Product Reviews Xero

Xero Product Update

Written by Amanda Aguillard

Xero’s latest product update offers some notable improvements.

Last week, Xero US held their Quarterly Product Update. Here are some of the highlights:

Mobile Improvements

Xero Mobile has been improved steadily over the years. What started out as a way to do bank rec on the run and view invoices has expanded into a flush mobile version of a significant chunk of the browser-based product. Xero announced that users will soon be able to Add and Edit Bills in the mobile app. Additionally, users will be able to include file attachments to Invoices sent from the mobile app.

Projects

Since my review of Xero Projects in November, I have configured it for a few of my law firm clients. I think it’s a great module with a lot of potential, so I’m happy that Xero continues to improve it steadily. At the Product Update, they announced a visual overview of Time Entries in a project. Users will be able to quickly see who has worked on any given project at a glance. They also announced that credit notes on Bills will be able to be applied to a Project.

Bank Reconciliation Interface

Bank Reconciliation got a tiny facelift, but because it’s probably the most used screen in Xero, users noticed it as soon as it was live. Xero moved an admittedly obscure Delete bank line function from a hidden, hover-over-to-see, box in the left corner of the bank line tile to a more obvious Options pull-down. Xero also changed the Transfers tab selection from a pulldown list to radio buttons. Again, minor changes.

Xero HQ

You can now Archive clients in Xero HQ without being the subscription holder. Xero has also added the name of your Account Manager in the bottom right of the Practice tab of HQ.

Xero Ask

Xero Ask is an often-overlooked function available to Advisors. It’s a secure portal for the exchange of information from clients to their Advisors, all within Xero. Last week, Xero announced that Ask queries would be able to be initiated in bulk. You will soon be able to send queries to multiple clients at once.

Find & Ask

This feature, currently in beta, is the most exciting of the announcements to me. It will allow advisors to select uncoded or previously coded transaction lines and generate a query to the client through Xero Ask. Clients will be able to create text answers or upload supplemental information.

Help Center

A criticism of Xero as compared to Quickbooks Online has long been support. Quickbooks offers phone and chat support, while Xero offers neither. Xero’s response has been that exclusively offering online support allows the ticket to be routed most quickly to the customer support representative best qualified to answer, rather than having an advisor phone in, which would be bounced around for a while. In my experience, I’ve nearly always received a sufficient response to a support ticket within a day, but for Quickbooks ProAdvisors used to answers on-demand, Xero’s support framework seems unacceptably drawn out.

Online communities, therefore, expressed some pushback when an email circulated earlier this month that Xero support would be handled strictly via Xero Central, not email. I had to submit a support request under Xero Central, and frankly, there’s no noticeable difference in process or delay. Users are notified about responses from the support team via email, and with a click of a link you are brought to the entire exchange for the ticket, which is helpful. I even asked for someone to give me a phone call on my issue, and they did within a couple of hours.

Tax integrations

Xero announced direct integrations with CCH Axcess and Crosslink, including trial balance import.

If you have any thoughts on these feature releases or system improvements, please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

About the author

Amanda Aguillard

Amanda Aguillard decided to become a CPA when she was 16, and never looked back. She started Aguillard Accounting LLC in 2012, committed to running a cloud-based practice from anywhere in the world.

In 2017, she co-founded Bluewire Strategy, a consulting group that empowers traditional accounting firms to fully embrace the cloud using process and technology. She has been a Hubdoc Top 50 Cloud Accountant for the last two years. She was the Xero Evangelist of the Year in 2016 and used her experience as an instructor of the Xero Certification course to co-found Elefant, a continuing education company for accountants and bookkeepers.

While she holds a Masters Degree in Taxation from the University of Denver, she would much rather help other advisors leverage technology to build their dream practices. She regularly speaks at state CPA societies and industry technology conferences like Clio Cloud Conference and Xerocon. She spends any spare time cooking for her two kids and reading historical fiction. She is slightly obsessed with Penzey’s Spices and Chris Thile.

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