“It’s Day 2 and everyone’s getting ready for another big day at Accountex…” (you can imagine that in a Big Brother voice, if you want).
If you’ve read our blog from Day 1 then you’ll know we had an incredibly busy time at the Xero Village yesterday. We were pretty overwhelmed with the response and it was great to meet so many people over the course of the day. There’s a real, and very genuine, interest in cloud accounting around the show this year. And that’s born out by the stats from our attendee survey that we ran yesterday. Of the people we spoke to, 73% said ‘we want cloud accounting’ – that’s nearly three quarters of all delegates at Accountex!
Come and hear our keynote speech at 2pm today
Gary Turner delivered his keynote speech yesterday to a great response. He’ll be running through the presentation again today on the Xero Village stand at A330 at 2pm today. Come and find out why ‘Everything you know about technology is wrong’.
More ice creams!
Our accountancy themed ice creams went like…well, not hot cakes, but more like very tasty cold ices. So we’ll be handing out more VAT Vanilla and Coffee Bean Counting cones today between 1pm and 5pm.
It’s took an entire articulated lorry to get us to ExCeL London, but we’re finally here at Accountex. It’s bigger, it’s busier and it’s bustling with accountants, tax experts, pensions specialists and finance professionals – even a few solicitors from the Legalex conference which is taking place next door. And if they’ve got any sense, they’ll be heading for stand A330 where our Xero Village takes pride of place in the hall.
Meet our add-ons family at Accountex and win a MacBook Air
You won’t just find the Xero team on our stand this year. We’ve also got 14 of our add-on partners here giving demos from their purpose built pods. They’ve certainly been busy so far – it’s great to see so many people wanting to find out about the flexibility of the Xero platform. Pick up one of our Partner Passports from stand A330, get a stamp from each of our add-ons and Xero and you’ll be entered into a draw to win a sleek, new MacBook Air.
Get tweeting and bag yourself some Xero swag
We’ve got bundles of Xero goodies to give away at the Xero Village. Tweet us your pics, videos and comments with the #xerovillage hashtag. Then just show your tweet to one of the Xero team and we’ll share some swag with you. We’ve got our awesome new Oystercard holders, waterbottles and some cool magnetic noughts and crosses games. And if you fancy reliving your childhood, we’ve got Xero yo-yos to hand out, with demos from two professional yo-yo champs on the stand showing you how it’s done. No strings attached *boom tish*.
Last week we previewed the new Filters function in the upcoming first release of Xero Practice Manager.
Today we’ll preview the new WIP Manager.
Following the introduction of a full WIP Ledger for Practice Manager late last year, the release of Practice Manager will provide a new management screen allowing you to better manage and view your WIP. Combined with Filters, you can now view your WIP for the entire practice, by partner, by manager, by job category, or by any combination of the available filters. You can then quickly and easily turn the WIP into draft invoices with the simple click of a button.
As you can see, the new WIP Manager, when combined with Filters, provides a whole new way to view and manage your WIP.
Today we released an update to Xero Workpapers that’s all about helping you manage your firm’s workflow during compilation season.
Your practice can now opt to automatically send email notifications to staff whenever action is required on a workpaper pack. And it’s all driven by a new button in each pack:
(The export button that used to sit in that spot has a new home on the Workpapers tab)
Because each firm has its own way of working, we’ve made it so most of these workpaper pack statuses can be specified manually by you and your staff.
For more information about status notifications, check out the help.
Status on the dashboard
Tracking this status information makes the Home page more powerful too: you can now see (and sort by) the status of all your workpaper packs, while also seeing at a glance a summary of what’s going on within each pack.
There are more details about the changes to the home page in the Xero help section.
SEO (short for ‘search engine optimization’) is an important measure for every website. It’s the best way to make sure potential (and existing) customers can find you online – even if they haven’t heard of you.
Businesses looking for a Xero Partner for accounting, bookkeeping or financial advice are more likely to land on your site if it’s properly optimized. So we created an SEO Guide for Xero Partners to help you get familiar with the basics. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here (note: there are regionalized versions):
What is SEO?
SEO is the process of making search engine-friendly, user-friendly improvements to your website. The purpose of this is to make it easy for Google and other search engines to find your practice online.
Why is SEO important?
Search engines are a popular tool used by small businesses to find new accountants, so SEO is a great way to increase relevant traffic to your website.
According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses on the internet. Obviously, when users are searching for relevant terms such as ‘[your location] accountants’, ‘Xero partner’ and ‘accounting practice’, you want Google to show them your site. You can also use more targeted keywords specific to your firm – if it has a specialization or serves certain industries, an optimized website can help you get noticed by people searching for exactly what you offer.
Users trust search engine results, so businesses that appear high in results pages are more likely to receive visits from potential customers. Think about it – how often do you venture past the first few websites on a search results page if you’ve found what you’re looking for at the top?
How does SEO work?
There are a bunch of methods that will help your website be found and indexed by search engines such as Google.
First, the site itself should be user-friendly – in other words, it should be easy for visitors to navigate and use. Google wants to provide users with the best possible experience, so it won’t give much weight to websites that are poorly designed, slow, difficult to use or out-of-date.
Second, your site should be easy for search engines to read (or ‘crawl’). You need to make it as easy as possible for them to understand what your website is about so it can direct relevant audiences towards it.
You can read more about these methods in the guide above.
It’s only three days now until this year’s Accountex, the UK’s biggest accounting conference. We’ll be bring our Xero Village stand to ExCeL London on 15th and 16th May where we’ll be joined by 14 of our incredible add-on partners.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of our mini-interview series we met the first ten of our add-on partners. They’ve been telling us in their own words how their solutions help to tailor Xero to your specific business needs. In this last part, we’ll be meeting four more amazingly useful add-ons and finding out how they can expand the functionality of your cloud accounting.
Getting to know our Xero add-ons
There are hundreds of Xero add-ons to choose from now. And this variety of choice gives our users an astounding level of choice when it comes to tailoring Xero to meet their cloud requirements. So, lets get the last four into the interview chair and find out how they can help you get even more out of Xero:
Time is running out to register for the Xero Farming Roadshow!
See how our upcoming solution, Farming in the Cloud, connects you to your farming clients over a real-time set of data.
We have hundreds of people registered to attend and don’t want you to miss out – so what are you waiting for? The event runs through May and June 2014 and we’re sure to be at a venue nearby, so sign up today!
Find out more in the video below – Ben Richmond, Xero Rural Strategy Lead, talks about what you can expect from the half-day event.
Over the next four weeks we will preview some of the new features in the upcoming first release of Xero Practice Manager scheduled for mid June.
Today we’ll preview the introduction of Filters.
One of the challenges when managing large numbers of jobs and/or clients is locating the information which is important and relevant to you. Filters allows you to create and save search conditions letting you quickly and easily locate the data you’re interested in when you need it.
Using Filters you can create search conditions to:
- List my clients only
- Show WIP for the jobs I’m managing
- Manage Draft Invoices for a specific Partner
- List Tax Returns that my team is working on
As you can see, Filters brings a new dynamic to how you view and manage your data within Practice Manager.
We mentioned in our recent blog that we’ve invited 14 of our amazing add-on partners along to this year’s Accountex. It’s the UK’s largest accounting conference, taking place at ExCeL London on 15th and 16th May. And our Xero Village stand will be the focal point for anyone who really wants to expand their understanding of cloud accounting.
We’ve already introduced you to five of the top reporting add-ons who’ll be there at the Xero Village. This time around, we’re going to profile five add-ons who deal with making payroll, staff administration, payment and cashflow an absolute breeze in Xero.
Making the most of Xero add-ons
We love the flexibility that our add-on partners bring to Xero. Having over a dozen of them on our stand is a golden opportunity to find out how Xero can be tailored to meet your cloud needs. So, lets get the next five into the Xero interview chair and hear their stories in their own words:
Mid-June will see the first release of Practice Manager, a Xero-branded re-imagination of WorkflowMax Practice Manager.
Practice Manager is a core part of Xero Practice Studio, our suite of solutions for accountants, bookkeepers and financial advisors that also includes Workpapers, Reporting and Tax.
Over the past 12 months we have applied significant resources into reimagining and rebuilding WorkflowMax, taking another step on our journey towards ensuring Xero Practice Studio is the leading integrated solution to manage your practice and work with your clients. This first release of Practice Manager is a culmination of months worth of analysis, design, engineering and investment and is a major milestone on the journey towards our Practice Studio vision.