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.
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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.
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We’re thrilled to support the third WDCNZ conference, which is to be held on 25th July.
We love supporting such a great conference, and it gives us the opportunity to send the whole of our New Zealand development team to learn from the best in the business.
For those who don’t know: WDCNZ – “Tech talks for web devs” – is a full day conference with multiple streams covering the bleeding edge of web development. This year’s line-up of speakers looks stellar.
The confirmed speaker line-up includes luminaries of the web developer community such as Julia Grace, Garann Means, Rob Conery and Zach Holman. You can head over to wdcnz.com to see the whole programme as of today. As well as Xero, sponsors include Heyday, GitHub, Campaign Monitor and Lil Regie.
2013 is now well underway and we’ve been busy on lots of fronts. This API 2.23 release gives you some improvements to existing endpoints that we hope will make life easier for developers and end users.
Apply credit notes as payment
You can now allocate part or full amounts of credit notes to outstanding invoices via the Xero API. We have full details in our 2.23 release notes.
Hanging out for the ability to create credit note refunds? This is next on our list.
Showing credit note allocations
In order to support credit note payments and future improvements to that endpoint, you can now see details of all allocations to invoices when retrieving credit notes. As usual, there’s more info in the release notes.
A shortcode for identifying an organisation is now shown along with its address details. Full details on this in our 2.22 release notes and a little bit extra in our community forum on possible shortcode uses.
In delivering cloud-based applications like ours, there are two main ways to reach your customers – the web, and app stores. Digital app stores are a relatively new phenomenon that have only really achieved scale with mobile. For iOS and Android handsets, we’re heading in a native direction where we’re planning to create apps for app store distribution that compete with anything else in the store.
However, we still believe in the web as the application delivery channel that matters in the long term, which is why we’re evolving Xero to perform better on touchscreen devices of all dimensions and sizes. The core Xero application is a web application. Provided you’re using something fairly modern, it shouldn’t be too fussy about the device or browser through which you view it.
In the early days of web development – sites were optimised for a 640 pixel page width. In the late 1990s, this crept up to 800 pixels, and later still to 1024 pixels. Site width crept up – and now with a huge proliferation of smart devices of all sorts and dimensions, a lot of designers are finding it a challenge to slim back down.
We sometimes get a bit of stick for a perceived bias toward iOS on smartphones. Are we ignoring the largest smartphone market? There’s so many more Android devices out there, right?
If we focussed on sales figures – it’d be a no-brainer. Android is clearly the platform of choice for buyers of smartphones. Only Android, iOS and Windows Phone really have any maturity as smartphone platforms. iOS sells a handful of models and Windows Phone hasn’t yet captured much of the market. All the diversity and variety in hardware is on the Android platform. If it weren’t for Android, all those telco handset stores would only have half a dozen models on display.
But the reality is that our data tells us our users, the people that buy and are considering buying subscriptions to our software, are predominantly using iOS devices. Visitors to our marketing site are prospective customers who are researching Xero and also existing users who want to login to and use Xero, and they are the sorts of people to read content, to watch video, to read our blog, and so on. The story this tells is that plenty of people might buy Android phones, but a smaller proportion of those people use those phones to browse our site or use our applications.
Yesterday we outlined a change of direction for Xero Touch. Today, I’d like to introduce our newest iOS developer, Layton Duncan.
Layton joining Xero is a bit of a coup for us. He’s well known amongst the iOS development community as the founding director of Polar Bear Farm, widely regarded as the first iOS development company in the world. He’s worked on a large number of iOS projects both for external parties and for himself, including Face Match, Forms, Air Forms, Tweet Push and more.
As mentioned yesterday, we’re still actively looking for an Android developer to help us deliver some great Android apps.
Meet Layton Duncan
Having founded Polar Bear Farm shortly after the release of the iPhone in 2007, mobile computing has been my passion since. I started building native iPhone apps before there was any App Store, before any developer tools from Apple, even before the promise of tools to develop native apps from Apple.
The launch of the iPhone was something I saw was as potentially game changing as the introduction of the mouse and GUI with the original Macintosh, and I wanted to build apps for it. Almost six years later, it’s hard to imagine daily life without a smart phone. They’ve quickly become pervasive and ingrained into many people’s daily lives. Having the internet in your pocket virtually everywhere you go is incredibly powerful.
So when Rod approached me to come on board to help Xero build the native mobile presence on iOS, it was immediately interesting. As a long time customer of Xero with my businesses, I’d always admired the company, the product, and the huge value it provided me in running my businesses. I remember the first time reconciling bank statements in Xero with bank feeds and rules; it made a once-tedious task, effortless – an experience which pervades all parts of the product.
Close watchers of our careers webpage may have noticed our advertisements for a Senior iOS Developer and a Senior Android Developer. What does this mean for mobile at Xero?
Very early on we chose to build Xero Touch using HTML5 technologies. That choice showed that we care about the future of the open web and its continued success as an application delivery platform and we firmly believe that HTML5 is the future of development across any and all platforms. We do not regret this choice – but we’ve found that building a complicated mobile application in HTML5 has been hard. Even with frameworks as amazing as Sencha Touch, we’ve found the ability to iterate as fast as we would like has become harder as our application has become more complex.
The choice to go with HTML5 was very much a choice based on us – how do we use the skills we already have to build a mobile application? Unfortunately as the application grew we needed to hire to fill out the team, and we were never able to hire fast enough to fill those roles. Ironically those skills were equally as critical for the “desktop” version of Xero – we were cannibalizing our own team and slowing everything down.
Xero prides itself on not compromising on customer experience, and when it comes down to it, the question isn’t “How can we use our existing skills to build a mobile application?” but “What is going to enable us to deliver the best customer experience on the mobile devices that our customers use?”
One of my favourite short stories is ‘Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote’, by the great Argentine Jorge Luis Borges. In this story a poet attempts to recreate Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote by assuming totally the persona of Cervantes. He realises however that it is an infinitely richer creative experience to instead arrive at a classic deriving only from his own experience.
The same is true of start-up software companies, that the most successful and meaningful are those that strike out in a new direction, deriving from their experience to revolutionise an industry, rather than attempting to emulate bygone greats. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, you don’t arrive at success by wearing turtle neck sweaters and blue jeans.
So last July when I saw that Xero were to participate in the excellent Summer of Tech internship programme that my alma mater Victoria University was a member of, I decided to wage a campaign for employment so that I could gain some experience within a successful local startup. My efforts were fortunately successful, and Xero gave me the opportunity to complement my studies in software engineering with three months worth of industry experience.
It is sometimes said that software is a craft industry, and in that sense one could think of an internship with Xero as an opportunity to apprentice under a master artisan. Except the master artisan is a team of many, all of whom tick together like an elaborate machine to produce the familiar Xero facade.
I distinctively remember my first job out of college, the start of my career, the start of my adult life. I had taken a sales representative position at an up-and-coming online payroll company known as PayCycle Inc. (US version).
In those days there was still a large contingency of people who viewed the Internet as a scary black hole where your lifes deepest secrets can be easily exposed. Needless to say, I was a little skeptical as to how in the world I was going to sell anything related to the internet, nevertheless a payroll product.
Turns out that when you have a pretty great product that really can help improve the lives of small businesses owners, it’s more convincing than selling. We were fortunate enough to convince quite a few people and with the success of that product, the landscape of what a payroll product is in the US, began to change.
A payroll market absolutely saturated by the large full service companies now had a chihuahua biting at its ankles. As technology began to bloom so did the DIY payroll solutions. Small business owners previously forced into a price arm wrestling match now had the might to win; they had other options. There was finally an answer to a niche market of small business owners looking to save money on payroll. The market now provided solutions that could fulfill all the payroll needs of a small business but at a quarter of the price. Creating a DIY product that is easy to setup, use, keeps the IRS at bay, and is inexpensive are all major challenges but many companies were still looking to cash in on the new movement.
Fast-forward to 2013 and I find myself embarking on a new adventure but with the same challenge, to alter the landscape of US payroll yet again. This time as a product marketing manager with a few more gray hairs and some great insight on what it takes to deliver a top-notch service. It becomes even more ironic knowing that Xero purchased Paycycle (Australia), a DIY payroll solution designed to fulfill the needs of Australian small businesses. Although the Australian Paycycle has no relation to US PayCycle, both have the same core value of the customer experience being a number one priority.
The backbone of a great payroll product is already there but so is the challenge of localizing it for the US. Xero’s core focus is to revolutionize small business and that is exactly what we intend to do by adding a US payroll feature. Provide an all in one accounting and payroll solution that instantly makes a small business more efficient and productive. Gone are the days of exporting and importing, logging into separate services and double entry. Xero is poised to deliver one solution that will revolutionize the way you run your small business.
Xero has already delivered a revolutionary, customer centric focused accounting and payroll product in Australia. Duplicating this established brand value in the US is no easy feat, especially given all the complexity that US payroll introduces. As we take the initial steps in building a Xero payroll product here in the US, we understand the necessary features required in order to be successful, but the number one thing we understand is that we need to stay focused on our customer and their experience.
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