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Xero Accelerate: Your Holy Grail moment

Xero Accelerate instructor Bruce Phillips

Behind every great story is a great storyteller: one who takes you from difficulty to the happy ending. Today, the story of Xero Accelerate is proudly told by Bruce Phillips of Harshman Phillips & Company.

Bruce is a US Platinum Partner and Xero Accelerate workshop instructor. When we asked him why he signed on to teach other financial professionals about the cloud, he gave us one amazing story and we’re excited to share it with you:

The “holy grail” moment

Before Xero, I was working in a hosted QuickBooks environment and I was struggling. Then I met Rod Drury (Xero CEO) and experienced the “holy grail”, or what some might call a “light bulb moment”. Xero confirmed what I knew for awhile: That there is a better way to work with clients. And I was fortunate enough to recognize and embrace it.

But I have to say, the light bulb doesn’t turn on as often for practitioners in the United States. Talking with Xero Partners across the globe, I get that many of you are ahead of us when it comes to cloud adoption — and it’s my opinion that folks here are simply reluctant to change. That’s human nature and I get it.

I’m a storyteller at heart

I love sharing my holy grail moment with others. Telling my firm’s stories, both the good and bad, is powerful. Those stories can help people avoid the pitfalls that I faced. And believe me, there were a lot.

Leading the Xero Accelerate workshop is not only exciting — but it’s an opportunity for me to give back to my profession. I get to help foster a pro-cloud environment that encourages more pro-active and savvy conversations. And that’s where more light bulbs go on. When others get it, and they see the power of the cloud and of Xero, it’s electric. Continue reading ›

 

Going all out: Brisbane accounting firm Adrians gets to Gold in 12 months

Raewyn Baldwin is the Territory Manager of Xero in Queensland. Kimberley Middlemis is a partner at Adrians.

In my role as Xero Territory Manager for Queensland, I get to meet a lot of smart, inspiring and interesting people who bring a lot of passion to the accounting industry and the small business clients they work with. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with a group of great people at Adrians, a chartered accounting firm in Brisbane, since June of last year. Their story of getting to Xero Gold Partner in 12 months is one I’m sure you’ll glean some inspiration and insights from. So, I’ll hand over to Kimberley Middlemis, one of three partners at Adrians, to tell it her own words…

Like any good love story, there comes that pivotal moment when two parties meet and the chemistry takes over. For me and my fellow accountants at Adrians, that moment (albeit in a slighty different guise) happened at Xerocon last year. I was sitting there with a colleague and good friend of mine, Angeline (who was running her own bookkeeping firm at the time), and we were both in awe of what the future of the accounting industry was starting to look like.

We were blown away by what we saw, and we still are: how Xero is changing the entire way SMEs, accountants and advisors are accessing data and doing business. Xero has created massive leaps in efficiency and time saving for all parties. Before Xero, we were a traditional accounting practice with traditional accounting software, and I remember sitting with Angeline in Chur Burger (a trendy little burger place in Sydney) after the event, not only marvelling at what I saw, but also knowing that this change had to happen for our business.

So, change to Xero we did. And now, 12 months later, on the eve of Xerocon 2014 (and yes, we’ll be there with bells on), I’m pleased to say we got to our goal of becoming a Xero Gold Partner in 12 months (celebratory drinks at Xerocon 2014, anyone?).

Clear communication was the cornerstone of our process for getting there. I know that might sound rather simplistic, but you’d be amazed at how much can be accomplished when communication lines are clear and open, and you have an honest dialogue with all your stakeholders.

So, we started talking with our current clients about Xero. We released a bi-monthly e-newsletter providing updates on the latest cloud accounting solutions. We also used the great pool of Xero videos in our e-newsletter to help clients understand what the product was all about. Creating our own video content has also been a really effective medium for us to connect with clients and prospects.

I believe all good businesses owners are looking for ways to make their businesses better, and once you provide them with clear information on how Xero works and how easy it is to use, it resonates with them and prompts them to act. These business-owners started calling us and wanting to know when they could convert. To put it simply, Angeline is our cloud implementation Partner and she has had a VERY busy year!

Changing the way you do things does, of course, come with some challenges. For us, the biggest challenge were the number of new things we required our team members to embrace. We have completely changed just about all of our internal processes and software – that means a significant investment in training. And with new systems in place, you have to feel your way around the program and work out how it is going to work best for you. Our team members have invested a massive amount of time doing this. We also had over 90 percent of our staff get Xero certified in that time as well. Our team really put in the hard yards and got their heads around what they needed to, and we’re so proud of each and every one of them.

I use Xero everyday – if I am not talking to clients and working on their files, I am working on Adrians’ accounts or even my personal files. Usually I access Xero on my work laptop but when I am running around, I use my Surface so I don’t have to lug around heavy computers. If I need something quickly on the run, I will use the Xero iPhone app.

We’d also like to give credit to Raewyn Baldwin from Xero. She’s been our Senior Account Manager for the last 12 months and she’s been fabulous, providing us with feedback and timely information on marketing and updates to the software. She was also a huge help when we converted to General Ledgers due to her extensive background in using the product.

How do you thank a company for changing your life? We kicked a few ideas around the office and came up this video, which we’ve shared with Rod Drury, Chris Ridd, Trent Innes and others at Xero.

A lot has changed for us since Xerocon 2013, and I know we’re all looking forward to learning more, opening our eyes even more – and making some amazing new discoveries at Xerocon 2014. We hope to see you there!

 

Xero Accelerate

I have a theme here: Excitement. I’m happy (make that excited) to officially launch Xero Accelerate.

Xero Accelerate is a one-day, roll-up-your-sleeves US-specific workshop designed to help accounting professionals turbo-charge their business. In true Xero fashion, you learn from Xero Platinum Partners as they guide you through the strategies, tactics and tools needed to successfully run as a modern cloud accounting practice. Watch this video to learn more:

It’s exciting and it’s our our responsibility, too…

When the teams first brainstormed the ideas behind Xero Accelerate, I got excited. Really excited. That’s because the concept of Xero Accelerate checks boxes that are important to us as a company:

  • The first box centers on beliefs. We believe in accountants and the accountant/small business relationship. We also believe in the cloud and cloud accounting.
  • The next box is education. Xero as a company has a responsibility to educate and it’s very much a part of our mission. Think about it: Cloud accounting is what we do all day/every day. We, along with some of our accounting partners who are working with us on Accelerate, probably know more about what works best from a small business cloud accounting standpoint than anyone else in the world.
  • The last box is obligation. I believe our company has a moral obligation to help enable the accounting profession to embrace this new technology that has the ability to improve many people’s lives. And we have to remember along the way that there’s a human side to any change. Given that the move to the cloud involves new technology and learning, and given that we’re in the best position to provide that learning, I believe it’s our obligation to do so.

It’s rare for one event to embody the mission and values of a company, but I’m excited (yes, I said it again) for Xero Accelerate to be that event for us here in the US.

Learn more and register for the Xero Accelerate workshop.

 

Giving accountants and bookkeepers an even bigger voice

We want to give accountants and bookkeepers even better representation in XeroAs a fast-growing business, we’re always looking for new talent, from developers and designers to people with an uncanny ability with technology, numbers and relationship-building. We’ve recently posted two exciting new roles that have been getting quite a bit of attention:

Head of Accounting

Head of Bookkeeping

A number of enquiries have come in, as well as questions from partners wanting to know more about what we’re up to. So, I’d like to share some thoughts and background with you.

The term ‘disruption’ comes up a fair bit in our industry. While it could be deemed an ‘overused buzzword’, I don’t think too many people involved in accounting would deny that disruption is precisely what cloud technology has brought to the table. Our belief is that this is a positive change with the scope for many benefits to the industry. We are also realists, however, and understand that new technology, and change in itself, can be challenging for some to embrace, and we want to do everything we can to help.

Several practitioners and journalists who follow this industry have not been shy in sharing their views, some provocative, on disruption and, notably, Xero’s responsibility in stepping up to the plate as a new industry leader (see some links below). As proponents of the cloud and this new model of working, we have to keep our eyes and ears open to feedback and commentary and, most importantly, we have to be proactive and take action to make sure that we stay focused on driving this progression and giving people the tools they need to succeed.

Continue reading ›

 

A new way to enter your EC Acquisitions and Reverse Charges

You’ve probably already seen some of the new functionality that we announced in our 23rd June update to Xero. There were a lot of great new features in this release, and one we really want to highlight is the way you can now enter EC Acquisitions and Reverse Charges from inside Xero. When you’re purchasing goods and/or services from EU Member States, the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requires you to declare this information in certain boxes on the VAT return. Which box this information goes into depends on the type of transaction. In terms of Reverse Charges, there are occasions when purchasing items from the EU where the VAT has to be declared (paid), but then ‘reversed out’ (refunded) directly at the same time.

Now, providing you use one of the three new tax rates that we’ve set up, Xero takes care of all of this for you. Xero automatically reverses the purchased items out – and that’s quite a time-saver if you’ve been doing this manually up to now. The three tax rates that have been set up are:

  • EC Acquisitions (20%)
  • EC Acquisitions (Zero Rated)
  • Reverse Charges (20%)

Watch our how-to video

We’ve put together a short how-to video that runs you through the process and shows you where the items will appear in your VAT report. Take a look and see how easy it is to deal with Reverse Charges in Xero.

 

Payroll in Xero – July Update

Today we’ve released the latest changes to payroll and we also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you whats coming soon as we continue to see increased usage of payroll in Xero.

US Payroll

You’ll notice an updated Payroll Overview design that shows what needs your attention – time off requests or timesheets that need approval or pay runs that need paying. We’re also showing Taxes & Filing obligations to ensure you file and pay your payroll taxes on time. Overdue obligations are always shown as well as upcoming filings or payments. The overview header bar provides you with quick links to common tasks like adding a new employee and other useful information around your payroll.

US Payroll Overview

We’ve also updated the Employees list, New Employee and Employee Details screens to improve the flow and make them easier to navigate. The employee header now provides  Continue reading ›

 

The next evolution in QuickBooks conversions

Around here, we want to make it super easy for you to move your existing clients to Xero. Why? Because we want you to leverage a beautiful accounting platform built for the cloud. Practitioners who are tired of forced migrations, sloppy upgrades and a confusing interface are now only a few clicks away from leaving it all behind for Xero.

“The conversion tool is awesome. We can convert a client’s existing file and bring over the year-to-date work and keep them operational with minimal time delay and no duplicate data entry.” – Mariah C. Venus, Director of Operations, BookKeeping Express.

With the release yesterday, Xero US Partners can submit a QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Mac or Online data file for automatic conversion.

Anytime, anywhere: It’s that easy

Feel free to convert a file anytime, anywhere. Simply follow these steps:

From within My Xero:

  • Select “Add organization.” You will be given the option to upload a file. When you select QuickBooks from where you are converting from, you will be able to choose your file for conversion.
  • Upload the file. We will email you an invite to view your newly, fully-populated Xero organization.

Continue reading ›

 

A new release: Little things make a big difference

Hey, I’m Matt. Following on from Penny’s recent post about a release, I’m the other Product Owner in our ever-growing Sniper team at Xero. Some of you may know me from my previous roles at Xero with implementation and sales. Naturally, it’s a great move for me to change things up after six years and get one step closer to our product’s engine room. It’s also great to be directly contributing to product decisions after having spent so much time at the coalface working with Xero inside small businesses and accounting firms.

As many of you know, the Sniper team are tasked with the development of a range of smaller (and increasingly larger!) features to make life a little easier for all our customers.

I wanted to give you a bit of background on some of the highlights from today’s release.

  • Edit standard layout for remittance advice – when sending remittance advices to suppliers, you now have the option of including branding, such as a logo, and displaying an alternate address.
  • Bank reconciliation improvements – Xero has always helped you reconcile transactions by automatically suggesting coding options – this is great when you code similar transactions the same way every time. However, in some cases, this isn’t necessarily what you want, so you can now control this behaviour by turning off (or on) the ‘Suggest previous entries’ option for your organisation by bank account.

Bank reconciliation in Xero Continue reading ›

 

Australian payroll reaches one billion dollars per month

In June 2014, we reached the huge milestone of processing over one billion Australian dollars per month of Australian payroll with employers paying over 200,000 employees. This was the first time we’ve gone over that amount in one month and it continues to grow!

Australian Payroll Billion

Over 350,000 employees, approximately 3% of the working population of Australia, were managed by Australian Payroll in Xero in the last financial year. We’ve seen amazing growth in both the number of businesses and amount of Australian payroll processed using Xero.

 

End of Financial Year Payroll

Your feedback from the EOFY release has been mainly positive and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share your thoughts, it helps us help you better in the future. If you still need to submit your report to the ATO we have a recorded version of our EOFY Payroll training available here. The PAYG Payment Summary Annual report must be lodged with the ATO by the 14th August. Continue reading ›

 

New direct feeds from Silicon Valley Bank

We’re pleased to announce our second direct Silicon Valley Bankbank feed in the United States from our friends at Silicon Valley Bank.  Silicon Valley Bank is well known to the San Francisco start-up industry, and has been a popular choice for California’s leading technology businesses and investment community.

By linking Xero directly with SVB’s online banking platform, you get reliable overnight delivery of the prior day’s bank transactions directly within Xero.  As a result, you can make smart business decisions by getting an accurate and comprehensive view of your finances, without the hassle and costly mistakes caused by out-of-date cash flow balances.

Silicon Valley Bank has also recently launched operations in the United Kingdom, and we’re pleased to report that UK customers will also soon be able to apply for bank feeds with Silicon Valley Bank, giving us our second direct feed in the UK.

Continue reading ›