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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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A day in the life of an enablement specialist

Last November we profiled our Partner Enablement team in the UK – we work with our partners to help make the transition to Xero as seamless as possible. And then support them along the way as Xero becomes an integral part of their practice.

This time around, we go into a little more detail around the ongoing support we give to our practice partners. We’re very proud to work for a company that offers this highly technical, bespoke service to Xero partners completely free of charge. So, how do we do it?

Getting to know a partner’s client portfolio

To begin with, we’ll work with a new partner to find the clients who’d benefit most from using Xero. Some businesses will get more from a cloud-based accounting solution than others, so it’s important that we get this right.

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The UK Partner Enablement team

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That’s a wrap on our biggest rollout of roadshows in Australia!

After months of planning and preparation our biggest roadshow ever in Australia has come to a close in sunny Perth.

And what a way to finish with the announcement that we have reached a major milestone in Australia – 100,000 customers! We presented to over 5,500 registered attendees across 20 locations – from regional centers such as Bendigo, Wollongong and Dubbo to Launceston, all the way to the top end, then down to the final destinations of Adelaide and Perth. Sit back and watch the roadshow wrap-up video.

I was blown away by the levels of enthusiasm and energy I witnessed at each event I went to. It was great to see so many partners, bookkeepers and accountants seeing the value in the cloud, showing enthusiasm and embracing what we do – some partners even felt compelled to applaud when we announced certain Xero features such as Tax, which was awesome to see.

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A chat with Dennis Howlett about tech

Great to catch up with Dennis Howlett in San Francisco this week and chat about tech. We talk about the impact of Google, mobility and what is Apple doing with these rich iPad productivity apps.

Dennis’s latest thing is Diginomica.com which is a great read for people that love the technology industry.

 

Introducing Peter Karpas

I’m up in San Francisco this week as our new North American CEO Peter Karpas joins the team.

There was video crew in the office so managed to get him on film …

When I first met Peter at PayPal a couple of years ago I thought he was one of the smartest people I’d met and we had a great session sparking off each other. It’s fantastic to have him on the team and leading our US efforts.

 

100,000 customers for Xero in Australia!

We’re thrilled to announce that we have reached 100,000 paying customers in Australia today. It’s been an amazing journey since I started at Xero three years ago, and it’s just getting better. To commemorate this milestone and thank our Customers, Partners and wider ecosystem, we made a video.

Check it out: