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Lodging Payment Summary Annual Reports online with payroll

We’ve released updates today in payroll make it even easier to manage your end of financial year for Australian payroll. We’re holding free online payroll training sessions to get you ready and give you an opportunity to ask any questions. Book now to make your payroll end of year as easy as possible.

Payment Summary Annual Report

You can now lodge your payment summary annual report online from payroll. If you’re an employer you need to lodge this report with the ATO each year. Your report includes all the payments you made to your employees and the tax which was withheld. You can make it easier for your employees to lodge their tax returns by lodging your report early and electronically.

Lodging your payment summary annual report online from payroll is the quickest and most secure way to meet your obligations. All you need to lodge online from payroll is an AUSKey. This is a secure login that identifies you to the government on behalf of a business. For more information access our Help Centre guide.

Payment Summaries can be emailed to your employees from payroll or made available for them to download from My Payroll. They need to be issued to your employees by the 14th July and the annual report lodged with the ATO by the 14th August.

Updates for Auto-Super

We’ve also released a number of changes to further enhance Auto-Super in payroll including:

  • Changes to ensure your compliance with the SuperStream data requirements.
  • The ability to include a negative super accrual to ensure that any adjustments made, e.g. overpayments, are included within the total super payment owing for that employee.
  • Plus other smaller tweaks you won’t see like support for international phone numbers when using SMS authentication.

Starting the new financial year ready to go

The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate increases from 9.25% to 9.5% on the 1st July. Moving relevant employees to the new rate has been automatically taken care for you so you don’t have to do anything in payroll. We’ve also updated the payroll tax tables as we do every year so you don’t have to worry.

If you like what you see and haven’t yet made the change to Xero check out our conversion partners or contact to one of our certified advisors. We have some exciting updates coming soon to Payroll and we’ll share these with you as soon as they’re ready.

For full details please check out our release notes.

 

Introducing Federal e-file for US Payroll

Today we’re pleased to announce the release of Federal e-file in US Payroll. Back in April we released the first version of Taxes & Filings. This provided you with signature ready completed tax forms to ensure you could meet your filing obligations.

Easily meet your Federal payroll tax obligations with Federal e-file

With Federal e-file, Xero creates and electronically files your Federal payroll tax forms for you. This allows you to file with the IRS online, at anytime from anywhere to meet your filing obligations. Federal e-file is available to customers on Premium pricing plans. To use Federal e-file it’s required that you enroll your business with Xero. For instructions on how to enroll please click here.

Xero Payroll Federal e-file

Although we’re not yet at our goal of making everything electronic, we’ve achieved a key milestone in this release with Federal e-file. We’re now focused on bringing you Federal electronic payments and other key improvements to continue to strengthen the experience.

Our vision is to provide you with the worlds best payroll experience for small businesses, in all states, allowing you to manage your payroll; easily and without fear. However, at this time we have no plans in the short term to support more states as we focus on the experience in the current states. With our Payroll Add-Ons you can still benefit from using Xero by using one of our integrated partners to manage your payroll.

For full details please check out our release notes or read more instructions in our Help Center.

 

 

Introducing Smart Lists

For the last few years I’ve been in the US building a very small team whose sole focus is on delivering new features that drive additional value to our customer base. Innovations like Online Invoicing and Files have come out of this team. Today I’d like to introduce Smart Lists.

Having run my own small business before starting Xero, and after talking to a lot of our customers over the last eight years, I’ve learned quite a bit about how small businesses work. Actually, both the most amazing, and the most frustrating, thing about building software for small businesses is that while there are a lot of similarities across small business, every business is unique in some way. It’s beautiful. And the reason why we wanted to build them beautiful software.

When I ran a business the one thing that always struck me was how hard it was to find new customers. It was much easier making my existing customers extremely happy so that we could do repeat business. What I’ve realized is that for many small businesses, this is their prefered approach. In fact, according to Bain & Company, it costs six–seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. This is a key metric for small businesses of all types, and it highlights the importance of the connection you have with your existing customer base.

We’ve built Smart Lists because marketing to your existing customer is important. Smart Lists is all about unlocking the treasure trove of information you store in Xero about your customers – what they’ve purchased, how much they’ve spent, the last time you invoiced them, where they’re located and so on.

Smart Lists is essentially an advanced search over your existing customer base, using the accounting platform as the search engine. This search lets you generate highly targeted lists that you can then use to sell to, chase for payment, gather information about, or basically anything else you want!

Many small businesses don’t have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. With Smart Lists, you’re able to communicate with organisations that are already your customers, using the data you’re updating everyday – it’s far less hit and miss.

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Xero release: 23 June 2014

This morning we released a ton of updates to Xero. Here are some of the highlights – check out the Xero release notes to see the rest.

Xero TV on the login screen

23 June 2014 Xero release includes Xero TV on the login screen

We now display education videos right on the login screen making it easier for all users to be smarter with Xero, and discover new features. Our education team has been investing significantly to create useful content for Xero TV and it’s the best place to learn about Xero.

Support for four decimal places on unit prices

We’ve heard you! Plenty of you have been asking for Xero to support unit prices with more precision – a bit more to it than you might think but we hire smart people, so good to be able to tick this off. For most of you it will just work – however, if you use DOCX invoice templates you need to make a small update.

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Apply for an accounting, economics or finance scholarship

Do you know anyone in the US who is in school – or about to head to school – to get an accounting, economics or finance degree? Could they benefit from a little financial help? If so, make sure to tell them about Xero’s $5,000 accounting, economics or finance scholarship.

Here at Xero, the accounting and financial worlds are obviously a huge part of what we do. What’s more, we know that accounting, economics and finance students go on to play an extremely important role in the small business world. So we’ve decided to award $5,000 to a student who is majoring in one (or more) of these subjects.

Xero is offering a $5,000 accounting, economics or finance scholarship to US university students

Who can apply for Xero’s accounting or finance scholarship?

All legal US residents who are currently enrolled full-time at an accredited university or business school (which must also be in the US). Applicants must be majoring in accounting, economics or finance. There is no age limit and it doesn’t matter what stage of study the student is at (see below for GPA requirements).

What can the scholarship money be used for?

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Xero Practice Manager released

Today we released Xero Practice Manager, our online practice management solution, delivering job, time and invoice management to accountants and bookkeepers.

This release is the culmination of months of effort by our product development team and is a strong demonstration of our investment in our partner community. Xero Practice Manager is currently available at no software license cost to members of the Xero Partner Program who have Silver status or above.

Over the past few weeks we have previewed several of the key features of this release, but today marks the general availability of the solution. For a complete overview, take a look at the video below.

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Company Tax Return in Practice Manager

Xero Practice Manager - Company Tax ReturnWe’re almost there!

As we get closer to our next Tax release we thought it was time to go into the new features in more detail and give you guys a little sneak peek so you know what to expect.

Our next instalment welcomes our first version of Company Tax Returns which gives you the ability to create Company Tax Returns for 2013 and 2014 and lodge them to the Australian Tax Office.

The attractive new interface, designed in heavy collaboration with our partners, results in a clean and easy to use experience. You’ll also have the benefit of real time auditing, which means your Company Tax Return will be checked for errors before you attempt to file, saving you time and the hassle of rework.

Worksheets and Schedules you’ll see with this release include:

  • Non Individual Payment Summary schedule
  • Capital Gains worksheet and schedule
  • Losses schedule
  • Dividends and Interest schedule
  • Franking account balance worksheet
  • Capital Allowances (UCA, LVP, SBE) worksheet

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Positioning fixed assets to your clients – in Xero it’s easy

Fixed assets come up regularly as an area of uncertainty when we’re talking to businesses. So we’ve put together a brand new webinar for UK accountants and bookkeepers that want to get their clients up to speed. It explains all the ins and outs of fixed assets and guides you through how to deal with them in Xero.

I caught up with our resident education and training expert, Ashley Driver, to get the lowdown on what fixed assets are, in accounting terms, and the benefits of a better understanding of how to account for them.

Ashley Driver, Xero

Ashley Driver presenting at Accountex 2014

So over to Ashley to explain what fixed assets are…

How would you describe fixed assets to a client?

“Fixed assets in a business are essentially anything that’s owned by that entity that’s of worth and is retained over a period of time. So that could mean motor vehicles, land, buildings or machinery etc. – basically, anything that isn’t likely to be sold or converted to cash quickly.”

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Cloud accounting adoption rising among UK accountants

In September 2013 we commissioned market research organisation, OnePoll, to survey 250 UK accounting firms about cloud adoption and found that 28% were already using cloud based software and a further 27% hadn’t yet made the move but intended to so. We also got a bunch of other data about what was driving adoption, attitudes to security, client demand, etc.

Six months later, to coincide with our presence at the Accountex exhibition in London earlier this month, we re-ran the same survey (same questions, same research company, same poll size) to get an up-to-date sample.

This time around we found that the ‘already using cloud’ measure had grown from 28% to 34%, and the ‘almost there’ constituency had lifted from 27% to 31% – an overall swing in positivity from 55% to 65% in favour of the cloud in a little over six months.

So, we set out some of the key comparative findings in this info-graphic, all of which are pretty encouraging.
Cloud accounting stats

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Xero Practice Manager – Quick Time Entry Preview

In the lead up to the first release of Xero Practice Manager in mid-June, we’ve been previewing a number of the new features. To date, we’ve looked at:

Today, we’ll preview the new Quick Time Entry capability.

Quick Time Entry allows you to quickly and easily capture billable time without interrupting your workflow, ensuring all your time is captured and visible within WIP. By making time easier to record, you can increase the recovery of time for your billing staff as well as make it easier to manage how time is being used.

As you can see, the new Quick Time Entry makes it easy to capture time for all those small interruptions throughout your day.