With the onset of COVID-19 earlier this year, accountants and bookkeepers have played a crucial role in supporting small businesses. Our Xero partners have experienced a huge period of legislative change, emails and documents to clients continue to surge and workflows need to be quickly adapted to suit working from home. It is paramount that we make sure our Xero partners are well supported at a time where efficiency is more important than ever.
In the Xero On Air episode: Next generation practice: Your workflow enhancements, we showcased the enhancements we have made to two important workflows for your practice. We are further optimising your billable workflow, as well as making it much easier to find and set up new clients for your practice. Here are a few more details on these product updates.
Enhancing productivity for your billable work
Flexible view of clients in Xero HQ – Global
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out improvements to the client list in Xero HQ. You’ll see a new, clean table format and faster access to relevant client information. This includes the ability to sort, filter, group, and customise the data you want to see. You’ll also have the ability to export your client list to Excel. New details will include trading name/legal name, Xero organisation name, business number and financial year-end date. Shortly after the rollout, we’ll also add connected banks and unreconciled bank items, and UK Partners will be able to access bank feed expiry dates.
Greater consistency in client data between Xero HQ and Xero Practice Manager clients – Global
We know you want a single source of truth for all your client records across Xero, so we’re working hard to make that happen for you. From today, when you create a new client in Xero HQ, that information will automatically flow through to Xero Practice Manager and vice versa. This means you only have to set up a client once, in one place, and you’ll have the same client in both systems. There are more improvements on the horizon and we look forward to telling you about them shortly!
Page breaks in reporting and redesigned date selector – Global
When preparing report templates for your clients, there are now page breaks to make formatting easier. This gives you more control over where the pages in the reports will break. You can find this new feature in the layout editor of all new reports. Along with page breaks, we recently updated the default placement of text blocks and schedules in the layout editor of report templates.
We’ve also redesigned the date selector in Xero, so you can type in dates and more easily select custom dates from the calendar. All these enhancements streamline the reporting process, saving you valuable time.
Collate and sign documents quickly and easily in Xero HQ – Global
Our Xero partners around the world will soon be joining our Xero Tax users in Australia in an early release of Document Packs & Xero Sign within Xero HQ. Organising client documents, sending them out to be signed, and getting them back correctly can take time. The new Document Packs feature in Xero HQ will let you collate everything from engagement letters to year-end financial reports and then get them e-signed by your clients. Read more about Document Packs in Xero HQ, and sign up to be a next gen practice insider where you can get early access to Document Packs over the coming months.
Compliance in the cloud with Xero Tax – UK
Since launching Xero Tax in March 2020, we’re continuing to gain momentum. As a 100% cloud-based solution, it’s ideal for remote working. It helps accountants and bookkeepers save time, reduce errors and cut costs, and is available to all Xero partners in the UK free of charge. Our latest features have enhanced the Corporation Tax module, to increase its security, visibility and regulatory robustness. These include practice-level default disclosures, session storage and the addition of new filing options, including FRS 102 1a full accounts and abridged profit and loss.
The personal tax module is the next priority for Xero Tax in the UK. We’re doing this in a two-staged approach. First, we’re developing a self-assessment filing module, which is planned for general release to our UK partners for the tax year ending 2021. It will start with prototype testing in later this year, followed by an open pilot in 2021. Then we’ll be working with HMRC to provide an income tax solution for Making Tax Digital, in advance of HMRC-mandated date of April 2023. The solution will give you real-time connectivity, help you store and maintain digital records, and submit returns each quarter.
Making it easier to meet and set up new clients in Xero
Winning new clients – Global
We’re piloting a new feature that will connect small businesses without an advisor to practice staff with relevant expertise. This is designed to help you grow your network, by connecting you with the small businesses most suited to your practice. New prompts in Xero will encourage small businesses to reach out to an advisor. Essentially it’s a matchmaking service, using innovative technology and Xero data to leverage the reach of the Advisor Directory and help you gain new clients. We’re planning to release this innovative tool by the end of the year, after piloting it over the next few months.
Onboarding clients quickly with customised Chart of Accounts templates in Xero HQ – Global
From November, Xero partners globally will have the option to build their own customised Chart of Accounts (COA) templates, standardised to their internal practice conventions and reporting needs. Customisable COA templates can be mapped to Xero report codes and anyone in your practice can use them when adding new clients to speed up onboarding. The new templates will be created and stored in Xero HQ and can be easily accessed when creating new clients.
We’re on an exciting path towards your next gen practice experience – our future vision for accountants and bookkeepers – and want to make sure you’re with us every step of the way. Our next gen practice value map will help you see what we’ve delivered, what’s new and some of what’s coming next for Xero’s practice tools.