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Xero API Developers of the year for 2013

In internet years, 2009 is ancient history. Household names like Instagram and Pinterest were yet to be founded, and cloud trailblazers like Xero were boasting rapid customer signups. In 2009, at the end of the financial year, Xero had 6,000 customers – less than 3% of our current customer base.

So, it took a little bit of guts in those early days for Nik Wakelin, Jared Armstrong and James Nisbet to go off and create one of the first true standalone Xero Add-ons. They were looking to solve the pain point they experienced as contract software developers – tracking time in Xero.

Xero API developers

Pictured L-R: Xero Head of Developer Relations, Ronan Quirke, Xero API product manager Tony Rule, MinuteDock co-founder Nik Wakelin, MinuteDock co-founder Jared Armstrong, Xero CEO Rod Drury, MinuteDock co-founder James Nisbet.

Out of their need to track & bill time, MinuteDock was born, and continues today to be one of our most popular, and highly rated Xero Add-ons.
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Government launches New Zealand Business Number

The New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) was formally launched today by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Commerce Minister Craig Foss at Xero in Wellington.

Rod and New Zealand Ministers at Xero in Wellington
Left to right: Colin MacDonald, Chief Executive, Secretary for Internal Affairs, Secretary for Local Government and Government Chief Information Officer, Minister Hon Craig Foss, Minister Hon Steven Joyce, me and David Smol, Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

All businesses, government agencies and commercial entities in New Zealand will be assigned a unique NZBN, designed to make it simpler for businesses to work with government.

While NZBNs were initially allocated to companies in December 2013, the Government today announced the month-long consultation on options for extending coverage to other businesses, including sole traders.

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EC Sales List

Being able to create an EC Sales List is great news for all of Xero’s UK users; it’s nice to be able to tick off another highly requested Xero Community feature

If you’re not a UK user, don’t leave! I’ve listed a couple of other updates at the bottom of the post that may be of interest to you.

For the rest of you, below is a quick overview of what we’ve done (and what’s still to come).

There are three primary features of the EC Sales List:

  • EC Sales List – the main report itself, including custom validation to ensure the necessary information is present and in the correct format to be submitted to HMRC Online Services.

  • Audit report  – an accompanying report that lists all the transactions that make up the main report.

  • HMRC export  – as well as standard export formats for PDF, Excel and Google Sheets, there is a custom HMRC format that can be easily submitted via the HMRC portal.

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Farming in the cloud – New Zealand

Farming in the cloud presented at Xerocon

At Xerocon, Auckland we were excited to unveil Farming in the Cloud, which will be ready later this year in New Zealand. This connection with our farming partners will deliver real-time, single ledger reporting to farms for the first time – and it’ll be great for our accounting partners with farming clients.

The solution allows farmers and their accountants, banks and rural service companies to work together from the same set of online, real-time data, and will provide one centralised home for accounting and farm management tools.

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US Payroll – what we’re working on

US Payroll team at Xero

The launch of US Payroll in December was a huge milestone for Xero, but the launch was just the first of many steps to deliver the ultimate payroll feature – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. There are always bumps in the road, but our team is focused on developing the most important features and delivering the best possible customer experience.

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Getting the most from Xero: our five-point checklist for the UK tax year end

The end of the 2013/14 UK tax year is just around the corner. And that means it’s time to start focusing on completing those year-ends – as well as planning ahead for the new tax year.

We’ve put together a five-point checklist for getting your house in order before the end of March. This ‘best practice’ approach will help you tie up those year-ends and really get the most of out Xero in the coming tax year.

1. Speed up sign-off with your Xero client

If you’re already using Xero, you’ll know all about the advantages of our single ledger. Having instant, mobile access to your client’s financial position really helps when you’re collaborating to sign off their accounts. Take them out for a coffee – after all, with Xero Touch you don’t need to be at the office. Maybe even treat them to a ‘duffin’ (no, we had no idea these existed either!). And if the client can’t meet in person you can always invite them to a Google Hangout or Skype call, making the most of the cloud-based sharing options Xero offers.

What’s important is that you have that an in-depth, open conversation about their current financial position.  You can review their transactions, pick up any queries they’ve not resolved and run comparative reports to spot any obvious anomalies.

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Marketing your practice – how-to guide

Tarryn Brent and I were thrilled to share tips for marketing your practice with bookkeepers and accountants at Xerocon New Zealand 2014. We talked about what businesses can do to retain clients, win new clients and convert existing clients to Xero. You don’t have to do everything we recommend, but a little goes a long way to ensure your practice is moving and changing with the times.

Read on, for a summary of what we discussed.

Marketing staff members from Xero

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Changes to reporting legislation

Annual reporting in New Zealand will be simpler and less time consuming for small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) when new reporting legislation takes effect on 1 April 2014.

Under the new legislation, SME’s will no longer need to produce statutory accounts in accordance with External Reporting Board (XRB) standards. Although they will have to produce general purpose accounts for management, the IRD and the bank. Since most SMEs really only prepare end of year financial reports for the tax man, the new legislation will allow them to use tax requirements as their minimum reporting threshold.

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Chrometa helps you maximize billable hours

You can now easily create invoices in Xero based off billable time tracked against Chrometa. Chrometa is a tool that allows you to capture hours by automatically tracking the time you spend on your computer and smartphone.

Chrometa passively captures time spent performing computer-based and mobile work. Using keyword-based rules, it automatically assigns time to the appropriate project and rounds up to six or 15 minute increment. The end result is more accurate and complete timesheets with the minimum amount of effort on your part.

Who is it for?

Chrometa is for professionals who need a way to capture time spent on multiple projects and accurately invoice their customers.

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US businesses: Win a business makeover and feature on MSNBC

Do you know a U.S. small business in need of a financial makeover? We’re teaming up with our add-on partner BodeTree to give a business the opportunity to get advice from a team of experts and be featured in an episode of MSNBC’s “Your Business” later this year.

The makeover will consist of financial experts analyzing the operations of the winning business and providing feedback they can use to become more successful. Here’s how Bodetree helped an auto shop capitalize on hidden opportunities:

Entry is simple. Tell your company’s story and provide three reasons for why it needs a makeover.

Our panel will then review each applicant and reach out to the compelling entrants  for more information. To be eligible for this contest, the business must be located in the continental U.S., use Xero as their primary accounting platform and connect a free BodeTree profile to their Xero account.

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