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Xero Personal turns one

After 12 Months, 6 Releases and lots of great new features, look at how we’ve grown!

Planned Payments – plan your expenses, don’t just track them
Labels – tag where you spent your money, don’t be restricted to categories
Manual Transactions – add a cash account
Splitting – mark how you actually spent that wad of cash
Financial Snapshots – how you’re doing, right now, in your inbox
Advanced Search/Export – find exactly what your looking for and export it to play with numbers

The Xero Personal team is only small but each and every one of us shares in the vision and direction of Xero Personal (If you haven’t seen it yet try it for free). As a developer on the team I get very caught up in the detail, especially where we’re headed with each aspect of the functionality. I also use the product myself regularly, so I too often have the same requests that people post on our answers site.

How it all began

Xero Personal sprung from a real need we saw for people to better understand their personal finances – a lot of people just don’t do very well at tracking their spending. We also wanted to provide an easy way for business owners to separate their company finances from their personal finances.

When we started out on the journey we had a good hard look at existing software in this space and there were some obvious flaws:

  • Most people find the initial setup of data quite daunting – we realised early on that we had to get people through this initial step as quickly as possible.
  • Users are forced to categorise each individual transaction which is unwieldy and time consuming – we sped up the process by grouping transactions together by where the money is spent
  • Most existing personal finance managers are limited to tracking transactions from a single bank – we thought it would be good to see all your bank accounts in one place

Another big problem with existing personal finance software is that while categories are great for budgeting they are really bad for tracking. Offering limitless categories leads to software that is hard to use (budgeting becomes easier if people concentrate on the bigger picture rather than the minutia of spending). When there are limitless categories to choose from it becomes difficult to maintain consistency. Instead of long lists of categories, we decided to focus on a small set of budget goals and separate out tracking (where money was spent over time) using free form labels.

We’re not done yet

There’s still much to do to realise our vision and being part of the journey is amazing. Xero Personal is like a child to each of us and we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved in only a year. It’s a great journey to be part of so why not join us – we’re hiring!

So here’s to you Xero Personal. Like you my daughter turned one this month – here’s the Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday cake my wife baked to celebrate.


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30 March 2011 #

I am trying it out for a second time now. Xero Business accounting has achieved a great balance between ease of use and functionality. But sorry, the Personal is not there yet, at least for those who have investments or pay taxes…

Owen Evans
30 March 2011 #

hey @Max, the accounting application has a good head start on personal and as stated above we have a way to go to meet our vision, the beauty of SaaS is that we can keep filling in the missing pieces.

30 March 2011 #

The killer feature of Xero Business for me is the auto bank feeds. I liked personal a lot, but found it too much hassle manually importing transactions every time.

I know it’s probably a cost issue—Xero Personal is much cheaper then Xero Business. I’d be happy to pay extra for the convenience.

Any chance we’ll se this in a future update?

30 March 2011 #

Agreed, without automatic bank feeds I’m just not feeling it.

30 March 2011 #

Personal has its target audience. If you want the bank feeds then chat to your accountant and get a copy of Xero cashbook. Pay a bit more and get the bank feeds plus the cashbook has a budget feature so you can still get that functionality. Simple. My clients are on different Xero products to suit their needs and they love it.

30 March 2011 #

Well done guys! I’m a big fan of both business and personal. Keep up the good work.

30 March 2011 #

I’d echo the comments about automatic bank feeds – it would be an awesome enhancement. I have around a dozen various bank accounts that require updating so manual updating can be a bit of a chore. One thing that I’ve found helps – bookmark the import page for each bank account. This allows me to go directly to the import page without having to click into each bank account first. Xero – if you could have a link from each bank account on the dashboard to the respective import page this would be helpful too.

31 March 2011 #

I use personal but havn’t yet recommended it to my clients for two reasons. 1) manual bank feeds are chore for an organised person and just too much to expect of disorganised types who actually need the service. 2) the nice graphics are constrained to looking at the current month and last 90 days. Current month mgmt is no use when you manually update once a month. And longer term past data is needed to see non seasonal trends etc.

Peter Venero
6 April 2011 #

I’m all for bank feeds on the personal version as well. It has been wondrous on Xero for business. It would also be handy to have a mobile application so that we can enter cash transactions whilst on the go.

Regardless, Xero is an amazing product all together, and I’m stoked for it’s future.

Stephen Mathieson
10 April 2011 #

Just started using Xero Personal. Have sold my sole to Apple and are unable to use Quicken Personal. Xero is of interest, but am very interested to do most of my finances on my new iPad. Firstly the Xero site warns me that I don’t have Flash installed (and very unlikely given Apple’s position on Flash) Secondly, I cannot download and then import bank details using the iPad. This is unsupported. So have to revert to my MacBook Pro which then defeatsbthe purpose. Assume automatic bank feeds would eliminate second point. Will watch with interest before completely jumping in! Overall looks promising…

11 April 2011 #

Ditto on the banks feeds. It’s pretty much the only deal breaker and I would sign up for personal in an instant if this feature was added.

13 April 2011 #

I’m with the other comments here – I tried Personal because I love Xero in my business, but without the bank feeds it’s just too much work. Is there any prospect of a deal with Yodlee to have bank feeds in Personal – soon??

Owen Evans
13 April 2011 #

An answer for all of you asking about bank feeds in personal: Yes it’s something we’re working on, we’ll be leveraging off the work with Yodlee we did in the business application. They’re still working hard on finishing this work (support for MFA banks, the kind where you need a keycard or a security token, is coming). We’ve also got some technical challenges to meet in terms of the different way we leverage bank data in Personal as opposed to the Business app, but rest assured it is on the roadmap.

20 April 2011 #

Agree with @Matt’s two comments. 90% of my time in Xero Personal is around importing and categorising transactions. Once I’m done I’ve usually spent too much time getting data in there and need to get away and do something else. The value of the product would be greatly enhanced if I spent way less time grooming the data and way more time using that data to help my budgeting. Think Google Analytics where all time is spent gathering intelligence and no time is spent importing and massaging data. The further XP can get towards this ratio the better!

Owen Evans
20 April 2011 #

@Mark @Matt
Understood. Better/longer term reporting is on the roadmap as is automatic bank importing as stated in my last comment.

24 April 2011 #

I use Xero Business and love it, especially automatic bank feeds and reconciliation. For personal I use but as soon as Xero Personal get the automatic feeds, I’m switching. Looking forward to it!

22 May 2011 #

ditto re automated bank feeds. it’s the only thing stopping me from jumping into Xero personal. Rather than, ‘we’re working on it’ it would be great to get some sort of time frame from Xero on this. Do we hold our breath and wait or do we invest our time in some other solution?

31 July 2011 #

I wonder if any progress has been made on the automatic bank feeds into the personal version. i to would pay a little more if that is what it took to get them automatically. Any idea if this will happen in the near future as I will wait for a while longer.

Chris Walker
16 February 2012 #

Yeah guys, seriously. Hurry up with the bank feeds – here I am in 2012 and you STILL are blustering away ‘we’re gonna do it soon’ – am fed up now, sorry, time to look elsewhere.

16 February 2012 #

Charge more and get the bank feeds sorted for personal. asap.

David Radford
5 March 2012 #

Can we have a timeframe for bank feeds in Xero Personal please. (Of course we understand it may change). Thanks

Gary Littledyke
24 March 2012 #

I tried Xero Personal but the lack of automatic bank feeds which I was used to from my business account made it unworkable for me. There is nothing that works in the UK and I’m sure it would be very popular. Loads of people are asking when and there’s no response? Does anyone know of a UK friendly solution that works? I am fed up waiting … It’s 2012 surely this isn’t too much to ask for in this day and age?

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