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Xero

Software feedback: Xero responds to AccountingWEB users

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Xero has responded directly to recent software issues raised by AccountingWEB audience on Any Answers.

5th Aug 2021
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Following feedback from Accounting users on Any Answers, regarding its software, Xero has responded, outlining pre-existing solutions, solutions in the pipeline and next steps for users.

“We get thousands of product requests and changes that reflect the needs of many different business types, sizes and industries who use Xero. Community feedback is important to the Xero team, and those requests are reviewed carefully by our product teams and do play an important role in our development strategies.

We think UK customers will be pleased to see updates to areas like bank reconciliation, invoicing and reporting, which will be delivered in the near future. To be transparent, while some of these feature updates seem simple, they sometimes are reliant on major architectural changes that must be completed before updates are possible and means they can take time. 

As always, we’re continuing to listen closely to all of our partners about what you’d like to see in Xero, and how we can improve.”

Xero has responded individually to recent feedback provided on Any Answers, and has split the queries by product area.

Invoices

No invoice total column on the All tab (just paid and due), and if you need to change tabs (to only see the unpaid ones) you have to enter your search criteria again. What's wrong with filters?

If you raise it as a feature request, we’ll monitor and see what we can do.

Not enough fields on invoice header and lack of custom fields generally.

We know that this is something that many of you have asked for and it is on our product roadmap. 

On the ‘New’ invoice reports you have to remember to exclude void and deleted invoices. And there isn’t an invoices by customer by time period report.

This is also on our product roadmap.

User interface

Several AccountingWEB users raised about Xero ledgers and specifically about their filtering capabilities.

  • “Repeat the scroll arrows at the foot of each page in, eg account transactions at the top of the page. Save scrolling all the way up or down to move to the next page.”
  • “Put the Files link back on the top bar instead of hiding it in the drop-down box with settings”
  • “Default select headings are not the generally needed ones... Fix the practice as the top option in the list to change organisation”
  • “Can't journal into the banks, A/R or A/P”
  • “Unable to force use of tracking codes”.

Xero answered “We can’t respond to these as it’s unclear which bit of the product they are talking about” and asked for more clarification on which filters users are referring to.

Bank reconciliation

Bank rec screen only shows 10 transactions that cant be filtered or sorted

We’ll keep our customers updated if this is something we decide to enable.

Credit notes don’t show on the bank rec find and match

Your best bet here is to log a feature request, and then we can consider it as part of our product roadmap. It isn’t something being considered at this stage. 

Unable to set user access to reconcile the bank without access to account balances 

Your best bet here is to log a feature request. It isn’t something being considered at this stage. 

General complaints

No EU edition (the international edition doesn't properly handle EU VAT)

At this stage, we do not have a specific EU edition.

Price increases

As part of standard business practice, we have reviewed and updated our product and pricing plans to allow continued investment in product development and the future of the platform. 

As part of this process, we have made significant updates to our platform, responding to customer needs in areas like practice management, cash flow and payment tools, compliance and tax, improved automation and security.

Covid support

“It still offers Covid advice and support”

Now that all restrictions have been lifted, we’ll review this and remove anything that isn’t relevant at this time.  

HSBC connection

“Client cannot reconnect her feed to HSBC bank. She got through to Xero via their contact us option and they told her there would be a three-day wait before they could reply.” 

From 30 July, some existing HSBC direct bank feeds will no longer be supported and will stop importing transactions into Xero. This is because HSBC has switched on Open Banking. For guidance on how to manage this within Xero, view this article on Xero Central here.

Mandatory multi factor authentication

Mandatory multi factor authentication (MFA) has also cropped up in the list of customer gripes with Xero.

“I’ve happily accessed the client's Xero account for three years. Now they’ve introduced mandatory multi factor authentication (MFA). Why??”

We believe MFA is an essential step in keeping our customers’ data safe and secure, and we’re doing all we can to support users through the change. 

There is never an ideal time to do something like this and we understand that some may be frustrated at having to implement the changes as we make them mandatory. We took all of this into consideration, but we feel it’s the right choice for our customers. 

We are custodians of your data and we take that responsibility very seriously which is why we’re taking this proactive approach to security. Cyber attackers and hackers are getting more and more sophisticated and so modern security features like MFA add an extra layer of protection.  We believe that it’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a genuine necessity, which is why we are making this change mandatory.

Is Xero getting as arrogant and greedy as Sage?

“An update from Xero just landed in my inbox. If I am reading it correctly it appears that they intend to force users to have to go through the effort of ‘opting out’ of a price increase in January ’22 rather than hope that users value the additional functionality enough to opt-in and pay the circa 20% surcharge for it.”

Philrob is referring to the launch of Xero Analytics and Xero Analytics Plus. We can confirm that this product launch is unrelated to any price rise and is purely an optional add-on which there is no obligation to pay for unless you would like to add the functionality. 

Xero Analytics which includes the basic version of short-term cash flow and business snapshot will continue to be included in any business edition plan for free. 

We have launched a more advanced version called Xero Analytics Plus which is £5 GBP (VAT exclusive) per month/per subscriber as an opt-in add-on to the plans. We have a special going now that businesses can try it for free ending 31 Jan 2022 with no obligation to continue after the trial period. 

Feature request date stamps

We also wanted to provide some clarity around your comments on date stamps on feature requests being removed. The date a feature request was created has no bearing on when or if a request will be developed. We get thousands of product requests and changes that reflect the needs of many different business types, sizes and industries who use Xero. 

A user may have created a request four years ago, but it may have only picked up traction/votes in the last 1-2 years. The dates were falsely giving an impression to our community that it should be actioned if it had been there a long time, and that isn’t the way they are being considered. As a business, we really value transparency but felt this was causing unnecessary confusion. 

You’ll be pleased to know that there are teams working on many of the core product functionality and feature requests that you have noted. However, just because a feature is highly voted on, doesn’t mean it’s something we can quickly roll out.

While some of these feature updates seem simple, they sometimes are reliant on major technical upgrades that can take years of work and must be completed to enable us to complete the work. The multiple contacts request you reference is one of those requests that is far more complex for us to solve than it appears. It is something that is actively underway, however, it will take time. 

If you want to know more about some of the considerations of how we prioritise features, this Xero product management blog provides a snapshot.

Replies (25)

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By Duggimon
05th Aug 2021 09:57

Wow, they really didn't take any of that on at all, did they?

"It's on our product roadmap, trust me, no you can't see it but it's there."

Also, I am an absolute novice when it comes to Xero but I know exactly what every one of those items they didn't respond to were referring to.

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By Latinaid
05th Aug 2021 10:57

Duggimon wrote:

Also, I am an absolute novice when it comes to Xero but I know exactly what every one of those items they didn't respond to were referring to.

I was going to say exactly the same thing. This time last week I'd never even logged on to Xero - I've had to embark on a steep learning curve to help out a client - and I knew what all of those queries were about.

I feel that generally the comments and responses from Xero come across as slightly arrogant.

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By Hugo Fair
05th Aug 2021 12:05

If the article was a musical ... my review would be only one word "Tone-deaf"!

And, by the way, they know that ... which is why, very unusually for Xero, the person or people being quoted aren't named.

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FirstTab
By FirstTab
05th Aug 2021 10:03

What I about the key issue of Xero compensating it’s customers on the recent incident? Users not being able to login.

Why is this not being addressed? Is it addressed elsewhere?

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By [email protected]
05th Aug 2021 10:45

It is such a shame the way Xero has deteriorated over the last 3 years or so. They used to be absolutely brilliant and really seemed to care what their advisors were saying.
Nowadays they just seem to be money grabbers who don't give a hoot about customer service.
The last product update spent 15 minutes elaborating on how to advise client about cashflow rather than what's being done to make the day to day grass roots transaction entry easier.
They are getting as expensive and non-approachable as Sage are!

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
05th Aug 2021 10:58

its what happens with software matures

It goes from "we want to serve our customers"

To

"wring 'em dry, its all about our bonuses this year and/or shareholder value"

They seem on a steep price escalator now, I like the "but we added free stuff" excuse. Classic.

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FirstTab
By FirstTab
05th Aug 2021 11:30

As much as Xero is trying to be Apple of the software world. It is not. No one can be. Apple is unique.

Apple is a consumer product in the main. Xero is business software, which now does the same more or less as its competitors. Its design is not so appealing anymore. I hope Xero blind fans will open their eyes and not be taken in by Xero's marketing and PR.

Accountants do not have your website/your business where it comes across as XERO is your USP. A risky way to work.

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By AdamMurphy
05th Aug 2021 12:06

The phrase none so blind as those that will not see really applies when it comes to some Xero users. And this site.

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By jon_griffey
05th Aug 2021 11:30

I do wish that software companies would concentrate on improving core functionality rather than adding bells and whistles that nobody really needs. Not singling anyone out - they all do it.

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By BrianL
05th Aug 2021 12:11

And in many cases, remove useful features in the process.

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By Paul Crowley
05th Aug 2021 19:39

Not just xero
They all witter on using the made up word of functionality
I always dread updates
There is always a collection of changes on things that worked to things that no longer work.
If only these people had users who could test ride the product for a month or so and point out all the brand new [***] ups.
If only there was some way to check that all the existing stuff still worked.
Do any of us want increased functionalty at the cost of old functions accidentally failing

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By Hugo Fair
05th Aug 2021 23:52

"If only there was some way to check that all the existing stuff still worked."
There is ... it used to be called a 'test harness' (although it probably has some fancy new name now), whose purpose was to automate the testing of individual functions to check for their behaviour remaining consistent over subsequent releases.
Indeed this used to be claimed as one of the benefits of developing cloud computing ('making it safer to push upgrades to everyone at the same time') ... so go figure!?!

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By Paul Crowley
09th Aug 2021 20:01

Far better than a computer checking a computer would be a human using it who knows what he uses over a monthly period
One of the very simple functions of creating a tax return list sorted by tax manager in IRIS went Awol in the last update
IRIS know as it is on their list of known defects with no promise to make it work

Basically a sod you message to users but loads of new unwanted functions per last Awb spiel

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By Truthsayer
05th Aug 2021 12:11

I've always regarded Xero as fundamentally bad software due to;

1) Lack of proper sales and purchase ledgers.
2) Having no backup facility so it is impossible to reset to an earlier date if someone messes up their inputting.
3) Everything being full of unnecessary complications, useless features and pointless screens.
4) Invoicing system being bad, such as no proper way of doing service invoices.

I don't know why so many people seem to rate it highly. VT Transaction+ is vastly simpler, cheaper, and better.

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By AdamMurphy
05th Aug 2021 14:30

To paraphrase Basil Fawlty "Don't mention around here that Xero has faults. I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it on here"

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Replying to Truthsayer:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
05th Aug 2021 17:22

@trusthsayer, I am confused about the claim of no purchase/sales ledgers.

There is significant and quite decent functionality around sales invoicing. You can very much "do service invoicing" with it.

Ditto purchasing invoicing, which is quite frankly pretty neat in that you can email or upload and it pretty much does it for you.

it might not be "how sage does it" (thankfully) but its pretty decent if you learn how to use it, which is fairly intuitive.

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By Truthsayer
05th Aug 2021 18:05

I have never found any way in Xero of calling up a customer or supplier's complete history with debits and credits and a running balance, like in....you know...a sales or purchase ledger. There are instead loads of useless reports that only show certain types of transaction. The invoice function insists on a quantity of a particular item, which is not what you want for professional service invoicing.

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By AdamMurphy
05th Aug 2021 22:36

You can't debate with blind zealots. Didn't you know to be a fully paid up AWebber you have to have the mantra Xero is great, Sage is crap.

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By indomitable
05th Aug 2021 14:46

Couldn't agree more with the comments about Xero having deteriorated over the last 3 years. Instead of concentrating and making their core bookkeeping system better they like some other software companies seem to want add other functionality which invariably is sub-standard.

I think their bookkeeping product is pretty good but their customer service is poor.

Don't like their PR and ethos personally with all the hype around Xero roadshows. I cannot believe people pay to go on them. I asked them once why you don't you offer this FREE seeing we have alot of subscriptions with you. Of course they declined.

They are a software provider period.

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By Winnie Wiggleroom
05th Aug 2021 15:15

hilarious!

"don't tell us what you need, we will tell you that, everything you complain about we kick down the road anyway, but don't forget we have given you this shiny new more expensive bit you didn't ask for and don't need"

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By GHarr497688
05th Aug 2021 22:27

Awful software - over rated. Not one client can master this highly complex software.
All I use it for now is Sales Invoicing . Support is awful , sales people persistent and knowledge base confusing. Although all cloud software is bad when used by a novice or in a small business.

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
06th Aug 2021 07:08

It's a great relief to hear all this "Emperor's new clothes" stuff on here. I have about 10 clients on Xero, I vastly prefer VT personally as it is just so much slicker and quicker. In fairness to Xero, Sage, QBO, FreeAgent and Clearbooks are all pretty similar if you ask me and the average client is just as likely to put lots of stuff in the wrong places and not get the bank to balance in all of them, pretty much equally.

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By AdamMurphy
06th Aug 2021 11:30

100% Emperor's New Clothes. The b-b-but it's IN THE CLOUD SO IT'S AWESOME mantra by others is laughable

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By fluffymitten
10th Aug 2021 17:50

I would like a proper audit export function that will export EVERY transaction within a given date range. SageOne does this and I used to run it at year end as my 'backup'.

I'd like the ability to calculate and submit CT returns. I think FreeAgent does something around CT but not entirely sure of the functionality.

The assumption that Projects are billed hourly had me unsubscribing from that add-on before the discounted price ended. It also doesn't tell you how much of the Project budget is left, only what you've billed.

One of their sales chaps sounded shocked when I said that SageOne didn't create a year end journal to close down the P&L. Turns out Xero doesn't do that either. So I'm still entering manual journals at year end.

I've had Xero for a year and I'm toying with leaving.

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By yaakovgrant
16th Aug 2021 13:43

Great article and some fab comments.

Embarrassed to say we have been with Xero for about 4 years.

Do they have ANY accountants working for them?

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