Each year we attend Xerocon as a way to keep up with product and app developments on the platform we have put at the heart of our practice. Tech makes an increasing difference in small business. If you aren’t making use of the streamlining and online functionality out there, you could well be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage.
Before we get into the specifics, it may be of interest to paint a picture because it gives you a sense of the entity behind the interface we know and love. The first thing that hits you is the scale. Two entire exhibition halls have been booked at ExCeL, the auditorium has probably 3,000 seats, a 100 ft long screen provides the backdrop to the speakers, the production values are rock concert and top billing is Tim Peake, Britain’s first astronaut. The point is that this a huge event befitting the corporate that Xero has developed into.
It was not a blockbuster of a year for developments but the platform keeps developing and so do the app partners. In no particular order here is our list of the most important ones:
Making Payments from Xero
This is a frequently requested feature on Xero and although there is not quite a complete solution, Xero have made a big step forward. The basic idea is that you batch pay a number of bills through TransferWise, make one transfer to your TransferWise account and let TransferWise feed out the payments to everyone else. So it cuts down having to make payments to lots of different suppliers through your bank to making one payment to TransferWise. Obviously it will take some setting up, you will need to have a TransferWise account and you will need to set up payment details for each supplier on TransferWise, but thereafter paying bills will be a lot simpler. The feature is currently in beta testing which can be joined here: https://www.xero.com/uk/pay-with-transferwise/
Mileage on Expenses
For anyone using Xero’s Expenses feature, employees can now log and get reimbursed mileage expenses via their app. Setting up this feature is set on Xero Central: https://central.xero.com/s/article/Set-up-expenses#Setupmileageclaimswithinexpenses
Estimates on Projects
You are now able to provide clients with an estimate in projects. Once again more details may be found: https://central.xero.com/s/article/Plan-a-project-create-a-quote
Stripe Auto Pay
This new integration between Xero and Stripe allows to offer customers the option to have credit and debit card payments taken automatically on Repeating Invoices. In other words with your customer’s approval you can automate card payments against the invoices you send them from Xero.
This is possibly only exciting to the bookkeepers amongst us, but for those that way inclined, it is definitely an exciting development. Previously reconciling Money In from Stripe against sales and bank fees was fiddly and time consuming. The Stripe Feed automates this process.
GoCardless International Payment
GoCardless Direct Debit integration can now be used for international payments.
New Apps on the Block
The new apps exhibiting at the conference that caught our eye were:
- Trade Lock: insurance against bad debt on an invoice by invoice basis.
- Pleo: for managing employees expenses
- Capitalise: search for finance options and advice
For future release
Xero also announced some features coming down the pipeline:
- Cash Flow forecasting within the platform
- Business Snapshot – a dashboard to provide business insights into business performance