Skip to content

Putting education at the heart of your business

If someone asked you to name the most important areas in a business, you’d probably think of functions like sales, customer service, finance and human resources. These are all fundamental parts of any company, but there’s another that’s equally as important – education!

The importance of education

Educating your people, training them and improving their skills and understanding is an absolutely vital part of getting your business’ people strategy right. And, here at Xero, we understand how helpful, flexible education can really make a difference to your end experience of cloud accounting.


Mike-Day-Pic-524x600 (1)

So, over the past year we’ve been expanding, fine-tuning and re-working the educational resources that we offer to our customers. We want to make it as easy as possible for small businesses and accounting practices to get the most from Xero. No one approach will work for everyone, so we’ve put together a suite of educational tools that offer a real variety of different solutions.

So, what’s on offer if you’re looking to learn more about Xero? Let’s take a look.

Xero U – your one-stop shop

Xero U is your starting point for all our educational tools. It’s the one-stop shop where we’ve gathered all our different learning channels together. We understand that everyone has their own preferences for how they like to learn – some may like to watch a short how-to video, some may like a series of computer-based teaching, some may like to take part in a webinar. And Xero U is there to bring all these options together. It’s about learning at your own pace, on any device from wherever is convenient to you.

And we know that Xero U works. Getting your staff trained, certified and razor sharp with Xero has a significant impact on the efficiency of your business – whether you’re a small company using Xero directly, or an accountancy practice working with Xero clients.

Continue reading ›


MarketInvoice: getting the money you need to grow

Businesses that sell to other businesses often see cashflow issues when they’re waiting for invoices to be paid. With MarketInvoice, a recent addition to our Add-on Marketplace, you can draw down a large percentage of an invoice on day one, rather than having to wait for payment from your customer.

That’s money that can be ploughed back into your business, so you can focus on growth rather than cashflow management.

Applying to use MarketInvoice is quick and hassle-free; it takes 15 minutes to apply online and only minutes to upload invoices to trade. And because MarketInvoice is now integrated with Xero, this process is even faster. It’s a pay-as-you-go service, so you only need to pay when you need help with your cashflow. You can see all fees upfront, and there are no debentures or personal guarantees.

Who’s MarketInvoice for?

MarketInvoice is aimed at UK businesses that sell goods or services to large corporates (revenues of over £50m) or the public sector. Clients normally have at least six months trading history and at least £100,000 in turnover, but MarketInvoice also serves businesses with over £100m in turnover.

Businesses that use MarketInvoice come from across the UK and operate in a range of sectors. Around 30% of these businesses do so to fund their export contracts. The service suits high-growth businesses, as well as those without fixed assets (mainly service and software businesses).

How does it work with Xero?

MarketInvoice integrates with Xero to streamline both the application process and the uploading of invoices for sale.

You connect to the MarketInvoice Xero portal and click ‘apply through Xero’. Then you log in (if not already logged in) to your Xero account and an application form is pre-populated with data from Xero. Set up a password and contact number and click apply. MarketInvoice will get back to you within 24 hours (usually 20 minutes) to let you know if you’ve been approved.

Once approved, businesses can access the MarketInvoice platform directly from Xero and sell selected invoices in just three clicks. Funding will be advanced within a couple of hours.

How do I sign up?

At the moment, only UK businesses can use MarketInvoice, although you can use the service to fund your overseas business.

You can sign up for MarketInvoice by clicking ‘Apply through Xero’ on their website. Signing up is fast and risk free. If you decide you don’t want to use the service, that’s fine. You’re never charged a penny. There’s even a handy cost calculator where you can work out what size funds can be transferred, based on the size of your invoice. It’s simple, fast and effective.

To find out more, just visit the MarketInvoice website here.


When the bank says no: alternative ways to fund your business

Today’s guest post comes from Gene Marks, author, columnist and small business owner. He regularly contributes to top US media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes and Inc. Magazine. 

To learn more about how to finance your business in the US, sign up for Xero’s webinar on Sept. 4 at 1 pm Pacific Time  in which Gene moderates a discussion with representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Kabbage. 

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

There’s one thing that many of us forget about bankers: They’re businesses, too.

Banks have shareholders and owners — and they have a responsibility to make money. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. But ultimately it can impact your small business funding. Because when you take a step back and think about it, are you worth it? Is that $10K or $100K that you need worth the trouble to a bank? Will the earnings from your interest payments be substantial enough to justify the risk? Is it worth the banker’s time to monitor you, review your financials, look at your ratios? Do you really have enough liquid assets to collateralize that debt? Will you ever lose that extra ten pounds you put on since college?

Unfortunately, the answer is no (and not even if you work out a lot). A bank doesn’t want to lend me money unless it’s going to be a profitable deal for them. My company is too small. Being in the service business, we have no assets. Sure, I can get a car loan or a second mortgage — but those are personal. And I’ve been offered a small ($25K) line of credit but my cash (which would be used as collateral) has always well exceeded that amount.

For most of us — at least until we reach a certain stage of maturity — trying to get bank financing, just like losing weight, isn’t going to work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try something else. In fact, there are ways — good ways — to lose those extra ten pounds. It’s all a matter of eating better. Oh, and there’s a few good ways other than banks to get financing this year, too. Here are three. Continue reading ›


How to make a banker fall in love with you

Today’s guest post is written by Gene Marks, small business owner, author and columnist. He writes regularly for leading US media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur. Learn more at

I have a client named John and he runs a company near Philadelphia here in the US. And his banker has fallen in love with him. Now calm down, it’s not that kind of love. It’s a different kind. The business kind. In fact, John is quite popular with a few other bankers in the area.

Get the bank to give you a small business loan

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at

John employs 80 people. He distributes cabling into the utility industry. And, as the utility industry recovers, he’s been growing. John’s company grosses about $12 million per year and nets around $700K, which is not bad. He owns the company with two other partners. He bought the company back in 1994 and has been profitable every year. He already owns two buildings, which he previously financed and now he wants to buy another down the street.

And the banks are falling over him. They all want to give him a small business loan. Why? Because John is the kind of small business owner banks in the US love.

He has assets. He has history. He has customers and contracts and enough cash flow to easily service the additional debt. He has personal collateral. He has two internal accountants. He generates monthly financial statements. He submits to a yearly review by an outside accounting firm. He pays his bills. He is growing. He is looking to hire more people. In other words, this is a guy that a bank can profit from. And why not? Banks are businesses too. They deserve to make money. Continue reading ›


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.

Continue reading ›


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, 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

CRM systems and databases

Image courtesy of ddpavumba /

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


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.