Xero have unveiled new features designed to help businesses better understand their finances, manage projects' profitability, and complete payroll benefits faster.
The company has invested heavily in the past year to expand its small business products beyond core accounting services, with the goal of helping small businesses better manage their staff, operate, and scale.
The new features were announced at Xerocon London 2019, where over 3,000 partners were gathered. They include:
- Real-time, smarter insights with Business Snapshot: a new tool to go into pilot early next year, Business Snapshot gives small business owners an important, high-level view of critical business metrics and important trends using attractive visualisations to help them make decisions on immediate issues.
- Connecting Quotes with Projects to support job profitability: Easily estimate, quote, and track jobs directly within Xero Projects, so all new work is accurately costed and projects are more profitable.
- Manage car expenses without the complexity or paperwork: Work-related car expenses are now easier to track and manage for all staff. Automatically calculate fuel and mileage expenses, and reimburse staff without the fuss.
“We have been working hard over the past year to develop new ways to give small businesses smarter, simple and seamless workflows that help them better understand their business and make crucial decisions about the future of their operations," said chief product officer Anna Curzon.
"With these new features, small businesses and their advisors can have deeper discussions about what’s working, what isn’t, and focus on how they can continue to grow and thrive.”
A New Snapshot of Business Health
Poor cash flow management is a significant cause of small business failures around the world. To help owners improve their financial literacy and manage their business financials better, Xero will pilot a new insights tool that will give a high-level view of how a business is faring.
Business Snapshot, piloted by advisors early next year, summarises a business' critical performance metrics such as income, expenses, gross and net profit, receivables and payable days, cash and balance sheet, all in one view.
Visualisations in the report give business owners a way to quickly understand their key health metrics and provide their advisors with a way to start a deeper conversation about their business's performance, as well as potential concerns and opportunities.
The system is part of a broader suite of efforts on Xero's behalf to help encourage small business growth by combining smarter insights with simple tools built with small businesses in mind.
In September, Xero announced a pilot of a short-term cash-flow tool to give small businesses a 30-day view of their business health in the platform and make decisions on payments and bills based on potential impacts to cash flow.
Business Snapshot is the next stage and provides the all-important context to help business owners understand the relationship between cash flow and profit.
Quotes in Xero Projects supports more profitable work
Misquoting for time or costs on jobs is a contributor to small business failure. To help fix this, Xero is making it easier than ever to quickly and accurately estimate job costs with the release of Quotes in Xero Projects. Now, small businesses can create estimates in Projects based on likely hours required to complete work and any expected expenses. Once complete, small businesses can send estimates as professional quotes online to customers and, once approved, they can track time and expenses directly to what they quoted.
By creating detailed quotes directly within Xero Projects, this helps small businesses win new work more quickly, accurately track time and expenses against those projects and ensure their work is profitable in real-time. And because Projects is all within Xero, all quotes, expenses and financial information are directly linked to the ledger, making it easier to track business health and remove duplication of data.
This follows an update earlier this year on auto time tracking for Projects mobile, which suggests time entries against a project based on the time spent at a particular location. This means no more manual tracking of how long owners and their employees have spent on a job.
Manage car expenses automatically
Mileage and fuel are common claimed expense types for businesses on Xero. With new automation features in Xero Expenses, small businesses can eradicate the long backlog of fuel receipts and retroactive mileage claims.
Employees simply need to input their distance travelled, on the Xero Expenses app or the web, and the claim value will be automatically calculated based on the rate per mile or kilometre offered by the employer. No receipts or complicated maths needed.
By automating mileage expenses, businesses can more easily stay on top of their employee expenses, reimburse staff faster, and ensure employees submit expenses quickly rather than leaving them to pile up. Xero Expenses has received acclaim for creating a simpler, smart expense experience for small business.
This includes recently winning the Data and Expense Management Software of the Year Award at the Accountancy Excellence Awards in the UK, and Expense Management Software of the Year at the Digital Accountancy Awards, also in the UK.