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Next generation client reporting is here

Posted 5 years ago in Advisors by Mark Blundell
Posted by Mark Blundell

Bringing small business accounting to the cloud has revolutionized the accounting industry. Accountants and bookkeepers can now give advice to their clients in real-time by looking at the most up-to-date data.

The real power of cloud accounting is having the accountant and their client on the same page at the same time; a single source of truth. This is a concept we call the single ledger. We are always working to create new ways for accountants and bookkeepers to get the most out of Xero’s single ledger.

This got us thinking – how can we reimagine management and compliance reporting with the single ledger.

Report Packs

In the desktop-based, disconnected world, an accountant could enforce a common chart. In a connected world where the client and accountant see the same data, this doesn’t hold true. Usually to overcome this you would have to create a custom report for each client which could take hours. It also makes practice-wide reporting standards hard to enforce, and there isn’t much room for efficiency.

So five years ago we introduced the concept of report codes. A single list of codes that partners can map client charts of accounts to. This enabled practices in Australia and New Zealand to create practice-wide templates. These report packs could be applied to their entire Xero client base.

Practices using Xero report packs saw productivity improvements immediately. Non-value adding activities like requesting files, transferring data to desktop software, and creating and posting alignment journals for clients were a thing of the past. Report standards could also be applied easily across an entire client base. But there were some features available in desktop software that accountants missed. The benefits of cloud reporting outweighed the cost, but we knew we could do better.

Enter the next generation of reporting on the single ledger: Practice Reports.

Practice Reports

Practice Reports are practice-wide report templates that give you the flexibility to create reports the way you want them. We have designed Practice Reports to be intuitive and approachable, without sacrificing the features. This means partners can harness the power of practice-wide templates, while still retaining the ability to customize the reporting outcome to the needs of the client.

We believe bringing practice reporting and the single ledger together is the most significant revolution in accounting since we started at Xero. Our partners are reducing the time spent at year end by up to 90% – in a practice this is a revolution.

After report packs launched we listened to what our accounting and bookkeeping partners wanted from reporting. Creating a best in class reporting engine was a massive project, we almost bit off more than we could chew. Now that we have delivered this first stage, we have a world class solution for final accounts production. This is our foundation and we can now extend it to include features that will move towards management focused reports.

We have now shifted the focus from compliance reporting to reporting that enables accountants to add value. They can use these reports as the conversation starter.

We’re rolling this out in New Zealand in March for the 2015 year end. Australia will see it before the end of June, and we plan to deliver this to the other regions in the coming months.

Our New Zealand partners can learn about using the new Practice Reports on Xero U. We have webinars and self-paced video courses available 24/7 on Creating Practice Reports and Preparing Accounts using Practice Reports.

14 comments

Chris
March 24, 2015 at 9.31 am

As good an improvement as this is, it’s very obvious that this was rushed out. I’ve discovered loads of bugs already. Really hoping you’ve got a big team working through these issues ASAP.

Allan Fefergrad
March 24, 2015 at 9.50 am

Any plans to roll out these features to the Global version?

Mark Lawton
March 24, 2015 at 11.33 am

I can see some improvements, You can now edit the schedules from within the template and you can rearrange the pages. I think some things are missing though.

I think a bit more work could be done to improve these, but

They don’t have any graphs you can add (or a way of adding other graphs or data from outside of Xero). I think this would be a game changer.
I can’t see that you can save template changes at a company level, except like you could before where you copy the previous year which is just the same as the old reports.
You can’t customise the footer across the pack like you used to. Specifically you can’t add the financial period to the page footer.
I would have liked to be able to report on multiple entities – especially entities with a different currency.
It would be good to be able to customise the look and feel to make it more unique to my practice.
I would be interested to hear what others have to say.

I must say that the other releases today make up for some of the missing features (I really would like to see the side by side files extended to journals). I love the online quotes.

Mark Blundell
March 24, 2015 at 11.45 am

@Chris as we discussed via email, there is more work yet to come in the report centre which will make that really sing for you.

@Allan yes this is going to the Australian version of Xero next and then out to other regions beyond that.

@Mark, yes as stated, this is a foundation release, on which a lot of additional functionality will be built in the months to come. The footer is controlled on a per page basis, not on the publishing screen as it used to. Select Add content > Footer.

We aren’t allowing you to save practice templates into the client org, there is more functionality coming around that which will allow you to quickly reproduce your client specific changes to a pack in future years while retaining the benefit of practice level templates.

Mark Lawton
March 24, 2015 at 12.01 pm

Thanks for your comments Mark. Yes just having the report templates for Global companies will be great and I will look forward to new innovations coming. The best thing about Xero is that your open communication and you really do listen to your customers.

Di Crawford-Errington
March 24, 2015 at 1.33 pm

Exciting! Cant wait to check it all out.

Chris
March 24, 2015 at 2.46 pm

Sometimes the stealth changes are my favourites – just noticed Reporting Name is now an option in the COA. Finally we can have a separate name for operations and for reporting purposes. This may seem like a small change, but it’s actually enormous in its effect in terms of allowing the single-ledger. Awesome.

Nickie Sheehan
March 26, 2015 at 1.08 pm

Some awesome changes and improvements. And looking forward to seeing new features as you add them.

I’m hoping that Shareholder Current Account Schedules are one of the client specific changes that will be able to be reproduced when pulling down a new version of the practice template.

Lisa H
March 27, 2015 at 11.40 am

Some awesome improvements on the old reporting packs. Looking forward to using them!
Just a couple of things I have noticed:
– Income Tax Note brings through the net profit AFTER tax and then adds back the Income Tax expenses as an adjustment. I find this very odd as will the clients! Any way this can be adjusted to be net profit BEFORE tax.
– Travel & Accommodation and Foreign Exchange Movements which is grouped behind the scenes in the P & L report don’t seem to be able to be re-ordered. I have tried multiple times but they just always end up back at the top.

Brett
March 30, 2015 at 3.03 pm

Well spotted Lisa, I have realised this is not sorting and looks very strange. As a follow on to this the issue is also prevalent in the balance sheet. Every category now on the published reports appears to be sorted without rhyme or reason. It looks like the report settings page is almost snapping back to (close to) alphabetical? But the print report does not sort all of the eg; current liabilities on the report in alphabetical order, some items like Trade Payables, GST and Tax seem to have a mind of their own. Very strange. Perhaps some guidance here from developers as to how this was intended to work?

Chris
March 30, 2015 at 4.45 pm

Yes I’ve noticed the same sorting issues, accounts ans groups seems to have a mind of their own. The Net Profit note is also a bit weird. I can live with it, but it would be better if you would group the Net Profit After Tax line with our Tax Expense entry, and change the name to Net Profit Before Tax.

Mark Blundell
March 30, 2015 at 5.07 pm

Hi guys, when we released we weren’t able to include a summarised group in a formula, that work is nearly done and when it is the schedule will be altered so that Current Year Earnings and Income Tax Expense are grouped together to give the accounting profit you expect. This is the first release and I hope the vast number of new features outweighs the small things we didn’t quite get in the first release.

The sorting issue is one we are working on at the moment. Remember if you are authoring practice templates with report codes, but are displaying them by account names then the order you are arranging the report codes in the template won’t impact the rendered report. The render will still sort alphabetically, but once you run the report you can then move items wherever you need because the chart level manipulation let’s you do anything.

Mat Arcus
April 20, 2015 at 4.39 pm

Are there plans to allow P&L reports by tracking category to be included in the V2 reports? I have clients who use the tracking and need to include a P&L for each tracking category. It would also be useful to then also create a group by tracking category to show a summary of each tracking category P&L on one page?

Peter Taylor
June 2, 2015 at 1.15 pm

Hi Guys, Good work on the V2. My disappointment is that we can’t add tables at the client ledger as before which we used for shareholders and numbers of shares, can this feature be restored urgently, thanks

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