Xero adds more functionality (Businessman SME Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay)Xero has announced a series of recent updates to its solution. These include localisations for several countries and other changes that should make life easier for small businesses. The enhancements are both to its accounting application and for payroll users. The payroll updates specifically apply to UK users.

Xero improves localisation

Four updates, one each for Australia, Canada the UK and the US, demonstrate the growing functionality for small businesses across the English speaking world.

  • UK: Companies working in the construction industry are now able to display Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) deductions within an invoice. This update works for both classic and new invoices.
  • Australia: Xero has improved the integration with NAB (National Australia Bank). This includes the visibility of payment status updates from NAB within Xero. It also allows users to submit bill payment instructions directly from Xero to their NAB transaction account. The instructions can then be authorised within the NAB mobile app.
  • Canada: There is now support for prior period adjustments for GST/HST returns. It has automated the processes and improves the accuracy of tax submissions to the CRA.
  • US: Tax returns are now easier with accountants able to map a client’s chart of accounts to US tax Form 1040, Schedules C and E (with one property), the most recent addition now included Forms 1065, 1120, and 1120S. The information can also be exported for import into tax submission software.

Improvements for Advisers and audit

It is now possible to attach a file when reconciling bank transactions. This allows users to improve record keeping. Users can also quickly add a new contact when a bank line item involves a transaction with a company or individual that has never been created before.

As promised a while ago there is now a blank report option in the Report Centre. Users can now create reports from scratch, delivering a wider flexibility.

UK Payroll improvements

There are three recent changes to the UK Payroll solution.

  • Recent legislation has changed Employment Allowance. Xero supports the change that states: “From 6 April 2020 you will only be able to claim if your Class 1 National Insurance bill was below £100,000 in the previous tax year.” Users are able to set up which year they wish to claim EA and their industry. The information is sent automatically to HMRC.
  • Xero has also included support for Faster Payment Files. The Faster Payments service is an alternative to BACS which is faster. It pays employees in 2 days rather than the 3 days that BACS takes.
  • Setting up pensions in Xero is now simpler with a new onboarding wizard. Xero supports connections to both NEST and The People’s Pension. This simplified process reduces the risk of errors for a process that is often infrequently used.

Other improvements in February

There are several other improvements that Xero has made this month already:

  • A new direct feed Retail Capital (South Africa)
  • Australian Square customers can connect with Square via an integration partner, Amaka. The new integration offers additional point-of-sale features (Xero website).
  • Xero accounting mobile app: Add or edit a spend money transaction during bank reconciliation on the Xero mobile app.
  • Direct feeds for startup friendly banks Mercury and Relay Financial in the US

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

For Xero users there are some interesting features here that some people will take advantage of. For those using the software, the ability to add contacts during the bank reconciliation is probably one of the most useful improvements noted. However, for businesses that can benefit from the new direct connections of improvements to NAB these will also be significant.

The risk for Xero is that many users will remain unaware of these changes unless they are notified by their accountant or happen across them. This is something that Xero needs to consider better as it rolls out changes with the cadence expected of a cloud software vendor.


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