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Next generation banking a reality

Over the past year or so we’ve been working on our vision for next generation banking. We’ve spoken about this a number of times before – but now, thanks to our friends at ASB and TSB Bank, it’s a reality.

Accounting software and internet banking should be complementary.  At its heart, Xero is about financial awareness, insight, and decision-making. Internet banking is about taking financial action and managing your money.

With customer consent, data could flow between the two worlds – making each product that much more useful.  Transactional data comes into Xero from the bank, where it’s processed and reconciled, and if a customer wishes, financial data could be passed back to the bank for a variety of services: for payments; for a loan application; or for sign up to additional services.

The video shows some of the outcomes of our next gen banking work, illustrated through our integration with ASB.  Data can be sent to Xero quickly and easily, and conversely, payment instructions can be pushed back to the bank for authorisation. In the old world – you would manually download data and upload into Xero, or at best, complete a paper application form and send to us for processing.  With this approach, your feeds are set up instantly and securely.  Similarly, there’s no batch payment files to be downloaded and uploaded into internet banking – they’re sent through frictionlessly.

Watch Steve Jurkovich from ASB talking at Xerocon Auckland 2014 about how the cloud is changing banking and how ASB is embracing new opportunities through its work with Xero.

Banks are conservative organisations, and so they should be, they’re handling your money.  But a great deal of innovation for banks can come through collaboration. It would be very difficult for any bank to meet all the needs of its diverse population of customers with the vast plurality of products that would be required. They can’t possibly replicate all the Mints, the Billguards, the SigFigs, the Bill.coms, the Expensifys, the Dwollas, and the hundreds of other services out there that have blossomed throughout the fintech ecosystem and that people have come to rely on.  Safe and secure collaboration with established partners like Xero acts as a multiplier or an accelerator to a bank’s desirability to its customers.

Watch out for more banks introducing support for next generation banking soon. Or maybe consider switching to one that already does. The future is bright for those that have.

UPDATE:  If you’re a FastNet Business customer who’s already set up feeds by sending in a paper form, you can still activate direct payment link.  Find the Accounting Setup section in FastNet Business under Administration > Client, and select ‘Automatically Import Payments’ against the accounts you want to make payments from. Follow the process to connect up the feeds, and the next time you create a batch payment file, it will automatically be sent to FastNet Business. Easy.

What people are saying

And it works. Here’s what people are saying about this new generation of banking:

 

Guest blog: Why my business accepts bitcoin and why yours should too

Guest blog by Ryan Lazanis, CPA, CA of Xen Accounting, Montreal

bitcoin accepted here

Bitcoin is a pretty hot topic right now, and for some, it’s a bit mysterious and controversial. How can we have a global virtual currency that’s completely decentralized and completely unregulated? A type of money that isn’t controlled or regulated by any bank or government is enough to make some people uneasy, that is until you learn more about what bitcoin is and how it works. It’s one of the smartest, most forward-thinking innovations of our generation, and it might just reshape the way we do business.

What is bitcoin?

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January self-assessment for accountants: process, systems and cloud benefits

The start of the year is a busy time for UK accountancy practices. The deadline for self-assessment means that January can be a pretty hectic month, and when you’re busy it really focuses attention on how efficient (or otherwise) your processes and systems are.

With this in mind, we got together with AccountingWEB to ask a sample of 1,100 accountants how the 2014 self-assessment period was for them this year.

UK accountants' self-assessment infographic

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Switching from MYOB to Xero in Australia is free and easy

During our February Roadshow, we announced we were offering free conversions from MYOB to Xero for Bronze and above certified partners. It was a well-received announcement – the room erupted into applause! We know that one of the biggest obstacles our partners have in moving their clients over to Xero are conversions, so we wanted to provide them with a service that would be easy, automated, and best of all, free.

We are happy to announce that for applicable partners in Australia free conversions from MYOB  to Xero started today. Jet Convert has managed thousands of conversions and is ready to scale with its automated service. Hear from Alexander and the team at Jet Convert on our conversions page and start moving clients on to Xero today.

 

Files on the run

Xero Touch for iOS has now been updated to give you access to your files from your mobile device.

Xero Files using Xero Touch for iOS

Files for Xero was released back in October and was a game changer, allowing you to attach source documents to transactions. This gives you a full picture of your financial data and supporting materials all in one place.

Now you can upload images to your Xero Files inbox from your iOS mobile device, whenever and wherever you are. You can upload photos of receipts, assets, locations and people to Xero, and they’re just the more obvious uses; we have no doubt you’ll be able to think of numerous other ways to take advantage of this capability!

Not only can images be captured and uploaded to your files inbox for later, you can also use your iOS device to review any files that are in your inbox, too.

The latest version of Xero Touch for iOS including files is available in the App Store. A brand-new version of Xero Touch for Android was released last month and Android support for files is already in development.

 

Working with Xero and Workpapers – taking back control of your compliance

Helping accountancy practices really add value for their clients is what we’re all about at Xero. We’ve even put together our own Practice Studio suite which includes Workpapers, a software package which make your compliance process faster, easier and smarter. And less time spent on process-heavy compliance means more time to collaborate with your clients on important year-end issues.

We caught up recently with Ian Woollard, Director at Pearson Buchholz, to find out how working with Xero and Workpapers has transformed their compliance and quality assurance processes – and allowed them to bring additional value to their client conversations. Ian’s been using Xero since 2010, when clients initially started requesting cloud-based solutions for their accounting needs.

Ian Woollard from Pearson Buchholz

Ian Woollard from Pearson Buchholz

Pulling your data from Xero into Workpapers

Ian’s keen to underline Xero’s ability to produce tailored management accounting reports for clients, as well as the secure nature of Xero’s data – a deciding factor when the firm wanted a system that provided the comfort around data that was needed for their business. But it’s the synergy between Xero and Workpapers that has really made a difference for Pearson Buchholz.

“What Workpapers does is allow us to suck the data we need out of Xero. For us, it’s a great tool and it’s a great time-saver.

Before we used Workpapers we were producing a manual file for each client for review purposes, which was a time-consuming process. What Workpapers allows us to do is stop re-processing the client’s data to create working papers for review processes. That data is already there in Xero and can be pulled across straight into Workpapers.”

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Digital innovation in action on the Sunshine Coast

I was recently invited by the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Queensland to speak on ‘Digital Innovation in Action’.

Digital innovation in action

The Sunshine Coast is a great example of a regional community seeking ways to encourage local business owners to improve productivity by embracing the latest technologies. In opening the breakfast, Michael Shadforth, President of the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the need for businesses to understand and embrace opportunities offered by cloud technologies like Xero in order to improve business efficiencies and lower the costs of running IT.

A local businessmen himself, Michael is clearly passionate about seeing business flourish in the area and sees local innovation as a great way of preventing the “brain drain” of young talent moving to the cities to pursue job opportunities. As a result he was particularly taken with my story of an Adelaide Bookkeeper who made the move to the Sunshine Coast for lifestyle reasons and was able to keep all her clients as a result of using Xero.

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New features in Xero Workpapers

We’re excited to release an update to Xero Workpapers, a core part of Practice Studio, our suite of tools designed to help our accountant and bookkeeper partners take control of their workflow.

This release is a milestone for us, as it’s the last stage of the handover from the original Workpapers team who created the product and grew it so well since the acquisition by Xero back in 2012.

This is our chance to offer a huge thank you to Julie and Richard Francis for all the visionary thinking and hard work that has gone into a product that is revolutionising the way its users get their work done. The new team has some big shoes to fill!

The Workpapers team in our Auckland office is growing, and we have some exciting things planned for 2014, but here’s what’s new today:

Xero Workpapers feature update

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Entryless eliminates manual data entry of your bills

Entryless automatically generates accounting entries from bills in any format and syncs them into Xero eliminating manual data entry of your bills.

Entryless is an Accounts Payable as a Service that frees up staff resources, by crunching and syncing all accounts payable data into Xero, allowing companies to manage their accounts payable data online.

Who is it for?

Entryless helps accountants and bookkeepers to scale their practice by automating a key back office function. It enables business owners to make better decisions by obtaining faster financial statements.

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Self-paced learning for Accountants and Bookkeepers

Update:  Self-paced learning is now available for US and Australian accountant and bookkeeper partners as well. Rest of world soon to follow!

 Accountants and bookkeepers can now experience self-paced e-learning inside Xero. The new Training tab in My Xero for Partners is now available, where accountants and bookkeepers can learn online about Xero at their own pace – anywhere, anytime.

This exciting release will be rolled out for the UK and NZ editions of Xero, followed by the US and Australia, and comes after last month’s launch of Xero U, which brings live training events like webinars and classroom courses together in one place at xero.com/xero-u.

More than ever, we’re on the move and we’re busy, and not everyone in your accounting practice is on the same schedule. Self-paced learning will enable your practice staff to become certified Xero experts,  complete other courses, and monitor training progress to continue growing and accelerating your practice.

Check out our video to see how it works!