Xero has summarised its software updates for Xero May 2018 in a blog by Aqua Delaney, Global Product Marketing Specialist at Xero. The blogs lists 17 changes and release updates over the last month. They include improvements to Xero Projects, improvements to invoices and localisation improvements.
Xero Projects gets better
Xero Projects announced last month is now fully available for Xero users at $10 for the first user and $7 for each additional user. It provides time tracking and job costing to deliver simple project finance to small businesses.
Recent improvements include a start – stop timer in the projects app that is supported on both Android and iOS devices. It enables individual tasks to be time tracked and simple time-based billing for clients. This potentially removes paperwork and increases efficiency for business relying on tracking time.
Xero has also added a feature to copy and delete projects, thus avoiding the necessity to set up projects from scratch and remove them if created incorrectly or they never happen.
For organisations that receive invoices Xero is moving closer to its promise of seamless accounting. The ability to email bills in PDF form to a specific email address and have them added to Xero automatically is now fully live. To enhance this feature there is now a beat feature available that enables small businesses that both use Xero to automatically generate the bill from one Xero account to another. For companies interested in trialling this networking feature they should contact Xero at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Improvements to invoices
Invoice payment efficiency continues to improve through the new partnerships with Stripe and Microsoft. It is unclear however whether this feature is now available outside the US and the Microsoft payments through Outlook is still in beta.
Xero Customers can now add their logo and company name to invoice reminders and control the location for the View Invoice button. For mobile users it has added the ability to convert a quote to an invoice. Once the quoted work is completed it will automatically generate the invoice and shorten the time to payment.
Xero has made changes relevant to payroll in New Zealand and the US. It has improved onboarding for direct deposit for US businesses. New Zealand customers can set up new contractors in Payroll faster and more easily with an improved contractor experience for employers who need to deduct withholding tax from payments made to contractors.
It has also improved the Australian report templates and report codes for accounting partners to produce financial reports, management reports and tailored financial statements for a wider range of clients.
Making life easier for Xero users
There are also a number of generic improvements that make using Xero easier for customers. Xero Checkup enables users to quickly identify whether the following five criteria are met on any device:
- Security settings up to date
- Is the browser supported by Xero
- A stable internet connection
- Xero systems working
- Optional – clearing or cache/cookies
This is a sensible first step check for any cloud user and should stop support calls to Accountants for technical support. In addition to this Xero has created Xero central. This is a help centre that uses machine learning to improve the response to users asking questions.
As to whats next on the agenda, Xero promises three things coming soon:
- Updated trial balance report
- Improved contact search on mobile
- Payroll: electronic tax and filing in New Mexico
What does this mean
Xero is getting richer as a product in several directions. It continues a cadence of updates that is impressive. It also no longer considers itself merely a business accounting solution, describing itself as an ERP last year for the first time. With the improvements to projects alone it is starting to support larger services business. It does not yet compete with the mid-market ERP firms. It will also retain its SME businesses for longer in their growth journey. This is a sensible tactic as it reduces churn. It also enables customers to growth further with a lower operational cost.
For Xero the next step is more internationalisation. It recently announced its launch in Canada yet still has to make the foray onto mainland Europe or a non English speaking country. The Canadian website does not appear to have a French Language version as an example/