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San Francisco Xero product hackathon

At Xero, we’re so committed to innovation that we host a product hackathon every quarter for our San Francisco product teams. These allow ideas from our team to get the chance to move from an idea to working prototypes.

We hold two types of hackathon events in our San Francisco office. Our HackIt events last a few days and are focused on innovative ideas with few rules attached. Our ShipIt events give the team the chance to work on something that they want to improve but it must be delivered, ready for release, after two days. It’s understood that there’s no obligation on Xero to ship any of the projects. However, it’s a way of generating ideas that we can use for planning future work on the products.

Hackathon payroll product team

San Francisco Xero Product team

The winners of our hackathon last week in San Francisco was the Xero Achievers. They worked on the gamification of payroll using badges and Facebook integration. We also had teams working a new tax engine, automated timesheet check in/out using a mobile app, a new architecture framework, a goal tracking app, a conversion tool, hotkey navigations, and an on-screen calculator. It was a great few days, with lots of passion, collaboration, discussions and of course nerf gun battles.

HackIt Hackathon Winners

Xero Achievers Hackathon Winners

What is a hackathon?

hackathon is where there is free rein to work on projects the team think will be useful, innovative or cool. Our events kick off with a traditional hot American breakfast to keep the energy levels high for the day. Then, the fun begins.

Regularly scheduled work takes a back seat while the team build, code and hack away on something that interests them – whether it’s an issue they want to solve, a process they’d love to improve, or something completely random they want to try. They’re encouraged to think outside of the box and they have the chance to collaborate with other team members they may not normally work with.

There’s a few key reasons why we do these events:

  • Thinking out of the box – gives an opportunity for those radical ideas that would never be prioritized.

  • Fostering innovation – If there are no constraints then anything is possible.

  • Enjoying work – Culture is a huge part of working here and these hackathons help to make Xero a great, fun, place to work.

These hackathons embody our company culture of creativity, challenging the norm and having fun whilst we do it. Giving our teams the freedom to work on whatever they want for a couple of days keeps them on their toes and challenges them, both creatively and technically. We believe that being surrounded by innovative ideas helps develop new ones, and pushes us to think outside the box.

Already started thinking about a project you’d work on? If you think you might be a good fit for the Xero team, head on over to our careers page to apply for an open position!

 

Get paid faster with SMS My Debtors

SMS My Debtors Xero Add-onSMS My Debtors sends friendly SMS reminders before an invoice falls due and follows up invoices that remain overdue. Don’t get lost in your customer’s inbox! Research shows that SMS messages convey more urgency, have eight times the response rate and in most cases are read within 90 seconds.

Who is it for?

Businesses looking to reduce their debtor days and in turn increase cash flow.

How it works with Xero

Set and forget! Continue to use Xero as you do now and SMS My Debtors will sync daily and send reminders on overdue invoices. Saving you valuable time and headache.

Where you can use it

It’s available around the world, including Australia, New Zealand US, UK and Canada.

Try out SMS My Debtors for free

You can sign up to try out SMS My Debtors with Xero for free.

 

Save time and money on all your foreign currency payments

TransferMate Xero Add-onTransferMate helps Xero users to save time and money on paying international foreign currency invoices. By integrating directly with Xero, you can select your unpaid foreign currency invoices, view live exchange rates and book those payments. Payments are then instantly posted back to Xero saving you time and money.

Who is it for?

TransferMate is for any business that pays invoices in foreign currencies. You may be an Australian importer paying suppliers in US dollars or a New Zealand retailer paying suppliers in Germany in Euro.

How TransferMate works with Xero

TransferMate connects to your Xero account and searches for your foreign currency invoices. Through TransferMate you can book your foreign currency payments and TransferMate will send the payment details into Xero, marking your Xero invoices as paid, saving you the hassle of double entry.

Traditional banks often overcharge and under deliver on international payments. TransferMate saves customers on average 80 percent on international payments by offering lower wire/bank transfer fees and more competitive exchange rates than traditional banks.

Where you can use TransferMate

TransferMate is available in Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK, Canada and Europe.

Try TransferMate Today

For more information or to register, check out the TransferMate website or contact their team.

 

Graduate recruitment and internships: business cost or value?

Graduate recruitment and internships are treated differently in every organization. When you look back anywhere from five to 20 years at the experience encountered by myself and my developer colleagues, you get a lot of different stories. All these stories have similar themes: a sense of being “dumped in the deep end,” not knowing right from wrong, not knowing what to do, and generally missing a mentor are common war stories from “back in our day”.

SoT Logo-2014

We’re thrilled to say that Summer of Tech is changing all that, allowing us to provide graduates with a supportive, constructive environment to foray into the amazing world of technology.

Even back in 2007, a fledgling Xero was proud to be part of the Summer of Tech programme (then known as Summer of Code) – a three-month internship programme based on Google’s model of summer internships.

Today Summer of Tech has some impressive statistics, increasingly putting it on par with Xero’s own graduate and careers recruitment as a way to find excellent talent in Wellington’s IT industry. Over the years we have had 19 interns, 11 of which have stayed on in some form of part time or full time employment after their internship.

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Accounting API: 10 new features so far in 2014

This morning’s 2.46 release of the core accounting API provides developers with the ability to retrieve repeating invoices. This feature became more compelling to provide with the recent advances our reporting add-on partners have made in the area of cashflow forecasting – repeating invoices include some key information on this front that will make these applications even more useful.

We are proud to be moving quickly on the release front with 10 key features released in the first three months of 2014:

API releases 2013-2014
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Xero API Developers of the year for 2013

In internet years, 2009 is ancient history. Household names like Instagram and Pinterest were yet to be founded, and cloud trailblazers like Xero were boasting rapid customer signups. In 2009, at the end of the financial year, Xero had 6,000 customers – less than 3% of our current customer base.

So, it took a little bit of guts in those early days for Nik Wakelin, Jared Armstrong and James Nisbet to go off and create one of the first true standalone Xero Add-ons. They were looking to solve the pain point they experienced as contract software developers – tracking time in Xero.

Xero API developers

Pictured L-R: Xero Head of Developer Relations, Ronan Quirke, Xero API product manager Tony Rule, MinuteDock co-founder Nik Wakelin, MinuteDock co-founder Jared Armstrong, Xero CEO Rod Drury, MinuteDock co-founder James Nisbet.

Out of their need to track & bill time, MinuteDock was born, and continues today to be one of our most popular, and highly rated Xero Add-ons.
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Recurring billing made easy with Rerun

Rerun recurring billing appRerun makes recurring billing easy. It’s a web-based solution for any business, organization or association that wants to automate their recurring, subscription or membership billing.

Rerun allows you to accept credit cards or bank transfers from customers for your products or services, making it easier to manage your business. Create custom payment streams to match the services or products you offer, and let Rerun automatically bill your customers.

Who is it for?

Rerun is for business owners who want to automate customer subscriptions and billing. For example, a Daycare can provide flexibility to parents by accepting payments on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or even annual basis.

How Rerun works with Xero

Rerun easily connects with Xero to retrieve customer, item and tax rate data. You can set up recurring and one-time payments in Rerun. The invoices are paid in Rerun, and the completed invoices are sent to Xero.

Where you can use Rerun

Rerun is built for US & Canadian businesses. Check out their pricing plans.

It’s free to set up your Rerun account

With Rerun, no monthly fees or merchant account is required.

Sign up to try Rerun with Xero.

 

 

Xerocon New Zealand 2014 – Day One

More than 900 accounting, bookkeeping and add-on partners flooded into the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland this morning for Xerocon New Zealand 2014. The line was long, but we got everyone inside eventually!

Xero minis at Xerocon New Zealand 2014

MC Petra Bagust kicked things off this morning. She was excited, talking about our values – love, beauty, transformation, fun. She described the atmosphere as majestic, magnificent, amazing and life-changing. “This is the kind of conference I want to be involved in!” she said. Same!

Petra Bagust emcees at Xerocon New Zealand 2014

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Better bill management with Manilla

Manilla is bill management software – manage and organize all your bills and accounts in one place online. Integrated with your Xero account, it allows you to export upcoming bills, saving you the time you’d normally spend manually entering bills into Xero. And with Manilla, you only need one password to securely access all of your accounts and bills. No more lost or forgotten passwords; no more hassle. Plus, it will automatically post a reminder for upcoming bills.  

Who is it for?

Manilla is for US-based business owners looking to securely organize and manage incoming bills.

How Manilla works with Xero

Simply select an account in Manilla to export, map it to the appropriate chart of accounts in Xero and you’re done. Each new bill will automatically sync to Xero. Scott Scharf, owner of Catching Clouds, has written an in-depth review of the Manilla integration on the Sleeter Group Blog.

Where you can use Manilla

Manilla works for US customers and business owners.

Try out Manilla for free

You can sign up to try Manilla with Xero for free.  Find out how Manilla offers this service for free.

 

Powerful business planning with LivePlan

LivePlan is a cloud based solution from Palo Alto Software – veterans in the business planning space. It can help you with everything from pitch creation and business planning to ongoing financial management. By connecting Xero to LivePlan, you can analyze your accounting information in real-time in order to keep your business on track.

Business planning is a great tool for any business. In fact, a Cranfield University study proved that those who write and track their  business plan experience 30% more growth potential than those who don’t engage in planning.

Who is it for?

LivePlan is for both established business owners and entrepreneurs who are just getting their ideas off the ground. Its functionality allows you to:

  • Write a complete business plan
  • Deliver a professional pitch to investors/lenders
  • Monitor your progress and track your growth

Xero Add-on LivePlan

How LivePlan works with Xero

Connect LivePlan with Xero to import your financials into the LivePlan Scoreboard. This integration will allow you to track how your business is doing, in real time, and compare your progress against your forecast.

Where you can use LivePlan

LivePlan works for users in over 172 countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Try out LivePlan for free

You can sign up to try out LivePlan with Xero for free. Find out how here.