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A proven need for mobile optimization

People are moving from desktop to smartphones and tablets, and they expect the businesses they use to be moving right along with them.

This means it’s a requirement for small business, and not just the large corporations, to invest in mobile optimization for their websites.

A click is not the same as a tap, and a mobile screen is a much smaller canvas to operate on than a monitor. Mobile users are even more demanding of a simple, beautiful experience, so it’s not as simple as shrinking your site down to fit on a phone.

mobile optimization

While price, convenience and choice are all motivational factors for consumers buying online, you can be sure if you’re not capturing mobile traffic, you’re missing out on sales. In fact, having a mobile ready site could give you the edge over competitors who haven’t yet embraced he trend. Continue reading ›

 

Xero Touch 2.1 for Android

Last Tuesday we published the first major update to Xero Touch for Android since the native app was first released back in February. Read on for a summary of what was in the release, the history of Xero Touch on Android, and the implications of OS fragmentation for support.

The major item you’re likely to notice is initial support for Files for Xero. Previously you could only attach a single picture to a receipt, but now you can attach as many as you like. This creates a foundation for our next two Android features: attaching files to invoices, and accessing the main files inbox.

Xero Touch screenshot

Under the covers, we’ve also refactored segments of the app (particularly authorisation) into Android library projects. Xero Touch isn’t going to be the only mobile app we release, and this refactoring means that a lot more code can be reused for new apps. A more modular codebase also makes it easier for us to develop and test new features.

That’ll come in handy as we move to a more regular release cycle. Already the native version of Xero Touch has seen more regular releases, every five weeks on average (as opposed to five months for HTML5). Our customers also seem to like it a lot more. The HTML5 implementation at one point dropped down to a 2.4 star rating, but the current combined rating for the native releases is over 4 stars! It’s unfortunate that the ratings assigned to the old version of the app persist; this is why the overall app rating is only 3.55.

Version Released Ratings Stars Average
HTML5 1.x 1 Oct ’12 228 700 3.07
Native 2.0.3+ 19 Feb ’14 260 1079 4.15

 

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How CRM will benefit your business in just three words

SMB Tech Tips by Gene Marks: Gene Marks is a small business owner, technology expert, author and columnist. He writes regularly for leading US media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur. He has authored five books on business management and appears regularly on Fox News, Fox Business, MSNBC and CNBC. Gene runs a ten-person CRM and technology consulting firm outside of Philadelphia. Learn more at genemarks.com.

Back in the day, when I talked to small business owners like myself, no one knew what CRM (Customer Relationship Management) was. Now, everyone seems pretty familiar with the concept, and the more well-known applications like Salesforce.com, SugarCRM and Batchbook. But the sad fact is that even though many know what CRM is, most still aren’t using CRM systems very well. In fact, of the 600 clients my company serves using various CRM systems, I’d say only 20 percent of them are really doing the right things. And what are the right things? It’s all about three words.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. Integrate. A CRM system should not be on its own island. It should be talking to other systems — which means that your CRM software should be exchanging data with your accounting system, website and other databases. So when you choose a CRM application, make sure it has links into these other systems. When you view a customer’s record, you not only want to see their activities, notes, emails, pipeline and other CRM data but you also want to know their order history and whether or not there are any outstanding invoices.If you’re a Xero user, then check out the many CRM systems that partner and integrate with Xero. Also, Xero just introduced a new CRM-like feature called Smart Lists that let’s you search your customer data to create highly targeted lists that you can export to a CSV file to use via your email system or export to Constant Contact for targeted email marketing campaigns. The main point here is to centralize your customer data. Don’t be stuck doing duplicate entry. Don’t fall victim to bad data. Integrate.

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Reinventing retail

Technology is having profound impact on retail. Retail precincts form the heart of small towns but the rise of Amazon and other retail websites are putting retail stores all over the world under threat.

Small countries like New Zealand, lacking in scale, are particularly affected. We’ve seen a push for legislation that adds sales tax to overseas purchases to level the playing field, but I’ve always thought a better approach was to change our mindset and compete globally.

It was delightful to see this TV One article over the weekend where Kathryn Wilson has blended a beautiful retail experience with technology.

Kathryn Wilson footwear

Also some great advice from eCommerce NZ on capturing and measuring data to refine what works.

I’m sure many of us feel a little upset when we drive through communities and see empty retail spaces. Rethinking retail so customers are not just in your town but your country, or even the world, can flip this situation around. We can create new location-independent jobs that require great design, marketing and logistics skills.

What I loved about the story was how proactive Kathryn and her team are. There are plenty of marketing specialists and web consultants in every town ready to help retailers navigate this new world.

I hope Kathryn inspires many more retailers to start the journey.

 

Receipt Bank and Xero: Three years on

Receipt Bank and Xero

When I started at Xero just over three years ago, one of the first Xero Add-ons I assisted with certifying was from a small little UK startup app called Receipt Bank. Well, three years on and Receipt Bank are now the most popular add-on for Xero, and recipients of a number of Xero awards.

As much as I love the original blog post (the cheesy background music on the video!), I thought it might be time to do a quick refresher, and cover some of the less obvious, and new features that Receipt Bank provides:

  • More than just receipts. In the UK the term ‘receipts’ covers everything – expense receipts, accounts payable invoices etc, but in other parts of the world, it might not be quite as obvious that Receipt Bank supports receipts on expense claims but also accounts payable invoices and spend money transactions.
  • Line item extraction. It was a huge leap forward when Receipt Bank recently announced they can now populate Xero with invoice line item details. Receipt Bank automatically splits line item details for original .pdf files – perfect for purchase invoices that need to be split across different accounts.
  • Attachments. Receipt Bank creates attachments on all the documents it can in Xero – receipts, bills (accounts payable invoices) and spend money transactions (bank transactions), so you have a complete audit trail.
  • Reimbursable and re-billing expenses. Receipt Bank’s integration with Xero enables you to create both an expense report for staff reimbursements and also a draft sales invoice for oncharged costs.

The most impressive development at Receipt Bank over the past three years however, is the unique way they have worked with Xero accounting and bookkeeping partners. Check out just one story here:


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NACEW Women in Innovation Summit

Earlier this month, New Zealand’s National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) held a Women in Innovation Summit. Our fearless leader Rod spoke about some of the barriers and opportunities women in tech face these days. A group of us tagged along to watch and came away with some pretty interesting food for thought.

Melissa Clark-Reynolds and Rod Drury chat about women in innovation

Melissa (left) and Rod had the chance to chat with each other and the audience following their talks.

How gender bias affects women in innovation

One of Rod’s key points was that ideally the gender balance of a company should reflect its customer base. While Xero’s stats put us ahead of many other companies in terms of gender balance – Google, for example – there is still room for improvement. For example, while 40 percent of Xero employees are women, only half of these positions are considered to be “hard core tech” roles.

Bias was a central theme of the day. We need more women leaders to speak out with confidence about their success, in order to provide girls and women of all ages with much-needed role models. Both men and women need to remove bias against other women and celebrate their success. Women need to be supported in their success and not be accused of “trying to act like a man”, or fall victim to tall poppy syndrome.

Rod also stressed the importance of encouraging girls in their final year/s of high school to consider tech careers. One attendee mentioned that at a recent visit to a Wellington girls’ high school, students had the overwhelming impression that “tech careers” were for sweaty, overweight, introverted men. It’s imperative kids learn that tech can be so much more than that – glamorous, challenging, exciting, innovative, a great way to earn money, and a means to contribute to the future of the county.

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Outstanding Contribution to Technology winner Rod Drury

We’re proud to announce that Rod Drury was honoured for Outstanding Contribution to Technology in NZ at last night’s CIO Awards.Xero CEO wins Outstanding Contribution to Technology

Introducing the award, Graeme Riley — NZ Managing Director for SAP — said that Rod is is one of New Zealand’s leading CEO’s and business entrepreneurs.

From all of us here at Xero, we’d like to say congratulations!

To read more about the evening and the reasons why Rod was honoured with the award, check out this article by The National Business Review:

CIO Awards 2014: Rod Drury honoured for Outstanding Contribution to Technology in NZ

 

 

Xero and Retail Express POS Integration

Retail Express POS is a Xero Add-on

Retail Express is a point of sale system designed for single-store retail businesses and multi-store retail businesses with up to 80 stores. It powers retail businesses who sell items as furniture and homeware, fashion and accessories, recreational goods and all other general retail. The basic rule is, if you sell something (with the exception of food), Retail Express can help. If your business sells online, or would like to, Retail Express can design, build and integrate a custom webstore.

Set up your webstore with Retail Express

How it works with Xero

A summary of your daily trading activity moves across from Retail Express to Xero as a journal entry. The detail of this activity remains stored in Retail Express and can be accessed at anytime with a number of easy to use reporting functions.

Specifically, the data that transfers from Retail Express to Xero includes:

  • Sales
  • Cost of Sales
  • Customer Payments
  • Purchase Orders
  • Stock Adjustments

Why use Retail Express?

It provides you ultimate control and visibility into your retail business operations and empowers you to make informed decisions and see more profitable growth. The Xero add-on integration streamlines your accounting process and makes reconciliation a quick and easy task.

“The best way to discover Retail Express for yourself is to book a guided tour of the platform and you will see why this is a great product for the Retail space, coupled with Xero to streamline the Accounting” – Robert King, Northern Business Consultants

Try it today

Sign up for Retail Express today by visiting their website or phoning them on 1300 732 618

 

Xero & JobReady.RTO will take your registered training organisation into the cloud

JobReady.RTO Xero Add-onJobReady.RTO is a Student Management System designed to reform your Registered Training Organisation. It provides all the tools to grow and automate your RTO and gives peace of mind around communication, compliance, claiming and reporting.

Who is it for?

JobReady.RTO offers Student Management System solutions for established Registered Training Organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand.

How JobReady.RTO works with Xero

You can now manage your finances and accounts more efficiently with JobReady.RTO through integrating with Xero. Connecting to Xero enables you to update your student accounts, manage funding, track invoices, make payments and revise contact information seamlessly and securely from within JobReady.RTO.

Where you can use JobReady.RTO

Any Registered Training Organisation based in Australia or New Zealand can use JobReady.RTO and it’s Xero integration

Try JobReady.RTO today, for free

For a free consultation and systems health check, simply call 02 9018 5525 or email sales@jobready.com.au Or sign up with JobReady.RTO today and receive a 30 day, no obligations, free trial.

 

Guest blog: Why my business accepts bitcoin and why yours should too

Guest blog by Ryan Lazanis, CPA, CA of Xen Accounting, Montreal

bitcoin accepted here

Bitcoin is a pretty hot topic right now, and for some, it’s a bit mysterious and controversial. How can we have a global virtual currency that’s completely decentralized and completely unregulated? A type of money that isn’t controlled or regulated by any bank or government is enough to make some people uneasy, that is until you learn more about what bitcoin is and how it works. It’s one of the smartest, most forward-thinking innovations of our generation, and it might just reshape the way we do business.

What is bitcoin?

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