Xero Australia MD Chris Ridd recently gave an interview to Alan Kohler for his Talking Business show on Qantas inflight radio. Chris talks with Alan about the growing interest in cloud accounting and the value of Software as a Service (SaaS). He discusses the momentum we’re seeing in Australia, and the increasing number of customers signing up to Xero every business day.
The interview will be played on all Qantas domestic and international flights during July. Or you can listen to Chris’s interview online.
BlueVine provides small business with advances on outstanding invoices. Credit lines can range from $5,000 to $50,000 and deposits can appear in your bank account within 24 hours. BlueVine helps small businesses when they need working capital. Businesses often need additional capital to pay expenses, take on additional work, or cover payroll. One of the big challenges businesses face is long customer payment cycles and irregular cash flow. It’s a good option for those who don’t easily qualify for a bank loan.
Who is BlueVine for?
Farming in the Cloud has taken another step forward today with phase one of our innovation partnership with PGG Wrightson. PGG Wrightson account holders can now sign up to have their transactions seamlessly fed directly through to Xero. To set this up just follow the instructions at the Xero Business Help Centre.
Mark Dewdney, Chief Executive Officer, PGG Wrightson, said: “We’re delighted to now have this feed up and running – Xero’s innovation is receiving international acclaim but we think that, back here in New Zealand, Farming in the Cloud is set to be a game-changer for farmers and the rural sector in terms of creating greater integration and more collaborative services.
“Farming can be a tough business and we are looking forward to using the power of the cloud to create more value for our customers and help them in managing their accounts and businesses more efficiently.”
Partnerships are now established with all the other major rural suppliers:
PGG Wrightson was the first partner to come on board and we finalized our agreement with them earlier this year. Xero provides real-time data for farmers and helps automate manual transaction entry through direct bank feeds, and rural supplier feeds. Don’t forget to check out the Receipt Bank rural solution which helps automate even more of your receipts and expenses entry into Xero.
There are now over 300 add-ons available to increase the functionality of Xero and let you create a system that precisely fits your business needs. That flexibility is something we’re exceptionally proud of. And it’s something that our clients love.
As Xero has grown, so have our add-on partners’ businesses, and many are expanding into new territories and new overseas operations. Vend is a responsive point–of–sale (POS) system, Spotlight Reporting is business intelligence that creates fast, efficient performance reports and Receipt Bank is an ingenious tool for making your expenses more efficient – and all of these businesses have been blazing a trail by opening global offices outside their home territory.
We caught up with Richard Francis, founder of Spotlight Reporting, Vaughan Rowsell, founder of Vend, and Michael Wood, co-founder of Receipt Bank, to hear about the opportunities and challenges they faced when moving outside their local territory.
How difficult was it to get Spotlight up and running in New Zealand to begin with?
RF: “Perhaps the biggest challenge was deciding to start out as ‘Xero only’ – supporting Rod and Hamish and their vision from day one. We started out as the first independent Accounting Firm Partner (Francis Consulting), where we were already using cloud as much as possible, and then Spotlight Reporting was one of the very first add-ons (alongside the likes of Vend and Unleashed). Being ‘Xero only’ in the early days in particular meant you only had a limited user base, albeit a fast-growing, highly-engaged one.”
Did you have a similar experience when setting up Vend as a business?
VR: “Getting the initial product built was the key part, and making sure it met the needs of those early customers. You can’t underestimate the amount of work required to get this absolutely right.
But even then, once you have built the first version of the product, then you are really only at the starting line. The really hard stuff comes next. Finding customers and growing like crazy. Raising capital from investors early on helped, as it provided the fuel to really start to grow, and build out the initial Vend team. Getting the right people on board early really helps with success. You can’t do it all by yourself.”
When you started Receipt Bank in the UK did you have a comparable experience when growing your customer base?
MW: “I would agree with Vaughn – there is a huge amount of work involved in building a product that meets the needs of customers. From day one our aim was to build a product that saved time for small businesses but which could also create huge efficiencies for firms of bookkeepers and accountants. The fact that we were just concentrating on the UK (at that time) made things much easier – each time we have entered a new country we have worked closely with local accountants and bookkeepers to refine the product appropriately.”
Sunshine in London!? Yes, it really did happen. And as Gary Turner, our UK Managing Director, put it, ‘We even ordered up the hottest day of the year for our Xero London roadshow outdoor lunch’.
Thankfully, the outdoor courtyard area at The Brewery was perfect for coffee breaks and lunchtime chats, so no-one missed out on that all important sun. When you’re a Londoner, you can’t afford to miss out on valuable tanning time.
We kicked off proceedings with a beginner’s guide to Xero for those people just starting out on their cloud accounting journeys. It’s always great to see a room full of Xero enthusiasts, but it’s even more heartening to see people who are just beginning to understand the immeasurable benefits of working in the cloud. For many, it will be the start of a long-lasting relationship with Xero and a brand new chapter in the evolution of their accounting practice. That’s great to see.
Evolution: that’s the overriding theme that came up when chatting to clients and prospective partners over the course of the day. Whether is was brand new start-ups, as yet untested in the marketplace, or more experienced practices looking to take that first step into the cloud. Both camps have realised that small business owners are getting younger, smarter and more tech-savvy. And this affinity with digital, mobile technology means that these innovative business owners choose cloud-based solutions as a matter of course. If you’re doing your marketing on Facebook and Twitter, and your admin with Google Apps, why would you not do your accounts in the cloud too? Answer: there’s no good reason not to choose the cloud. And accounting practices of all different levels of size and experience are starting to realise the implications of this shift. A new breed of cloud advocate small business needs a similarly innovative breed of accountant. And those accountants need to be using a cloud accounting platform, like Xero, to meet the needs of the new breed of SMBs.
It has been a big few months unveiling of our Farming in the Cloud solution to our New Zealand customers and partners. The farming team (banker, accountant, farmer and farm consultant) can now all work together on one true online platform.
Phase 1 included launching our farming software partner Figured on Farm to the market at Xerocon, running early adopter sessions with 60 accounting firms from around New Zealand, a national roadshow to hundreds of rural professionals, and of course a massive debut at Fieldays.
We were excited to announce our partnership with all major rural supply companies, and continued discussions with key industry bodies including Dairy Base and the Red Meat Profit Partnership to assist the industry deliver real-time benchmarking. As we build out the eco-system it feels like we are bringing an industry together.
We’re kicking into the next phase, which is about extending the farming eco-system. We’re inviting more farming software partners and linking on-farm software and monitoring tools into the farm financial platform to complete one end-to-end platform for rural NZ. The next phase also includes looking at how we deliver this model globally, so if you’re outside NZ, please email email@example.com to register your interest.
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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.