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Does great yoga instructor equal great business owner?

Yoga instructor Amy at San Francisco Small Business Week

Our very own Amy Vetter, Global VP of Education & Enablement, recently took center stage at San Francisco Small Business Week 2014.

Amy provided an engaging, TED Talk-style presentation around the many life and small business lessons she learned as a yoga studio owner. That’s, Amy — CPA, yoga instructor, mother and small business owner.

Amy talks about how she managed to uniquely and successfully merge ledgers with different types of yoga and how a (business) prenup saved her partnership before it even got started.

Namaste and enjoy the journey with Amy:

Great yoga instructor may not equal great business owner


Data shows cash flow benefits of online accounting

After aggregating some 16 million invoices in our database, we’ve found out that worldwide on average Xero users are getting paid more than two weeks faster than they were in late 2011.

In October 2011, Xero users were getting paid after an average of 48 days. Now they’re getting paid in an average of 33 days – a 15 day difference.

Fewer days to payment infographic_thumb (1)

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Changes to Xero reports

Today marks the first in a series of updates we have planned to introduce a brand new way of running reports in Xero. We’ve designed these new reports from the ground up, taking into account the feedback we’ve received from you and they’re looking great.

To get the ball rolling we’ve launched a new set of Aged Reports and are currently working on a Depreciation Schedule, Disposals Schedule, Account Transactions, and Profit and Loss reports.

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Victoria Crone: What the budget means for NZ small business

Small business cashflowThe New Zealand Budget is predictable and consistent, in stark opposition to the bold and risky budget recently released in Australia. But this reflects the different cycles each country is in, as well as a new government vs. one in an election year.

There are three main wins for small business in the 2014 budget – initiatives that deliver cashflow, resources, and support networks. Getting more cash into businesses, whether through tax breaks, people and networks, or support for revenue growth, along with more stability that a predictable budget certainly delivers, means businesses can continue to have the confidence to grow, hire, increase profits, and drive innovation which feeds our broader economy and the lifestyles we’re able to live.

Wins for small business

It’s good to see the Government following through on its announcement last year around R&D tax losses. We’re now expecting around $60m of cash back into businesses over four years. This is great news for start-ups, as well as for more mature businesses. Given the disruptive nature of technology on our business model, there are businesses that need to re-design their products and services, which is expensive, so this R&D incentive could help here too. New Zealand doesn’t spend enough on R&D, so this is some gentle encouragement for the private sector to spend more money on things like people and prototypes to continue driving our economic growth.

The second initiative in here is the almost $500m reduction in ACC levies which puts cash back in small businesses’ bank accounts.

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NZ Budget 2014 – implications for small businesses

We’ve talked to ASB Economist Nathan Penny, Xero Head of Accounting Grant Anderson and Managing Director of Xero New Zealand Victoria Crone to hear their thoughts on what the NZ Budget 2014 means for small businesses.

Check out the video here:


Globe trotting coffee pioneer finds his place in the cloud

As the Director of St Ali FamilySalvatore Malatesta has coffee houses in Melbourne, Sydney and London. Salvatore is one of the men behind the third wave coffee movement in Melbourne. Between his cafes and popular specialty coffee brands, his expansion shows no signs of stopping. One of the keys that helps him along the way is Xero cloud accounting software.

Cloud accounting converts

“Xero has given me the ability to go online whenever I like and drill down and see the individual transactions. It’s not just a number – it’s a number with a receipt attached to it, so I can act on stuff very fast,” Sal said.

Sal’s accountant, Jane Meinert of Base Ten Advisory, couldn’t agree more.

“One of the biggest things about moving to Xero is that owners and entrepreneurs are starting to look at the information more and taking a bit more of a role in the performance of their business,” said Jane.

Cloud accounting has completely revolutionized the way he runs his business.

“I’m a massive fan of game changers and disruptors. In the airline industry, Branson did it with Virgin, Uber have done it with cabs and Xero has done it with accounting software.”


Batchbook Sales Guide for Small Business

Batchbook Sales Guide

Our friends over at Batchbook have recently created an awesome sales guide for people who want to get their sales processes just right. As they put it, the guide is for “the innovators, the optimists, the small budgets with big plans and the “I just hate pushy people” people.”

We were thrilled to be asked to contribute to Batchbook’s sales guide. Small business is one of our main audiences, so it’s great to be able to provide advice to the small biz community. As cloud accounting is one of our key areas of expertise, we wrote about how it fits into the sales process and lets businesses streamline their sales and invoicing.

You can check the article out here:

Streamline sales and invoicing with cloud accounting software

The sales guide as a whole features a range of articles that provide actionable advice for small businesses. Not only is there advice on the techniques you should be using, there’s also some important info on which tactics you should avoid at all costs. Read about traditional sales approaches, creative methods and real-life examples of small business sales strategies.

What the sales guide covers

For starters, there are a bunch of tips that introduce you to sales basics. Learn how to come up with a sales strategy that’s tailored to your business’ needs; figure out the difference between marketing, sales, and service; and get the low down on the two main ways to sell.

What’s more, there are articles to help you learn how to build your sales process:

  • discover how to find leads and pick the right ones
  • find out why the perfect pitch is so important and how to do it
  • check out tips on how and when to follow up and hand off a customer
  • learn why it’s so important to treat your customers like friends.

If your small business or someone you know is eager to learn more about the sales fundamentals, it’s definitely worth taking a look at Batchook’s sales guide. Check it out here:

Doing Sales Right – a Sales Guide by Batchbook


Small Business Week — An interview with Peter Karpas

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 3.43.29 PM

As part of National Small Business Week in the U.S. next week, Peter Karpas, our new Xero CEO of North America, shared his thoughts on the key challenges small businesses face today and the next big thing that will shape them in the future.

As the son of an entrepreneur and an accountant with more than a decade of experience work with small business owners, Peter offers this key bit of advice:  “Know when to do it yourself, know when to do it with help, and know when to get someone else to do it for you.”

He elaborates by saying that:

“Many small business owners I talk to want to do it themselves. They think they are saving money by not hiring a bookkeeper or accountant. So they spend their weekends doing their accounting on their own when they could be growing their business or spending quality time with their family. Then there are other things that they should do themselves but they outsource them instead. So think hard and make thoughtful choices about what you do or do not do. But always keep in mind, the more you do yourself, the less able you are to scale.”

Read Peter’s complete interview on the San Francisco Small Business Week website.

To celebrate the contribution entrepreneurs make to society and the economy, Xero is sponsoring San Francisco Small Business Week, which is where Xero in the U.S. is headquartered.

You can find out more about what’s happening at Small Business Week, including kick-off events at Square and Twitter headquarters, on this page.  We’ll be holding sessions on May 14th about:

About National Small Business Week

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing this week, which recognizes the critical contributions that entrepreneurs and small business owners make to our society and economy. In fact, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. National Small Business Week includes local events in key cities across the country.


Getting your events schizzle together

Me portraitThis weekend I popped to my local hardware store to get a couple of things that needed replenishing in my event toolkit. I needed a new tube of super glue, some nails and a long-necked Phillips head screwdriver. These items might seem ridiculous, but after 14 years’ worth of experience running events, I know you have to plan for everything. And I do mean everything!

According to events site, there are over 130,000 events going on worldwide each year. That’s a lot of events to plan for – so getting your toolkit right is crucial for making sure everything runs like clockwork. So, bearing this in mind, we thought it would be great to share with you what goes into my event kit. And if there are other event planners out there, can you see any gaps in my kit? Anything you swear by that I’m missing? I’d love to get your advice.

What’s in my events toolkit?

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Xero Practice Manager – Filters Preview

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

Practice Manager – filters from Xero on Vimeo.

As you can see, Filters brings a new dynamic to how you view and manage your data within Practice Manager.