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Xero updates: Working on the little things

Posted 8 years ago in Advisors by Penny Wildash
Posted by Penny Wildash

Hi, I’m Penny and I’m a Product Owner for the Sniper team at Xero. While the rest of the Xero product team tackles the larger pieces of work, we’re responsible for smaller features and enhancements that are just as important. In this post I want to let you know what updates made today’s release and give you a taste of what we’re going to be working on next.

Sniper developer team at Xero accounting software

We get a lot of feedback from our users – in fact, the last three posts covering Sniper updates generated over 100  comments! My job is to listen to this feedback and also monitor comments on our Community forums and work closely with our support team. We then come up with a plan and every three weeks, release as many updates as we can.

Today we’ve made these changes:

  • Remove planned payment dates – you will now be able to remove that planned payment date on your bills.

  • New payment term option – on contacts you can now set a new sales invoice or bill due date calculated on the number of days following the end of the invoice/bill month.

  • Improved Bank Reconciliation Report – on the Bank Statement tab and Statement Exceptions tab of the Bank Reconciliation report you can now see the date each transaction was imported into Xero. We have also added the ability to click through to the Statement.

  • No period lock date on setup – we have removed the automatic period lock date that occurs when the setup wizard is completed, making it easier for you to enter conversion balances the first time around.

  • More information when adding new bank accounts – after selecting your bank we will display a link to the bank’s website. As the names of banks provided on our Yodlee feeds can be very similar to one another, this will help you choose the right one.

In upcoming releases, some of the things we’re planning to include:

  • Archive and restore tracking – tracking categories and items will be able to be archived and more importantly restored and brought back to life.

  • New option to set the lock date – for advisers on the conversion balances page, all users now have visibility if the lock date prevents them from making changes.

  • Import multi-currency invoices – import invoices and bills in non-base currencies.

  • Bulk update repeating invoice templates – select multiple repeating invoice templates and update how invoices are created – as draft, approved or approved and sent. Use this new option to view and change the recipient mail addresses used on multiple repeating invoice templates.

  • Automatically update repeating invoice emails – be prompted to apply contact email address changes to your repeating invoices.

  • Faster manual journal data entry – automatically create new manual journal lines by simply tabbing to the next line.

We are also exploring;

  • Increasing unit price to 4 decimal places – on invoices, bills and cash transactions. A lot of you have been asking about this on Community (currently number 3). While it’s a bigger project than the Sniper team normally tackle, we’re up for it!

  • Allowing you to set a default chart of account code and tracking option(s) on a contact – to appear on invoices, bills and cash transactions.

We hope there’s something in this release that makes your day a bit better, or some small updates in the pipeline that you’re looking forward to. If you’ve got ideas – and we know you do – head on over to Community, search for your feature requests, and have your say.

For more details read the full release notes.



Heather Smith
April 28, 2014 at 10.40 am

Thanks for the update Penny & the Sniper team 🙂

“Allowing you to set a default chart of account code and tracking option(s) on a contact – to appear on invoices, bills and cash transactions.” This feature will be a huge time saver – enhance reporting – and will help avoid mistakes. When I convert people to Xero – many will comment this is missing and assume it is basic functionality so I’d love to see this implemented soon.

Anthony Wardley
April 28, 2014 at 4.11 pm

Looking forward to the journal entry automatic line addition. This will definitely make journals and multi line items a bit easier and quicker.

Elizabeth Salter
April 28, 2014 at 6.24 pm

Lots of great little stuff in there. Keep up the good work.

Matthew White
April 28, 2014 at 8.48 pm

Its great to see there’s a team to catch the “little” stuff as well as the big stuff. That shows the attitude of the Xero team is to keep making great software. Thank you for your team’s additions.

Can you please take a look at multi-currency – specifically expenses?
I ask as this is a service we are paying more for, yet it has some glaring and important problems/bugs/oversights to it… in short you can’t do multi-currency expenses! 🙁

On the community we are being told there is no plan for fixing this. We are also being told there are 1500 other requests being managed – yes, that makes sense with such a popular SaaS and for a big field like accountancy across different tax jurisdictions…

…but it just doesn’t seem right that we are paying more for a service that’s not fully implemented and yet we’re just being lumped in with everyone else.

Any chance someone could put a date to addressing this? Or at least putting it on the “exploring” list as above?

The specific community thread is at:

Penny in reply to Matthew White
April 29, 2014 at 11.33 am

@Matthew We hear you! The challenge on this one is adding to our existing feature flow (one of our earliest!) the ability to handle multiple receipts (in different currencies at different dates) comprising a single expense claim.

And while we do have longer term plans to rebuild/enhance expense claims that would cover multi-currency, it’s likely to be next year before we can look at this. Sorry it’s not better news…

BTW we were being conservative using the term ‘exploring’ – we are always exploring plenty and we used it in this post to cover the fact we couldn’t yet rule out any showstoppers for these features proceeding.

Jay Kimelman
April 29, 2014 at 7.51 am

Looking good!! Looking forward to setting default accounts/tracking codes to a contact.

Anthony Wardley
April 29, 2014 at 12.09 pm

Hi Penny

A tiny thing that annoys me. In payroll, when editing a pay there is a Save and Next button. It works really great. However when you get to the last pay it greys out. You have to click the separate save button and then you have to click the separate close button. Would be much more intuitive and flow a lot better if the Save and Next button changed to a Save and Close button on the last employees pay in the pay run.

Penny in reply to Anthony Wardley
April 29, 2014 at 2.58 pm

@Anthony Hey thanks for the feedback, totally agree and that makes sense to improve the payrun experience. Can’t promise a release date but we will look into this and see what we can do.

April 29, 2014 at 12.20 pm

One other thing that is desperately needed and should be an easy implementation for your team, is flexible payment details.

Many of us operate across different jurisdictions in many differing currencies, with many associated differing bank accounts.

It would be nice, if we could build each of these payment details in somewhere like the payment services module, then select which one to apply to the respective invoice.

Right now, I have god knows how many invoice templates set-up, to deal with different currencies, different payment terms, different bank accounts etc. etc. They’re almost personalised for each customer…. And when we made a branding change recently it took me hours to go through and update everything and I still haven’t finished.

This is where Xero falls short, everything should be configurable by the user. Look at CMMS systems for a starter.

Penny in reply to Matthew
April 29, 2014 at 6.45 pm

@Matthew We know a lot of customers are using the Invoice Branding theme to achieve different Terms & Payment Advice sections. Your idea to make this a separate selectable range of options listed under Payment Services is really interesting and I was surprised that in a quick search of the Community feature requests I couldn’t find it. Definitely one for the design team to think about the user experience, but is likely to be sitting behind other priorities in the short term.

By the way what might help is an improvement we have in progress where you will be able to bulk update the default branding theme via the Contact import/exporter. We are looking to deliver this with the new Contact account code & tracking option defaults.

April 29, 2014 at 5.22 pm

As the person that enters all the data into Xero for both of our businesses I’d love to see the usability improved. The thing that I find most frustrating is the lack of calculation function in Xero. For example, one of our businesses is a restaurant and many of the receipts have a GST and a non GST component. The only way to enter this currently is to enter the total amount and then for the GST amount get a calculator and multiply the GST amount by 11 to get the total for that line and then when I go to the next line for the amount that is non GST I have to calculate the total minus the GST amount. I find this so tedious and bizzare for such a forward thinking software as Xero. As I understand most other accounting software autocalculate and autofill these amounts. Another thing that would help is if Xero recognised a particular Contact/Supplier and then autofilled the lines based on history, for example, type in Melray Meats add the total and the lines autofilled. This would make the job of the data imputters soooo much easier. I’ve written in the forums periodically about this over a couple of years since we switched to Xero and every update I wonder if this will be the one to make data entry easier. Is this on the list of to do’s at all?

Penny in reply to Steve
April 30, 2014 at 12.45 am

@Steve Yes both features/improvements that you mention are on the list of to dos. You might like to add your vote to the ‘Override GST amount where GST differs from tax rate percentage’ feature request on the Community. https://community.xero.com/business/discussion/179671/#

April 29, 2014 at 10.20 pm

Thanks for the update guys! It’s great to see that you take all our feedback on board and do your best to better the system, not just for advisors, but for the clients as well!

April 29, 2014 at 10.22 pm

Penny, I raised this with your lot about a year ago, and was basically given the bums rush – just like you have given everybody requesting quotes for 3 years…

I was basically told to create loads of template, as I already had, or leave it off and type it out in an email each time I sent an invoice…. For what is supposed to be a automated system, this response did quite surprise me.

As a user of complex SaaS systems (much more complex than Xero ever will be) for many years , what really surprises me about Xero is the inability for user configuration. If the system had been designed properly from the outset, all of these things would be completely user configurable, making the requests on the dvelopers much lower.

I guess though, you need to know what you’re building when you start, rather than rush headlong into getting something out.

I’m quite surprised that you find these configurable type ideas “interesting”. Have you people not experience with complex CMMS systems, for instance?

Happy to give you some design input into what should be rather simple functionality.

Will Wood
April 30, 2014 at 2.59 am

There are a few niggles we have in particular no warning when you delete manual bank payments and the lack of freezing of the headings on the profit and loss reports when there is a large chart of account – other than we are very pleased.

Penny in reply to Will Wood
April 30, 2014 at 10.46 am

@Will Ha we have just noticed that there is no warning when you select Remove & Redo from the options inside a spend or receive Money or invoice/bill payment yet there is when you remove by selecting the transaction from the Accounts Transaction page. Thanks for highlighting and we will look to fixing this in the next release.

For the profit and loss report there is a rewrite underway by another team and amongst other features improving usability including freezing headings is very much part of the plan. Sorry can’t give you a date for this but it is on the list of what we’re are working on, link to http://help.xero.com/#Workingon.

Peter McCarroll
April 30, 2014 at 6.09 am

Penny and team – great to see you guys hard at work! Keep these small changes coming through. I know that no change is “easy”, but pushing the small niggly things through adds heaps to Xero’s credibility!! All I can say is – “Please Sir (Penny), may I have some more?”

April 30, 2014 at 11.58 am

“Faster manual journal data entry – automatically create new manual journal lines by simply tabbing to the next line.”

I would also love this feature in Spend Money and Receive Money. That would be awesome.

Penny in reply to Chris
April 30, 2014 at 7.41 pm

@Chris Looking into getting this done!

Fran Molloy
May 1, 2014 at 2.38 pm

HI Penny – while it sounds like repeating invoices are being looked at with ‘Bulk update repeating invoice templates’ – what I’d like to see is a repeating invoice with more flexibility. I often do an almost identical invoice for a client – but it doesnt happen on a weekly or monthly basis; would be great to attach a default invoice to a client then be able to edit details on the fly

Penny in reply to Fran Molloy
May 4, 2014 at 12.53 pm

@Fran We’ve had a few comments about creating “invoice templates” which would help here, and requests for repeating invoice templates to list on the Contact record.

Great concept but at this stage unless it is super easy this is likely to fall in behind other feature requests on the to do list.

It would help if we could gauge interest on this one, within the Community I located the following related threads;

May 1, 2014 at 9.13 pm

It would be great to have a features section for these tweaks within the Community page. Small changes save a lot of time for users yet won’t obtain the valuable votes of the community.

Penny in reply to Nick
May 8, 2014 at 11.50 am

@Nick Love the idea and we have talked about this recently. Thanks for highlighting and good to see we are on the same page.

May 3, 2014 at 10.56 am

Another update, another month without receipts. 6 years later…………..

May 6, 2014 at 2.47 am

Hi there. I implemented a client without knowing that Xero is not supporting more than 2 decimal points. The client is very upset with me, because he needs 4 decimal places. I was happy to see that you are working on this. Just my question, how long does that normally takes if it is announced. I am sure it’s difficult to say but just to have an idea, if it’s two month or 2 years. Thanks Miriam

Penny in reply to Miriam
May 8, 2014 at 11.48 am

@Miriam, @Mark and @Michael We are progressing well to landing 4 decimal places for unit price within the next 3-4 months. The testing effort is significant and as you can imagine with the mobile apps and API there are many moving parts that need to co-ordinate. Hope this conditional commitment is helpful.

May 7, 2014 at 3.25 am

Please work on the 4 decimal point! This is super important for one of my clients.

Michael Mori
May 7, 2014 at 4.33 pm

@Miriam@Mark I use the Global version and the Qty field is limited to 4 decimals and the Unit Price is not limited. The problem is that the rounding to two decimals takes place in the Unit price field and erases the original entry in that field, so one cannot check the data entry. The rounding to two decimals should occur in the Amount field instead. E.G Currently in XERO: Qty 2 – price 1.4949 = 2.98 because XERO rounds the Unit price to 1.49 before the calculation. When actually the rounding should take place in the Amount field making the REAL ANSWER of 2.9898, 2.99 and not the false answer of 2.98! The more lines in an invoice, the greater the discrepancy potential.

Penny, I feel strongly that this should be brought to Tokes’ attention urgently, as it is a fundamental flaw in the accounting and not just a debatable feature issue.

BTW – you guys are doing a great job – there is nothing on the market that compares to the overall package XERO delivers. Even the transparency of this forum is great.

May 19, 2014 at 10.44 am

Batch receipts? I am still in shock that a similar function to “batch payments” is not available on the accounts receivable side of things. All of my clients pay me for multiple invoices with a single payment and there is often only a part payment on the final invoice.

…and before you say it, the bank rec work-around is not an option!

All I’m asking for is the exact implementation as seen in the Purchases module. The only reason you’re not getting more requests is that everyone who has discovered the lack of this feature has ruled out Xero as an option for them. Accordingly, they are not reading the WIP and not posting requests.

Please fix this fundamental fault or everyone will bypass Xero for Saasu.

Penny in reply to Adam
May 20, 2014 at 10.26 am

@Adam ‘Batch receiving’ is in active development and we will be making a mention in https://help.xero.com/#Workingon soon. Too early to comment on an eta but it’s on its way!

Siobhan Mundy
May 24, 2014 at 8.35 am

I would really like to see the ability to group published reports in custom groups and subgroups to make them easier to see and access. One big long list becomes quite messy when you have annual reports, GST returns, bank reconciliations and trial balances (at least) for multiple years sitting in the one list.

May 24, 2014 at 9.49 am

I would really like to see the ability to group and subgroup published reports into relevant folders. We are now seeing lists of Annual Reports, GST Returns, Bank Reconciliations and Trial Balances (at least) for multiple years all on the same page and it is starting to look quite messy.

Being able to create the groups would make finding the reports again at a later date a much quicker and more pleasant experience!

Penny in reply to Siobhan
May 27, 2014 at 11.43 am

@Siobhan This is on our reporting team’s radar and as they complete brand new versions of all the key reports the plan is to deliver a new published reports tab organised by financial year.

Some bigger pieces of reporting work to get done first but we will tackle what you describe.

David Harris
May 26, 2014 at 11.42 am

Hi @Penny, would love to see a different colour for where a bank rule is applied on the bank reconciliation screen (e.g. yellow) in the same way that Xero highlights a transaction green when it is matching it off against something – see https://community.xero.com/business/discussion/4189347/ . That way it makes it obvious that there’s a rule in place, as opposed to Xero making a coding suggestion (which occasionally isn’t right!).

Penny in reply to David Harris
May 27, 2014 at 11.50 am

@David Great idea and just the sort of opportunity the Sniper team is on the lookout for. We will investigate with design and update the Community post (you referenced) with where we might go with this.

Allan Hart
May 26, 2014 at 6.53 pm

I agree – this would be a nice feature !

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