Xero improves UI, adds features to core platform

During its annual Xerocon Australia conference in Brisbane, Xero announced several new features and updates to its accounting software. The company is still focused on its goal of creating “code free accounting” and continues to create new automation within its platform to bring efficiencies to accountants.

The new features announced are as follows:

  • The "files required" feature is a new, more efficient way for advisors to identify and collect client documents in one place, meant to make tax preparation easier and reduce time spent chasing information.
  • "Email-to-bills," a machine learning feature for Xero bills, is being expanded to extract and automatically populate details from any email PDF bill into Xero.
  • The Xero app marketplace now offers a new way for advisors to get curated app recommendations for their clients, and showcase their expertise in technology integrations to prospective clients.

Additionally, based on user feedback, Xero has improved its coded transaction reports, which are reports that flag all uncoded transactions. Previously, the report would have to be downloaded and sent to interested parties. Now, it can be sent via a Xero.com email address directly within the Xero platform. This was a “major pain point” with users, vice president of products for the Americas Herman Man told Accounting Today.

Xero’s recent acquisition of document collection and management software provider Hubdoc is another point of excitement for the company and is allowing Xero to expand its capabilities in that area. Hubdoc can fetch documents from more than 700 banks and online vendors and integrates with Xero Ask, a feature that allows accountants to send queries for documents directly to a client’s email address from within the platform.

Xero-HQ-Auckland

Xero’s email-to-bill feature also now works in tandem with Hubdoc, where a user can use either the document management solution or choose to auto-forward bills to a Xero email address to extract information from PDF documents. Man said that this feature will eventually work with other file formats, but for now, just works for PDFs.

In addition to putting a lot of effort into Xero’s existing suite of products, such as beefing up Xero Projects by adding features like expenses, Man said that the company has also upgraded its mobile experience.

“There have been many high level improvements to the Xero app,” he said. “Some areas we’re focusing on are making it really easy to go see profit and loss on the dashboard. And with bills on the go, small business users can view all their bills at once: unpaid, bills in draft, submit bills, add and edit new bills.”

Xero’s user interface in general is something the company is working on as well: “We’re revamping the way that people can actually invoice. The invoice experience we have today is good, but we believe we can make it great,” Man added.

Earlier this year, Xero’s founder Rod Drury stepped down as CEO and former Microsoft exec Steve Vamos took on the role.

“More than a decade ago, we began building a cloud accounting platform that would revolutionize how small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers run their operations," Vamos said, in a statement. "The new products and features announced at Xerocon Brisbane show the next stage of our growth: moving from an accounting software provider into a true small business platform that helps business owners save time, gain control, and focus on growing. These tools will also help our champion accountants and bookkeepers grow their practices, making it easier and more efficient to serve their clients, and helping them add value in entirely new ways.”

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