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Why you need online accounting

Today’s guest author is small business and finance expert, and co-host of Sunrise, David Koch.

I’m a huge fan of new technology 50269_KochieTwitterCard_v3and the ease and flexibility it brings to work. I can video call in to Port Adelaide executive meetings, bring up the latest finance figures on my tablet for Sunrise and access my small business’s accounting files from the couch.

So you can understand why I’m so enthusiastic about new technology. This is also why I say that your business really needs to consider an online accounting system if it’s not using one already. Here’s why.

Peace of mind

I don’t want to scare you, but all it takes is one office disaster and your files are compromised. A dodgy employee, fire, flood or break-in and you’ve got a problem. Hard copies of old accounts are often irreplaceable, and a lot of the time businesses don’t fully recover from disasters for this reason.

Using online accounting gives your business access to the latest software and data security that’s safer than the lock on your front door. Simple as that.

Incredible convenience

Having the books in the cloud means our accountant can log in to her work without coming into the office. We can keep a finger on the pulse with staff raising invoices and expenses as they need to. It also lets everyone run project numbers when they’re on the road.
Being able to check accounts and invoices from anywhere is invaluable for businesses that aren’t office based like tradies and others on the road all the time. It’s like having an office in the palm of your hand. Continue reading ›

 

Xero reaches 200,000 customers in Australia

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Today Xero in Australia reached another huge milestone. We have achieved over 200,000 paying small business customers.

It was just over a year ago, on 26th February 2014, that we announced that Xero AU had achieved 100,000 paying customers. So it is incredible to see that in just over 12 months we have again doubled our number of paying customers in this market.

Xero’s early commitment to a pure cloud offering that is both simple and beautifully designed is unique. This has generated incredibly strong advocacy in a market where innovation had been lacking for many years. We have always been committed to keeping innovation and simplicity at the forefront of everything we do. We proved that once again with our multi-pronged feature release last week. We have already delivered over 150 new updates to customers so far in 2015.

We are also heavily indebted to the support of our loyal accounting and bookkeeping partners in Australia. These partners are working with us to help change the accounting industry for the better. They help over 2 million small business owners be more efficient and profitable by reducing their administrative burden.

I also want to acknowledge our more than 400 innovative Add-On partners. They have built wonderful cloud software that integrates seamlessly with Xero. You guys have brought game-changing innovation to the SME sector. Not only that, you have also helped incubate a multi-million dollar cloud industry in Australia.

I can’t think of a better time in our journey and want to thank the many people who have helped us achieve this significant milestone.

 

UK Payroll now available to pay employees and report to HMRC

Following on from last weeks huge #xerospeed week, Xero with all the time-saving features you need for your business now includes payroll.

Buy or upgrade to Premium 10 before May 1st and pay just £25 per month for 12 months. This includes all the Xero features you know and love and now payroll for 10 employees. One price for all your accounting and payroll needs.

Transactions from payroll seamlessly flows through to and impact the accounts immediately – the way it should be with payroll transactions represented as journals. This impacts the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet, reflecting the impact of the approved payroll immediately in your accounts.

Payroll in Xero was enabled earlier in the month and from April 6 you can use Xero to pay your employees and stay up to date with your tax filing and payment obligations with HMRC. RTI filings happen automatically, employees can self-service using the online employee app and lots more.

We’ve created a series of videos to help you get started in Xero U. Step through the setup process and learn more about Payroll in Xero.

You will not be able to use Payroll in Xero to manage your end of year processes for the 2014/2015 financial year. You should complete your final submission and employee P60s in your current payroll software. Continue reading ›

 

Process, Pay and File with New Zealand Payroll

Following on from the huge #xerospeed release week, Xero with all the time-saving features you need for your business now includes Payroll. From April 1st you can process your payroll and pay your employees using Xero.

Transactions from payroll seamlessly flows through to and impact the accounts immediately – the way it should be with payroll transactions represented as journals. This impacts the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet, reflecting the impact of the approved payroll immediately in your accounts.

By using Payroll in Xero to manage payroll yourselves you stay in control of your cashflow at all times. Xero will never take money out of your account so we don’t require a letter of credit. We provide you with the bank files you need to pay your employees and information required to pay the Inland Revenue. You make these payments yourself directly.

We’ve created a series of videos to help you get started in Xero U. Step through the process and learn more about Payroll in Xero. Continue reading ›

 

Love beautiful

Love beautiful software? Our customers do.

What’s the word customers most use to describe your brand?

Don’t do any fancy research or hire any consultants. Just go listen. Listen with an ear to the words they use in the first sentence. Then keep score.

Over the past few months, I’ve chatted to hundreds of Xero customers and partners all over the world. “Like” didn’t make the top ten list. It wasn’t that they didn’t like Xero, it was that the vast majority LOVE Xero.

Love

That’s the word that was used most frequently in the first sentence. It would go something like this; “I just love Xero – it’s made me sane again”; or, “I love doing invoices right after a job”; or, “I love it – it’s just beautiful”.

Now, I know that’s all a bit rich coming from Xero’s CMO. So here’s the next step in understanding what your customers are saying. Correlate the statement to independent research and behavioral data. A friend forwarded me a piece of research from Ross Cameron, a well-recognised researcher whose latest newsletter contained this gem:

“In our most recent wave of panel interviews we asked business owners to discuss the brands that they admire. Two brands stood out – Xero and Apple. Indeed, quite a few pointed out “Xero is the Apple of accounting software!” The comments on Xero were most striking as the positive commentary bordered on the evangelical…”

Ross reported customers saying (competitor names redacted) things like: Continue reading ›

 

#XeroSpeed: delivering beautiful new experiences at pace & scale

This week has been our biggest ever release week here at Xero. We’ve released updates across our entire portfolio of products, delivering new capabilities to both small businesses and their advisors.

I’m Angus Norton, Chief Product Officer at Xero. I recently joined the company after 18 years at Microsoft, 16 of which were spent in their US headquarters. I held a number of roles across various product groups. From the Enterprise Server businesses and Bing Search, through to Developer tools and gaming. Most recently I was General Manager and Vice President of Microsoft’s Office Division. There I ran the Office 365 business and helped transition millions of Office customers to the cloud.

Xero was born in the cloud. I had been following Xero’s journey from afar for many years. Now I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to move back to my homeland of New Zealand and roll my sleeves up and join the journey myself! I joined Xero excited about the impact it has had on small businesses, and the potential for the company in the future. This week’s releases have shown the value we can provide our customers, and the pace at which we’re working. My team has worked incredibly hard to get these products into your hands. We really hope you enjoy the results of their hard work.

Our wave of innovation this week

For those of you who haven’t been able to keep up with our announcements this week, we’ve released the following:

  • Inventory – Providing simple inventory that makes it easy for all kinds of small businesses to track the quantity and value of their stock.
  • Practice Reports – Designed for our advisors, these beautiful reports reduce the time it takes for compliance and management reporting. They also allow standardised reports that can be customised quickly and easily. It’s initially available in New Zealand, but rolling out to other regions over time.
  • Online Quotes – Helping small businesses accelerate their cashflow. With Online Quotes, a small business can send a customer a quote and, in real-time, that customer can review, approve/deny and ask questions. Ultimately leading to more work.
  • Side by Side Files Side by Side Files makes it easy to enter the details of bills, expenses and transactions. Documents are uploaded to Xero and users can view the files on-screen alongside the record they want to create.
  • Workpapers – Workpapers is our compliance and workflow solution for advisors. It has received a significant update, with a refreshed user interface, new query portal and single sign-on with Xero.
  • Practice Manager and Tax – As of April 1, all of our NZ partners using Practice Manager and Tax will have the 2015 tax forms ready for use. We also made some big improvements to the tax preparation workflow based on customer feedback.

Delivery at #XeroSpeed

We’re delivering innovation at #XeroSpeed – but we’re not stopping there. This is only the beginning. In building Xero, we’ve invested in the development and design of our product. But – just as important – we’ve invested in an incredibly diverse team of men and women from all over the world. And we’ve continued to ensure our underlying infrastructure is tuned to deliver a reliable, agile and beautiful experience just for you

Our ‘born in the cloud’ agility combined with these investments have put us in a position to relentlessly focus on you, our customers. It’s this relentless focus that has enabled us to deliver what we believe no other software company has done. We’re delivering innovations at an extreme pace and scale. No other software company producing software for small businesses, let alone the many enterprise software companies, even comes close.

Last year we delivered more than 400 updates across all of our small business and advisor products. If you are curious about this history of innovation and feature delivery, you can check out our Feature Timeline.

How have we done this?  All of this is enabled by the fundamental proposition that Xero offers. Xero is designed for the cloud. We’ve been able to design and develop our offerings to take full advantage of this model, not encumbered by an older software architecture.

Beyond that, though, we have worked hard to build scale into our product management, design and development capabilities, which has helped us evolve and grow without losing our feisty “anything is possible” startup culture. Some important aspects of this approach, include:

  • Clear vision and strategy  We’re focused on building software that helps small businesses be successful. We have a consistent, clear and aligned vision, across all our offerings, that helps us prioritise what we work on.
  • Geographically distributed teams  We’ve have an “Act local, think global” culture within our development teams. We believe in investing locally where we need to, in order to ensure we are delivering innovation that is truly global, but locally relevant. A great example of this is our San Francisco-based U.S. payroll team, and our Canberra-based Australian tax and payroll teams. All up, our development teams have tripled in size over the last two years.
  • Agile development – Our development teams operate as self-managing “pods.” These pods are small teams that are comprised of members with complementary skills and specialisations. These teams own all aspects of a piece of work from design to development. They each deliver their key part of our products, and with multiple pods working at the same time we can easily scale.
  • Team communications  Communication is critical for any company, particularly when the teams are distributed across the globe. We’ve invested in tools, processes and people that help our teams communicate. This helps the wider organisation understand priorities and the broader roadmap, while also managing those tasks that need to be done every hour, every day.

All of this couldn’t be done without a supportive company culture. At Xero, one of our values is #Ownership. Each and every one of us feels a distinct level of ownership and pride in the growth of all our customers’ businesses too! We know that our role is to deliver seamless, invisible accounting that gives you the time to do what you do best, run your business. We also value all the feedback we get from each and everyone of you, so bring it on!

So what’s next? Over the next few months we’re running Xerocon, our premiere event for our partners, in New Zealand, the United States and Australia. Iif you haven’t already signed up, then you might want to consider it.

On the product front, there’s an incredibly exciting period ahead. You can expect to see us complete delivery of our payroll offering across every state in America. You can also expect more momentum towards our ‘Xero Everywhere’ vision of delivering business insights, collaboration and connectivity, no matter where you are and on any device.

We will continue to push the envelope of what’s expected from core accounting software solutions. And unlike our competitors, we are delivering on our customers’ needs at a pace that only a ‘born in the cloud’ SaaS company like Xero can.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback this week. We’ve collected some of your comments below.

Continue reading ›

 

New Zealand tax return enhancements for 2015

Today we launched a significant release of New Zealand tax return features for Xero Practice Manager. As well as having the 2015 tax forms ready for you to use from 1 April, we are making some big improvements in your workflow. These updates will mean you can:

  • quickly navigate between the parts of a New Zealand tax return
  • see the additional sections at a glance from anywhere in a return
  • print from anywhere
  • save your progress without having to return to the overview
  • automatically calculate the limits for any overseas tax credit claims.

This extends the time-saving work we have shipped for you in previous releases. Particularly the ability to create an IR10 and update it from Xero all in one action, and carrying forward data from the previous year’s return.

If you’d like to learn more about Practice Manager and tax in New Zealand, check out our Introducing Practice Manager and tax webinar on Xero U.

 

Benchpress: Beautiful accounting software the #1 choice for UK creative industry

Today’s guest post is written by Paul Bulpitt, small business customer and co-founder of Xero accounting partner Wow Company.

The Wow Company’s annual Benchpress survey, released this week, has shown that more independently-owned UK creative agencies than ever have chosen beautiful accounting software to manage their businesses.

The industry’s adoption of Xero has increased dramatically from 19% in 2013 to 49% in 2015, making Xero the number one choice of accounting software for creative agencies.

Benchpress, Creatives use Xero

The mass migration to Xero is also reflected in the increased uptake of Xero-integrated applications for Project Management, such as Streamtime, Harvest and WorkflowMax.

Continue reading ›

 

The new Xero Workpapers

When you log in to Workpapers today you’ll notice the changes to our look-and-feel that we told you about last week.

You can now log in with your Xero username and password and switch instantly to Xero. Your customers will also see a new and improved client query portal.

Although there are lots of visual updates, the most important changes are all under the hood. We’ve made these changes so we can accelerate the integration of Workpapers, Practice Manager, Tax (in NZ and Australia) and Xero. The Practice Studio team is focused on building an even more seamless experience from bank reconciliation through to the financial statements and the tax return.

Practice Manager and Tax will be joining us on Xero single-sign-on in the coming quarter, and the partner edition of My Xero — where you manage your Xero clients — also has some exciting changes coming.

 

Get in quick to enter Xero’s accounting, economics or finance scholarship

Calling all accounting, economics and finance majors in the US! Xero is offering a $5,000 scholarship to anyone studying one or more of these subjects. There’s less than a week left to enter, so get your application in soon!

Enter in the next week to be eligible for Xero's accounting, economics or finance scholarship

Who is eligible for Xero’s accounting, economics or finance scholarship?

If you’re a legal US resident and currently enrolled full-time at an accredited US university or business school, we’d love to hear from you.

You need to be majoring in accounting, economics or finance, but it doesn’t matter what stage of study you’re at. High school students are encouraged to apply too – as long as you’ve been accepted into college.

You will also need to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher cumulative from your university, business school or high school (respective of what stage of study you are at).

How to apply

Email the following to submissions@xero.com by March 31, 2015:

  1. Your academic transcript and GPA.
  2. Proof that you’re enrolled full-time in an accredited university or business school in the US.
  3. A recommendation letter from a relevant referee. Get them to persuade us that you are the most deserving recipient.
  4. A 500–700 word essay on one of the following topics:
  • How is cloud technology changing the world of accounting, finance and/or economics? What impact do you see this having on your career?
  • What changes do you predict the accounting industry will face in the next decade? How do you (1) intend to react to these changes and (2) contribute to the industry?
  • What compels you to study accounting, economics and/or finance? What role does technology play in your chosen industry and how will you use it in your career?

Check out our last winning scholarship entry

Last year we awarded a $5,000 accounting, economics and finance scholarship to Alisha McGoldrick of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Check out her wonderful essay, ‘The troubled mind of a tax accountant’, to get an idea of what we’re looking for in a winning entry.

Get all the details

For more information, head to the page below:

Win an accounting, economics or finance scholarship for 2015