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Files on the run

Xero Touch for iOS has now been updated to give you access to your files from your mobile device.

Xero Files using Xero Touch for iOS

Files for Xero was released back in October and was a game changer, allowing you to attach source documents to transactions. This gives you a full picture of your financial data and supporting materials all in one place.

Now you can upload images to your Xero Files inbox from your iOS mobile device, whenever and wherever you are. You can upload photos of receipts, assets, locations and people to Xero, and they’re just the more obvious uses; we have no doubt you’ll be able to think of numerous other ways to take advantage of this capability!

Not only can images be captured and uploaded to your files inbox for later, you can also use your iOS device to review any files that are in your inbox, too.

The latest version of Xero Touch for iOS including files is available in the App Store. A brand-new version of Xero Touch for Android was released last month and Android support for files is already in development.

 

Is the future of work standing desks?

Standing while you’re working may seem rather odd to most people, but it is a practice with a long tradition. Winston Churchill wrote while working at a special standing desk, as did Ernest Hemingway and Benjamin Franklin.

 Why standing desks and why now?

Standing desk at Xero

Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that sitting is killing us. A recent survey found that many of us spend up to 12 hours sitting on our bottoms – at work, at home, in the car, in the movies, and even in the gym! Add that to seven hours of sleep and we spend nearly 19 hours every day being sedentary. That is incredibly excessive. Human beings are not designed to sit down so much.

Several studies have also shown that stand-up desks do really offer better health benefits. Fewer medical issues, less back problems, increased productivity, increased energy, higher calorie burn, living longer and healthier are just some of the numerous benefits that have been documented scientifically and anecdotally by stand-up adopters. However, as in everything in life, there needs to be a balance. As it turns out, standing all day is not very good either – it can lead to enlarged veins, or the hardening of arteries.

Change your posture constantly and move around, whether you sit or stand at work – because standing all day can be as bad as prolonged sitting.

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Working with Xero and Workpapers – taking back control of your compliance

Helping accountancy practices really add value for their clients is what we’re all about at Xero. We’ve even put together our own Practice Studio suite which includes Workpapers, a software package which make your compliance process faster, easier and smarter. And less time spent on process-heavy compliance means more time to collaborate with your clients on important year-end issues.

We caught up recently with Ian Woollard, Director at Pearson Buchholz, to find out how working with Xero and Workpapers has transformed their compliance and quality assurance processes – and allowed them to bring additional value to their client conversations. Ian’s been using Xero since 2010, when clients initially started requesting cloud-based solutions for their accounting needs.

Ian Woollard from Pearson Buchholz

Ian Woollard from Pearson Buchholz

Pulling your data from Xero into Workpapers

Ian’s keen to underline Xero’s ability to produce tailored management accounting reports for clients, as well as the secure nature of Xero’s data – a deciding factor when the firm wanted a system that provided the comfort around data that was needed for their business. But it’s the synergy between Xero and Workpapers that has really made a difference for Pearson Buchholz.

“What Workpapers does is allow us to suck the data we need out of Xero. For us, it’s a great tool and it’s a great time-saver.

Before we used Workpapers we were producing a manual file for each client for review purposes, which was a time-consuming process. What Workpapers allows us to do is stop re-processing the client’s data to create working papers for review processes. That data is already there in Xero and can be pulled across straight into Workpapers.”

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Digital innovation in action on the Sunshine Coast

I was recently invited by the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Queensland to speak on ‘Digital Innovation in Action’.

Digital innovation in action

The Sunshine Coast is a great example of a regional community seeking ways to encourage local business owners to improve productivity by embracing the latest technologies. In opening the breakfast, Michael Shadforth, President of the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the need for businesses to understand and embrace opportunities offered by cloud technologies like Xero in order to improve business efficiencies and lower the costs of running IT.

A local businessmen himself, Michael is clearly passionate about seeing business flourish in the area and sees local innovation as a great way of preventing the “brain drain” of young talent moving to the cities to pursue job opportunities. As a result he was particularly taken with my story of an Adelaide Bookkeeper who made the move to the Sunshine Coast for lifestyle reasons and was able to keep all her clients as a result of using Xero.

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New features in Xero Workpapers

We’re excited to release an update to Xero Workpapers, a core part of Practice Studio, our suite of tools designed to help our accountant and bookkeeper partners take control of their workflow.

This release is a milestone for us, as it’s the last stage of the handover from the original Workpapers team who created the product and grew it so well since the acquisition by Xero back in 2012.

This is our chance to offer a huge thank you to Julie and Richard Francis for all the visionary thinking and hard work that has gone into a product that is revolutionising the way its users get their work done. The new team has some big shoes to fill!

The Workpapers team in our Auckland office is growing, and we have some exciting things planned for 2014, but here’s what’s new today:

Xero Workpapers feature update

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Entryless eliminates manual data entry of your bills

Entryless automatically generates accounting entries from bills in any format and syncs them into Xero eliminating manual data entry of your bills.

Entryless is an Accounts Payable as a Service that frees up staff resources, by crunching and syncing all accounts payable data into Xero, allowing companies to manage their accounts payable data online.

Who is it for?

Entryless helps accountants and bookkeepers to scale their practice by automating a key back office function. It enables business owners to make better decisions by obtaining faster financial statements.

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Small business tax-time trends

As the tax deadline for tax year 2013 quickly approaches and businesses across the US rush to prepare essential information for their accountants, the spotlight is thrown on small business tax issues.

For the third year running, we surveyed 400 accounting professionals across the country to get their take on which tax and accounting issues are plaguing small business.

Some of the information we gathered was both informative and interesting. When asked what is the strangest item their clients have tried to write off, more accountants say a family or personal trip disguised as a business trip than any other item. The top five strangest items after that include an animal or pet, pet supplies, food or groceries, and a swimming pool or hot tub – in that order. Although not as common, some particularly interesting items include a face lift, a robot and Girl Scout cookies.

We’ve presented some of the most interesting and helpful information in this infographic:

Xero Tax Time Infographic

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Provoke Solutions goes global with Xero

Guest post by Catherine Fitzgerald, Project Manager, Provoke Solutions

New Zealand software development and online experience consultancy, Provoke Solutions, began in 2001 as a start-up with one office in Wellington, a vision for greatness and a clunky accounting package. Now with five offices on three continents, Xero have helped us go global.

Provoke Solutions

Out with the old, in with the Xero

Following the opening of our Auckland office in 2007, we came to realize that our bulky accounting product, designed for large organizations and multi-nationals of 500+ employees, proved more a hindrance than a help. It was neither easy to administer nor simple to customize. We needed an accounting solution that would better meet our needs.

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Self-paced learning for Accountants and Bookkeepers

Update:  Self-paced learning is now available for US and Australian accountant and bookkeeper partners as well. Rest of world soon to follow!

 Accountants and bookkeepers can now experience self-paced e-learning inside Xero. The new Training tab in My Xero for Partners is now available, where accountants and bookkeepers can learn online about Xero at their own pace – anywhere, anytime.

This exciting release will be rolled out for the UK and NZ editions of Xero, followed by the US and Australia, and comes after last month’s launch of Xero U, which brings live training events like webinars and classroom courses together in one place at xero.com/xero-u.

More than ever, we’re on the move and we’re busy, and not everyone in your accounting practice is on the same schedule. Self-paced learning will enable your practice staff to become certified Xero experts,  complete other courses, and monitor training progress to continue growing and accelerating your practice.

Check out our video to see how it works!

 

 

What the Official Cash Rate (OCR) rise means to New Zealand small businesses

As many economists predicted, the New Zealand Reserve Bank has raised the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 0.25% today. The OCR was originally 2.5% and is now 2.75%. By the end of 2016, economists expect the OCR to be between 4% and 5%, as the Reserve Bank tries to limit inflation by lifting interest rates.

Rising house prices, increasing immigration and booming construction activity are all creating a lot of the inflation pressures. This pressure is being slightly eased by the high exchange rate on the kiwi dollar.

What does this mean for owners of small to medium enterprises (SMEs)?

We talked to Lisa Martin, Managing Director of GoFi8ure and Vice President of NZBAI (also winner of Bookkeeper of the Year at the Xero Partner Awards 2014) about what the Official Cash Rate means to New Zealand small businesses.

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