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Heads up – a new Xero header

An eagle-eyed tweeter spotted this last week.

Tweet about the Xero header

Oh, the intrigue! Well, I’m pleased to be able to confirm we’re changing the look of the header in Xero – in fact, this will become the standard for Xero including the Practice Studio suite of MyXero, Workpapers and Practice Manager for accountants.

As well as providing a more consistent look and feel across all of Xero’s applications, this change will also make it easier for us to deliver new shared features. A good example of this is the ability to search for an organisation – see below.

The change will be rolled out next Monday and since a few things have moved around a bit, I thought I’d let you know what to expect ahead of time.

Where’s the logout link?

Access to the logout link and to your user profile can be found by clicking on your name at the top right of the screen.

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The rise of Xero’s cloud integrator channel

Lately we’ve seen a new channel start to rise in our ecosystem: cloud integrators. Cloud integrators are specialists who support small business owners as they implement Xero with some of our many Add-on Partners. The result is a perfect cloud solution to run their businesses.

One of the benefits of the cloud is you can piece together the perfect solution for your business using best-in-class or best of breed apps, instead of using one vendor offering a compromised solution trying to be everything to everyone. This means it’s important to get it right up front and if you’re not an expert on what’s available, that’s where a cloud integrator can help.

Productivity Plus

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Australian Xero Partner markets to not-for-profits

As part of our global marketing case study, Xero Partner ‘Matrix on Board’ has created an inspiring video promoting their services to non-profit organisations throughout Australia.

Using their Alice Springs-based nonprofit client BushMob as a case study, Matrix on Board told the story of how they’ve used Xero to offer a solution that was easy for anyone to use, creates beautiful financial reporting and gives the ability to access support from afar.

Bush Mob Matrix on Board (Xero Partner)

BushMob helps disadvantaged and disaffected Australian youth by taking them to the bush for adventure-based activities, helping them to heal and encouraging them to reconnect with society.

Matrix’s financial management support has helped BushMob enhance its ability to bring positive change to the lives of young people, many of whom struggle with drugs and alcohol.

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Sales Tax 101 for Canadian Businesses – Part Two

Canadian flagBy Ryan N. Lazanis, CPA, CA, Xen Accounting, Montreal

This is part two of  Ryan N. Lazanis blog on Canadian sales tax. View part one here.

Reporting taxes

As you record your sales and expenses into Xero throughout the year, you should also be recording the appropriate amount of taxes on each transaction by selecting the correct sales tax rates for each individual transaction.

When it is time to remit your taxes to the government, you will be able to retrieve the figures to report through Xero’s sales tax report. You will need to select the appropriate reporting period. If you have sales in various provinces, and if you have followed my steps above to segregate tax rates by province, then this should be rather simple to do. All the sales taxes collected and paid will be separated by province and you can fill in the reports you need to with the information available in Xero’s sales tax report. Easy peasy!

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Sales Tax 101 for Canadian Businesses

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

Ryan N. Lazanis CPA, CA of Xen Accounting

Whether you like it or not, reporting your sales taxes accurately is critical. Make a  mistake and your precious business could pay dearly in interest and penalties. So it’s super important to make sure you’re setting up your sales taxes correctly in Xero and recording and reporting the correct figures.

Sales tax accounting is enough to give most people a headache. It’s one of the most complicated areas of accounting and it’s easy for things to get messy quickly.

However, if you follow the steps outlined below and create some systems to make sure you’re entering your data correctly into Xero, there’s no reason why you can’t have things run smoothly.

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Get ready for 1099 season in the US

If you are a US based or tax registered business, you must send out a Form 1099-MISC to each non-employee person to whom you’ve paid more than $600 for work during the year. These are usually referred to as contractors. Form 1099-MISC must be delivered to the contractor by January 31, 2014 for tax year 2013 and also sent to the IRS by the end February, if you’re sending paper, or by April 1, 2014, if you opt to e-file. Complete instructions from the IRS for 1099s are found here and here.

Here are our top tips for making 1099’s as easy as possible:
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Crowe Horwath AU offers Xero to 1,000 clients

Crowe Horwath achieves Platinum status

We’ve got some great news to round out the year here in Australia – leading firm Crowe Horwath has reached Platinum status by getting their 1,000th client on Xero. Photo from the day (from left to right): Gavin Fernandes –  Key Accounts Manager, Xero, Greg Emsley – Cloud Sponsor & Group Chief Information Officer, Crowe Horwath and me, Chris Ridd – Managing Director, Xero AU.

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BNZ and Westpac NZ improve feeds

There’s been a lot of activity in New Zealand and Australia lately around feeds support, and we’re pleased to report a couple of new changes to New Zealand feeds prior to Christmas.

BNZ introduces support for foreign currency accounts

Today the BNZ has introduced support for foreign currency accounts in Xero, and is now the second bank in New Zealand to offer this service. If you are using our multi-currency feature on our premium plan, support for foreign currency accounts from BNZ will allow you to manage export income or payments to overseas suppliers alongside your existing bank accounts.

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The beautiful alternative to sub-accounts

At Xero we’re always challenging the status quo and thinking about the best way of doing small business accounting from a design perspective. This can occasionally leave those of us who have used other accounting software packages trying to do things “the way we’ve always done it”. Case in point – sub-accounts.

If you’re used to carefully setting up your accounts in a way which clusters similar activities together by account code, or are used to relying on sub-accounts to sort your data for reporting, the simplicity of Xero’s chart of accounts may appear daunting

Xero’s philosophy of being “beautiful” really shines here. Instead of having a bloated and clunky chart full of sub-accounts, Xero has two functions available to all users – report grouping, and tracking.

The video we’ve created takes you through just how simple it really is to get comprehensive reports without sub-accounts.

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Adding two Australian banking partners

As of today, we’re also announcing feeds for two additional Australian banking partners: Greater Building Society and Investec. More details are in our Help Centre. These feeds are available from today for all Greater Building Society and Investec customers, for Australian bank accounts.

A busy year with banking partners

We’ve had a busy year with direct banking integration. In the past 12 months we’ve added:

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