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Fostering Wellness in the Workplace

At Xero, we strive to create a positive environment where everyone feels they belong and that they can do the best work of our lives. We believe that supporting the mental wellness of our people is an essential component to running a compassionate, successful business. That’s why we’re proud to announce that we’re marking World Mental Health Day by making changes to our Wellness Leave policy. The new policy means that Xero staff can now take time off for their own personal wellbeing, in addition to time off for physical or mental illness and when a partner or dependent requires care. To learn more about the importance of fostering wellness in the workplace, the team at Xero Denver office had the opportunity to speak with Alexandra Yannacone from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She shared insights about how all of us can work to manage stress in the workplace and support our colleagues. According to Yannacone, one in five Americans have a mental health condition, and 40 percent of American workers describe their jobs as “very stressful.” In addition to the human toll, there is also a very real economic impact — a World Health Organization-led study estimates that depression and anxiety costs the global economy $1 trillion annually in lost productivity. Yannacone explained that it’s important to understand that employees can experience workplace stress due to a variety of factors, including work-related or home-related issues. The good news, according to Yannacone, is that these stressors are something that we can do something about. For example: Be proactive and preventative: “We know there are more stressful periods at work or in our personal lives, like the holidays,” Yannacone said. “It’s about being prepared and thoughtful ahead of time. Each year we fall into these same routines and start panicking, but often we know some of these things are coming. Same with work, most jobs we know when our more stressful times are. We need to learn how to declutter and destress ahead of time so when we’re in the midst of it we can really pay attention to…

Pause for a mental health check

What does mental health mean to you? For me, as a Director of People and Performance, it’s about remembering each and every one of us is human. We all feel stress. We all carry burdens that have kept us awake at night. And we all deserve support when times get tough. (But the support I need will be different to yours.) At Xero, we strive to create a positive environment where everyone feels they belong and can do their best work. Encouraging and supporting the mental wellness of our people is important to us, and this extends across our Xero small business community. Because running a small business isn’t easy. While it can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do, it also demands a great deal of time and energy. Long days may become frequent and the number of ‘hats’ you wear may seem endless. But when we forget to find ways to switch off – to make time to manage our stress levels – we risk impacting our wellbeing and mental health. As a time that’s dedicated toward education, awareness and advocacy, World Mental Health Day is a timely opportunity for us to reflect on ourselves  – and our teammates – and seek and offer any support. Mental illness is more common than you think Statistics show that one in five Australians say they’ve taken time off work due to feeling mentally unwell in the past 12 months, with anxiety and depression being the most common. But despite so many people finding themselves in the same boat, less than half call out for help.   For many small business owners, stress tends to stem from financial pressures, sustainability of the business and cash flow. According to Xero Small Business Insights, only 52% of small businesses in Australia are cash flow positive. Tom Larkin, the Director of accounting firm IEC Advisory, supports more than 100 agricultural businesses across central and western NSW and has seen the negative impact that financial strain can have on a business owner. “In anticipation of the impending drought, farmers have done a…

Here is the list of exhibitors to watch out for at Xero Roadshow Asia 2018

Preparations are underway for our second series of Asia Roadshows which will take place on 20 November in Hong Kong and 23 November in Singapore. The events will be bigger and better this year and we are pleased to confirm an exciting list of exhibitors to join us at the events. Xero Roadshows give accountants and bookkeepers the perfect opportunity to get to know existing and new Xero Marketplace apps in addition to discovering the latest technologies available in the accounting industry. Here’s a sneak peek of who you can expect to see on the exhibition floor this November: A2X A2X makes accounting easy for Amazon sellers – all the sales, fees and charges reconciled perfectly for every settlement. A2X gives Amazon merchants automated accounting by posting easy-to-reconcile summary invoices to Xero. The Amazon marketplace has millions of 3rd party sellers world wide and it’s growing fast. A2X allows accounting firms to specialise in helping Amazon seller clients so they can target this fast growing market. Catch them in either Hong Kong or Singapore and chat to them about becoming an Amazon accountant! Connect Outsourcing Looking for someone to handle your compliance work for you while you spend more time advising and servicing your clients? Connect does outsourcing, but differently. Make the change with Connect and you will see growth and profitability in your business as they provide you with qualified accountants that work on a per-job basis. Interested to find out more about how you can make the best use of time with Connect? They will be at Xero Roadshow Singapore so chat to them on how their expert workforce can work best for you; scaling up and down as your firm needs to grow with no fixed contracts or seat fees. PayPal Fueled by a fundamental belief that having access to financial services creates opportunity, PayPal is committed to democratising financial services and empowering people and businesses to partake in the global economy. Available in more than 200 markets, PayPal enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds in 56 currencies and…

Are you being data smart with your smartphone?

Last week, the new shiny iPhone XS entered the market. For all the Apple lovers out there, this might mean being the first to wrap your hands around the irresistibly smooth all-glass design, or finally upgrading your old glitchy iPhone 6 to the new model. If this is you, I’m guessing you’re focused on the opportunity to start afresh, buy a new case, clear all those apps cluttering your current device, and start playing with its new features. Right? But have you considered the security aspects? According to online security software vendor, Norton, the scary reality is that 978 million people in 20 countries were affected by cybercrime in 2017. In New Zealand and Australia, one in four small businesses experienced a cyber attack or hacking attempt. “It’s an unfortunate fact that the impact of cybercrime is a reality for all businesses,” Xero Head of Security, Paul Macpherson, said at our recent conference, Xerocon Brisbane. “We continually remind all of our customers – small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers – to take precautions to keep their data safe from hackers.” Sure, you’ll be eager to try the cool Face ID feature and of course you wouldn’t dream of breaking your shiny new phone. But are you mindful of how you’ll keep its contents safe too? Obtaining a new phone is the perfect opportunity to get everything set up correctly right from the start. And if you don’t plan to upgrade your mobile phone, there’s no time like the present to make changes. Are you too relaxed with your data security? While many of us are looking for convenience of easy-to-find or easy-to-remember passwords, in reality you’re making yourself vulnerable to digital identity theft. Xero Head of Industry, Matthew Prouse, says “the biggest mistake people make is keep highly confidential information in their phone, such as in ‘Notes’ or disguised as a contact. You’re walking around with a pocket of very sensitive data.” Prouse recommends that you do not – Add passwords and pin codes to the ‘Notes’ app Try to disguise passwords, bank account numbers or your tax file number as…

We’re sorry – really sorry…

Yesterday, we experienced a technical outage which affected our users’ access to Xero. The site went down at approximately 5pm New Zealand time, and was restored at 12.30am New Zealand time. We know you’re wondering what happened. The nature of the problem made it very hard to diagnose. There are many problems that can exhibit the same symptoms. We discovered a change was made to our network configuration. The change was incorrectly applied which meant some requests to servers inside that network failed. Our team worked around the clock to identify and implement a solution and to get the site up and running as quickly as possible. Once the change was detected and reversed, restoration of service was instant, so customers could immediately access the Xero site again. We sincerely apologise for any impact this had on our customers’ working day. We’re doing everything we can to build more resilience into our platform and reduce any risk of a similar issue in the future. Please rest assured that your data was not at risk at any stage. This outage was disruptive, and we’re really sorry for the frustration and difficulty it caused you and your business. We appreciate you bearing with us yesterday, and we’re disappointed we’ve let you down. Our site performance is extremely important to everyone at Xero, and we’re never happy with an outage of any length. Tony Stewart (Chief Product, Platform and Data Officer), and the Xero Team. The post We’re sorry – really sorry… appeared first on Xero Blog.

Celebrating National Payroll Week – Why it counts

It’s National Payroll Week in the UK – an initiative organised by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP). It aims to demonstrate the importance of efficient payroll to the economy. Payroll is crucial in business management and employee satisfaction. If payroll processes are locked down and run well, businesses will flourish. If they’re not, payroll can be an administrative nightmare, shifting the focus away from what business owners love doing. Whether you are an accountant acting on behalf of your client, or a small business owner managing the payroll yourself, here’s how the right payroll software can help: For accountants: Payroll management has historically been the bain of an accountant’s life. They know their clients don’t want to get employee wages wrong. By combining a smart payroll system like Xero Payroll with Xero, it’s far easier to get the job done efficiently, and quickly. Xero Me is an employee app that works with Xero Payroll. You can track time, mark holidays on a calendar and populate payslips. It’s not difficult to sell the benefits of the app to your clients – not only is the user experience seamless, but they gain the satisfaction of having all their important information in one place. It also means employees and employers benefit from more detailed reporting of their day-to-day activities. There’s no need to manually input data from other spreadsheets. By using payroll software that automatically integrates with your accounting software, you don’t have to keep track of all the changes your team make or post journals. There are a number of Xero partners saving time with Xero Payroll. Take Xero Gold Partner, David Hassel, Managing Director of DH Business Support and co-owner of XU Magazine. Xero Payroll has saved his firm twelve minutes per client per month. He’s reduced the time spent on admin tasks that detract attention away from helping the businesses he works with thrive. As David explains: “When it comes to small businesses we don’t just want to give people a history lesson every year – we want to give them actionable insights that affect their business decisions…

Xerocon panel: how partners are helping close the $80 billion funding gap

A combination of richer customer data, more responsive banks, and partnerships with accountants may be the key to helping close an estimated $80 billion lending shortfall to Australian small businesses, said panel at Xerocon in Brisbane. “There’s never been a better time to be an accountant, said Shannon Smit, director of SMART Business Solutions on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula. “You’re moving away from just doing tax returns to facilitating loans with highly responsive lenders.” She gave the example of a small business client who called to say he had an order for a $50,000 shipment container of goods and needed funding right away. “If that scenario had arisen a few years ago, it might have taken us a week to prepare his accounts and provide numbers to the bank, and two more weeks to receive a loan decision,” said Smit. “Now we can do the whole process in about an hour” with lenders such as NAB QuickBiz and Moula. A recent Xero survey suggests that Australia’s small businesses would borrow as much as $80 billion over the next 12 months, if they could get the funding. One of the biggest points of friction was the loan application, which most small businesses said was onerous. Technology is gradually changing that experience. Lenders can connect to a small business’s Xero data through an API, or application programming interface. With the Xero customer’s consent, the API sends data for a paperwork-free loan application and an instant decision. Once approved, unsecured loans of up to $250,000 can be disbursed the same day. “The benefit of the rich data available to us is that we can service segments in a much better capacity,” said Aris Allegos, CEO of Moula. Lenders can view not just on a business’s current position but even cash flow forecasts that enable a confident and responsible lending decision. Smit turns to Xero-integrated apps like Futrli and Spotlight for forecasting. “We’ll say to the bank, `These are the three months over the next year where we’ll have cash flow gaps because we’re importing hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods, and we may need…

Why the 1% is everything

People often ask what keeps me up at night. When I joined Xero five and a half years ago, there were around 60 people in the Australian team supporting around 51,000 subscribers. Looking around Xerocon Brisbane today, and seeing more than 3,500 accountants and bookkeepers who advise more than half a million subscribers in Australia alone, gives you a sense of how much our community has grown.   But bigger numbers are never a measure of success unless they come with the trust and advocacy of your community. And that means continuously showing up for your customers. That’s why one question comes back to time and again as we expand to support more small businesses, and that is, what can we do to ensure our next customer feels just as special as the first? Meet Anton Gerner Anton Gerner is an award-winning furniture maker from Melbourne, and one of the first Xero customers in Australia. He has crafted one-off heirloom pieces for almost 30 years, so it’s fair to say he understands the beauty of individuality – how a personal touch can transform something functional into something special. When Anton signed up to Xero eight years ago, he did so because it was a time-saver, but he remained loyal because the team was proactive in meeting his needs. “This proactive approach is something I really associate with Xero, and have done from the very start,” he said. We were willing to go the extra mile, and Anton remembered that. Finding the one percent For any business, it helps to understand that ninety-nine percent of what you do is invisible to your customers. It’s important work, and it may be hard, but it’s expected. We all go to a restaurant and expect good food and wine. To truly differentiate yourself, to make your mark, you constantly have to find and deliver the extra one percent.   How do you create an environment where people strive to make incremental improvements and exceed expectations? How do you build a team that values the moments of beauty you can create for your customers? It’s all about…

ANZ Australia bank feeds are getting an upgrade

Over eight years ago, ANZ and Xero first partnered together to provide bank feeds for small businesses in Australia. At the time, ANZ was just the second bank to provide daily automated bank feeds through Xero in the country. The move was a major step in allowing small businesses and their advisors to see complete up-to-date picture of our cash flow and business finances on the Xero dashboard. Now, ANZ will release a new way to apply for direct bank feeds to help small businesses ditch the paperwork. With direct bank feeds, bank transactions flow seamlessly into Xero, reducing manual admin work and the risk of data entry errors. Bank feeds make daily reconciliation a reality and allow businesses to see their true financial position each business day. Working on the same data, accountants and bookkeepers can forecast, plan, and help businesses remain financially stable and viable. Once bank transactions are in Xero, it’s easy to keep track of the money coming in and going out of a business. Working with banks to work with you We recognise that connecting small businesses to their banks is vital to enabling solutions for their business. Xero has an important part to play in providing leading technology to reduce paperwork and red tape. That’s why we strive to work closely with different institutions to improve banking processes for small businesses and their accountants even further. This means not only making it more efficient but also making it more secure. Changes to the way ANZ customers can apply for bank feeds through Xero will take effect from the 6th September.   The post ANZ Australia bank feeds are getting an upgrade appeared first on Xero Blog.

Apply for bank feeds through Westpac Australia’s online banking

Together, Xero and Westpac are committed to removing points of friction for small businesses and their advisors. As part of an ongoing move to reduce paperwork for small business owners, Westpac have launched a new way to apply for direct bank feeds. Direct bank feeds allow bank transactions to flow seamlessly into Xero, reducing manual admin and the risk of data entry errors. Bank feeds make daily reconciliation a reality and allow businesses to see their true financial position each business day. Working on the exact same data, accountants and bookkeepers can forecast, plan, and help businesses remain financially stable and viable. No more paper This new update means instead of the current lengthy process of manual forms  to activate bank feeds, small businesses can now apply directly via their Westpac online banking platform (Westpac Live). Both Xero and Westpac want to improve the process for every customer. This means not only making it more efficient but also making it more secure. Once a customer has entered their Xero details into Westpac Live, they’ll begin receiving bank statement transactions the following day. For advisors, instead of asking clients to sign and scan a form, you can ask them to simply go to their Westpac internet banking, and request a connection from there. Setting up Westpac bank feeds Here’s how to set up Westpac bank feeds to Xero. In Westpac Live, select the accounts you want to connect. Select Xero as the third-party service provider. Enter the the Xero organisation name. You can see the organisation name at the top left corner of any Xero screen. We recommend copying and pasting it from Xero into Westpac Live. Enter the email address used to log into Xero. To see the email address, click the user name at the top right corner of Xero, then click Account. For a full guide on how to set up Westpac Bank Feeds head to our help page. This is just a small change, but it’s an example of how banks are partnering with Xero to make incremental improvements to make the lives of small businesses easier.…

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