Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing you might have missed is the new features that have been added to Xero.
Announced relatively quietly, with some still in the pilot testing stage, these key features are especially useful for businesses paying more attention to cash flow planning.
Here’s our roundup of the new features, and how they might help your business.
1. Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
Being unable to include CIS deductions on invoices raised on the go was a bugbear for many contractors.
Especially annoying when you’re on-site and want to get that invoice out before everyone goes home for the weekend.
Previously, invoices raised via Xero desktop were then no longer viewable via the app. For many contractors, this meant not having the information needed while on-site with clients.
However, in June 2020, Xero completed testing allowing CIS deductions to be calculated automatically within the app, letting contractors quote and bill on-site.
They also improved the option to verify subcontractors within the platform. You can now verify your subcontractors from within Xero without having to log into the HMRC portal.
2. Short-term cash flow and business snapshot pilots
Back in November 2019 at Xerocon London, we heard about the latest features and updates from Xero. These were planned to be released in 2020 for our clients.
We were able to register for the pilot of both these updates, so we’re already used to seeing these inside our clients’ Xero accounts, and they have been a great addition to the existing reports.
However, Xero saw that the key insights these new reports provide could be vital for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many businesses have seen their income drop, or even disappear completely. We know how important cash flow is to small businesses especially, so a visual dashboard and easier access to short-term projections can be a great help.
So, Xero has now made these features available to all business edition users until 31 August 2020 to help them survive the tough times, and plan for a new normal.
3. Making payments with TransferWise
After speaking to lots of business owners, the ability to pay your suppliers from Xero was a function many wanted. But, with the restrictions around Open Banking still fresh in many minds, it was unclear at how Xero was going to be able to do this.
The ‘Pay with TransferWise’ feature is a new bill payment solution allowing you to pay multiple suppliers (in GBP) at the click of a button from within the Xero platform.
It means you can pay all your bills through Xero regardless of which bank you use, rather than having to pay each supplier separately, and then reconcile the single payment transaction easily. Bills are automatically marked as paid using this feature, which makes for much easier bookkeeping.
You’ll be able to choose a plan that suits the number of bills you want to pay through the integration when you add the feature.
It’s free until 31 July 2020, when it’ll revert to between £3 and £20 (+ VAT) a month, depending on the number of transactions you typically make.
Here’s a breakdown of the various plans:
- 10 payment transactions* – £3 + VAT per month (35p for each additional transaction)
- 40 payment transactions – £10 + VAT per month (25p for each additional transaction)
- 100 payment transactions – £20 + VAT per month (20p for each additional transaction)
*A payment transaction relates to an individual payment to a supplier, not the group of payments, so each bill paid would be one payment transaction. If you don’t use all the transactions in the plan you’ve signed up to, they don’t roll over, so it’s important to you choose the most appropriate plan for your business.
These charges will be billed with your Xero invoice, and TransferWise won’t charge separately for the payments made through this integration.
A note to our clients – if you pay for your Xero subscription through us, just let us know and we’ll turn on the feature for you, and then you can go ahead and connect your TransferWise account to Xero.
Xero saves time and increases visibility of your business performance
The 3 features we’ve highlighted above aren’t all that’s new, and the Xero product is regularly improved and updated with useful stuff.