One of our objectives this year was to make some progress on Xero for Farming. Today we’re releasing a Farming Integration guide that provides a blueprint for seamless farming and accounting software. We have a number of providers with solutions in progress.
Farm solutions have traditionally included farm management and accounting. They are also traditionally disconnected from other software. The farmer works away on forecasts, livestock and fertilizer planning on their software while the accountant in town often processes bank transactions from the bank statements – the same work being done twice.
We’re solving this problem by helping farm solution providers use our API to connect the farm management side of their business to accounting in Xero. Here’s our thinking:
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According to new research commissioned by PayPal Australia, technology comprehension can have a big impact on the growth of Australian SMEs. Three in five SMEs claim that they could run their business more efficiently if they knew more about the digital tools and technology innovation available.
Last week, AU Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull and I tackled this issue at PayPal’s annual Driving Business Online event. This is a national education program to help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) take advantage of the digital economy.
It was a great opportunity for me to restate the importance of small business to the economy, a sector that represents 46% of GDP and 73% of all trading entities.
I spoke about the rapid shift to cloud computing within this sector due to the compelling cost savings and agility that moving to the cloud offers to these business owners. I also spoke of the trend we’re seeing among small businesses moving to mobile, with over 145,000 downloads of our smartphone app, Xero Touch. The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull agreed and said that one aspect of the digital economy that businesses are being forced to address is the increasing use of mobile devices by customers.
Following on from last week’s TV interview with Peter Switzer, I was again in the hot seat at Sky News studio. This time I was speaking with Nigel Freitas, host of Technology Behind Business.
Since the last time I spoke to Nigel on the launch of our listing on the ASX, Xero shares have risen 275%. There was a lot of news to update him on, especially Xero’s recent capital raise, our plans for the funding, and our strategy for taking on some of our bigger competitors.
We talked about the competitive landscape in Australia and the investment needed to fuel future growth. We see this as a big point of difference between Xero and some of our competitors in the Australasian market. We’re excited about the opportunities the funding will bring for Xero as a global leader in accounting software.
Check out the interview below:
Further extending their collaboration with Xero after the launch of credit card feeds last month, ASB have today launched support for loans, term deposits and foreign currency feeds.
ASB is the first bank in Australasia to offer support for foreign currency accounts in Xero. If you are using Xero’s large product and have multi-currency requirements, such as exporting income or payments to international suppliers, these feeds will help you keep on top of activity in all the foreign currency accounts you hold at ASB.
Payroll is a hard thing to love! The greatest compliment that we ever receive is the joy our customers feel for something that is now simple, that was once so complex. Our goal here at Xero is to bring you the most beautiful US domestic payroll product that we possibly can. Over the next few blog posts, we’ll share with you our plans for seamless accounting and Payroll, provide some snippets of the product and invite you on our roadshow to see it all in action – live and up close.
Since the idea was first born to bring payroll to the Xero product here in the US, we’ve focussed on making the experience seamless and simple. No longer is it acceptable to separate payroll and the general ledger. This potentially introduces costly mistakes through export and import, or synchronization.
The Accountant’s Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) conference in Brisbane last week kicked off with the traditional CEO Debate & Forum featuring our very own Chris Ridd (Managing Director in Australia), Tim Reed (CEO of MYOB), Brad Paterson (Intuit) and Alan Osrin (Sage Software Australia).
It was encouraging to learn that in a ‘Leaders & Laggard’ survey by Smithink and MYOB, concerns expressed about the cloud in previous surveys had decreased significantly in 2013. This is a sign that forward-thinking accountants and their clients are beginning to really embrace the benefits of collaborating via the cloud.
Today, Xero employees are traveling across the US to bring Xero to the backyards of US accounting professionals. Personally, I’m out at Accounting Today’s Growth & Profitability Summit and looking forward to speaking this afternoon about the virtues of the cloud and how Xero can help you take your small business clients and your accounting practice to the next level.
Today also marks day 1 of the Xero US Roadshow and, from our counterparts in Australia, week 2 of the Xero AU Roadshow for our accounting Partners or anyone interested in becoming a Xero Partner. We’re specifically kicking off in Baltimore, MD and Seattle, WA. Registrations have been phenomenal and we’re looking forward to meeting both existing Partners and those interested in Xero, face-to-face at 20 cities across the US over the next month.
Today cloud accounting moves beyond transactions and reports to include files and documents as part of the full financial data picture. Welcome to Files in Xero.
Traditionally, the files you create and receive as part of your business have been stored away in filing cabinets, shoe boxes or in some hidden folder on your computer. While many of these are directly related to your business, it’s not always easy to locate them when needed. With all your business data in Xero, it no longer makes sense to store your financial data and files separately – and this will make collaborating with your advisors even easier.
Files lets you attach multiple documents to almost anything in Xero and have them right at your fingertips, exactly where you expect to find them. Files can be associated with invoices, transactions, expense receipts, fixed assets, contacts, chart of accounts, bank accounts and even manual journals.
Xero has had single file attachments on bills and receipts for a while – but that was really only the beginning.
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A month ago in Chicago I was fortunate to attend a cloud conference for a future add-on. As the representatives demonstrated how to move the data from QuickBooks into their solution, it was clear how painful it was – multiple steps, saving of files, finding files, backup required, and validation of the integrity of the systems after importing the data. In contrast, when they demoed the integration (in beta) with Xero, it was simple, smooth and – well – worked as expected. Night and day difference.
As a follow-up, I took the stage, talked about Xero and fielded questions from the crowd. Like most conferences and other speaking events I attend, the first question was, “This is great, I have been waiting for an alternative to QuickBooks and I love your product. But can you migrate my data from QuickBooks to Xero?”. People leaned forward… the room got quiet… and I responded, “Yes. Yes we can. You provide your QuickBooks file, and we’ll provide you a Xero organization with all your data in it.” The huge applause from the audience, to be honest, felt pretty good. (Note: We are talking Quickbooks US only)
QuickBooks conversion has always been regarded as something hard, complicated and almost impossible to do. In July Gene Marks wrote in a Forbes article that “No one’s figured out migration. They may talk a good game, but none of these vendors have really come up with a seamless way to migrate data from your old system to theirs.” Well, Gene we’ve done it and we are working on making it easier and easier every day.
As you might have heard last week in the US press, we announced the release of Xero’s free QuickBooks conversion service. No more manually entering in conversion balances. No more recreation of transactions. No more confusion regarding conversion balance dates – just provide us a file and we’ll do all the rest. It is something that the industry has been waiting for, deemed by some as the last barrier to elevating Xero as THE alternative to Intuit’s QuickBooks in the US.
But what products, versions and data do you support?
Congratulations to our CEO Rod Drury for last night winning the New Zealand Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by ASB.
From Rod this morning:
“This really means a lot to me. I started my career at Arthur Young and went through the merger when EY started. I’m so grateful for doing my apprenticeship with such a great firm and being part of an outstanding alumni.”
“It was also significant that ASB Bank was the principal sponsor, as the ASB was the first bank to give Xero overnight Bank Feeds. That kicked off an accounting revolution where now it’s expected that all accounting software should have that feature.”
“Anyone who has done a business know it’s all about the team. It’s humbling to be part of such a great group of people.”
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