For more Xerocon 2022 coverage, see:
This is a summary of feature announcements, recent releases and product strategies made at Xerocon 2022. Xero held three events in London (July 20), New Orleans (August 25), and Sydney (September 7-8).
- New range of reports and common layouts released. Eg. you can now easily report on quotes and purchase orders.
- Greater customisation – you can now create customised management reports available to anyone with reporting access including clients.
- Annotations – a new feature to help you explain financial information that elevates your role as an advisor.
- Expenses by Contact report includes a chart (US and Canada pilot).
- Global settings will soon allow reporting preferences such as cash basis so you don’t have to manually update them each time.
- Older versions of reports (i.e. Classic reports) will be retired on July 2023.
- Migration tool coming soon – tool will save layouts from older versions of reports into new profit and loss and balance sheet reports.
- Faster release cycle on reports. Mark Rees (CTO) says developer work on the reports function has increased Xero’s ability to release features faster.
- New payroll history tables – more accessible and built with high-integrity data. The goal is for clients to identify and fix issues themselves without contacting advisors.
- Audit trail in payroll – tracks changes in payroll history, most requested community feature in Australia. Payroll administrators now can more easily identify, audit, and reconcile their payroll.
- Each of these tabs in an employee record will have its own history: details, employment, taxes, leave, bank accounts, pay slips, pay template, and opening balances. Payroll history can be sorted as well so it puts all types of events together, but it can't be filtered.
- When you expand the history, you'll see the date, the user, the person who made that change, the item as well as additional details.
- Payroll will track changes to employee details in Xero Me, the employee app, and third-party apps such as Deputy, Employment Hero and Planday.
- This is the first phase of an overhaul to payroll. More improvements are coming to areas such as pay runs and payroll settings.
- Xero Me is Xero’s employee app for managing leave and expense claims. Xero Me is free with every payroll subscription. Employees can use the app to access payslips, submit and manage timesheets, leave requests and expense claims.
- New release this year – employees can record the start and end times of their shifts, and unpaid break times.
- Redesigned invoice table in new invoicing to be more aligned to the classic invoicing format. Now you can see more at a glance without switching screens.
- Auto-save is always operating in the background
- New Invoices interface has added features – print and send invoices from the overflow menu, set invoice reminders, edit some fields in an invoice after it's been sent and paid. You can print packing slips too – not a new feature but one that isn't mentioned much.
- E-invoicing registration is a one time action. All invoices will automatically appear pre-populated in the receiver’s Xero file as a draft bill ready to be approved and paid.
- E-invoicing will significantly reduce data entry and save admin time.
- 80% of businesses signed up to e-invoicing in Australia are Xero instances.
- Updated contacts module restores the ability to bulk merge contacts.
- Coming soon – ability to add up to 10 addresses for each contact.
- After multiple addresses go live, the next step is adding a unified contacts database to all Xero’s products. “Eventually you will be able to access the addresses in quotes, invoicing, etc.”
- Xero is building a new inventory solution to track and manage inventory in real time across multiple locations, show financial performance, and reconcile inventory data. The inventory solution will be built by LA-based LOCATE Inventory, one of Xero's acquisitions.
- Clients will be able to get quotes, print labels and fulfil orders.
- Inventory will launch in the US first. Register to join the beta.
Bank payments (UK)
- Users can make direct bank payments using GoCardless’ Instant Bank Pay feature.
- Xero users can receive one-off bank-to-bank payments from new and existing customers while still using direct debit for their recurring payments.
- The feature is currently being rolled out and will soon be available to Xero UK users.
Bank feeds and statement imports (North America)
- Five of the top 10 banks in the US now have direct bank feeds with Xero.
- New partnership with aggregator Yodlee in Canada and the US to expand the number of banks with direct bank feeds.
- Yodlee creating direct feeds for TD Bank (CAN) and TD Bank (US) and Royal Bank of Canada to replace
- existing credential sharing feeds. Launching soon.
- Users in the US and Canada can import and reconcile transaction data from PDF bank statements using Hubdoc’s bank statement extraction feature.
- Now available for customers of Chase Bank in the US, Royal Bank of Canada, and TD Bank in Canada. Wells Fargo in the US and other banks are coming soon.
Syncing BMO Financial Group transactions (North America)
- Partnership with BMO Financial Group to enable automatic transaction syncing between BMO and Xero.
- Users will be able to see their daily BMO balances and transactions in Xero automatically, without needing to sign into online banking or manually export or upload files.
- Users will also have a 1-year transaction and balance history included from the start.
- Modify or deactivate this integration at any time from your BMO account.
- The integration will be released later in 2022.
- Xero dashboard and external applications. Redesign of navigation in the dashboard will allow Xero to display third-party data on the dashboard.
- Automation of bank-rule creation. Xero’s Toronto-based data scientists worked with the product team to build an AI algorithm that automates the process of creating bank rules.
- App store recommendations. Rees built an AI model to identify common apps used by groups of customers on Xero. Xero then creates recommendations from those lists of common apps, based on selection criteria eg. industry or location.
- A new financial ratio widget is included in the basic version of Analytics. Initially the widgets will capture popular performance indicators such as net profit margin, current ratio, debt to equity, and working capital to total assets, all in the context of profit and loss metrics.
- Analytics users can now update the planned or expected payment date of your overdue bills and invoices in bulk from within short-term cash flow.
Xero Analytics Plus
- Analytics Plus released a year ago, designed to provide bulk management of planned and expected payment dates for overdue invoices and bills. It is part of wave three and is “the next most important phase in our innovation curve”.
- Analytics Plus will soon include the ability to predict likely upcoming payments for bills and invoices, such as payroll or partner bills, over the next 90 days. This feature is in a global pilot.
- Addition of payroll data into Analytics Plus. This is the first integration after transaction data into Xero’s analytics engine.
- In Australia, Analytics Plus includes BAS and PAYG in short term cash flow projections.
- In the UK, Analytics Plus can capture clients’ VAT obligations in real time in Xero Analytics through an integration with HMRC.
- More integrations will follow, including from external sources.
Tax updates (USA)
- Sales tax. Xero announced a strategic partnership with Avalara to build a sales tax solution in Xero. Users will be able to calculate sales tax on invoices, compile flexible, state-based reporting, and access Avalara’s e-filing tools.
- Early beta access by registration next year.
Tax updates (CAN)
- T2125 form now included through expanded integration with TaxCycle. Also includes an updated tax mapper in Xero. Due for release before next tax season.
- Xero partner program discount rates will also apply to TaxCycle products. If you’ve already bought a licence you can apply for the discount retrospectively.
- Working Trial Balance. This will generate a read-only Working Trial Balance report directly in Xero Workpapers and easily view and validate all account balances and adjustments. Beta available to Canadian advisors soon.
- Integration with working paper and management tool Countable.
Tax updates (UK)
- Xero is building an end-to-end solution for MTD for ITSA that will launch before the regime is mandated in 2024.
Xero Practice Manager
- Job Manager released a month ago. It includes a table with filters. You can filter by states, due dates, staff member assigned, time budgets spent, etc.
- The redesigned Job Manager is in closed beta and will be available to all Australian partners later this year.
- Single client record in practice products. Long-term project to unify the client record across Xero Practice Manager, Xero HQ and Xero Tax. Due H2 2023. (NB. This is not the same as unifying contact records. That is a separate, ongoing project with no deadline.)
- A client record will remove the need for double entry of client information in HQ and XPM. It will also increase accuracy and consistency of client data between HQ and XPM.
Xero HQ (UK)
- Document packs, a secure online portal launching in the UK in October (it's already available in Australia). Collect approval signatures from clients on financial statements, tax returns, and other key documents through a secure online portal.
- Clients can view, download, electronically sign and return documents to their accountant or bookkeeper in Xero HQ.
- Document packs will integrate with Xero Tax so you can share company and personal tax returns and annual accounts directly with clients for review and signature.
- Document packs will be free until December, then purchase bundles of signatures.
- Partners can still use the free Xero Tax e-signature tool in company accounts and tax.
- Planday provides one place to set up the roster based on employee skill sets, employee's availability, and market rules.
- Once you set up a schedule, Planday shows the exact cost of the schedule, including special supplements, overtime, and breaks.
- Planday combines rostering, time registration, and award interpretation and payroll.
- First product beta introduced to the Australian market on 1 September with retail and clerks awards.
Xero Go (UK only)
- Xero Go is a mobile app for sole traders launched in the UK in August 2022.
- It is designed to meet digital record keeping requirements as part of the upcoming overhaul of the UK tax system: Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTD for ITSA).
- Xero Go will help accountants and bookkeepers servicing sole traders meet increased reporting requirements efficiently by the digitisation of expense records and income data in Xero Go.
- Expenses: Record expenses using the Quickscan feature which extracts expense information from receipts, imports it into Xero Go and auto-suggests tax categories
- Invoices: Users can create, send and track customised invoices. They can set up auto-reminders for late payments, and add a Stripe ‘pay now’ button to get paid faster using Apple or Google Pay
- Dashboard: See unpaid or overdue invoices, track who has and hasn’t paid, view profit and loss by month, and gain insights such as top expenses for the month.
- Compliance: The app meets government requirements:
- Keep digital records of their income and expenses
- Send quarterly summary updates to HMRC, via MTD-compliant software
- Send an End of Period Statement and Final Declaration, via MTD-compliant software
- The Xero Go partner plan is a separate product designed for accountants and bookkeepers.
- All financial data from Xero Go feeds into the Xero Go partner plan. This gives you everything you need to service your self-employed customers and make sure the books are up to date throughout the year and at tax time.
- Xero Go is available for UK subscribers on iOS. The app is free to download with a paid add-on invoicing feature, which includes the ability to add Stripe payments to invoices.
- An Android app and additional functionality will be added in the coming months.
[ED: The summary of strategy was moved to Xero’s Three Waves Point to Platform Play: Xerocon 2022]