve also added sorting options so you can quickly organise your projects alphabetically or by due date.

Time is money so, to speed things up,  you can now add a new project or task while you’re in the flow of adding a new time entry. We’ve also added a ‘copy’ button so you can copy a time entry to another day.

Xero Projects for Android

We’ve cut out an extra step for you with one less log in. If you use a pattern, passcode or fingerprint to secure your Android device, now you can rely on your mobile security and choose to keep the Projects app unlocked.

Now you can re-open and close a project in the app making it even easier for you and your team to keep track of the status of your projects. Plus, we’ve introduced search functionality so you don’t have to scroll through a long list of projects. You can easily filter your lists to only see projects for a particular contact.

Mobile

Quotes search (iOS)

You can now search quotes from the ‘All Quotes’ screen. Simply drag down on this screen to reveal the search bar, then tap into it and enter the term you want to search. The results in the quotes list will be filtered to display only the quotes that match your search. The search results will be based on your contact’s name, reference text or quote number.

Renaming files (iOS)

If you’re an advisor or admin user with access to the Files Inbox, can now rename files from your iOS device. To rename a file, just tap into the file preview, tap ‘Options’ at the top right, then select ‘Rename’.

To clear the existing file name, simply tap the ‘X’ button at the end of the file name field. Then, once you’ve entered the new file name, tap the ‘Rename’ button and your new file name will be saved.

Quick contact access from receipts (iOS)

Just like invoices and quotes, now you can quickly view and perform actions against the contact on a saved receipt from your iOS device.  Simply tap the “i” icon to view the contact assigned to that receipt. Then you can edit, archive, call or even create a new receipt, invoice or quote.

See when quotes are viewed (Android)

Great news for Android lovers, you can now see when your sent quotes have been viewed by your customers. When you go have a look at your ‘sent quotes’ from the quotes list-view, those that have been viewed will include a ‘viewed’ label. With this handy insight you can now speed up the process of getting the job locked in and get invoicing faster.

View unpaid bills (Android dashboard)

With the latest Android update, you can quickly get a view of your unpaid bills. Now you can see the bills you need to pay on the dashboard. It’s an easy way to better understand what you’re spending and make informed business decisions. And it makes it a little less taxing for you to make sure you’re on top of paying your bills.

Choose an email template (iOS)

Sending follow up invoice and quotes on the go is a great way to jump on business and attack admin during pockets of downtime but you still want every to look as carefully crafted as those sent from the office. Not to worry, now you can select from email templates you’ve previously set up on the web to ensure polished, prompt emails to all your customers, no matter where you are.

When viewing the send invoice or quote screen on iOS, simply select a different email template from the list of available templates. Once selected, the subject and message body will be updated to the chosen template.

HQ

Xero login for Xero Practice Manager

Great news! You can now use your Xero login to access Xero Practice Manager (XPM). To set this up simply go to login to XPM as you usually would simply choose “Login with Xero”. With Xero login you can also ensure you’re keeping your data secure by turning on two-step authentication. (2SA) From April 16  all users outside Australia will be required to use their Xero login so get this setup right away. Learn more about 2SA.

UK Payroll update

Employee set up

With the latest update, setting up employees is now faster. Our new employee pages reduce time and errors when setting up an employee. We’ve streamlined the employee Details, Taxes and Opening Balances tabs, so they’re now more intuitive to complete.

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    • Save time by making required fields easier to complete.
    • Use the address look-up feature to quickly and accurately find addresses for employees you are setting up.
    • Invite employees to My Payroll while setting up their details so they can view payslips and request time off via their smartphone.
    • Create or edit tax codes for employees with their effective dates.

Employee leave

With the latest update, managing employee leave is now easier. We’ve redesigned our time off pages to make it easier to find leave requests and take action at the right time.

Our new list view immediately shows you upcoming requests that need approving and groups employees based on leave date. You’ll see the type of leave and how long employees are off at a glance – plus see a list of past leave requests.

Our handy new search feature lets you search by employee name, leave type, date or status. This’ll make it faster and easier to find the information you need.

Automate statutory leave

We’ve added Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) calculations to our extensive list of automated statutory pay calculations. An employee on maternity or adoption leave can share their remaining weeks of leave or pay with their partner or spouse.

A payroll administrator can easily set up Shared Parental leave and pay for employees by going to the Payroll time off page and selecting New, then Statutory Leave then Shared Parental.

UK end of fiscal year

It’s that time of year again! Over the next few weeks we’ll share some handy hints and tips on how to simplify Payroll Year end with Xero.  We had lots of positive feedback on the changes we launched this time last year, but we’re not resting on our laurels. Take a look at our End of Fiscal Year blog to see some of the updates HMRC are making for the new year and some improvements to Xero that will save you time and worry during this busy time.

Coming soon – 90-day window

Paying contractors in Xero Payroll (NZ)

We are working with a small, limited group of Xero users to improve and simplifying onboarding and paying of GST Contractors in Payroll.  Setting up and paying Contractors is not a simple process. Users are required to complete all employment details even though much of the information does not apply to Contractors. Also, GST calculations associated to GST registered Contractors are happen manually outside of Payroll and then are entered in the relevant pay line.  We are making changes that will simplify the setup process and reduce errors that come with manual calculations and journal entries.

Contacts – Multiple addresses

With some of your contacts needing multiple addresses saved against them, you’ll soon be able to save more than two. At the moment you can only save one physical and one postal address. With the update, you’ll be able to store multiple addresses for a contact and easily select as you’re creating an invoice. It’s designed to show separate billing and shipping addresses on an invoice as needed. This improvement will give you back some of your precious time in a day.

QR Codes on PDF invoices

For those who prefer to create and send PDF invoices, but still need to get paid as fast as using an online invoicing payment option, Xero has some good news on the horizon. Soon, under invoice settings in Xero, there will be a new option to add a QR code to your invoice template.

This will generate a customised QR code for each invoice. When your customer receives the invoice, they’ll simply be able to take out their phone, scan the code with a QR reader and it will take them directly to the online invoice and they can pay instantly.

Payment options on invoices

Look out for payment options like Stripe and PayPal on the invoicing screen – coming soon. You’ll soon be able to easily add or change your invoice payment options on the invoicing screen. Make sure you make the most of adding payment option to your invoices. It’ll show up as a Pay now button on your invoice and makes it easier for your customers to pay you. Learn more about these payment options.

Xero Projects

Next up, we’re working on an awesome stop-start timer for the Xero Projects iOS app. Whether you’re charging your time to the nearest minute, or you just want a simple way to record your time on a job site, you’ll have an easy, accurate and up-to-date record of billable time without any need for a calculator or your memory.

Speaking of time, we’ll be releasing insights and reporting for your timesheets in the next few months. This will really help you understand exactly where your team’s time is going so you can make good decisions and plan ahead.

We’ll also be adding three levels of user permissions, plus the ability to copy a project from any device, which will speed things up and keep the right staff accessing and focused on the right things.  

We’re constantly working to enhance Xero Projects, keep an eye on the blog for a view on what’s been released and what’s coming up in the next few months.

2 comments

Mr Calvert
March 14, 2018 at 10.55 am

Looking forward to seeing mobile purchase orders (android) and landscape views options

Nick Ellis
March 16, 2018 at 6.43 am

Hi there. Great work with the changes. The one thing I find frustrating is there is no ‘inbox’ or record of emails sent. I often personalise templates for quotes with dates for work etc, and have been caught out several times not being able to go back and check this info. Unless I’m missing something basic…? Cheers

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