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.
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.
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:
Automatic setup of feeds via internet banking for ASB Fastnet Business and TSB customers.
Bank accounts and credit cards for Bankwest
Bank accounts and credit cards for St George Group, including Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, and St George.
Bank accounts for City National Bank, our first direct US banking partner.
Today we’ve released a WIP ledger in Practice Manager. This will make it much easier for accounting firms that prepare timesheets to keep track of their jobs and billable hours.
The challenge with releasing a WIP ledger was to do it without reducing the invoicing flexibility that Practice Manager users currently enjoy. So you’ll be delighted to know you can keep track of the exact amount of unbilled time and costs on each job no matter what types or combinations of invoices you use – even quote-based invoices and invoices prepared in Xero.
The introduction of the WIP ledger makes it much easier for all practices to calculate the true profitability of these services, even those that send regular fixed-fee invoices. You can also see the exact amount written on or off as each invoice is approved.
In his keynote at Xerocon Sydney, our Australian Managing Director Chris Ridd announced we’re expanding our partner program in Australia to include financial planners and advisors, and that a Senior Account Manager (me) had been appointed to work with advisors full time.
This new complementary channel – built around using Xero Cashbook for budgeting and money management – has really started to take off and since August more than 250 professional advice firms have applied to become Xero partners. Check out this video of Steve Crawford of Experience Wealth – 100% of their clients use Xero and he talks about the advantages of becoming a financial planning partner.
More than 1500 accountants, bookkeepers and advisors Australia wide attended the financial advisor session of the October Partner Roadshow. Attendees had an opportunity to find out more about our Partner Program; hear success stories from advisors themselves; meet a few relevant Add-on partners; and see Cashbook in action – with a little help from my “typical”, newly married Gen Y couple William and Kate Windsor.
All good things must come to an end and today marks our last live US Roadshow event here in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. For the past 30 days, Xeros have traveled across the US to hold Roadshow events at 20 cities – from Seattle to San Diego, Baltimore to Boston, and Dallas to Denver. From the Xero Roadshow team, we wanted to say “thanks” to each and every one of you who came to see us.
Curtis Mclean, who have about 40 staff in Wellington, are a leader in moving to the cloud and helping customers make the transition. Being based in Wellington where our HQ is we’ve had a very close relationship. They are at the forefront of the shift – from compliance and business advisory services to helping clients with technology – and exploiting the huge ecosystem of software that can help them. They surprised us in a very happy way in August with their decision to send their entire team to the next Xerocon!
Now they’ve merged with Deloitte Private, which of course is part of the big global Deloitte brand and which have a very similar approach to Curtis McLean. The Deloitte relationship with Xero really took off back in late 2010/early 2011 when two partners came on board with Xero-active practices.
Thomas Pippos, Deloitte NZ CEO, says Xero played a material part in the decision to merge. “Our common view about Xero, and the benefits to clients from using Xero, and technology and the cloud more generally, meant that Deloitte and Curtis McLean already shared a common language, which played a part in the realization that our clients would be better served if the two firms merged.”
The Australian government is introducing a new SuperStream data and e-commerce standard which is due to begin in stages from July next year. SuperStream is a package of reforms designed to improve the superannuation system.
The most important changes include:
- a requirement for employers to use an online solution when making super payments
- a requirement for super funds to receive contributions via an online solution
- a minimum set of standards for data remitted
- it allows the use of TFN’s as a primary identifier to locate members accounts.
A few of the SuperStream benefits are:
- faster allocation of contributions to members accounts
- a reduced number of contributions being returned to employers due to insufficient member details
- improved efficiency
- a reduced number of lost accounts.
What does SuperStream mean for your business?
As of 1 July 2014, data standards becomes mandatory for all employers making contributions with 20 or more employees. As of 1 July 2015, data standards becomes mandatory for all employers making contributions with up to 20 employees
Like many government programs, while the intention is in the right place, navigating the loan application process can be tricky. That is where SmartBiz loans come in. SmartBiz loans are designed for small business customers looking to add inventory and equipment, or even accounting firms looking to hire additional staff in advance of tax season.
SmartBiz lets you apply online in only 20 minutes and get funded within 2 to 5 business days, avoiding the standard SBA application process that can take up to 90 days.
SmartBiz lets our accounting partners and their small business customers apply easily and quickly online for an SBA-guaranteed working capital loans. SmartBiz loans feature low interest rates, long repayment terms and an easy online application process.
As the number of UK accounting and bookkeeping practice grows, so too does the number of supporting staff members here at Xero. As part of our commitment to provide our Xero Partners in the UK with the smoothest and quickest transition from their current client accounting software packages such as Sage, Quickbooks (or quite often Microsoft Excel) – we now have the UK Partner Enablement team consisting of (left to right) Sarah Tetlow (me!), Chloe Jackson, Helen Gibbons and Michael Graves.