Blogger
Share this content
0
21
4501

Xero One Ledger

I have been using Xero for a few months now. It has radically changed and improved my business management and I am recommending it to all and sundry. The question is though how far off are we from generating statutory accounts direct from Xero (or other similar products) and then link directly to products such as TaxCalc?

Is this seen as the future of accounting or will we all still have to utilise some form of software such as Digita?

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

Sticking to the knitting

Great question. If you want to get the attention of the company themselves to this question, try also posting over on the Xero Users, online community.

I met with Hamish Edwards, of Xero, some time back and he talked about the company's "One Ledger" idea. I told him that it was much more of a challenge than he envisaged.

Since accountancy firms typically need the final accounts numbers in their tax and other practice software, unless Xero were to add tax computation and return submission features, there would always be a disconnect between separate systems.

I advised strongly against moving into tax software, because I believe it would cost millions and take considerable development recources. Why re-invent that wheel?

Hamish said that Xero wanted to provide the "World's best general ledger". Philip Fierlinger, of Xero, recently restated their goal as "to build a platform that beautifully manages all of the world’s small business transactions".

That is, in my opinion, the right objective for the company - and one that they are already doing pretty well at. 

Adrian @topaccountants
http://adrianpearson.com

Thanks (0)

Its coming

Awesome to hear you're enjoying working with Xero. 

We're just about to finish our final accounts production work in Xero for New Zealand as part of our Modern Practice initiative. Other territories, including the UK with the relevant iXBRL reporting compliance, will follow in due course but we have no firm dates set yet.

@Adrian - We're mindful of the risks and won't tie ourselves in knots to make something work if we ultimately discover it's in the too hard category. But we're up for any challenge if it moves things forwards for customers and helps us differentiate.

Gary Turner
UK Managing Director, Xero

Thanks (0)

PUREaccountants

When I get some breathing space (hopefully in a couple of months time). I will look at Xero.

It would be really helpful to know how Xero has radically changed and improved your business management? How many of your clients you have convereted to Xero and their feedback on Xero? What software you were using prior to Xero?

Thanks

Thanks (0)

A client of mine started using it ...

and I was 'invited' (presumably by some automated part of the software) to join as the accountant. We've tried three times now and it just freezes. And then blow me - I paused while typing this post and thought I would quickly go to the Xero home page to get some background on prices etc .... and the ###### froze out my PC again (stuck on 100% CPU use etc).

Now it might all be my fault etc ... browser, norton, internet speed or whatever but on-line software has to work everytime for everyone otherwise you will never build trust. What will my answer be next time a client asks me my thoughts?!

Thanks (0)

Looking a bit further on

Who would have believed a few years back that basic accounting software would be communicating & submitting directly to the government for PAYE & VAT purposes?  How far away therefore are we from the next step which is direct reporting of annual profits and tax liabilities to HMRC? To my mind (as mentioned by Gary) ixbrl takes us a giant leap forward along this road.

At the moment, annual accounting numbers have to be reformatted by an expert for statutory disclosure purposes and, to a far lesser extent, for tax purposes, converting accounts profit to tax profit.  Much of this is the tail end of paper/pre-computer regulation and we seem to be on a bit of a cusp, but if the micro company exemption from statutory filing arrives and HMRC move further towards  taxing GAAP accounting profit it seems to me that we won't have long to wait until the majority of companies running basic software, with some added bits & pieces will be able to submit their annual accounts directly to the government.

In anticipation of the usual response "maybe, but clients will still "need" accountants" yes but you said that when it was suggested that clients would one day do and submit their own VAT returns.  I'm not saying that an expert's input will still, presumably, be of benefit but for most this will be as a checker.  We could for example have the tail end bits & pieces from the software loaded in our office to act as checker/submitter for the client's 98% complete file.

So my message to any software company looking to get into the current expert processes is to hold back a bit, maybe forming partnerships with existing "expert" systems to bridge the gap until the expert systems become redundant for all but medium/large companies.

Thanks (0)

@Steve

Steve, sorry to hear about your problems; you'd expect me to say so, but believe me they're very unusual. 

You're probably correct, and I suspect your browser has gotten fouled up with something in its cache, or some addon is conflicting. First I'd recommend upgrading your browser to the latest version, disable any addons (if you're using Firefox or Chrome) and then clear out your cache (the method varies by browser, but it's easy enough).

Browsers can get out of date quickly, need to be patched and updated pretty regularly and occasionally need a good kick or a reset, but 99.999% of the time they behave and provide an excellent platform for web apps like Xero.

If you've not been sufficiently put off to give it another try and you still get stuck, email me on gary [at] xero.com and we'll get to the bottom of it for you pretty quickly.

Gary Turner
UK Managing Director, Xero

Thanks (0)

Thanks Gary ....

and I am sure it can be sorted. My point remains, however, that I am able to use every other piece of commercial software available to an accountant so why not Xero? I use AOL as my default browser and don't see why I should have to change my preference to match the needs of someone elses software. It would be like Sainsburys insisting that I buy a newer car before I get to fill it up!

In respect of the specific problem with my client - I have an open ticket with your support desk so I'll see how they get on.

Thanks (0)

@ Paul

Although I respect your opinion on this .... what about the vast majority of clients who cannot work out accruals, post their 'drawings' to salaries, allocate £10k to sundries and their VAT payments to corporation tax? I think as an accountant it is easy to dismiss the blind number terror that many people have and I think there will be a role for us for a while yet. I concede that it is a finite and diminishing one though!

Thanks (0)

AOL - ouch ..!

@Steve Holloway -

'.. I use AOL as my default browser and don't see why I should have to change my preference to match the needs of someone elses software ..'

I am afraid that AOL has always been regarded as a truly appalling piece of software and has in the past been likened to '.. the only legalised virus system available ..'

Surely AOL is doing just that by 'changing standards' to fit it own purpose - in fact a fairer test of any on-line software is to use any one of the 'proper' browsers IE, FireFox, Opera, Chrome etc.. - the list is endless; just give AOL a miss

At one time the AOL browser was a modified version of Internet Explorer (up to AOL 7.0 don't know whether this is still the case)... The main modification was a setting which re-compressed the graphics on websites, before you received them on your screen; which destroyed all images & made them blurry etc.

Nevertheless, there continue to be problems with the AOL browser, failing to access sites, displaying sites incorrectly and so on..; their problems are a legion!

So really it is AOL that is out of step with the rest of the world and not the other way round

Anyway, more than 40% of AOL's revenue still comes from selling dial-up Internet service and related subscription products. The company continues to try an re-invent iteslf from its heyday in 1999 but to no avail and is losing subscribers fast, at a rate of 3 percent a month
 

Thanks (0)

Steve

Yes, I know exactly what you mean however over recent years I've seen a vast improvement in client record keeping.  There are several factors here including more general information, better guidance from government but mainly better guidance from accountants and more intuitive systems.

From what I can tell from this site, most accountants these days will impart as much advice as possible to the client to enable them to do a good job and thus provide us with relatively clean books and records.  This was not the case in "the old days" where accountants would just clean up the mess once a year, charge for it and not tell the clients they could do better and reduce their fees.

Modern accounting systems now have checks and methods that can help avoid the usual errors.  OpenBooks for example is a far simpler system than say QBs or Sage deskbound but it is better at giuiding the client through the various simple steps of recording a bill (in) or invoice (out) as well as bank ins & outs and makes it more likely than not that things will end up in the right place.

In many cases, say for management accounts or just year end accounts I will have to action some cut-off entries (eg accruals, accrued income etc) but several of my clients now do this themselves as I've explained the principles and, to be honest, it's only necessary for material entries.

As I say therefore my role with these clients is now more of a checker with the added benefit that, with online books, I can do this regularly through the year without the client even knowing.

And for the others who are hopeless?  It will get to the stage where the risk of significant error is not an option (either from tax or fee penalties) and so record keeping will be taken seriously and if they are innumerate they will pay someone who is.  OR, they won't find an accountant who is prepared to deal with them.

Thanks (0)

User for 10 years!

Works just fine thanks. I think it is a bit like Norton ... techno geeks take a dislike and everyone else just repeats the mantra. For 99% of sites is works perfectly. If the 1% are too lazy to ensure their product is compatable with commercial browsers then its there loss surely!

Thanks (0)

@FirstTab & @Steve

 With regards to transforming my business I have been building a practice around the cloud. I have a handful of clients on Xero (having moved from in-house spreadsheets and the once brilliant QuickBooks). Two companies in srping to mind immediately from a small self employed electrician and £600k turnover steam cleaning business. Both have commented on its ease of use, the fact I can resolve issues for them remotely, daily bank feeds (except Lloyds & Barclays with their ridiculous smartcard readers) as well as the ability to see at a glance everytime they log in their financial position. 

In terms of my own business I have been trialling the WorkflowMax system which integrates with Xero, VendHQ for a retail/leisure client and many other systems such as MyPaye payroll. This has improved my worklife immeasurably. I have now migrated 3 years worth of data from QuickBooks to Xero so that I can compare like for like periods, and begin to utilise the inbuilt management reports. I'm not suggesting that Xero is the only answer but after great consideration (and the fact I don't have to cough up £800+Vat) to become a partner Xero wins for me. Its clean, simple to use and the fact its not branded as my own software suits me fine. Give credit where its due I say, no client is genuinley going to believe that you deisgned and built the software anyway and why would they trust you with their banking details? You may be their accountant, but you're no internet security God.

Steve, I think the polite way of resolving your issue is to ditch AOL, its quite frankly awful. I use Google Chrome, Safari or needs be IE. Fire fox I understand is pretty good too. 

 

Thanks (0)

@Xero

 The Modern Practice, I saw this some months ago and joined the LinkedIn group too, it was this that prompted me to sign up for a WorkFlowMax trial, I guess this might also suggest why its layout its similar to Xero, the green is surely the same as the Xero practice management?

Anyhow, it all looks good but I can't help feeling nervous about two things. One you're partnering with Microsoft. Good God, do they actually know anything about the cloud? I appreciate that their hosted office system is superior to anything that Google can throw up but Sharepoint? Aren't there better systems - I personally use box and love it (especially as it works well with my iPad). 

I know Xero have invested in WorkFlowMax but $200k doesn't go far in software development, I can only assume that the NZ tax system is far simpler than our UK one. I also assume that it is only going to cover VAT and Corp Tax. That means we will still have to find a suitable vendor for personal tax. 

It's not a dig but just wondering why the Xero board have chosen this route. I know Acclipse NZ have an online tax and practice management system and that you used to partner with them until they bought their own online accounts system, is the aim to beat them at their own game and ship it around the world? I have requested a demo of Acclipse but for obvious reasons unable to receive any support at the moment. 

As a whole I like the Modern Practice concept, I could see how I could utilise it effectively and build a strong efficient practice. My concern is that the development of tax specific software for the UK market could swallow up considerably more funds than is available. 

Is there a way Xero could work with existing desktop vendors to create data exchanges? Or perhaps you've secreatly created the killer online system we've all wanted - bar MS Sharepoint.

Exciting times!

Thanks (0)

Browsers ...

OK, off topic but perhaps someone would tell me why AOL is so 'awful'? For me its just a tool that sits on the desktop until I need to go to a 'favourite' site or search for something. It does both of these perfectly well as far as I can see. I use a few forums and carry out all the on-line functions you would expect, live on ebay / amazon - God I can even use AWEB! 99% - no problem. It has a simple, uncluttered interface that is easy to use .... I wish I could say this of all software I come across.

So, what do these other browsers offer that AOL does not? I'm not being funny about it and I would consider change but I won't do it simply out of techno fasion. Sell it to me!

 

Thanks (0)

AOL?

 Steve, i'm no techie when it comes to the nuts and bolts of browsers but from personal experience and a little (and no doubt dangerous) understanding I conclude this. 

AOL has always been slow, produced poor images and seems to zap your PC of every convecieable amount of RAM to run. I have always felt that AOL is unlike any other web browser. Imagine it as an old mainframe system taking up an entire cellar of some building as opposed to the lighter more sprightly cloud systems we have today. 

In comparison, I find Google Chrome a truly brilliant. Its fast, in terms of rendering information, clean and easy to use and with hundreds of add-ons will do more that any AOL browser. IE explorer isn't bad and Safari and Firefox get my vote to. 

I guess this all comes down to the tech behind each one. Google even has video on why it's so good http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en-GB/more/index.html. AOL is a bloated fat american stuck in the 1950's talking about conspiracy theories and landing on the moon in terms of technology. 

I'm sure there are pleanty of people on this thread who could enlighten you more. So in my honest opinion change - download chrome and try it. http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en-GB/landing_tv.html

Thanks (0)

AOL

@Steve - AOL is not a supported broswer for Xero. We're not prejudiced in that regard; it's no longer supported by AOL either.

It might be fine for light browsing but it's in no way capable of providing a sound platform for rich web apps like Xero and will have a number of security vulnerabilities. As the others say, try a new one - you'll be pleasantly surprised and possibly even blown away.

@PureAccountants - Yep - totally get what you say, we won't blow our brains out when we come to tackling this in the UK, recognise it's more complex in the UK than in other regions. It gets spoken/written about more than it possibly justifies at the moment because it's interesting/provocative and possibly disruptive, but we're working on lots of other standard / easy innovations first.

Gary Turner
UK Managing Director, Xero

Thanks (0)

Great News

 I'm sure there are plenty of sensible heads amongst the Xero ranks but I personally am delighted to hear that you are making the effort to transform the accounting profession.

Open, transparent and integrated products are considerably more appealing than closed, difficult/expensive to integrate ones. And if they work on my iPad then more votes too.

So any chance of box.net integration?

 

Thanks (0)

API

No specific integration planned for box.net.

I personally expect - I'm going way off piste here, so don't tell my CTO - that we'll open up our API in future (not soon) to provide a some kind of basis for document / file storage exchange.

We've had to build a new, basic file storage capability in the Xero web app for the imminently to be released Xero iPhone app in which the new mobile expenses app offers a function for attaching photos of your receipts - taken with the iPhone camera. Within Xero's expenses approval form you'll soon see the ability to view an attached expenses receipt photo.

It's not at the top of our list, but I suspect we'll get around to broadening that one day, but not any time soon. Best interim solution I can suggest - which is only one way publishing, is the exsiting 'Publish to GoogleDocs' option on all reports - Google have recently changed their Apps service to provide a basic document and file storage capability.

Not a complete solution as it's only one way from Xero to Google Apps, but it's free in most cases - I think anyway.

Gary Turner
UK Managing Director, Xero
 

Thanks (0)

Xero & Google Apps

 Thansk Gary, there is a sync between Google Docs and Box but I haven't opened that up and yet and need to understand exactly what it does (i.e. not what they say should happen).

As an avid user of Google Apps i'm happy with the service Google provide and their apparent deisre to open up to other programs.

Looking forward to the new iPhone app. I have phone call with Glen F later this week so may bash him for moe info.

Final question for you then, when will you be able to send me invoices via the Xero network?

Thanks (0)

Xero Network
One day. While we use Xero for our accounting, given our subscription billing model, we use our own custom billing engine - Sub Xero - to handle the complex 30k+ monthly billing calculations and processes and at present this sits outside of the Xero Network peer to peer billing framework we built for Xero users to use.

So, one day - it would be a big job and we have lots of other things to build out in the core app first.

Make sense?

Gary Turner
UK Managing Director, Xero
@garyturner

Thanks (0)

Best Cloud Accounting & CT software that links to Xero

Hello!

I've been waiting to do stats & CT form Xero for quite some time.. but fear I now need to invest in a proper software, as it could well be another year or so by the looks of things, before Xero offers this.

Please could you recommend the best cloud Accounts & CT preparation software that link to Xero?

Best regards,

Marcus

[email protected]

 

Thanks (0)