The latest monthly update from Xero’s Marc Stewart introduces some new features and improvements which will be welcomed by users.

Bishop Fleming’s Mark Smith looks at the changes.

Xero actively encourages users to provide feedback and make suggestions to enable them to bring these regular improvements. I have provided an overview of these new features and how they can benefit your Xero experience.

Trial balance report

The first key improvement was to the trial balance report which was traditionally very basic, only really allowing you to change the date and whether it was sorted by account name or account code. Users will notice that there are now two report options. By selecting the ‘new’ version of the report, Xero users can now do the following in ‘report settings’:

  • Compare to previous periods – up to 36 in total and by month or year.
  • Change the presentation from the accruals basis to the cash basis.
  • Account code and account name columns are now separated and the report can be sorted by clicking on column headers.
  • The trial balance can be filtered by tracking options.

One thing to note for Xero Premium subscribers is that the foreign currency functionality is not quite there yet and Xero has recommended that the old report is used in the meantime.

In my view this is a useful update as the new trial balance report will be one of the most effective ways of extracting data for further analysis.

Expenses

Xero have improved the expenses function to introduce two new features – multi-currency and itemisation.

When inputting expenses in other currencies, the conversion rate will be determined by XE.com. Although multi-currency is a feature of Xero only available to Premium subscribers, this functionality for expenses will be available to all users. The difference will be that the exchange rate cannot be changed by the user. This will be helpful for subscribers who make the occasional overseas business trip or online purchase.

Another new feature for those who use the expenses function is the ability to itemise entries, which avoids the need to adjust between codes afterwards or input duplicates. For reviewers, they will also be able to see at a glance if an entry has been itemised as it will be marked with a symbol.

Xero noted that the new features are not yet fully functional on the mobile app.

Projects

The new projects feature has been popular and, as a result of feedback, Xero have introduced user roles within projects; admin, standard and limited.

Admin users will have access-all-areas. Standard access will be suitable for those who run or manage projects, but do not need to see staff or project cost information. Limited access is primarily for team members who can input and review their timesheet entries, but have no need to see financial information.

Coming soon

Similar to project user roles, we will soon see user roles for the expenses function; admin, approver and submitter. There will also be app integration for those who use Xero for their CIS compliance, and we can expect to see new features on Xero Ask, being automated reminders and bulk emails.

Xero have also improved the help function which is now known as Xero Central. This is something that will improve over time as there is ‘machine learning’ in place to make the process as efficient as possible.

While the help function is an essential resource, if you have any questions – whether you currently use Xero or are interested in finding out how it can benefit your business – please feel free to get in touch with the team at Bishop Fleming.

Mark is a Corporate and Business Services Manager in Bishop Fleming’s Exeter office.

 
 
 

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