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General ledger integration and other updates to Australian payroll

As usage continues to grow rapidly we’ve released updates to Australian payroll today. We hope you’ll find them helpful.

Seamless accounting and Australian payroll

Since Australian payroll was released you’ve had to deal with the manual process of creating a draft bill to update the general ledger with payroll information. This introduces costly mistakes and makes the process confusing and overly manual. So we’ve fixed it!

From today, transactions from payroll will seamlessly flow through to and impact the general ledger immediately – the way it should be with payroll transactions represented as journals. This impacts the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet, reflecting the impact of the approved payroll immediately.

We’ve added a new Wages Payable Account field within payroll settings to record the net wages payable amount of each pay run within the journal. This provides you the benefit of keeping your wages payable transactions separate from accounts payable.

Another frequently requested feature is the payroll expense journal. It contains the same transaction information you’re used to seeing within the draft bill. The net wages are not recorded against Accounts Payable but the new Wages Payable account. Reconciling your net wages will now require you to allocate the spent transaction to your wages payable account, instead of a payroll bill.

To assist you in learning the new process, we’ve created a short video demonstrating the change. Continue reading ›

 

Employee notes and other updates to US Payroll

Today we’ve released updates in US Payroll with a focus on the employee. This follows on from our recent release of the API for US Payroll.

Employee Notes

A frequent request in Community has been a place to store comments or notes against employees. We give you ‘Notes’.

US Payroll – Employee Notes

Notes allows you to store information against an employee. It could be used for emergency details, to record important conversations or literally whatever you need to store.  All notes are time and date stamped and only accessible to payroll administrators. We’ll be connecting this area to Files in the future so you can store important documents as well.

Employee setup

To process payroll for an employee there’s a minimum level of information we need to capture. We’ve introduced a quick setup guide to outline the three screens that need to be completed at a minimum. As each screen is successfully saved it will update and disappear once complete. Entering employees tax information results in a more accurate calculation of tax withholdings. If you have their information handy we suggest filling it in right away. If not come back to it later. Continue reading ›

 

Xero a finalist in NZ’s Best Awards

The Xero design team is excited and humbled to be on the shortlist of 2014 Best Awards finalists. These are the top design awards in New Zealand – the calibre of finalists each year is truly awe inspiring. Do yourself a favor and spend some time looking at past entries and winners. This is the first time we’ve submitted entries – normally we’re too overwhelmed with work to put together submissions. This year we made sure to set aside the time, so we’re especially pleased to have seven projects in the running!

Admittedly, we have mixed feelings about awards. Winning awards is not our focus and we don’t want it to distract us. We pour our hearts and souls into every project with our total focus on creating a better experience for the millions of people who visit our web site every day and work with our software every day. Empathy drives us to constantly push for better experiences and ultimately help small businesses enjoy building and running their business. This involves increasing our understanding of our audience and their needs, always challenging ourselves to do work that makes a difference and has impact – work that makes people smile – and constantly testing our solutions with real people. We’re always learning how to create better experiences and having heaps of fun along the way. It’s a thrill to look back on this work with pride, but also to realize that our best work is still to come.

Some of Xero's beautiful designs made the shortlist of 2014 Best Awards finalists

 

RBS and NatWest Direct Feeds – An Update

single-ledger-EDM-1Two days ago we announced that customers with business current accounts with RBS or NatWest would be migrated to direct feeds, and that although this would be free for twelve months for people with existing Yodlee feeds, that ultimately there would be a £3.50 per month charge per RBS or NatWest business current account.

We believe that direct feeds provide better reliability, and that having a direct relationship with RBS and NatWest will give customers more assurance that the feed will continue to be available long-term. However we have been listening and we have taken on board the feedback and agree that you should have the choice between the feeds provided by Yodlee, and the premium feeds that are available directly from RBS and NatWest.

If you are happy to continue with the Yodlee feeds for your RBS or NatWest business current accounts, you do not need to do a thing, your feeds will continue as normal. If, however you would like to switch to the additional assurance of a premium feed, please review the instructions for NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland in our Help Centre to begin the process of putting the more reliable feeds in place.

Whether you’re a new customer or a customer who already has a feed, we will offer the two alternatives in parallel so that you can make your own decision as to which feed you would like to use. With the direct RBS and NatWest feeds, your statement transactions come direct to us from the Bank, authorised by your signed authority placed with the Bank. There is no third party involved, and you do not need to provide your RBS / NatWest online banking security credentials to set up the feed.

Thank you for all your feedback over the last few days. It is essential that Xero provides customers with the best service possible and although we believe that feeds provided directly by the bank are more reliable and that there is a great deal of value in that, we accept that for some, cost is a consideration so we are pleased to give our customers the choice of source for the data feeds. We really do appreciate all your comments and thoughts. Your passion has made all the difference.

 

Using Google’s Chromebox for Meetings at Xero

Here at Xero we are rolling out Google’s Chromebox for Meetings globally – and for the first time in a long time I am actually excited about meeting room A/V.

Global collaboration is crucial for Xero. Unlike a lot of global corporations that run fairly independently in each country they are based in, we have many teams that have members spread across various locations around the world. For the Xero Internal IT team it has been a huge challenge for us to facilitate the process of these teams working together.

Pre-Chromebox frustration

Prior to the Google move we had multiple methods of communication. This led to confusion and frustration between people and teams – “What do I use to talk to person X in the San Fran office?”. There were many options available and nobody was exactly sure what the correct method was. Adding to this confusion, many of our meeting rooms offered multiple connection methods (room PC, local HDMI/VGA, projector, etc) which more often than not could be difficult to set up. Delays in meetings were frequent. As Xero grew larger the problem also increased and productivity was starting to suffer.Chromebox being used at Xero Continue reading ›

 

US Payroll API live with first integration

We’re pleased to announce the general availability of the API for US payroll. This extends the reach of the payroll API to Australia and seven states in the US that covers approximately 40% of the US population.

US Payroll API

The US Payroll API covers the main use cases including employee information, creating and updating timesheets, and processing pay runs. This is the first release of the US Payroll API and there are extra end points that we’ll address in future releases including time off and holidays. Developers will be familiar with the same pattern being used as the other Xero and payroll API endpoints. The same OAuth process is utilised, but with the addition of granular permissions.

US Payroll API Continue reading ›

 

Bringing you the most reliable bank feed experience

single-ledger-EDM-1We’re taking another step towards a more reliable bank feed experience – by migrating all RBS/NatWest business accounts to direct feeds.

We launched our first direct bank feed in the UK with HSBC in 2009. None of the other UK banks were ready for direct feeds at this point, so this was a significant step forward for customers using HSBC accounts – having a direct feed into Xero brings a whole raft of efficiencies, so we’ve always planned to bring more direct feeds into the mix when it became possible to do so.

In 2010, Xero was the first online accounting provider to implement third-party Yodlee feeds for customers using other UK banks. So we’ve always been at the cutting edge of linking our customers’ accounting software with their business accounts. And now, with RBS and Natwest we’ve gone a step further.

Why are we changing to direct feeds?

In 2014, the good news is the UK banks are beginning to get their own data services up and running. And from a reliability and friction perspective, direct feeds are becoming more competitive with Yodlee feeds. So we’re very keen, as always, to bring you the most efficient bank feeds we can.

While the RBS/NatWest Yodlee feeds are among the most reliable, we’re confident we’ll see even more reliability with a direct feed and that has to be welcomed. Yodlee is still a great solution so we won’t be switching off Yodlee feeds for any RBS/NatWest account types that can’t be catered for by direct feeds.

How do I know if my account is a business current account?

The change applies only to RBS/NatWest business accounts, not to personal accounts. If you need to check which type of account you’re currently using, just speak to your bank and they’ll be able to confirm the type.

Alternatively, you can visit the RBS or Natwest pages in our Help Centre, download and complete an application form and we’ll let you know whether your account is a business account or not.

Is there a charge?

While the direct feeds do incur a charge per account (as they have done with HSBC since 2009), the cost is marginal compared with the benefit of reliable daily feeds. In time, and as more banks come on stream, we expect the forces of competition to drive down the cost. And Silicon Valley Bank direct feeds, that are coming online next month, are in fact free. So, that’s already starting to happen.

When will the change to direct feeds begin?

The change will start from today. Yodlee feeds will remain active for a while, but the sooner you move your business accounts to the new feed platform the better.

  • To make the transition as smooth as possible, Xero is absorbing the cost of all Yodlee to direct converted feeds until August 2015. So you won’t pay anything for the first year if you’re already using RBS/NatWest Yodlee feeds.
  • You can stay on the free feed until 1 August 2015 – but as the feed is being offered free to anyone with an existing feed, there’s no cost benefit to staying on the Yodlee feed.
  • From today, all new accounts on direct feeds will pay £3.50 for each account.

Where can I find out more information?

We realise that you’ll probably have some deeper technical questions about the move to direct feeds. So with this in mind, we’ve put together RBS and Natwest help pages to answer those questions.

You can also contact our UK bank feeds team on bankfeeds@xero.com if you have a specific query about the change.

Once you’re ready to move across to direct feeds, just fill out the online application form on the  RBS or Natwest pages in our Help Centre and send it through to us. Then we’ll do the rest.

We’re looking forward to moving to direct feeds and bringing you the most reliable bank feed experience we possibly can.

UPDATE – 14 August 2014

Please see today’s post for an update on RBS and NatWest direct feeds.

 

Another step forward for reporting

At the end of May we released a collection of brand new Aged Reports. Those were the first reports to run on our new reporting infrastructure, and they were a major milestone for Xero, the culmination of a lot of investment and effort. That foundation release has let us build some updated versions of existing reports, with lots of new features and more data.

Depreciation report

The first is the new, and very much improved, Depreciation Schedule report. We have had a lot of feedback on this report over the years and we have taken it all on board. The result is a report which will print in portrait by default, and which can show you the capital gains, losses or depreciation recovered. It allows much more space for the asset names, and if you are reconciling the balance sheet you can now show both opening book value and opening accumulated depreciation. There is lots of new data to play with!

Depreciation reporting options

 

Account Transactions

The second report in this release is a new Account Transactions report. The old report only let you choose one account at a time; the new one loads with a far more friendly experience and lets you choose more than one account.

Multipicker

 

 

There are convenience dates to help quickly get the right data on screen and of course all the column reordering, sorting and other features you expect of our new reports is there as well.

Remember that you can update the report template to make it run for the accounts and dates you want by choosing Save > Template so that next time you run the report it goes straight to where you want.

Hey Xero – what about my pet feature?

This is the first release of the new Account Transactions report, but it certainly isn’t the last. We are sticking to a policy where as soon as we have valuable features we will release them, even if we plan to add other features. We know the multi-picker for accounts will be welcomed by so many people, and so we wanted to get it in front of you as soon as we could!
This is why the report is not available to users on the the Premium plan yet, but don’t worry, you will see it soon.

So what other features do we have coming up for the Account Transactions report?

  • Opening and closing balances for the asset, liability and equity account types
  • Handling the currency revaluation accounts
  • Showing the tracking information
  • Running balances for accounts
  • Powerful filtering options to focus the data quickly to what you are looking for
  • Tracking filters to limit the data to just individual tracking values

What else are we working on?

The new Profit & Loss report is in the final stages of development. While the report itself looks great, with a clean look and a concerted effort on improving the readability, it isn’t the report itself which makes it sing – it’s the layout editor. The new layout editor is going to be used in so many places, like report packs and report schedules, as well as client level reports. The client level Profit & Loss will be the first place we will release it, but that is another release blog!

In addition to these reports, we’ve delivered a number of other enhancements, including:

  • Being able to search invoices, bills and credit notes by transaction amount
  • Enhancements to remittance advices. In our pre-release communications we said we’re going to have a free text field on remittance advices, but that hasn’t made it into this release. We do support the sales tax number and registered address, though. Refer to the release notes for all the details.

 

 

Xero Accelerate

I have a theme here: Excitement. I’m happy (make that excited) to officially launch Xero Accelerate.

Xero Accelerate is a one-day, roll-up-your-sleeves US-specific workshop designed to help accounting professionals turbo-charge their business. In true Xero fashion, you learn from Xero Platinum Partners as they guide you through the strategies, tactics and tools needed to successfully run as a modern cloud accounting practice. Watch this video to learn more:

It’s exciting and it’s our our responsibility, too…

When the teams first brainstormed the ideas behind Xero Accelerate, I got excited. Really excited. That’s because the concept of Xero Accelerate checks boxes that are important to us as a company:

  • The first box centers on beliefs. We believe in accountants and the accountant/small business relationship. We also believe in the cloud and cloud accounting.
  • The next box is education. Xero as a company has a responsibility to educate and it’s very much a part of our mission. Think about it: Cloud accounting is what we do all day/every day. We, along with some of our accounting partners who are working with us on Accelerate, probably know more about what works best from a small business cloud accounting standpoint than anyone else in the world.
  • The last box is obligation. I believe our company has a moral obligation to help enable the accounting profession to embrace this new technology that has the ability to improve many people’s lives. And we have to remember along the way that there’s a human side to any change. Given that the move to the cloud involves new technology and learning, and given that we’re in the best position to provide that learning, I believe it’s our obligation to do so.

It’s rare for one event to embody the mission and values of a company, but I’m excited (yes, I said it again) for Xero Accelerate to be that event for us here in the US.

Learn more and register for the Xero Accelerate workshop.

 

An afternoon with the Prime Minister

A week or so ago we received a note from the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Office that John Key would like to see more about what we’re doing at Xero and meet some of our Wellington based staff. We were thrilled to have had the PM drop in on us at Field Days and delighted that he wanted to learn more about how ICT is developing in NZ.

“Of course,” we said. We then realized that many of our development team were over at WDCNZ, so worked with his team to have the Prime Minister visit the conference and do a Q&A with the 440 web developers attending.

NZ Prime Minister John Key at WDCNZ

It was a treat to be able to introduce the Prime Minister at the conference and share a few fun stories of working with the PM over the years.

We then walked across to Xero One Continue reading ›