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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
We’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
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.
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.”
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.
Since launching online activity statements and tax file declarations in Practice Manager, we’ve seen over 100,000 lodgements on our Australian Tax Service platform. The team is now about to launch into a series of releases to deliver the next components of our solution.
As the new Product Manager for Australia, I’ve picked an amazing time to join Xero.
So, what does this mean for you?
It means that we’re one step closer to the tax solution you’ve been asking for. A big step.
What will you get with the first installment of Company Tax Return?
You’ll be able to create and lodge Company Tax returns for 2013 and 2014 tax years through the new Practice manager.
Today we’ll preview Global Search.
Finding information quickly can often be difficult and disruptive to your workflow. The new Global Search allows you to quickly find key information for a client, supplier, contact, job, quote, invoice or lead without having to leave the page you’re on or interrupt the task at hand. If you need further information, you can simply drill down into the search results to view more detail.
As you can see, the new Global Search allows you to quickly and efficiently locate the information you need when you need it.
Today marks the first in a series of updates we have planned to introduce a brand new way of running reports in Xero. We’ve designed these new reports from the ground up, taking into account the feedback we’ve received from you and they’re looking great.
To get the ball rolling we’ve launched a new set of Aged Reports and are currently working on a Depreciation Schedule, Disposals Schedule, Account Transactions, and Profit and Loss reports.