Choosing the best accounting software: Xero or MYOB

Ben Wood, Friday, December 05, 2014

Skills You Need to Run a Business

Ben Wood, Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Strengths -v- Weaknesses 
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What Home Office Expenses are Allowed?

Ben Wood, Friday, March 22, 2013

If you perform some of your work from your home office, you may be able to claim a deduction for the costs you incur in running your home office, even if the room is not set aside solely for work-related purposes. Read more

#Xerocon Review

Ben Wood, Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To the horror of many friends I spent last weekend at an accounting conference in Melbourne. Xerocon is an annual conference hosted by Xero to update accountant and bookkeeper partners on what the future holds for Xero and the ecosystem of add-on partners.

Fri night welcome drinks were held at Level 89 of Eureka Tower. Mind blowing views of Melbourne and beyond. Eureka Tower has to hold the record for the best view from a bathroom in Australia. It was great to have a chance to mingle and meet Xero employees, other Xero partners and those developing add-on services. There was an amazing buzz in the room. A real feeling that we are all part of something special.

Saturday morning 400+ accountants and bookkeepers filled the room at Melbourne Convention Centre - three times the numbers from last year’s Xerocon. Keynotes by Rod Drury, founder and CEO of Xero. Rod Drury is great to listen to. His understanding, passion and vision when talking about the small business cloud is something to behold. Rod gave us some insight into his vision of smarter more connected small business community on the web. Rod delivered the 1st big announcement - Xero has acquired Spotlight Workpapers. Workpapers streamlines a paperless year end compliance for accountants.
Rod wrapped up with a quick run down on the infrastructure behind Xero and the 100+ servers trading massive amounts of data. He also gave a big wrap the the developers that are coming up with brilliant add on apps that use the Xero API to connect all manner of services to the Xero accounting engine. Rod also mentioned that mobile is the new frontier and that Xero are taking that very seriously in terms of what they are developing.
Xero Australia’s MD - Chris Ridd was next up. He covered Australia’s last 12 months, Xero acquisition of Paycycle and WorkFlowMax and the massive growth in customer numbers. Xero are investing big in Australia with a new Melbourne office coming online soon and small satellite offices in Sydney as well as a development team in ACT. Chis also hinted that they are looking at a restructure of support tickets to give priority to partners.........then Chris announced the big one.

Online Tax
Xero have begun working on an online tax product for Australia. It has been done in NZ and they are now tackling Australia. Massive job considering the complexity of our tax system. No dates but they are looking at a staged release. I am assuming BAS lodgements first followed by business and finally individuals....I am guessing at least 3 years to get this done. This should really shake up the incumbent tax lodgement providers and improve the options for all accountants. Xero is really lighting a fire under the big players such as MYOB, Sage and APS.

Add-on Partners
Many partners and add-on services were displaying in the foyer between sessions. This is one of the most exciting parts of the Xero value proposition for me.  Having Xero as the centre of an online business universe where add-on applications doing all manner of things can share information with the Xero accounting engine gives massive efficiency for any business using Xero. Growth of the ecosystem of add-on partners has been huge with now well over 100 add-on partners listed on Xero.com. Any non-accounting business function can be connected to Xero via on of these add-on partners.

The remainder of the day was split into 3 streams - Educate, Modernise and Transform, giving everyone the opportunity to hear from Xero staff, gold partners and the founders. I wish I could have seen them all to be honest.

What can we report to clients using Xero:
  • remittance advices coming soon
  • online sharing of invoices between companies with links to track who has viewed invoice
  • Android app for those fellow droid fans.
  • Outgoing email improvements
  • Payroll only access allowing login without having to see or access ledger.
  • Employee timesheets to be able to be done by employee via portal.
  • Budget improvements to take advantage of tracking catagories
  • Purchase orders are in the pipeline
  • Bank rec via mobile apps (referred to as bank rec in bed). Already possible via mobile browser but app would be sweet too.
  • GST and Super payable to form part of money going out. Great to keep these on the radar for business owners
  • Xero and add-ons are improving at lightning speed compared to the competition
  • It is now easier than ever to move to Xero. Refer anyone who whines about their current software. Click here

Evening
The day was wrapped up with a Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony in the evening. Seems almost conference goers attended and a great time was had by all. Some into the wee hours of the morning to celebrate the big 5Xero for one of Xero’s early employees Wayne Schmidt.

Xero handed out awards to their biggest and best accountants, bookkeepers and add-on partners. Read the wrap up here. Congratulations to all the winners who are pushing the industry into a new world.

Conclusion
I have a genuine feeling that I have been to the future of accounting and I am back to report that the future is brilliant. Xero have leveraged the cloud to provide the single ledger as the centre of a new universe of small business tools on the web. Xero truly is the most valuable tool for business owners, bookkeepers and accountants going forward. No question.

In a world of economic uncertainty Xero has more than doubled its share price over the last 7 months and is shooting for the stars. At Xero’s AGM held last week they announced they had just achieved 100,000 paying customers up from 50,000 10 months ago. Read more here. This is massive considering it took 5 years to get the 1st 50,000 customers on board. Holding the accounting ledger at its core Xero is truly a global solution as double entry accounting is used the world over. The biggest challenge for Xero will be managing their growth as they gain traction around the world. Read more