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Highlights from Xero’s 2023 hackathon

Headshot of Peter Bonney

Peter Bonney

Dec 18, 2023

Twice a year, our teams at Xero are invited to take part in a hackathon week. The challenge is simple: find a small, specific problem that our customers face, and come up with an innovative solution that can be built and released to customers in a short period of time.

Participants are encouraged to think outside their comfort zone and area of expertise. They are given the whole week to experiment with new skills and technologies, collaborate with others across regions and functions, and of course have lots of fun!

As you can imagine, the results of our recent hackathon were incredible. We were blown away by the creativity and ingenuity of teams as they designed and built small but powerful features that unlocked more value for customers and partners, and helped them address a real-world challenge.

Hackathon by the numbers

The numbers speak volumes about the scale and enthusiasm surrounding the event. A staggering 670 Xeros and 127 teams around the world registered to participate, highlighting the widespread engagement within our talented community.

But it didn’t stop there — over 1,000 Xeros joined our dedicated hackathon channel, where their curiosity, creativity, and collaboration were on full display, helping unearth useful and practical insights that brought the teams’ ideas to life.

Innovations rolling out in Xero

There were so many impressive ideas submitted to the competition, and some stood out. These not only exhibited creativity, but a strong connection to improving the lives of our customers. Many of these are now live, or will be released in the coming months. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Customise your Xero experience

  • Invoice emails: Our new text editor tool enhances the emails you send with your invoices, with bold, italics and underlining options (exclusive to new invoicing)
  • Add or edit contacts: We’ve changed the add/edit page in contacts to be a single form with tabs that act as quick links, to help you manage your contacts more easily
  • Setting up Xero: There will be a new, user-friendly set-up experience when creating a Xero account for the first time
  • Practice branding (Canada and Singapore): We introduced practice branding on Canada sales tax returns and Singapore GST returns for accountants and bookkeepers
  • Plan recommendation tool (UK): Answer a few simple questions and this new tool will help you choose the right Xero plan for your business or clients

Save time during pay runs

  • Payslips (UK): There are several new features in the payslips tab, including the ability to filter and email payslips, as well as download multiple payslips at once
  • Statutory recoveries journal entry (UK): You’ll be able to post a statutory recoveries journal entry automatically, helping you save time and stay compliant
  • Employee numbers (UK): Employee numbers will be generated automatically, to help you simplify and improve the set-up experience for new employees

Get quick answers in reporting

  • Short-term cash flow: Our new search function will help you find any missing items from your short-term cash flow projection
  • Favourite reports: You’ll be able to add reports to your favourites list while you’re in the report, rather than having to return to the report centre
  • Hide or show notes: We’ve added an option to ‘hide’ rather than ‘delete’ irrelevant notes and schedules in all reports, to reduce the risk of human error
  • History and notes: We’ve added history and notes section to financial settings, so you can see who has made changes, what change was made, and when
  • Transaction Listing Details report (UK): We’ve added the Transaction Listing Details report to the report centre, so you can find it easily whenever you need
  • Bank Reconciliation Detail report (US and Canada): We introduced this new report, based on the Bank Reconciliation Summary, with more information including reconciled transactions

Better navigate tax compliance

  • Tax statistics (Australia): You’ll be able to get better visibility into the tax returns you’re creating for clients with our new, visual ‘tax statistics’ page in Xero Tax
  • GST Return Transactions (NZ): The GST Return Transactions page has a new look and features, including the ability to group transactions based on tax rate (as well as box number)
  • Personal tax (UK): We removed the ‘save’ button in the personal tax app, as well as added a ‘last saved’ timestamp and a progress button, to help you navigate the app more easily

Embracing innovation at Xero

This event is a reminder to all of us that innovation is truly at the heart of Xero. Our teams constantly raise the bar on delivering the best experience for our customers and partners every day, so they can get back to doing what they love. A big congratulations again to all the teams involved in this year’s hackathon and we can’t wait to see what 2024 will bring!

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