What’s new in Xero? – May 2018

What’s new in Xero? – Our monthly update of new and upcoming features…

For clients and end users

‘New expenses’ changes – Xero launched their ‘new’ expenses feature back in November 2017. It includes receipt OCR and could possibly replace receipt bank for some clients. It’s currently in beta test phase but Xero have indicated that additional charges, so far unspecified, will apply once this is rolled out in full.

As a result, we have not promoted this to clients yet or even trialled it ourselves as a practice. This month they have added Multi-currency within ‘new’ Xero expenses but we have reservations about the way it will work. Exchange rates will be set with reference to XE.com and cannot be altered, but of course unless employees are reimbursed in the currency used, it will be necessary to reimburse employees their ACTUAL cost at the exchange rate they experienced rather than a notional rate, thus we can’t see the benefit of this. We will be beginning our internal trial of the new expense module during June 2018 and will update our comments here.

User roles change – There are some cosmetic changes to the user roles page but no changes to functionality yet unless you are using Xero Projects. However, we are pleased to hear that finally further refinement is on the road map to enable more flexibility in user roles for ‘core’ Xero and also ‘new’ Xero Expenses and this is coming soon.

Xero help centre – The Xero help centre has had an overhaul – enter ‘Xero Central’ with a new look and feel. This is now underpinned with machine learning, which should enable it to be more intuitive in understanding queries and pointing users to the correct content. We’ll be road-testing this and updating our comments here – let us know your experience too.

For practitioners

Xero Ask – the automated client query engine was launched in January 2018. Our personal feeling on this is that in it’s current form it is too impersonal to use, although we welcome the concept of having more structure around outstanding client inputs and will be watching how this develops with interest. The new functionality this month is the integration with Google chat, again we feel this has limited value at this stage and although it allows you to query submits and due dates, I suspect this would be better done as filters in the Ask Interface. On the roadmap for Ask are reminders and bulk email and we believe this will add more value once refined to allow a more personalised message.

New Trial Balance – I’m generally not a fan of the ‘new’ Xero reports as they concentrate on cosmetic appearance and as a practitioner I am more concerned with data accessibility and speed. The old reports lend themselves to easier use in .csv format. Nonetheless the new TB has one important feature that may make it my report of choice. That is the separation of account code from description. We produce accounts in VT and this field is critical for speedy mapping – hooray no more =LEFT(A2,4) formulas in Excel.

CIS API – Although we aren’t users of CIS in Xero we welcome the news they have opened up the API for CIS as this will improve integration with other applications.

That’s all for this month and we’d love your comments on any of the developments above.

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