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Xero Personal update

It’s been great to get so much feedback about Xero Personal. There’s definitely real passion out there for what we’re doing!

The focus of version 1 was to get the important links between the BNZ and Xero working seamlessly. Our approach is a hybrid where we get the best of online banking and the frequent innovation you’ve come to expect from Xero. It’s been a huge amount of work. Over time we believe this will be the way that most personal finance solutions work. We call this Banking 2.0.

Xero Personal is a personal money manager that’s designed to be simple for anybody to use whether tech savvy or not. We expect for many people this will be their first time using a tool like this. As with Xero Business, we love getting your feedback and we have lots of things we’re looking forward to doing now we’ve got the platform out there.

Step one of any product like Xero Personal is categorization. We’ve taken a ‘crowdsourcing’ approach where over time the community makes categorization smarter. As users come on you will start to see the benefits of this. One of the requests we’ve had is to increase the number of custom categories you’re able to create. We understand that some people want really fine-grained control over how they track their expenses.

There’s two reasons why we set a cap on the number of categories. The first was to improve Xero Personal’s ability to guess the right category for you, which relies on a discrete set of categories that are shared across all users. The second is that we have a plan for how to provide really fine-grained expense tracking, which we think is even better than creating lots of custom categories.

As a way of helping those people who want this functionality right now, we’re raising the number of custom categories from 8 to 20. But you can look forward to us providing other ways that will give you even greater control of your expenses in the future.

Another feature we have on the roadmap is the ability to split transactions. There are a few ways we can tackle this, but we’re really interested to hear how you would like the splits to work. So what we’re keen to know is:

  • What type of transactions do you normally split, and how do you split them?
  • Are the split ratios always the same for a payee or are they unique for each transaction?
  • Is splitting more important then having your transactions automatically categorised for you?

Please send us an email to split.feedback@xero.com or comment below with your thoughts on these split transaction questions.

 

Introducing Xero Personal…

The anticipation is over – Xero Personal is now available! It’s such an exciting day for us, launching this new personal finance management product.

For the first release we’ve really focused on features to help you find out where your money is going and to identify areas where you can save money. There are tools to allow you to see your full financial position, then set up goals and track your progress towards them.

We’re passionate about where we might take Xero Personal and plan to release updates regularly, based as much as possible on what you tell us you want.

While available to Xero business customers globally from today, we will be staggering the release of the Xero Personal activation emails for New Zealand customers who sign up through the BNZ, where they also get automated personal bank feeds. This is so we can backload your BNZ account data and monitor the load so the user experience is optimal from the start. So if you are a BNZ customer and want to try Xero Personal we suggest you pre-register through BNZ Internet Banking as soon as possible. It may take up to two weeks before you’ll be completely up and running. But bear with us, it will be worth it!

Take a look at this short overview. Perhaps this will be the start of a change in the way you use your money…

A big thank you to the team at the BNZ who we’ve worked with for the last many months on this project. We appreciate your support.

While the big news is certainly Xero Personal, check out the release notes for details on other updates.

 

What’s coming with Xero Personal

As the release of Xero Personal gets closer, we thought you might appreciate finding out about one of the features that we have been working on.

Very often small businesses mix their personal and business expenses, using personal bank accounts or credit cards for business purchases. That’s why we’ve made it simple for you to send purchase receipts from Xero Personal directly into into your business organisation to ensure you correctly account for this business expense and also reimburse yourself.

This means that if you are using Xero for your business and you categorise a Xero Personal transaction as a business expense, you will also be given the option to send the receipt to your business organisation.

Here’s a quick overview of how it works.

Step 1

You categorise a transaction as a business expense and then you’re given the option to send a receipt

Step 2

You choose your organisation and include some information in the description field.

Step 3

You hit Send Expense Claim and now a draft receipt will be in your business organisation.

Your transaction will also update inside Xero Personal to show that your claim has been sent.

That’s a sneak preview of  just one of the great features coming with Xero Personal. We know many of you are dying to try it. But it’s not long now – stay tuned for the full product release in the next few weeks.

 

Xero Personal gets closer

We’ve been amazed at the feedback we’ve received after announcing our plans to launch Xero Personal and delighted by the number of people who’ve asked to be kept informed.

Beta testing of Xero Personal is going well and the full launch is on track for some time in March 2010.

As you know we’ve partnered with Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) to help develop and launch this new service in the New Zealand market. BNZ will be opening up pre-registration for BNZ customers from mid February 2010 via their Internet Banking , with the service branded under the bank’s product name ‘MoneyMap’.

Keep an eye on our blog for further updates and feedback from Xero customers and followers. If you haven’t already, you can register your interest at www.xero.com/personal.

 

Xero Personal

It’s an exciting day for us at Xero because we get to talk about Xero Personal for the first time.

We’ve been working on Xero Personal for some time. We need to talk about it now as it’s about to go into external partner testing. It will be available in early 2010.

So what is Xero Personal all about?

One of the first reasons we looked at doing a personal edition is because many small business owners blur their personal and business expenses. Rewards points on credit cards are a good example of why this happens. So a key function of Xero Personal is to allow business owners to separate their personal and business expenses. Personal will work great on its own but it will also complement Xero Business.

The second reason is because this space is a good opportunity – ripe for a new business model. Looking at the state of the personal finance software market it’s undoubtedly becoming a hot space. A recent example is Intuit’s recent $US170 million acquisition of Mint. Personal products generally fit into two camps.

  1. Those that are stand alone and require some sort of advertising based model for revenue. There has been some great innovation here but we really don’t like cluttering things up with an advertising based model.
  2. Those solutions that are provided inside online banking. The problem with this approach is the difficulty to innovate and try new things as they are constrained by the requirements of working inside the banking environment.

We wanted to do something that hasn’t been seen before. A hybrid that leverages our great relationships with banking partners, while allowing us to innovate on our own platform.  As we discovered with Xero Business – it comes alive when connected to a bank. So we wanted that for Xero Personal. Connecting to banks allows us to do some really exciting things and make it very easy for our customers.

What does Xero Personal do?

In terms of what the software does, we wanted to go past the initial hit of just classifying transactions and seeing the depressing reality of what you spend your money on. We want to create a new service that people use each week to set their goals and track progress. We want to change how people save and how they act with their money. All of us were blown away when our interaction team walked us through the early designs several months ago. We think we’ve built a tool that people will enjoy using again and again.

In New Zealand we’re working closely with the BNZ. It’s been so much fun working with their team. We intend to take Xero Personal to market with other banks around the world over time. We’ve designed it to support bank branding and provide a collection of widgets that can be displayed inside online banking. Xero Personal still works great without a bank connection – but working with banks and getting data moving around automatically will be an even better experience.

Xero Personal is a new code base, but we reused a lot from Xero Business. We’re excited to be able to get many more people to have a Xero experience with this product.

How and when?

Stay tuned for more information over the coming months as we complete testing and get into production.We’ll let you know as soon as it’s publicly available and how you can get it – early 2010. You can register your interest at www.xero.com/personal and we’ll email you updates.

Any questions, please let us know.