A while ago I came across a video project called Fifty People One Question that made me simultaneously happy, sentimental, grateful, and a wave of other profound emotions. It’s so simple, yet so powerful.
The creative agency Crush + Lovely behind that project has an incredible portfolio of equally beautiful videos, apps, websites and other creative endeavors.
I was thrilled to discover Crush + Lovely has been a Xero customer for years. We wanted to talk with them about their experience using Xero to run a creative agency, to learn about their workflow, how their team collaborate on finances, and how they manage growth. We want to make sure Xero performs well for agency sized businesses like Crush + Lovely with around 20 staff based in various cities across the United States.
It occurred to us, it would be wonderful to capture their story on video. And who better to produce the video than Crush + Lovely themselves?! As you’d expect, they nailed it. It was thrilling to hear the impact Xero is having on their business and their lives.
No matter where you are around the world the same principles apply to learning and making the most of your software. For some, learning new technology is easy, for others there’s some “un-learning” of familiar software – especially if you’ve been using it for a long time.
Recently we held a global training summit with our regional training managers travelling from UK, US, and Australia to join the NZ training team. There were 11 of us in total gathered together to learn and share ideas from our collective relevant experience of 145 years. Our common goal was to make the learning experience for both partners and customers as valuable and interactive as possible.
Across the week we covered a wide range of content and shared common experiences. One comment from our training managers that really stood out was that many people imagine that Xero will work much like their old desktop system. This was echoed around the world.
So why is this? There are different brands of accounting software in each market and we all get used to doing things a certain way and make assumptions that are not about accounting, but rather are based on how the software works.
A couple of weeks ago I took part as a judge in a competition/scheme run by the Young Enterprise Trust , which Xero sponsors, called the BP Business Challenge. This is a scheme that YE runs around the country to encourage an understanding of enterprise and entrepreneurship amongst 16-17 year olds and acts as a feeder into the bigger Young Enterprise Scheme.
It’s a 3 day event where kids are split into teams (not necessarily of people they know) and they have to come up with an idea and formulate a business plan around the idea. Obviously the time constraint means that nothing is done too in-depth (there’s not much validation of numbers that would take even the best business minds some time to come up with). But they are given a view into a world they may not be aware of or envision being able to get into. I have no doubt that some of those kids will become the future leaders in business and with the ever decreasing barrier to entry as a start up I wouldn’t be surprised if I see some of them reach for their vision sooner rather than later.
While our main focus is in four key markets – New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and United States – the rest of the Xero world covers well over 100 countries. We’re happy to report that this “Global” region is going gangbusters.
We have over 150 accounting partners (many of whom are shown in the map above) who are ready to help out business owners outside our four main regions. It’s important to have Xero Partners in-country so that local businesses have trusted advisors to turn to with their accounting and tax affairs, advisors that use Xero as their core accounting platform.
Some regions are showing notably strong organic growth; namely Canada, Singapore and South Africa, where we recently welcomed our first Global Gold Partner – Colin Timmis from Real Time Accounting. We also have Partners in other beautiful locations like Seychelles, Curacao and the Maldives – all places that in the name of equal and fair partner treatment may require Xero staff visits in the near future…
ZenPayroll is a new addition to the US payroll space, enabling businesses to get setup and run payroll in minutes from any web-enabled device. As a full-service payroll provider, all government payroll taxes, reporting, and compliance are taken care of automatically and paper free.
The ZenPayroll team have focused on making the application easy to use, so you don’t need to be an expert to get up and running. Employees can also access their information and ZenPayroll uses bank grade security to keep your data safe.
Who is it for?
ZenPayroll is available for a wide variety of businesses, from flower shops to technology start-ups. With ZenPayroll for Accountants, Xero partners such as CPAs & bookkeepers can manage multiple clients from a centralized dashboard.
TradeGecko is a web based inventory management application designed for businesses looking to work smarter. It combines three key features:
- Inventory management provides a clear picture and easy way to control your stock.
- Sales management brings together multiple sales channels such as e-commerce, wholesale & distributor orders into one place.
- Customer management keeps customer (and supplier) details and communications all in one place.
Who is it for?
TradeGecko is used across many industries – if you need to track stock, manage customers and orders or sell through multiple channels, it is worth checking out. TradeGecko already has customers in industries as varied as gas and oil to jewelry and apparel.
Today for Australia we’ve released an update that gives you more power when it comes to payroll reporting. Retrieving the right information when you need it is key to good payroll administration. With this release, we’ve completely rebuilt our reporting framework and increased the number of reports available from seven to fourteen.
So what’s new?
Rob Dixon, owner and founder of UK based franchise Joineryworkshop.com, switched himself and his franchisees to Xero a year ago. Since then, he’s doubled turnover – and he attributes a lot of that to the fact that Xero gives him better visibility over his business and more time to work on growing his business.
Financial visibility over the franchisees is key for a franchisor. Working in desktop software restricted his financial visibility because he never had an accurate view of his cash position. After all, his figures may tell one story, but without up-to-date data from his franchisees, that story wasn’t really complete.
Microsoft has again called time on Windows XP with a 12 month countdown till support expires. They note the 11-year old operating system is still on almost 14% of computers in New Zealand, or half a million PCs, and to be fair they’ve released a variety of upgraded operating systems since.
I admit to being a hold-out at home with an old laptop that probably can’t handle the new systems – but I have other Apple computers to choose from as well so I’m running that one to the ground.
However, in the business space the support and security of computers is critical and we can sympathise with Microsoft in wanting to be shot of XP – there’s been a lot of technological development in that 11 years, not the least of which has been in the whole app concept and the cloud.
With Xero’s exposure to the small business sector, it’s worth pulling up our stats to see what is happening with XP and other operating systems. We have data sourced from Akamai – a snapshot of the past three months hits to the Xero application, excluding traffic to our mobile application and excluding traffic to our mobile domains from devices such as iPads. We presented earlier data in an October blog post as well so we can compare the two.
First up we can see that Windows XP is 15.41% of the traffic, headed off by the dominant Windows 7 at 52.93% and Mac OSX on 19.67%. Windows 8 has made an appearance on 3.64%, behind Windows Vista on 5.12%. It’s a drop for XP from 21.77% in October, while Windows 7 is up slightly and Vista is slightly down.
Well not quite yet, but we have taken the first step by opening a new Los Angeles home for our Southern California team.
The new office is a stylish and convenient shared creative space called WeWork located in downtown Hollywood. The space is filled with a range of tenants from filmmakers and production companies to social media entrepreneurs and innovative tech startups.