Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Xero announces integrated cloud accounting solution / Xero releases integrated cloud accounting and payroll solution for small businesses and signs another bank to its live bank feeds service.

Ian Murphy for business-cloud writes: On the first day of the Xerocon London User conference, online accounting software vendor Xero has announced new cloud software aimed at small businesses. The new solution is described in the press release as "the first seamless, all-in-one accounting and payroll solution, along with a business performance dashboard using big data to provide real-time business insights."
One of the challenges for any small business in adopting accounting software is that payroll is seen as a cash-cow add-on by many companies. Vendors defend this position because they need to update their software to deal with regular changes to taxes related to earnings. However, the UK now requires so many small organisations to make submissions to HMRC that payroll is now more important to them than many other accounting package functions.
Xero are doing more than just integrating Payroll into their cloud accounting suite. They are providing businesses with a set of tools that enable staff costs to be monitored and managed from any device. In a move that will get the attention of a lot of small businesses, and this is all for free from Xero
According to Gary Turner, managing director Xero: “Payroll is typically a costly, dry and time-consuming aspect of running a business, but we’ve built a platform that makes it quick and simple for people to undertake once mundane, manual tasks. And the cost is included within your Xero subscription. “For the business owner, running a business is much easier when you combine two of the most critical back office tasks: accounting and payroll. Now small businesses can save time and money by getting exactly what they need in this all-in-one, easy-to-use, seamless accounting and payroll solution.”
It is not just Payroll that Xero have announced today. Metro Bank has become the fifth bank to join the Xero live feeds service following on from RBS, HSBC, Natwest and Silicon Valley Bank. Live banks feeds integrate the cloud accounting software with the business bank account providing real-time data transfer. This means that as soon as a bill is paid, it shows in the accounting suite and any payments are immediately  deducted from the account and transferred to the payee.
As well as the real-time element, it also makes it much easier for businesses to balance their accounts without having to use a separate system to go online, extract the data and then key it into their accounting software.
The final part of this announcement is a new business performance dashboard. Common in large company accounting solutions, this will allow small businesses to get a deeper understanding of where their money is going, monitor payment terms and begin to set their own fiscal metrics for the business.
With Xerocon only just under way, it is likely that there will be many more announcements over the next two days.