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NZ campaign brings four real kiwi businesses right into your living room

This month we are super excited to kick off a campaign and sponsorship of 60 Minutes in New Zealand. We’re really proud to be associated with this trusted current affairs programme and there’s a great fit between viewers of 60 Minutes and business owners who are considering Xero. Our goal is to start to educate NZ businesses on Xero and the great reasons they should jump on board with us.

We’ve used this opportunity to showcase four real New Zealand small business owners and I’m sure you’ll agree they are just fabulous! Each customer focuses on a different feature of Xero that has made managing their business easier.  We love hearing about how kiwi businesses can save time, be more efficient, stay on top of their finances, and generally enjoy doing business more  Who doesn’t love that?

We know there are a lot of people who know about Xero but haven’t taken the next step to use online accounting software.  This campaign is to inspire them to make time to do that, by showcasing their peers who have taken the step and are really benefiting from having Xero in their lives.

Here’s a sneak peek of two of our Xero customers featured in the campaign – Jeremy from Cibo restaurant in Parnell, Auckland, and Kerry owner of online florist Wild Poppies. You can also check them out on our website. Continue reading ›

 

Smart Lists for the holiday season

The holiday season is a busy time of year for most of us, especially small business owners. In addition to cooking, shopping, travelling and hosting family and friends, you also have to focus on running your business. While work life balance is important, for many businesses this is their busiest season.

That makes the holidays the perfect time to reach out to your customers, not only to let them know how much you’ve appreciated their support throughout the year, but also to share any special/targeted offers that might help you squeeze the last bit of revenue out of the year.

Smart Lists is a great way of generating these targeted customer lists, unlocking the value of your customers by tailoring a message specifically for them. With all your transactions in Xero, you can easily find customers who have purchased a particular product, how much they’ve spent and when they last bought something from you.

Smart Lists can also help you generate a list of all your customers so you can wish them all the best for the holidays.

Watch the following video to find out all the ways Smart Lists can help with your business.

 

Happy holidays from Xero Australia!

As 2014 draws to a close and we get ready to take a well-deserved break, it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved in the past year. In Australia alone during 2014, Xero:

  • Grew to 158,000 Australian customers at 30 September, at 100 per cent year-on-year growth
  • Surpassed $1 billion in Australian payroll processed through Xero every month
  • Reached 176 staff in Australia and opened new offices in Canberra, Brisbane and Perth
  • Grew Xerocon to become the largest accounting event in Southern Hemisphere, with more than 1,300 registered attendees
  • Ran largest partner roadshow in Australia, with more than 5,500 registered attendees
  • Appointed a Head of Accounting and Head of Bookkeeping to represent the expanding number of accountants & bookkeepers working with Xero, now more than 6,500 in Australia
  • Was named #1 as Australia’s Most Innovative Company by BRW

Continue reading ›

 

Bank of Queensland completes a year of new feeds

Bank of Queensland logoWe’re pleased to announce that direct feeds from Bank of Queensland are now available for our business customers. Direct feeds are supplied from the financial institution through to Xero on a daily basis.

Bank of Queensland is one of the largest independently owned Australian banks that is not owned by one of ‘the big four’ and it is one of the oldest banks in Queensland. We’re delighted to have worked with them to offer feeds directly into Xero. Bank of Queensland Specialist Bank feeds have been supported since earlier in the year but we’re delighted that feeds are now available for the entire bank, for all current, savings, loans and term deposit accounts.

To sign up for Bank of Queensland feeds, or to move your existing Yodlee feeds over to direct feeds, please visit our help centre for instructions.

Bank of Queensland is the last new direct feed of the year, after a busy twelve months of adding new banking data suppliers. We’ve been adding support for new banks at a rate of more than one a month and there’s no reason to expect this to slow down in 2015. In fact we aim to speed things up – we already have a backlog of new feeds to introduce in the first part of 2015!

This year we’ve added new feeds for: Continue reading ›

 

Make collecting payments easier with Funding Gates

Funding Gates (FG) Receivables Manager makes collecting paymentsFunding Gates logo the easiest part of running your business.

The FG Receivables Manager is a simple, easy to use way to manage your Accounts Receivable and customer relationships. It syncs with your Xero account, and immediately starts learning about you and your business. As a user, you can understand the health of your receivables in an instant, take actions with effective reminders, or call them with a single click.

Additionally, you can keep track of your entire contact history and collaborate with your team with full visibility. The platform helps you easily access your receivables data, stay organized and follow up with your customers in the most effective way, while giving you the tools to say the right things, at the right time.

Who is it for?

FG Receivables Manager is right for you if you manage receivables for a business. You can be:

  • A business owner
  • An accountant managing receivables for a business
  • A credit manager
  • An assistant in charge of customer follow up
  • A family member helping out in the business

Xero users can expect a full and seamless integration between Xero and FG Receivables Manager. Data is automatically synced real-time, removing any need to enter the same information twice.

Where you can use FG Receivables Manager

FG Receivables Manager platform is available globally, though the “click-to-call” and collection agency integration features are currently available in the US only.

Sign up to try FG Receivables Manager

Click here for more information

 

2014 year-end payroll in the US

It’s coming up on the holiday season here in the US … which means that the end of the financial year is not far behind. This can be a stressful time, so we’ve put together some helpful information. Whether it’s tax filings or company holidays, there are key things that have to be done to close out 2014 and ring in 2015 penalty free. We’ve also listed key payroll tasks to complete to make this time of year as stress free as possible.

In general, most employers follow a similar process to bring the year’s payroll to a close – and this ensures that all numbers are accurate and everything is ready for the new year. The exact responsibilities involved in completing end-of-the-year payroll will vary by circumstances and state.

Note: The payroll software you use and your company policy may render some steps unnecessary or require that they be done in a different order.

1. 2015 electronic filing requirements
Make sure you are up to date by checking the Federal, State and local electronic tax filing requirements for 2015. Many of these requirements can be completed directly from Payroll in Xero with one simple click.

2. 2015 W-4 verification
Ask that employees review their name, address, Social Security number and W-4 information to maintain accuracy on their W-2 forms. Check that Federal and State income tax withholding selections are correct for 2015 and update in your payroll software as required.

3. 2015 payroll processing schedule
Prepare your 2015 payroll processing and tax return filing schedule. You can make any necessary changes to your payroll schedule within Payroll in Xero to allow multiple schedules to happen at the same time. With Payroll in Xero we keep track of your filing and payment schedules under Taxes & Filings.

4. 2014 W-2 distribution
Determine what method will be used to distribute employee copies of the 2014 Forms W-2. These can easily be downloaded from Taxes & Filings within Payroll in Xero.

5. 2014 W-2 filing – employer
File last year’s W-2. Payroll in Xero will automatically calculate your W-2s, and you can electronically file – at anytime – from Taxes & Filings with one click. Continue reading ›

 

Xero works around the clock

One of great things about Xero is how it saves you time by taking care of the mundane and repetitive aspects of running a small business. In today’s release we added more features on this theme, so I thought now was a good time to present these and give an overview of some of Xero’s existing time savers.

(Repeating) manual journals

If you’re a business owner, you may not care too much about manual journals. Fair enough, but your accountant or bookkeeper certainly will and we think they (and nearly 300 voters on Community) are going to like another time-saving update.

Much like repeating invoices, it’s now possible to create repeating journals. Great for apportioning costs throughout the year or making regular adjustments.

Repeating journals in Xero are a great way to save time when you're running a small business

Find out more about repeating manual journals.

Bank reconciliation

At the heart of Xero is the way we’ve simplified getting transactions from your bank into Xero. In traditional accounting software you spent hours manually entering data and then reconciling this with your bank accounts. In Xero, we’ve brought these processes together into what we call Bank Reconciliation. Continue reading ›

 

Celebrating your team this Christmas

As the silly season and the end of the year approaches, it’s a great time for your business to get involved with Christmas festivities and give everyone the opportunity to have a bit of fun to celebrate a busy and successful year.

Letting your hair down with the people who have chosen to come and work with you is a great way to keep up company morale and motivation; sending them off on their holidays excited to return to work next year.

There are plenty of ways you can do this, no matter what the size of your business or the size of your budget. If you don’t have any office Christmas ideas, here are some of the things the team at Xero UK have been up to that might inspire your festive celebrations.

Christmas Jumper Day for charity

Christmas is a time for giving, not just to our friends and family, but also to those less fortunate. So this year, the UK team donned our jazzy jerseys for Christmas Jumper Day to raise money in aid of Save the Children. Not only does charitable giving benefit those in need, but it builds morale for the team as well. 

Christmas Jumper Day

Continue reading ›

 

Xero Dashboard: your business at a glance

Fresh new look for the Xero DashboardHi, I’m Tony. I’ve spent the last six years leading the Xero API team and am excited to get back to my roots to focus on the core user experience of Xero. I am laser focussed on making it easier for Xero users to monitor and understand the health of their business.

I’m excited to tell you that with today’s release you’ll notice a fresh new look to the Xero Dashboard. This is just the start of many ongoing updates you’ll notice to the dashboard in the coming months. With this release:

  • We’re introducing a new graph which shows your incoming and outgoing cash over the last few months – handy for seeing your historical cash movements at a glance. You can drill into the detail as required.
  • Our invoice and bill graphs will be improved so you’ll be able to see the total amounts for all outstanding invoices rather than just those overdue – the same will apply to bills. The charts are simplified so you can quickly see if there are overdue items at a glance and drill down to see these.
  • You’ve told us for a long time that you want the choice of what to show on the Dashboard and where those items are positioned. So from now everything can be positioned as you like or optionally hidden if you don’t have a need for a particular item.

Continue reading ›

 

Summer a time for small businesses to reflect and plan for the year ahead

A summer break is an ideal time for small business planning. Owners can take stock of the year that has been and identify improvements to make for the upcoming year.

I have put together some top tips for Kiwi small business owners to think about over a barbecue or at the beach.

Take on board any learnings from 2014 and make 2015 your year with these top 10 tips.

      1. Set goals and objectives: Summer is a great time for small business planningSMART (or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-related) goals are an effective tool for small business owners. Maybe you want to achieve a 50% increase in sales? Maybe you’d like to gain five new customers? Or maybe you’d like to give yourself a day off each week? SMART goals make it easier and clearer for your business to reach its potential. Set some goals with interim milestones, write them down and stick to them!
      2. Expand your social media presence: Social media is a great tool for engaging with current and potential customers and gaining valuable insights. It’s important to find the right social media platform to reach your target audience. Spend some time scanning through potential new “Followers” to grow (or simply start) your Twitter base and map out a content plan for the year ahead so you’re posting regularly and engaging your audience.
      3. Update your website and enable SEO: Having a website is fundamental in today’s tech savvy world and it’s important to make sure it’s fit for purpose. Is it mobile friendly or mobile optimised? SEO (or search engine optimisation) is the process of making your website visible in search engine results. One way to optimise your website is to identify keywords that could direct people to your site, then make sure these terms are throughout your site. Regularly updating your website with new, relevant content is important as this also effects your search engine ranking.
      4. Budget: Work with your accountant or business advisor to establish a budget and financial forecast for the new year. This will help you to plan for tax payments as well as cash flow management. With some planning you’ll be able to set targets with the aim to build your business for the future. Finally, don’t forget to dream about where you want your business to be financially in the next 3-5 years.
      5. Consider a business mentor: A business mentor can really help bring a new perspective and fresh ideas to your business. Whether it’s a person you already know and trust, or whether you use a business network, having a mentor is invaluable to the long term success of your business.
      6. Consider doing some market research: Market research can really help you learn about the market demand for your products or services. It is extremely valuable when moving into new markets, or launching a new product or service. There are many useful resources available online for free including Google Trends, LinkedIn and Twitter. Use these to make more informed marketing and business decisions.
      7. Embrace ‘the cloud’: ‘The cloud’ is a platform to make data and software accessible online anytime, anywhere, from any device. It’s scalable, cost-effective and easy to use. For small business owners this allows the ability to work remotely and not be confined to one device. There is a large range of online software available – from Xero’s accounting software to project management (WorkFlowMax) and point of sale (Vend) – to meet small business needs. And don’t forget to have a good look at cloud storage platforms as well.
      8. Get online invoicing: Online invoices can provide your business with a faster and easier method to send out invoices and track them. Online invoices tend to get paid faster so this will assist with cash flow management. It also greatly reduces the amount of paperwork and administration time required.
      9. Network: If you’ve played with the thought of increasing your business network, you can either hold your own event or seek out relevant events to attend. Take the time to see what’s on offer in your area so you can share ideas and business tips with like minded people.  Plan your events for the year and lock them in your calendar while it’s free!
      10. Improve your customer relationships: CRM (or customer relationship management) applications, like Xero’s Smart Lists, can help small businesses retain existing customers, find new ones and get a better insight into sales. With CRM software you can store client contacts, handle customer interactions, schedule client contact and track campaigns. CRM applications are even more valuable when integrated with other cloud based systems like email software and accounting software.

Check out our Small Business Guides for more great tips for small business.