And that’s a wrap! What an incredible couple of days it’s been at Xerocon London, kicking off the product update with the launch of our exciting new product for sole traders, and watching as our teams share the latest tools and features in Xero.
It’s been a real privilege to share how we’ve been responding to the changing world of work over the last few years, with products that help you streamline your work, give you flexibility and control in your practice, and build relationships that are both meaningful and profitable.
Being together with our community in person is a wonderful reminder of our purpose, and it’s a privilege to co-design and create the future of our product suite together. If you weren’t able to join us at Xerocon, here are a few of the highlights that we covered across the two-day event.
Introducing Xero Go for sole traders
I was thrilled to unveil the early release of Xero Go — the new mobile app we launched in the UK to ease the burden of financial admin for sole traders and their advisors. This is a key part of our commitment to helping employing businesses win the war on talent and give them the best possible chance of success in an ever-changing environment.
In addition to helping them streamline the manual, time-consuming elements of being self-employed, Xero Go will also help sole traders be compliant with upcoming Making Tax Digital for Income Self Assessment (MTD for ITSA) requirements to keep digital records, while helping advisors to service sole traders more efficiently in light of these increased reporting requirements.
Preparing your clients for MTD for ITSA
MTD for ITSA is going to be seismic in scale, impacting up to 4.2 million businesses across the UK. It will fundamentally change the UK tax landscape, but will ensure small businesses have the tools they need to become more efficient and succeed in the years ahead.
There are three key changes that will impact your clients. But don’t worry, we’ll be here to support you every step of the way. You can start getting your clients ready by:
- encouraging them to keep digital records if they currently aren’t (that means saying goodbye to shoeboxes of receipts and post-it notes)
- Encouraging regular income and expense tracking. MTD for ITSA will mean increased reporting frequency, with updates sent to HMRC more regularly rather than once a year
- using compatible software to manage digital records, and send MTD for ITSA submissions to HMRC (beta testing of our solution is underway and Xero partners can join now)
At Xerocon London, we talked about our commitment to ensuring that you have the technology, processes and practice proposition in place ahead of 2024. This includes our end-to-end solution that we’ll be putting in your hands before MTD for ITSA is mandated.
Being part of our Xero beta will allow you to adopt it early for some of your clients, so do consider joining. Most importantly, don’t wait until 2024 to start thinking about MTD for ITSA.
Embracing the changing world of work
The Changing world of work report — which examined the attitudes and behaviours of small business employers and their employees in the UK — was also launched at Xerocon London. The results of this research reinforced how critical it is that small businesses adopt technology to ease stress and frustration for themselves and their employees.
Alongside the report, we presented our suite of employee management tools in Xero to help small businesses manage their workforce more effectively. These included updates to Xero Payroll, a demo of Xero Me and a peek at our integration with Planday. It was great to see so many advisors engaging with the Planday team and really thinking about how these tools will help their clients.
Better managing your practice workflows
Attendees at Xerocon London were treated to a sneak peek of our new document packs feature, which is coming soon to Xero HQ. This secure online portal allows clients to easily view, download, electronically sign and return documents to you — all in one secure, accessible place. It will also integrate with Xero Tax, making it even easier to share documents with clients.
We also shared the improvements we’re making to job manager in Xero Practice Manager (XPM). Using job manager is a great way to increase efficiency, stay in control of your practice and drive collaboration across your team. These updates will make it easier to see, find and track jobs, with a modern table as well as new sorting and filtering options.
Getting quick access to answers in reporting
We recently announced that we’re retiring the older versions of our reports in Xero, so we can focus on adding even more value to our new reports. Xerocon London was a great opportunity to show you just how much functionality we’ve packed into our suite of reports, and it was wonderful to see those ‘aha’ moments in the audience when we shared some of the latest customisations.
If you haven’t tried our new reports, it’s a good time to jump in and give them a go. If you’re not sure how to get started, we suggest opening the new Profit and Loss report in Xero. There’s a handy product tour in there that will guide you through the new layouts and settings.
Managing cash flow with Xero Analytics
Our latest Xero Small Business Insights report found that 94% of small businesses in the UK experienced at least one month of negative cash flow in 2021, which is a staggering figure.
Xero Analytics is probably the most powerful tool we have to help your clients manage their cash flow. However, one of the things that can really impact short-term cash flow are those less frequent but bigger amounts like VAT. So we were excited to share that we’ve built an integration with HMRC that captures your clients’ VAT obligations in real-time.
In our breakout session on managing cash flow, we demonstrated the new short-term cash flow feature that allows you to update the planned or expected payment date of your overdue bills and invoices in bulk from within short-term cash flow, allowing you to more actively manage your cash flow projection.
Xero and GoCardless to offer Instant Bank Pay to UK customers
For time-strapped small business owners, the need to generate and issue invoices and then chase payments across multiple systems is a huge, time consuming challenge. By introducing integrated online payments, small businesses can save a huge amount of time and better meet customer needs by providing multiple payment options.
The new open banking feature, directly integrated into the GoCardless global payment platform, will offer accountants, bookkeepers and small businesses a new alternative to taking one-off payments. With Instant Bank Pay, Xero users can receive one-off bank-to-bank payments from new and existing customers while still using Direct Debit for their recurring payments.
The feature is currently being rolled out and will soon be available to Xero UK customers.
We’re (still) in this together
If there’s one thing I took away from Xerocon London, it’s that the partnership we have with our accounting and bookkeeping partners is an enduring one. You’re an essential part of our business, and I can’t wait to work with you to continue making life better for small businesses across the UK.