Today we launched a significant release of New Zealand tax return features for Xero Practice Manager. As well as having the 2015 tax forms ready for you to use from 1 April, we are making some big improvements in your workflow. These updates will mean you can:
- quickly navigate between the parts of a New Zealand tax return
- see the additional sections at a glance from anywhere in a return
- print from anywhere
- save your progress without having to return to the overview
- automatically calculate the limits for any overseas tax credit claims.
This extends the time-saving work we have shipped for you in previous releases. Particularly the ability to create an IR10 and update it from Xero all in one action, and carrying forward data from the previous year’s return.
If you’d like to learn more about Practice Manager and tax in New Zealand, check out our Introducing Practice Manager and tax webinar on Xero U.
Today’s guest post is written by Paul Bulpitt, small business customer and co-founder of Xero accounting partner Wow Company.
The Wow Company’s annual Benchpress survey, released this week, has shown that more independently-owned UK creative agencies than ever have chosen beautiful accounting software to manage their businesses.
The industry’s adoption of Xero has increased dramatically from 19% in 2013 to 49% in 2015, making Xero the number one choice of accounting software for creative agencies.
The mass migration to Xero is also reflected in the increased uptake of Xero-integrated applications for Project Management, such as Streamtime, Harvest and WorkflowMax.
When you log in to Workpapers today you’ll notice the changes to our look-and-feel that we told you about last week.
You can now log in with your Xero username and password and switch instantly to Xero. Your customers will also see a new and improved client query portal.
Although there are lots of visual updates, the most important changes are all under the hood. We’ve made these changes so we can accelerate the integration of Workpapers, Practice Manager, Tax (in NZ and Australia) and Xero. The Practice Studio team is focused on building an even more seamless experience from bank reconciliation through to the financial statements and the tax return.
Practice Manager and Tax will be joining us on Xero single-sign-on in the coming quarter, and the partner edition of My Xero — where you manage your Xero clients — also has some exciting changes coming.
Calling all accounting, economics and finance majors in the US! Xero is offering a $5,000 scholarship to anyone studying one or more of these subjects. There’s less than a week left to enter, so get your application in soon!
Who is eligible for Xero’s accounting, economics or finance scholarship?
If you’re a legal US resident and currently enrolled full-time at an accredited US university or business school, we’d love to hear from you.
You need to be majoring in accounting, economics or finance, but it doesn’t matter what stage of study you’re at. High school students are encouraged to apply too – as long as you’ve been accepted into college.
You will also need to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher cumulative from your university, business school or high school (respective of what stage of study you are at).
How to apply
Email the following to email@example.com by March 31, 2015:
- Your academic transcript and GPA.
- Proof that you’re enrolled full-time in an accredited university or business school in the US.
- A recommendation letter from a relevant referee. Get them to persuade us that you are the most deserving recipient.
- A 500–700 word essay on one of the following topics:
- How is cloud technology changing the world of accounting, finance and/or economics? What impact do you see this having on your career?
- What changes do you predict the accounting industry will face in the next decade? How do you (1) intend to react to these changes and (2) contribute to the industry?
- What compels you to study accounting, economics and/or finance? What role does technology play in your chosen industry and how will you use it in your career?
Check out our last winning scholarship entry
Last year we awarded a $5,000 accounting, economics and finance scholarship to Alisha McGoldrick of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Check out her wonderful essay, ‘The troubled mind of a tax accountant’, to get an idea of what we’re looking for in a winning entry.
Get all the details
For more information, head to the page below:
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Today we’re thrilled to announce enhanced Inventory to easily track the quantity and value of the products you buy and sell. We’ve had simple inventory in Xero for a while now and it’s always been handy for speeding up your quoting and invoicing. This week’s release upgrades Inventory so it provides complete inventory tracking and accounting for you.
If you have a business that sells finished products, you can now use Xero to easily keep track of the items you have on hand while ensuring your accounting records are always up to date.
Before we delve into the detail of how Inventory can work for you and how you can get started, check out this video to get a quick overview of the benefits:
Always know how much product you have in stock
Whether you’re in your office or out and about, Xero lets you know how much product you have on hand each time you enter a transaction. You can immediately identify when your inventory is running low and if you need to reorder. And if you use our Xero Touch app for Google Android you’ll see your inventory quantities are tracked there now, too.
When we released Quotes in January, we let you know that we were going to continue to add to this feature. The initial release was the start of a journey, not the end.
Over the past few months we’ve continued to monitor your feedback in our Community and have added new features to Quotes in each release. With this week’s release, we’re pleased to give you Online Quotes.
Why Online Quotes?
We released Online Invoices back in 2012, knowing that this would make it easier for businesses to invoice their customers and improve their cashflow.
Last year, we reported that businesses using Online Invoices get paid faster than those that use traditional methods, such as invoices as PDF attachments. Our data indicated a significant improvement for those using Online Invoices. The time it took to get paid reduced from 43 days to 31.
With Online Quotes, you can now convert prospects into customers faster than ever before. This drives faster decision-making and, ultimately, reduces the time between quoting for a new piece of work and getting paid for it. To find out more, watch this video.
With this week’s release of Side-by-Side Files we’re making the process of entering data into Xero even easier.
We delivered Files 18 months ago. This was the evolution of our single-ledger strategy. It allows you to collect all the source documents you need, and store them inside Xero next to the transactions they relate to. This changed how our many of our customers managed the documents associated with their business. In fact, we recently reported that more than 26 million files have been stored in Xero, adding more than 900,000 files each week.
By storing your documents inside Xero, and alongside your financial transactions, it makes them much easier to find. It also ensures your records are in one place, making it easier to collaborate with your advisor.
Soon after we released Files, we released the ability to email in Files into an inbox. You can do this from your mobile phone, via auto-forwarding in Gmail or even from a scanner. Once the documents are in the inbox, you can create new financial transactions on the fly, auto-attaching the document as you go. This saves you time by allowing you to forward all your relevant documents into your Xero inbox, and then process those documents when you’re ready.
Extending Files further
With this week’s release we’re making the last bit of that process even easier. Once a file is in your Files inbox, you can create a transaction from the file, and view it side by side as you’re entering the details. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve emailed it in there, or dragged and dropped it into the inbox.
This gives you the opportunity to be even more efficient in the way that you work. You can select a file in your inbox, then create a new bill, purchase order, expense receipt, or a spend/receive money transaction. Continue reading ›
In the desktop world that we are rapidly leaving behind, updates are infrequent and painful. If there was something you didn’t like or didn’t quite work in your accounting software it could be years before you got a fix for it. Frustrations became workarounds, which in turn became inefficient business processes. Software vendors were disconnected from small business owners, and it would be fair to say traditionally the relationship hasn’t been good.
Compare that to cloud software and the power of social media. Every customer has a voice and cloud vendors have a direct connection to all of their customers and their needs.
As we look back over the last year, we are delighted to have released over 400 updates. That’s more than one a day. Xero is constantly being tuned and updated to deliver a mass of new features to make lives easier for small business owners. Most of these updates are completely silent and take no effort on the part of our customers. Developing Xero is like flying a passenger jet and changing the engines midflight. Lots of complexity, but it’s done so seamlessly you don’t even notice – except that everything just gets better. That’s continuous innovation.
Reaching a milestone
This week is a milestone for us. While there is always more to do, we believe the software we’re shipping this week matches most of the functionality of desktop accounting software. But ours has the benefits of a better-designed experience in the cloud. Most businesses can now be better off with Xero. Continue reading ›
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.
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 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.
As part of the Summer of Tech programme, Xero has taken on 13 interns across the Auckland and Wellington offices. We profiled Auckland intern Grace Benedek Rooney in January, and today we talk to Joseph Whyle about his summer.
What are you studying?
I have just completed a Bachelor of Information Technology (IT) at Whitireia in Porirua. Now I’m working at Xero as an intern as part of the Summer of Tech programme. I’m with the Internal IT team based in Wellington.
What attracted you to Summer of Tech?
My involvement with Summer of Tech programme started in early 2013, when I first found out about it. I jumped at the thought of being able to get industry experience and get paid for it. I managed to land an internship with a government department and learnt loads. I went through the process of Summer of Tech for a second time, and ended up with an internship at Xero in the Internal IT team.
Since November, I have had an inside look at how the Internal IT team looks after all of the Xero employees. It keeps Xero seamlessly working. The team that I work with truly goes the extra mile to accommodate and make sure that everyone is able to accomplish their day-to-day work. They also really are the best team, full of laughter, fun and are all round are just legends. This has pushed me to make sure that I deliver the best service I can no matter what the situation is and what is thrown at me. It’s been fantastic being part of a team that not only supports Wellington, but all the offices in NZ and overseas and any remote people we have.
What do you love most about Xero?
The thing that really attracted me to working at Xero was how it is a very collaborative environment and everyone understands the work hard, play hard saying. This is reflected in the culture and people that work here. Lastly, would be that everyone is really happy to answer my questions and teach me things that I don’t understand. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to be part of a company that champions innovation and is always looking ahead to achieve the vision and mission of Xero.
What are your career ambitions?
This really is the start of my career within the IT industry. It’s exciting to think about what opportunities there are within Xero, and knowing that I could develop my skills and knowledge. This will allow me to apply this in my work and be able to make a difference in my part of the company.
What does a typical day look like in Internal IT?
Each day is different, typically I start by looking at any unassigned tickets (a ticket is a request from an employee). This allows me to start work on the tickets I can tackle straight away, and also plan if I need to head over to the other buildings. Often I will be looking after the new starters for the following week. I will be setting up their account, building their machines, and then finding out where they will be sitting. My job often involves interacting with people and solving any issues that they may have, which I really get a buzz out of. Our team works super closely. They make sure that if I’m at another building I can carry out the work I had planned, and also any other issues I can pick off while I am there.
Learn more about Summer of Tech.
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