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When should you hire an accountant?

When to hire an accountant

Research we did in the small business community showed that many small businesses are unsure about when to hire an accountant and about the value they can bring. Xero’s latest Small Business Guide ‘When to hire an accountant’ provides all the top tips you need to know.

If you’re a small business owner, the chances are pretty high that you didn’t start your own business to be swamped in the financials. This is where it makes sense to get a professional to take care of the numbers so you can focus on what you do best – running the business.

Growing small businesses need well-managed finances

Small business owners are always looking to save money, so an accountant can often be considered an unnecessary expense. But certain tasks (such as filing taxes) can be very time consuming for someone without experience  – and even then the tax return can be riddled with errors. The best accountants and bookkeepers will be looking for ways that your business can make money. They are coaches, always encouraging and training you for better results.

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NZ Data Futures Forum final recommendations

NZ Data Futures ForumWe welcome the New Zealand Data Futures Forum final report – Harnessing the economic and social power of data – released on Monday 28 July. This is a good example of the public and private sectors collaborating to deliver positive change and sets out ambitious recommendations to derive value from New Zealand data.

Data has the potential to be an incredibly valuable resource for all New Zealander. It’s great to see the Government is focussing efforts in this area and that feedback from the private sector has been taken on board in this third paper.

We’re now in the third generation of the internet revolution which is all about big data. This data must be managed in an ethical manner and in a way that creates value and instills trust.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to open data and its innovation potential to address business, social, environmental and community issues. Already, globally we are seeing great potential for data to play a role in emergency management, weather patterns, tourism, geographic segmentation and customer trends – just to name a few. The opening up of London’s transport data through the London DataStore has been a good example that has seen many innovative uses developed.

Three out of the four foundations that underpin the report’s recommendations specifically place individuals and their comfort at the forefront. This indicates the Data Futures Forum has really listened to people’s concerns and that it is likely there will be a lot of opportunity for people to have ongoing input and feedback to ensure those foundations are upheld. Here in New Zealand we have an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage through a data-sharing ecosystem built on trust, control and inclusion. Continue reading ›

 

ANZ Flying Start Business Plan Competition

The ANZ Flying Start Business ANZ Flying Start Business Plan Competition – enter now logoPlan Competition is back for 2014 and ready to uncover New Zealand’s next big thing in small business.

Xero is pleased to support the competition in 2014. Run by Business.govt.nz, part of MBIE, the business plan competition is now in its fourth year. It gives existing both small businesses and those with an idea that are yet to start up the shot at a prizes worth over $65,000.

All you’ve got to do to have a chance at winning is enter your business plan. It must show an original idea that is geared for growth and sustainable revenue. The best and most innovative plan will see the supreme winner win a prize package worth $45,000.

Last year local Nelson business CHIA was the supreme winner. CHIA received a prize package worth $58,800, including $30,000 in cash from ANZ.

Why a business plan competition?

The competition is about getting businesses across New Zealand to take a proper look at their business plan and see where they are and what opportunities they have.

The second and third prize winners each receive $5,000 in cash from ANZ. The competition’s 10 regional winners each receive $1,000 cash from Silver sponsors Ernst & Young, OfficeMax and Xero.

The competition is open now and entries close on 12 August:

ANZ Flying Start Business Plan Competition

Xero wishes all the 2014 entrants the best of luck.

 

The biggest myth about CRM

Today’s guest post is written by Gene Marks, small business owner, technology expert, author and columnist. He writes regularly for leading US media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur. He has authored five books on business management and appears regularly on Fox News, Fox Business, MSNBC and CNBC. Gene runs a ten-person CRM and technology consulting firm outside of Philadelphia. Learn more at genemarks.com.

CRM systems and databases

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The rebranding of CRM

My company has been selling Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for more than 15 years. During that time I’ve watched these products go through multiple rebrandings, from “contact managers” to “sales force automation” to “collaboration” to CRM, which now encompasses not only sales but service, marketing and operations.

But, rest assured, these are all just elaborate names for one thing: databases.

The makers and marketers of today’s CRM systems will throw around all sorts of buzz words to describe what they do. “Social CRM.” “Workflows.” “Automation.” “Call Center.” They will dangle cool and exciting features in front of their customers Continue reading ›

 

KANZ Technology Summit 2014

kanz

Photo Credit: @TurnbullMalcolm. From left to right: Yoon Jong-Lok, Vice-Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Korea; Amy Adams, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, New Zealand; Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications, Australia, at KANZ.

Earlier this month I was fortunate to be invited by NZ Trade & Enterprise to the Korea, Australia, New Zealand (KANZ) Technology Summit in Auckland. The conference brought together members of the technology communities of all three countries to forge links and share ideas about how to grow and support the ICT sector and strengthen the high-tech economy.

For me, the highlight of the event was Dave Birch’s stream on digital identity and money. Dave is the Global Ambassador for Consult Hyperion, a UK based consultancy focused on security around electronic transactions. Dave is something of a payments raconteur, whose wisecracks about ATMs needing thatched roofs and assuming anyone using cash is a drug dealer were funny and insightful – but they were all inching toward the point that despite all the innovation in financial services, all that we’ve really done is move physical payment paradigms into the digital world, and it’s not all that great an experience. Proving and managing identity for online financial transactions is still a big barrier to efficiency, and establishing identity, even in the physical world, often gives the illusion of security without any true validation. It’s “two people acting in a play about security” rather than an exchange that is truly secure.

Also, all the innovation in payments is happening on networks that were Continue reading ›

 

Warehouse Stationery integration announced

Warehouse Stationery logoI’m excited to share that we have a new partnership with Warehouse Stationery. This is part of our vision to connect small business with big business.

Warehouse Stationery and Xero

The integration will let Xero customers receive invoices from Warehouse Stationery directly into the Xero platform. It will go live in mid-August this year.

Small businesses will also be able to easily pay their Warehouse Stationery bills direct to their bank through our Xero Banking 2.0 initiative. This has already gone live with ASB, KiwiBank and TSB.

We know that cashflow is paramount for small businesses and this latest innovation reduces time consuming manual entry. It will enable small businesses to get a complete view of their cashflow position more quickly.

Warehouse Stationery is becoming a leader in digital business and we’re extremely excited to have this major New Zealand brand on board.

There is so much potential for big businesses to work with small businesses to deliver dual benefits. This is another example of homegrown Kiwi innovation that, once proven locally, will be taken up globally.

 

 

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 ›

 

A proven need for mobile optimization

People are moving from desktop to smartphones and tablets, and they expect the businesses they use to be moving right along with them.

This means it’s a requirement for small business, and not just the large corporations, to invest in mobile optimization for their websites.

A click is not the same as a tap, and a mobile screen is a much smaller canvas to operate on than a monitor. Mobile users are even more demanding of a simple, beautiful experience, so it’s not as simple as shrinking your site down to fit on a phone.

mobile optimization

While price, convenience and choice are all motivational factors for consumers buying online, you can be sure if you’re not capturing mobile traffic, you’re missing out on sales. In fact, having a mobile ready site could give you the edge over competitors who haven’t yet embraced he trend. 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.

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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 ›