From time to time we get the question, why doesn’t Xero support offer phone assistance?
We know that busy small business owners hate waiting on the phone to speak to someone who often can’t even help them. We also want to ensure that when you talk to someone at Xero, that person can solve your problem, as quickly as possible.
Trying to guess how many people to have sitting around waiting for customers to call is an impossible problem to solve. So we deliberately came up with a different model, where you can tell us the problem, automatically giving us as much information as possible, then get on with your business. Then one of our Xero customer experience (CX) team can have a look at what’s going on, let you know what to do, or give you a call to sort things out.
This video explains how Xero support works.
We track our response times and the number of contacts it takes to resolve a problem closely. If we see times slipping that gives us the business case to hire and train new customer experience team members.
Read more about Accountants
Continuing the strong momentum we have seen in Australia, I was invited to speak on Sky Business News by Peter Switzer, host of Switzer TV and recent Xerocon MC. The focus was on the imminent shift among SMEs to the cloud. I also spoke about Xero’s strategy in the Australian market and why our partners are such strong advocates for our company.
The success we have seen in Australia is huge. We are signing up 200-300 new clients every day, and have grown to 79,100 paying customers. This is almost two and half times the previous year. It has proven that small business owners want an alternative to traditional desktop solutions.
Off the back of our announcement at Xerocon UK last week, we’re proud to release Workpapers for our UK Partners.
Workpapers makes core compliance services much more efficient by allowing accountants to:
seamlessly connect Xero data with online workpapers
import and attach supporting documentation
use dashboards and iconography for a clear view of job progress
interact online with clients and team members
maintain a clear audit trail of communications, queries and changes
auto-journal changes to Xero, keeping the single ledger in sync
prepare and review workpapers more effectively than traditional, EXCEL-based products.
Check out the video for a overview:
[Update (27 Nov 2013) - the new GST system did not originally perform the late filing calculation on the first return finalised. This has been altered to use previously published returns if possible. If you still don't see the late filing report then no un-filed transactions were found.]
In a few weeks time we will be releasing an updated NZ GST return. The return itself is largely the same but we’ve made it easier to save and manage previous returns and improved performance for larger organisations. It also lays the foundation for a new reconciliation report we will introduce next year.
Anyway, we thought we’d give you an overview of the changes so you’ll be ready to roll for your next return.
Verify your GST details
The first time you access the new GST report you need to confirm some basic information. For most of you, the only missing piece will be the reporting period that is due next. Also, for most of you this will be the current period. Fill this out and you’re good to go.
Read more about Accountants
We’ve been busy developing a brand new section on xero.com, called Small Business Guides. The content of the section is based on research we did in the small business community.
The research highlighted the fact that many small business owners don’t know what to expect from accounting software. Those that use desktop software often find it tedious and hard to use.
Many small business owners are looking for accounting tips, and information on cloud computing. They also want to know what to expect from invoicing and bookkeeping software. Armed with some great nuggets of knowledge from the research, we’ve developed articles with tips, tricks and accounting advice for business.
We’re adding a new Xero office in Denver as part of the expanding Xero family.
With Customer Experience teams already in Wellington, Auckland, Melbourne, and Milton Keynes we are excited to announce the opening of Xero’s newest office, in Denver – Colorado.
The official opening of the office is October 14. Until then our new Customer Experience Team members are at an offsite training facility. The office is located in the Denver Technological Center, and will be Xero’s fourth office in the US, adding to our offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
In How to market accounting software to creatives we introduced our first industry marketing playbook designed to help you grow your practice and market Xero to the creative industry. Now we are going to take you further with the help of four case studies.
You’ve read through the playbook and your creative juices are flowing. You have clear objectives for growing your practice and you realise marketing will help you achieve those objectives. But you want to ensure a good return on your marketing investment, so before developing your marketing strategy, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the size of your potential market?
How much of that market do you want to sign on as customers in a specific timeframe (say three to six months)?
What is your target cost to acquire each new customer?
Multiply the number of new customers you’d like to acquire by their cost to acquire.
Now you have your ideal marketing budget. Knowing how much you’re willing to spend (your marketing budget) and having that money available to spend are two different things. That’s why we have the Xero Co-operative Advertising Fund for our Gold and Platinum partners.
After a successful pre-release program we’re pleased to announce the availability of online activity statements to our partners in Australia.
As announced at Xerocon in Sydney, with Practice Manager you can now file your clients activity statements directly with the ATO online. This is an important step to make our online tax product a reality and is building on the success of our online TFN declaration release. So far we have filed over 12,000 online declarations, saving many hours of processing time and many many trees.
Online activity statements made easy
You can prepare and file activity statements for all your clients, including those that aren’t using Xero yet by following the steps below.
Guest blog by Matt McFedries of PracticePlus
With growth in cloud accounting and add-on software, bookkeepers can look to new opportunities. Modern bookkeeping signals new opportunities in Xero conversion, software consulting, training, and add-on implementation. These can provide a welcome change and a higher potential income than traditional bookkeeping. And crucial to this is a rethink of marketing and website needs.
Founder of Jill of All Trades Gillian Rossouw (Jill), from Australia’s Gold Coast, is a leading advocate for bookkeepers diversifying their services. The majority of client enquiries she receives now are for Xero conversion and add-on implementation. “I don’t have the time to take on bookkeeping work any more.”
Compared to accounting firms, bookkeepers are often smaller and can be more nimble. They’re often quicker to adapt to change and more willing to take leaps into uncharted territory. This can be a benefit for many accountants. Partnering with bookkeepers can provide them with instant capacity and capability for Xero conversions and add-on implementation.
Richard Perry from Sempre Business Consulting told me that working with Jill has allowed them to offer a more comprehensive service to our clients from Xero conversions to finding and implementing the best add-ons for their business. “It means we can remain focused on our core business, knowing that Jill is keeping up-to-date with the technology and the latest Xero conversion options.”
Website change case study
This shift in focus for bookkeepers requires a change in marketing approach, in particular of the content and structure of their websites. Jill engaged us (PracticePlus) to redesign her website from the ground up to reflect her new business model.
We have just been advised that New Zealand’s Inland Revenue Department has approved Xero to hold records offshore. The offshore data storage is on behalf of our New Zealand taxpayer customers, in our capacity as a third party service provider. Offshore data storage for New Zealand Xero customers has been a long time in the making.
We first blogged about the issue of offshore data storage back in December 2010. We have watched and provided assistance where we could in the lead up to legislation being passed in November 2012. An accompanying Statement of Standard Practice (SPS13/01) was released in March 2013 to provide guidelines for the approval process envisaged by the legislation.