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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
Xero Touch for iOS has now been updated to give you access to your files from your mobile device.
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.
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.
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.”
I was recently invited by the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Queensland to speak on ‘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.
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.
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!
As many economists predicted, the New Zealand Reserve Bank has raised the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 0.25% today. The OCR was originally 2.5% and is now 2.75%. By the end of 2016, economists expect the OCR to be between 4% and 5%, as the Reserve Bank tries to limit inflation by lifting interest rates.
Rising house prices, increasing immigration and booming construction activity are all creating a lot of the inflation pressures. This pressure is being slightly eased by the high exchange rate on the kiwi dollar.
What does this mean for owners of small to medium enterprises (SMEs)?
We talked to Lisa Martin, Managing Director of GoFi8ure and Vice President of NZBAI (also winner of Bookkeeper of the Year at the Xero Partner Awards 2014) about what the Official Cash Rate means to New Zealand small businesses.