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Building your mental model

img from indiafuturesociety.orgOur good buddy Greg over at Rightway posted on about Insight Seeing things others can’t see on the Rightway blog.

It got me pondering  how I think about strategy and making decisions.

I read many years ago, I remember it was back in Sugarland Texas in the early 90′s actually, a few parables that have stuck with me over years.

Preparation lets you take advantage of opportunity

and

It takes a year to become an expert on something

Becoming an expert in something is as simple as reading widely on a subject to get up to speed and then monitoring news and events about things that happen in that area. This can seem daunting at the beginning, but over time you begin to develop a model, or belief system about how things work.

Over time you gain confidence in your model. When events occur you think ‘I knew that would happen’ and after a while you can publicly make predictions. If you’re an entrepreneur you eventually start to bet on those models and can be rewarded for being right.

As each new fact appears you test it against your model.  The fact either confirms your model or challenges it. I love it when I find things that are inconsistent with my models. As an example when companies put out numbers that don’t feel right I love to dive deep to find out why that is? Why doesn’t it fit? Do I learn something new or have I found a misleading statement?

I love debating points with our team, because good discussion tests your model and makes you justify assumptions. I always learn things when others argue from a new perspective which tunes the model up further.

News on the Internet and especially news feeds (RSS)  have seen the number of facts you see multiplied substantially. I think that has accelerated testing and development of my mental models. I’ve been in technology for 27 years and have seen the big patterns many times. I’ve been reading RSS news feeds for over 10 years and active on the tech twitter stream so there’s not much tech news that gets by me. Each new fact I apply against my models, maybe hundreds per day. It’s not a conscious thing and it’s not onerous as I enjoy reading tech news.

To outsiders, entrepreneurs might look like they make big and bold decisions.  But to the entrepreneur that works this way you have simply gained confidence in your models. Perhaps it looks like insight but I think it’s more that  over time you’ve developed confidence in your own judgment and making a big decision is a simple and logical step.

Xero is like that for me. The move to the cloud felt obvious. The small business opportunity was clear and what we need to do to win feels pretty straight forward. It’s not arrogance, just confidence that you can see it all play out.

Our challenge to make sure we share the vision  through the team and empower our people to go as fast as they can.

So that describes how I think. Does that resonate or do others have different ways of thinking they can share?

 

Save time and money on all your foreign currency payments

TransferMate Xero Add-onTransferMate helps Xero users to save time and money on paying international foreign currency invoices. By integrating directly with Xero, you can select your unpaid foreign currency invoices, view live exchange rates and book those payments. Payments are then instantly posted back to Xero saving you time and money.

Who is it for?

TransferMate is for any business that pays invoices in foreign currencies. You may be an Australian importer paying suppliers in US dollars or a New Zealand retailer paying suppliers in Germany in Euro.

How TransferMate works with Xero

TransferMate connects to your Xero account and searches for your foreign currency invoices. Through TransferMate you can book your foreign currency payments and TransferMate will send the payment details into Xero, marking your Xero invoices as paid, saving you the hassle of double entry.

Traditional banks often overcharge and under deliver on international payments. TransferMate saves customers on average 80 percent on international payments by offering lower wire/bank transfer fees and more competitive exchange rates than traditional banks.

Where you can use TransferMate

TransferMate is available in Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK, Canada and Europe.

Try TransferMate Today

For more information or to register, check out the TransferMate website or contact their team.

 

A great finish to FY14

We feel very proud to report on FY14. 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

MARKET RELEASE

Xero finishes year up 83% to $70m

4 April 2014

(Note: all currency is in New Zealand dollars and results are unaudited)

Xero Limited (XRO) announces operating revenue of $70.1m for the year ended 31 March 2014, up 83% from last year’s $38.4m result.

With monthly committed subscriptions growing to $7.8m, the recurring revenue model means that Xero commences its 2015 financial year strongly with $93m in annualised subscriptions (representing an 81% increase on the $51.5m reported at the same time last year).

The net loss after tax for the second half of the year ending 31 March 2014 is anticipated to be similar to that reported for the first half resulting in a full year loss of approximately $35m, compared to $14.4m last year. Xero has expanded its team to 758 employees and has $210m of cash to fund its growth.

Xero up 83 percent to $70m in FY14

The strong New Zealand dollar adversely impacts reported operating revenue given 66% of this revenue is denominated in foreign currencies. On a constant currency basis Xero grew operating revenue by 92% in the period.

FY14 commentary

Recruiting senior management for growth and filling out global teams was  a key focus for the 2014 financial year as Xero added a further 376 employees.

Xero is now the leading accounting software provider in New Zealand and the leading online accounting software in Australia and the United Kingdom, with annualised subscriptions of $29m, $41m and  $14m respectively.

With strong growth expected to continue in these markets, Xero turns its focus on the important US market. The US market entry phase was completed successfully, allowing Xero to raise an additional $180m of capital in October 2013, bolstering the Board with appointments of New York-based Chris Liddell as Chairman and San Francisco-based Director Bill Veghte and appointing Peter Karpas as CEO North America.

Xero has been receiving US industry recognition, including: Accounting Today’s 2013 Top New Products: Honorable Mention – Xero Touch, Mobile category; CPA Practice Advisor’s 5-Star review 2013 (for Software as a Service); and “Top Choice” for the best online business accounting app by PC World/ Macworld.

Xero has also made progress on a number of large scale partnerships, and has recently announced integration with Square, Inc. in the US.

Regional breakdown

Xero regional breakdown for FY14

Xero has proven its strategy and execution and continues to build a world-class team, while substantially growing revenue.

Progress against the incumbents and its strong cash position places Xero at the forefront, as the adoption of cloud software accelerates for small business solutions.

Xero expects strong growth to continue for the foreseeable future.

END 

 

Mr. Sleeter’s Neighborhood – Interview

In case you missed it, check out US accounting industry leader Doug Sleeter’s webisode, featuring our very own Rod Drury.

 

Graduate recruitment and internships: business cost or value?

Graduate recruitment and internships are treated differently in every organization. When you look back anywhere from five to 20 years at the experience encountered by myself and my developer colleagues, you get a lot of different stories. All these stories have similar themes: a sense of being “dumped in the deep end,” not knowing right from wrong, not knowing what to do, and generally missing a mentor are common war stories from “back in our day”.

SoT Logo-2014

We’re thrilled to say that Summer of Tech is changing all that, allowing us to provide graduates with a supportive, constructive environment to foray into the amazing world of technology.

Even back in 2007, a fledgling Xero was proud to be part of the Summer of Tech programme (then known as Summer of Code) – a three-month internship programme based on Google’s model of summer internships.

Today Summer of Tech has some impressive statistics, increasingly putting it on par with Xero’s own graduate and careers recruitment as a way to find excellent talent in Wellington’s IT industry. Over the years we have had 19 interns, 11 of which have stayed on in some form of part time or full time employment after their internship.

Continue reading ›

 

Australian Financial Review – video on Square and Xero’s new integration

Following our announcement on April 1 about our US integration with Square Inc., the Australian Financial Review posted a video on what the deal means for Xero in the Australian market, and the impact it will have on competitor accounting software providers.

Check out the video and read the article in full here.

 

 

 

Singapore wins silver in global entrepreneurship

Guest Author: Anthony Coundouris, Director of Sales and Marketing at Future Books. 

Hot on the tail of the most powerful startup hub, Silicon Valley, Singapore was ranked #2 globally in terms of total entrepreneurial activity, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Report.

Now, this piqued our interest, so we decided to survey our clients (mostly in the food and beverage, tech and consulting industries) to find out what makes them tick.

We completed this study on Singapore startups in January 2014. A random sample of 242 businesses located within a four kilometre radius of Singapore’s CBD were drawn. 95% of the sample were private limited companies, incorporated sometime during 2012/13.

Controlling interest

Owners and directors, or control, were split evenly between foreigners and locals, except in the instances of food and beverage. Food and beverage saw a larger proportion of local control.

 Foreign and local split between startups

50% of directors and shareholders of food and beverage companies were either blood relation or married couples.

Continue reading ›

 

Get time back with Square and Xero’s new integration

To us payments geeks, when Square launched, it just made sense. A simple, elegant solution to small merchants’ credit and debit card acceptance problem? How come I didn’t think of that?!

Square actually solves more pain points for small merchants than meets the eye. Complicated fee structures, expensive hardware and merchant account underwriting requirements were the norm for many years. These archaic demands made it impossible for many small businesses to even qualify, let alone afford a merchant account. Not only did Square remove all of these issues, they did it via a tiny piece of plastic and customer cell phones. In short, Square effectively democratized payments for the small guys, giving every person in the US with a mobile phone access to a point of sale system!

I’ve been a Square fan since the early days and am thrilled to finally offer its merchants an integrated accounting solution that does the heavy lifting for them. Other combined payments and accounting solutions just dump raw data on users. But Square and Xero work together in lock step – intelligently sorting transactional data and building an accurate view of accrual balances. A once tedious process is now made simple with Square and Xero.

To get a taste of how the integration works, check out our video:

With this integration, Xero will automatically sync all of the previous day’s transaction data from Square, summarize it and create an aggregated transaction in Xero – allocating any payments, refunds, fees and sales taxes to the appropriate account. Sellers and small businesses can now save time, which was previously spent manually inputting sales.

Using this approach, Xero will keep track of the money Square owes you while breaking out all Square fees, tips and refunds. In addition to credit card receivables, Xero can also help keep track of cash receipts. Using auto-generated bank rules, each bank deposit from Square will be matched with outstanding receivables using a settlement account methodology.  This will also allow for importing of historical transaction data from Square, and quick and easy bulk coding of multiple daily summaries.

We are thrilled to announce this partnership, and hope you enjoy the time that Square and Xero together give back to you.

Xero customer, Andy Ciordia of The Secret Chocolatier is especially excited about the integration. “I used to spend my Sunday afternoons manually dragging, dropping and categorizing my weekly Square transactions into Xero,” says Andy. “This integration gives me my weekends back – I have more time for my family and my business.”

Want to learn more about Square point of sale software for retailers?

 

 

Strategic alliance with KPMG in the UK

In London this morning we’re announcing the launch of a strategic deal with KPMG, one of the Big 4 global accounting firms.

This is a significant milestone for the adoption of cloud accounting in the UK and one we expect will further accelerate our growth in the UK, the most hotly contested online accounting market globally.

KPMG London

 

Accounting API: 10 new features so far in 2014

This morning’s 2.46 release of the core accounting API provides developers with the ability to retrieve repeating invoices. This feature became more compelling to provide with the recent advances our reporting add-on partners have made in the area of cashflow forecasting – repeating invoices include some key information on this front that will make these applications even more useful.

We are proud to be moving quickly on the release front with 10 key features released in the first three months of 2014:

API releases 2013-2014
Continue reading ›