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Xero Accelerate: Your Holy Grail moment

Xero Accelerate instructor Bruce Phillips

Behind every great story is a great storyteller: one who takes you from difficulty to the happy ending. Today, the story of Xero Accelerate is proudly told by Bruce Phillips of Harshman Phillips & Company.

Bruce is a US Platinum Partner and Xero Accelerate workshop instructor. When we asked him why he signed on to teach other financial professionals about the cloud, he gave us one amazing story and we’re excited to share it with you:

The “holy grail” moment

Before Xero, I was working in a hosted QuickBooks environment and I was struggling. Then I met Rod Drury (Xero CEO) and experienced the “holy grail”, or what some might call a “light bulb moment”. Xero confirmed what I knew for awhile: That there is a better way to work with clients. And I was fortunate enough to recognize and embrace it.

But I have to say, the light bulb doesn’t turn on as often for practitioners in the United States. Talking with Xero Partners across the globe, I get that many of you are ahead of us when it comes to cloud adoption — and it’s my opinion that folks here are simply reluctant to change. That’s human nature and I get it.

I’m a storyteller at heart

I love sharing my holy grail moment with others. Telling my firm’s stories, both the good and bad, is powerful. Those stories can help people avoid the pitfalls that I faced. And believe me, there were a lot.

Leading the Xero Accelerate workshop is not only exciting — but it’s an opportunity for me to give back to my profession. I get to help foster a pro-cloud environment that encourages more pro-active and savvy conversations. And that’s where more light bulbs go on. When others get it, and they see the power of the cloud and of Xero, it’s electric. Continue reading ›

 

Xero Accelerate

I have a theme here: Excitement. I’m happy (make that excited) to officially launch Xero Accelerate.

Xero Accelerate is a one-day, roll-up-your-sleeves US-specific workshop designed to help accounting professionals turbo-charge their business. In true Xero fashion, you learn from Xero Platinum Partners as they guide you through the strategies, tactics and tools needed to successfully run as a modern cloud accounting practice. Watch this video to learn more:

It’s exciting and it’s our our responsibility, too…

When the teams first brainstormed the ideas behind Xero Accelerate, I got excited. Really excited. That’s because the concept of Xero Accelerate checks boxes that are important to us as a company:

  • The first box centers on beliefs. We believe in accountants and the accountant/small business relationship. We also believe in the cloud and cloud accounting.
  • The next box is education. Xero as a company has a responsibility to educate and it’s very much a part of our mission. Think about it: Cloud accounting is what we do all day/every day. We, along with some of our accounting partners who are working with us on Accelerate, probably know more about what works best from a small business cloud accounting standpoint than anyone else in the world.
  • The last box is obligation. I believe our company has a moral obligation to help enable the accounting profession to embrace this new technology that has the ability to improve many people’s lives. And we have to remember along the way that there’s a human side to any change. Given that the move to the cloud involves new technology and learning, and given that we’re in the best position to provide that learning, I believe it’s our obligation to do so.

It’s rare for one event to embody the mission and values of a company, but I’m excited (yes, I said it again) for Xero Accelerate to be that event for us here in the US.

Learn more and register for the Xero Accelerate workshop.

 

Giving accountants and bookkeepers an even bigger voice

We want to give accountants and bookkeepers even better representation in XeroAs a fast-growing business, we’re always looking for new talent, from developers and designers to people with an uncanny ability with technology, numbers and relationship-building. We’ve recently posted two exciting new roles that have been getting quite a bit of attention:

Head of Accounting

Head of Bookkeeping

A number of enquiries have come in, as well as questions from partners wanting to know more about what we’re up to. So, I’d like to share some thoughts and background with you.

The term ‘disruption’ comes up a fair bit in our industry. While it could be deemed an ‘overused buzzword’, I don’t think too many people involved in accounting would deny that disruption is precisely what cloud technology has brought to the table. Our belief is that this is a positive change with the scope for many benefits to the industry. We are also realists, however, and understand that new technology, and change in itself, can be challenging for some to embrace, and we want to do everything we can to help.

Several practitioners and journalists who follow this industry have not been shy in sharing their views, some provocative, on disruption and, notably, Xero’s responsibility in stepping up to the plate as a new industry leader (see some links below). As proponents of the cloud and this new model of working, we have to keep our eyes and ears open to feedback and commentary and, most importantly, we have to be proactive and take action to make sure that we stay focused on driving this progression and giving people the tools they need to succeed.

Continue reading ›

 

A new way to enter your EC Acquisitions and Reverse Charges

You’ve probably already seen some of the new functionality that we announced in our 23rd June update to Xero. There were a lot of great new features in this release, and one we really want to highlight is the way you can now enter EC Acquisitions and Reverse Charges from inside Xero. When you’re purchasing goods and/or services from EU Member States, the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requires you to declare this information in certain boxes on the VAT return. Which box this information goes into depends on the type of transaction. In terms of Reverse Charges, there are occasions when purchasing items from the EU where the VAT has to be declared (paid), but then ‘reversed out’ (refunded) directly at the same time.

Now, providing you use one of the three new tax rates that we’ve set up, Xero takes care of all of this for you. Xero automatically reverses the purchased items out – and that’s quite a time-saver if you’ve been doing this manually up to now. The three tax rates that have been set up are:

  • EC Acquisitions (20%)
  • EC Acquisitions (Zero Rated)
  • Reverse Charges (20%)

Watch our how-to video

We’ve put together a short how-to video that runs you through the process and shows you where the items will appear in your VAT report. Take a look and see how easy it is to deal with Reverse Charges in Xero.

 

Payroll in Xero – July Update

Today we’ve released the latest changes to payroll and we also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you whats coming soon as we continue to see increased usage of payroll in Xero.

US Payroll

You’ll notice an updated Payroll Overview design that shows what needs your attention – time off requests or timesheets that need approval or pay runs that need paying. We’re also showing Taxes & Filing obligations to ensure you file and pay your payroll taxes on time. Overdue obligations are always shown as well as upcoming filings or payments. The overview header bar provides you with quick links to common tasks like adding a new employee and other useful information around your payroll.

US Payroll Overview

We’ve also updated the Employees list, New Employee and Employee Details screens to improve the flow and make them easier to navigate. The employee header now provides  Continue reading ›

 

The next evolution in QuickBooks conversions

Around here, we want to make it super easy for you to move your existing clients to Xero. Why? Because we want you to leverage a beautiful accounting platform built for the cloud. Practitioners who are tired of forced migrations, sloppy upgrades and a confusing interface are now only a few clicks away from leaving it all behind for Xero.

“The conversion tool is awesome. We can convert a client’s existing file and bring over the year-to-date work and keep them operational with minimal time delay and no duplicate data entry.” – Mariah C. Venus, Director of Operations, BookKeeping Express.

With the release yesterday, Xero US Partners can submit a QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Mac or Online data file for automatic conversion.

Anytime, anywhere: It’s that easy

Feel free to convert a file anytime, anywhere. Simply follow these steps:

From within My Xero:

  • Select “Add organization.” You will be given the option to upload a file. When you select QuickBooks from where you are converting from, you will be able to choose your file for conversion.
  • Upload the file. We will email you an invite to view your newly, fully-populated Xero organization.

Continue reading ›

 

A new release: Little things make a big difference

Hey, I’m Matt. Following on from Penny’s recent post about a release, I’m the other Product Owner in our ever-growing Sniper team at Xero. Some of you may know me from my previous roles at Xero with implementation and sales. Naturally, it’s a great move for me to change things up after six years and get one step closer to our product’s engine room. It’s also great to be directly contributing to product decisions after having spent so much time at the coalface working with Xero inside small businesses and accounting firms.

As many of you know, the Sniper team are tasked with the development of a range of smaller (and increasingly larger!) features to make life a little easier for all our customers.

I wanted to give you a bit of background on some of the highlights from today’s release.

  • Edit standard layout for remittance advice – when sending remittance advices to suppliers, you now have the option of including branding, such as a logo, and displaying an alternate address.
  • Bank reconciliation improvements – Xero has always helped you reconcile transactions by automatically suggesting coding options – this is great when you code similar transactions the same way every time. However, in some cases, this isn’t necessarily what you want, so you can now control this behaviour by turning off (or on) the ‘Suggest previous entries’ option for your organisation by bank account.

Bank reconciliation in Xero Continue reading ›

 

Australian payroll reaches one billion dollars per month

In June 2014, we reached the huge milestone of processing over one billion Australian dollars per month of Australian payroll with employers paying over 200,000 employees. This was the first time we’ve gone over that amount in one month and it continues to grow!

Australian Payroll Billion

Over 350,000 employees, approximately 3% of the working population of Australia, were managed by Australian Payroll in Xero in the last financial year. We’ve seen amazing growth in both the number of businesses and amount of Australian payroll processed using Xero.

 

End of Financial Year Payroll

Your feedback from the EOFY release has been mainly positive and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share your thoughts, it helps us help you better in the future. If you still need to submit your report to the ATO we have a recorded version of our EOFY Payroll training available here. The PAYG Payment Summary Annual report must be lodged with the ATO by the 14th August. Continue reading ›

 

New direct feeds from Silicon Valley Bank

We’re pleased to announce our second direct Silicon Valley Bankbank feed in the United States from our friends at Silicon Valley Bank.  Silicon Valley Bank is well known to the San Francisco start-up industry, and has been a popular choice for California’s leading technology businesses and investment community.

By linking Xero directly with SVB’s online banking platform, you get reliable overnight delivery of the prior day’s bank transactions directly within Xero.  As a result, you can make smart business decisions by getting an accurate and comprehensive view of your finances, without the hassle and costly mistakes caused by out-of-date cash flow balances.

Silicon Valley Bank has also recently launched operations in the United Kingdom, and we’re pleased to report that UK customers will also soon be able to apply for bank feeds with Silicon Valley Bank, giving us our second direct feed in the UK.

Continue reading ›

 

Mulcahy and Co. make Xero Platinum Partner in record time

I’ve been working with Mulcahy and Co., a mid-sized firm based in Ballarat, for a while now and I’m excited that they have made it to Xero Platinum Partner.

As one of the top five firms in the region, they look after an interesting mix of clients, with around half of their client base being farmers and the rest being SMEs in Ballarat and beyond (they also have clients in most other states).

From the moment I caught up with Jamie and Chris Mulcahy – the charismatic brothers who set up the firm in the late 90s – and Mark Cunningham, who’s been a team member since 2003 and a Partner since 2010, it was clear they were the kind of guys with boundless energy to grow their business and help their clients do the same.

What’s really blown us away is how quickly Jamie, Chris and Mark and their team have progressed from Bronze to Silver and now Platinum Partner. Starting in March 2013, they got to Gold Partner just a few months later in July and then leapt ahead to Platinum Partner in June of this year, adding 500 Xero clients in just 15 months. And they’re the first independent firm in Australia to reach this milestone, which is a stellar achievement.

Clearly, an effort like this deserves a big pat on the back (and then some), so we invited Jamie, Chris and Mark (pictured below with Stuart McLean, Xero’s Chief Revenue Officer, Chris Ridd, MD Xero Australia, and myself) to our Melbourne office for a chat about how they did it.

Xero Platinum Partner Mulcahy and Co. with Stuart, Chris and Jeremy

Continue reading ›