Embracing cloud technology comes easily for some. For the busy SME, it’s a natural, logical extension of the way they go about their business – on the road, travelling to meet clients, rarely in the office for longer than a few hours (and even then it’s often a cafe, restaurant or even the kitchen bench at home).
When you consider cloud technology from a different perspective – from, say, the polished shoes of a lawyer in an established and rather traditional law firm – the cloud can be seen as something of an enigma, prompting questions like:
Why should we change? How can the cloud benefit the legal industry? Why should an established firm, which has built success over a long period of time through a certain business model, move everything to the cloud?
And these are fair and reasonable questions to ask – especially when you’re part of a large law firm with a lot of stakeholders who are entrenched in a certain way of managing documents and client material.
But while the jury is still out on whether large law firms will take to cloud technology, smaller firms have embraced it with open arms, paving the way for further innovation in the legal industry.
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It’s that time again. After another huge year, we’re looking forward to seeing our valued shareholders in Wellington for our 2014 Annual Meeting.
This year’s Annual Meeting is shaping up to be our biggest yet. You’ll have the chance to meet our new Board members at the new venue – Shed 6, on Queens Wharf. We’re looking forward to giving you a full update on where we’re at and plans for the next year.
We love the opportunity to meet our shareholders so we hope you can make it.
Last year’s Annual Meeting at Te Papa in Wellington
The 2014 Annual Meeting of Xero Limited will be held on Wednesday 23 July from 4pm–5.30pm at Shed 6, Queens Wharf, Jervois Quay, Wellington, New Zealand.
2014 Annual Meeting agenda
1. The Chairman’s introductions
2. Formal business and resolutions
3. CEO strategic presentation
4. Shareholder questions
Presentation slides will be viewable on the NZX, ASX and the Xero.com investor page and we plan to have a video of the key presentations on the blog the following day.
Auckland Investor Briefing
For our shareholders in the Auckland area, we will be running an Investor Briefing at the Xero Office, L1, 69 St Georges Bay Road, Parnell, Auckland on Friday 25 July from 10.30am–11.30am.
Please register for the Auckland event by clicking on the link below and following the prompts:
Please let us know in the blog comments if you have any questions that you’d like answered on the day
Xero has sponsored Young Enterprise Trust (YET) since 2011, although our involvement began much earlier – Rod Drury is an alumni having being involved back when he was a long-haired youth. And since 2010 Graham Shaw, non-exec director of Xero, has been on the judging panel.
I first became involved in 2013 as a mentor for the Enterprise in Action weekend – I’d been at Xero for six months by this stage. The previous year, while running my digital publishing business, I had also been a client of the Icehouse business incubator. I was inspired by the mentoring I received and was looking for ways to apply what I’d learned within Xero. So when requests for mentors went out, I put my hand up.
That weekend was so inspiring, and before it had even finished I was planning on how I’d do it differently the next year. I also came away more confident about my skills and talents, realising my diverse work background wasn’t the hindrance I sometimes thought, but instead a valuable tool-kit of many different skills and qualities.
We’ve released updates today in payroll make it even easier to manage your end of financial year for Australian payroll. We’re holding free online payroll training sessions to get you ready and give you an opportunity to ask any questions. Book now to make your payroll end of year as easy as possible.
Payment Summary Annual Report
You can now lodge your payment summary annual report online from payroll. If you’re an employer you need to lodge this report with the ATO each year. Your report includes all the payments you made to your employees and the tax which was withheld. You can make it easier for your employees to lodge their tax returns by lodging your report early and electronically.
Lodging your payment summary annual report online from payroll is the quickest and most secure way to meet your obligations. All you need to lodge online from payroll is an AUSKey. This is a secure login that identifies you to the government on behalf of a business. For more information access our Help Centre guide.
Payment Summaries can be emailed to your employees from payroll or made available for them to download from My Payroll. They need to be issued to your employees by the 14th July and the annual report lodged with the ATO by the 14th August.
Updates for Auto-Super
We’ve also released a number of changes to further enhance Auto-Super in payroll including:
- Changes to ensure your compliance with the SuperStream data requirements.
- The ability to include a negative super accrual to ensure that any adjustments made, e.g. overpayments, are included within the total super payment owing for that employee.
- Plus other smaller tweaks you won’t see like support for international phone numbers when using SMS authentication.
Starting the new financial year ready to go
The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate increases from 9.25% to 9.5% on the 1st July. Moving relevant employees to the new rate has been automatically taken care for you so you don’t have to do anything in payroll. We’ve also updated the payroll tax tables as we do every year so you don’t have to worry.
If you like what you see and haven’t yet made the change to Xero check out our conversion partners or contact to one of our certified advisors. We have some exciting updates coming soon to Payroll and we’ll share these with you as soon as they’re ready.
For full details please check out our release notes.
Today we’re pleased to announce the release of Federal e-file in US Payroll. Back in April we released the first version of Taxes & Filings. This provided you with signature ready completed tax forms to ensure you could meet your filing obligations.
Easily meet your Federal payroll tax obligations with Federal e-file
With Federal e-file, Xero creates and electronically files your Federal payroll tax forms for you. This allows you to file with the IRS online, at anytime from anywhere to meet your filing obligations. Federal e-file is available to customers on Premium pricing plans. To use Federal e-file it’s required that you enroll your business with Xero. For instructions on how to enroll please click here.
Although we’re not yet at our goal of making everything electronic, we’ve achieved a key milestone in this release with Federal e-file. We’re now focused on bringing you Federal electronic payments and other key improvements to continue to strengthen the experience.
Our vision is to provide you with the worlds best payroll experience for small businesses, in all states, allowing you to manage your payroll; easily and without fear. However, at this time we have no plans in the short term to support more states as we focus on the experience in the current states. With our Payroll Add-Ons you can still benefit from using Xero by using one of our integrated partners to manage your payroll.
This morning we released a ton of updates to Xero. Here are some of the highlights – check out the Xero release notes to see the rest.
Xero TV on the login screen
We now display education videos right on the login screen making it easier for all users to be smarter with Xero, and discover new features. Our education team has been investing significantly to create useful content for Xero TV and it’s the best place to learn about Xero.
Support for four decimal places on unit prices
We’ve heard you! Plenty of you have been asking for Xero to support unit prices with more precision – a bit more to it than you might think but we hire smart people, so good to be able to tick this off. For most of you it will just work – however, if you use DOCX invoice templates you need to make a small update.
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It’s been a couple of months since my last HR blog post – and that’s mainly because I’ve been so busy finding new Xeros to join our ever-expanding team. We’ve been incredibly active on the recruitment front this year, with over 50 new people joining Xero UK so far in 2014! As you can imagine, I’ve had my hands full writing job specs, dealing with recruitment and interviews and generally making sure we’ve got the right people in the team to move us forward.
So, I’m extremely glad (not to say ecstatic) to announce the arrival of our new full-time Xero Recruitment Consultant, Liz Crump.
Liz joined us on the 16th June and is already making a big difference in reducing the amount of my week that’s spent on recruitment. So, welcome to the HR team, Liz!
Focusing on people management
Switching my focus away from pure recruitment means I can extend my role and really focus on people management activities. But in a fast-moving business like Xero, what are the important parts of the HR spectrum that I should be focusing on? To cut to the chase, what’s the purpose of HR for an organisation at Xero UK’s stage of growth?
There are at least two dimensions going on in terms of scale; global and local. When your global HQ is based on the other side of the world, there are some very specific challenges that come up around growing local teams, expanding communications between territories and creating a common culture and company philosophy – not to mention how you plan meeting times for multiple timezones, and make sure everyone is taking their turn to do late-night Google Hangouts etc. And, from a local perspective, there are specific regional focuses that I need to think about around supporting the UK strategy, pushing our people management plans forward and making sure everyone’s happy as they move along their Xero journey.
The Connect Smart website launched this week in New Zealand, a collaboration between the NZ Government and other agencies and companies. The goal of the website is to help people keep themselves secure online.
Connect Smart and protect yourself online
Being secure online is important for everyone who uses the internet – in their personal life, at work and when out and about with their mobile device. Here are some statistics that Connect Smart has compiled from a New Zealand survey:
- 83% of people have experienced a cyber breach
- 22% have had their emails hacked
- 12% have had their credit card details misused
- 86% of people don’t regularly change their passwords
- 44% of Kiwis use less than three unique passwords
- 48% of people don’t have a PIN on their work phones
It’s easy to see how behaviour like this could cause issues for small businesses. A wealth of information is stored and transferred over email and work phones. Credit cards are regularly used to purchase products. Passwords are the main key to our digital lives. If any of these are compromised it can affect a business’s day to day operation, or even its long term viablility.
It’s often quite hard to give security advice to small businesses. There’s a wealth of information out there, some of which is really aimed at large companies with big budgets, and distilling it down to what what’s useful for small businesses can be difficult.
Connect Smart SME Toolkit and Cyber Security WOF
The Connect Smart team have put together a great SME Toolkit which I encourage you to check out.
The Cyber Security Warrant of Fitness is a checklist covering four areas:
- Assess the cyber security of your business
- Develop a cyber security policy for your business
- Establish an incident management plan
- Regularly review and update your network security systems
The first step of assessing the cyber security of your business is something you can quickly do to see how you compare and what you want to improve.
Xero Australia is excited to announce the opening of a new office in Canberra, amid its growing footprint in Australia. The team in Canberra is moving to a larger office space to accommodate the hiring of additional staff, with a number of developer roles opening up in the second half of 2014.
During a time when many public sector jobs are under threat in the ACT following this year’s Federal Budget, we’re committed to creating employment opportunities in Australia’s capital.
Momentum for Xero is building strongly among small business owners, with the recent announcement that Australia has over 120,000 customers, and staff numbers in Australia now total 144 across five offices.
Check out our photos of Xero Australia’s new Canberra office, and listen to an interview I gave to 2CC radio in Canberra:
Do you know anyone in the US who is in school – or about to head to school – to get an accounting, economics or finance degree? Could they benefit from a little financial help? If so, make sure to tell them about Xero’s $5,000 accounting, economics or finance scholarship.
Here at Xero, the accounting and financial worlds are obviously a huge part of what we do. What’s more, we know that accounting, economics and finance students go on to play an extremely important role in the small business world. So we’ve decided to award $5,000 to a student who is majoring in one (or more) of these subjects.
Who can apply for Xero’s accounting or finance scholarship?
All legal US residents who are currently enrolled full-time at an accredited university or business school (which must also be in the US). Applicants must be majoring in accounting, economics or finance. There is no age limit and it doesn’t matter what stage of study the student is at (see below for GPA requirements).