In November 2018, my colleague and I spent two very informative and inspiring days at Xerocon at the Excel in London.
The informative parts were spent learning and absorbing new innovations and progressions in the digital accounting space. The overwhelming parts were spent trying to catch up on how so much has changed so quickly!
Xerocon is the annual conference and live event from Xero, one of the leading cloud-based provider of accounting software. The conference is big. Very big. It’s also slick, fast-paced, and full of content, information and innovation.
Xero’s new CEO is Steve Vamos, a thirty-year Australian tech veteran, has been tasked with taking Xero truly global. His passion and enthusiasm for the product are evident when he speaks.
Vamos and Xero used the conference as an opportunity to announce a number of key improvements and new developments to the core Xero product, all of which will have a positive impact on digital accounting in the next 12 months and beyond.
- Accounting tools are now separated from day-to-day business features – making it easier for clients to learn and use Xero.
- There are new groupings for everyday tasks – making the software closer to how a user would intuitively search for items.
- More resources for accountants and clients – increased support materials, improved search functions and overall improvements to training.
Improvements to Integration
- Automatic pulling of information from supplier bills – “email to bills” will reduce manual entry by automatically pulling key information from supplier emails and bills and pushing it through to Xero.
- HUBDOC – The Hubdoc app is new to Xero, and will automate more administrative tasks, allowing businesses more freedom from inputting data themselves.
Making Tax Digital and Compliance
- One of Xero’s most attractive features is that it is ready to be fully MTD compliant. With over 1 million UK businesses required to make the shift to the MTD regime in April 2019, Xero’s appeal in this field is obvious and one of its most important features.
- Also announced at Xerocon, was Xero’s purchase and integration of Instafile for accounts preparation and tax filing. This superb add-on automates the process of filing accounts and tax returns online with companies house and HMRC, effectively removing the need for any additional software costs or duplication of data already in Xero.
Along with the above, Xerocon also presented a huge range of add-on financial and organisational apps that can be used to extend the software beyond bookkeeping and into business management.
About the author, John Hanna, UHY Hacker Young Fitch, Belfast
John joined UHY Hacker Young Fitch in 2006, progressing from trainee chartered accountant to become a manager in 2012 and head of corporate services at the start of 2013. John’s focus is on small and medium owner-managed businesses, helping them to grow and develop and resolve some of the daily challenges they face. John is particularly interested in taking clients beyond compliance and into more beneficial value-added services. John’s client base is diverse, ranging from retail, construction, property development and manufacturing.