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Driving the future of better business: CPA Day @ the Capitol

Last month (Wednesday, January 21, to be exact) a group of four Xeroes – Saul Colt, Arthur Garcia, Marie Jung and Karen Liu – packed into the Xero-approved Mini Cooper and headed to the California State Capitol in Sacramento. There, they marked the Xero territory in chalk, fed hungry accountants, and doled out lots of Xero love during CPA Day @ the Capitol.

CPA Day

State CPA societies often organize an annual CPA Day – an event that gathers members with state representatives to discuss key issues facing the profession. These discussions are important. They help shape the future of better business policies all across the state. Attendees volunteer their time – and this year, for CalCPA, a record number of members, including student chapters, attended.

A shared mission

Xero shares a mission in common with CPA Day. And we’re inspired by the folks who took the time to perform this service – which made it the perfect setting to show our love and support – complete with food and smiles. And well, the feeling was mutual:

Karen Liu at CPA Day @ The CapitolXero Mini at CPA Day @ the Capitol

CPA Day @ the Capitol attendees enjoy great food Continue reading ›

 

Start spreading the news! Payroll for New York is here with e-file and e-pay

Following on from our last major update two weeks ago, we’re pleased to announce payroll for businesses in New York, the Empire State.

Why the Empire? According to the Empire State Development Agency, small businesses comprise 98 percent of all businesses in New York and employ more than half of New York’s private sector workforce. Now, we can give around hundreds of thousands of small businesses access to beautiful seamless payroll and accounting software.

E-File and E-Pay New York payroll taxes

You see upcoming payroll filing and payment obligations on the Payroll Overview with detailed information available under Taxes & Filings. Payroll in Xero calculates relevant business days and displays both the File By and Due By dates to make sure you know the key dates. Enroll now for Payroll in Xero e-file and e-pay.

All existing and new Standard and Premium customers have access to e-file and e-pay for payroll taxes at no extra cost.

Power the payroll

You no longer have to export and import your payroll data. With the general ledger automatically updated, you can easily follow the payroll data through payroll reports and the balance sheet, income statement and other relevant accounting reports. Payroll administrators are empowered with an easy-to-access dashboard, which provides a quick overview of the payroll with employee timesheets and time off requests seamlessly pulled into the payroll.

Serve with pride

Xero is proud to be serving New York businesses. For more information on small business in New York, check out these important resources:

  • Your Business. a downloadable guide to owning and operating a small business in New York State.
  • Business Services Web Portal. NYS Department of Labor (DOL) provides links to information on employee/employer issues and programs that can benefit employers.
  • New York Tax Guide for New BusinessesGuidance, online services, and forms that help taxpayers and tax professionals comply with the tax law.

New York’s motto is ‘Excelsior’, meaning ‘ever upward’. Xero is exactly the same.

Many of you have requested Payroll in Xero support in your home state – and we’re working quickly to expand Payroll in Xero nationwide. Ever upward, indeed.

For more information please see the release notes.

 

 

 

We’re putting on a real show for our first event of 2015 in Australia

Welcome to another year of doing Evolve_Twitter_Card_DH_v1beautiful business in the cloud. The new year is still young, but it’s already shaping up to be a massive one. We’ve got lots of exciting developments to share with you, and plenty of ideas to help you get inspired about smarter and more efficient ways to run your practice.

And there’s really no better way to keep you informed, and kickstart your thinking, than by coming along to a roadshow. So I’m really looking forward to hitting the road, meeting partners and doing my bit to inspire all of you.

This February we’ll be visiting 20 cities across the county to present, network, demo and chat all things cloud accounting and business evolution.

Evolve is the theme for this year’s February Roadshow. What does this mean for you as a partner?

Whether you’re starting out with cloud accounting, or are well on the way to growing your client base, this roadshow is about evolving your thinking, ideas and business processes and really taking what you do to the next level.

To help you get there, we’ll be showcasing our latest tools, a new demo stream and hands on sessions to create clear action points for the evolution of your practice. And yes, we’ll be sharing a sneak peek of upcoming Xero product features.

Continue reading ›

 

Matthew Strawbridge: using dyslexia for inspiration

Matthew Strawbridge is a 15-year-old Wellingtonian who attends Scots College. He’s used his dyslexia to make a positive difference in his own life and the lives of others. Our CEO Rod Drury was so impressed by Matthew that he invited him to spend two weeks at Xero to get some new work experience.

Today, Matthew has kindly agreed to share his story with us.

It’s an amazing feeling being able to help kids reach their potential, provide workshops for fellow dyslexics, and have the opportunity to travel overseas to attend Global Youth Leadership Summits.

Sharing a stage with Richard Branson and meeting famous motivational speaker Les Brown have also been life changing experiences for me. Being interviewed for both magazine articles and TV has been pretty memorable too.

It’s also a fantastic feeling to be successful in NCEA, strive towards receiving a level one endorsement, and receive top marks for business studies. However, my life has not always been like this…

Growing up with dyslexia

Kindy was awesome, and I loved every bit of it. However, once I started school I started to realise that I couldn’t do what my friends could do, but I didn’t know why.

One day, in about Year 3, the teacher asked the class to do a piece of writing about our break. I was sitting next to a kid who wrote three or four pages on his holiday. Other kids in my class wrote papers of similar length. I was able to think of so many things to say, but all I could write was the date – Wednesday 5th of September. Every five to ten minutes the teacher would come over and tell me off for being lazy. I had just returned home from a holiday in Australia and had the burning desire to write about the amazing time that I just had, but I just couldn’t. It was an incredibly frustrating experience, I didn’t talk to anyone, and I was trying so hard to focus, but I just couldn’t get the words down.

In my first few years of school, I would often have rushes of anxiety, stress and confusion while I was in the classroom. To the point where my parents had to drag me kicking and screaming out of bed each day. I was completely unmotivated and every day I woke with a pain in my stomach. It got so bad I went to the doctor who suggested anti-depressants, but I never took them. Continue reading ›

 

What’s holding firms back from the cloud?

I recently interviewed Jason Blumer on the future of accounting and how he runs his practice. As always, Jason is a blast to chat with and he has some very interesting perspectives. One thing that comes across loud and clear with Jason is that everyone should get their data into the cloud. Anyone who isn’t seeing the light is simply missing the opportunity.

Jamie Sutherland and Jason Blumer discuss the future of accounting

The series of interviews were posted on Accounting Today. Click the image below to see the videos.

 

Streamline your sales process with Quotes

Many small businesses win work by using sales quotes. They drive sales, which, in turn, generate revenue and build relationships with customers.

Yet many businesses don’t realise that quotes can also cost them business. Revenue can be lost by not following up on a quote, or by not turning quotes around fast enough.

At the same time, many businesses are unable to forecast capacity when quotes are successfully won and they realise they don’t have the people to do the work. Like many aspects of running a small business, there are always many moving parts.

Introducing Quotes

Today, we’re releasing Quotes in Xero. It’s now easy to create, send and manage your quotes workflow all the way through to customer acceptance. By making it easy to create a quote, you can quickly respond to an opportunity, anytime anywhere, keeping your business moving forward.

Then, with a couple of clicks, Quotes can also be turned into invoices so you can be paid for all of your hard work.

You can access and create quotes from the Sales dashboard. Here you can also see a summary of your quotes in progress including draft, sent, accepted and expired quotes. This makes it easy to track the status of a quote, follow up on the ones that have been sent but not accepted, and generally keeping your business moving. Continue reading ›

 

New year, new features

After a bumper 2014, today Xero is being updated for the first time in 2015, starting off what is shaping up to be a busy year.

Today’s release includes new features that touch on reporting and a number of other things across Xero:

  • Building on the addition of text blocks a few releases ago, you can now choose to add numbered headings or even have no headings on your text blocks. This gives you more flexibility when adding additional commentary and insight to reports.
  • We’ve added a new field to the new Aged Receivables and Payables report (this was the first of the new-style reports we released last year). It will show you which invoices are overdue, but have not yet reached the first aging period.
  • Getting up and running on Xero is even easier with the addition of an inbuilt calculator on conversion balances. It’s great for things like consolidating those messy multiple sales tax accounts from your previous system. In case you didn’t know, the inbuilt calculator is available in many parts of Xero, including spend money, receive money, sales, bills and manual journals.
  • Sending customer statements can be a pain – but not in Xero. If you need to generate statements for more than 50 customers it’s now much easier with the option to show and send 100 or 200 statements at a time.

Continue reading ›

 

The flat white coffee has come to America!

Or has it? I’m a bit of a coffee snob Catherine (OG) with the 'What is a flat white?' sign(as only an ex-Wellingtonian can be) and have already made sure I can get a flat white in various U.S. cities before visiting them over the last few years of living here. Perhaps not known colloquially as a ‘flat white’ until more recently, if you strike the right place (not necessarily run by New Zealanders or Australians), their competition cappuccino-style drink is pretty much the same as a flat white.

So there was a bit of a fuss about the flat white arriving at Starbucks in the States last week. Lots of people who know I hunt out the good coffee had been asking me if I was going to try it. Of course I scoffed NO, but then I’m not the kind of person to operate on assumption, so I did my coffee fans a favor and took one for the team by going to try it.

It was exactly as I expected. Doesn’t taste like coffee (it comes in different bucket sizes for crying out loud) is searing hot, is made with some kind of plastic-tasting milk. Those who’ve tried Starbucks and don’t like it will know just what I mean – their flat white is basically the same as every other ‘coffee’ drink on their menu (in an emergency once I went in there), although yes, they have attempted to make it less foamy. It certainly doesn’t look like their own picture of a flat white.

So what started out all smiles (not sure why I was smiling even… I think it was the deranged smile of someone who feels so totally inappropriately out of place worrying that in a city of millions that someone they know will spot them in a place you vowed you’ve never set foot in that it was just a gut reaction) ended with a burnt tongue and regret mixed with gleeful I-told-you-so! In my defense, I didn’t order the drink, nor pay for it, I was with American business associates who wanted to try it so I just took a tiny first sip!

 

Gif – Catherine tries Starbucks 'flat white'

Luckily I know lots of places in New York City where, for a while now, if you want a flat white, you just rock on up to the counter and ask for one and they don’t ask for clarification, they just make it (properly). And I have a list of those places, so tweet me for a recommendation next time you’re over this way!

 

Introducing electronic payroll taxes for California, Florida and Texas

File and pay your state payroll taxes electronically with Payroll in Xero.

Today, customers located in California, Florida, and Texas (top three employer states in the US) can file and pay their payroll taxes electronically. This is just the start. For New York, New Jersey, Utah and Virginia customers, we’ll be releasing state e-file and e-pay in the near future. We’ve started work on additional states and we’re aiming to have nationwide coverage by the end of 2015.

This release builds on our momentum of realizing our vision of an integrated platform for small businesses worldwide. 40% of our customers already use our payroll software in countries where it’s available and pay hundreds of thousands of employees over A$1.5B of payroll a month globally.

We want as many businesses as possible to have access – that’s why we’ve made this available for customers in our Standard plan. All existing and new Standard and Premium customers have access to e-file and e-pay for payroll taxes at no extra cost.

File and pay payroll taxes online

For small businesses, staying up to date with your payroll taxes is a huge priority to avoid penalties. Payroll in Xero helps by allowing you to easily control when you file and pay your payroll taxes – anywhere, anytime. We show you upcoming obligations on the Payroll Overview with detailed information available under Taxes & Filings. Payroll in Xero works out relevant business days and displays both the File By and Due By dates to ensure you know the key dates.

 

With Payroll in Xero, you don’t need to print and mail your payroll forms. Now with a click, you can send your forms and payments electronically to the appropriate agencies from anywhere. Payment is only taken when you process the payment, it is not taken automatically after running payroll to help maintain a healthy cashflow.

For more information join a short webinar to get an overview of newly updated Payroll in Xero. In this short webinar we will walk you through how to add a work location, adding employees, setting up direct deposit, federal & the new state electronic services for selected states and the general ledger integration.

To enroll for Payroll in Xero e-file and e-pay read the information available here.

Manage US Payroll in Xero

Also available from tomorrow (Thursday) will be the 2014 940 Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return. The due date for filing Form 940 for 2014 is February 2, 2015. However, if you deposited all your FUTA tax when it was due, you may file Form 940 by February 10, 2015. Use Form 940 to report your annual Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax.

Another change available today is making direct deposit employee payments available to all customers in Standard and Premium plans. Paying your staff is probably the most important task for small business employers and we want everyone to have the option to pay their staff electronically.

Xero is committed to bringing seamless online accounting and payroll for small businesses nationwide as quickly as possible. As we roll out additional states, we’re also working hard on other features that will make the lives of small businesses easier and more efficient.

2015 Payroll Taxes

2015 payroll tax rates have been announced by federal and state tax agencies and Payroll in Xero has been updated automatically to reflect these new rates.

The 2015 Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) wage base is $7,000 per employee. The 2015 Social security tax rate is 6.2% each for the employee and employer. The 2015 social security wage base limit is $118,500. The 2015 Medicare tax rate is 1.45% each for the employee and employer and the additional Medicare withholding tax is 0.9% (on top of the 1.45% rate) for wages paid to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year.

For full information please read the release notes.

 

Introducing receipts for iOS

For many of Xero’s customers, today is a red letter day… Yesterday morning we released a hotly anticipated update to our expense claims functionality (currently for iOS, Android still in development). This is a complete overhaul of the UI, and features several clever tweaks. Read on below the video for a guided tour!

Default to one line item

Gone are the days where you had to explicitly add a line item before you could fill in the details. A little research showed over 95% of all expense claims only contained a single line item, so for those cases the new flow is vastly simplified. Of course you can still split your claim into separate line items if you need to!

new_expenses Continue reading ›