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Managing your Xero subscription

Following a recent dispute between a small business owner and his accountant in Australia, we thought it would be timely to provide a reminder about the way that subscriptions work under Xero’s Terms of Use.

Disputes in business happen all the time and in this specific case the issue was not actually related to Xero but more to do with services charged for implementing Xero along with a more complex add-on solution.

With over 280,000 customers we’re pleased that we’ve only seen a handful of these types of issues and generally we are able to work with and encourage the parties to work towards a resolution. Regardless, as small business moves to the cloud we’re keen to raise the discussion so the accounting and bookkeeping profession is best equipped for the technology changes we’re all experiencing.

The Xero accounting platform helps accountants and bookkeepers provide more advanced services to their clients through the ability to easily access and work with the client’s data in real time.

We fundamentally believe that small businesses do better if they have accountants and bookkeepers working alongside them. However, we don’t mandate that relationship and accordingly offer a flexible subscription model.

The small business owner and the advisor can decide how to structure the subscription depending on the needs of the client. The advisor can set up a subscription in Xero and incorporate (often called ‘bundling’) the Xero subscription fees into their service fees that are charged to the small business as their client. In this way the advisor becomes the “Subscriber”. Alternatively, the small business owner can hold their own subscription and pay Xero directly for the subscription fee. In this way the small business owner becomes the “Subscriber”, and can invite their advisor into the subscription as an “Invited User” (a user with certain access rights set by the Subscriber).

All users of Xero accept the same Terms of Use. The Terms of Use state that the “Subscriber” for a Xero subscription controls access to that subscription. The Subscriber also determines the level of access that other “Invited Users” have to the Xero subscription.

When it comes to using Xero, small business owners should consider who they wish to act as “Subscriber” in relation to the Xero subscription. A small business owner can register for Xero themselves and assume the “Subscriber” role, and limit the accountant’s involvement to that of “Invited User”.

A good accountant or bookkeeper will provide terms of engagement and a fee agreement before starting any work for a small business owner. The terms of engagement should clearly state each parties’ rights and responsibilities around the Xero subscription, along with the level of fees, service delivery expectations, and so on.

A good accountant or bookkeeper should also provide a small business owner with regular updates on the fees that have been charged. Small business owners should ask their accountant or bookkeeper for this information if it is not provided regularly. If a client has concerns about the level of fees being charged by their accountant or bookkeeper while the work is being carried out, they should talk to their accountant or bookkeeper first. If they are unable to resolve the situation with their accountant or bookkeeper, the small business owner should contact one of the relevant professional bodies in their country.

We are working on guidelines to help the relationship between small business owners and their accountants or bookkeepers in relation to cloud accounting software. This is an interesting area. We have raised the issue with relevant industry bodies and over the next few months will progress this as a project.

We’ll update you as we make progress.

We’re keen to hear any of your thoughts and concerns as we kick off this piece of work.

Please feel free to discuss below.

 

 

Xero Farming Roadshow – New Zealand

We’re coming to a town near you to showcase our upcoming solution for your farming clients. Join us, in conjunction with Figured, at the Xero Farming Roadshow this May and June to see how we’re going to connect accountants and bookkeepers to farming clients in a real-time set of data.

Joining us for the Xero Farming Roadshow will qualify you for two CPD hours. And by attending the roadshow and completing a Xero for Farming pilot, you’ll become a Xero Farming Specialist.

Register for the roadshow today!

Xero Farming Roadshow – NZ

 

Improving your Xero support experience

With our latest release to Xero, we snuck in a couple of really awesome improvements to our help menu. It’s just the beginning of heaps of cool new features we have planned for finding help and contacting the Xero support team, but for now you’ll still see some immediate improvements.

Searching within this menu now looks across multiple sources, including: the User Guide, FAQ help page, Xero TV and our Business Community. Each search result has a symbol to the left showing where it’s from, and there’s the option to pick and choose which sources you want included in your search. Consolidating these sources brings more information directly to you, saving time compared to searching each one individually.

Would you like help today – Xero support

If you can’t find what you need, you can always contact us in Support. This is the blue Contact Xero Support button at the bottom of the search results. By raising a ticket from within Xero we receive more information (rather than emailing) – like your organization’s name, product edition, your role, system, and browser version – all of which helps us find and get an answer to you faster.

Lastly, if you have a feature request you’ll now be directed to the Feature Request section of Community. This is where you can search for the feature you’d like and add your vote. If you can’t find an existing request, create your own that you and other users can vote on.

We’re just starting with new and better ways to make this an even better experience, and we think you’ll find this a quicker and easier way of raising any questions you have with us.  To validate that we’re already getting some great feedback from customers like Ryan Ashton using the new Xero support features and we look forward to rolling out more!

Ryan Ashton loves Xero support

 

 

Zendesk customer service software partners with WorkflowMax, Xero

With more than 40,000+ customers in all corners of the world, Zendesk is leading the future of customer service software with its cloud-based solutions. At WorkflowMax, our lovely support team use Zendesk to manage queries. Many of our customers wrote queries requesting integration with Zendesk, so… we created one!

Customer service software that integrates with job management and accounting

The solution is super-simple and very clever. While you’re solving a customer issue within Zendesk, you can record your time directly against the job in WorkflowMax. You can connect your customer service management, time billing and the Xero accounting platform in one end-to-end solution – using WorkflowMax as the conduit.

Take a look inside the new, improved Zendesk app in the video below:

With the Zendesk + WorkflowMax integration, you can connect your customer service software seamlessly with your workflow and accounting solution. Beautiful!

Watch the video to learn more about this awesome integration, and let us know what you think!

 

 

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. Think about it – at its heart, Xero accounting software is about financial awareness, insight, and decision-making. Internet banking is about taking financial action and managing your money. It makes sense that the two go hand-in-hand.

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. 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 generation banking work, illustrated through our integration with ASB. Data can be sent to Xero quickly and easily and 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 – after all, they’re handling your money. But a great deal of innovation for banks comes 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  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 about next generation banking

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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