Xerocon...

Xerocon

Xerocon is the gathering arranged by the authors of Xero – the cloud accounting software many of my clients chose and for which I am a qualified partner – and brings the software developers, add on partners, users and resellers together under one roof.

This year’s Xerocon was one of the best in my book as it offered a packed agenda of useful key note presentations and education opportunities, between which you could wander around the exhibition and meet the companies that have developed add on functionality to Xero. I went armed with questions and queries of my own and on behalf of some clients and came away with answers to all and a sack full off information about the next releases of Xero and some great new bolt on functionality.

Here are some of my top finds of Xerocon – a few of which will become their own blog posts in due course!

What’s new in Xero?

Lots of great new features coming. Having seen many of the on-premise software applications seemingly ‘moth ball’ into maintenance only mode, it’s nice to see the newbies (Xero is still quite new) continuing to evolve and develop, and in a way which is true to its core client base.

Project coding (chargeable add on)

Great news to see this coming to Xero. Yes, it will be a chargeable add on (I am told it will be in keeping with the cost of the payroll Xero licence) but for those business that use projects and enjoy using Xero this will be welcome news. The ability to code sales and costs to a single project for overall profitability reporting is hugely beneficial and will stop many of the workarounds currently employed.

CIS construction

Xero’s ‘use anywhere’ functionality and simple operation has made it a firm favourite with building companies, from small subbies to main contractors, but the lack of CIS scheme has resulted in users having to run multiple systems and complex workarounds which is inefficient and costly. Xero are talking about two levels here – one you can submit direct to HMRC which will be chargeable and one where it just prepares the reports and you still submit manually which they are currently talking about including in the main subscription.

Partners and Add-ons

I was amazed by the sheer number of add on products and the range of functionality that can be integrated to or used with Xero. It has clearly been a major growth area. Too many to name here in summary they range from mobile upload of receipts and invoices using your phones camera to CRM with linked accounts. If you have a specific business demand and have wondered whether a system may exist to manage it for you, I would encourage you to have a look, or contact me and I will be able to guide you accordingly.

Short term cash flow loans from PayPal and Credit Card merchants

These definitely need their own blog post as my early experience of them is they are a great tool for small businesses that sell online and use PayPal or credit cards to take payment. Simply put they lend you money on a short-term basis, based on your sales throughput with far less demanding criteria than banks. You then repay the loan as a percentage of sales over an agreed period. Great for cash flow, great for fast moving stock companies. More to follow!

Expenses

The introduction of better expenses management in Xero will be, for many, a blessing. Limited staff access for postings/entry of expenses may mean the end of the myriad of Excel expenses sheets I see on a monthly basis, but more importantly it will ensure faster month end reconciliation. Expenses can be submitted in real time throughout the month matching to debit/credit card statements as soon as they are presented by the bank. This will also be a chargeable add-on in line, I have been told, with projects and payroll.

Training and hints and tips

I must be a little selfish and say that many of these are about saving me time and reducing workarounds so of course I am pleased. But for one or two clients the time saved by knowing a short cut for hugely repetitive tasks will result in me being able to use my time on their accounts more productively! Aside from ease of use, hints and tips encourage good practice and avoids the introduction of workarounds or time heavy processes. For me best of all I requalified in use of the software as a certified advisor for another 12 months.

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