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NZ’s high performing partners sought for 2014 Xero Awards

Xerocon_Xero_Awards2014 (1)If you’re a high-performing New Zealand Xero Accounting, Bookkeeping, Industry or Add-on partner, we’d love to receive your nomination for the 2014 Xero Awards.

Celebrating the success of our high achieving Kiwi partners throughout 2014 (1 January – 31 December), the Xero Awards are the perfect opportunity to showcase your firm’s performance and enhance your professional recognition.

There are 10 categories up for grabs for performance in 2014:

  • Accounting Partner of the Year
  • Bookkeeping Partner of the Year
  • Emerging Partner of the Year (new)
  • National Practice of the Year
  • Add-on Partner of the Year
  • Emerging Add-on Partner of the Year
  • Xero Industry Partner of the Year
  • Marketing Innovation Award
  • 100% Xero Award
  • Xero MVP Award (not eligible for entry)

Partners can nominate themselves or an Add-on, Industry, Accounting or Bookkeeping Partner for an award. There is no limit to the number of categories entered, however, the Xero MVP Award is not open for entry – this is selected by the Xero team. It’s a really open process this year. You can nominate yourself or someone else – providing you meet the criteria in the nomination form. Continue reading ›

 

February Roadshows: it’s been another great ride

From the top to the bottom and from coast of coast of Australia, our Evolve February Roadshows have rolled into town across all over Australia. Registrations have been off the charts (to put it mildly) – we managed to fit in around 7,200 partner attendees. This easily makes it our biggest rollout of roadshows yet. We were keen to start 2015 in a big way, and attendance numbers like these are certainly a good sign.

Signs from the Evolve February Roadshow

This week we wrapped up the #xeroroadshow in Perth after visiting 20 cities and towns across the country, so I was keen to check in and have a look at the wonderful feedback from our accounting and book keeping partners:

It is great to see so much excitement for cloud accounting in the market.  @xero strategy validated. Feel the tipping point is very soon.

I attended the Xero Roadshow yesterday and I just wanted to say a massive thank you for your time and your knowledge. I have only recently ventured out on my own and I found the information you and James discussed very interesting and gave me some great ideas for my business. Continue reading ›

 

Panel discussion: mobilising the small business economy

During Xerocon London 2015, we pulled together a panel of business and technology experts to talk about the importance of tech. Specifically, how it will mobilise the small business economy in the UK. 

Our panel included:

  • Founder and CEO of Mumsnet and Gransnet, Justine Roberts
  • Xero small business customers and co-founders of the Cereal Killer Cafe, Gary and Alan Keery
  • Xerocon guest speaker and Editor of Wired David Rowan
  • Our own UK managing director Gary Turner.

Our experts discussed some important business advice and a call to government to provide a more accessible broadband service to small business. They also talked about how SMEs must run with the rapid progression of new technology and the need to keep pace with consumer behaviour change and evolving business models.

In a world moving fast towards ubiquitous connectivity, every business will become digital. Small teams of highly motivated entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to evolve and adapt with new technology and position themselves ahead of large, slow-moving incumbent businesses.

 

Service disruption: Xero API (resolved)

Due to a change in SSL certificate installations, we are currently experiencing disruption to the Xero Partner API, used by most Xero Add-ons, and products such as WorkflowMax, Xero Practice Manager and Xero Workpapers.

The team is working on a resolution to this issue and we will post updates as soon as we have them.

This incident was first reported at 23:09, Feb 24th UTC.

Developers should monitor progress on our developer status page and subscribe to be notified of progress via email / SMS.

Update 12:11, Feb 25th UTC.
This incident has now been resolved. Xero support and developer relations teams are now contacting all affected partners to advise that the API is now fully functional.

 

Xero adds new Investor, Director and US President

Another big day at Xero this morning with three announcements that will excite our customers and partners.

Xero Attracts World-Class Investment + Talent To Fuel Growth

  1. Accel, one of the top US tech investors, has invested $US100m into our company. With other investors we have put another $NZ140m in the tank and will head into the 2016 financial year with over 1/4 billion in the bank to fund innovation and growth.
  2. Graham Smith, who was most recently CFO at Salesforce, has joined our board. It’s great to have Graham on the team.
  3. Russ Fujioka has been appointed US President. Russ is one of the smartest marketing and growth executives I’ve met. We’ve been working with Russ for five months and are thrilled to complete our US leadership team.

We’re already getting some great feedback – and we welcome any questions in the comments section.

Continue reading ›

 

Xero API Developer of the Year 2014

Each year we like to recognize a person who has contributed significantly to the Xero API developer community. The API and Developer Relations team have the privilege of connecting with an exceptionally talented group of designers, developers and company founders all over the world. Like iOS and Android developer communities, the Xero Developer community is a big part of what defines Xero as the platform for small business. They make a difference in the lives of small business owners through the creativity and care they bring to their products.

As we thought about integrations launched in 2014, the one that stood out was developed by Julian Applebaum at Squarespace. Squarespace, a leading website design/hosting company, is very similar to Xero in its design-driven approach to product development. Squarespace decided to expand their e-commerce offering and chose Xero as their integrated accounting partner.

Xero API Developer of the Year, Julian Applebaum of Squarespace, with Xero’s CTO Craig Walker

Continue reading ›

 

Auto Enrolment: what does it mean for you?

Automatic enrolment (or auto enrolment) is government legislation that requires all UK employers to enrol certain staff into a workplace pension scheme and make contributions, starting on their staging date.

With an ageing population, the Government is implementing this legislation to help more people save for retirement. However, this means employers now have the responsibility to enrol certain employees in pension schemes and administer them on their behalf.

With UK Payroll in Xero coming soon we thought this was a good time to share some details on Auto Enrolment and how it will work in Xero.

When will auto enrolment affect you?

Your business must comply with the auto enrolment legislation by your staging date. You can find out the staging date for your company using The Pension Regulator’s staging date tool.

Staging dates are being phased in over a six-year period, and have been set based on the size of employer’s PAYE Scheme on 1 April 2012. Companies with a large number of employees had the earliest staging dates (e.g. those with 120,000+ employees staged in October 2012), and smaller businesses will start between now and 2018.

Modified staging dates

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has stated that businesses can now change their staging date. You can bring forward your date by notifying TPR, or you can also move your staging date back to a later date if you:

  • had fewer than 50 staff on 1 April 2012; and
  • had, or were part of, a PAYE scheme that has more than 50 people in it.

The original staging dates for small employers who had fewer than 30 employees were set as soon as June 2015. The modified staging dates indicate that those who were originally set to stage at March 2015 or later, can now stage in April 2017 (or later, if you are an employer who set up after 1 April 2012).

Original staging date Date you can choose to move to
1 October 2012 and 1 November 2012 1 August 2015
1 January 2013 and 1 February 2013 1 October 2015
1 March 2013 and 1 April 2013 1 January 2016
1 May 2013 and 1 June 2013 1 February 2016
1 July 2013 and 1 August 2013 1 March 2016
1 September 2013 and 1 October 2013 1 April 2016
1 November 2013 and 1 January 2014 1 May 2016
1 February 2014 and 1 April 2014 1 July 2016
1 May 2014 and 1 July 2014 1 September 2016
1 August 2014 and 1 October 2014 1 November 2016
1 November 2014 and 1 January 2015 1 February 2017
1 March 2015 and 1 April 2015 1 April 2017

Modified staging dates for some small employers from The Pensions Regulator

TPR has issued modified staging dates, and for the vast majority of small businesses this means they don’t have to comply until 2017, and have no legal requirement to even notify The Pensions Regulator that they have moved their staging date.

Continue reading ›

 

Six tips to strengthen client relationships (part 1/2)

The relationship between an accountant and their SMB-owner clients is a very special one. It’s built on mutual trust and respect. The accountant can provide the best advice when they see the full picture of business and personal affairs. So clients share information that is often private and very sensitive with their accountant. It’s important that they feel that their secrets will be respected.

After many years as an accountant to SMB-owners, a lot of these clients became my friends. The business relationship becomes more fulfilling, beneficial and rewarding for everyone as it strengthens. The client gets better advice and better service. For the accountant, client churn can be greatly reduced and the lifetime value of that client can increase.

Here are the first three of six ways you can improve client relationships. Check back next week for the rest of the tips.

1. First impressions

It is better to be feared than loved, according to Nicollo Machiavelli, 16th century politician and philosopher. Five hundred years ago, Machiavelli identified what 21st century psychologists have confirmed – fearsomeness and lovability are the two dominant dimensions we use in social judgement. These are also the principal characteristics we evaluate when we form impressions of others.

This can be applied to accountant-client relationships. In the 21st century the characteristic of fearsomeness is displayed as technical competence, personal influence, positional power, inner strength and intensity. Lovability is displayed as personal warmth, approachability, trustworthiness and being nonjudgmental. Studies show that when people form first impressions they make judgements about agreeableness faster than they do about fearsomeness. So for any professional, a prospective client will ‘feel’ your warmth (or lack of it) before they pick up on your technical competence.

2. The two most important attributes for accountants

Recently, I did some research to find the most important attributes for accountants. I found that both clients and accountants value the same attributes. Both groups regard agreeableness (lovability) and technical competence (fearsomeness) as the most important attributes for accountants. Both groups also put a higher value on agreeableness than on technical competence.

Agreeableness is the pipeline of influence. It helps strengthen relationships and helps build trust. Displays of agreeableness and warmth can strengthen the connection with clients through clearer understanding of goals and desired outcomes.

Accountants can use this knowledge to help strengthen their relationships with clients by building on the clients’ natural desire to affiliate, to be listened to and to be understood. A conscious effort should be made to build rapport and to empathise with the client whenever you are meeting with them. Trying to impress them with your technical knowledge should wait until rapport has been built. Displaying technical competence before warmth can lead to a lack of trust and failure to commit, so it is important to show warmth (lovability) before competence (fearsomeness).

3. How to display warmth

So just how can accountants (or any business person, for that matter) project warmth and agreeability?

  • One way to project warmth is by lowering the pitch and volume of your voice. Lowering your tone suggests that you are sharing confidences, which shows you trust the listener.
  • Sharing personal stories can be another way of projecting warmth. Perhaps you could talk about some of your own experiences as an SMB owner. Again this demonstrates your openness and sets a tone of equality in the relationship.
  • Demonstrate a shared world view through something that you can agree on. It doesn’t really matter what the subject of the agreement is; it could be how great the economy is at the moment, the worries of managing employees or the successes of the the local football team. Many accountants and their clients have a lot of common ground upon which to build rapport through each being SMBs. Sharing experiences will help build empathy.
  • A genuine smile projects warmth. It is always easier to do this when you are in a good mood. People with high emotional intelligence (EQ) have the skill to raise their mood level when required. One effective way of doing this is to spend time immediately prior to your meeting actively recalling some happy memories.
  • Good body language helps you maintain your positive feelings. An open posture will be relaxing and welcoming. Ensure your hands are open rather than curled or closed into fists. Keep your chin up or ensure that your body is turned toward your client.

 

Getting ready for New Zealand Payroll in Xero

We’re getting ready to bring New Zealand Payroll in Xero to life! Soon we’ll be offering a seamless online payroll and accounting experience for our New Zealand customers.

Changing payroll software is a big decision, so we want to share details on what you should expect. This will make it easier than ever for you to process your payroll, stay compliant, pay your employees and report to the Inland Revenue.

Integrated accounting and payroll

With New Zealand Payroll in Xero, information from payroll seamlessly flows into your accounts – eliminating manual data entry and processing. In short, it’s designed to help make running your business easy.

We’ve built beautiful, smart payroll that’s easy to implement and can be used from anywhere. We’ve designed the experiences for businesses with less than twenty employees. If you work with your accountant or bookkeeper they can be invited in to manage payroll for you. Or you can invite someone in to manage payroll without seeing the rest of the business financials.

 

New Zealand payroll overview

 

New Zealand Payroll in Xero features

New Zealand payroll supports Small & Large employers for Inland Revenue reporting & filing obligations. You can also:

  • Save time and increase productivity when payroll and accounting software work as one. You’ll decrease the amount of time spent on data entry. Payroll journals are automatically created on the general ledger when posting the payroll.
  • Relax with the peace of mind that Xero automatically looks after tax calculations for you. Built-in Tax, ACC, Student Loan, Payroll Giving & ESCT calculations. Updates to New Zealand payroll regulations and tax rate changes are handled automatically so you don’t have to worry about staying compliant.
  • Manage KiwiSaver details including employee eligibility, employee & employer contribution rates, opting out and contributions holidays.
  • Electronically report your payroll information with the Inland Revenue. Your reports are created, pre-populated for downloading and upload to the Inland Revenue with ir-File including KiwiSaver, Additional & Voluntary Student Loans and Child Support.
  • Create unlimited and flexible earnings, deductions, including Payroll Giving, and reimbursement types to meet the needs of any business. No limits on the number of pay calendars you can create so you can easily have multiple pay frequencies to suit your business needs.
  • Manage Statutory Deductions for Child Support, Court Fines, MSD Repayments and Inland Revenue Arrears.
  • Download your bank’s payment file for ease of upload into online banking to pay your employees. Email your employees their payslips to give them instant access to their pay details.
  • Easily and accurately accrue and record employee holidays and leave accruals including managing leave entitlements for individual employees. Manage statutory leave types including Holiday Pay (8%) and unpaid parental leave types.
  • Invite employees to access pay history, payslips, view leave requests and request new leave via the employee app without seeing the business or payroll financials. Available online via the web on release along with iOS and Android phones shortly afterwards.
  • Collaborate with your accountant or bookkeeper on payroll. Allow them to manage payroll on your behalf by giving them the Payroll Administrator user role.

This is just the beginning. You’ll see constant enhancements, improvements and features being made available as we get your feedback and strive to make it smarter and more powerful. If you’re using the current ‘Pay Run’ feature you’ll be able to continue using this if you wish. Any new businesses will not have this option available to them from Wednesday 4 March.

And if Payroll in Xero does not meet the needs of your business we recommend selecting one of our payroll partners from the Add-on Marketplace.

Continue reading ›

 

Reflections on Xerocon, desktop data amnesty

Apparently the true measure of any conference that claims to be worth its salt these days can be quickly discerned by weighing both the quantity and colour of the social media chatter the following day. Indeed, judging from the large number of “Post Xerocon Blues” tweets that peppered my timeline twenty-four hours after Xerocon London 2015 had closed its doors, our UK conference seemed to have very much hit the spot for a good many of our 800 attendees this year.

In barely more than two years, Xerocon London has grown to become what I believe is now the UK’s largest gathering of its kind, eclipsing the mainstream accounting industry bodies’ annual conference circuits, nevermind those of the accounting software industry.

Alongside some great guest speakers, forty-odd exhibitors and sneak previews of coming product updates to Xero, the bigger news items that featured this Xerocon were the UK launch of our new Payroll in Xero, the accelerating pace with which the UK banking community is now attaching itself to our platform with news of our new technical partnership with Metrobank, our desire to support our UK Partner community in telling the cloud story and the growing incidence of Sage and Quickbooks customers choosing to migrate to the cloud with Xero.

Continue reading ›