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Adding two Australian banking partners

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:

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WIP ledger for Practice Manager

Practice Manager

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.

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Becoming a financial planning partner

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.

Why Cashbook?

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.

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Xero Roadshow: “Mahalo” from Honolulu

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.

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Curtis McLean and Deloitte – beautiful together

Congratulations to Xero partners Curtis McLean and Deloitte Private for the merger announced this week.

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!

Curtis McLean

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.”

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SuperStream improves the Australian superannuation system

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

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Fast SBA funding with SmartBiz

floatSBA loans are a great way for US small businesses to find affordable funding to support growth.

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.

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Introducing the UK Partner Enablement Team

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.

UK Partner Enablement team at Xero

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UK Winter roadshow series

Helen on the roadshow

While we’re somewhat famous for hosting hundreds of people every day around the world on any one of a number of online training sessions and webinars, we also like to get out and about, too.

So, today the team embarks on a mammoth twenty-five venue tour of the UK all the way from Plymouth in the south, Belfast to the west to Edinburgh in the north, and pretty much everywhere else in between. We’ll deliver face to face training and updates to more than 1,000 delegates over the next two weeks.

Targeted specifically at accountants and bookkeepers (old and new), this year’s winter series of morning updates will cover:

  • What’s new in Xero, including recent updates such as Files & Purchase orders
  • Practice Studio – WorkflowMax Practice Manager & Workpapers for Xero
  • Product roadmap update
  • Gold Partner Q&A session

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Australia, we’re listening

On Wednesday we announced new and refreshed subscription plans. We made these changes to align value globally for new features such as Payroll in the US, varying storage limits for our Files storage feature and in preparation for new services we have planned.

We don’t change pricing often, and around 90 per cent of our customers will have a price decrease or only a $1 or £1 increase. For some of our Australian customers there is a more substantial rise, where we’ve changed our approach of charging by number of payroll employees to be more granular. We’ve therefore raised prices where there are higher volumes of Payroll employees, inclusive of automated super payments, along with higher storage limits.

Where we can help, and are taking immediate action, is with a question that many Australian partners and customers have had about the incoming “Standard” plan only having 1 payroll employee. We know we’ve slipped up and I won’t bore you with the convoluted history of discussion that led to us putting that out there.

So we’re confirming that for the new Standard plan, we’ll make the number of payroll employees on that plan 5 not 1.

We are very grateful for the comments that have led us to reconsider this, and appreciate that for many small businesses with a very low number of employees that have been using Xero with Payroll in Australia it makes sense to keep the transition simple and provide this option.

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