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A view from inside

Posted 8 years ago in Advisors by
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Last week I visited the Xero Melbourne HQ to spend a few days with my new Xero team members.

The first thing that struck me when I walked in the office was the ’buzz’; lots of meeting spaces filled with Xeros (Xero employees) collaborating and communicating on the go, account managers speaking with partners, the marketing team brainstorming ideas, and the customer care team working together to solve support tickets. Everyone was getting on with the job at hand, and while you’d expect that to be the case, seeing it happen from the ’inside’ brought it all into perspective.

As I met with my fellow leadership team over two days of strategies and ideas, I got a real sense of why everyone in the office was so focused on their job. I realised it’s because Xero empowers ownership at all levels, within every role. The entire team is passionate about their work and take their roles very seriously – although you could always hear a laugh coming from somewhere in the office. After all, when it comes to Xero, it is all about doing what you do and having a good time while you do it.

James' desk at the Xero Melbourne HQ

My desk and new MacBook Air!

From my hot desk I couldn’t help but be inspired by the workspace I was in. It was a bit of a change working at a 1.6m x 70cm desk but as I noticed Chris Ridd, Trent Innes and other senior managers working at the same open plan desks, it was clear everyone was working towards the same goal. No imposed hierarchy, titles or offices – just one unified team committed to delivering a leading solution to market.

As I absorbed all of the information coming my way, taking notes and giving feedback from an ‘on the ground’ perspective, it was exciting to see the roadmap unfold for parts of the core product and, more importantly, for Practice Studio.

Delivery of the full tax suite, tighter integration between the Practice Studio components and some very nifty features to be slotted in along the way, all form part of this roadmap. From a daily user’s perspective it should assist with bringing efficiency to the operations of a practice. Things which I can’t wait to use in my own practice.

Being only officially in the role for two weeks there’s still so much to take in. But after my weeks on the ‘inside’ I can honestly say it’s exciting times ahead for everyone that works with Xero as the disruption continues!

9 comments

Trevor Schoenmaekers
September 16, 2014 at 5.02 pm

I’ve been in an open plan for 3 years now, its great. Couldn’t get a surface pro 3?

James Solomons in reply to Trevor Schoenmaekers
September 16, 2014 at 5.07 pm

@Trevor, I actually chose a Mac…. 🙂

Adam Ramage
September 16, 2014 at 5.54 pm

James, does the range of report packs enable larger firms with reporting entities to efficiently use Xero ledgers to provide full accounts with notes? I am hoping that is one of the objectives of “Full Practice Studio”. Or is it not meant for this style of use?

James Solomons in reply to Adam Ramage
September 17, 2014 at 3.52 pm

@Adam, think it’s fair to say Practice Studio is not yet being designed for or focussed on large Australian practices. The current Report Pack templates we provide are for SPFR and suitability for the GPFR needs you have for your clients would be something you can assess if you haven’t already.

We can always be better and you can see some of the exciting new reporting work that we’ve started releasing in Xero and further down the track we aim to have new Report Packs. Best immediate advice would be if you’ve not already done so is to evaluate Practice Studio components for suitability to your needs, which for all larger firms is likely to be related to client mix and the software in use.

JS

Mandi Dittloff
September 16, 2014 at 8.56 pm

As part of my bookkeeping training, I had to do a subject on new idea organisations and chose to do my topic on Ricardo Semler, i.e., books such as “The Maverick” and “The Seven-Day Weekend”just to name a few. This fellow was ahead of his time and living in Sao Paulo, South America. Great companies have followed in his tradition ie. Google and Xero and it is obviously a more pleasant way to work. Here’s me who sits here by myself most of the day! Lol.

Tim Cee
September 18, 2014 at 11.32 pm

James….can you shed any light on when some of the WIP and invoicing frustrations in XPM will be fixed. The inability/inflexibility to be able to choose what you want to carry forward or write up/off, for example.

The Practice Management features of XPM haven’t moved forward at the rate expected of Xero products – these are just as important as a tax product.

Communication about the road map needs to be more frequent and informative – “it’s coming” when neither ‘it’ or when are detailed is not good communication

James Solomons
September 19, 2014 at 4.26 pm

@Tim, with the road map I know the discussions in terms of how to make it the key tool accountants need to run their practice is front and centre. I agree that progress on developing the features we want has been slower than what we as practitioners have come to expect from Xero and I have communicated this feedback inwards.

As for the user experience I have delivered the message that the accountants want that same “Xero Experience” our clients get when using the Core Product. Why should our clients get all of the enjoyment and cool features !

Finally I have made a point that accountants want to be informed on a more regular basis as to the road map and developments as this product is something that affects how we run our businesses and the expectation is somewhat the same as how our clients expect us to keep them informed generally about things that affect their business.

An open and free flowing dialogue needs to be established and my appointment is another step to achieve this. So please continue to forward me your frustrations and feedback.

I assume that you have communicated your feedback re WIP and Invoicing already to the Practice Studio team but if you haven’t I would recommend putting all of these down in an email and sending it through. Its the feedback from existing users that will ensure it is improved and that the little things are made right. We have experienced some issues with this as well but have managed to find workarounds to suit our needs but I am the first to argue that there should never be a need for workarounds.

I know none of the above gives a specific answer as to when it will be fixed and this is because in my first few weeks I have just been scratching the surface of the road maps across a number of areas.

I am going to be at all the roadshows so it would be great to catch up in person when I am in SA.

JS

Tim Cee
September 19, 2014 at 6.12 pm

Thanks for the honesty JS – be keen to see you in Adelaide when you are here if you have the time – send me an email to co-ordinate if you can

James Solomons in reply to Tim Cee
September 20, 2014 at 2.33 pm

No problem Tim, I’ll connect with you in the lead up.

Cheers

JS

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