Building on the unveiling of our code-free accounting plans earlier this year at Xerocon Atlanta, we announced the next wave of major new products and features today at Xerocon Brisbane.
We’re innovating at an incredible pace and all our new products and features pursue a simple common goal – to help small businesses and advisors be more successful.
The latest announcements are another step towards providing a truly global platform which goes beyond accounting to drive small business profitability and connect businesses and advisors to rich, accurate data.
As well as introducing new features to help improve everyday business processes and provide deeper insights into business performance, we’ve made a key acquisition, and built with small businesses in mind, some exciting machine learning capabilities. We’ve automated some repetitive tasks, which reduces the amount of time business owners and their advisors spend collecting and entering data.
Keeping accounting simple and accurate for business owners
Business owners can spend more time growing their business and less time managing it with easier-than-ever access to their business information in Xero.
Xero’s new ‘files required’ feature, currently in beta, gives accountants and bookkeepers more opportunity to scale, improve quality, and deliver more value to their clients by taking the guesswork out of understanding what supporting documents are needed for compliance, and making it easier to collect, store and manage them. This not only cuts down on the time accountants and bookkeepers spend chasing their clients for information, but it also ensures accurate data. Keep an eye out for updates advising when you can get your hands on this feature.
Another feature ensuring data accuracy is Xero’s recent acquisition of Hubdoc. With Hubdoc, advisors can save up to five hours per month per client, a dramatic increase in service efficiency, particularly in the bookkeeping space. Working closely together, we’ll be able to further enhance Xero’s machine learning capabilities to accurately extract data from financial documents in real-time, saving even more time and proving even more accurate. The real win here is that this integration frees up advisors’ time allowing them to provide higher value services.
Less repetition, more accuracy with machine learning
We know that data entry is one of the pain points for accountants, bookkeepers and their clients, as not only can it be repetitive, it’s also prone to error. We’re developing our machine learning capabilities to save time and increase accuracy, meaning business owners can make more informed decisions about their business.
Currently in beta, Xero’s new invoicing experience will be a game changer for many small business owners. We’ve completely rebuilt our invoicing product from scratch, to make it faster and more intuitive. Xero users can now invoice their customers from any device at any time. The machine learning functionality means the software learns how a business is run, automatically completing the majority of an invoice based on previous entries.
Business owners also no longer have to spend time entering codes or tax rates. This means it’s easier to issue invoices as soon as the job is completed, reducing the end-of-the-day or end-of-the-week administration that’s familiar to many small business owners. Making invoices easier to create and send from a smartphone also means it’s likely that invoices will be paid faster – and it doesn’t hurt that they’re mobile-friendly and easy to preview.
We’re also expanding our popular email-to-bills machine learning feature to extract and automatically populate details from any PDF bill into Xero – it’s now in beta release. Simply forward any bill from any business to your personal Xero billing address, and the bill will be automatically created and populated in Xero. This feature eliminates the need for manual entry altogether and will save business owners countless hours on data entry each month. It will also hugely improve the accuracy of cash flow reporting, as we know that currently a lot of business owners simply don’t have the time to create bills in Xero.
Accountants and bookkeepers gain more confidence with app advisory
We know that more than half of our accountants and bookkeepers want to get started recommending apps but don’t know how.
With this in mind, we’ve updated the Xero app marketplace to give advisors the opportunity to build their profile and reach potential new small business customers. They’ll also have access, in Xero HQ Explorer, to curated app recommendations for each of their clients based on the client’s industry.
Alongside these improvements, we’re introducing a tiering system for our app partner program, giving advisors more information on which to base curated app recommendations to their clients.
Advisors who would like a bit more knowledge about advising on apps will be able to take advantage of a new Xero U course on app advisory. The courses will improve advisors’ app knowledge within specific industries, meaning they can feel more confident when recommending apps to their clients.
Xero Projects partners up
Business owners who use Xero Projects are going to see some noticeable changes, with Xero Projects and Xero Payroll now working more closely together than ever before.
Payroll admins in Australia can now pull Xero Projects time entries into Xero Payroll, making it easier to pay contractors and wage earners according to the hours they work. Previously, this information had to be entered in manually, so not only does this new feature save time, it also reduces the risk of pay errors. It also means that the Xero Projects user can track their project profitability more closely.