5 tips for Xero users

Five tips from this year’s Xero quarterly product updates

Did you know that Xero has an inbuilt calculator? Are you across Xero’s inbuilt timesaver features? Across useful ways to use contact groups?

1. Save time with the inbuilt calculator

Did you know that Xero has an inbuilt calculator? It allows you to calculate amounts as you create transactions. When you are in a numeric field in Xero, you can enter a calculation and then press Enter or Tab, and Xero will calculate the result. For example, entering 7+2 and then Enter will display as the number 9 in the field.

The calculator is available in the Quantity, Unit Price and Disc % fields in transactions, and the Debit and Credit fields in manual journals.

In new invoicing, discount percentages are calculated automatically, so the calculator isn’t needed.

2. Add planned payment dates from the Awaiting Payment tab in bills

This tip helps you manage cash flow and plan when to pay bills. You can add a planned date to a purchase invoice in the Awaiting Payment tab to create a planned payment schedule.

This is great for businesses with a daily payment limit on their bank accounts, because Xero totals the bills as you select them — so you can see if the total exceeds your daily limit. If you’re using short-term cash flow in Xero Analytics, this also makes it easy to keep your planned payment dates up to date, so your cash flow forecast is more accurate.

3. Use keyboard shortcuts to navigate around Xero

Here’s a great timesaver which you can use from most screens in Xero. If you enter the forward slash (/), you’ll open the global search. You can then type a letter to navigate straight to a page.

For example, entering ‘/b’ will take you to bills,  ‘/c’ will take you straight to contacts and ‘/d’ will take you to the dashboard.

4. Use repeating invoices for customers who pay a monthly fee

For businesses with regular sales to particular customers, repeating invoices can be a big timesaver. Let’s say one of your customers pays you a monthly fee. You can set up a repeating invoice template so Xero automatically creates a new invoice each month.

Set how often you want Xero to create the invoice, choose the date of the first invoice and then select when the invoice is due. If it’s the same amount each month, click ‘Approve for Sending’. Then each month, Xero will create the invoice, approve it, and email it to your customer.

5. Add suppliers to contact groups for the method of payment

This is a useful way to use contact groups. If you pay some suppliers by bank transfer and others by direct debit, add them to contact groups for the method of payment.

This lets you search the bills ‘Awaiting Payment’ page by payment type and you can sort, group, or filter the Payable Bills reports to make managing your bills payable and generating bank transfer payments easier.

Got a question about making the most of accounting or bookkeeping in your business? Get in touch with our Xero specialists who will be able to assist you with all your cloud accounting queries on 1300 015 130.


Attracting talent to your workplace

7 Ways to Distinguish your Business in a Competitive Hiring Environment

Businesses need people to serve customers and grow. This requires ‘recruitment’ which can take many forms like hiring full or part-time, subcontracting, and offshoring.

Whatever the approach, a recruitment strategy should help the business to stand out from other options candidates are considering. This is especially important when fewer graduates are taking entry-level positions and attitudes to work are evolving.

We asked some recent graduates what attracts them as potential employers and to provide some examples. Here’s a summary of their feedback.

1. An Employer with Resilience

A majority of graduates said they want to ‘avoid employment uncertainty’, especially when beginning their careers. They prefer to ‘find their feet’ in their first role and MAY consider more ‘risky’ employment options later.

Lesson: A business which shows it has weathered (or even thrived) in tough times (without reducing the team) will be attractive to job seekers.

2. An Employer which Stands Out

A challenge in any industry is to stand out from the competition. Differentiation can take many forms including services, customers, working conditions or culture.

Lesson: Address the question. “How are we different?” throughout the recruitment process. You may not appeal to everyone… but are more likely to attract the candidates that will ‘fit’.

3. An Employer Offering Attractive Compensation and Benefits

This will be a factor in swaying an applicant’s decision, especially when considering several job offers. However, applicants don’t just consider the annual compensation in the first year. Many will look at longer-term earning opportunities, like bonus plans, equity participation, and non-financial benefits.

Lesson: Take a flexible view on compensation. Know that it is important but will mean different things to different candidates based on their ambitions. Tailor packages which will make sense to your target employees.

4. An Employer which is Flexible and Responsive

Many businesses will be on the smaller side (revenues, number of employees, etc.) compared to employers in other industries. But this can be an advantage. A small business can easily design attractive compensation plans, provide exposure to a wide range of duties and be flexible on employment policies. (Compare this to large firms, which can be impersonal and inflexible).

Lesson: Emphasise that you are flexible as an employer (while still maintaining good processes and discipline).

5. An Employer which Offers Advancement Opportunities

Career advancement can mean formal training. It can also mean exposure to new opportunities in a growing, dynamic business which will offer new management positions in the near future. A clearly-defined career path is attractive… but some candidates will recognise that the best and fastest advancement arises in ambitious firms which take on interesting and challenging projects.

Lesson: Demonstrate how people learn in your business both through your professional development activities and because of your bold, innovative approach.

6. A Successful Employer

Success means different things to different candidates but most want to feel proud of their association with their employer. Growth is an obvious indicator of success but other factors include a good reputation, significant customer engagements, industry leadership, prominent partners, a track record of innovation, and community service projects.

Lesson: Highlight your accomplishments, especially those which help you to stand out.

7. An Employer who Takes a Long-Term View

In some industries, businesses have short-term horizons, including the ‘exit’ of the founders as the business transitions to new owners. This can be appealing and exciting but is not ‘normal’ in professional services. A firm that hires entry-level candidates so they can be groomed for long-term success in a growing, vibrant, stable organisation is likely to be attractive.

Lesson: Emphasise long-term commitment to employees since this will attract more loyal employees who want to develop their skills as the firm grows.

How does your business stack up on these criteria? A small tweak in your strategy may yield significant results.

Certified Xero Bookkeepers

Notch Above Bookkeeping are certified Xero bookkeepers and feature agreed-price monthly fees so you know exactly where you stand. No hidden extras and no ticking clock. Browse our range of Xero bookkeeping services below and get in touch today to discuss the plan which best suits the needs of your business.

employee & employer on computer

Getting employees on board for the holiday rush?

Hiring additional employees to help with surging end-of-year demand?

The New employment form, accessed through ATO online services, will help reduce your administration.

It’s an easy way for your employees to provide you and us with the information the ATO needs. If your new employee has a myGov account linked to the ATO, once signed in they can:

  • access ATO online services
  • go to the ‘Employment’ menu
  • select ‘New employment’ and complete the form.

Your employees will need your ABN to complete the form. When they submit the form, their tax file number (TFN) declaration details are sent straight to the ATO, so you don’t need to do this. The form will then enable them to print and give you the summary of their tax details. You’ll need the summary so you can input the data into your system.

The New employment form can also be used to collect a range of information. For example, employees can use it to authorise variations to the amount you withhold from their pay for tax or the Medicare levy, or to advise you of their choice of super fund. They can also use it to update their tax circumstances with you, for example, if:

  • their residency status has changed
  • they no longer have a government study and training loan
  • they are claiming the tax-free threshold from a different employer.

The downloadable version of the TFN declaration form will be removed by the end of this year.

Certified Xero Bookkeepers

Notch Above Bookkeeping are certified Xero bookkeepers and feature agreed-price monthly fees so you know exactly where you stand. No hidden extras and no ticking clock. Browse our range of Xero bookkeeping services below and get in touch today to discuss the plan which best suits the needs of your business.