Author Archive

What’s Holding Firms Back from the Cloud?

Written by admin on . Posted in Business, Software, XERO

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.

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

Blumer

The post What’s Holding Firms Back from the Cloud? appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

Data Privacy Day – time to smarten up on information security?

Written by admin on . Posted in Business, Cloud Accounting, Software

Today is Data Privacy Day. As an annual event, it’s probably not the best excuse for a team meeting at the pub and it almost certainly lacks the fun of Burns’ night or the sexiness of Valentine’s Day. Yet, in the digital era, Data Privacy Day is a good excuse to take a step back and consider the potential risks we expose ourselves and our businesses to.

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day is about getting us thinking about how well we guard our personal and business data, and our all-important customer information. The fact that a hoax caller got a direct line to the British Prime Minister just days ago shows that no organisation is immune from the type of human error that culminated in his number being given away inappropriately.

Use correct and up-to-date records

For small businesses, running a tight ship reduces the likelihood of falling foul of the Data Protection Act, as well as potentially souring relationships and even leaving your firm open to damages claims. It’s also good manners and good housekeeping: using incorrect or out-of-date records not only risks annoying clients, but also wastes time and money when emails are deleted and letters go straight in the bin.

On the flip side, good information handling can improve your business’s reputation by increasing customer and employee confidence. Not sure how well you or your team are doing when it comes to best-practice? Take a look at this checklist from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Keep your passwords secure

Then there’s the thorny issue of passwords. With logins needed for everything from your bank, supermarket or social network, using the same one over and over is clearly a bad idea. Yet make too many new or complex passwords and it’s easy to get mixed up or forget. It’s also good practice to change passwords on a regular basis. Here, apps such as 1Password that use secure encryptions for double protection can be incredibly convenient.

Where does your data end up?

Last but by no means least, before signing up to a new bank or software provider, don’t be afraid to ask questions about where your data will be stored and how it will be used. Keep in mind too that, like many things in life, the old adage ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ is probably applicable. The main reason many software apps are free is because the data is used commercially or held for use at a later date.

Read more about Xero’s world-class data protection.

The post Data Privacy Day – time to smarten up on information security? appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

Gary and Rod talk Windows 10

Written by admin on . Posted in Software

This week saw Microsoft’s big reveal of Windows 10, set to launch later this year. While the company’s keynote delivery fell far behind Apple’s awe-inspiring presentations, Microsoft really has emerged like a phoenix from the flames this year. It reminds us just why they’re in the game.

Cortana, Microsoft’s new natural language tool, is set to far exceed what we’re seeing now from Siri, while its augmented reality helmet HoloLens is particularly exciting, following the closing of the curtains on Google Glass.

Listen in here for a full wrap up of the Windows 10 launch from Xero’s UK MD Gary Turner and CEO Rod Drury:

The post Gary and Rod talk Windows 10 appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

New year, new features

Written by admin on . Posted in Software, XERO

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.

  • When copying purchase orders to bills, the order numbers will now automatically copy to the bill’s reference – making it easier to track source documents. The bill reference is searchable and appears on the relevant reports.
  • Some businesses create a lot of credit notes! In the last release we introduced the ability to copy credit notes. From today you can now ‘Approve & add another’ credit note – just a small way to help you trim time from your daily accounts.
  • We’ve added an address lookup for US businesses that returns verified addresses as you type. This saves time and improves accuracy – no more guessing or typos on customer and supplier contact records!

address lookup – Xero features

As well as these features, we have a whole lot more to update you on soon. Stay tuned!

The post New year, new features appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

Ringing in the changes – 13th century pub takes to the cloud with Xero

Written by admin on . Posted in XERO

Xero is well known for giving small business owners remote access to their books. However, for the Ring of Bells pub it has also helped a first-time publican in a remote location to get on top of his accounts. Two years ago, a move to Devon saw former city professional Richard Edlmann set up his ‘destination’ pub with rooms in the picturesque village of North Bovey in the Dartmoor National Park.

Previous experience working in the hospitality industry and as a management accountant provided him with good grounding, along with five-star hospitality training at The Savoy. Like many small business owners, it was a desire to be his own boss combined with his passion for hospitality that spurred him on to buy the Ring of Bells pub.

“When the pub came up for sale, it was too good an opportunity to miss,” he said. “It’s a freehold, so it’s not tied to a brewery. The previous owners had brought in some good chefs and had done a great job of turning the business around, so it was already making money. Since then, we’ve done a lot of renovations, such as extending the previously tiny three metre kitchen, as well as building up a good team of staff. We’re also lucky to have a good local following. We have a lot of fun with our regulars.”

As a former financial expert, cloud accounting was top of Richard’s shopping list. “I looked at a couple of different software solutions and I chose Xero because it was very easy to use and there are a lot of great apps that integrate with it in the cloud. Looking back, the amount of paperwork involved in running a pub did come as a bit of a shock, which is where Receipt Bank in particular has been brilliant.”

Being a seasonal business, Richard has learned to expect and manage peaks and troughs. “Even in the winter when things slow down, many locals do stop by and you also get groups turning up without reservations. Summer takes care of itself – we do 25% of our business in July and August alone.

“From a purely numbers perspective, it would probably make sense to close in January and February, but in this industry you have to be reliable. If people turn up and you’re not open, they might never come back. We would also have to lay off staff for a couple of months and would struggle to replace them.”

Over time, Richard has learned to find a balance between managing the books and concentrating on the business. He consults his accountant for advice on making best use of his capex allowance, as well as for support with tax and year-end accounts. Other than that, he manages payroll, suppliers and other key financial aspects of the business himself. “Running a pub, you need to know where you are on a weekly basis,” he says. “Using Xero has enabled me to keep a tight grip on my finances. In this industry, cost control is critical. Missing alcohol, wastage and forgotten charges all add up, which is why it’s really important to manage stock reports and use them to identify any issues.”

With fast broadband connections now being introduced in the village, Richard now has his sights set on using cloud-based technology in other parts of the business, including intelligent EPOS (electronic point of sale) software.

The post Ringing in the changes – 13th century pub takes to the cloud with Xero appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

Customer relationship management goes beyond contacts

Written by admin on . Posted in Business

Xero’s add-on marketplace continues to grow and it’s clear that applications in the same category can vary greatly. Customer relationship management, or CRM, software is a perfect example. Salesforce.com defined this category for the cloud with an emphasis on identifying opportunities and closing deals. In our marketplace we have add-ons who fit this definition and others who add their own spin on CRM. All of these application sync contacts from Xero, it’s the other features that is keeping this space interesting.

Solve 360

Solve CRM’s integration with Xero positions your client facing staff to make faster, better informed decisions by displaying accounting data in-context, on contact and project records. A popular choice for businesses that needs a flexible, modern system.

Solve CRM has earned the designation as an official “Google for Work Premier Partner”, offering a unique and useful Google Apps integration that employees value.

Read how businesses like Prescient Power voice measurable improvements to revenues with Xero and Solve.

ClickDesk

Web visitor engagement is extremely critical to maximize sales and boost customer satisfaction. ClickDesk helps online businesses engage customers through a combo of Live chat and Helpdesk. Customers can chat, call or email from the widget while the agent can answer them from the online agent panel or Google Talk on desktop, tablet or mobile.

Customers enter their name and email address through ClickDesk chat window. ClickDesk then automatically checks to see if a contact exists in Xero and informs the agent. If no contact is found, the agent can create a new contact record in Xero with just a few keystrokes. For returning customers, agents can view invoice history directly from the chat window and also add notes. This helps agents answer customer questions better which in turn nurtures relationships.

AgileCRM

Agile CRM offers integrated contact management, sales tracking and marketing automation. Invoice and payment history from Xero is displayed alongside contact information. You can create invoices and send them to your contacts all from your Agile dashboard. Additionally, Agile provides easy appointment scheduling and task management for your staff.

In my opinion, marketing automation is the standout feature in Agile. Build multi-step marketing campaigns visually with an easy to use drag and drop designer. Send automatic email responses based on time like a follow up email, or when some some one signs up on your website. Score leads automatically based on user activity like clicking email links, or browsing your website.  Then segment your contacts automatically based on their actions. Most importantly, evaluate and optimize email messages with A/B testing. Send different versions of email to contacts and evaluate based on open and click rates.

Funding Gates

The Funding Gates Receivables Manager helps you manage your Accounts Receivable and customer relationships. It syncs with your Xero account, and immediately starts learning about you and your business. You or your employees can understand the health of your receivables in an instant and take actions with effective reminders. In the US, you additional can call customers with a single click or connect with a professional collection service.

Turning your receivables management process into a customer relationship building activity makes good business sense.

Conclusion

Be sure to dig a little deeper when evaluating a category of add-ons. You may be surprised by the differences you’ll discover.

The post Customer relationship management goes beyond contacts appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

Introducing Receipts for iOS

Written by admin on . Posted in Business

For many of Xero’s customers, today is a red letter day… Yesterday morning we released a hotly anticipated update to our expense claim 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 always 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

Submit single-receipt claims in one tap

Something missing from day one has been the ability to submit a single receipt as a stand-alone claim. Up until now, you’ve had to save receipts which you later assemble into a claim on the web. No longer! Submit for approval, or submit and approve in one step yourself if permitted.

one_click

Record business expenditure as well as expense claims

One of the most common complaints is from those wishing to record money spent from a business account (on the web, this is referred to as ‘Spend Money’). These receipts don’t need to be reimbursed, but it’s good to record the paper trail on the spot, and of course it means you get a beautiful green ‘match’ when the bank statement line comes through. How do you do it? Couldn’t be easier. Simply select the bank account you spent the money from, instead of choosing to be reimbursed.

how_you_paid

Frequently used descriptions

Rather than making you type out the same common expense descriptions every single time, you now start off with a convenient pre-populated list based on the most common expense descriptions used by Xero customers.

description

View claim status and all past receipts

Instead of only showing your drafts, the newly renamed ‘Receipts’ tab now shows drafts, submitted, approved and paid claims as well as any ‘Spend Money’ transactions you’ve created.

view_past

These are just a few of the changes and tweaks we’ve made with this release! I hope those of you already familiar with our mobile offering like what we’ve done with the place. We’re looking forward to your feedback, and we’ll keep you posted about the progress of Receipts for Android.

The post Introducing Receipts for iOS appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

Xerocon London 2015 – Four weeks to go!

Written by admin on . Posted in Business

It’s now more than twelve months since our last big event in London and excitement is really building now as Xerocon, our two day conference for financial professionals and software developers, re-opens its doors four weeks from today on 10 and 11 February.

Our first London event in 2012 attracted just over 200 delegates, and in 2013 we saw that grow to over 400. Now I’m pleased to share that Xerocon 2015 is going to be a very big one indeed – last week registrations shot way past Xerocon 2013, some five weeks out.

Xerocon London 2015 – Four weeks to go… from Xero Limited on Vimeo.

So, Xerocon London 2015 looks set to become not only the UK’s biggest FinTech conference, but the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

These statistics, and the fact that so many Xero advocates value Xerocon so highly (a number of UK firms will be shutting down for two days to enable them to bring entire practice delegations along), result in a responsibility that weighs very heavily on my team to ensure that the event exceeds everyone’s expectations.

So, alongside hearing from Xero’s leadership about where Xero is heading both strategically and from a product innovation perspective, we want delegates to leave Xerocon 2015 with a variety of learnings and new perspectives. We have some outstanding guest speakers such as Karren Brady, David Rowan and Rita Clifton and we’ll be offering lots of content and practical workshops around helping your practice, your staff and your small business clients optimise technology in 2015.

It’s our belief that technology will create more opportunity for change and improvement in the next five years than it has in the last fifteen and that’s equal parts opportunity and challenge for many UK firms and their small business customers – so, it’s in this area that Xerocon 2015 will expend most of its focus this year.

But most importantly, this is a fantastic opportunity for you to network and learn from your peers. And the Xero Awards dinner on the Tuesday evening will give you a great chance to have a wine or two and hit the dancefloor with your new and old accounting friends.

We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to Xerocon 2015, and if you haven’t registered yet, please do so over at https://www.xero.com/uk/xerocon/london/. Early bird tickets are available until 16 January.

The post Xerocon London 2015 – Four weeks to go! appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

Harvest Integration Update: Easy Time Tracking and Job Costing

Written by admin on . Posted in Business

Tracking time and costs associated with a job (or project), and seeing how that measures up against a job’s budget in real-time may be a struggle for your clients. Harvest helps make time tracking and job costing painless for your clients, while eliminating manual entry of invoices into Xero on your part.

Copy Harvest Invoices to Xero

Last year we awarded Harvest with Xero’s Partner of the Year award because of the integration they built that copies invoices into Xero. They’ve now made that integration even better by making some changes that require less work from you to get your details into Xero.

Automatically copy payments from Harvest to Xero

You won’t need to add payments manually to Xero anymore. When an invoice is marked as paid in Harvest, either manually or automatically via online payment (they support PayPal or Stripe), this payment record copies over to Xero.

Harvest and Xero integration

 

Invoice line items save to the right Revenue Accounts in Xero

Now, the integration handles placing invoice line items into the right Revenue Accounts. You’ll just need to assign Item Codes and/or Contacts to a Revenue Account in Xero. Then, when a Harvest invoice is copied to Xero, each line item is mapped to its respective Xero Revenue Account.Harvest and Xero integration

If your clients haven’t used Harvest before and you think it might be a good fit, give Harvest a try with the 30-day free trial! If you’re interested in the details of the Harvest for Xero integration, they have a handy reference guide.

The post Harvest Integration Update: Easy Time Tracking and Job Costing appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog

Top 5 apps to manage business growth in 2015

Written by admin on . Posted in Business, Software

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner looking to meet ambitious growth targets for 2015, why not check out some of the helpful and inexpensive apps in the cloud to help you manage work on the move?

A new poll by UK mobile provider EE of 1,000 small businesses shows more than two thirds (69%) believe they’ll enjoy double-digit growth next year, with an average projection of 26%. So to help meet this demand, we’ve chosen a selection of top business apps from our add-on marketplace that are ideally-suited to small firms with big ambitions.

Xero Touch ID

Make 2015 your year with these top 5 apps for 2015 business growth:

#1 – Receipt Bank helpfully converts receipts, invoices and other piles of paper into Xero data, making expenses and outstanding bills easier to manage and account for.

#2 – Harvest: For a year-round bumper financial crop, download this user-friendly tracking and reporting tool. Use it to create invoices based on tracked hours and capture profitability.

#3 – GoCardless: An ideal entry-level solution, GoCardless is a cheap and simple app for small firms that want to take direct debit payments online.

#4 – Float: This online cash management, budgeting and forecasting tool helps you keep on top of cashflow. Use it to understand financial trends and patterns, factor seasonality and identify potential issues in time to act.

#5 – Xero Touch mobile accounting app: Latest OnePoll findings show more than half (54%) of UK SMBs are concerned about their cashflow. Keep yours moving and manage your business on the move with Xero Touch. From back offices to building sites, use it to reconcile, send invoices and create expense claims.

The post Top 5 apps to manage business growth in 2015 appeared first on Xero Blog.

Source: Xero Blog