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Vipul Sheth, AdvanceTrack fields the questions... EVENT ISSN 2054-7226

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“WorkflowMax is the most awesome, fantastic, best bit of software we’ve used” Trevor Hughes, Owner & Managing Director Asset Management Engineers

Follow Trevor’s story and find out how WorkflowMax can help your business get profitable workflowmax.com/case-studies

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Welcome to issue 18... Subscribe for FREE! > subscriptions.xumagazine.com

magazine The independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users

Issue 18 CEO: David Hassall (Co-Founder) Managing Editor: Wesley Cornell (Co-Founder) Director of Strategic Partnerships: Alex Newson Editorial Assistants: Rupika Gulati Blaze Hassall Social Media: Nicolle Harrison Editorial/News Submissions: If you have any editorial content (news, comment, tutorials etc.) that you would like us to consider for inclusion in the next edition of XU Magazine, please email us at editorial@xumagazine.com


Cover Story Question time. Vipul Sheth, AdvanceTrack fields the questions...

10 14

Is it time to say goodbye to 9-5?

Answering the milliondollar client question: “Where did my money go?”


App Advisory: Should you offer implementation and



Case Study From the beach to the boardroom - keeping business in balance


Interview Q & A with Konstantin Bredyuk, ApprovalMax


New to the Xero ecosystem - Chata.ai The future is empowered clients

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T: +44 (0)116 298 60 80 E: hello@xumagazine.com W: www.xumagazine.com

New to the Xero ecosystem - Shieldpay Meet Shieldpay: Know you’re getting paid, even before the job is done

‘Xero’ is a trademark of Xero Limited (New Zealand). XU Magazine is collaboratively produced by an independent group of Xero users and is not affiliated in any way with Xero. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © XU Magazine Ltd 2014-2019. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. XU Magazine is published by XU Magazine Ltd (08811842), registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 12 Jordan Street, Liverpool, L1 0BP, United Kingdom. All information contained in this magazine is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. XU Magazine cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant XU Magazine a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all/any editions of the magazine, including in any physical or digital format, throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither XU Magazine nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage. The views expressed in XU Magazine are not necessarily the views of XU Magazine Ltd, its editors or its contributors.

4 / Issue 18

Keeping an eye on AI


“Just a minute, can I ask a quick question?” - How training increases efficiency

Finding funding for your clients


48 50 52


2019 Predictions Predictions for small business technology in 2019 from Xero app partners


The future of restaurant management is in the



Let’s talk about customer service


Accountex - interview Accountex 2019 - Is it worth going? The Advisor Mindset: “My clients just do not need taht sort of work”

Event - FREE ticket Winds of change herald the age of multidisciplinary firms

Managing the new normal for workforces

New to the Xero ecosystem - FYI Process automation: Is it really a game-changer for accountants?


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Interviews... ApprovalMax

UK Focus Choice is not a luxury for Making Tax Digital for VAT


Q&A The pivotal role of advisors in business success


Business growth: Align staff goals to turbocharge your business

16 Accountex


Tutorial How to: Introduce a bill automation app stack

70 72

Tradespeople: It pays to get good advice!

74 76

The essential guide to Project Management

78 80

Improve your workflow and shift up a gear

Industry Focus: Property Making Tax Digital for property managers

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Delivering live accounting with (almost) real-time data

Plan to thrive: Why advisors should forecast their revenue


Tutorial How e-signing can simplify your practice processes


Apps Compared Compaared: Expense


The reason CRMs fail is because sales people

112 116 120

Sketchnotes Human at heart


hate them!

Xero marketplace: the Netflix of accounting apps - too many apps and not enough time?

Xero Feature Timeline Innovations to help you thrive in 2019

88 2019 Predictions...


freedom back

Understanding APIs and applying automation in



Is the digital detox suppressing workplace improvements?

92 94 96

Business for good

Mind the [skills] gap!

New Xero Connected Apps New to the Xero App Marketplace


New Releases Updates and new releases from the Xero App Marketplace


App/Service Directory Over 700 Apps to


Payroll Don’t just renew - review!

App Partner of the Month - January 2019 How Tradify gave traders their


...and finally 2019 in tech - What’s in store for this year...

App/Service Directory Turn to page 126

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Issue 18 / 5

Cover Story @AdvanceTrack

Vipul Sheth ACA CTA, Founder and Managing Director, AdvanceTrack Outsourcing Vipul Sheth is a UK based ICAEW Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor. Vipul trained with a regional UK firm before moving to Ernst & Young and KPMG. AdvanceTrack is a UK Headquartered Accountancy Outsourcing Company with offshore operational centres, delivering services around the globe.

Question time To start the new year we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to how you should approach outsourcing. From ‘what can I outsource?’, through to the key questions you should ask of your own practice’s strategy and operations. AdvanceTrack founder and MD Vipul Sheth fields the questions from Kevin Reed...

KEY QUESTIONS TO PUT TO THE OUTSOURCER... 1) What experience do you have in the outsourcing space? What credentials does the outsourcer have in place, and are they interested in how your practice operates? Try and speak to existing clients. This is all crucial as it will impact directly on your working relationship. 2) Do you also run an accounting firm? It is not unknown for some outsourcers to also provide their services directly to what would be considered end-clients. Therefore, are they actually competing with you and, if so, are you comfortable with that? 3) What credentials do you have that give me satisfaction that you are trustworthy and reliable? Accreditations should be asked of the outsourcer. What are their processes and general approach to security and reliability? Where are their operations based, and can they be visited?

6 / Issue 17 18

Q: A:

What is the ‘starting point’?

While outsourcing as a concept is well understood, practices can struggle to align that concept with the running of the business. Unless you see outsourcing as strategic part of delivery for your firm, it won’t work. For example, do you understand how you’re utilising your current staff and that outsourcing could create great (and positive) change to them? Ultimately, do you want your people and practice processing data? I think that, instead, you will make more money spending time sat in front of clients. Using an outsourced service can help you spend more quality time with clients. You will bill much more per hour and make you a proactive adviser in the eyes of your clients. Your staff will be involved in those client-facing conversations and earn more money for you. As a result, their own value increases and you will

have more satisfied and better-paid staff. All equalling happier clients.


What can a practice outsource? What are the most popular or standard types of outsourcing that take place, and how is that evolving?


In principle, any task where someone is sat at a computer and undertaking it manually has the potential to be outsourced. From tax work to bookkeeping and accounts production, however what is unlikely to be outsourced is the conversation piece with the client, unless there are some basic forms of administrativefocused communication. Broadly I think of work done by staff sat at a computer with a consistent, repetitive process can normally be replicated by an outsourcer. What tends to be outsourced early on, with relatively low risk, include year-end accounts - a popular choice. You have nine months to file a set of accounts so there’s

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Cover Story

ample time to check without the client requiring visibility during that process. The information is not being changed live as it would be with bookkeeping. It sits in its own silo. As for evolution, well, the biggest change happening is the need for real-time data. As a result of which, areas like bookkeeping in the Cloud are increasingly being demanded by the end-client. So, if they want real-time bookkeeping, how do you deliver that at scale? And that’s where we come in, helping to systemise in order to scale that service upward. In AdvanceTrack’s recent webinar with ReceiptBank, the focus is on scalability of accounting and bookkeeping services- but it’s really about systemising clients’ recording.. The next step is collecting sales information and invoicing, bank information and then sales data coming in from the

client. Clients could, of course, for example, link their online store to your accounting technology. Once their information is processed in a consistent and quick way you are moving to real-time information. So, what you achieve as a result for government filings is you just need to press a button built into compliant software, such as Xero.


What types of practice outsource, and why? Do certain types of practice outsource certain types of process?


It is not really about size, it is about attitude. Big firms would do it more because of their scale, but because of their size it means a lot of buy-in is required from a range of people. It can be done by them but requires a much more involved process. When I meet the whole partnership they’ll have gone through the whole ‘why?’ journey; any change project requires leadership and

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sponsorship. And it can also fail with small firms, if someone in the chain does not go along with the plan.


How long can it take to get a process or function outsourced? Why does it take that long - or short - a time?


I could say ‘how long is a piece of string?’, but it can be fairly quick, relatively speaking. Again, it depends on both attitude and the will to harness technology. If a group of people understand tech and are prepared to standardise (which will require change in an organisation), then it will happen. One of our most successful clients used outsourcing to standardise their working files. Instead of a different approach by client, office or partner – they said ‘this is how we produce a file to support accounts’. So, when that data comes to us it means that we know Follow us on Twitter: @xumagazine

Issue 18 / 7

Cover Story exactly how it has to be prepared.


How does the arrangement work between outsourcer and practice? What is the process and how secure is it?


For bookkeeping, we can work with Cloud tools that are collecting client data and we sort it, then push it into accounting software, such as Xero and make sure it is fully reconciled. An accounting firm might have someone continue doing this, but instead of looking after ten clients that person can now manage say 50 clients. Their work will also change – it will not be about processing but their time will be reviewing the outputs (while understanding how it is put together) and work at greater scale with their end-clients. This also frees them up to speak to clients.

KEY QUESTIONS FOR THE PRACTICE TO ASK ITSELF... 1) Do you want to grow your business? Simply hiring more staff is a way to help you grow, but getting staff competent at processing complex accounting and tax data means they’re sought after. It is also difficult to improve margins. Lastly, will this approach work when attempting to provide more data to tax authorities more regularly, and will clients start asking for better and more timely services? 2) Do you want yourself and staff to be more client-facing? If you are looking to evolve your offering, then your staff will be vital in achieving your goal. Freeing them from processing provides an opportunity for them to help your practice evolve. 3) Do you want to make more money? Improving margins and profitability requires you to improve your processes.

8 / Issue 18

Once the initial work’s done, some firms get us involved in undertaking management accounts and reporting on behalf of their clients. It requires skill to understand what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, but it can be systemised as well as enable you to speak to your clients in a consistent manner.

and process perspective that outsourcing can bring?

As a firm you can move to a subscription-type service and start having great conversations with clients. You are not reporting history.

But I would say that, longer-term, what you can achieve is more clientfacing time, and as a result client firms bill significantly more, driving higher profitability.

On security, some of our industry believe that just because the outsourcing staff log into a firm’s network, they think there are no other GDPR or data protection requirements; we have lots of protocols required to keep client data secure. You cannot just say ‘we are working on your servers in London, Sydney, New York or elsewhere’, there is a separate requirement to undertake impact assessments around how that data’s being accessed.

They have changed the type of person they recruit, not someone to man an engine room but comfortable sitting in front of clients, and talking sensibly and confidently about that business. They are not having to talk to clients’ FD about deadlines and accessing information. And it is a totally scalable process.

Then, beyond that, the protocols must be secure. We can work on a firm’s network, where firms have their own IT staff, to do work to ensure data accessed by our team members is locked down and things cannot be abused. A smaller practice might not have access to their own IT teams or complex infrastructure, and might want to use email to transfer data – but that is not overly secure. Or, take a secure space through which to funnel information – which is, of course, what we do when required. We do not use email.


What are the key advantages from a cost


This may sound odd, but even in ‘year one’ of the project (once you are factoring in internal time) you are probably looking at break-even from a pure cost perspective.

Q: A:

What else should my practice consider?

When I sit down with practitioners I say: you need to have a standard workflow, so whatever is sent to us by whomever it looks pretty much the same every time, while appreciating or understanding where there will be exceptions. Get standardised yourself and then expect that level of process rigour from the outsourcer.

FIND OUT MORE... Please visit our website: advancetrack.com

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

3-way business modelling X er integrati o on with

Generic International Profit & Loss (Projected)

Jan 19

Feb 19

Mar 19

Apr 19

May 19

Jun 19

Jul 19

Aug 19

Sep 19

Oct 19

Nov 19

















Dec 19




















Local Wine Sales Red Wine Sales - Local





White Wine Sales - Local







Sparkling Sales - Local








Total Local Wine Sales







Red Wine - Local






White Wine - Local






60,000 45,000

Local Wine Costs

Sparkling - Local











15,000 17,500



Total Local Wine Costs













Local Wine Sales GP













Local Wine Sales GP %

















Imported Wine Sales Red Wine Sales - Imported White Wine Sales - Imported





100,000 50,000



87,500 50,000

87,500 50,000

87,500 50,000





Sparkling Sales - Imported













Total Imported Wine Sales

















Imported Wine Costs Red Wine - Imported White Wine - Imported Sparkling - Imported International Freight

34,617 17,778 36,023





33,818 17,778 39,788

33,800 17,778 80,123

33,792 17,778 80,549







28,337 17,778 40,533






















Total Imported Wine Costs













Imported Wine Sales GP













Imported Wine Sales GP %















Total Wine Sales











Total Wine Costs













Total Gross Profit













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Is it time to say goodbye to 9-5? Technology shows the way... Automation promised to bring us shorter work days and more time to do what we love. Now, that is finally starting to look like a reality. Technology is changing the face of productivity for good. W

hat a way to make a living!

The classic ‘nine to five’ dates back to the nineteenth century, designed to regulate working conditions during the Industrial Revolution. Ever since, it has been a blueprint for businesses of all sizes and sectors. But, that’s now set to change. In 2016, companies across Sweden trialled the impact of a shorter working day on productivity and happiness. A study among 70 Swedish nurses in a retirement home found that nurses felt happier and more energised, plus took less sick leave. Despite the impressive results, the shorter working day failed to stick. They had to hire more nurses to provide round-theclock care, and the move proved too expensive. However, small Swedish tech companies saw greater success. A Stockholm-based gaming company, Filimundus, reported a happier workplace with less conflict and more focus. What is more, their sick leave dropped by a quarter. So, how does this relate to the accounting and bookkeeping industry? Unlike nursing, where being present 10 / Issue 18

is part of the service they provide, accounting and bookkeeping practices focus on delivering value to clients. If you can shift your focus from input and timesheets to output and deliverables, you can transform the way you approach the workday. The price of efficiency You have likely already come across the concept of matching output with pricing. Instead of billing by the hour, watching the clock and completing timesheets, valuebased pricing emphasises the value you give to your end client rather than the hours you put in. Particularly with time-saving technologies like Receipt Bank, you can raise your efficiency and provide the same value, in less time. Finding the commercial value To make six hour working days work, you need to work smarter. Traditionally, an accountant or bookkeeper’s workload would include hours of data entry, sorting through emails to locate invoices and managing paperwork. With Receipt Bank, accountants and bookkeepers can cut the time spent


Damien Greathead, President of Business Development for North America, Receipt Bank Damien is responsible for building Receipt Bank’s accounting channel in the United States and Canada. Damien works with accounting firms of all sizes who want to leverage cloud technology to grow their firm. Prior to Receipt Bank, Damien was a Director at 2020 Group USA, which was acquired by Panalitix in 2016. Damien speaks to state and national accounting associations around the world on topics including change management, marketing and technology.

on data by 50 - 70%. There is a whole ecosystem of Cloud accounting software waiting at your feet, making everything from cash flow forecasting to payroll more efficient. These give you the chance to provide additional value-adding services, improve your profit margin and your end experience. Setting internal KPIs Moving to an output-focused working model requires you to set internal key performance indicators (KPIs) to effectively measure the what your team are producing, even if they are working remotely. Here are some KPIs you can track to measure your efficiency: 1. Processing Times: How long does it take to process the data and publish to the general ledger? This is key to making sure your clients’ information is up to date and useful. 2. Bookkeeper to Client Ratio: How many clients can your bookkeepers or accountants look after? The more efficiently they work, the more clients they can manage. 3. Response time: How long to clients have to wait when they

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FIND OUT MORE... To find out more, visit: > receipt-bank.com or call +44 (0) 203 699 5006

PARTNER STORY: FARNELL & CLARKE send in a question? Are you making your clients feel valued? 4. Net Promoter Score (NPS): How likely are your clients to recommend you to a friend or business-owner? This is key to creating a pipeline of referrals and recommendations. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful - and best of all, cost-effective - strategies in your marketing toolkit. Use it. Invest in technology that will enhance your end-client experience, and make working with you quick, simple and pleasurable. What now? Just as the Industrial Revolution transformed working conditions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution promises to usher in a happier, more productive way of working.

As one of the first 100% Cloudbased firms in the UK, Receipt Bank partner Farnell & Clarke are known for doing things a little differently. Earlier this year, they announced they were dropping the 37.5 hour working week and fixed annual holiday entitlement. They now offer their team unlimited holiday and six-hour days to fit around their personal life, in exchange for exceptional performance. “We asked our staff and 90% of our team thought they could do all their current work 6 hours. We

trust our team to work well and how they want. If they choose to work more than 6 hours, that is fine! So as long as they are getting the work done and the client is happy, that is the key. And that is the thing with a flexible working culture. It requires a change in mindset. We give our team flexibility in exchange for exceptional performance. You must exceed expectations, and in return you have autonomy, freedom and the ability to focus on higher value needs.� Will Farnell Founder of Farnell & Clarke

With technology like Receipt Bank, you have every opportunity to raise efficiency while making shorter working days a reality.

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Issue 18 / 11

It’s helped me grow my business. – Jen Pryor, Managing Direct, Pryority Business Consulting

Best expo I’ve been to in a decade. Loved the flexibility and the vendors. – Tyler Caskey, Finance Director, IA Design Group

20-21 March 2019 ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre 9am - 5pm Daily

Get your FREE ticket before 19 March | AccountingBusiness.com.au XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

12 / Issue 18

It’s a peek into the future and there are some very qualified people here. – Edward Gorog, CEO, Investment Ready Advisory

Very different from the usual conferences and exhibitions. Great concept. – Aubrey Joachim, Owner, Leading Edge Change

The big free conference and exhibition for the fast-changing world of business and money. Bringing together over 4,000 accountancy & bookkeeping professionals, business owners, managers, and finance decision makers to learn, network and explore the latest products and services for their business and career development. For speaking, exhibitor or sponsorship opportunities, contact Laura Venables on +61 7 5510 5112 or lvenables@nationalmedia.com.au

150+ Exhibitors | 12 Conferences | 160+ Sessions | 89 CPD Follow Learning hours | Unlimited Networking Subscribe for FREE: Go to subscriptions.xumagazine.com us on Twitter: @xumagazine Issue 18

/ 13

Answering the million-dollar client question:

“Where did my money go?” Client relationships are often fraught with challenges but value-sensitive clients want answers and they are eager to pay for your insight. The difficulty often lies in a breakdown in communication and understanding. A sustainable and effective advisory practice ties Cloud technology with cash flow management to deliver the service your clients are badly need...


oday’s Client

Contact with businesses and their advisors in over 70 countries around the world offers us insight into the struggles that businesses face. We regularly hear the question: “Where did my money go?” but in reality, they are less concerned about where it went and much more concerned about fixing the problem so it does not happen again. Of course, fixing the problem is not simply a one-time patch. Consistent forecasts with topical insight are needed.

In order to equip today’s clients with the power to make better decisions, clients need information that is clearly stated, ruthlessly prioritised, highly topical and quickly actionable. In other words, they need someone with empathy and business insight that can guide them from discovery to strategic action planning by offering quality data over quantity. That someone is you, when you have the right mindset. It is easier than you think: Simple but critical steps pave the way for a valuable advisory relationship based on clear communication and insight. First, the business needs books that are up to date and reconciled. Today’s Cloud systems mean that data entry is thankfully a rare task, but ensuring that the data is accurate, up-to-date and meaningful takes financial expertise tied with communication.

Setting some ground rules: Business owners place a premium on actionable information that is proactive, effective and progressive, not reactionary and filled with regret. 14 / Issue 18

Next, regular and consistent communication with your clients is essential. Stay clear and focused on their biggest business problems, underlying factors, strengths and weaknesses, and what success should look like. No jargon allowed.


Blaine Bertsch, Co-Founder & CEO, Dryrun Blaine is Co-Founder and CEO at Dryrun which offers fast, flexible, beautiful and Cloud-enabled cash flow forecasts for businesses and their accountants. He is also the author of Pandemic Cash Flow – the must-read book of 2019 to help your clients’ business avoid a painful death by cash flow and instead, grow their enterprises.

Propose a solution: Use your detective work and conversations with your clients to keep their forecasts up-to-date and explore ‘what if’ scenarios. Give them access to their own data so that they can review between meetings and are better prepared for your meetings. With up-to-date weekly books, you offer near-effortless support for their business, provide valuable insight, and drive accountability that leads them to success. Your service keeps them motivated and feeling secure as you watch for issues that could hamstring the business. Success unfolds by leading your client one step at a time. At Dryrun, we are cash flow experts first and software second. We are here to help you offer your clients advisory services so you can both thrive and grow.

FIND OUT MORE... To find out more, visit: > dryrun.com

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Job + project + stock management POWERFUL SOFTWARE DELIGHTFULLY SIMPLE

Tidy helps streamline organisations:

Tidy is an international company, but they’re local too, they’re based in Tauranga, probably only 5km away from my office and were recommended by one of my board members. Not only are they exactly what we needed as far as easy to use and really detailed progress tracking, very user friendly, they're extremely generous to not-for-profit businesses.

Chris Duggan, Founder & CEO, House of Science Users of

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Issue 18 / 15



Konstantin Bredyuk Director of Product


ABOUT APPROVALMAX... ApprovalMax is an innovative cloud approval workflow system that enables spend control and optimisation for organisations of all sizes. Coupled with cloud accounting software such as Xero, it enables a flexible definition of approval authorisation levels and automation of approval processes for finance and accounting.

16 / Issue 18 17

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com


Over the years, Konstantin has obtained a unique industry knowledge from both the finance and technology perspectives and has consulted multiple organisations with profiles ranging from SMBs to governments and industry tycoons. Along with his roots in various settings, this has allowed Konstantin has undertaken hundreds of product implementations for ApprovalMax clients worldwide...


What makes ApprovalMax unique as a Xero-connected app?


Well, we are in a unique ecosystem at this point in time. Xero is a ground-breaking Cloud platform and the first to provide small and medium businesses with essential accounting and finance capabilities that previously were not accessible for this segment. A key necessity for SMB is high flexibility, as well as affordability. Which is where the traditional one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work for all! This is where ApprovalMax comes into its own as it not only supports flexibility from all possible perspectives but even brings it to the next level.


What kind of flexibility do you mean?

Small businesses are the type of organisation that change the fastest. Therefore, a software application must be able to keep up with the equally quickly evolving needs of such organisations. More importantly, it has to enable a smooth transition between individual growth stages and the consequently varying business scenarios. This is where

accounting practices in particular, are the most likely to have clients who are operating at different maturity levels and thus require different functional capabilities for the seemingly same business need. So, the right app has to be comprehensive enough to support an organisation’s growth however fast it’s happening but mustn’t be oversized because this would only cause unnecessary expense.

scenarios including Bill to PO matching.


That sounds like a software enabler for digital transformation!


Exactly! Effectively this is and always has been about transformation, ease of change, and the ability to optimise and scale.


In the context of ApprovalMax, how does this look?

You said there are different perspectives to flexibility – what are the others?



If you take the core functionality of Bill Approval as an example. Our clients’ maturity paths suggest that most of them start with the basic Bill Approval feature. After some time, they usually expand to the concept of Purchase Orders and start utilising the creation and approval of Purchase Orders for expense tracking. Eventually, most clients complete their Bill Automation process by introducing further capabilities. Consequently, our Bill Automation app must and does provide the required flexibility implementation-wise as well as the ability to support any one of these maturity scenarios throughout – from the very basic Bill Approval to more sophisticated spend control

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Well, another aspect is about implementation flexibility. In the Xero ecosystem with Xero as the core accounting platform and a wide range of additional functionality provided by connected apps it is vital to maintain the flexibility regarding implementation choices. For example, as a Bill Automation app, ApprovalMax works equally well with any data capture solution – be that an OCR such as Receipt Bank or Datamolino, the Xero ‘Email to Bill’ function, Hubdoc... you name it. The choice is entirely up to our clients.


That sounds great! Speaking of accountants, what is your view Follow us on Twitter: @xumagazine

Issue 18 / 17

Interview on advisory as an additional revenue-generating service type for accounting firms?


Advisory is a complicated service that requires more investment and a different level of commitment to clients compared to basic bookkeeping and compliance services. However, it often results in higher client stickiness and upsell value. An immediate difficulty with delivering advisory services will most likely be the staff skill set, but taking on advisory step by step is absolutely worth trying. A safe start could be, for example, advancing from basic bookkeeping to cash flow forecasting – while staying within the same app stack and interaction mode with the client.


How can ApprovalMax help accountants with delivering advisory services?


As a Bill Automation app, ApprovalMax

serves as a basis for delivering process optimisation and app advisory services. We actually have a series of webinars dedicated to clutter-free accounting and process automation sharing the latest industry best practices we have obtained working with our partners. We strive to go beyond basic product demos and take a broader look at end-to-end implementation scenarios.


ApprovalMax is mentioned in Xero’s recent Cash Flow app advisory playbook – how do you feel about this?

of the more approval automation apps that are emerging in the Xero ecosystem?


We are actually very happy about that because it proves that we are in a strong and growing market. As for the competition, it is all about a clear vision and the ability to execute. With our roots in business process management software and a key focus on end-to-end process optimisation, we and our product are right on track.


We are very excited about that! ApprovalMax features as a trusted and recommended app in the Data Automation category. We hope to continue working with Xero on advisory content around further key accounting matters.


Thank you very much for your time! One final question for you: what do you make

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When you have to be right.

Get prepared for Making Tax Digital Making Tax Digital for VAT is the end of the tax return as we know it. Are you ready? Wolters Kluwer have launched a Making Tax Digital (MTD) eBook. A complete guide to navigate the changes to come. Download it to find out about: How MTD for VAT will impact you HMRC exemptions HMRC’s pilot scheme Digital record-keeping Spreadsheets and MTD for VAT Engaging with your clients MTD for VAT fact vs. fiction and FAQs

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Issue 18 / 19

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Visit us at ABE Sydney or Accountex London

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Issue 18 / 21

New to the Xero ecosystem

The future is empowered clients As a trusted professional advisor, the value you bring to your client – is you... A

core definition of a business disruption is the ability to give the many access to products or services previously only available to the few and privileged. A great example of this is in the Star Wars series where the central plot line is a galactic struggle between those wishing to centralize and control all resources and those who believe small and balanced creative communities working together leads to greater success. Any small or medium size business leader who has had to rely on their Accountant to pour through data from multiple applications to offer advice on things like cash flow, profitability or even inventory, knows how the Rebellion felt.

“At chata.ai we’re rebels,” says Cherniwchan with a wry smile. Empowering clients who don’t read financial statements “Many business owners we speak with say they don’t even read the financial statements provided to them as they need more in-depth operational data to run their business. They want to learn and be empowered to access and understand their own data, but they aren’t. We believe that empowerment creates a substantial shift in the Accountant value proposition from data-keeper to trusted professional advisor.” It’s a Force Choke Conceptually everyone likes the idea of empowered clients, but practically there’s an issue in getting there. Software engineers can build systems that empower people to interact with their own data but it’s not a simple solution and difficult to meet all the reporting needs. That’s one problem, the availability of software solutions. Another issue is selfproclaimed ‘advisors’ who are actually protecting the accessibility of the data from the client because cutting off access to the data viewed as a method to drive loyalty. “In Star Wars vernacular that’s a force choke,” says Cherniwchan, “no different than Darth Vader using the force to ensure loyalty

22 / Issue 18


Kelly Cherniwchan is the founder and CEO of chata.ai, a conversational AI that helps people access, search, and analyze their online financial data. He has an MBA with a specialization in Finance and experienced in machine learning and data science. Kelly previously co-founded a company where he served as CFO/COO and learned first-hand the business value of artificial intelligence. He is also an unabashed Star Wars fan.

and compliance.” “Increasingly the cloud accounting industry will need to adopt technology that gives clients the opportunity to get answers from their own business data easily. That’s empowerment, and a positive way to drive loyalty. Professional advisors have the ability to create customized reporting experiences for their clients with little effort. They are then free to do what computers can’t do – think in the abstract and give valuable advice.” Next Generation Advisory The challenge in getting to next generation advisory is the cloud accounting community understanding the true value to their clients is more collaborative than tradition; it’s a process of empowerment that enables financial literacy, insights generation, and allows firms to stand-out from others by creating an elevated level of client experience and loyalty. This places more importance on the relationship advisors have with their clients than the data they keep. The rebellion is growing and dare we say a new hope?

FIND OUT MORE... Visit our website at: > chata.ai

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Issue 18 / 23

Accountex - Interview


Accountex 2019 Is it

Zoe Lacey-Cooper



Portfolio Director, Accountex UK

XU Magazine sits down with our panel of respected experts and professionals to ask that all important question... is it worth going to Accountex year after year?


Will Farnell Founder, Farnell Clarke

Hi Zoe, could you start by telling us about the Accountex journey and how it has developed over the last few years?


Diversified Communications acquired Accountex in 2015. Sure, when we took it on it was in a fairly healthy state. But we still had a transition period to navigate. So we launched a steering committee, bringing together all the top software vendors, the accountancy associations and media partners and got them all round a table to air their views. As you can imagine that was quite fun!

Emma Fox Founder, Fresh Financials

We were a bit unsure how it would go but it actually worked out really well. They just sat down and said, “look, the show is great, but it

needs to grow up a little bit; here are some ideas.” The first thing to improve was the conference programme. There had been no content management to speak. So we got to work on that straight away, improving the offering and focusing on a genuine CPD programme for our visitors. Now we do a call for speakers. Anyone can enter, anyone can join in. But then we go through a lengthy editing process. For instance, this year we have had 265 speaker session submissions, but we had only 120 places available. So only 45% of entries managed to get on the programme for 2019. Going back to the journey… since we took on the show, we have

Nathan Keeley Partner, MHA Carpenter Box

24 / Issue 18

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Accountex - Interview increased the number of visitors by 45% which is pretty exceptional! We are nearly at the 8,000 mark now! We have also invested in new stands and bigger theatres. And another focus has been to target those people who have never been to Accountex before. A further exciting development is the launch of our content platform Accounting Insight News. Ian Moss, a former FT journalist, manages that for us. We now have an Accountex presence all year round. We’re keeping the network connected! We put ourselves out there as a non-biased platform for any vendor, any association, any media partner to get involved and work with us. All this, we hope, is for the good of the accounting profession. Bringing people together, that is what we are doing - building up and facilitating relationships. Our partnerships with HMRC, ICAEW, and ACCA are great examples. We are working with new partners, too, like Accountancy Age, which is really exciting. And that really sums up our journey to date.


What attracts you to Accountex each year? And what were the benefits of attending last year? Emma, Nathan and Will over to you...


I find it a hugely valuable time to network with suppliers and peers. There is nothing like grabbing a coffee with your account manager or another accountant who you usually network with online. For me, I am also always looking for new apps, software solutions or just a better way of doing things so roaming the halls to see who is exhibiting is fabulous. Sometimes you can come across a solution that you looked at before but was not right then - but is now! It is a great time to speak to someone in real person rather than relying on online chat.


The large number of attendees under one roof and the variety of

presentations and talks - a lot of areas can be covered in one visit for both cloud and non-cloud items and those things are great for the practice and also great for the client.


Accountex gives you a unique opportunity to see all the major vendors under one roof. It also has the largest pool of speakers and topics you can hope to find to help meet the challenges the industry is embroiled in right now.


How important is it for Accountex to grow and improve, and what extra value do you think these events have brought to the accounting community that may not have been there before?


With everything moving to the cloud… online …on email … on Slack groups, it’s all getting a bit anonymous. We are losing opportunities for face-to-face networking. But when I turn up at Accountex and take a moment just to stop and have a look… just having these accountants in one room, under one roof, just for two days; you can see they really thoroughly enjoy being together. They love to catch up, they love to share their insights because (I get the impression) they work on their own quite a lot. They just don’t get the opportunity

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to get out to talk to other practices and learn and engage. And that’s where I think we do things really well. We are an unbiased platform and we are good at running events but, at the end of the day, it’s the accountants and all of the other contributors who make it what it is.


How has attending Accountex influenced your career as an accountant/ bookkeeper?


Attending Accountex helps to reiterate why I do what I do. Seeing how well we are doing and how far we have come amongst the mix of other bookkeepers and accountants at the conference. It has also helped me to slide into another revenue stream of mentoring other Bookkeepers wanting to make the Cloud journey - my first mentoring client was someone I met at Accountex 2018!


What knowledge and networking partnerships have you gained from attending Accountex?


Attending Accountex has directly resulted in me starting my mentoring program for other Bookkeepers. I am also in the process of setting up an exciting new partnership business following an in-depth discussion over dinner the night before Accountex last year :-)

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Issue 18 / 25

Accountex - Interview


So, our knowledge and our contacts are getting wider. We have more access to data than we ever have had before. In terms of social media, one single person can have a great impact on what we are doing. I think that is what is happening with Accounting Insight News.



How do you keep Accountex relevant and forward thinking for exhibitors to come back year after year?

Also, with me being able to go out there and build more relationships, just listening and getting people involved and really enhancing our understanding of the profession what we should be doing to stay super relevant.


In a nutshell, what we’ve done this year is we have stepped it up.


Why go to Accountex again if you only visited 12 months ago?

Ian Moss, our editor, focuses on quality content and staying in touch with the industry - speaking to people; to the thought leaders, the influencers, to the gurus.


Have you taken staff out of the office to attend Accountex? What value has it added to their day-to-day work? Was it a valuable experience?


Yes - not only from a CPD perspective but for all to gain a better understanding of considerations for the practice and the varied elements throughout the profession.


And because I’m not focusing on launches this year, I’ve also had a chance to start from scratch and build and reinforce some really strong relationships with those thought leaders and influencers. What’s come from that is that we have this natural link between them, myself and to Accountex. So not only have we got them naturally supporting and promoting us, but they also have suggestions from their contacts and connections that we should be getting involved with. Our network and our reach just keeps on growing.

26 / Issue 18

The profession is changing at a fast pace and consequently an annual visit to Accountex should be on the agenda for firms that either want to discover things for the first time, or to see what changes there have been over the past 12 months.


A real understanding of MTD! People were actually starting to take it seriously!


Will and Emma, you’ve both spoken at Accountex. How do you prepare for your talks and how do you make them memorable? I always talk with passion, I am reliving the things we did wrong, the mistakes we made so others don’t have to make them. My openness and genuine desire to help firms, I hope, ensures my sessions are memorable!


I have given a few talks and I am always interested in opportunities to talk at certain events. I focus on the importance of daily bookkeeping - all the technology is only at its most useful when you use them to truly show you your daily financial position - it can help when making important business decisions and is imperative when using tools like Float for cashflow.

Between Accountex 2017 to 2018, what were the major advances that you noticed?

How important is it to be able to visit all exhibitors under one roof?



I felt there was a big shift last year. Previous Accountex events seemed to focus on the ‘why’. Why did firms need to adopt new tech. In 2018 I noticed a shift towards the ‘how’. Suggesting firms have got it now and they need help on how to implement the change.


It helps with comparisons - you can go talk to one vendor, ask a few questions - then move onto another but go back to the first if you have more questions. It helps with a true understanding of what the apps offer when you can compare them ‘live’.

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Accountex - Interview


It is a massive time saver as you can, over 1 day, cover a wide range of areas, these can then be followed up as needed when convenient. Effectively you can have 20 conversations in one day as opposed to on 20 seperate days so a much more efficient way of speaking to exhibitors, colleagues and connections.

constantly thinking about how to improve the visitor experience.

What advice would you give a delegate visiting Accountex for the first time?

Rob Brown is going to be putting a video together for me with some influencers about how they think you can get the best out of Accountex. We also have a speaker session at the beginning on Thursday on how to get the best out of the show, and how to implement your takeaways when you get back home.


I also recommend looking at all the free parties that you can go to! Receipt Bank, Practice Ignition and AccountingWEB all do some pretty awesome shin-digs. Get on social media and talk about it; sometimes people arrange meetups.

ZLC: Discover the tools, technology Accountex London can be a pretty overwhelming event. There are loads of speaker sessions, about 250 exhibitors to see – it’s pretty crazy! And it’s a lot to do in two days.

and ideas you need to future-proof your business.

Don’t just turn up and wander around. Turn up with a plan. Turn up We are trying to make the Meet big global brands and cutting edge and learn. Go to the sessions that visitor journey easier. But it’s all start-ups to source the technology and solutions are relevant and go and implement about planning. At the point of that will take your business level. the next advice. registration, we ask what “tech to the Attend seminars journey” the attendeefrom is on. Brexit to Cyber-Security to MTD more - or an education programme Bring your team, don’t just go by Are theyand techmuch savvy, cautious yourself. Your team are invested in curious? designed to arm you with all the knowledge and your company and your business. inspiration you need to win in your career. Get them involved, too. That’s a big We also ask what they’re looking Open your eyes to what is next. strapline for us this year. to get out of the show. Then we ask those same questions to our speakers, so we can match our How would you pitch speaker seminar sessions to the Accountex to others in visitors. 3 sentences?


We are hoping to develop this to then send them nudges like: “If you are tech savvy then here are some speaker sessions that would be great for you, and here are some exhibitors that you might like to see.” We are trying to do a little bit of clever matching for people so it’s not so daunting. Also, we’re trying to make it easier to find information about the programme on our website. We are



1) Be open to looking at new things and don’t attend with any preconceptions. 2) Plan well in advance in terms of what to see and what to spend your time doing, it is important to get the most out of it. 3) Try and make as many introductions as you can and continue conversations you have already started. Ok, there’s a fourth... 4) Have fun!



Do you think Accountex and Xerocon complement each other?


I do it brings balance. Xero is about the razzamataz! Its almost a celebration. Accountex for me is focussed on the opportunity to really spend time engaging with add-on partners. Sometimes it is difficult to find the time to do this at Xerocon with the focus on keynote sessions.


To finish off, what’s the future for Accountex London? Where do you see it going? Is there anything new on the horizon?


We’re just really focusing on providing the best quality show. We are listening constantly to visitors and to influencers on how to make it bigger, better and useful for people… We have invested a lot of money into making our theatres larger so people don’t have to stand outside in the aisles. We’ve also invested lots in AV, so there’s lots more audio going on. We have also reduced the number of theatres because our visitors said they were a little bit overwhelmed with there being too many sessions last year. So we now have four big, draped theatres in the corners. And we think visitors will love the new set-up!


Thank you all so much for speaking to us!


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Issue 18 / 27

The Advisor Mindset

“My clients just do not need that sort of work” I heard this early on in a phone call with an accountant recently. He was one of 3 partners in a small suburban firm. They’ve been around a while, and have built a decent client base focused on small businesses. The largest client has a touch over 6 million revenue.


’d called to talk about how they could build an advisory business around Castaway. At least that’s what I was expecting. The partners had been talking about this internally for a while, and had decided to research the market. I was ready with plenty of success stories from firms we’d helped over the years. But a few minutes into our first call, it was clear they weren’t ready for that discussion. And in one sentence, this partner had pinpointed their concerns beautifully. The first rule of business advisory is to get very clear about the real problem that needs to be solved. And the real problem here was the partners hadn’t decided WHETHER they wanted to ‘do advisory’, so any talk of HOW to go about it was premature. I was interested in what was holding them back. Business advisory is definitely not for everyone, but I sensed that these 3 partners wanted to take the step. They just didn’t know if they could. I didn’t have the answers. But I knew the questions to ask. We’ll come to those, but first lets break 28 / Issue 18

this down a little further. When the partner said ‘My clients don’t need that sort of work’, I was surprised. I’ve worked with plenty of CEOs over the years. Their job is to solve problems in the face of uncertainty. Every CEO I’ve ever met has a constantly evolving list of problems they are trying to solve … some are big, some are small, but all of them are problems. So I am confident the issue here is not a shortage of problems. At Castaway, and in 20+ years of advisory work before that, we’ve used forecasting and business modelling to help plenty of CEOs solve plenty of problems. When you do it the right way, the forecasting and modelling process becomes the beating heart of a dynamic problem solving, decision support and performance improvement machine. It’s a system that CEOs value so much they won’t run the business without it. So I’m also confident the problem is not that clients will not get value from a well-constructed forecast. It just doesn’t add up that clients don’t want ‘that sort of work’.


Michael Ford, Co-Founder and CEO, Castaway Forecasting Michael is a specialist in the financial and strategic aspects of running and growing successful businesses. He is both a Chartered Accountant and a CPA and brings more than 30 years’ experience across a range of disciplines and industries. Michael is an entrepreneur and thought leader on growing businesses. In the last 20 years, he has founded a series of successful businesses, including Castaway Forecasting.

Long experience shows that clients absolutely want forecasting and the performance management processes that go with it. Yes, I’m the CEO of a forecasting software company, but do not dismiss this as the view of a software vendor. I am speaking 100% a business advisor. Castaway was built precisely because no other tool in the market could help answer the spread of questions that my business advisory clients were asking. From deep personal experience, I think advisory work is fantastic. Done right, it drives a powerful virtuous triangle … value-creating for clients, interesting for staff and profitable for the firm! And do not forget that the Xero 2018 Australian Accounting Industry Performance Report reported that 98% of all firms rated ‘advisory services, eg budgeting, cash flow forecasting and business planning’ as one the top 5 most attractive areas for growing advisory services revenue this year. 65% rated it as their #1 opportunity. What is in a name? Before we go too far, we need to talk about something. After years of increasingly muddied waters, the

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

term ‘business advisor’ is surely in danger of becoming so generic as to be almost meaningless. Such a cliched description says nothing of the specific skills and talents of the individual providing the services, nor does it promise any particular value outcome for the client. It’s the modern version of a management consultant – the title sounds impressive but says little. This of course provides enormous scope to provide all manner of services under the same banner. However, it also means it is harder to differentiate ourselves in the market. We must therefore focus our marketing and communications on the problems we are particularly good at solving. When it comes to designing the advisory services you will offer, there are 3 standout questions: 1. Generalist or specialist? We have a choice. On the one hand, we could stay broad, offering general business advisory services to all sorts of clients. On the other hand, we could specialise – in services, industries, or particular expertise.

My own preference is to specialise and then to extend into new specialisations over time. I trace a direct line from general accounting to financial analysis to cash flow improvement to budgeting to forecasting to business modelling to operations improvement to planning and strategy to training, coaching and mentoring … then to software. Whatever path you choose, the best results come when you are very clear on your current strengths and play to them. Over time, add new strengths and expand your offering. 2. Tool-driven or problem-driven? Is your advisory practice driven by the software you happen to own, or by the problems you clients need solved? The easiest approach is to build the practice based on the tools you have available. This path is tempting, especially given the quality and range of software available to business advisors today. But for me the smartest approach is always to start with your clients first. Find out the problems they are trying to solve

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and then design the practice around services that help solve them. Once that’s done, then you can apply your advisory talents internally to solve your own problem – how to deliver services profitably. 3. Reactive or proactive? When we first start out as business advisors, there really isn’t much genuine choice. Most work will be reactive - the clients asks for work to be done and we do it. As advisors ourselves, we must recognise that reactive work is often unpredictable, disruptive and knee-jerk. I know that ‘real-time advisory’ is a hot topic right now, but it’s a poor recipe for value optimisation for clients or profit-generation for practices. By the time our ‘real-time’ dashboards tell us there is a problem, the decisions we needed to change are long past. The smart path is to drive proactive advisory – seeing need ahead of time, systemising and productising the work and playing to your strengths. In my experience, the ability to see Follow us on Twitter: @xumagazine

Issue 18 / 29

need ahead of time is fundamental to proactive business advisory. And this makes forecasting the perfect foundation service for any smart business advisory practice. How forecasting drives advisory That’s a common theme running through our most successful Castaway firms. All of them see forecasts, and the wider forecasting process, as being strategically important for their clients. To them, a forecast is the story of the future of the business, built from assumptions, derived from strategy, modelled against scenarios and written in numbers. James, a partner at one of our most successful firms, talks passionately about transforming businesses. Sometimes the businesses are facing hard questions from financiers, needing fast answers and a sure-footed guide. Sometimes the businesses are just rolling on, lulled by a comfortable sense of ‘doing ok’, but with aspirations of making more of their unexplored potential. Sometimes the businesses are flying, growing fast but at the same time suffering growing pains, facing problems they’ve never encountered before. Whatever their situation, each business has their own set of problems, problems which will ultimately need very different and specific solutions. But despite the surface differences, James works with every client the same way. The first step is to build a forecast. These are not slaptogether, fun-with-maths exercises. Simplistic approaches are a disservice to the client and won’t support the advisory conversations that James wants to have. These forecasts demand thought. They don’t need to be complex, nor timeconsuming. But they do need to start with the story of the business (in the CEO’s words), be deeply grounded in assumptions and tied to operations. They also need to be proper 3-way models, with Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and Cashflow numbers talking to each other.

30 / Issue 18

The value of the forecast The real value of building such a forecast goes well beyond the numbers it contains. The forecasting process deep-dives into strategy, risk & opportunity, operations and more. It also builds trust, empathy and understanding, bringing you closer to the client. The forecast that results is an agreement between client and advisor about their expectations, their intentions and their hopes for the future. Everyone knows the game plan, ahead of time. As James tells it, he can anticipate what is on the client’s mind through the year and as a result he never runs out of things to talk with them about. The forecast is also the heart of the regular performance reporting and variance analysis program. Assumptions are reviewed, questions are asked and changes are made to the forecast. Risks and opportunities are reassessed and game plans reviewed. The aim is that the forecast is always the most up to date view of the future of the business. Where to start Some advisors jump straight into building a suite of products and services around forecasting and business modelling. Others start more simply, maybe creating budgets to support finance applications, and then expand their services from there. There is no right way. But business advisory is all about creating value by solving client problems. So I‘d like to suggest that the very best place to start is not in your office. It’s on site with your clients. Ask them about the problems they are trying to solve. Ask them about their hopes and dreams for the business. Ask them what mistakes they made last year. Strike up the conversation and it is remarkable the number of opportunities you will uncover. In short, I would ask just 3 questions of any aspiring advisor: 1. How well do you really know the problems your CEO clients are trying to solve right now? What

problems will they be thinking about in the future? 2. Could you help those CEOs solve any of their problems by better understanding the business and financial impacts of the options available to them? 3. How much value could you create for your clients by helping them solve these problems? The advisor mindset Advisory work is requires a different mindset to more traditional accounting work. There are many aspects to it, but I find that it comes down to 3 things. Great advisors: 1. Ask great questions. You don’t need to know the right answer, but you do need to know the right question. 2. Embrace uncertainty. You can’t predict the future, but you can prepare for it. 3. Be curious. Become expert in how the client’s business works, what it does and how it operates. Parting thoughts In the end, I think we overcomplicate all this talk of business advisory. It all comes down to 3 simple ideas. A great mentor instilled these in me early on and they have stood the test of time: 1. Dig deeper and get clear on the real problem. 2. Earn the right to a fee by solving problems of real value. 3. Don’t make the client dependent. Work yourself out of a job. So do clients need forecasting? Let me put it this way … the only business that doesn’t need a forecast is one that has no future.

FIND OUT MORE... To find out more visit: > castawayforecasting.com

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

EUROPE’S NO.1 ACCOUNTANCY & FINANCE CONFERENCE AND EXPO Discover the tools, technology and ideas you need to future-proof your business. Meet big global brands and cutting edge start-ups to source the technology and solutions that will take your business to the next level. Attend seminars from Brexit to Cyber-Security to MTD and much more - an education programme designed to arm you with all the knowledge and inspiration you need to win in your career. Open your eyes to what is next.





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Issue 18 / 31

2019 Predictions

Predictions for small business technology in 2019 from Xero app partners As apps get smarter, so do their users. Technology does not just revolutionise small business - it guides the way we interact with customers, their data, and influences their decision making...


or those embracing emerging and existing technologies, 2019 will see SMBs ramping up demand and internal capabilities in reporting, cash flow and bundling for app solutions. We spoke to some of our high growth and performing app partners to see what tips, tricks and trends your small business or advisory practice needs to know about in 2019. Your single source of truth can be anywhere With reports that the average enterprise uses over 1,900 Cloud services (up from 1,427 in 2016), Bear Douglas, Director of Developer Relations at Slack, predicts we will see an increased demand for easy interoperability between more cloud services. As Bear describes, put yourself in the marketer’s shoes working with design and data science on a large-scale campaign. Your design team will need to use specialized software to create visual assets, while the data science team has 32 / Issue 18

tools they use to build the data pipeline that will measure the effects of your campaign. “You should not need access to all these tools one-by-one in order to share information among your three teams and work together effectively – and that’s where the integrations and data pipelines come in.” There is a benefit in this rising demand not only for solution suppliers, but engineers as well - and it’s good news for junior to intermediate developers. “A growing market in tools like Salesforce’s APEX, Workato and Google’s AppMaker mean these roles can require only intermediate coding skill and live organizationally in the departments they serve. There will be even more people doing engineering who may not have the title ‘engineer’.” If you want to hear more from Bear, we spoke to her last year on the Xero Developer podcast - listen here: https://bit.ly/2G12RWX.


Nick Houldsworth, Executive General Manager - Ecosystem & Xero Learn, Xero Nick is a self-described “app-aholic” and co-host of the Xero Developer Podcast, Nick leads Xero’s Developer API and app marketplace. Before joining Xero, Nick was employed at CMO and led partnerships with brands like Apple, PayPal and Shopify. Holding a BSc from Auckland University of Technology, Nick is passionate about startups. A Kiwi by birth, Nick also lived in the UK for 10 years, where he briefly played guitar in Scotland’s 2nd most popular folk band.

Business functions on mobile will take over functions on desktop Gone are the days where mobilefirst companies are ‘market-leaders’ - you are either in the market, or you are not. Daniel Vidal, Head of Business Development at Expensify, says companies can no longer afford to view fully functional mobile apps as just another nice-tohave but an absolute requirement. The digital workplace is evolving, people now expect to be able to submit expense reports, pay business bills, and close their books at any time, on any device. When Expensify was developed in 2008, it was the original mobilefirst expense reporting app. With a decade of handheld interactions under their belt, companies from a pre-app era are still investing in mobile-first and playing catch up. Mobile technology and apps are not new, but to date mass adoption has mostly been for consumer use. Now, technology is finally getting to a place where functionality on mobile matches what is available on desktop, and users are becoming accustomed to doing business onthe-go. The lesson is simple - if your website is not native for on-the-go, get it going before it is time to go!

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Issue 18 / 33

Mar 19

May 19

2019 Predictions We also spoke to Expensify on the Xero Developer podcast which you can listen to here: https://bit. ly/2HJ0tpw. B2B will embrace adaptive technologies Marketing Manager at Unleashed Software David Procter notes huge opportunities for enterprise wholesalers to embrace consumer e-commerce software and access better insights, better UX and gain a competitive advantage. David has found a lot of their customers improve their performance by leveraging more B2B e-commerce. Even in more traditional industries such as manufacturing and distribution, business customers are demanding more convenience in their purchasing, presenting both opportunities and challenges for small to mid-sized businesses. The granular insights e-commerce platforms provide are more valuable than traditional B2B transactions done over the phone or via email. The increase is sales can come from leveraging a number of e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, but also from empowering customers. By providing more transparency and information such as, richer product details, order information and stock levels, B2B e-commerce platforms allow customers to conveniently order anytime and anywhere. This also provides a more personalised experience through product catalogues and pricing tailored to their business. David adds using B2B ecommerce platforms is one way SMEs can leverage automation and reduce their operating costs, as tasks like order confirmation, status updates, shipment tracking and inventory management are all automatable. This automation reduces the amount of time customer service, sales, and operations staff have to spend on low-value activities, and instead staff can focus on more strategic activities like building relationships with their B2B buyers. 34 / Issue 18


Global standards are highlighting opportunities for all

to solution when looking at how AI is helping all kinds of businesses.

Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Hubdoc Jamie McDonald believes regulations and legislation will showcase what is possible to those who may not have otherwise explored technology as solutions for SMBs.

Fluidly is a prime example of interpreting data into digestible morsels, as CEO Caroline Plumb can attest. She she explains how technology is moving from system of records to systems of intelligence.

Following the UK’s adoption of open banking standards and Making Tax Digital, regulators and SMB ecosystem participants around the world will unlock a wave of innovation built upon the foundation of data accessibility.

Before technology eased the data collecting work load, now technology offers recommendations and action plans based on the data processed, due to machine learning.

As laggards play catch up, innovation will grow when the nonsavvy become more digitally native. Jamie believes that there are new businesses and workflows to be built based on the simple premise of digitizing analog workflows. Payments, compliance and lending workflows can all be dramatically improved as customer bank data becomes available via API. Accessing and understanding data will be easier than ever For years businesses of all sizes and functions have known the value of data. Accessing that data and implementing a cohesive strategy around those sometimes unreadable insights has always been the tricky part for SMBs. Forecasting is a growing market in solutions for business, and is a go

Various advances in machine learning have enabled businesses to access huge amounts of their own and open data, and now it is not only possible but easy to turn that into reports more valuable than a traditional spreadsheet. Caroline says businesses should start to act on the insights they have - channel the time saved from spreadsheet work into making strategic decisions based on what the data is telling you. Now businesses have easy and quick access to this sort of data, the question changes from ‘what?’ to ‘so what?’ and ‘now what?’. Caroline also believes we’ll see growth in open banking APIs in 2019 (which Xero launched last year). Caroline believes we will see much tighter relationships between accounting and financial technologies. This might look like easier access to credit for small businesses when

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2019 Predictions they need it, or smart products and services available to them at the right time. 2019 should focus on BI, not AI Companies should be using business intelligence to improve outcomes before exploring or investing in artificial intelligence according to Spotlight CEO Richard Frances. Richard worries when businesses try to jump on the ‘next big thing’, they are missing the technology and data opportunities right under their noses. Businesses should always review their business operations and use their data to do so. What is our future cash flow looking like? How are we performing to budget? Are we using Xero’s online invoicing

to improve payment cycles? Are we monitoring our vital signs and taking action? What KPI’s really matter? How can we better leverage the flexibility and power of Cloud apps?

Finally, do not just adopt a digitalonly mindset. As device use grows, human interaction becomes more powerful, and provides opportunities to stand out from the crowd.

Before jumping into machine learning solutions, cryptocurrencies or pivoting with the bandwagon, make sure you can answer those questions. Be. Adaptive. B-E adaptive. Really, the easiest way for SMBs to perform better is to operate with agility and flexibility. With app advisory becoming a booming market, more accountants, bookkeepers and SMBs are all looking for ways to do better business - and our app marketplace is a window into hundreds of solutions to achieve that.

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FIND OUT MORE... Follow him and the rest of Xero’s ecosystem team on the Xero developer blog where we speak with app partners, talk product updates and discuss all things tech and API: > devblog.xero.com

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Issue 18 / 35

Event - FREE ticket

Winds of change herald the age of multidisciplinary firms


Sholto Macpherson is the world’s leading cloud accounting expert, consultant, and business technology journalist. Sholto has studied the next generation of accountants in Australia, New Zealand, US, UK, Canada and Brazil. His role is to research this next-generation business model and help accountants move to it. Sholto is the editor for Digital First and also Head of Content for Accountech.Live & Accounting Business Expo creating a cutting-edge program for Australia’s biggest accounting exhibitions.

Talk about a bumper year for Australian accounting professionals. A whirling gale of regulatory battles, technology trends and business opportunities is sweeping through the accounting profession and bookkeeping. Firms will either rush for safe harbour until it blows over or hoist their sails and set forth for adventure. The challenge with this year’s Accounting Business Expo (March 20-21, Sydney) has been cramming it all into the one program!


n the regulatory front, everyone has sat at their desks, popcorn bowls at hand, watching a royal commission tear strips off Big 4 bank CEOs for woeful oversight of financial planning. The Hayes report (5th February 2019) will radically change the banking sector. A likely consequence is that citizens will turn their back on the amoral behaviour of the banks and head for someone they trust to discuss personal finances. And as countless surveys show, the accountant holds more trust than any other advisor. How many firms will expand services into financial planning and wealth management as a result? For another regulatory mandate with profound consequences, look no further than Single Touch Payroll. The Australian Taxation Office is heavily focused on ensuring that business owners understand the implications for cashflow, now that PAYE tax must be lodged simultaneously with pay. A greater implication for accountants and bookkeepers is 36 / Issue 18

that STP forces every business with an employee to use cloud accounting software. Cue a mass migration of several hundred thousand MYOB desktop software users plus every small business that uses Excel to run their accounting. It is not just a long line of SMEs wanting to convert files from one accounting program to another. Certain features such as payroll and inventory are better served in the cloud by ecosystem apps; and all of a sudden accountants and bookkeepers need to know which apps to recommend. And so, by default, they end up moving into broader software advice. Then there is the growing trend for business advisory. Building over 20 years, more firms are dipping their toes into the shallow end of business advice known as management accounting. Cash flow forecasting, KPIs and budgeting are critical services that SMEs desperately need (and are gradually learning to pay for). Despite the name, bookkeepers are moving into this area because they have a more regular connection with business

owners and a more intimate understanding of their business. The most entrepreneurial firms are taking SME business advisory to a new level with business intelligence and Big Data software usually reserved for mid-size companies. Mixing an ongoing stream of operational data with financial data demands a shift from spreadsheets to databases, plus algorithms to clean the data systematically. Yes, firms are already selling these services up and down the east coast of Australia. This is where the biggest opportunity is for CFOs, controllers and other accountants in commercial enterprises. Operational data holds all the leading indicators that reveal the most effective levers for increasing profitability. Or conversely, it exposes the parts of the business ripe for systemisation. As one Accounting Business Expo speaker told me, just adding one new ordering feature can double a company’s turnover. For all those compliance-focused

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Event - FREE ticket firms that are not interested in new opportunities, they still cannot escape the tide of technology. This year we are likely to see a jump in the level of automation in compliance workflows thanks to the next iteration of MYOB’s connected practice and the launch of the Xero-backed FYI Docs, a process automation platform for compliance workflows. The impending arrival of GreatSoft, a cloud-based practice suite for very large firms, will provide new ideas to the slower-paced end of the market. Every year, compliance takes another step towards fuller automation. It may never be completely automated, but that may not matter. Automation improves margin – and price competition quickly follows. The overall sense is that we are gradually entering the age of multidisciplinary firms. It will become easier and more tempting to add a new service line and harder to make the same profit on compliance alone. As this trend takes hold, increasing numbers of business owners will want the convenience of more services under one roof. The Big Four approach, where one firm houses a variety of advisors, really does look like it is coming to small business. What services would you add to your firm? How would you automate your compliance to maintain your margins in a competitive market? Evaluate all your options and find the best answer for your business at the Accounting Business Expo (March 20-21, Sydney).

GET YOUR FREE TICKET... Visit our website to see our speaker line-up, event schedule, exhibitor list and grab a FREE show ticket: > accountingbusiness.com.au Subscribe for FREE: Go to subscriptions.xumagazine.com

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Issue 18 / 37

App Advisory:

Should You Offer Implementation and Support?


Daniel van der Heyden is in Unleashed’s Australian Partner team. He has over 10 years’ experience as a chartered accountant and advisor, specialising in helping businesses automate their processes with cloud apps.

According to Accountex Network, 85% of SMEs want strategic advice from their accountant or bookkeeper — but only 24% receive any. For an accounting industry facing considerable risk, that presents an unmissable opportunity...


trategic advice, though, is a broad term. One client might want you to help them improve efficiency while reducing headcount, another might need better processes, a third might want a way to reduce wasted stock. ‘There’s an app for that’ Happily, the proliferation of cloud apps means that solutions exist which can help businesses achieve almost any of their goals. As an accountant, all you have to do to offer meaningful strategic advice is to ensure that clients are using the right solutions for their needs. But how much assistance should accountants provide as their clients move their processes online? There are two broad types of service to choose from. Firstly, offering a full bells-and-whistles approach with hands-on implementation help and ongoing support. Or alternatively, recommending some useful apps then taking a step back. Let us examine each in turn. Helping with implementation Setting up a new solution can be stressful for any business, as many accounting practices that have made the step up to Xero will know. That stress can go up exponentially when more apps are added to 38 / Issue 18

the mix. And while providers can be relied on to support their own products, they would not necessarily know how to build a Cloud stack that benefits your client’s specific needs. That is why some accounting firms — and many specialist agencies — now offer help getting businesses online. For accountants, the benefit of offering a setup and support service is clear. 1. You get sole credit for solving your client’s problems 2. Ongoing support can be essential to their success 3. You get the opportunity to add new revenue streams (for instance, by taking commission on subscription fees) However, those benefits come at a cost. Implementing can be tricky, requiring full commitment and considerable expertise. And if it goes wrong, the results can be disastrous. For example, I recently had to introduce a customer to a specialist Cloud agency after their accountant attempted to implement Unleashed without the assistance of a certified Cloud expert. The accountant did not set units of measure properly for their client (a distillery), meaning each product sold suddenly cost $1000s more than it should.

The customer had to pay the agency to fix the issue and to set up Unleashed correctly —a hefty bill that they could have easily avoided. And the accountant got the blame. At Unleashed, we rarely see accountancy firms taking on implementation for their clients. When they do, it is usually the bigger players, with both a clear strategy and a team that is dedicated to managing and supporting implementations. The resource drain for smaller practices is just too much. Helping with referrals Referrals are the core of any advisory service. You inform your client about some solutions that could benefit their business, then step back and let a specialist take on the burden of implementation. Again, there are some clear benefits and drawbacks here. On the good side, you get credit for getting your client online with all the risk of implementing removed. On the bad, mitigating that risk means sharing credit with whoever gets them up and running, losing the opportunity to offer dedicated support and missing out on potential revenue streams. I would argue, however, that a purely advisory service can be just as essential to businesses

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FIND OUT MORE... We are developing a wide range of resources and tools to assist accountants, starting with our free eBook on Upgrading to app advisory. Find it, and more, over at: > unleashedsoftware.com/xu

as offering support. I would also argue that it can provide a powerful means to grow your practice revenue. Many of your clients will be unaware that apps exist which can enable them to grow their business, improve efficiency and scale their processes. By introducing them to these tools, you are reinforcing your position as a provider of meaningful, useful advice. Even if those clients go somewhere else for implementation and support, they will still come to you as their primary advisor — an absolutely essential role for the vast majority of SMEs. And on the revenue side of things,

you do not need to add extra revenue streams to get value from advisory. You will be able to increase the lifetime value of your existing client base and get new business by strengthening your proposition. Build out a comprehensive service, and you can choose how to charge for it: with increased billable hours, with a one-off consultation fee or by quoting based on the value you can deliver. From humble beginnings When we are dealing with accountants and bookkeepers who are moving to advisory at Unleashed, we usually recommend

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starting small and growing from there. Once you are at the point where you feel you have got maximum benefit from suggesting apps, it might be time to consider adding an implementation service. But if you do, ensure that you understand the risks involved – and the level of expertise needed. Before that point, there is still a huge amount of value to be gained from signposting. And at Unleashed, we are passionate about helping accountants realise that value.

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Issue 18 / 39

Case Study

From the beach to the boardroom – keeping business in balance Clemi Hardie is not your conventional CEO. She has achieved the desire of many; balancing her passion for the sport of surfing with running UK-based event technology company, Noodle Live. We discover her secret of finding the energy required to succeed yet calmly stay on her feet in both business and personal life...

When we do our major strategic updates, I will go for a 2-week retreat and surf. I will get 6 hours of surfing in and 8 hours of working in every day. It is where I create my best ideas.” Clemi Hardie maintains the physical and emotional connection to the water that saw her crowned British National Surf Champion and live the life of a semi-pro sports star for 10 years. But these days she is just as likely to be stepping into a company

Clemi can run her business from anywhere in the world, all she needs is an internet connection. Getting customer data from events Noodle Live provide the technology needed to capture attendee data at B2B conference and trade show events for companies that include Google, Deloitte, BT and Fujitsu. Through a smart choice of mobile apps, on-site registration and RFID/ NFC smart badges, their tools not only capture a great cross-section of useful data but also create a great attendee experience which is a win-win for all stakeholders. Noodle Live’s tech is set up to work on events of all shapes and sizes from small intimate product launches for 50 attendees right up to large scale events hosting 15,000 attendees with over 500 sessions and 200 partners. So how does a surfer from Cornwall end up in the technology business? Clemi’s answer takes in a journey of travelling the world, completing a degree and working in online marketing before realising she did not want to work for someone else.

boardroom as she is to be spending time on a surfboard as CEO of event technology business Noodle Live. With platforms like Xero and Tidy, 40 / Issue 18

Having seen a Coca-Cola activation which allowed attendees to ‘like’ physical objects within the event space using RFID wristbands linked to their Facebook account


Michelle Nicol, writer, Wordstruck writing and training Michelle is a copywriter, trainer and brand storyteller who helps businesses tell their story through words that attract attention. A former BBC journalist, she loves nosing out a great story and sharing her writing expertise through training and workshops.

she explains how she became fascinated by the connection between physical and virtual data: “If we could bring interactions in the physical space into a company’s data system, how valuable that could be. And by acknowledging the need to justify the spend required to create those interactions for events, how could we create a platform to map face-to-face interactions into a company’s data ecosystem.” That’s what Noodle Live provides for businesses all over the world. The challenge of staying afloat As with many businesses, keeping track of revenue and costs is a big challenge for Noodle Live and Clemi acknowledges that using spreadsheets in their early days was far from an ideal solution: “It was so difficult to gain visibility of where our revenue was coming from – licensing, hardware rental, consumables and on-site staff. We were struggling to understand how much of those we were selling and it was the same on the cost side.” She recalls spending an entire working week manually pulling data out of various systems to get the insight she needed to drive the business forward. The result was profitable but showed that Noodle Live really needed help to continue to manage costs and to grow as a result of this painful analysis,

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Case Study

FIND OUT MORE... Try FREE at: > tidyinternational.com

Clemi decided to update their pricing model and over the next two quarters Noodle Live increased gross profit margins by 13% which is huge. It was clear to Clemi that Noodle Live needed this kind of insight, but with the increase in number of events, a balance had to be achieved. Tracking key performance The Noodle Live management team have now adopted Tidy Enterprise to help keep a close eye on project costs and time. Clemi found that Tidy were really good in the consultation process, taking the time to really understand what Noodle Live were trying to achieve and the challenges in making the platform work for them. With events and exhibitions taking place all over the world, keeping track of the technology used to deliver the customer data capture has not always been easy. Last year a formula error on a spreadsheet meant that kit did not arrive back from the USA in time and they lost that account, meaning that kind of manual operation process was not suitable for the business or beneficial for the future. Those kind of missing or late resource errors are now things

of the past thanks to the Tidy Enterprise solution. Clemi says “It has been a great example of working together, as it has been a very collaborative process. Tidy’s customer success team have been fantastic to Noodle Live, always going the extra mile doing custom reports and creating lots of different workflows”. Now Noodle Live are using it in the management team and cascading it out to the sales and client delivery teams. Growing business Over the past 5 years, Noodle Live has grown from just two people to a team of over 20 and is about to expand its offering with a self-service model which will see it working remotely with even more customers and suppliers throughout the world. As Noodle Live switch from a managed service to self-service options, they are going to be doing more events and need a way to provide quick quotes and delivery, so that GPM is monitored and all projects have visibility from a reporting perspective. That is where Tidy Enterprise fills the gap. Working with clients that have incredibly high expectations, Noodle Live needed something

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that can operationally support the business, whilst Clemi and her team manage those relationships. Clemi explains that they are not experts in operational or job management software, so using Tidy frees up their energy to focus on delivering products rather than on time-consuming but necessary operational processes. Big thinking space On Clemi’s email signature she is ‘Head Of Pencils’, a rather unconventional title for a CEO, but one that reflects her personality and the Noodle Live brand... “I don’t enjoy the ego business, I just like business,” she says. “I’m serious about what I do but I definitely don’t take myself too seriously.” That is why, when there is strategic thinking about the future direction of Noodle Live, it is more likely to be done on the snowboard slopes or on a beach after a day’s surfing. Tidy is one system that brings everything together so that wherever Clemi is, be it up a mountain or on a beach, she can still run her business effectively and can do so without the business taking over her life.

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Issue 18 / 41

Keeping an Eye on AI Here at Xavier Analytics we’re all about that new tech, and there is nothing more on topic than Artificial Intelligence (AI) right now... Y

ou’ve probably heard the terms ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Machine Learning’ so often, you’re not even wondering what they mean anymore. It can be a murky topic, so here’s a short guide which might answer a few questions you have been too afraid to ask... There are currently numerous uses for AI in accounting, some more specific than others. It’s frequently being used to read documents; so applications can learn to recognise words to process scanned invoices,

receipts and handwritten paper forms in a matter of seconds. Many companies are looking to AI to supplement their chatbots for first-level customer service, personalising the responses to provide a better experience for their users. Xero uses machine learning to automatically suggest account codes for transactions, reducing the time small businesses spend creating bills. Finally, you might have used Xavier’s ‘Regular Suppliers’ insight to detect unusual supplier payments - the use of AI for anomaly detection in fintech is on the rise, from finding mistakes to banking fraud. Xavier’s AI uses machine learning to learn


Helen Lloyd, Co-Founder & Creative Lead, Xavier Analytics Helen’s mission is to prove that working with lots of data really can be an enjoyable, beautiful experience. She has the “envious” task of figuring out how to make this come true for all the technical tools the Xavier team devises. With her neuroscience education and artist background, we think she’s up to the challenge.

from your Xero data’s payments to regular suppliers, in order to find any significantly unexpected transactions. So what is AI? Machine Learning (ML) is a branch of AI, and usually plays a role in data processing, being able to spot patterns and trends, and sometimes suggesting answers based on what it has learned. AI as a whole is more advanced, mimicking human decision making at a higher level. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are a method of Machine Learning that echo human brain connectivity, where a node in ML is the equivalent of a neuron in humans. Nodes are arranged in layers with an input and output layer around a number of hidden ‘processing layers’, where each node in a layer is connected to every node in the next layer. Activating a node passes inputs through to other nodes in different hidden processing layers, through to an output layer. Neurons work in a similar way, carrying small electric signals from one to the next through the brain like wires. The key is how the networks learn. In the brain, the more two neighbouring neurons are activated, the more likely that first will activate the second through a chemical process called plasticity.

42 / Issue 18

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Above: Xavier’s Regular Suppliers Insight

The equivalent of plasticity in ANNs would be weightings, which set the importance of connections between nodes through a number of algorithms. Humans have an amazing 80100 billion neurons; through this strengthening of connections, reflexes and memories are formed, all around the brain. These are tweaked constantly with every input, creating a unique, evershifting map of your experiences. In an ANN, these pathways are dictated by the number of hidden layers, algorithms and weightings that will decide when to strengthen those connections. Currently, the largest supercomputers can only handle the equivalent of a frog brain with 16 million neurons, though we might expect this to increase exponentially in the near future. Not quite Sci-Fi Whilst AI can’t match the processing power of a human, yet, a key benefit is that the learning process can be unsupervised. When it learns, it has only a huge quantity of raw data, and finds patterns by running that data through the

network over and over. It is capable of finding obscure patterns we couldn’t possibly get unaided from such large quantities of data.

possible, using tools such as Xavier Analytics is important to ensure everything is named and coded correctly.

Here’s a great example of ML from aiweirdness.com by Janelle Shane - a neural network is fed a large number of paint colours and names (7,700 in this example), through a few learning stages. The ANN does not know what colours, or even words, are. It has no visual processing ability and no dictionary to consult. When asked to then create a paint colour from what it has learned, the results from the first learning stage are... interesting, with only the vaguest idea of how to spell Blue. In later stages, the network can create ‘Burf Pink’ with, credibly, a shade of pink as well.

Get involved in the future

However clever that is, a human would probably tell you that ‘Burf Pink’ doesn’t sound like a nice colour at all! You can see, in this case, that a human user is needed to interpret the results, because we have all of the context. For AI which has no context or supervision, the key to good results is the data you provide. Making sure your Xero data is as clean and organised as

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There is still so much more we can learn from AI insights that will help small businesses thrive. Imagine a world where we could tell a small business owner exactly how they compare to successful businesses in their sector or region - we can tell them how likely they are to succeed (or fail) and predict how they will perform in the future, all from their Xero data. Xavier are excited to be receiving funding from Innovate UK to bring more AI to Xero users. We’ve got some really great new features in development to help you provide the best data and insights for your clients.

FIND OUT MORE... Stay on the cutting edge and get involved at > xavier-analytics.com to learn more!

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Issue 18 / 43

New to the Xero ecosystem

Meet Shieldpay:

Know you’re getting paid, even before the job is done


Tim Roe, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Shieldpay With twenty-five years’ experience across payments and digital marketplaces Tim leads Shieldpay’s partnerships with the world’s leading banking and business software brands. Having worked with American Express, Morgan Stanley, Lloyds Bank and Visa in various business development and marketing roles Tim has a wealth of international, start-up and partnership experience he’s leveraging to grow our client’s businesses.

At Shieldpay, we know that sometimes, getting paid is the hardest part. But with Shieldpay’s verified users, unlimited transaction size and funds held securely in Escrow, you’re in safe hands... W

e protect both payer and payee in any transaction by verifying the identity of both sides. Funds are held securely in escrow - the Shieldpay vault - and are only released when both sides agree they’re happy. We’re here to make getting paid more secure, more transparent and more efficient than ever before. How does it work with Xero? Shieldpay for Xero is a dedicated app that connects your Xero account with a Shieldpay account. Once you have linked your accounts you can use Shieldpay for Xero to set up fast, secure invoice payments. • Our ‘Pay with Shieldpay’ button will appear on your invoices. • You’ll be able to instantly accept and verify payments by card, bank app and bank transfer. • Your customers simply click the button and pay. • You’ll both be able to see the payment is held securely in 44 / Issue 18

escrow – the Shieldpay vault. • And when you’re both happy with the transaction, the payment is released with real-time payouts powered by Bank Transfer or Visa Direct - a fast, convenient and secure way to withdraw money to the cards you already carry.

paid even before the job is done. Payment is held up front in the Shieldpay vault and when the job is complete the funds are released at just the click of a button from both payer and payee, with fast pay-outs powered by Visa direct to any Visa account.

So, what drove us to build Shieldpay? There are two key reasons why getting paid becomes the hardest part of doing business; late payments and fraudulent transactions. And these are the two reasons we built Shieldpay for Xero.

For the payee funds are accessible as soon as the job is complete so they can better manage their cashflow. But this isn’t at the expense of the payer – they can fund the Shieldpay vault using bank transfer, pay by bank app, debit card or credit card – so they are open to pick the funding method that best suits their cashflow position. It’s a win-win.

Late payment costs the UK £2bn every year The average small business in the UK is owed nearly £25,000 in late invoices. Tallied up across the year, late payments end up costing small businesses £2bn annually. At Shieldpay we don’t just protect against late payment – with our Escrow payment solution, we make sure you know you’re getting

The UK will lose £1bn to fraudsters this year With online fraud as much as £11bn annually and payment fraud increasing by 53% year on year, payment fraud is clearly a costly issue – and it’s continuing to grow. At Shieldpay we’ve

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

New to the Xero ecosystem tasked ourselves with a mission to eliminate all payment fraud so that everyone, everywhere can transact with each other with total confidence. UK consumers and businesses alone with lose £1bn this year to fraudsters when making payments from their bank accounts – a cost that can be entirely avoided with the right secure payment tools in place. By verifying the identity of both sides of any transaction with bank grade security checks – KYC/KYB and PEPs and sanctions - both buyer and seller can be confident in who they’re dealing with – that they are who they say they are, and that they a genuine person, or legitimate business. With the funds held in Escrow until both sides are happy to release, both buyer and seller can enjoy total peace of mind in knowing they are protected by an independent third party – Shieldpay. And if anything doesn’t go to plan, we’re on hand to handle any disputes. So, whether you’re a tradesperson, contractor, manufacturer or exporter with Shieldpay for Xero you can invoice for any size job over any period of time and have total confidence that you’ll receive payment on time, every time – with fast pay-outs when you’re done. And in addition to Escrow, we can do the standard payment piece, too. Fast, direct payments for when you’re dealing with a trusted partner While we’re pretty unique as the only Escrow solution in the Xero app store, we realise that you – or your clients – won’t need the protection of Escrow for every transaction. So, we’ve launched a new payment

product – Shieldpay Direct. We still verify both parties in the transaction with our bank grade security checks, but the payment isn’t held in escrow – it’s just passed straight through, like you’d be used to with other payment providers you might have used. Except we’re faster. And more secure. What’s not to love? The payee will receive funds within 3 or 4 days of payment, rather than 8 to 10. So, once you’ve dealt with a new partner and you’re confident that they’re a legitimate business

and they’re able to pay – if you want to pay Direct, you have that option, too.

READER OFFER... To celebrate our launch of Shieldpay Direct in the Xero App Store we have an exclusive offer for XU readers. Free Transactions for 3 months on Xero until midnight 31st April 2019. Sign up and get started! > shieldpay.com/xero

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Issue 18 / 45

“Just a minute, can I ask a quick question?” How training increases efficiency How often is your day taken up, and sometimes derailed, by the innocent “quick question” that turns into a time consuming saga you need to fix?


hile this ‘quick question’ seems innocent, it generally is a result of this employee needing a better understanding of a situation or more training. Now, asking questions is an important part of the job, and it is preferred to ask someone rather than have them create a massive amount of re-work to fix things done incorrectly. But this can quickly become a problem when you need to deal with the same questions over and over. Investing time into training your staff allows employees to reach their peak potential faster. Training also helps increase productivity, improve your team’s efficiency, and opens up opportunities for growth in your firm. From a previous job I had, an employee who, after two years in their role, finally managed to pull the pieces together and understand why things worked the way they did. For the first time they actually knew what they are doing instead of just following the process. I finally had confidence they could work autonomously and get better results for clients. This epiphany came just after his resignation and 46 / Issue 18

all that knowledge walked out the door. Imagine if that employee had this level of understanding earlier. How would it change the business if instead of waiting 2 years for someone to learn their role, you managed to teach them in 6 months? Or even 3? How much more would you get for your investment? How much happier would your employees be? There is plenty of evidence to suggest that training is linked to performance, so why do companies overlook this so often? Training can be seen as a cost, and if times are tough, it is often cut. But training should really be seen as an investment in the future of the company. According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. In addition these companies also enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. (bit.ly/2HXgxnA) In late 2018 I was able to attend the


James Tobin, Director of Australian Operations, ProfitSee James has traveled and worked in the US, the UK and Australia. He has designed and run training programs for service teams to ensure they are meeting the needs of their clients. After working at Macquarie Bank for almost 10 years dealing with Superannuation and Platform Operations, James has taken the opportunity to lead the Australian business. In his spare time James enjoys bike riding, photography, and visiting new places.

CPA.com/AICPA Executive Round Table for accountancy thought leaders in Sydney, Australia. One of the main topics discussed was if the qualifications graduates receive from their education provides them adequate skills to be effective in the workplace. The consensus was that the course structure could be improved so that graduates hit the ground running when they start with a firm. While there were some positive initiatives that will improve things over time, the reality is you will need to teach your employees how to operate effectively in your firm. Poor training, or no training, leads to a lack of understanding and contributes to a lesser client experience. If you can train your team to become masters of their universe and understand the full scope of their work they will quickly become efficient, which saves you time and money. Training should not only prepare the employee to do a job, but also to understand why they do what they do. If your staff do not understand why a process is set up in a particular way, it is harder for them to cope with unique circumstances, to think outside

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the box, and problem solve on the fly. If an employee operates strictly by following a step-bystep process without mastering the full scope of their role, these tasks can grind to a halt as soon as something falls outside of normal routine. Alternatively if your staff understands why they are working in a certain way, they will be far more capable of making their own risk evaluations of situations and can then escalate issues only as needed. Training should be seen as a constantly evolving process; it should change and grow with your business, your clients, and regulatory changes. Look at any high performance athlete at the

top of their game, they are always looking to improve, working on new things, and wanting to be better. Your team should do the same. No one can create more time, but we can create more efficiency in our businesses and more value for our clients. Creating value is where we can push margins and increase revenue opportunities. Training that has been built into your team since day one will improve your productivity and efficiency, meaning you will have more time to work on adding or growing other value services which can open new revenue channels. With your staff having a greater level of effectiveness both your firm and

your clients will benefit. A lack of training and understanding create wasted time and resources. ‘Quick questions’ turn into issues passed from person to person, none of whom are able to fix it. Situations that should have been resolved in minutes can take days or weeks. By establishing quality training early on in your employee’s career at your firm, and maintaining ongoing education, you can solve many of these roadblocks to your firm’s growth.

FIND OUT MORE... For a FREE trial, visit: > myprofitsee.com

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Issue 18 / 47

Managing the new normal for workforces Increasingly the workforce is no longer the standard, Monday to Friday, 9-5 grind people joke about. Instead, there has been a substantial increase in part-time and flexible work requirements. With more employees working part-time, or from outside the office. Technology has stepped in to solve the communication and workforce management issues that can arise...


here is no doubt about it, the workforce has significantly changed around the world in the past 20 years. Experts agree that we are in the middle of a fundamental change in our offices, especially in the way our teams are structured and how we communicate with each other. Our own team is spread across the globe. We have a designer working from South America, team members who are regularly travelling and several partners we work with closely in Australia and the UK. Globally, we are seeing an increase in part time work and flexible work arrangements as people look to better fit work, family and personal lives into busy schedules. As how we work changes, the technology we need to succeed has also changed. Meetings need to span both locations and time zones, and teams need to access their work outside of the physical office. So how is technology helping to create better modern-day workplaces? Booking and running meetings No matter how much the workplace changes, it is impossible to imagine companies completely doing away with meetings. Verbal communication is collaborative, and we find it effective both when brainstorming and reaching 48 / Issue 18

decisions (and much faster than an email chain). We use Calend. ly to allow our customers to see our calendars and automatically book in a time themselves, and this generates a zoom meeting for us all to hop into. We also use zoom for our internal meetings, meaning we can see and hear our team members who are working remote. This technology makes it much easier for people to work from home, or from halfway across the world, without sacrificing communication. Also the ability to easily see someone’s calendar means employees can block out time when they are working flexibly, knowing someone would not ask them to take a call at the same time they are picking up the kids. Ensuring communication across teams and locations Even if everyone within your team was always in the office, it is easy to miss communication that is spoken across desks or even in a meeting. Technology rose to the occasion and has created greater visibility of what is being said, and what needs to be done, than ever before. Task management software like Asana and Trello allow your team to see what everyone is working on, and due dates across projects,


Molly Banister, Marketing Manager, SuiteFiles Molly is the resident marketing expert at SuiteFiles. She is passionate about communication and how technology can help create more effective channels for information storage and sharing, providing greater clarity in businesses.

while Slack has made internal office communication simple through the use of channels, which allows anyone who needs to know about a certain topic communicate in the same place, also eliminating unnecessary email. Software like Harvest and Deputy make keeping track of hours easy, and their integrations into Xero mean that you do not need to physically have eyes on someone to see their hours. Allowing remote access to work information and files With fewer people working 9 to 5, and more global work occurring across time zones, employees often need to access documents outside of the office. The physical server is a thing of the past, and cloud document management enables our team to keep working while travelling. SuiteFiles means that our team can work on a document together even when not physically in office. It also allows us to access documents while we are on the move, in airports or even just from the couch at home. Functionality such as allowing multiple users to work on a single document at one, online document signing and integrations with XPM (Xero Practice Manager) and Workflow Max make it easy to

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

maintain a single source of truth, and our automatic backups mean it is impossible to lose a file. These small things make a massive difference to how we work day-today. Sometimes it is so simple, we forget that everyone isn’t in the same location. Scheduling downtime The downside of the changes in how we work is that it is become much harder to shut off as the physical barriers of the office and the home start to blur. This issue has been heavily documented in the past couple of years, and there are some creative solutions starting to come to light. For our SuiteFiles’ team, keeping our calendars up to date has played a huge part in managing downtime. Having leave, hours that we are out of office, and other ‘life administration’ time blocked out means that colleagues can be respectful and not book meetings or call during these times. Utilising the Xero ecosystem and automations through partner apps helps to save time and energy on

New Zealand

tasks that used to be incredibly labour-intensive, allowing more time for what really matters. The most effective for tactic in office however has been a combination of communication and simply switching our phones off (or at least to silent) during our ‘out of office’ time. Flexible work came about because people needed a better balance between their personal lives and their jobs, and the technology created to enable that often also makes it harder to disconnect from work. When you’re finished

working, be finished, and switch off your notifications to make time for what matters. It is the reason flexible work exists after all!

FIND OUT MORE... To get a free 30 day trial of SuiteFiles, connect with us at: > suitefiles.com/trial Or to read our guide “How e-signing can simplify your practice processes”, turn to: > Page 104


Payroll solution for successful businesses Since 2001 we have helped businesses from small start up to enterprise to be payroll compliant with an easy to use feature rich solution. So your focus can be on your business. We are: NZ Payday filing compliant AU Single Touch payroll compliant

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Issue 18 / 49

Finding funding for your clients Conrad Ford, CEO of business finance marketplace Funding Options, takes us through some of the obstacles of getting funding for businesses...


usiness finance is constantly evolving. It can be a real challenge for business owners and for the accountancy profession to keep up with the latest challenges that need to be overcome and solutions that need to be implemented. Accountants are uniquely placed to help their clients find the funding they need to grow, thrive or simply survive. Here we’ll take you through some of the key obstacles to look out for when finding funding for your clients. No two businesses are the same While the principles of business finance might be constant – assessing the bottom line – this isn’t always the right approach to getting your clients the funding they need. It often makes more sense to consider the specific circumstances of your client’s business before committing to a particular type of



50 / Issue 18

finance. A straight-up business loan might not be the right option for businesses that are, for example, based on invoicing customers or rely heavily on card payments.


Conrad Ford, Founder and CEO, Funding Options Funding Options, Europe’s leading online marketplace for business finance, helps businesses find the right funding for their situation. Whether they want to grow, they’re fighting for survival, or simply need to pay a tax bill, Funding Options is helping the small walk tall.

so make sure you and your client have a good grasp on both and can submit whichever is needed when the time comes. Be proactive

The good news for you and your clients is that there’s a plethora of business finance options and providers out there waiting to find businesses to fund. The key is in linking up the businesses with the providers. Affordability Lenders will often look at a business’s turnover in their affordability assessment. Businesses should generally be able to borrow 10-25% of their annual turnover for a loan, and while the nitty gritty (for example term length, interest rate) will vary from lender to lender, that’s a good gauge to predict how much your client will be able to borrow. Some lenders will focus more on profitability rather than turnover,

You can add value to the services you offer by being proactive with your clients’ businesses. Noticing cash flow issues or recognising new approaches to help the growth of their business will give them fresh and potentially very valuable insight and direction. Regularly meeting with your clients to make sure you’re up to date with their accounts and to discuss business growth will help you to help them make a success of their business, and strengthen your relationship with them. And be ready! One aspect of finding funding applies to all businesses and accountants. You and your client need to be prepared to provide the documentation lenders need to assess an application. It should be common practice for businesses to keep their records and reports updated, but we know from experience that it’s not always the case – and it can really hold a business back when they’re looking for funding.

FIND OUT MORE... To find out more visit: > fundingoptions.com

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Issue 18 / 51

New to the Xero ecosystem

Process automation:

Is it really a game-changer for accountants? Wondering where the next boost of productivity for the profession will come from? Rob Cameron outlines FYI, a process automation engine with inbuilt document management and CRM, developed specifically for accountants...


hat is Process Automation?

The unique requirements of accountants

Process Automation is an emerging technology that enables practices to automate their repetitive compliance and administration processes.

Due to our unique requirements, accountants will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of this technology.

For example, rather than have your team to manually retrieve, file, compare and then communicate tax assessments daily, Process Automation will do this for you automatically.

Think about your daily compliance and administration tasks. To deliver these functions across your practice, your team undertake a series of processes that can be best described as:

Process Automation is designed to make our lives easier. In this article, we’ll explore what this means for accountants.

• Simple and short: Each process has a short number of steps and involves relatively simple actions such as capturing or creating


Rob Cameron, Founder and CEO, FYI Rob has been developing solutions for accountants in practice for over 20 years. A Chartered Accountant with experience working in suburban practices and larger firms PWC, PKF and Deloitte, Rob also spent five years with MYOB where he led the global product strategy for accountants. With his hardearned domain experience and a true passion for technological innovation, Rob founded two successful tech start-ups before establishing FYI in 2016.

documents, filing, naming, performing comparisons and notifications. • Repetitive and time-consuming: Around 40 well-defined processes are used repetitively from period to period, across the vast majority of your clients. By our analysis, these processes make up approximately 50% of your compliance and administration time cost. • Highly predictable: Most of these processes follow a single course of action and reach their end successfully. They’re not complex, branched or collaborative processes; there is a high probability that each process achieves a specific outcome. By way of summary, such short, repetitive, linear processes like these are the perfect candidate for automation. Your time is valuable The accounting industry has already witnessed incredible improvements in productivity in recent years. We’ve led the way in cloud-based technology. This move online for client accounting, tax preparation, and practice management has been a step change in both ease and efficiency. But with the average time taken to complete a job for a typical family group being 23 hours, we have to ask ourselves: where’s this

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XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

New to the Xero ecosystem time going? Our benchmark study shows that over 60% of the time currently being spent on compliance jobs relate to managing documents. This includes email correspondence, scanning and storing images, cross-linking and associated collaboration (internal and external). When deconstructed, Process Automation has the potential to cut the time spent on these document management functions in half. So, the next frontier for increasing efficiency is to rethink the way we capture, file, and process our documents and information. Think about it. How different would your team’s day be if: • Key documents required to substantiate a workpaper were identified as missing • They were located in the client’s cloud storage • They were imported, filed, and named consistently following practice-wide rules • The associated workpaper was cross-linked to the source document • The amount in the workpaper was compared and validated And imagine if all of this happened automatically, operating silently in the background across emails, attachments, cloud storage, and more. Streamlining the capture of client information and automating repetitive tasks like these means all your documents would move effortlessly through the practice, supported by templates, electronic workflows, and approvals.

No more time spent chasing documents. No more time filing. No more errors. With processes streamlined for efficiency, PA removes human error from the equation and achieves a level of consistency that’s much harder for humans to reach, enabling better and more accurate compliance practices. Furthermore, it frees your time from low-value, high-volume work, allowing you to be more efficient and spend more time working in an advisory capacity. FYI is designed for accountants Process Automation technology is here, and it’s set to bring about fundamental changes to the accounting industry. We created FYI to help accountants save time by automating compliance processes. Here are just a few examples of how FYI will free up your time: • Automatically capture and file client emails from every team member • Automate the creation of sophisticated templates and documents • Import tax assessments daily including automatically filed and sent to clients • Access information in seconds, using metadata and text searching, and file documents using tags, rather than folders • Automatically import client meetings from your team’s Outlook calendars • Create and delegate tasks, on the back of a client email, providing context via a document link • Batch-create, import, and autofile consistently-named sets of

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client reports from their Xero ledger with one click • Avoid losing an A-grade client with partners receiving automatic alerts of negative client emails. Get your practice ready for the future Document management is becoming a battleground. So, if you’re considering a new document management solution for your practice then you need to look for solutions that do more than simply manage files. You need to think with the future in mind. Making the wrong decision now will have costly, long-term impacts when it comes to future change management. The good news is that FYI will set you up for the future. With FYI you can be set up in minutes and begin configuring automated processes to start seeing significant time savings for your entire practice. The core feature set of FYI is already generating time savings of up to 20%, with our Process Automation taking these productivity gains to another level entirely. And we won’t stop here. We’re working with partners across the industry to broaden our scope, to increase your automation capabilities in your practice for the long-term.

FIND OUT MORE... Please visit our website: > fyidocs.com

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Issue 18 / 53

54 / Issue 18

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Issue 18 / 55

The future of restaurant management is in the cloud Cloud technology has disrupted the restaurant industry and has changed the way restaurateurs and their customers do business. This massive transformation has had a powerful impact on the F&B industry, and restaurant owners worldwide are now seen increasingly embracing the Cloud...


he evolution of technology has created a new generation of restaurateurs who have elevated restaurant operations from simple order taking and fulfillment businesses, to streamlined digitally-augmented services that are supported by cuttingedge software features like real-time order tracking, delivery management, customer insights and customer relationship management. A new era of restaurant management A new era of restaurant management has dawned with

cloud-based software solutions. Cloud applications are easy to set up, and can get operations up and running in minutes. They are powered with the ability to run on any web-based device – desktops, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones — and being hosted on the cloud, all a restaurant owner needs to get started is an Internet connection. No expensive servers, proprietary hardware or complex IT infrastructure that are typically required for premise-based solutions. Cloud-based applications generally have a LIVE dashboard, from where restaurant owners and management can access detailed


Karina Rapose is a MarCom Specialist at Sapaad, a leading cloud-based POS and restaurant management system that empowers restaurateurs worldwide to drive business growth and enhance customer experience with the power of the Cloud.

reports on various aspects of their business, measure key performance indicators, and analyze consumer behavior. Business owners get real-time actionable insights into their sales and marketing metrics, empowering them to make informed business decisions and drive profitability. “Having a reliable restaurant management system and technology partner is critical to a restaurant’s efficiency and service levels. Cloud solutions allow tremendous control and visibility over every aspect of the business – from kitchen workflow and order fulfillment, to staff performance and customer behavior – from anywhere in the world.” The power of the cloud From fine dining restaurants and QSRs, to food trucks and drivethrus, the versatility of cloud-based applications offer solutions that suit every restaurant’s unique needs. Fully-integrated cloud restaurant management systems are essential to streamline operations and automate processes in the entire order workflow – order taking, preparation and fulfillment. Cloud solutions simplify home deliveries with delivery management tools that help restaurant staff stay on top of

56 / Issue 18

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

their deliveries — from when the order is placed to when it is delivered at their customer’s doorstep. Monitoring every stage of the process helps business owners analyze and identify bottlenecks, and optimize overall efficiency. Cloud-based restaurant management applications have fully-integrated customer relationship management (CRM) systems that let restaurant owners build their own database and curate customer insights like past orders and favorites, based on order history, empowering order-taking staff to engage with customers effectively and improve the quality of their service. Scalability is great for every business and with cloud-based solutions, restaurant owners can grow with incredible ease. With no requirement of separate IT infrastructure, restaurateurs can add new branches and replicate their menu and configurations in minutes, and access their entire business under a central administration. Cloud applications vastly improve productivity, optimize manpower, and enhance efficiency. Not

to mention the benefits of sustainability and environmental viability that the cloud provides. And with IT support covered by the service provider, cloud solutions allow restaurant owners to focus on doing what they love – growing their business and creating delightful dining experiences for their customers.

integrity, enabling an end-to-end restaurant management solution.”

Integrations - the complete solution

To sum up, cloud-based solutions are the future. They have revolutionized operations in the restaurant industry and have simplified complex processes. Powered with the ability to integrate out-of-the-box, cloud applications provide holistic solutions to restaurant management, greatly improving overall efficiency, ease of scalability, and customer experience. And with a move to the cloud, the early adopters are sure to enjoy the greatest benefits.

The ability to integrate partner cloud applications provide restaurant business owners with end-to-end solutions. Partner cloudbased restaurant management systems seamlessly integrate with Xero cloud accounting software, enabling automatic sync of sales data at the end of business day or at a specific time of choice. There is no manual data entry required; ruling out human error, saving time, reducing cost, and enabling an overall improved workflow. “A fully-integrated cloud-based solution automates several processes and streamlines operations. Out-of-the-box integration with Xero addresses pain points of cost and data

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As both environments are powered by the cloud, accountants can establish themselves as business advisors who guide restaurateurs and F&B consultants towards adopting practices that are total restaurant management solutions.

FIND OUT MORE... To find out more about Sapaad cloud POS & restaurant management system, visit us at: > sapaad.com

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Issue 18 / 57

Let’s talk about customer service Customer service should be a crucial component of all business strategies and for a good reason! At CloudPayroll and iPayroll we understand our customers are individuals with varying requirements and we pride ourselves on adding value by helping all customers effectively and efficiently in the manner that best suits them i.e. over the phone or via email.


onsumers expect to be treated with respect by a knowledgeable subject expert who understands and meets their needs and requirements at all stages of their transaction. Over time ‘good customer service’ has become a buzz phrase used by companies to emotionally connect with their customer base, but what does it really mean? Is it hard to achieve and should we be aiming for just good customer service or raise the bar to excellent? The very definition of customer service according to the Collins online dictionary is; “The way that companies behave towards their customers, for example how well they treat them”. Many of us feel more compelled to share an unsatisfactory customer service experience we have had rather than go into detail of excellent customer service. A bad service experience from a company can be long remembered and the good service you once received, can be forgotten. 58 / Issue 18

Life has become so busy now that we are trying to squeeze more into the working day and waiting for a response to an email query can add stress to your day. When an email response is received it is not uncommon to find there is no answer to your question but instead you have been directed to a help article or the company’s FAQ page. Meaning you need to sift through for an answer to your query adding even more stress, frustration and taking up valuable time. When it comes to payroll queries often there is a high level of urgency for an answer. We understand the need for urgency you are after, as you are dealing with employee’s salary. We will never direct you to our FAQ or news pages to find an answer, although we do have both if this is your preferred go to method. Our dedicated support teams are full of subject matter experts, who are a phone call or an email away, no matter your question – frequent or otherwise. Evaluating new payroll solutions or software can be very time consuming. It may involve setting up a trial, watching a few web tutorials or going through help articles and FAQ’s only to find you need to set it up, add employees

Elaine Kirk, National Sales Manager, iPayroll Elaine has more than 35 years’ experience in payroll and related fields and has worked with iPayroll and CloudPayroll since each of their respective founding days. She is proud to manage the team of Business Development Managers for iPayroll and believes that the strength of both companies is down to the quality and usability of the service as well as the calibre of their people.

and then have a go at processing a pay run. When CloudPayroll and iPayroll receive a request for a free trial, we proceed with setting up a demonstration and personalising it by ensuring it matches your requirements. We will also set a convenient time over the phone or in person to provide the demonstration giving you the opportunity to ask questions on the spot which will reduce your evaluation time dramatically. CloudPayroll and iPayroll take customer service seriously and understand this may mean adapting our approach to best suit our customer’s requirements i.e. over the phone, email or face to face contact. We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent customer service experience throughout all interactions you have from the implementation team setting up your organisation through to the free ongoing support provided by our expert, friendly and knowledgeable support team who are just a phone call or email away should you need them. Check out our reviews in Xero’s marketplace for Australia and New Zealand and this will be confirmed.

FIND OUT MORE... To find out more visit: > cloudpayroll.com.au

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Issue 18 / 59

UK Focus

Choice is not a luxury for Making Tax Digital for VAT Welcome to transitioning to a world with Making Tax Digital (MTD). HMRC aims to be the most digitallyadvanced, effective and efficient tax administration in the world. You will need to begin embracing digitalisation as you transition through the first phase of the initiative - Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV). You should know by now when your first submissions as a practice under MTDfV apply and just how you will file these VAT returns in a compliant manner...


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he real transition to MTDfV filing does not begin and end with the 1st of April deadline. The true impact of the change will be felt at the first VAT return submission. What should be top of mind for you is keeping digital records, reviewing your VAT clients and assessing your current processes to ensure they are fully compliant.

to file. This service will no longer be available to support filing for businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000. Furthermore, the key requirements from HMRC are that the underlying VAT data is digitally captured, and that software is used that can connect to HMRC through what is known as an Application Programming Interface (API).

The fundamental change to contend with when you make your first submissions is that you will no longer be able to simply type in the VAT filing numbers into HMRC’s online filing service. Research shows that most accountants have been using HMRC’s online services

So where do I start? Firstly, consider how you submit VAT returns today. Are you submitting on behalf of your client using a bookkeeping product, or using a spreadsheet to come to the nine figures only to manually


Wendy Rowe is the Head of Commercial at Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting. She is responsible for the strategy and direction of the tax and accounting software suite and has over 20 years’ experience within the industry. Wendy is a chartered tax advisor, understanding the need for supporting practices becoming digital. Wendy has an MBA in Strategy from Henley Management College, holds a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification and is a member of the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT).

type them into the interface? Do your clients prefer to submit their own VAT returns using a bookkeeping product or the online service? You might use a hybrid approach where you export figures from a bookkeeping product to a spreadsheet prior to submission to consolidate trades, adjustments and additional calculations, and prepare the final figures that make up the VAT return. The final question should be, are these processes compliant and if so, do you want to maintain them? The next fundamental step should be to start maintaining digital records to ensure the first VAT return submission is compliant. The

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

UK Focus good news is that spreadsheets remain acceptable for digitally capturing data. For some, this might be the logical first step to digitalisation. Providing you use API-enabled or bridging software to make the final submission, you have the freedom to keep spreadsheets with valuable historic data and calculations in the process. Finally, in preparation for the first submission, whether you submit monthly or quarterly, you should be completing your final reviews on all your VAT clients to establish: • Do they want to complete and file the VAT return themselves? • Do they want your practice to prepare and file on their behalf? • Do they want your practice to validate and file the return after they prepare the data? Once you have agreed on how to proceed for each of your clients, the next step is reviewing the system you use today and even setting up a new system for monitoring your deadlines. This will ensure that you know when all the different activities are due and are alerted to filing deadlines ahead of time. Research shows that most practices today are using spreadsheets to monitor returns, which tend to list out the key milestones and deadlines. This is a manual process that relies on the practice continually checking what they need to do next and manually entering the completion dates into the spreadsheet. One solution that practices are looking at is being able to set up an automated workflow within their tax and accounting software which incorporates the alert data, the activities and when they need to be completed. The key question to ask yourself throughout this review process is: is the process you have efficient enough and compliant? An opportunity for conversation MTDfV has been a catalyst to embrace digitalisation. There has

never been a stronger push to change business models and search for revenue growth in the shift to digitalisation. It will continue to motivate you to look at your processes with a sharper scope and find new services. If you have made the move to the right combination of tools to support your transition, why not use MTDfV to assess your current relationship with clients? It is an opportunity to change how the cases are monitored and who files them. Your practice now has the option to take on extra services for your client, provided you have the right software to support how you monitor the services. MTDfV is a great opportunity to start having those conversations with your client. Validating and filing VAT returns for your clients who have been reliant on HMRC’s online interface is one opportunity for new revenue. It will also build stronger relationships, giving them the choice to work with your practice on their submission, rather than spending money on the software required. That said, some clients and advisors might not select this route as they transition. Practices might not have the capacity to take on the VAT submissions for clients and clients may prefer to prepare and submit VAT returns themselves. However, does this leave clients to buy the necessary software or are practices left with no option but to take on the extra work they can’t afford?

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Choice is not a luxury but a necessity With fundamental shifts in processes and myths around MTD flooding the market, you might be left in a corner, ready to abandon all processes. But the truth behind MTD is that there is still the option to choose how you submit, in a compliant manner. At the heart Wolters Kluwer’s ongoing development and support for our customers as they transition, has given practices the choice to maintain as many of processes as possible, and at the same time introduce new tools which provide additional choices. We have worked with customers to understand how VAT returns were submitted prior to the introduction of MTD to build a solution that does this and more. Two significant pieces of feedback came out of our research relating to the use of spreadsheets: • Practices want and need to continue to use spreadsheets for a significant number of their VAT returns. • Where clients were already submitting their own VAT tax return, practices want to continue to support their clients in this, especially if they are using spreadsheets. CCH OneClick includes an end-toend MTD toolset that helps you embrace digitalisation. It was built to give you the choice to continue using your spreadsheets Follow us on Twitter: @xumagazine

Issue 18 / 61

UK Focus and bookkeeping products. CCH OneClick will link digitally with your VAT spreadsheets, which is important as HMRC will not allow you to type data from another solution into the API software – it must be automatically populated from data elsewhere. Bridging software, like CCH OneClick, is the answer to the question: “can I keep my spreadsheet?”. CCH OneClick is API-enabled, allowing you to continue using your spreadsheets to automatically file data from the spreadsheet. Where clients are concerned, CCH OneClick allows you to connect, communicate and collaborate with them through advisor and client workspaces. The client workspace has now been enhanced to allow clients to submit their VAT returns through CCH OneClick, using the same solution that you are using for spreadsheets. This not only allows your client to continue to use a spreadsheet, but also gives you the freedom to provide a service to clients without taking on the filing which historically the client has done.

62 / Issue 18

of your VAT cases, whether you are looking for a full task management monitoring system using a CCH Central workflow (with VAT template included), or a proactive live dashboard within CCH OneClick to see your VAT cases at a glance. Furthermore, there are workflow tools available to monitor the individual milestones associated with the VAT return process, ensuring that employees in the practice are alerted to tasks and deadlines. Future-proofing your practice for the next phase While there is still uncertainty about when the next phase of MTD, MTD for Income Tax, will go live, it is moving forward regardless. You might be looking only to invest in a VAT solution for now but consider investing in a combination of tools or toolset that will future-proof your processes for the changes to come and help you be prepared ahead of time. Your practice will need to be thinking ahead so that you are already working with these processes with your clients when the change rolls around rather than implementing another disruptive change in the business at a critical time. CCH OneClick delivers an MTD toolset that incorporates MTD for

Income Tax functionality and the Digital Tax Account. With the Digital Tax Account, CCH OneClick can send data held by HMRC directly to your tax return once reviewed. Furthermore, CCH OneClick provides additional features for practices, allowing you to permanently link with online bookkeeping systems like Xero, using the transactional data to automatically populate the Final Accounts in Wolters Kluwer’s CCH Central suite. This is known as Open Integration. Not only can you easily import client data from products like Xero and many more, but also synchronise data back into the bookkeeping tools when adjustments are required. Bringing all the information into a single location saves time and reduces errors. 2019 has brought serious uncertainty and change. Brexit has been dominating the agenda and has recently impacted on the delivery of MTD for Income Tax. What is certain is that the industry is in a state of change and you should be looking to future-proof your processes regardless of when the next phase of MTD comes about. MTD will continue to present endless opportunities if you allow it.

Driving efficient processes


Monitoring your VAT returns efficiently is also at the heart of our toolset. CCH OneClick can provide several ways to monitor the filing

For more information about CCH OneClick or MTD visit: > www.wolterskluwer.co.uk/solutions/mtd or email: CCHOneClick@wolterskluwer.co.uk

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Issue 18 / 63


The pivotal role of advisors in business success How streamlining your advisory workflow can help nurture client relationships ‘Two-thirds of small business survive 2 years in business, half of all businesses will survive 5 years, and only one-third will survive 10 years’. We catch up with Andrew Jordon to hear how Fathom is playing a role in changing this statistic.


What is the motivation behind Fathom?

A common reason for failure is poor decision making and planning. Fathom seeks to support advisors so they can confidently provide business owners with the insights and recommendations they need for better decision making. Simply put, our mission is to help businesses thrive, not just survive.


Accountants have been offering advisory

services for years now. Why would they need a product like Fathom?


We recognise that accountants are the ones who are best placed to provide financial direction to their clients. Fathom provides a beautiful visual interface to help business owners really understand the story behind their numbers. But it goes deeper than that. Fast-paced advisory teams also need a product that will automate workflows, streamline processes and provide new efficiencies. Templates, scheduled reporting, customisation, white labelling and client collaboration all contribute to better advisory offerings.


Andrew, you’ve joined the Fathom team within the last year. What are some of the great ‘aha’ moments when talking with accountants?


When it comes to online accounting, Xero is a really fantastic platform... but it isn’t designed to deliver deep performance insights to business 64 / Issue 18


Andrew Jordon, Director of Business Development (UK), Fathom Andrew Jordon is Fathom’s Director of UK Business Development. A qualified accountant in his own right, he likes the language of numbers but knows that numbers on their own are fairly uninteresting. When working as an accountant, he was frustrated with the volume of data the firm collected for tax purposes, which was never used to inform business strategy. Working in-house in finance, he saw how inefficient and ineffective the firm was at management and board reporting. So, Andrew joined Fathom and spent six months in Australia, the US and the UK with accountants and business owners listening to their experiences to try and best understand the problem and shape the solution.

owners. So we’ve developed a seamless integration with Xero, where Fathom automatically imports the accounting data and transforms it into accounting intelligence. Accountants love being able to show clients how their business is performing, and then to dive into strategies to achieve the company’s aims. There’s this great ‘aha’ moment when accountants realise Fathom can facilitate profitable advisory work, and business owners realise accountants can provide these performance insights.


We’ve been watching on as Fathom has really grown in the last few years. Where is the team based now?


Our headquarters is in Brisbane, Australia and we have a team of 5 in the United States. In 2018, we expanded into the UK and set up operations in Cambridge. It’s an exciting time to be part of the team!

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com


It seems like you’re constantly sending out new product updates. What are some of the recent highlights that Fathom has released?


improving our interface to provide the best user experience. Along with some really exciting new reporting features, we also have a couple of surprises up our sleeves!



One of my favourite recent releases is the flexible Chart of Accounts, which allows you to group accounts and customise your financial statements. We’ve also shipped some other cool features to improve the Fathom experience, including a dynamic new analysis platform and streamlined formula KPIs.


Can you give us a hint at some new features that might be heading our way this year?


We have so much on the go, so I’ll try and keep this response to just a few key points! As always, we’re determined to empower accountants to serve their clients. So we’re working on further customising the financial statements within Fathom, and we’ll soon release a new cash flow statement, EBITDA profit and loss, and balance sheet layout to aid comparison between financial and management reports. We love great design, and we’re constantly

those who come and have a chat during the event.

You’ve got some big names in the advisory space using your platform. What makes Fathom a favourite solution?


Fathom has been hugely popular with top accounting firms worldwide. I’ve found that it comes down to a few simple things... Ease of setup. Quality product. Affordable. Actionable insights. Benchmarking client performance. Firm differentiating visuals. Designed for the advisor.


Fathom is at Accountex London (1st/2nd May) this year, where are you located and why should attendees come see you?


You’ll find us at stand 1131, near the Accounting in Business and Accountants in Practice Theatres. I’m more than happy to answer specific questions for your firm/finance team. We have some special offers available to

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Issue 18 / 65

Business growth:

Align staff goals to turbocharge your business Respected consultants McKinsey* reported that 86 percent of CFOs are finding new sources of growth a challenge. Collaborative Cloud tools are providing opportunities for business leaders to re-think they way they drive objectives and motivate their workforce including the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) framework which is a simple strategy to set, align and track goals to maximise business effectiveness...


KRs were first used by Intel and have since been deployed in forward thinking businesses such as Google, Spotify, Twitter and LinkedIn and since become more mainstream, especially for businesses wanting to maximise their growth potential. OKRs give you the ability to capitalise on the drive and energy inherent in your employees and their teams to focus their efforts on the overall company vision. It is an ideal goaling method used by both start ups and larger organisations across the world to implement a focussed strategy for development.

the tasks and measurable steps involved. Example OKRs Here is an example of a typical Company OKR with the Team and Personal goals that could support the overall objective: Company Objective: Increase recurring revenues Key Results: 1. Increase to an annual revenue of £1M 2. Increase client account spend average to £1000 per year 3. Maintain renewal rates of 85%

The Essence of OKRs The OKR framework allows for a series of Company, Team and Personal goals. Each OKR consists of a high level objective and between 3-5 key results, which should be set out as measurable steps that track progress to your objective. Optionally, you can also choose to assign a series of tasks and initiatives that will further support your key results.

* McKinsey: “The CFO’s role in the pursuit of growth?”

66 / Issue 18

Team OKRs can be aligned to company objectives and visibility shared across the business to provide clarity over where you are headed and exactly how you are going to get there. Each goal should be clear in terms of who owns it, who collaborates on it, and

Team Objective: Give our clients the best contract package for them Key Results: 1. Quarterly calls into 60% of client base 2. Review and increase contract packages to 20 of our clients 3. Ensure full on-site annual account reviews for 50% of our clients Personal Objective: Increase client spend Key Results: 1. Identify 20 key clients for quarterly calls 2. Increase your average client spend by 20% 3. Schedule & carryout 15 onsite reviews


Charlotte Brown, Business Operations Manager, Appogee HR Limited Charlotte has an excellent knowledge of the HR challenges companies may face, with a proven record in understanding their needs with the ability to find ways to overcome them. Having helped 100s of businesses move their HR and Leave Management to the Cloud, Charlotte is a fantastic source of innovative ideas to help organisations and their people.

Impact on Business? Establishing a clear process for continuous feedback, motivation and progress tracking is key to achieving your company goals and replacing the older style quarterly/ annual review processes. With ongoing visibility over performance not only at a personal level, but also as a team, it is always clear where contribution is coming from and where to focus on for improvement. Being able to align your business goals across the entire workforce is crucial. Often, companies, teams and employees have targets and KPIs they are working to, but without clear alignment it is impossible to trace these back to the overall business success, and difficult to move forward. It is important to recognise that goals align, they do not cascade down the organisation. When high level goals are set without clear measures on how you are going to reach them, they will nearly always fail. If your teams and employees do not know how to achieve the smaller, measurable steps then they will not be able to focus their energy on the tasks that matter. However large the organisation, a common struggle is always being able to meet the high level

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objectives with the resources available. For this reason it is especially important to maximise the results from every member of staff by ensuring you have set the key results to be clear, measured and of the highest impact to the overall objectives. Impact on Employees? When employees can see their goals, complete with measures (key results) on getting there, you will find they are more motivated and driven to reach them. With regular monitoring, updates and check-ins, the progress of goals is visible by all. Aligning employees’ goals with Team and Company objectives, gives your workforce the visibility they need to understand how they impact the wider business, therefore instilling pride in their efforts and a knowledge of their direct contribution to the overall success. Having that insight really gives the employee a strong desire

to achieve and keeps the company moving in the right direction. Cross company visibility ensures employees remain accountable for their goals and the progress of team goals. Supporting this, OKR software allows regular monitoring of progress (check-ins); providing clarity on which goals employees are working on. It also often provides a simple method for encouraging your teams and engaging in peer-to-peer praise through “shout-outs”. Keeping the employees engaged and excited about business progression is the winning formula for overall success.

• Business leaders will love the visibility over how team and employee focus is impacting company strategic initiatives. • Team managers can see progress for both overall team and personal objectives, making day to day management easier than ever. • Employees can see how they are contributing directly to the business success and will be motivated to achieve goals through collaboration, engagement and key result measures.

Adopting OKRs into your Company


Bringing OKRs into your workforce should be an exciting, collaborative effort across all teams and employees to drive success and growth. Implementation can be across an organisation in one go, or introduced into pilot teams who can prove the value before more widespread adoption.

Find out how Appogee HR and our Appogee Goals module can help you to achieve your business objectives. Xero integrated HR and Leave management: > appogeehr.com 14 day trial and an exclusive 20% off your first year for all XU readers - XU1-XERO2019

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Issue 18 / 67


How to:

Introduce a bill automation app stack Best practices for introducing a Xero-based bill automation app stack to increase invoice processing efficiency...


asic bill processing includes receiving and capturing invoices in the accounting system in the form of bills, then validating and eventually paying them. If purchase orders are used in the organisation, bills need to be matched to the appropriate purchase orders and PO status needs to be updated once the bill is paid. That is a more advanced way of bill processing.

Traditionally, bills are processed manually using paper and email for bill authorisation. That oftentimes incurs poor accounting data quality, e.g. incorrect or incomplete coding, an insufficient process transparency and a lack of a clear auditable authorisation trail.


Konstantin Bredyuk, CEO and Co- Founder, ApprovalMax With roots in business process management and optimisation software development, Konstantin has undertaken hundreds of product implementations for ApprovalMax clients worldwide. Over the years, Konstantin has obtained a unique industry knowledge from both the finance and technology perspectives and has consulted multiple organisations with profiles ranging from SMBs to governments and industry tycoons.

As per Xero’s latest Cash Flow App Advisory Playbook, bill automation is embracing of the modern cloud technology and eradication of manual interventions and paperbased processes for functions such as invoice submission, practice management, client management and approval management.

Bill automation There is a more advanced approach to bill processing – that is bill automation.

As the initial step, you are advised to introduce data digitisation, which implies digital data capture and cloud data storage for accounting documents. Once you have your data in the digital form, you can proceed to implementing data automation, which essentially is extension of data digitisation with workflow driven data validation and decision control that ensure that your accounting data are complete, verified and auditable. Xero-based bill automation app stack In the Xero ecosystem, a basic bill automation app stack consists of the following key components (Fig. 1):

Fig. 1: Bill automation app stack

68 / Issue 18

• Xero as the cloud accounting platform that is used for cloud data storage, centralised document management and accounting. • Digital data capture tools, such as Receipt Bank, datamolino, XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com


Fig. 2: Seamless bill automation flow

AutoEntry and Hubdoc. • Approval workflow and automation app, such as ApprovalMax that helps with approval management for Bills, Purchase Orders and other types of ACs and APs.

to properly track and forecast the cash flow.

Purchase order to bill automation

Invoice data capture is done by any Xero-connected OCR tool, Xero’s “Email to Bill” function, Hubdoc – or a combination of the above.

To establish full data automation, you need to achieve the following two milestones. First, an automated approval workflow for all accounting documents needs to be introduced to provide multi-level and multistep authorisation, approval exceptions handling, approval delegation, automated notifications to approvers and PO requestors. Secondly, financial controls in the form of proper review and coding need to be set up. This is essential

A seamless bill automation flow (Fig. 2) based on Xero and ApprovalMax looks the following way:

not been exceeded before the bill authorisation occurs. Financial controls are then enforced as part of the encode/review and approval process, and once fully approved, bills are marked as “approved for payment” in Xero. A full audit log is attached to every approved bill. Once the bill is paid, any matched purchase order can be marked as “billed” and closed as well.

Digital data management and accounting is provided by Xero. Purchase orders are created in ApprovaMax and routed as per the approval workflow. Bills are pulled from Xero in the “awaiting approval” status and in case PO were earlier created and approved, bills are matched to the corresponding purchase orders. Budget check can be done to ensure the budget has

FIND OUT MORE... To find out more visit: > approvalmax.com

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Issue 18 / 69


It pays to get good advice! There are more than 10,000 tradespeople using Tradify, and a recent survey showed on average it is helping them save 460 hours and $24,500 every year... A

t Tradify we are talking to tradespeople all the time, and it’s clear that they share a lot of hassles and hiccups that get in the way of making their business as profitable and efficient as they would like. Something else that is really clear is how important it is for tradespeople to have good financial advice and easy visibility of the numbers - in other words, a trusted accountant or bookkeeper who understands trade, combined with business management software that you can use on the job. So let us take a look at why running

your business by the numbers could be the best advice you will ever get. Then I will show you how Tradify makes it easy for advisors and business owners. Business by the numbers My number one tip is that no business decision should be made without consulting your financial statements. We encourage Tradify users to view costs as investments and understand whether money spent on gear or staff will actually be worth it. The numbers can also tell you if you are making or losing money on


Emma Crawford-Falekaono, Chief Revenue Officer, Tradify Emma has over 15 years’ experience in Commercial, Accounting, Finance and Business Strategy environments in NZ, Aus, US and UK. She started her career with a global accounting firm before taking time out to deploy as a Military Police Officer to Southern Afghanistan. Emma recently spent over 4 years at Xero as a Senior Executive, leading the NZ strategy & operations. She is also the founder of her own small business, Bastion Consulting Services. Emma is currently Tradify’s Chief Revenue Officer, leading the team globally to scale and optimise the business in every key market.

individual jobs. Once you recognise where you are losing, you can plug the hole and get back on track to profitability. The key thing is to understand here is that Tradify gives you real time numbers to work with, so you can manage your business proactively, instead of being on the backfoot. How Tradify makes doing business by the numbers easy We built Tradify to help hardworking tradespeople enjoy better business and an easier life. Tradify can help you manage your entire workflow process, including quotes, invoices, supplier price lists, site photos, timesheets, job sheets and schedules – all in one place. It is easy to use too, even if you are a lot better with tools than technology, and Tradify is in the ‘Cloud’ so you can work on it anytime, anywhere. Keep the cash flowing Cashflow is the life blood of every tradesperson’s business, and Tradify makes it easier to keep your bank account healthy. You can flick out quotes in minutes, impressing potential clients with your awesome speed and efficiency. And when you have done the work, you can send out invoices immediately and

70 / Issue 18

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“Now with everything in Tradify it saves us hours and hours of work.” Ben Russell, Ben Russell Electrical Company

identify pesky late payers.

Goodbye paperwork

Grow your business smoothly

Tradify gets rid of the time consuming paperwork everyone hates, so you have more time to enjoy your lifestyle – and is that not what being your own boss is all about?

As you get busier it is easy to lose track of things, but Tradify lets you stay on top of business growth, making regular updates to functions such as job scheduling, invoicing, and storage of customer data. By doing a lot of the admin for you, Tradify frees up your time so you can focus on growing your business.

Try Tradify now My last piece of advice is to trial Tradify asap. The numbers certainly stack up, because trialling it is free.

There is no setup fee, no contract, and no hassle. And one of our friendly Tradify champions will be there to help you get going.

FIND OUT MORE... To find out more about how using Tradify can pay off for your business visit: > tradifyhq.com

• Create beautiful business structure diagrams for your clients • Track client correspondence in one accessible place • Simplify inter-entity loan reconciliations across your Xero clients • Automate fuel tax credit calculations straight out of Xero • Automate reconciliations of equipment finance across your practice + much more

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Issue 18 / 71

Industry Focus: Property

Making Tax Digital for property managers Making Tax Digital (MTD) for business is set to begin in April 2019. It is likely to be the most fundamental change to the UK tax system since the introduction of Self-Assessment. The aim of MTD is to help make the UK tax system more efficient and simpler so that small businesses can complete their returns with fewer errors. From April 1st VAT-registered businesses that are over the ÂŁ85K taxable turnover threshold will be required to record and submit their VAT returns online using approved accounting software such as Xero...


Patrick Caulfield ACA, Associate Director, Arthur Online After graduating from Durham University with a Masters in Economics, Patrick joined EY (London) where he became a chartered accountant. He then spent 3 years in M&A and investment banking with Citi Group and an early stage VC. Patrick now works at Arthur Online where he manages everything finance and investor related, from fundraising to shaping and rolling out Arthur Online’s ambitious growth plans.


he change is being phased in due to several reasons. Previous tax reporting methods that often included transactions being manually recorded in accounting journals, which then resulted in many reporting inaccuracies being submitted to HMRC. HMRC hopes that by recording transactions online, there will be fewer miscalculations and a reduction in fraudulent activity. HMRC have also stated that one of their aims of MTD is to give businesses real-time data. There will be no more waiting until the end of the year to find out the total tax payable to HMRC. Instead, with a digitised tax system, HMRC will be able to build up and process this information in real-time to help prevent repayments owed to them building up. With the increased digitisation of accounting, the benefits of managing a property portfolio using an online, cloud-based 72 / Issue 18

system have never been greater. Arthur Online is looking to work in line with MTD and increase the ease by which you submit your VAT returns. The platform allows users to record VAT charged on all transactions, whether it be on sales invoices charged to tenants or on purchase invoices payable to contractors. By integrating Arthur Online and Xero together, property managers can carry out their general property management whilst not having to worry about the complexities of duplicating their tenant and property owner financial transactions in Xero. The integration will seamlessly combine the two systems together with the just the press of a button. 3 key MTD facts 1. VAT registered businesses will be required to maintain digital records

Whilst many VAT registered businesses will already be keeping digital accounting records, some smaller businesses may currently still be keeping manual records. Manual records will no longer meet the requirements of MTD and a transition to digital tools will be required. 2. Returns must use commercial software and not the HMRC online service Current research shows that 87% of VAT returns are carried out using the online service provided by HMRC. This will be withdrawn as part of the transition towards MTD and businesses will need to use a MTD-compliant software for their returns such as Xero. 3. Arthur Online can help. Arthur Online is fully integrated

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Industry Focus: Property

with HMRC approved cloud-based accounting software platforms, and includes an integration with Xero. Both platforms are compliant with MTD and therefore provide a perfect solution to your accounting needs. The integration will help reduce the handling of data where tenant and property owner financial details require inputting into both the property management software and accounting software. With the Arthur Online and Xero integration, financial data is seamlessly synchronised between the two platforms saving you countless hours of tedious administrative work. What preparation do you need to do? • Change or upgrade your software The first step your businesses need to take is to upgrade from your existing software to new, MTD-compliant alternatives. This

may include not just upgrading your accounting software but also upgrading your property management software. Many of the legacy software out there act as a stand-alone solution and do not make use of the benefits of open API integrations, which help streamline date entry and reduce admin time. Set-up costs, staff training and software familiarisation are just three of the factors that need to be taken into consideration when upgrading to new software. Making use of the training provided by the Arthur Online accountants and bookkeepers accreditation days and also Arthur Online’s Xero accredited adviser courses can help reduce time spent familiarising yourself with the various functions on these platforms. • Embrace the change Adopting new technology can often be a daunting task that

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is all too easy to leave until the last minute. However, MTD has the aim of streamlining what is currently a complicated process. Filing VAT returns online and keeping digital records will help reduce your workload and improve your businesses agility in the long term. April may still be a month away, but it’s never too early to research your options and be prepared. Arthur Online’s intuitive interface combined with its integration to Xero, means that managing the finances of your property portfolio have never been easier!

FIND OUT MORE... Start your free trial today by going to: > arthuronline.co.uk

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Issue 18 / 73

The Essential Guide to Project Management The summary from chapter one in the guide Introduction to project planning

Why is it important to have a project plan?

How to build a project management plan

Projects come in all shapes and sizes, from small, highly-focused jobs requiring only a few tasks, to the more complex and multifaceted that need input from everyone in your business. In order to successfully tackle any project, you need some kind of plan in place. That’s where project management comes in — to help you successfully realise projects from idea to completion.

Project Management Plans organise and contain complex and interconnected threads of information. No single person can store and retain all the detailed elements of a large project.

This typically starts by setting goals. In the building phase the scope of the project is defined and a project management plan is developed. This involves identifying:

What is a project management plan?

Most significantly — better, more sophisticated project tracking. With an online system, you’ll be able to track your projects phase-by-phase and understand the key variables that have an impact on profitability.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a Project Management Plan as a formal approved document that lays out the overarching strategy for how a project will be executed, monitored and controlled.

What are the benefits of online project management?

→ Budget → Avaliable Human Resources → Timeline

Project planning stages Generally there are eight to nine core elements that make up a good project plan: identify and define the scope of the project, break the project down, detail milestones, resource planning, set project budgets, create a timeline, think about your communication strategy, risk management, and wrapping up the project.

There’s nine chapters in this series that will help you and your clients with everything you need to know about project management.

Download the full set workflowmax.com/project-management 74 / Issue 18

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How to keep you project on track


Everythi ng you need to know


to W


l Gu



E The


There is so much to learn about project management, enhancing productivity and growing a business, so we’ve done some of the hard work for you. Check out our website for guides, videos and e-books for some tips, tricks and advice to inspire and supercharge your business.

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Issue 18 / 75

Xero marketplace: the Netflix of accounting apps

Too many apps and not enough time? @expend

With over 700 apps in the Xero marketplace and many great ones at that, it can feel nearly impossible to pick the right solution to recommend to clients or use day-to-day for your business. How should you approach the decision-making process? Do you prioritise the familiar solution? Or, do you pick the one that may require some process change but could solve more of your problems?


n a few short years, Xero has grown from an unproven accounting platform to a huge, rapidly expanding accounting ecosystem at the forefront of innovation in the industry. And, with a marketplace teeming with innovations to match. Yes, Xero marketplace can feel like Netflix when you don’t know what to watch. The number of apps can quickly stack up With so much choice for add-on Xero apps, accountants, businesses and employees can be forgiven for having app fatigue and perhaps even app choice paralysis. Competition is fierce, and many offer features that overlap with other apps. So much choice can be both a blessing and a curse, and before you know it, you’ve got a jumbled ‘stack’ of apps and services, all of which may require their own training and support. Understanding the root cause of 76 / Issue 18

problems you’re trying to solve It sounds simple on the face of it, but without fully understanding the underlying the problem, how can you pick the right solution? Spending a bit of time up front can be the difference between solving the problem or papering over the cracks. In our case, we are laser-focused on company expenses, from spending and receipt capture, through to insights and management. Our goal is simple, to solve the expenses problem. To do that we have to be flexible to what each unique business needs, not just a grand idea of what a perfect expense management world should look like. Feeling invested in a solution that will not only serve you now but in the future Do you feel invested in the solutions that you use or recommend? Many will feel invested in Xero, but perhaps not

Johnny Vowles, CEO & Cofounder, Expend Alongside the Expend development team, Johnny and his CTO and co-founder Rudolph have built an all-in-one expense management platform that’s built on top of the latest banking technology.

so much in some of the other apps. Perhaps they offered some cool swag at a show. But do they really serve your requirements? Having that strong focus on the problem means that it’s our customers and accounting partners who have helped shape our expenses solution. They’ve been instrumental in developing additional features to complement our connected payment cards. It’s that investment from our customers and partners that have driven powerful innovations including our new Expend Flex card for automatically improving business cash flow, managing out-of-pocket expenses and tracking mileage claims. Can you see improvements in their Xero integration? Does it move with the times? If you’ve invested in Xero and your entire business depends on it, you naturally want the connected apps to constantly improve and add new features that will benefit you and

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By tackling the problem headon, our UK based team has successfully streamlined the expenses process for thousands of people. Whilst it’s very gratifying to be recognised with awards for our platform and named in the Top 100 Britain’s Fastest Growing Business in 2018 - what really keeps driving us forward is the feedback from our customers that we’re saving them time, effort and money. And an endless search through the Xero app marketplace!

your clients. That said, having to constantly keep an eye on every new update that app partner releases might feel like a job in itself. Our Xero integration has also been fundamental to our growth, and it is something we continue to invest in and are very proud of. In 2018 alone, we released over 30 new features like client rebilling and tracking categories because our customers told us that they needed them. We share the same passion that Xero and it’s users have for a modern world of accounting. A world where real-time insights and automation makes important business decisions easier to make. In conclusion: It’s my belief that as the Xero marketplace matures and it’s users

become ever more demanding, that there will likely be consolidation in the connected app space. The need to increase automation will give way to the need to streamline and simplify processes. Connected apps like Expend are already becoming platforms in their own right and are ahead of this curve.

FIND OUT MORE... Visit our website at: > expend.io or, for an in-depth comparision of Expend and other apps: > see page 106

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Issue 18 / 77

Improve your workflow and shift up a gear We recently carried out a survey among Senta users to find out where workflow has helped accountants most in their practice — and to discover some of the pitfalls they continue to face. Not surprisingly, tax return challenges were a recurring theme!


hether or not you use dedicated practice management software, putting in place the right processes can transform a practice, from struggling to highly successful. With some practice management software, many of these processes can even be automated. With the increasing burden of compliance for accountancy firms, effective workflow is more important than ever in making practices run efficiently — and it offers opportunities for significant business growth.

GoProposal, Practice Ignition and other onboarding tools you might use. Don’t just think about the practical, legal aspects of this process, but also how you can help clients: some practices send useful information guides, and this can really make new clients feel valued. Softer activities might include scheduling in a welcome call from the account manager, or a monthly catch-up to see if there’s anything you could be doing better. Receiving client information earlier

The benefits of refining your workflow Standardising the onboarding process Onboarding can set your clients’ expectations and get your relationship off to a great start. To make sure that the service you provide is always consistently good, think about what you do every time you take on a brand new client. Wherever you spot something that you have to do for every new client — such as setting them up on your CRM, and sending them a terms of engagement letter — make this an integral part of your workflow. And you don’t have to confine yourself to features in one package. Senta, for example, ties in with 78 / Issue 18

The theme that recurred most frequently in the Senta user survey was, unsurprisingly, the difficulty in dealing with clients who send in the necessary information too close to tax return deadlines. By scheduling communications to chase up clients earlier in the year, you can spread your workload, reduce stress, and meet deadlines more easily. If the majority of tax returns are filed well in advance of the deadline this leaves more time to deal with clients who do leave it to the last minute, as well as clients you’ve only recently acquired. Some chase clients monthly from right after the previous tax return, whereas other practices start about halfway into the year.


Louise Sellars, Head of Support, Senta With a diverse background of IT and client service in a variety of industries, she now looks after Senta clients in fifteen countries. Louise and her and team help practices build CRM & workflow solutions that answer the requirements of the local compliance regime but are also uniquely theirs. And with direct access to the Senta product developers, she is truly the clients’ champion.

Using software such as Senta you can schedule emails to go out at regular intervals throughout the year to chase up any clients who have not yet sent you the necessary information — perhaps highlighting any incentives you’re offering! Automating your work In a world of APIs and integrations, automating can seem out of reach, but it need not be. Linking software together using tools like Zapier can let you achieve almost magical levels of automation. For example, at the appropriate moment in your jobs, Senta can call Zapier automatically and drop off information… and that can trigger actions in more than 1000 linked apps! Eliciting useful client feedback We’ve talked about using automated emails to onboard new clients and to chase up client tax returns, but these can also be used to streamline a multitude of other tasks — not least gaining important client feedback. Accountants critique their clients all the time, so why not reciprocate? Feedback can give you an invaluable insight into your clients’ experience and how you can improve your service. Clients will appreciate the fact that you are

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listening — as long as you then follow up on this and implement changes.

recording and managing leads, and perhaps even automating requests for referrals.

Capturing information directly from clients

Adding more of a human touch to your service could encourage a higher number of referrals. Where you think clients need a call, incorporate it into the workflow. And if you think they might like to hear news from you (such as an automated confirmation by text message when compliance work is completed), factor that in, too — clients love showing off about how great their accountants are, and this kind of activity could lead to loyalty and referrals.

Senta is used for an impressively wide array of tasks including gathering useful information directly from clients. For example, some practices ask their clients to fill in specific forms through the client portal, which can prove to be a real timesaver. You could ask “Have you received any second income?”, or “Have you made any charitable contributions?” — and capture the specifics if they answer “yes”. Developing your business The whole point of refining your workflow is to grow your business. So that no opportunities slip away, you can incorporate ways of

finding and taking on new clients, and growing your business. • When figuring out the “perfect” workflow, try to strike a healthy balance between thinking about the practical stuff and the allimportant human element. • Most firms offer similar services, so set yourself apart from the competition by delivering your service in a better way. • Consider how automation can free you from the daily grind. Your workflow, including your communication with clients, is central in giving you the edge over your competitors.

Summary By focusing on improving your practice’s workflow, and really maximising the potential of software such as Senta to manage repeatable tasks and communications, you can free up a lot of time that can then be spent

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Issue 18 / 79

Xero Feature Timeline

Innovations to help you thrive in 2019 Take a look at all of the features added in 2018 you could be using with Xero to grow your business in 2019...

Xero login for Practice Manager (Aus)

Account code suggestions on invoices (iOS)

Xero makes a account code suggestion to help code sales items more easily and accurately.

Direct feeds for UK pensions (UK)

Login to Xero Practice Manager using your Xero login.

Confidently submit payments to pension providers with direct feeds for UK pensions. Files in Xero (iOS)

January 2018

Side by side view of PDF and draft bill on screen for easier bill detail entry.

Updates for Fiscal year end (UK)

Rename files through the files inbox, or files attached to an invoice or a receipt in Xero for iOS.

Meet payroll compliance more effectively for 2018 with the new Updates for Fiscal year end.

March 2018

May 2018

April 2018

February 2018


Easier bill entry

April 2018 Construction Industry Scheme (UK)

Automate your CIS tax deductions from invoices and bills, and prepare monthly returns and reports.

Xero Payroll for New Mexico (US)

Payroll is now available in New Mexico for processing payroll and meeting New Mexico compliance.

User permissions

A more intuitive, simple and beautiful User Permissions page.

Copy invoice on mobile

Copy over details from a previously added invoice or quote on iOS and Android.

Invoice via preferred app on mobile

Send invoices from iOS and Android via different mobile apps.

80 / Issue 18

Reduced lead time for Direct Deposits

Meet payroll obligations and improve cash flow through the reduced lead time of 2 days on Direct Deposits.

New purchases tab on mobile

The Receipts tab has been renamed to Purchases; adding Bills to pay and Recent spending.

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Xero Feature Timeline

Invoice payments via Outlook (US)

Xero invoices can get paid from within an Outlook email account with Stripe.

Better contact search for invoicing on mobile

Search by email address, first and last name.

Preview invoices on mobile

Preview your invoices on iOS and Android before sending it to your customers.

Search enhancements for Find and Recode Xero Central Search by bank account, invoice number or reference, recoding tracking to unassigned.

Searching for an answer or content has become more personalised with Xero Central.

Mark bill as paid on mobile Print invoices with Airprint (iOS) Mark your bills as paid on Android and iOS.

June 2018 May 2018

Print an invoice on mobile using Airprint by selecting the “Print” option.

June 2018 Report templates and report codes (Aus) Additional report codes and simplified templates.

May 2018 New trial balance report The trial balance report has been updated to our new reporting engine.

Xero Projects: Stop start job timer on mobile

Convert quote to invoice on mobile

Accurately record every minute you spend on chargeable work with the stop-start timer.

Create an invoice directly from a quote.

Electronic tax and filing in New Mexico (US) Xero HQ: Client industry filter Filter your clients by industry, even those that are not on Xero.

Xero Projects: Time detail report File forms and taxes electronically from Xero.

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See how your team’s time is being spent on each project and what proportion is chargeable.

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Issue 18 / 81

Xero Feature Timeline Running balance for account transactions report

Single Touch Payroll (Aus)

Hubdoc & Xero Hubdoc automates the collection of clients’ key financial documents, and seamlessly syncs documents and their data to Xero.

With STP, the only way to submit payroll information to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will be digitally, via software providers like Xero.

Just like a bank statement, now you’re able to view a running balance on the account transactions report.

August 2018

Xero Projects: Improved time reporting

With the new staff time overview and detailed time report in Xero, you have more visibility over where your project time is going.

Improved RTI filings in the UK

Automated Employment Termination Payments (Aus)

We’ve made it easier to find and track the status of your payroll submissions to HMRC with our new Real Time Information page.

Easier to pay employees their entitlements and report these to the Australian Tax Office when terminations happen.

July 2018

July 2018

July 2018 August 2018 Manage payment services from invoice screen Manage what online payments you have added to your online invoices from the invoicing screen.

2SA for all AU Payroll 2SA for all AU Payroll admin and subscriber users for an extra layer of security.

Xero Practice Manager: Payment enhancements More payment types are able to flow through from your Xero practice organisation to the invoices in XPM.

82 / Issue 18

Search enhancements to Find & recode

GoCardless direct debit payments (Aus)

Add a payment to bill on mobile

Accept direct debit payments through GoCardless for Xero, to get ad-hoc and recurring payments paid.

You can add either a partial or full payment to a bill on mobile.

Alternative email for 2SA users Set up an Alternative Email address that can be used to sign into your Xero account when you already have 2SA.

You can now search for transactions by bank account, invoice number or the reference.

2SA mandatory for AU Payroll 2SA now mandatory for AU Payroll admins and subscribers for an extra layer of security.

Activity Statements with Xero (Aus)

Partners can lodge activity statements with Xero for an easier process.

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Xero Feature Timeline

Private use depreciation for fixed assets (NZ)

Split each of your clients assets between private and business use (NZ only).

Xero Projects: Create a project invoice on mobile

Users of Xero Projects on mobile can now create invoices directly from their mobile device.

Link credit notes to projects

You can now link sales credit notes recorded against invoices back to projects.

XPM & WFM: Remove from WIP list & update job state in bulk

Bulk upload employee details (NZ) Save time and effort when setting up multiple employees in Payroll, by uploading a single spreadsheet with their details.

You can now select jobs (individually or in bulk) and click “Remove” from the top of the WIP Manager menu.

Xero Expenses: multi-page support for PDF receipts September 2018

Connected app recommendations within Xero

Integration to the largest pension provider (UK) Submission errors can now be reduced and time saved filing pensions with the new direct integration into NEST.

When processing claims in new Expenses, you’ll now be able to drag multi page PDF receipts into a claim with the extra pages showing.

We’ve made it faster and easier for small businesses and their advisors to find the right app to connect with Xero. August 2018

August 2018

September 2018

GoCardless direct debit payments (NZ)

You can now accept direct debit payments through GoCardless for Xero, to get your ad-hoc and recurring invoices paid more reliably.

Customer Self-Reactivations

You’ll find a reactivate button for Cancelled account on the Dashboard in MyXero which will give you access to your account again immediately.

Payslip PDF encryption (UK)

UK Payroll administrators will now have password protect payslips when sending them through email.

Payroll timesheet integration with Projects (Aus)

You can now transfer time which is recorded in a project directly into Xero Payroll.

Xero HQ: Staff notifications With this latest Xero HQ release, practice team members get notified when they have a new client or their client access has been updated in HQ.

84 / Issue 18

New TPP-friendly CSV file (UK) To help with the manual filing process, we’ve added a TPP-friendly CSV file on the Pensions Filing page.

Profit & Loss at a glance on mobile Get a quick view of your profit and loss, and how your income and spending are broken up, from your mobile dashboard.

Xero Projects: Staff Cost Rates Header Menu You’ll now find your Project Staff Cost Rates settings page under the Projects tab, in the header, as ‘Staff cost rates’.

Percentage of Sales

Improved Pay and Leave settings (NZ)

Easily calculate percentages based on tracking and budget columns.

Improvements to the Pay and Leave settings in Payroll, making set up more intuitive and explain how Xero calculates leave.

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Issue 18 / 85

Xero Feature Timeline Payroll/Xero Projects Integration (now in NZ/UK)

Projects Trello PowerUp

Transfer time which is recorded in a project directly into Xero Payroll. This avoids duplication and increases accuracy.

Track time in Projects directly from tasks within Trello.

Email to Bills Email to bills extracts the key information from PDF bills and automatically generates a pre-populated Xero Bill entry.

Add / edit bills on mobile

Create bills from your mobile with a clean, simplified interface. Capture more detail and split into line items and quantities.

Ask: Bulk Send Payroll: Bulk Upload Employee Details (UK & Aus)

Advisors can now send queries to multiple contacts and clients at once. Once sent, each client is listed individually so you can track progress.

Set up multiple employees in Payroll by uploading a single spreadsheet with their details. October 2018 December 2018

END November 2018

Find and Ask (pilot) Improved Xero navigation Advisors can make end-of-period tax preparation easier by removing guesswork and understanding what supporting information is needed.

Designed to help small businesses and their accountants or bookkeepers do the jobs they need to do more easily and efficiently.

Manage VAT (UK)

Lodge Activity Statements (Aus)

Lodging activity statements to the ATO from Xero is faster and more efficient, saving you time, reducing errors, and increasing accuracy.

86 / Issue 18

VAT for MTD in Beta is slick, connected in real time to HMRC with improved audit, a full history of lodgements, all new adjustment capability and more.

Manage your GST F5 (SGP) Small businesses and their advisors can prepare and save their GST F5 return & IRAS Audit File for easy IRAS tax filing.

File CIS returns (UK) Seamlessly file monthly Construction Industry Scheme return directly via Xero’s connection to HMRC’s e-filing gateway.

IRAS compliant multi-currency invoicing (SGP) Compliant multi-currency invoices with no add-ons or data exporting required.

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Issue 18 / 87

Understanding APIs and applying automation in practice What is an API? It’s an important question to ask, since APIs are rapidly transforming how accountants, and indeed all businesses, are working. Practices are increasingly automating workflows and connecting apps through ‘Application Programming Interfaces’, or APIs, to work more efficiently. Whilst it sounds like a technical term, best left to developers, firms who understand how to leverage APIs and automation, are unlocking significant operational benefits. So for those who want to keep up with this pace of change and use technology to drive growth, how can they understand APIs better and apply them in practice?


PIs in everyday life

The topic of APIs isn’t likely to come up in conversation often, yet we use them every day without realising it. This is because APIs work behind the scenes to support many digital processes, by allowing programs to ‘communicate’ and share data with each other. We wouldn’t be able to do a lot of what we take for granted today, without APIs. In fact, many of the world’s biggest brands use APIs to deliver services to us. For instance, when we book a hotel or flight through a third party booking website; use mobile apps to order takeaway or call a taxi, we are doing this through APIs. There are different types of APIs, but generally speaking, the role of an API is to act as a messenger, transmitting our data in real time to service providers, to fulfill requests. How APIs add value to accountants Xero offers third party developers access to its own API, which allows accountants to connect other apps to their Xero account, and leverage Xero as a central 88 / Issue 18

platform. Anyone who has browsed the Xero marketplace will have seen the breadth of add-ons available to streamline processes including payroll, reporting, CRM, payments and more. By syncing these apps to their Xero account, users can easily automate more areas of their practice. They can gain better visibility into client projects and more control of their data. Automating functions is often much more cost effective than doing everything by hand. And data flowing from these apps to a user’s Xero account, is incredibly secure, as it’s protected through the advanced security measures Xero requires of third party suppliers. In the long term, a more automated practice will help accountants to become more agile and competitive. Instead of spending hours of time on inefficient manual processes, they can serve clients faster, and focus more resources on business development and growth. By becoming more efficient, they can swiftly react to legislative changes and industry trends. They can spend more time on innovation


Brendan Woods is founder and CEO of AutoEntry Originally a software developer in the hedge fund space, he quit his job and started the company to automate data entry for accountants and bookkeepers. AutoEntry automates data entry of sales and purchase invoices, bank and credit card statements, expenses, receipts and more, providing significant time and cost savings to users. AutoEntry is a trusted supplier to over 2,500 accounting firms worldwide.

and on the diversification of their services, to secure new revenue streams. Getting started today One process practices are increasingly phasing out, with the help of APIs, is bookkeeping data entry. Whether all of the team share the burden, or this function is outsourced, manual data entry is an incredibly inefficient process, which has no place in the ‘API Economy’ of today. AutoEntry is a web and mobile app that integrates with Xero’s API, helping accountants to effortlessly automate this function. AutoEntry works by capturing and analysing scanned and photographed sales and purchase invoices, bank and credit card statements, expenses, receipts and more, accurately automating data entry into a user’s Xero account. With its AI-based technology, AutoEntry helps users to work smarter with its broad range of features. For instance, AutoEntry captures tax summaries by default and if requested, full line item details including description,

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quantity and unit price. AutoEntry also remembers how users categorise expenses, such as the relevant supplier account, nominal account and tax code without ever creating duplicate supplier accounts or posting duplicate invoices in Xero. AutoEntry even matches invoices to purchase orders. Users can pass on efficiencies to clients, by enabling them to access their financial records remotely, and upload their bills and receipts, at their convenience via AutoEntry’s mobile app.

represents a considerable opportunity for accountants to improve the quality of their services and provide greater value to clients. Ultimately, using APIs can help accounting firms retire outdated processes and position themselves as indispensable business advisors. This approach will be key in helping firms to engage their clients and make a name for themselves in the industry.

Using APIs to fuel practice growth Technology is changing the very fabric of our society and how we interact with our service providers. Whilst this transition may seem daunting, greater understanding into how to leverage technologies, including APIs and automation,

FIND OUT MORE... Automate manual data entry with AutoEntry. A free trial is available for all new users. Find AutoEntry in the Xero App store or via: > autoentry.com/integrations/xero

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Issue 18 / 89

Is the digital detox suppressing workplace improvements? Love is all around us, so we are told, and so is automation. Our modern lives seem to be evolving rapidly with new opportunities to increase productivity, save time, save money and generally increase efficiency. But as much as we are constantly facing messages of introducing tech to improve, we are also being encouraged to detox from tech to improve our health and wellbeing… so what do we do?


e put down our devices and pick up a book. We turn off our screens and go outside for some fresh air. In other words, a “digital detox”. But even the phrase itself suggests that we are losing control to automation and technology, and that we need to revert to a simpler life in order to regain some level of control. We could argue that labour-saving devices have been with us since the advent of flint tools and iron age arrow heads and therefore, progress through automation is a good thing. But does this translate in the workplace? Last year, Financial Times reported how productivity in the UK is at a low and yet somehow, we are under continual pressure to get more done. The logical answer should be to turn to automation, so why aren’t more businesses doing this? The fact of the matter is that the backlash against further automation at home, especially against digital interventions, may be stopping us making much needed improvements at work. But the way I see it is there are some levels of automation that we have 90 / Issue 18


Rory Forbes, Director, Compleat Rory has 35 years’ experience in the design, development, sales, deployment and support of multiple accounting and ERP solutions including Infor SunSystems, Agresso, IBM Concorde XAL, Exact and Omicron. Rory joined Compleat in 2008 and played a pivotal role in defining the business strategy and driving both direct and indirect sales through a reseller channel.

become so used to, we do not even realise how much we rely on them. If you were to walk through all that you did since you went to bed, woke up, washed, got dressed, ate breakfast, and went to work, you will find that you delegate responsibility to various items of mechanical, electronic and digital machinery to get you through the day already. From the preprogrammed alarm to wake you up in the morning, to the digital TV box that ensures your favourite TV programmes are recorded for you to watch later, automation manages to find subtle ways to filter into our lives. Now, financial professionals, contrast these aspects of your life with your working day. Stop me if you have heard this one before! You get to your desk and sit down behind piles of paper requiring urgent attention. You take out your pen and your calculator and review dozens of paper invoices that have been sent to you via internal mail, signing in the ink stamped area as you go. You refer

to your coding guide to choose the right analysis values. Go over to your purchase order file and flick through all the paper copies to find the corresponding order details. You then manually check the details against a spreadsheet you hold to track your remaining budget. You phone your branch offices to check that they have received the items billed on a slew of paper invoices that are sent to you centrally, as you do not have access to any proof of deliveries which are kept locally. Finally, you ring around all the department heads to find out who spent money with a particular supplier from whom you have received an invoice, for which you have no record of any authorised spend or purchase order. If you are finding that tough just to read, imagine how painstakingly tedious it is in practice. Now ask yourself, if you are perfectly happy to allow automation to make your lives at home more efficient, despite the lengths we go to try and avoid it, why not do the same for your workplace? In a recent study, the ACCA

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(the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) found that over 50 percent of C-level executives in accounting expect the development of intelligent, automated accounting systems will have the highest impact over the next 3 to 10 years. So, is a digital detox necessary in the workplace? After all, businesses that have already introduced automation into their finance and accounting departments have seen rapid improvements to their invoice processing procedures. From the humble beginnings of the PDF invoice, we have seen fantastic advances in how invoices and purchase invoices are being processed; and it is all down to, you guessed it, automation! Take Xero for example, whose software

utilises automation to send reminders, assign bank codes, create recurring invoices and more. Nevertheless, there is still that backlash against automation that puts people off implementing it. Whether it is a fear of it replacing our jobs or fear it is making us lazy, automation will always bring forth sceptics. But these feelings simply cannot be justified when automation is so ingrained in our everyday lives. All it takes is a small change in replacing your previously manual processes and before you know it, it will feel like the norm. If you do not believe me, let me ask how many of you would be happy to go back to life before your digital TV box could record your favourite series at just the touch of a button?

So, to summarise: automation is here to stay. We have largely embraced it for many elements of our waking lives until it comes to the office. All too often we allow tradition, convention and fear of change to tie us to established procedures when, in reality, they could benefit from the same digital makeover we have given the rest of our lives. As far as the workplace goes, take my advice‌ditch the detox!

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Issue 18 / 91

Business for good “There is no money to be made in charities.” “Working with charities is too difficult.” These few sentiments we hear regularly from accountants and business consultants. While I agree it sometimes can be difficult working with volunteer’s availability, the complexities of charity work and regulations but the rewards by far outweigh the diffculties...


Aukje Smith, Sales Manager, infoodle Aukje along with her husband Richard, founded infoodle in response to the need for a reliable, user friendly and cost effective database and donor management system for the medium to small sized charities and churches. Having experience working with charities and churches in Africa, Europe and New Zealand in a support and administrative role Aukje draws from her experience and knowledge to serve the charity sector through infoodle. The vision of infoodle is to provide administrative support enabling the charity to carry out their mission.

businesses to purchase from and work with. Charities need you!


he charity sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. More and more charities, Business for Purpose or For Social Enterprises are being started daily. Even for a small country like New Zealand with 4.7 million population there are over 27,638 clarities. That’s about 1 charity for every 170 people. Contributing $6 billion to the economy (NZ statistics June 2016). There are more than 185,000 registered charities in England and Wales and the number is rising by 5,000 a year. There are probably more than twice that number of unregistered charities bring the total to more like 400,000. Why is the charity sector growing? With technology, information and social media, world situations are often reported before news agencies have the opportunity to investigate. Everyone from world leaders to children, in remote parts of the world are posting their 92 / Issue 18

thoughts, ideas, and the challenges they are currently facing. Thus, we are more aware. More than ever before, today’s generation do not want to just work and earn as their parents did but they want to contribute to society, save the planet, and have a good work life balance. They are looking beyond to the bigger picture: seeing massive inequality, homelessness, rising population, climate change, and lack of healthcare, and wanting to bring change. Ethics, purpose and meaning are coming first. New types of business are emerging. We no longer have Not for Profit and For Profit businesses but also Business for Purpose and Social Enterprise. Businesses looking past profits to how they impact people through their products and services will ultimately be winning because customers select these types of

Whilst it is easier for charities to keep good financial record through software like Xero, and charity focused apps like Infoodle, they need passionate and skilled accountants and business managers to help them navigate the vast number of regulations. Financial professionals who work in the charity sector claim that job satisfaction, a good work life balance and the chance to give something back to society are just a few of the many perks that keep them motivated and happy in their roles. The sector offers a huge variety of organisations with different working environments, some of which can be just as demanding and fast paced as the commercial sector. Apps like infoodle provide tools to help you to administrate the charity you work with.

FIND OUT MORE... > infoodle.com

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Practice management that integrates with you Senta is cloud software that gives you CRM, marketing, workflow, email automation, document management & insights. With total customisation and flexible integrations, Senta will help you manage compliance risk, deliver great customer service every time and increase the value of your practice.

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To use Senta you just need a browser and an internet connection.

Try Senta now, free for 30 days Totally unlimited use with no obligation. No credit card required.

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Issue 18 / 93


Don’t just renew - review! 3 reasons to reconsider the renewal of your licenses The decision any business owner or decision-maker faces to streamline, modernize processes or systems that consumes a significant amount of time and resources seems like an obvious one but it’s not always so easy to commit. Legacy systems, like old habits, die hard; but as is customary around the new year, it’s time to kick those bad habits...


he blind renewal of yearly payroll and accounting licenses is an excellent example of this. I am always alarmed by the number of businesses around the world that have maintained the same system they have been using since time immemorial. Yes, there are logistical reasons for using the same solution year on year, but is that really a justifiable reason to let those systems linger in an increasingly competitive marketplace? It is easy to absentmindedly renew a product license year after year without considering the impact it is having on your business. Why move to a new payroll or accounting solution when the current one works just fine? A simple tally of inefficiencies and the cost a decision can have on your business should persuade any forward-thinking business owner otherwise.

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Bruce van Wyk, Sales & Marketing Director, PaySpace Bruce is a founding member of PaySpace and has over 16 years of experience for various organisations. Bruce heads up the Finance and Sales departments at PaySpace, having started his career in software development. He addresses complex payroll client requirements having a plethora of critical experience into the receiving end of payroll and HR products. His experience in the technical, consulting and client requirements in the industry has enabled him to hone on many skills such as: solution design and quality human resource approaches.

Scalability on tap Before you renew your annual license, consider the scalability— or lack thereof—you are locking yourself into for the next year. How quickly does your current license allow you to add or subtract employees or adjust your feature set – to downscale or allow for several new employees at a moment’s notice? There is a reason pay-as-you-use and other more agile payment plans are gaining traction. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, no business should be forced to pay for employees they no longer have on their payroll. Anton van Heerden, Managing Director at DNA HR and Payroll Services and the former MD for Africa and the Middle East at a multinational accounting, payroll and payment solutions provider, recently said: “Businesses should not be forced to commit to a payroll provider for 12 months? What if a

business has seasonal workforces or is planning to downsize; why should they be penalised?” I do not think there is any arguing with that, do you? Wasted expenses are more than just an additional cost to write off; it is money not spent developing new products, enhancing the customer experience or paying, thus incentivising, your employees. So, before you renew your contract with any service provider, ask yourself what the implications for your business for the next year are. That is a long time for unnecessary costs to continue to compound. There are better solutions out there If there is any reason to move away from legacy platforms, it is because the alternatives offer serious advantages – in this case, cost, compliance and productivity. Native platforms like PaySpace and Xero provide a vast array of benefits over legacy ones.

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Payroll In fact, one of the selling points of native Cloud architecture for Anton was its multi-tenant, single instance construction. “Native Cloud solutions are always up to date, meaning virtually zero lag between updates to tax law and when they take effect on the platform,” says Anton. “Security, feature and maintenance updates also take place for all users (and clients) simultaneously, which is not just a time saver, but means you can reduce spent internal IT resources.” As if that was not enough to encourage businesses to make the move, Cloud platforms do not require installation; instead, they work on any device with an internet connection. That is not just a bonus for employees on the move, enabling access from home, the local coffee shop or even the other side of the world, but dramatically reduces onboarding time, as opposed to legacy systems which make compliance and data security as well as maintenance a nightmare. Why is that important? Consider that for every hour product development, customer responses or time to market is delayed, money is lost and brand reputation is tarnished. That is just one example, among many, how downtime can quickly spiral out of control. The smart money is already in the Cloud Ultimately, it is worth asking: does the cost involved with migrating to a cutting-edge cloud payroll platform outweigh the advantages? We argue not. We are seeing many businesses speeding up their Cloud journey and setting expiration dates on

their on-site solutions. I foresee that those who do not move to Cloud platforms will struggle to compete in the future and that slow adoption will give competitors the opportunity to gain serious market share. No one is denying the potentially substantial logistical requirements involved in moving from one management or operational solution to another, but consider this: if some of the world’s largest organisations have made the change in spite of the logistics, the advantages must be worthwhile. They have weighed up the benefits; perhaps you should, too? Business owners and executives should pursue any means of reducing hindrances to growth, like excessive costs and downtime. Businesses must also navigate a plethora of regulatory and financial complexity – problems Cloud

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platforms solve with relatively little effort. That is why I believe it is pivotal for businesses to position themselves for the future, which is why the adoption of a future-proof native Cloud platform like Xero or PaySpace is so crucial. It is worth mentioning that a policy of review over renewal will serve you well, not just for accounting and payroll but for virtually all operational tools. Ask yourself. Do you want to throw time and resources at managing your payroll when that time could be better spent giving your business an advantage over the competition?

FIND OUT MORE... Visit our website at > payspace.com

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Issue 18 / 95

App Partner of the Month - Jan 2019

How Tradify gave traders their freedom back Xero’s app marketplace has over 700 apps which help small businesses and their advisors reach their goals. Each month we celebrate an app partner who really stands out for helping small businesses thrive.


Kaye Harding, GM Partner Experience, Xero Before joining Xero Kaye held a number of strategic and commercial roles in telecommunications, utilities and IT companies in NZ and the UK. Kaye’s passion for delivering excellence and coaching others has led her to build a number of high performing teams. Kaye also mentors a number of women, both inside and outside of Xero and holds an MBA from the University of Auckland.

Introducing Tradify, our January app partner of the month...


ive years, seven regions and thousands of customers in, it is no exaggeration to say Tradify is a market leader in software built for tradespeople. The app looks after job management, scheduling, quotes and invoices for a group of customers known for being out of the office - all tasks.

Operating in the Cloud means that can happen any time, anywhere, and we focus on getting the tradespeople back to what they enjoy doing and what they are good at - being on the tools and running their business.”

Chief Revenue Officer at Tradify Emma Crawford-Falekaono says slow down the day for tradespeople.

Tradify began five years ago and was built to Xero from the very beginning. A big part of that decision was building where their customers were, but also to provide as little friction as possible for users of the product. Emma explains how being an industry specific piece of

“We streamline the entire end to end job management process of a trade or construction business.

Starting strong by nailing the niche

software meant partnering with Xero was a no-brainer. By knowing if they have a customer that is using Xero and Tradify, Emma is confident that they are going to be a much more successful business. Tradify want customers using both apps to get the most from them. While different types of traders are using Tradify, Emma says knowing who the app helps the most has influenced their marketing, their messaging and the product overall. “We benefit many different trade businesses, but we add the most value to electricians, plumbers, constructions and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) businesses. Their processes are really aligned to our software.” How customers helped Tradify grow By tailoring the product early on to their core customers, Emma says Tradify found loyalty and referrals were big competitive advantages for growth. Tradify have seen a lot of organic growth through brand awareness and referrals. Quite often the trade and construction industry as a vertical is heavily dependant

96 / Issue 18

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com






Automatic email filing within Outlook

Paperless document management

Configurable process automation

Embedded task management

Client relationship management

Integration with industry leading apps

Customisable email templates

Powerful search and retrieval

Purpose-built approval workflows


Join a live product demonstration webinar or start a free 30-day trial today. VISIT WWW.FYIDOCS.COM Follow us on Twitter: @xumagazine

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Issue 18 / 97

App Partner of the Month - Jan 2019 tools to be able to succeed in that new stream of work. The Tradify team identified many trade and construction businesses and the people who run them are practical, and they like to be hands on.

on referrals - as Emma describes, people like to have a yarn to each other, recommend new software and who’s good to work with. As well as organic growth, the integration with Xero saw customers come through Xero’s ecosystem. Tradify have found that more customers are coming from the Xero app marketplace due to advisors pushing clients to investigate products and software they really need. With growth coming from all directions, Tradify has grown over 100% year on year and have big aspirations to raise those numbers over the next five years. Finding markets outside of New Zealand “One of the things we are really proud of is we’re a Kiwi company and founded by a Kiwi, we’re based in New Zealand, but the majority of our revenue and customers are offshore, which is something a lot of New Zealand businesses struggle to achieve.” Now, Tradify find the majority of their customers based in Australia and the United Kingdom, with the latter being an interesting market due to its familiarity. This year the UK is a key part of Tradify’s expansion plans. Tradify have found a lot of 98 / Issue 18

customers have come naturally through from the UK, with the market being quite similar to New Zealand. One of their strategies is to ignite the market and create huge opportunities for Tradify in the UK. With innovation at the core of the product, Emma says new markets continuously improve the way Tradify operates and its features. By carrying out lots of market research, Tradify have pinpointed exactly where their growth will be coming from; even down to the fine detail of which growth channels work versus actual regional, geographic locations. It is these markets which Tradify have pinpointed as markets full of potential. Advisors are a hungry market, so give them something to eat Tradify has seen massive demand from accountants and bookkeepers who want to take a step into the advisory space, particularly around software advisory or industry specific advisory. Emma says partnering with advisors is a big push for Tradify moving forward. Tradify want to partner with those accountants and bookkeepers who are focussed on the trade and construction vertical in their practice, so it can give them the

As Emma describes, traders suddenly have real time business advisory services given to them because app advisors have access to all of this information which they never had before. Tradify is all about cutting the BS and giving tradies their freedom back by eliminating the manual, mundane tasks. Advisors will help us help them get back on the tools, and back running their business - what they are best at. #goals for 2019 With the past year focussed on a scale strategy, continuing to improve the product and making sure the team culture is right, Emma says the goal for 2019 is simple continued growth for the business. Getting more connections through Xero, continuing the YoY growth of 100%, and growing the UK market. Heavy investments into product innovation is on the cards for Tradify, to ensure the best products for their customers. It is all about product, channel acquisition, partner strategies for Tradify and they will heavily invest in this across all regions; a it is the way the accounting industry is moving forward.

FIND OUT MORE... To find out more about how using Tradify can pay off for your business visit: > tradifyhq.com

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

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Issue 18 / 99

Delivering live accounting with (almost) real-time data Find out how Farnell Clarke is deepening client relationships using a new approach to client data... A

lright – it is not real-time data, but it can be live

Access to the right data can help clients make informed, timely decisions based on confidenceinspiring data. It can never quite be real-time, but data can be live. Every practice in the country has the same key CSFs. Filing accounts on time, getting them right and helping clients manage their tax position are common to everyone. But things have changed, we are now coming to a point where simply managing for compliance and tax position is not enough.

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Will Farnell, founder and Director, Farnell Clarke Ltd Will Farnell is the founder and a director of Farnell Clarke Ltd, an award winning Chartered Certified Accountancy practice offering a fresh approach to SME accountancy and business advisory services. Farnell Clarke was one of the first firms in the UK to fully adopt cloud accounting technology and remains one of the most innovation firms in the UK. The firm won the 100% Xero award in 2017.

These are big incentives for us to update our offerings, deepen our relationships with clients and lay down foundations for a thriving practice over the coming years. What does this mean in practice? Accountancy is changing. Billing by the hour is no longer an option when the client can clearly see the compliance process is automated. So, we need to shift from compliance – which, while it will always be central to our work, will no longer earn the big fees – to advisory work.

It is impossible to miss the new breed of disruptive entrepreneurial accountants. They are using reengineered processes and new technology to provide cheap basic compliance. They run firms on one pitch, and one pitch only – that they can deliver premium services more effectively and for less money.

We need to differentiate, we need something that enables us to be different, to help us guide client expectations away from time-based charging. And here is something I have discovered – when we start a meaningful conversation with our clients about what else we could do, they are universally receptive!

Some clients do not want that because they know the cheapest model offers the least, and it might not be sustainable. Those clients will value a relationship with a firm that allows them to sit down with someone for a face-to-face meeting, or to call and chat whenever they feel the need.

To be truly valuable, we need to become as familiar with client needs as long-ago accountants were. We also need to use this familiarity alongside modern tech and processes, using Soldo to capture employees’ expense purchases; deploying invoice scanning and capture services;

exploiting accounting and compliance software, and more. With these foundations, we can provide fast and relevant information to our clients when they need it, and we know we have timely data of the right quality, so we can anticipate client needs and provide valuable information to support their daily business decisions. With the right relationship and live data, our clients would come to us first with every business question. We might not currently be able to deliver the answer every time, but with live accounting, good planning and great client relationships, this can happen! How we do it To do this, we need to address these areas: • We need to adopt a fully digital practice, using tech that facilitates not just live data production, but the fast customisation of reports, and that fosters a consistent supportive relationship with our clients • We need control of that data within the firm’s processes –

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

following a transparent and repeatable set process enables economies of scale, clarity of responsibilities, and the confidence that our data is of sufficient timeliness and quality to provide valuable insights to our clients • We need regular, consistent communication with our clients, built into the firm’s processes as part of our services from the start. All three of these areas can be efficiently delivered to our clients by bringing bookkeeping in house. Combining the right tech, the right process, and the right people doing the right bit of the job at the right time will deliver deeper client relationships. Our clients deserve daily bookkeeping services that result in live accounting. This allows our clients to have the data they need to make the right business decisions. And with us – the accountants – delivering bookkeeping in an efficient and cost-effective manner, we give

clients time to invest in growing their business. Benefits to the firm From managing the data in firm (our staff average four minutes per day clearing transactions, and the automation itself saves the client bookkeeping fees) to providing value-added apps through select vendor tech and APIs, we can provide cheaper compliance along with value-added services. Using smart automations, from data acquisition using Soldo and receipt capture tools all the way to final reporting, means more time for client relationship management and better demonstration of value. Also MTD, HMRC are building towards a regulatory environment that will effectively penalise practices that have minimal automation. For those practices, compliance reporting four or six times a year will be horrendously time-consuming. It is simple: fresher data means fewer penalties.

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In summary Our clients deserve daily bookkeeping. Why? Because they deserve a superb experience. We can deliver this service to each client profitably and effectively in as little as four minutes per day – as long as we pull together the right technology, underpinned by the right processes and team structure. As a result, our clients get more time to deliver great experiences to their own clients. We, as firms, will find our clients love us more. And if you can deliver this in your firm, you will have a significant competitive advantage over any practice yet to effectively utilise automation for great client experiences.

FIND OUT MORE... To learn more about smarter spending for simpler expenses: > soldo.com or, for an in-depth comparision of Soldo and other apps: > see page 106

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Issue 18 / 101

Plan to thrive:

Why advisors should forecast their revenue

In today’s fast-paced business environment, we are understanding the importance of receiving timely and relevant information to make rapid data-driven decisions in our business. Gone are the days where quarterly or annual reporting is acceptable – we are now seeing a plethora of solutions that surface information on a weekly, daily and sometimes hourly basis...



Ethan Cooney, Head of APAC Partnerships & Business Development, Practice Ignition Based out of Brisbane, Ethan is the Head of APAC Partnerships & Business Development for Practice Ignition. Having spent nearly four years working in the Xero ecosystem, Ethan has an in-depth understanding of technology solutions for accountants and advisors. He’s an advocate for technology and people, and is passionate about helping businesses work more efficiently.

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he famous quote from Peter Drucker, “You cannot manage what you do not measure”, certainly rings true and is the reason why so much emphasis has been placed on providing business advisory services to clients in the form of management reports and dashboards. Every business, accounting firms included, need to measure the metrics that matter.

Often, I was met with blank stares or vague answers. So, I’d like to pose these questions to you.

I’ve spent the last 3.5 years speaking with accountants and advisors around how they are structuring advisory services and building reporting workflows. During this time, I quickly began to realise a gap between what accountants were implementing for their clients, and their own internal processes.

Accountants work tirelessly to improve the lives of their small business clients by researching and implementing systems, providing valuable advice and ensuring clients achieve their goals. However, is the same attention being given to their own business? I like to use the analogy of a plumbers’ taps – his customers’ taps are water tight, but his taps at home are leaky!

I began to ask questions like, “How are you measuring your growth?”; “What is your MRR?”; “What are your most profitable services?”, and “Why do your clients continue to pay you?”.

When was the last time you sat down and created a 12 month forecast for your firm? When was the last time you set goals with your business partner to achieve ?% YOY growth?

Now, I am not saying that you have a leaky firm, but the focus is often on the of tools available to accountants for client reporting, including Spotlight, Fathom and Futrli.

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

However, these solutions are not designed to provide insights on firm-specific data pulled from services, client engagements and payments. The majority of practice management systems include some reporting functionality using client or tax return information – but none provide real time insights on firm growth from live data. So, why measure? If you are looking to grow and scale your firm, it is imperative that you identify the KPIs that are most relevant to your business, who your most profitable clients are, and your most profitable services. Identifying these key metrics will allow you to focus your efforts on the most profitable services, and target your chosen niche. You may be asking yourself - so where do I start? Which KPIs should I begin to look at? There are many suggested KPIs for professional service firms, the majority of which are transferable across industries. SaaS (or Software as a Service) companies experience fast-paced growth as a result of large funding rounds or rapid expansion. These companies hyperfocus on several key performance indicators to stay lean and scale. Have you ever sat down to identify the relevant metrics for your firm that you should be monitoring on a monthly basis? I have outlined a few examples below that are applicable across industries to help get you started. Payback: the time taken to pay back the CAC (cost of acquiring a customer). Payback is important as it gives you the basis to spend more money on marketing and bring in new business. CAC/LTV: short for lifetime value and can be measured by taking the sum of all revenues paid by your clients, per client. It’s calculated by taking your average recurring revenue ($MRR) divided by your churn (% clients lost this month over last months # of recurring clients).

Fig. 1: The dashboard automatically calculates metrics based on live data

For accounting practices, MRR/ Churn% should be high as they do not lose clients frequently. Expansion Revenue: when your average per client revenue increases. This should be standard practice for accountants. Expansion revenue can drive phenomenal growth and increased revenue through cross-selling with other divisions. At Practice Ignition, one of the most requested pieces of reporting is around how your services are being taken up by your clients – questions like: • How many clients are using a particular service? • How much am I charging for a particular service? • What is the most frequent way I am charging for a service? In the past, collating the data needed to answer these queries was burdensome – with multiple payments workflows, spreadsheets and word documents. A modern practice should rely on modern technology to do the heavy lifting. In today’s fast-paced business environment, we require some level of predictability to plan and thrive. The Practice Ignition dashboard is designed to help accountants and advisors answer these questions, to ultimately make better decisions based on the data at hand.

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The dashboard (Fig. 1) automatically calculates these metrics based off live data from your clients, services, engagements and payments. There is no need to run reports – you can simply get oversight of the key metrics for your business with a single click to understand where your business was in the past, where it stands now, and where it’s headed. When your clients sign your contracts, your dashboard is updated immediately. No more spreadsheets, just decisions based on accurate numbers. You can easily track how many new proposals have been sent, how many have been accepted and how much new revenue was added. “Ever since introducing the Practice Ignition dashboard, it has become a major component of strategy and target setting for many of our practices - and we want to expand on how you can use the data captured here by Practice Ignition even further!” Steph Hinds, Growthwise

FIND OUT MORE... Calculate your ROI to use Practice Ignition today > bit.ly/your-roi or visit > practiceignition.com

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Issue 18 / 103


How e-signing can simplify your practice processes When was the last time you received a contract, or letter of agreement, and thought to yourself, ‘I cannot wait to print this and sign it’? In the wake of life (and business) becoming increasingly online, e-signatures, or online document signing, are becoming a much wider part of the technology ecosystem...


arlier this month, SuiteFiles launched our very own document signing functionality into the platform. The biggest reason for this was the sheer number of people asking for it, and the fact that other online signing systems were a challenge to integrate, but the bigger question was why do we need to sign online at all? And how does it work? 1. It is quick and easy Signing a document online should be a simple and straightforward process. This was our number one focus when designing this new feature within SuiteFiles. It takes less than a minute to set up a document for signing and to send it through to your recipients. They are automatically notified by email, and reminder emails are built into the process. Online signatures negate the issues created by doing business on a national or even global scale, making remote signing and document authentication simple. 2. E-signatures bring us another step closer to the paperless office Physical files are easier to lose, they do not automatically back up, they are difficult to quickly flick through to find what you are looking for, and for most accounting practices, 104 / Issue 18

they complicate everything by not easily integrating into the Cloud systems you are using. E-signatures remove the need to print, sign, scan and re-upload a document, all of this is done online, without a single paper file being created. 3. They help automate a number the signature request and receipt process In the case of our own document signing, as well as in the case of many others, e-signatures make requesting and receiving signatures more automated. Simple select the document you want to sign, select the contacts you wish to send them to (in our case this is done from your XPM (Xero Practice Manager) contacts, so it is harder to select the wrong recipient) type a message and hit the button. This process removes any manual emails you will need to send, and you will also be notified when everyone has signed your document and it is ready for whatever the next step is. 4. E-signatures create a single document and one source of truth for the signed version No matter whether a document needs to be signed by one person or 100, e-signatures store all those signatures on the same document and version in the


Andrew Sims, CEO, SuiteFiles Andrew is the CEO, or more accurately, the brains and muscles behind SuiteFiles and its growing success. With a background in cloud consultancy and an MBA under his belt, he’s dedicated to helping small businesses make the most of cloud technology.

same location. The minimise the risk of previously email versions being printed and signed in error, and avoid people needing to physically pass a printed version to the next person for their signature. The signed version is held securely online, in our case within your existing cloud file structure, meaning there is no risk of uploading into the wrong place or the wrong version. 5. They are faster for people to action, and save everyone valuable time Without the need to print, fill out, sign and re-upload, it is faster for both the recipient and the requester to sign digitally. Especially if your practice is sending out hundreds of documents for signing at any one point in time, these time savings quickly add up. This point is even more relevant if you are working with clients who are not in your immediate vicinity, e-signatures do not require a courier or passing between multiple locations. SuiteFiles also allows for users to be prompted if they have not signed by a set date, and the document is due to be signed. 6. Online signing is secure and improves document traceability Paper files can be lost, stolen, accidentally destroyed by coffee

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com


or puppies and are subject to a number of others ‘threats’. An e-signature means that the document is stored securely online, they record all the required evidence about when a document was signed and leave a unique electronic mark for each user. Not to mention that is almost impossible to lose a document that securely stored in the Cloud. In the age of fingerprint recognition and Face ID, the idea of just scribbling a name seems almost antiquated. 7. Smooth processes make for happy people The more effective the process, the happier those on the

receiving end of it are, and the more likely it is they will complete it quickly. No-one wants to be sitting around waiting for a document to be signed so they can get on with their job. But on the flipside, no-one wants to have to find a printer, print a document, sign it, and then email, or worse, courier it back. If you make this process a simple, online, five minute affair instead of a Lord of the Rings length saga, it is much more likely your document will come back signing correctly and on time. There are enough time-consuming processes in the world of accounting, adding a physical

signature to the end of them is not benefitting anyone. If you can incorporate e-signing into your practice, you will remove a few convoluted processes, and save a bunch of time (and therefore money) in the process.

FIND OUT MORE... To get a free 30 day trial of SuiteFiles, connect with us at: > suitefiles.com/trial Read our article on “Managing the new normal for workforces” in this issue of XU Magazine: > pg. 48

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Issue 18 / 105

Apps Compared


Expense Cards Soldo









Contactless Mastercard Debit Cards




Virtual Cards for online spending


Coming soon


Non-nominal cards for departments




Authorised and regulated by FCA




Minimum load amount



10 Euros

Minimum number of cards




Free deposits and transfers




Faster Payments available for immediate deposits




Out of pocket expense claims







Cash management




Approval workflows

Coming soon



iOS app available




Android app available




Check balance on cards




Check limits




View transactions




Receipt capture




Add categories, projects, VAT rate, notes, etc.




Notification after payment to add receipt




Manage cash flow in real time




Automatic top ups




Set Permissions for users




Key Features Prepaid multi-user account Cards available in the other currencies

Mileage claims

Mobile App

Web Console

Compiled by Matt Flanagan, Director, BlueHub (Web: bluehub.co.uk, Twitter: @Blue_Hub) This information was true and correct at the time of publishing. Releases happen all the time. Please contact the App for the latest release information.

106 / Issue 18

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Apps Compared

For more information, please visit: Soldo - soldo.com Expend - expend.io Spendesk - spendesk.com




Easy currency exchange




Real-time reporting




Advanced spending controls








Xero Bank Feed Integration




Supports Xero billable expenses




Supports Xero tracking codes




Xero automatic bank feed




Inherits Xero spending categories




Receipts and all metadata syncs to Xero




Inherits Xero chart of accounts for VAT




Accounting Integrations

Xero Integration Details

Fees Transaction fees




FX fee on foreign transactions


0% - zero charges on our Pro plan


Card issuance cost for plastic cards (one-off fee)


£0 - Free for first card, replacement cards £5


Card issuance cost for virtual cards (one-off fee)



ü Single-use virtual cards

ATM withdrawal cost


£0 - Pro plan includes 4 UK and EU withdrawals a month


Quickbooks Online




Quickbooks Desktop




Sage 50




Sage Business Cloud










Coming soon










Report Exports for Accounting/Expense Management

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Apps Compared

For more information, please visit: Soldo - soldo.com Expend - expend.io Spendesk - spendesk.com




1 user to over 10,000

1 - 1,000+

10 - 1,000

Pricing available on website

Pricing available on website

Pricing available on website







Scalability From - To

Pricing From - To Tailored pricing for enterprises

Founded Year

Partner Programme







Do accounting partners get preferential rates for their clients?




Can partners manage their clients from within a partner account?




Does a partner programme exist? How much for accounting partners?

Sage vs Xero for your inventory clients



+ add-on

Accounting functions

Warehouse management

Accounting functions

Warehouse management

Bank feeds

Bill of materials

Bank feeds

Bill of materials

MTD ready

Flexible reporting

MTD ready

Flexible reporting

Accessible reports

Discount structures

Accessible reports

Discount structures

Sales order processing

Batch/serial control

Sales order processing

Batch/serial control

Purchase order processing

Ecommerce integration

Purchase order processing

Ecommerce integration


Point of sale


Point of sale

Do you have inventory clients on Sage but want to move them to Xero? Read success stories of those who made the move: 108 / Issue 18


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The reason CRMs fail is because sales people hate them!


George Hampton, General Manager, Exsalerate CRM George has a passion for helping businesses grow with a background in SaaS working with Xero and the NZ Companies Offices he has been an integral part of the Exsalerate’s exciting journey to date.

A sales & account management tool your team will LOVE... Ask your sales team what they think about CRM systems and it is hard to imagine them professing their undying love for such a tool. That’s probably because their past relationships with CRM’s have been ‘complicated’.


n 2011 CEO and founder of Urgent Couriers Steve Bonnici searched for a customer management system to improve his sales teams effectiveness on the road, this resulted in a range of expensive, non-user friendly CRM systems his sales team would HATE. Bonnici sensed that if he couldn’t find a suitable product, then other businesses might be having the same problem. He asked around his industry colleagues and found few using a CRM but many needing to.

most valuable customer and when were you last in contact with them? You would be surprised how many do not know the answer, with Exsalerate we can tell you in less than 5 minutes. The account management dashboard reveals the lifetime value of customers, how long it has been since you last spoke to them and what activities are planned to retain their business, so can show your customers the love they deserve.

Built initially to satisfy the needs of a parcel delivery company the thinking quickly changed with the power of integrations with Xero, Workflow Max and Mailchimp resulting in the development of the award winning Exsalerate App.

How many sales managers ask the question, what leads are going to close this month? Exsalerate’s visual sales pipeline with easy to move coloured tiles enable management to proactively deploy sales resources to close deals based on the quality of the lead or prospect and more importantly identify any potential issues based on easy to read caution signs.

Account Management your team will love One of my favorite questions to ask businesses is who is your 110 / Issue 18

Love your sales pipeline

Love your team To successfully implement a CRM system your team need to love it, as Exsalerate was built from a business need it is engineered to be easy to use and simple to integrate with your favorite apps with a click of a button. A hub where all information is stored the sales team can effectively prioritise their day with to do lists to achieve sales goals and be recognised and rewarded in real time for closing deals, maintaining relationships, identifying new opportunities or any other KPIs that are set up within the Exsalerate system. A simple to use, affordable business tool, the question is what’s not to love about Exsalerate CRM?

FIND OUT MORE... To get a free trial of exsalerate, visit our website at: > exsalerate.com

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Cloud-based POS & Restaurant Management System

rt Sta ad pa EE a S r FR fo

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Human at heart This was a theme of Xerocon London last year, and it reflects the truth that the more we move to things digital, the more important it is to make sure the personal connection – the client experience – is given the full attention it needs...


his human focus was something I thought about as I took notes during several of the main stage sessions – talks by Gary Turner, Rod Drury and Chris Hoy. Taking notes at a conference is something everyone does. We bring notebooks, tablets, phones, and we jot down ideas, quotes, people we intend to follow-up with, apps and


Karen Reyburn, Managing Director, The Profitable Firm All her life, Karen had people tell her that she was too creative to be an accountant, and too organised to be a creative. Turns out the combination of those two skills is exactly why her creative agency, The Profitable Firm, has been such a success with accountants. She is a defender of accountants - to themselves and to the world - that they too are creative.

companies we find interesting. I used to take notes in the ‘normal way’ - writing words down on paper, or on a tablet. Words, words, words. Trying desperately to capture everything, to remember it all, to take home with me as much as possible of what was said. Except, I found it didn’t work that way.

When you write down as many words as possible, it becomes simply a glut of words. I would get home and either be overwhelmed by my notes, or store them away and promise myself I’d look at them later. Within even a few hours, I’d be diving into my email inbox and phone messages and Slack messages, and all those brilliant notes would need to be set aside. I might find them months or years later, or I might throw them away because they weren’t relevant anymore... Until I discovered sketchnoting Sketchnoting is a form of visual note taking that allows you to capture highlights. Ideas. Information. I learned the concept from Mike Rohde, author of ‘The Sketchnote Handbook’, and it appealed to me instantly. I’m a creative person. I love writing, drawing, painting, photography, art. I see things visually rather than in words. My calendar is colour-coordinated so I can quickly identify the categories of meetings scheduled.

112 / Issue 18

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Sketchnotes The idea is that instead of simply writing down words, words, words... you sketch out ideas. When Chris Hoy says “I was inspired to take up cycling after seeing the film E.T.”, you sketch out a little brown ET figure, with the finger glowing red, and it stays in your mind better. You remember ET because you saw him in your mind, and you can see little Chris, cycling like crazy, just like Elliott in the film. When Rod Drury says “It’s never only been about Xero; it’s the apps, the Xeroes, the community” - you think about what that means, and how Xero is a global business, and you think about all those people all over the world. So you sketch out a globe, and little people surrounding it. You still capture some of the words – but instead of trying to capture every single one, you really listen, really pay attention. You wait for the phrase or the concept that sticks with you more than the others, and then you write that down word for word, with an image to go with it.

Most people who see my sketchnotes love them. The responses usually start with “that’s beautiful” or “wow, I love it”... and are almost always followed by, “.. but I could never do that.” Sketchnoting is all very well for you,

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they say. You’re a creative. You’re artistic. Look at that little drawing there - I could never do that. But the single most important message of sketchnoting (and it’s found in Rohde’s book) is: >

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Sketchnotes Ideas, not art. Sketchnoting isn’t about making really pretty notes that you share and people are wowed by and maybe you put into a book one day. It’s not about impressing other people with your artistic talent. It’s about capturing the ideas that stuck with you. Remembering what was said as if it was said only for you. For yourself. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw. What does matter is that in your note taking, you connect with the heart of what’s being said. Are you really listening, at that Xero event or conference or workshop or breakout session? Or are you simply taking notes? If no one ever saw my sketchnotes, I’d still take them. By taking notes visually, I remember everything so much more clearly. But seeing and sharing sketchnotes is incredibly powerful, too. It enhances what you learned, because it gives you the opportunity to really talk

about the content of it. Not simply “he was good, wasn’t he?” or “really interesting talk”, but, “This particular thing got me thinking.” I start telling someone, “I loved that story Chris Hoy told about how they took their own beds with them, so they would sleep better... what was it he said?” and I go back to my notes and see that he shared about how they knew they needed to sleep well in order to cycle well, so they literally brought their own beds with them around the world. How the little things make the whole performance. And we start talking about what little things we can organise which will make things better for our clients. For our companies. For the world. When Rod Drury tells about starting a global business from the kitchen table, I can SEE it in my mind. I see the brown kitchen table, the papers and laptop scattered, the people discussing and debating and agreeing. When he says, “You can do something completely global even from a small country”, I think about that, and how it applies to my

own global business, which started in a second bedroom of a flat in a small town in Scotland. There’s emotion in any conference, in any event or talk or presentation There’s emotion in business. There’s heart. By taking notes visually, forcing yourself to slow down and really be present there with the person, the human, you’re not just learning. Not simply getting some facts and listing off some to-do’s. You’re connecting with the person. With what is really being said. With the heart behind the words. And that’s why we’re there at the conference, and why we’re here in business. Try it next time!

FIND OUT MORE... To learn more, visit: > theprofitablefirm.com/ sketchnotes

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Mind the [skills] gap! The importance of workforce skills to effect digital transformation in an ever changing world Paula Byers delves into the confusing world of digital skills as a driver for effecting digital transformation in your business. Is digital just a buzzword, or is truly embracing it at every level in your organisation the answer?


digital skills (up from 28% the raining forms a large part previous year) of what we do on a day • Only 25% of executives believe to day basis and I regularly have their talent pool has the ongoing discussions about digital capabilities skills in business in my various Lloyds Bank Business and Charity Digital Indexto deliver their digital strategy roles, especially sitting on one of • Only 18% of executives believe the two government Digital Skills UK school leavers and graduates Partnership pilots. have the right digital skills The age of the Fourth Industrial This shows confidence in digital Revolution skills is low, whilst the same It seems the media is full of reports, report stated that three quarters of executives believe digital is surveys, studies and opinion on fundamentally changing their the lack of skills in business, along Basic Digital Skills with a myriad of scare stories about organisation. In 2016 the UK Basic Online Skills framework was AIand taking jobs robots refreshed updated toand become Basicreplacing Digital The Lloyds UK Business & Charity people. A Deloitte study1 released Skills. In order to have full Basic Digital Skills, The Basic Digital Skills framework is an organisation must be able to undertake at Digital Index 20182 states that 42% last year stated: least one task within each of the five categories the UK’s leading measure of digital of businesses still need all of the • 37% of senior leaders say they outlined below. skills among charities five key digitalSMEs skillsand (see figure 1). are not confident in their own



and Charity Digital e measure of digital the following data:

of UK organisations nymised provides an overview king activities at esentative proxy y-banked population.

earch with 2,000 SMEs t across the UK heir digital s.



Basic Digital Skills framework Communicating Communicate, interact, collaborate, share and connect with others

Managing Information Find, manage and store digital information and content Problem Solving Increase independence and confidence by solving problems using digital tools and finding solutions

Fig. 1

Business and uses actual sactional data nsight into behaviours

116 / Issue 18

Paula Byers, Founder & Director, LimeCloud She has been involved in various businesses for more than 27 years, increasingly working with tech & business systems over the last 16 years. Moving into the Cloud 7 years ago precipitated the re-brand to LimeCloud in 2016. A STEM Ambassador, Business Mentor, local Chamber of Commerce President & Chair of DigitalND; she is passionate about supporting business and not-for-profits to develop, using creative and innovative cloud tech solutions.

So embracing digital has a massive impact on an organisation, but how do you go about implementing such a change if you are much lower down the scale and feel like you have been left behind by the pace of change?


Digital Transformation What is it? Is it just trendy jargon? Absolutely not - digital transformation is the re-working of products, processes and strategies within an organisation using current Definitions technology. This Throughout thisholistic report theapproach following definitions apply:by viewing one cannot be gained area of the business alone and only SME – Small and medium sized enterprises with annualis turnover truly works when the business of up to £25 million and fewer than considered as a whole. 250 employees

Charity – Registered charities with annual

Furthermore, it says that if all the The digital transformation process turnover of up to £25 million and fewer Benchmarking SME’s with low digital capability encompasses: than 250 employees Incould this year’s report, is often benchmarked• Framework unlock upthe todata an additional Organisations – both of the above definitions against the first baseline Business Digital Index £84.5bn in turnover if they were • Strategy report from 2014 and includes year-on-year Population source to developbetween high digital capability • Roadmap comparisons 2017 and 2018. Throughout this report SME populations have and two thirds save a day per week • Implementation For further information please see the been calculated using Charterhouse Business appendix throughdocument digital. • Pivot Banking Survey figures as per Q1 2018. See lloydsbank.com/businessdigitalindex • Analysis charterhouse-research.co.uk/studies/ business-banking-survey. The UK population of Much has also been Business Barometer data published by charities has been aggregated using sources from; Xero themselves and others who However, for transformation to be An additional Lloyds Bank data set has been Charity Commission for England and Wales, Charity incorporated into thisthe year's findings. This data successful, I believe it is all about have embraced Xero platform, Commission for Northern Ireland, and the Scottish comes from the Lloyds Bank Business Barometer Charity Regulator (OSCR). around the timesaving achieved the people and there are two key monthly publications. For more information in both accountancy practice drivers here: strategy skills. Research contained in&this report uses a on these please contact representative sample of our customer base. DigitalSkillsInclusion@lloydsbanking.com and Client businesses. These As our charity footprint in Northern Ireland is small, organisations would definitely fall A Strategic approach a limited number of organisations are included. Appendix into Segment 5 Advanced, being Northern Ireland is therefore grouped into the Appendix references are denoted by superscript ‘most digitally in the refer to To ensure strategythat is effective; ‘North’.the We recognise a larger NI sample numbers. For the fullcapable’, appendix document, would enhance the quality this report lloydsbank.com/businessdigitalindex Lloyds index referred to above (see has complete buy-in at all of levels of and plan to improve this from the next publication in 2019. figure 2). the organisation from the top down;

Creating Engage with communities and create basic digital content

ndex score range calculated using itative research. al Skills measure,

@LimeCloudLtd / @LimePaula

Transacting Purchase and sell goods and services, organise finances, register for and use Government Digital Services

SME remains unaffected by this.

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com 8

SMEs eate a tation.

Advanced High

f UK

Established Getting started




As 1 plus:

have websites

• One-quarter have websites • More than 10% have a

social media presence

• Over half use Government

• Less than one-quarter

social media presence

• Less than 10% have a

Digital Services

• Less than one-quarter

Fig. 2

• Over three-quarters use email

• Over one-quarter use email • No Internet Banking

As 4 plus: Over three-quarters have websites

• Less than 10% of their

transactions are carried out online

As 3 plus: Nearly two-thirds have websites

Score range: 34-48

Score range: 0-18

use Government Digital Services

Score range: 62-100

3 Score range: 48 -62

Score range: 18-34

s urs, e




n ment.


As 2 plus: Around one-third have websites

• Three-quarters have a

social media presence

• Nearly half have a

• One-third have a

social media presence

• Almost all use Government

social media presence

• Over 80% use Government

• Over two-thirds

Digital Services

• Three-quarters of their

use Government Digital Services

• Nearly all use email • Nearly half of their

• 90% use email • Over one-quarter of their

transactions are carried out with Internet Banking

Digital Services

transactions are carried out with Internet and Mobile Banking

• Over three-quarters have

transactions are carried out with Internet Banking, some exclusively

digital internal tools (e.g. online accounting)

• Over two-thirds have

• Two-thirds have digital

internal teams in place for digital development

internal tools (e.g. online accounting)

For example, there is little point Genuine digital leadership is not and that everyone is aligned to it in adopting an integrated Xero about to just making the decision working for the common aim, are all Throughout the report ‘low’ refers to Segments 1 and 2 Throughout the report ‘high’ refers to Segments 3 to 5 combined. AppStack for example if no-one has and then assuming that digital absolutely key to achieving positive combined. ‘Least digitally capable’ refers to Segment 1. ‘Most digitally capable’ refers to Segment 5. the training to use it. Similarly, it is transformation applies to everyone outcome. equally important to keep staff up else in the organisation. to date with regular skill updates as We have seen transformative plans 9 technology changes at such a fast fail due to lack of digital leadership; I’ve got skills, they’re pace, with cloud being one of those multiplying... there has not been management at the forefront of such change with commitment to the process, so ongoing development. Ensuring your staff are given ensuring they are not just ‘paying adequate training at the outset of a lip service to change’ or ‘jumping Making sure new staff who join your digital transformation is key. on the bandwagon’ is important.

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behind, they may not be digital natives, but the understanding of your business through their years of loyalty should not be underestimated. The saying that you never stop learning is very true; every day should be a learning day. If you are struggling to develop an effective training plan, seek support from experts who can help you strategise and even deliver training for you to ensure you get the best out of your software. Sum of its parts Working direct with businesses and speaking with accountants as we do, it is clear to us that there are organisations getting left behind as business world becomes ever more digital. By working on a plan to upskill your workforce to ensures you have an engaged, diverse team who are as passionate about your digital transformation as you are. Any organisation is only the sum of its parts and your staff are a large part of your business.


+27 87 250 2500


a working document with regular organisation are fully conversant reviews as staff join or advance in with what your aims and values is your organisation. becoming the norm, but ‘hire for attitude, train for skill’ only works Training should be delivered at all if you have a robust training plan levels: in place. Get it right though, and staff will reward with loyalty as they • Entry – when starting at your organisation, a full continue to feel you are training plan should invested in them and “Tell me and I be in place to make they are continually forget. Teach me them most effective. challenged in their and I remember. Young starters are employment with I and me often described as you. Involve digital natives, so learn.” Benjamin Franklin adopting new digital The accounting skills may come more industry in particular naturally to them, but they has seen a revolution in may require more emphasis working practice with the advent understanding the commercial of cloud accounting. We hear from aspect of their work. many sources that staff are voting • Development – regular reviews with their feet to work for practices of training schedules, adding that are embracing technology topics that become relevant to properly, rather than just leaving it your organisation as technology as a forgotten page on a website or develops, along with making peeling sticker in an office window. adjustments for the pace of personal development of each Failing to plan is planning to fail team member ensures you have a team who are efficient and Your training plan, just like your consistent. business plan, is’nt something • Experienced – more experienced that you prepare once and then staff members should not be left file as ‘done’. Rather, it should be

From Cape Town to Cairo, the PaySpace built-in legislation will automatically ensure that your small or medium sized business remains tax compliant 100% of the time across 40 countries in Africa. 118 / Issue 18

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New Xero Connected Apps

New to the Xero App Marketplace New App shout-out Are you a new Xero-connected App? Let other Xero users know... email alex@ xumagazine.com

aider aider.ai/partners/xero Aider uses conversation and AI to drive smarter business decisions by surfacing key insights, actions and other info directly from your data. AppogeeHR (UK) appogeehr.com

chata.ai chata.ai

FYI fyidocs.com/xpmintegration

Conversational analytics and reporting Get started free at www.chata.ai

Streamline your HR, leave and goal management with Appogee HR. Simple, online and easy to access for employee, manager and HR. Fully integrates with the Xero Payroll API, to provide a single entry point for employee information and absence requests. Ensure compliance through secure employee records and requesting acknowledgments for company policies and automate process through configurable notifications. APtimise aptimise.com/xero The only e2e Accounts Payable solution in the UK. Fast & accurate invoice and payments automation. Less manual tasks, more time growing your business. CCH OneClick bit.ly/2DTrSRF Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of new Apps in the Xero App Marketplace. You can see all Xeroconnected Apps at www.xero.com/ marketplace

120 / Issue 18

Wolters Kluwer CCH OneClick! An open Integration enables the efficient two-way transfer of financial data between Xero and CCH Central as well as HMRC for MTD quarterly reporting.

you need to run and grow your business.

chata.ai is a conversational business intelligence tool that does the hard work of data analysis for you. Just ask a question, get an immediate answer. Used by growth-focused business owners and financial professionals, chata.ai connects easily to Xero and results in time savings and better decision making. chata.ai can answer millions of questions, and growing. cradle cradle.io/integration/xero Cradle is an easy to use, highly configurable cloud-based phone solution that your team and customers will love. It’s simple to setup and leverages your existing infrastructure - mobiles and desktops - allowing your modern workforce to make and take business calls, wherever they are. Cradle is connected to your favourite tools like Xero, empowering your team to nail each call and better engage, connect and nurture your customers. Mention XU when you sign up before 31 March 2019 and get 50% off your first 3 months!

An automated cloud document management & CRM, designed specifically for accountants in practice, that seamlessly integrates with XPM. Hurdlr hurdlr.com A mobile first simple expense tracking for self employed and SMBs. Available in US and CA. Push expense, mileage, tax reports and more directly into Xero files automatically. joiin joiin.co/connect-with-xero Joiin is a quick, hassle-free software to consolidate financial and management reports from your Xero data, working with multiple currencies. Launched in 2018, Joiin’s founders saw a need in the current financial landscape for an affordable solution to management reporting, without sacrificing performance. Start your free trial today. kitomba kitomba.com/uk/xero-integration The complete business management software that’s been helping thousands of salons, spas and clinics comprising appointment books, Point of Sale, marketing and customer loyalty.

FundTap fundtap.co.nz/xero

LeaveCal finlert.com/leavecal-xero.html

FundTap makes business funding simple. They help solve immediate cashflow problems by turning outstanding invoices into the cash

LeaveCal by Finlert synchronises leave in your calendar automagically! Visibility of employee leave has never been

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

New Xero Connected Apps easier - see employee leave in all your calendars in seconds. MoolahSense moolahsense.com/xero

Looking for back issues? Issues


Allows any SME with a Xero account to apply for a loan with MoolahSense conveniently. Access to term loans and invoice financing (subject to loan assessment).

available for download

MyConstruct myconstruct.com/xero The online tool helping Builders and Tradies stay in control of their jobs with estimating, quoting, invoicing, orders, scheduling and more. OneMetric.io onemetric.io/xero OneMetric helps you create dashboards to Discover and share the metrics that matter to your business. Parolla parolla.ie/features/xero A payroll application that integrates directly with Irish Revenue and Xero. Parolla was written for Irish tax law and is based in Waterford, Ireland. ProspectSoft prospectsoft.com Prospect 365 is Stock-Aware CRM that’s perfect for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors who sell physical products from stock B2B. Retail Express Retailexpress.com.au Retail Express is an intuitive, powerful cloud POS, inventory and eCommerce software with free Australian-based personalised support and implementation as standard.

Log in to the FREE subscription portal at: > subscriptions.xumagazine.com execute tasks and remove manual processing. Invite your clients into your Savvy Reports account so they may consolidate monthly management reports while converting multiple currencies on the fly. Access true 3-way forecasting (cashflow, profit & loss, balance sheet) using real time data and build flexible dashboards to visualise the future. Sheildpay shieldpay.com/xero

Protect your payments

Perfect for dealing with tradespeople, invoicing for manufacturing or contracts with long lead times.

Savvy Reports savvyreports.com/integrations/xero


Savvy Reports is a cloud based reporting and forecasting platform aimed at giving accountants and advisors the best tools to

Shieldpay verifies all users with bank-grade security checks. Funds are held securely in Escrow, and only released when both people tell

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Shieldpay to do so. Slide theslideapp.com/xero The Slide App combines your Xero and banking data, taking the guesswork out of your cashflow and giving you control over your future bank balance, today. Validus validus.sg/xero Access ready funds to boost your business with Singapore’s #1 financing platform for SMEs. Enjoy 48-hr approval and up to $500,000, collateral-free. Zenflow Zenflow.me Give financial visibility to managers at all time. Simple, beautiful, actionable insights are generated automatically.

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New Releases

Updates and new releases from the Xero App Marketplace New feature shout-out Are you a Xeroconnected App? Got a new feature or update you’d like to share with the Xero User community? Email alex@ xumagazine.com

AccountKit account-kit.com

Arthur Online arthuronline.co.uk

AccountKit’s new releases include the new Amortisation Scheduler (closed beta), as well as refinements to the equipment finance and inter-entity loan tools to facilitate bulk voiding and auto-adjusting Xero balances at the conversion dates. In addition, SMS functionality has been added to the correspondence register via Twilio. New options have been made available for two-factor authentication as well as functionality enhancements across integrations with Xero, XPM, NowInfinity and BGL.

Arthur Online has launched an integration with Callcredit (TransUnion). As a property manager it’s vital that you can understand a tenant’s ability to pay before you place them with a landlord. That’s why it’s best to perform a credit check for tenants upfront. Arthur Online’s integration with Callcredit means that you can make safer and smarter decisions about your prospective tenants, reducing tenant risk through accurate credit checks.

Appogee appogeehr.com We’ve released a new package Appogee HR Success which gives you all the great features of Appogee HR Essentials, with the addition of Goals, an Objectives and Key Results tracking solution. Ensure your employees and teams are contributing to your business strategy by aligning their Goals with your corporate objectives. We’ve also enhanced our notification feature to make it easier than ever to automate reminders based on events or changes to employees’ profiles. ApprovalMax approvalmax.com ApprovalMax has released the Search function. To perform search, you need to indicate the organisation’s name and the type of document, e.g. bill or purchase order, relevant to your search. Search criteria include requestor and PO number for purchase orders, region, contact, account and reference number.

122 / Issue 18

Castaway Forecasting castawayforecasting.com New: • brand new software version, new look, new features • enhanced integrations, dashboards and reporting capability • one-touch integration with MS Excel

CCH Accounts Production and then automatically synchronise back to Xero. DryRun dryrun.com Under continual development, Dryrun is proud to offer Xero users additional features to promote and support their practice. Last year, we expanded dashboard management for clients and staff, expanded our menu of Xero custom import options for greater and more nuanced scenario-building, refined our scenario-consolidation feature, added full auto-forecasting capability for more flexible automation, as well as rolled out a weekly action report for easy client communications. FYI fyidocs.com

Since our original release in 2010, replacing WinForecast at the time, we’ve grown our reputation globally as the leading business modelling software solution for SMEs. Castaway is the preferred business advisory tool for practicing accountants. The latest version of Castaway is the most powerful, beautiful and functional to date.

FYI is a new online document management and process automation engine for accountants in practice. Integrating seamlessly with Xero Practice Manager, FYI enables the intelligent capture, creation and auto-processing of client interactions in a disciplined and searchable platform. Born in the cloud and built with unequalled security in mind, every feature of the FYI platform is designed to save time, remove manual steps and increase productivity.

CCH OneClick bit.ly/2DTrSRF

iPayroll ipayroll.co.nz

Open Integration, via CCH OneClick, enables the efficient transfer of financial data to and from our CCH Central Suite - giving the practice the ability to make a permanent connection between a client’s business in CCH Central. This means that live transactional data can be made available on a 24/7 basis. Open Integration allows for adjustments to be made within

iPayroll has been progressively implementing voluntary payday filing for our PAYE Intermediary (PI) customers to ensure all employers using this service are compliant by 1 April 2019 (IR ‘go live’ date). Part of payday filing includes iPayroll filing an Employment Information schedule within two working days of each payday and iPayroll will continue to file a Tax

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

Job + project + stock management POWERFUL SOFTWARE DELIGHTFULLY SIMPLE

Tidy helps streamline manufacturing:

TidyEnterprise is making the running of my business something that’s visible and measurable, which before wasn’t always the case. TidyEnterprise gives me data and transparency on two key areas - money that’s being spent and what people are doing. It shows me graphically and with clear data, where we’re being productive, and where we’re not.

Martin Davies, Manging Director, Professional Fabrication Services, UK Users of


Try free





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Issue 18 / 123

New Releases Remittance (IR345) monthly or twice monthly on behalf of our customers as applicable. PaySpace payspace.com Our new and improved Employee Self Service portal now offers comprehensive features related to Performance Management. The PM tool will assist organisations with employee assessments, development, motivation and retaining a high performing workforce without the need for a separate appraisal system. Features include: • Transparency: KPI’s can be defined by the manager and/or employees and move through a streamlined approved process. • Follow an easy wizard to complete section ratings. • Track outstanding evaluations and visually view scores. ProfitSee myprofitsee.com/trial At ProfitSee, we have updated the way we approach trials. During your 30-day trial we put a strong emphasis on training you to grow your services and have proactive conversations with your clients through using the tools. We work together to enable you to help your business clients increase profitability, grow revenue, and create future opportunities.

Senta senta.co We have welcomed lots of new clients in Australia, so we’ve launched a dedicated Senta Australian edition. And for our practice clients in Ireland, we’ve introduced a new Irish edition too. There are lots of new Excel-style functions & maths to help you personalise your placeholders. Bookkeepers in particular will love our new daily repeat workflows. For onboarding clients, GoProposal integration is now live, and we’ve launched our Zapier integration as well. SuiteFiles suitefiles.com After lots of communication with our customers, SuiteFiles has launched document signing, which allows users to request a signature, or multiple signatures, from anyone for any document stored within SuiteFiles. Task management features have been updated, making it easier to keep track of tasks. The Outlook integration has also been redesigned to make it even more user-friendly and to better incorporate tasks. Tradify tradifyhq.com In the past several months we’ve shipped 678 enhancements in 102 updates, and added many

major features including progress invoicing, newly turbo-charged mobile apps, and templated jobs, quotes and invoices. Also updated are step-by-step guide for easier use and quicker onboarding especially for new staff in learning how to use the Tradify app. Unleashed unleashedsoftware.com New batch invoicing in Unleashed streamlines operations to give a summary of your eCommerce transactions in Xero. Before this feature, each sale from your Shopify store meant Unleashed would send an individual invoice to Xero, creating a large volume of invoices in Xero. With new batch invoicing, Unleashed condenses the invoices into one daily invoice and pushes that to Xero for you to view easily. Xavier Analytics xavier-analytics.com Identify miscodings, quickly spot anomalies and historical changes, and track key liabilities with Xavier: a toolkit of intelligent bookkeeping and compliance tools designed for Xero Professionals to save time and reduce errors on a daily basis. Flexible reporting and cleaner accounts give you the confidence to have the right conversations with your clients. Join our early adopter community today and get involved in shaping your ultimate Xero toolbox.

The world’s #1 pre-accounting platform

Loved by 25,000 accountants and bookkeepers worldwide receiptbank.com ™

Subscribe for FREE ! FREE > subscriptions.xumagazine.com 124 / Issue 18

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

When you have to be right.

Get prepared for Making Tax Digital Making Tax Digital for VAT is the end of the tax return as we know it. Are you ready? Wolters Kluwer have launched a Making Tax Digital (MTD) eBook. A complete guide to navigate the changes to come. Download it to find out about: How MTD for VAT will impact you HMRC exemptions HMRC’s pilot scheme Digital record-keeping Spreadsheets and MTD for VAT Engaging with your clients MTD for VAT fact vs. fiction and FAQs

Visit www.wolterskluwer.co.uk/makingtaxdigital to download the eBook and more Subscribe for FREE: Go to subscriptions.xumagazine.com

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App/Service Directory To advertise, please email the team at: advertising@xumagazine.com Curve | @imaginecurve

Banks APtimise | @aptimise




EntryRocket | @entryrocket entryrocket.com

starlingbank.com/business-account Tide | @TideBanking tide.co

BlueHub | @Blue_Hub bluehub.co.uk

Scan2Invoice | @Scan2Invoice senddr | @senddirect


theslideapp.com Starling Bank | @StarlingBank




Entryless | @Entryless

Slide | @theslideapp



Datamolino | @datamolino



Receipt Stash | @ReceiptStash



Shoeboxed | @Shoeboxed shoeboxed.com

Expend | @expend

Soldo | @soldo



Bills & Expenses

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Add-on App selection App Implementation Custom Integrations Xero Accountant Support


AutoEntry | @OCRexSoftware autoentry.com

Invisible Business Solutions | @invizbiz authorisedcloudintegrator.com.au LimeCloud | @LimeCloudLtd

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ExpenseTron | @expensetronhq Tr y for FREE today!

AutoEntry.com ApprovalDonkey | @ApprovalDonkey approvaldonkey.com ApprovalMax | @ApprovalMax approvalmax.com/xero


Synkle| @SynkSimple

use.expensify.com/xero EzzyBills | @EzzyBills ezzybills.com


Hubdoc | @Hubdoc

Tripcatcher | @Tripcatcher


tripcatcherapp.com Trippeo | @trippeo trippeo.com/xero

InvoiceSmash | @invoicesmash invoicesmash.com/xero Lightyear | @lightyearco


MileIQ | @MileIQ

Webrecs | @Webrecs webrecs.com.au/xero Xpenditure | @Xpenditure



Pleo| @pleo




Nexonia | @nexonia

Compleat | @CompleatP2P

Veryfi | @Veryfinance webexpenses | @webexpenses



synkle.com Tallie | @UseTallie


CitrusHR | @citrusHRconsult

Spendesk | @Spendesk spendesk.com

Expensify | @expensify

Hurdlr | @hurdlr

Basecone | @Basecone


Zahara | @ZaharaSoftware



PocketSmith | @PocketSmith pocketsmith.com Receipt Bank | @ReceiptBank receipt-bank.com

Cloud Integration/Outsourcing Advance Track | @AdvanceTrack advancetrack.com

Waypoint | @We_Are_Waypoint wearewaypoint.com

Conversions Click 2 Convert | @C2Convert c2convert.com cloudconvert | @CloudconvertSa cloudconvert.co.za ConvertworX | @ConvertworX convertworx.com.au/xero-conversion FITmyBooks fitmybooks.co.za JetConvert | @JetConvert jetconvert.com.au Movemybooks | @movemybooks movemybooks.co.uk MMC Convert | @mmcconvert mmcconvert.com

compleatsoftware.com ™

XpressConvert xpressconvert.com.au

CRM The world’s #1 pre-accounting platform receiptbank.com

126 / Issue 18

24SevenOffice | @24SOSupport 24sevenoffice.com Accelo | @accelo www.accelo.com AccountancyManager | @accountancymgr accountancymanager.co.uk

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

App Directory Agile CRM | @agilecrm agilecrm.com Arlo

Insightly For Xero | @insightlyapp insightly.com Legrand CRM | @LegrandCRM



Base CRM | @getbase getbase.com Batchbook | @batchbook batchbook.com Breadwinner | @Breadwinner breadwinner.com/xero-salesforce BriteBiz | @britebiz britebiz.com/xero-crm-integration CallPro CRM | @callprocrm callprocrm.com CapsuleCRM | @CapsuleCRM capsulecrm.com/addons/xero Collabspot | @collabspot collabspot.com Connectably | @connectably connectably.com commonsku | @commonsku commonsku.com Communigator communigator.co.nz ConstantContact | @ConstantContact constantcontact.com

Magnetism | @MagnetismXRM magnetismsolutions.com Mailchimp by OneSaas | @onesaas onesaas.com/integrate Piesync | @PieSync piesync.com/xero ProspectSoft | @ProspectSoft prospectsoft.com PropertySuite | @PropertySuite propertysuite.co.nz QikBizCRM | @QikBizNZ qikbizcrm.com Quick Win Development | @quickwindev quickwindevelopment.com Really Simple Systems | @ReallySimpleSys reallysimplesystems.com SalesSeek | @SalesSeek salesseek.net Salpo | @salpotech salpo.com Senta | @sentahq senta.co

CRM Online crmonline.com.au CustomerSure | @CustomerSure customersure.com/xero Exsalerate | @exsalerate exsalerate.com/xerointegration

Custom Integration 3Bit Solutions 3bit.com/xero_solutions.aspx Axis Direct | @NZAxisDirect axisdirect.nz BlueHub | @Blue_Hub bluehub.co.uk Custom D | @customdhq customd.com Coherent | @CoherentSoft coherent.net Databuzz | @databuzz databuzz.com.au Defsys | @defsys defsys.com.au Digital Fusion teamdf.com Dynamic Solutions Ltd dynamic-solutions.co.nz/xero EndGame | @GoEndGame end-game.com/xero Infopower customintegration.co.nz Interlockit.com interlockit.com iSOS | @isos_uk

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isos.com macbusiness.co.nz/xero-integration netengine.com.au/xero-integrations numernet.com nuSoftware | @nu_Software

Love Your Customers Sign up FREE for 14 days www.exsalerate.com

nusoftware.com Open Sauce Systems | @ Socket | @socketapp socketapp.com Solve CRM | @solve360 solve360.com SugarCRM | @crmonlineaus crmonline.com.au

Freshdesk | @freshdesk freshdesk.com/xero Handshake | @handshake handshake.com/integration/xero Infoodle | @infoodle infoodle.com/xero

SyncApps by Cazoomi | @Cazoomi cazoomi.com Syngency | @syngency syngency.com Vision6 | @vision6 vision6.com.au Workato | @Workato workato.com/xero WORK[etc] CRM | @WORKetc_support worketc.com Xact | @Xactsoftware


www.infoodle.com Infusionsoft By Zapier | @zapier zapier.com

xactsoftware.co.nz Xploite | @xploiteapp xploite.com Zendesk by Cloud Elements | @CloudElements cloud-elements.com Zendesk by Zapier zapier.com/zapbook/xero/zendesk

OpenSauceSystem opensauce.systems Red Arc Systems | @SystemsArc redarc.systems/xero Red Jungle Limited | @redjungle redjungle.com Sixtree | @sixtreeau sixtree.com.au Smudge | @smudgeio smudge.io Southgate Labs | @SouthgateLabs southgatelabs.com Trineo | @trineoltd trineo.co.nz Trio Technology | @Trio_Tech triotech.co.nz/xero Web Industries webindustries.co.nz Zynk

Check Business check-business.co.uk/xero CollBox | @CollBox collbox.co CreditorWatch | @creditorwatch creditorwatch.com.au Debtograph | @Debtograph debtograph.com Debtor Daddy | @debtordaddy debtordaddy.com/xero Debtze| @DebtzeCollect debtze.com/xero Ezi Debt Collection ezidebtcollection.com.au EzyCollect | @ezyCollect ezycollect.com.au Fluidly | @Fluidly fluidly.com/xero Funding Gates | @fundinggates fundinggates.com InvoiceSherpa | @invoicesherpa invoicesherpa.com IODM | @IODM_Software iodm.com.au Late Fee Manager | @LateFeeManager1 latefeemanager.com/xero LedgerLive ledgerlive.com/xero Mentio | @mentiohq mentio.ca/xero SMS My Debtors | @smsmydebtors smsmydebtors.com Vision6 | @vision6 vision6.com.au XO Cashflow | @xocashflow xocashflow.com/Xero-Integration

Documents Basecone | @Basecone get.basecone.com/xero Boxkite | @getboxkite getboxkite.com DiGA - Xero Excel Reporting businessbackbone.co.uk Evernote by Zapier | @zapier zapier.com Formitize | @Formitize formitize.com/en FYI | @fyidocuments fyidocs.com Google apps for work xero.com/uk/google Hubdoc | @Hubdoc hubdoc.com i2B | @i2B_Limited i2b-online.com


Debtor Tracking Armatic | @armaticio partners.armatic.io/xero Chaser | @chaser_hq

Office 365 | @Office365 xero.com/uk/office-365 PandaDoc | @pandadoc pandadoc.com/integrations/xero Proposify| @Proposify proposify.com


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Issue 18 / 127

App Directory Qwilr | @Qwilr qwilr.com Synkle | @SynkSimple




Neto | @netoecommerce



Webrecs | @Webrecs

OneSaas for Opencart | @onesaas


onesaas.com OneSaas for WooCommerce | @onesaas


onesaas.com Opencart by Carry The One

A2X Accounting | @a2xaccounting



Order Space | @orderspace

Airsquare | @airsquare


airsquare.com Amazon.com by Stitch Labs | @StitchLabs

osCommerce by Carry The One carrytheone.co.uk/xero


PayPal by Zapier | @zapier

Bigcommerce by Carry The One




Bigcommerce by OneSaas | @onesaas


onesaas.com Bigcommerce by Stitch Labs | @StitchLabs

PrestaShop by Carry The One carrytheone.co.uk


Rocketspark | @Rocketspark

Carry The One



Sendle | @sendle

Checkfront | @Checkfront



Zapier | @zapier zapier.com/apps/xero Zen Cart by Carry The One carrytheone.co.uk

Financial Services Beyond Merchant Capital | @beyond_cap beyondmerchantcapital.com.au Credi | @CrediPlatform credi.com Equifax | @equifax equifax.com Everline | @everline everline.com Financiery | @financiery financiery.com Fundbox | @fundbox fundbox.com Fundera | @fundera fundera.com Funding Options | @FundingOptions fundingoptions.com

Shopify byonesaas | @onesaas BUSINESS LOANS

Business loans without the bank

onesaas.com WITHOUT THE BANK


Shopify by Pipemonk | @pipe_monk

Dremus | @dremus






Squarespace | @squarespace

eCC Cloud | @webgility



Stitch Labs | @StitchLabs

ecwid | @ecwid



Stock&Buy | @StockAndBuy

ecwid by Stitch Labs | @StitchLabs



Storbie | @storbiecommerce

Expandly | @expandly



Synergy 8 | @SynergyEight

ezimerchant | @ezimerchant



TaxJar | @TaxJar

EZ Rent out | @EZRentOut



TradeGecko | @tradegecko

Handshake | @handshake



Tradevine | @TradevineTeam

Intellibook | @intellibookapp



Veeqo | @Veeqo

Loaded Commerce by Carry The One



Vextras - Kiwi | @vextras

Magento by OneSaas | @onesaas


onesaas.com Magento by Unleashed | @unleashedteam

Volusion by Vextras | @vextras vextras.com


Web Widgets

Magento by Zapier | @zapier


zapier.com Magento Integration (Fooman) | @foomanNZ

Website Builder websitebuilder.nz

Expandly | @expandly expandly.com Farmflo | @farmflo farmflo.com Fishbowl | @fishbowl fishbowlinventory.com Hike | @hikepos hikeup.com/xero-pos-integration Manu Online Ltd | @ManuOnlineLtd manuonline.com/xero MRPEasy | @mrpeasy mrpeasy.com OrderHarmony | @orderharmony orderharmony.com

Stitch Labs | @StitchLabs stitchlabs.com Stock and Buy | @StockAndBuy stockandbuy.com

TidyStock | @TidyInt

Shopify By Tradevine | @TradevineTeam

eBay by Stitch Labs | @StitchLabs





dearsystems.com Evopos | @evoposdms

TidyBuild | @TidyInt

Shopify By Stitch Labs | @StitchLabs

eBay by OneSaas | @onesaas

dashboardstream.com DEAR Inventory | @DearInventory




current-rms.com DataQlick | @DataQlick

StarShipIt | @ShipIT

Shopify by Carry The One

Dear Systems

cin7.com Current RMS | @currentrms



jmawebtechnologies.com CS Cart by 4Sprung | @cscart

CIN7 | @Cin7online

simPRO | @simprosoftware

Shopify | @Shopify



MINDBODY | @mindbodyonline



fundtap.co.nz/xero GetCapital | @Get_Capital getcapital.com.au iwoca | @iwoca iwoca.co.uk/xero Kabbage | @KabbageInc kabbage.com liberis | @LiberisUK liberis.co.uk MoolahSense | @MoolahSense

STOCK MANAGEMENT tidystock com

moolahsense.com Moula | @MoulaMoney moula.com.au OFX xero.com/uk/financial-services/ofx

TradeGecko | @tradegecko tradegecko.com Unleashed Software | @unleashedteam unleashedsoftware.com

SmartBiz Loans | @SmartBizLoans smartbizloans.com Validus validus.sg Waddle | @getwaddle waddle.com.au

Inventory 24SevenOffice | @24SOSupport 24sevenoffice.com



Apparelmagic | @ApparelMagic apparelmagic.com

128 / Issue 18

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

App Directory Veeqo | @Veeqo veeqo.com Vend xero.com/uk/marketplace/app/vend Viberent | @viberenthq viberenthq.com

ConnectWise by Wise-Sync | @wisesync wise-sync.com Copper | @copperproject copperproject.com Corecon corecon.com

actionstep.com/xero Active Collab By Trio | @Trio_Tech triotech.co.nz

intellibook.co Invoiced | @InvoicedApp invoiced.com/xero

InvoiceTracker by eBillity | @eBillity

Invoicing & Jobs

ActionStep | @Actionstep

Intellibook | @intellibookapp





invoiceASAP | @invoiceASAP

Vinsight | @VinsightSW

Accelo | @accelo

inForm | @getinformapp


SOFTWARE www.corecon.com

invoicetracker.com iTrade itrade.net JobAdder | @jobadder jobadder.com JobPro Central | @JobProCentral jobprocentral.com


coreplus | @Intracore


AffinityLive | @affinitylive


Jobsheet | @jobsheet

affinitylive.com Apparelmagic | @ApparelMagic apparelmagic.com ApprovalMax | @ApprovalMax approvalmax.com/xero AppsForOps | @AppsForOps appsforops.com AroFlo | @aro_flo aroflo.com Ascora | @ascoraapp ascora.com.au Autotask by My Accounting Toolbox myaccountingtoolbox.com aXcelerate | @aXcelerate axcelerate.com B2BGateway | @B2BGateway b2bgateway.net BookingBug | @bookingbug bookingbug.com/xero briefcase getbriefcase.net BriteBiz | @britebiz britebiz.com/xero-crm-integration BuilderTREND | @BuilderTREND buildertrend.com/xero BuildXact buildxact.com.au CarVue | @CarVue carvue.com/xero Chargebee | @chargebee chargebee.com/integrations/xero CheckVault | @CheckVault checkvault.com.au Cliniko | @Cliniko cliniko.com/xero Clio | @goclio landing.clio.com/xero Co-construct | @coconstruct global.co-construct.com commonsku | @commonsku commonsku.com Commusoft | @Commusoft commusoft.co.uk

CurrentRMS | @currentrms current-rms.com Cushion | @cushionapp cushionapp.com Dentally | @DentallyApp dentally.co/integrations/xero DonkeyBean donkeybean.com EMAC | @EMACsoftware emac.com.au ePrint MIS | @eprintmis eprintmis.com etz Technologies | @etzTechnologies etzpayments.com Experieco experieco.com EZ Rent out | @EZRentOut ezrentout.com/xero Fergus | @FergusApp fergusapp.com Field Aware | @fieldaware fieldaware.com Fleetmatics WORK | @fleetmatics fleetmatics.com.au Foodstorm | @FoodStorm foodstorm.com Formitize | @Formitize formitize.com FreshBooks | @freshbooks onesaas.com/integrate/xero Friendly manager friendlymanager.com GeoOp | @GeoOp

qwilr.com RepairShopr | @RepairShopr repairshopr.com/xero-integration Roll | @rollhq rollhq.com/xero Salesin | @SalesInApp salesin.com/integration/xero Senddr | @senddirect senddr.com ServiceM8 | @ServiceM8

JobReady | @JobReadyNSW

Acuity Scheduling | @AcuitySchedulin

Qwilr | @Qwilr

jobsheetapp.com/xero Kickserv | @kickserv kickserv.com/xero LEAP | @LEAP4LawFirms leap.co.uk Loc8 | @Loc8com loc8.com MechanicDesk | @mechanicdesk mechanicdesk.com.au/addon-xero Mindbody by QSSConnect | @QuoteStockSell quotestocksell.com

servicem8.com Simple Salon | @SimpleSalon simplesalon.com/xero simPRO | @simprosoftware simprogroup.com Smart Reports | @smartreports smartreports.com.au SmartTrade | @SmartTradeSW smarttrade.biz Synchroteam | @synchroteam synchroteam.com Synergist | @Synerg1st synergist.co.uk Syngency | @syngency syngency.com The Service Manager | @theservicemgr theservicemanager.com TidyBuild | @TidyInt tidyinternational.com

MinuteDock | @minutedock minutedock.com MyConstruct | @myconstructapp myconstruct.com MyTrucking | @MyTrucking mytrucking.com/integrations/xero NextMinute | @NextMinuteApp nextminute.com Okappy | @ok_appy


okappy.com Order Space | @orderspace orderspace.com/integrations/xero Patchability time.patchability.com pay RIGHT AWAY | @PayRIGHTAWAY payrightaway.com.au Preno | @prenohq prenohq.com/xero ProWorkflow | @ProWorkflow proworkflow.com Quotient | @QuotientApp

TidyEnterprise | @TidyInt tidyenterprise.com TidyWork | @TidyInt tidywork.com Time Tracker by eBillity | @eBillity ebillity.com Total Synergy | @totalsynergy totalsynergy.com Tradify | @tradifyhq tradifyhq.com


geoop.com GoProposal | @GoProposal goproposal.com Harvest | @harvest getharvest.com


Houston Medical

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houstonmedical.net i2B | @i2B_Limited i2b-online.com

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Issue 18 / 129

App Directory aider | @AskAider

Traffic Live






Arthur Online | @ArthurProperty

Trio Technology | @Trio_Tech



onesaas.com Eventbrite by Zapier | @zapier


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blendo.co Boxkite | @getboxkite getboxkite.com Business sorter | @BusinessSorter businesssorter.com/xero Chata.ai | @thechataHQ

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inviewapp.com JobReady | @JobReadyNSW

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kitomba.com LEAP | @LEAP4LawFirms leap.co.uk LeaveCal finlert.com/leavecal-xero.html Lil Regie | @lilregie lilregie.com/xero LedgerBackup ledgerbackup.com MRPEasy | @mrpeasy


Cloudbusiness | @CloudBusinessLt cloudbusinessllc.com CloudDash vesvault.com/partner/xero ClubHub | @ClubHubSSL


clubhub.co.nz Controlc control-c.com/landing-xero CoverKit by NZI nzi.co.nz Cradle | @letscradlenz cradle.io/integration/xero

Other A2X Accounting | @a2xaccounting a2xaccounting.com/xero Acuity Scheduling | @AcuitySchedulin acuityscheduling.com Ag Profit | @AgProfitAus agprofit.com.au

130 / Issue 18

Office 365 | @Office365 xero.com/uk/office-365 OneSaas | @onesaas onesaas.com onsightapp.com OzBiz Solutions | @OzBizSolutions ozbizsolutions.com.au

Tidy Enterprise | @TidyInt

Curve | @imaginecurve imaginecurve.com Customer Lobby | @CustomerLobby customerlobby.com EntryRocket | @entryrocket entryrocket.com ePrint MIS | @eprintmis eprintmis.com

rerunapp.com RightSignature | @RightSignature rightsignature.com Salesin | @SalesInApp salesin.com/integration/xero SAT FXOnline | @satworldwide satfxonline.co.uk Sendle | @sendle sendle.com Sharesight | @Sharesight sharesight.com/xero Sharesight Pro | @Sharesight pro.sharesight.com.au

Onsight | @Onsight_App


realestateinvestar.com.au Rerun | @Rerunapp

Synergy 8 | @SynergyEight


AroFlo | @aro_flo

re-view.com Real Estate Investar | @reiaustraila



Conversational analytics and reporting

re-leased.com Re-View | @Re_viewsoftware

Kitomba | @Kitomba

MyFirmsApp | @MyFirmsApp Workshop Software | @workshoponline

Re-leased | @re_leased

PennyPipe | @PennyPipe pennypipe.com/info/xero pensionsync | @pensionsync pensionsync.com Piesync | @PieSync piesync.com/xero PocketRent | @PocketRent pocketrent.com PocketSmith | @PocketSmith pocketsmith.com Podio by Phases podio.com Podio by Zapier | @zapier zapier.com Progressclaim.com | @progressclaim progressclaim.com PropertyTree | @PropertyTree propertytree.com RDvault | @rdvault rdvault.co.uk

synergy8.com Tax1099 | @efile1099 tax1099.com Track1099 | @Track_1099 track1099.com TransferMate | @TransferMate transfermateonline.com Vinosmith | @thevinosmith vinosmith.com Wise.NET | @WisenetLRM wisenet.co Workato | @Workato workato.com/xero Workshop Software | @workshoponline workshopsoftware.com.au Wufoo by Zapier | @zapier zapier.com Zapier | @zapier zapier.com Zendesk by Zapier | @zapier zapier.com Zenoti | @ZenotiSoftware zenoti.com/xero

Payments Acuity Scheduling | @AcuitySchedulin acuityscheduling.com Authorize.Net | @AuthorizeNet reseller.authorize.net Bill and Pay | @BillandPay billandpay.com Bill.com | @billcom bill.com Chargebee | @chargebee chargebee.com/integrations/xero Chargify | @Chargify chargify.com/xero Checkeeper | @Checkeeper checkeeper.com/xero CheckVault | @CheckVault checkvault.com.au

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

App Directory Debtor Daddy | @debtordaddy debtordaddy.com/xero

Shieldpay | @shield_pay shieldpay.com



enableHR | @enableHR

DPS Payment Express | @PaymentExpress paymentexpress.co.uk eazycollect.co.uk EzyCollect | @ezyCollect ezycollect.com.au eWay | @eWAY_ eway.io

Protect your payments

Perfect for dealing with tradespeople, invoicing for manufacturing or contracts with long lead times. shieldpay.com/xero

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Stripe | @stripe stripe.com Stripe by Commerce Sync | @commercesync commercesync.com

Get paid on time, every time.

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Transfer Mate | @TransferMate

squareup.com/gb transfermateonline.com TransferWise | @TransferWise transferwise.com uCollect | @ucollect_biz ucollect.biz/xero

IntegraPay | @IntegraPay integrapay.com.au InvoiceSherpa | @invoicesherpa invoicesherpa.com iZettle | @iZettle


Payroll & HR appogeeHR | @AppogeeHR appogeehr.com


ento.com ePayroll | @ePayrollAus

Point of Sale

gpayroll.com Gusto | @GustoHQ

Airsquare | @airsquare



Happy HR | @happyhraus happyhr.com hrassured.com.au hrpartner.io

Epos Now | @EposNow



Intertec TimePro

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evopos.com Hike | @hikepos



KeyPay | @KeyPayApp

Ikentoo| @iKentoo



Microkeeper | @Microkeeper microkeeper.com.au

imonggo.com/partners/xero infinityrms.com izettle.com


Pay RIGHT AWAY | @PayRIGHTAWAY Payoneer | @Payoneer register.payoneer.com Payment Express | @PaymentExpress paymentexpress.com/xero PayPal | @PayPal paypal.com PayPal by Zapier | @zapier zapier.com PennyPipe | @PennyPipe

Boomr - Employee Time Clock | @BoomrApps boomr.com

kounta.com MINDBODY | @mindbodyonline partner.mindbodyonline.com

Payment Evolution | @payevo


iZettle | @iZettle Kounta | @kounta

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IMS Payroll

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epayroll.com.au Flexitime | @FlexiTimeTeam



tanda.co Thankyou Payroll | @ThankyouPayroll The Payroll Site | @ThePayrollSite



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enablehr.com.au Ento | @entohq


Ezidebit | @Ezidebit ezidebit.com.au


deputy.com Employment Hero | @EmploymentHero

Directli | @Directli

EazyCollect | @eazyCollect

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Nobly | @NoblyPOS



PaysOnline | @paysonline

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PaySpace | @PaySpace payspace.com

Preno | @prenohq prenohq.com/xero Redcat | @RedCatPOS

citrusHR | @citrusHR citrushr.com/xero


CloudPayroll cloudpayroll.com.au



redcat.com.au/xero Retail Express | @RetailExpress01 retailexpress.com.au Sapaad | @SapaadPOS sapaad.com/lp/xero

Pin Payments | @PinPayments pin.net.au Plooto | @PlootoInc app.plooto.co POLi Payments | @POLiPayments

New Zealand www.ipayroll.co.nz

polipayments.com Receivabl | @receivabl_es receivabl.es Rerun | @Rerunapp

Simplepay.ca | @simplepaycanada Australia www.cloudpayroll.com.au

rerunapp.com SAT FXOnline | @satworldwide satfxonline.co.uk

simplepay.ca Smart Payroll | @smartpayroll smartpayroll.com.au

Crystal Payroll crystalpayroll.com

Subscribe for FREE: Go to subscriptions.xumagazine.com

SurePayroll | @SurePayroll lps.surepayroll.com

Follow us on Twitter: @xumagazine

Issue 18 / 131

App Directory Btc | @BTCSoftwareUK




Businessbackbone | @BiznizBackbone

Shopify | @Shopify



Calxa | @calxa

Simple Salon | @SimpleSalon



Carbon Analytics | @co2analytics

Square | @SquareUK squareup.com/gb


tevalis | @tevalis_epos

Castaway | @CAforecasting castawayforecasting.com



3-way business modelling

Powerful forecasting software that integrates with

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Reporting Ag Profit | @AgProfitAus agprofit.com.au Angeloop | @AgProfitAus

castawayforecasting.com Checkmybooks | @movemybooks checkmybooks.co.uk Clear jelly app.clearjelly.net DataDear | @DataDearApp datadear.com Debtze| @DebtzeCollect debtze.com/xero DiGA | @BiznizBackbone businessbackbone.co.uk DonkeyBean donkeybean.com/xero Dryrun | @Mydryrun dryrun.com/xero

Cash ow forecasts your clients will LOVE


joiin.co klipfolio.com LivePlan | @liveplan scoreboard.liveplan.com Maus | @MAUS_Software maus.com.au Microsoft xero.com/au/microsoft-powerbi Momentum atsora.com/xero Moxy Cloud Reporting | @ GoEndGame moxyreports.com My Cash Flow app | @MyCashFlowAppSa mycashflowapp.co.za myworkpapers.com My Own CFO | @myown_cfo myown-cfo.com Neatly | @go_neatly neatly.io/integrations/xero Numerable | @NumerableSW

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saasabi.com/xero Sageworks | @SageworksInst sageworks.com Savvy Reports SeederBoard | @seederboard seederboard.com Simple Numbers | @gregcrabtreecpa simplenumbers.me Simply Cashflow | @simplycashflow simplycashflow.com/xero statx.io Spotlight Reporting | @spotlightrep spotlightreporting.com Thomson Reuters | @TaxAccountingUK tax.thomsonreuters.co.uk Unleash unleash.us Visible | @VisibleVC visible.vc/integrations/xero Vistr | @VistrTeam vistr.co Wink Reports ;) | @WinkReports winkreports.com/connectors/xero Xavier | @xavieranalytics xavier-analytics.com


Panalitix | @panalitix panalitix.com ProfitSee | @MyProfitSee

Effective Accounting Starts With Accurate Data

xavier-analytics.com Zenflow

Beautiful reporting starts here.

Advisory services made simple

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Time Tracking fathomhq.com/xero

www.MyProfitSee.com Figured | @figuredapp figured.com

132 / Issue 18

results.com Saasabi | @Saasabi


Bstar | @BstarAustralia bstar.com.au

reportamigo.com/xero RESULTS.com | @RESULTSdotcom


bpmglobal.com brightgauge.com/xero

ranqx.com Report Amigo | @reportamigo



Brightgauge | @BrightGauge

recount.com/xero-homepage-uk Ranqx | @ranqxHQ

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Blink Reports


qvinci.com/xero Recount


Klipfolio Dashboard | @klipfolio



quickwindevelopment.com QVinci | @Qvinci


BizEquity | @BizEquity

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prorata.com/product/xero Quick win development | @quickwindev

Onestop reporting | @OneStopReports

asset.guru/xero benchmarking.com.au


ProRota | @ProRata

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Bizeo | @bizeo

grow.com/partners/xero Infoodle | @infoodle

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Asset Guru | @Asset_Guru Benchmarking.com.au


joiin | @joiinreporting

payrollbee.co.uk Smart Assistant

flowrev.com/xero Futrli | @Futrli



AppsForOps | @AppsForOps

floatapp.com Flowrev | @flowrev

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Zilch Consulting | @zilchconsulting

Professional Services

info.fivetran.com Float | @FloatApp

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Financial Driver | @FinancialDriver

ActionStep | @Actionstep actionstep.com/xero Active.collab | @activecollab activecollab.com/add-ons/xero

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com

App Directory AppsForOps | @AppsForOps appsforops.com AroFlo | @aro_flo aroflo.com briefcase getbriefcase.net CaseFox | @CaseFoxOnline casefox.com Chrometa | @Chrometa chrometa.com/xero Clarizen by Sixtree | @sixtreeau sixtree.com.au Copper | @copperproject copperproject.com Deputy | @deputyapp deputy.com eBillity | @eBillity ebillity.com Ento | @entohq ento.com Fergus | @FergusApp fergusapp.com

NextMinute | @NextMinuteApp nextminute.com Outlook Int.Tools - QWD | @quickwindev quickwindevelopment.com

Datamolino | @datamolino

Excel Int. Tools - QWD | @quickwindev

Expensify | @expensify use.expensify.com/xero

time.patchability.com ProWorkflow | @ProWorkflow proworkflow.com Quick Win Development | @quickwindev quickwindevelopment.com



EzzyBills | @EzzyBills

Futrli | @Futrli



FORMbasic | @formbasic

Hubdoc | @Hubdoc


hubdoc.com Practice Ignition | @ignitionapp

Roll | @rollhq rollhq.com/xero

Mogul | @MogulDigitalNZ mogul.nz/xero


My Own CFO | @myown_cfo

Synergist | @Synerg1st



My work papers | @myworkpapers

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tanda.co Temponia | @temponia

300+ five star reviews

Practice Ignition | @ignitionapp

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Quick Win Development | @quickwindev


Receipt Bank | @ReceiptBank Spotlight Reporting | @spotlightrep

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zapier.com Harvest | @harvest

tidywork com

getharvest.com iCOS LIVE - Online Transport

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TimeTracker by eBillity | @eBillity

stryke.com.au Suitefiles | @SuiteFiles

File management for accountants Xero add-on marketplace

TimeCamp | @timecamp Timely gettimely.com/timely-xero

Stryke Tax | @stryketax


ebillity.com timecamp.com

Free 30 day trial www.suitefiles.com

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receipt-bank.com Spotlight Reporting | @spotlightrep spotlightreporting.com

Suitefiles | @SuiteFiles

Google Calender by Zapier | @zapier

quickwindevelopment.com Receipt Bank | @ReceiptBank



IMS Service Track

NowInfinity | @Now_Infinity nowinfinity.com.au


Freshdesk | @freshdesk


GoProposal | @GoProposal goproposal.com


SmartBiller | @smartbiller

Flexitime | @FlexiTimeTeam

Management | @iCOSLIVE

quickwindevelopment.com Exsalerate | @exsalerate

Fathom | @fathomhq


Doc2Data | @doc2data doc2data.com


Xero Practise Manager

suitefiles.com Time Tracker by EndGame | @GoEndGame end-game.com Trustworks | @trustworksnz trustworks.co.nz Xero Workpapers | @Xero xero.com

Year End Wolters Kluwer | @wolterskluweruk cchoneclick.co.uk

2shakes | @2ShakesNZ 2shakes.co.nz AccountancyManager | @accountancymgr accountancymanager.co.uk AccountKit | @AccountKit account-kit.com

totalsynergy.com Tsheets | @tsheets

CCH OneClick Tools to digitalise your practice cchoneclick.co.uk

tsheets.com/xero Tymwise | @kapaitymwise tymwise.com WorkflowMax | @WorkflowMax workflowmax.com ZeroTime zerotime.io ZUUS Workforce | @zuusworkforce

The toolkit made for accountants

zuusworkforce.com Nexonia | @nexonia nexonia.com/xero

Xero HQ Boma | @Boma_Marketing bomamarketing.com/xero

Subscribe for FREE: Go to subscriptions.xumagazine.com

Class Super | @Class_Ltd class.com.au DataDear | @DataDearApp datadear.com

Follow us on Twitter: @xumagazine

Issue 18 / 133

...and finally

What’s in store for this year...

2019 in tech 2

018 saw the launch of Amazon Go, which promised – and delivered – a checkout-free retail experience. It saw Sony create a robot dog, for some reason. It saw Elon Musk... well, Elon Musk had a weird one. Let’s leave it at that! It was an eventful if mixed year for technology in South Africa, and we’re excited to see what 2019 holds. Here are our predictions for the rest of the year...

We should declare an interest here, but in 2019 we expect the rise of cloud technology to continue and to pick up speed. Keep a particularly close eye on multi-cloud technology: a solution that uses several cloud environments for the purpose of hosting, deploying, and delivering applications. It’s already reasonably popular. A recent IBM survey found that 41% of organisations have a strategy in place to adopt multi-cloud technology. Ninety-eight percent of organisations intend to adopt its architecture by 2021.

2. Move over millennials – Gen Z are on the way Millennials, a generational cohort that seems to encompass anyone from their early 20s to late 30s are already well-established in the modern workplace. In 2019 though, we’ll see Generation Z make their professional mark. What’s more, it’s a good thing: those born in the mid-1990s

Colin Timmis, Country Manager South Africa, Xero

speaker systems – and research suggests there’s much more to it than that: the Gordon Institute of Business Science suggests that AI could double the growth rate of the South African economy. 5. Blockchain will enter the mainstream – with or without cryptocurrency For a long time, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency were considered inseparable. In 2018 this conventional wisdom started to erode. In 2019 we may see blockchain launch a successful solo career.

1. More companies to become multi-cloud and proud

The technology can enable greater agility and easier data management and processing. Expect to see more awareness and adoption in 2019 and beyond.

134 / Issue 18

to the early 2000s grew up with an innate understanding of technology. It’s been an omnipresent feature of their lives. Generation Z don’t perceive automation and machine learning as future concerns, but tools to be used as they see fit. They’ll be


an asset to any company looking to modernise their processes and bridge the digital gap. If the workplace embraces them older employees may even learn a thing or two. 3. 5G could arrive – and change everything Like 4G before it, 5G is expected to broaden internet access, increase speeds and make it easier to test new devices. It’s widely expected to come to South Africa in the next few years. It’s not just about faster, better internet. It could completely transform the country’s prospects. 5G could clear a path for digital infrastructure, smart cities – and a more connected and integrated future. 4. AI will continue its takeover A holdover from 2018 admittedly, but AI will continue developing in the year ahead. Thanks to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart devices, we’re already comfortable with talking to our

It’s applicable to many different industries and sectors (including accountancy). Companies such as Vodacom and MTN have already been experimenting with it, with a view to improving processes such as inter-carrier settlement. 6. Technology will make financial services more efficient – and you can take that to the bank The right technological tools can drive efficiency and cost gains across any organisation large or small. We think 2019 will be the year of better banking in South Africa, and we’ve already taken steps to make sure that it is. With Xero’s comprehensive API for bank feeds, small businesses and their financial advisors can integrate with Sasfin and Absa to reconcile accounts, easily publish shareable smart reports and invoices, and gain full real-time visibility into cashflow while on the go. Use our API, and you’ll always be working from the best, most-up-to-date information. We expect these predictions to come true – but we also expect that 2019 will be full of surprises. Be sure to come back at the end of the year to see how our forecasts matched up with reality.

XU Magazine - the independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users. Find us online at: xumagazine.com



a payment

again Automatically collect payments for your Xero invoices with GoCardless and get paid on time, every time. Find out more at gocardless.com/xero

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Issue 18 / 135

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XU Magazine - Issue 18  

The independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users

XU Magazine - Issue 18  

The independent magazine for Xero users, by Xero users

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