Xero offline for next release

I’ve been very lazy with blogging over the last few weeks for a variety of reasons but I will now make an effort again.

Firstly Xero is going to be offline tomorrow 13/02/2011 Irish Time 16:00 for two hours.

Secondly I am considering running a small business one day boot camp with some other trainers anyone interested please email me on

Design your own invoices with Xero

Design your own invoices

Phew.todays release is one of the biggest weve done and has some of your most requested features. Santas come early!

Theres quite a bit to take in as youll see, but lets start with customizing your invoices. You may remember in June we introduced invoice branding to let you personalize your invoices and statements with different themes. Now weve added a new type of theme that lets you take complete control of the layout by uploading your own Microsoft Word templates. You can do things like add a packing slip to your invoice, write in any language and add style with color and images. Watch this video to see the magic.

Other features youll love:

Bulk Emailing statements or invoices This makes chasing up overdue invoices and sending regular statements even easier.

Detailed Account Transaction Report Select any period and review all your transactions in one place. Double check everything is correct before closing off a period or preparing reports.

Edit Reconciled Spend/Receive Money Transactions A handy companion to the Detailed Account Transaction Report. If you come across a mistake you can now easily edit to correct them without have to first unreconcile

Edit Manual Journals Flexibility to fully edit manual journals with a complete audit trail to track your changes.

US Date Entry US date formats are now accepted, just select United States as the country on your profile and you can enter dates in the right format.

API Updates You can now return manual journals, set the branding theme on submitted invoices and allow custom URLs to be attached to invoices. Check out our latestdeveloper update for more details.

UK VAT Rate Change Weve got this covered for 4 January 2011.

NZ Differential Annual Reporting helping accountants to produce annual reports for clients qualifying for differential reporting. Next step is to release similar functionality for Australia and the UK.

Its been another huge year and weve got lots of exciting things planned for 2011.

To find out more about this release, see ourreleasenotes.

Sam Knowles joins Xero Board

Sam Knowles joins Xero Board

Were delighted to have Sam Knowles, the founding CEO of KiwiBank, join the Board of Xero.

Sam has supported us from the early days, being a shareholder from our IPO and catching up with us from time to time to share ideas.

Sam replaces our very good friend Guy Haddleton, whose new business Anaplan is taking off in the US. We thank Guy for his contribution over the past four years.

Sam Knowles accepts Xero directorship

What technology has done for small business

Our aim has always been to make life easier for small business owners with the help of technology. So when we hear that one of our case studies has been recognised for the Most Inspired Use of Technology, we feel proud.

This week Made4Baby, a small business producing a natural range of skincare products for babies and children, won the above category in the David Awards. The David Awards recognise the unsung heroes in home and small businesses throughout New Zealand. (And yes the unassuming young David slaying the giant Goliath is paralleled with so called entrepreneurial Davids who punch above their weight.)

We do try and push web based services (i.e. Xero) as much as possible as an extremely cost effective way to minimise overheads and control our business from anywhere, so to be recognised for this strategy is very satisfying! says Made4Baby founder and mother of two, Rebecca McLeod.

Watch the Made4Baby Xero case study below:

Unlocking the beauty of the web

Unlocking the beauty of the web

In recent years Internet Explorer has been this wonderful utility built into Windows that allows people to download a web browser usually Firefox. Probably due to the fact that they still dominate in market share, Microsoft has been pretty absent from the browser wars that have been raging over the last few years. But as more and more users switch to better, faster browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera), Microsoft has finally stepped up its game with the release of the public beta of Internet Explorer 9.

Ive been playing with IE9 since the early preview releases. Even in the previews it was very impressive, and the beta certainly puts the oft-maligned browser on a par with the remainder of the browser landscape. The first thing that strikes you about IE9 is that Microsoft has finally committed to standards, both standards that they seem to have forgotten about in previous releases of IE, as well as the emerging standards based around HTML5 and CSS3 (all the stuff thats very important to HTML/CSS geeks). It pretty much supports the bulk of the CSS3 working draft and has almost full CSS3 selector support and supports an increasing number of the HTML5 working spec. All Im really missing now is some more HTML5 APIs, WebGL CSS transitions transforms.

But the biggest improvement in IE9 is based on one of their stated goals for the project: performance, performance, performance. Theyve completely rewritten the engines behind IE9 and there is lots of stuff in there a new layout engine, a new JavaScript engine (including mutli-core background compiling to native code), lots of networking improvements, and the biggest thing theyre touting is completely hardware accelerated graphics (for everything from CSS through to animations and video).

You can find out more and download the beta at the slightly ironically named

As I stated above Ive been playing with IE9 for a while now. The hardware acceleration is definitely impressive some of the demos on really sparkle on IE9 (and lag in the other browsers).

The user interface feels very much like Google Chrome, so the Chrome minimalist approach has now been copied by every major browser. It makes sense: to be fair theres not a lot you can do with the browser UI. I dont like the tabs next to the location bar though (actually its a one-box bar like Chrome integrated search and location). Yes I have a widescreen monitor. In fact I have a 30 25601600 widescreen monitor but I dont want to run my browser full screen just to see the url or see all my tabs. I know some reviewers like it but the Chrome way feels more natural.

Even though it seems very solid for a beta it does crash a bit and the crashes are ugly. Again Microsoft should take a usability leaf from Chrome here.

What about performance? I love to run benchmarks so thats what I did. Using the new Kraken benchmark from Mozilla ( IE9 does very poorly against its beta rivals (Firefox 4 Beta 6, Firefox Minefield Chrome 7). Running other tests (such as Googles V8 or WebKits SunSpider) the field was pretty much flat (Minefield easily beats Firefox 4 beta though Firefoxs brand new Jaegermonkey JavaScript engine kicks arse). Here are some pretty graphs courtesy of Engadgets review where they compared IE9 to the current release versions of Chrome and Firefox:

SunSpider: Lower is better

Futuremark PeaceKeeper: Higher is better

To be honest all these benchmarks tell us is that IE9 is not the new champ just that its catching up to the field. Yes the IE9 demos are amazing, and right now if you were wanting to push the boundaries of graphics or video performance in the browser then IE9 looks to be the winner. But by the time developers are switching from Flash to using Canvas or SVG the other browsers will have released their GPU-powered versions, so any advantage IE9 currently has will have gone. Ironically the website runs much smoother for me in Chrome 7 than in any other browser (including IE9).

So yes it feels fast. A LOT faster than any other version of Internet Explorer before it, and faster than the current release version of Firefox (3.6). Even in normal use, web browsing in IE9 feels very snappy, but Chrome still felt a little faster in most normal scenarios. When comparing the use of Xero between the current release version of Chrome and IE9 beta, Chrome still felt the smoothest.

As far as new and unique features probably the most interesting is the ability to pin websites to the Windows task bar as apps. This is particularly cool in Windows 7:

The menu is completely customizable in the HTML of the web site (this was done using our staging site dont try it at home). Unfortunately the HTML to do it is fairly awful lots of meta tags with ico files. Its a great idea and as web apps become more integrated into the OS it makes sense for a web developer to have access to this kind of feature but it would have been nice for them to try to utilize some standards (hopefully someone from Microsoft reads this:

Obviously Ive played with Xero extensively in IE9 and to be honest almost all the Xero apps arent working very well on it right now. It is a beta and while we do have a clear policy on beta browsers, we usually dont have the problems were having with IE9. We know why most of the problems are occurring but while we are looking at we cant spin our wheels on it too much while its in beta. We will definitely have Xero working perfectly in IE9 by the time of its official release (and probably a lot sooner).

Still no word on when that official release date will be. And then once it is released will Microsoft keep the release frequency up like its rivals? In the 18 months between IE8 and IE9 there have been multiple versions of Safari, multiple major point releases of Firefox, and 5 versions of Chrome. If Microsoft wants to keep pushing the beauty and the boundaries of the web then I think it needs to employ the same aggressive upgrade policies that the other vendors do.

And now for the let down: IE9 only runs, and will only run, on Windows Vista and Windows 7 (I installed in on Windows 2008 Server but its not running very well). Is this a problem? Yes and no. IE6 and IE7 are still dominant players in the market (especially in the enterprise) mostly because of Windows XP, so its a pain for web developers like those at Xero that want our users to be on the best, the most secure and the fastest, that Microsoft isnt giving our users a better option. I totally understand and actually support the whole a modern browser requires a modern operating system objective but if Mozilla and Google can do it then why cant Microsoft?

Oh and for the 60% of Xero users that dont have Windows 7 or Windows Vista do yourself a favor and get Google Chrome

Xero on Android


Mobility is a big part of the Xero strategy. Smart devices using platforms like Android bring applications to life when combined with the speed and power of networks like Telecom NZs XT.

So it was great to see our marketing partner Telecom NZ showcase Xero on its new Samsung Android smartphone.

Have a look at James McLeod from Made4Baby using Xero on his device to chase up his debtors in his downtime all the while having a latte in his local caf

The development community is embracing the huge mobile opportunity, with literally hundreds of thousands of applications being delivered. And it isnt just fun apps like Angry Birds and Google Goggles – small business owners now have access to applications they could only have dreamed about using outside of the traditional office such as

For more information on Xero please contact Ralph on 091 – 442882 or

Half year results for Xero online accounts

Half year results

Running a public company you think in 6 monthly increments. All the work during the period ends up in black and white and out in the market. There is no hiding and its not for the faint hearted. There is no getting off the merry-go-round.

But in todays 1/2 year results I think weve demonstrated that our strategy is working. Here are the highlights

  • Near tripling of half year operating revenues from $1.3m to $3.7m. This compares with 2010 full year revenues of $3.4m. Annualised subscriptions are running at approximately $9.0m.
  • Successful recruitment to resource our operating model in New Zealand, Australia and the UK lifted headcount from 73 to 101 and therefore a planned rise in operating costs to $7.9m up 59%.
  • Net loss of $4.7m an increase of 24%, is expected to be the maximum loss incurred as the company drives toward break-even.
  • Cash at bank of $16.6m as at 30 September 2010 excludes $4m additional monies raised by the Peter Thiel strategic placement in October. Xero anticipates having significant cash reserves at its planned break-even point.

You can read the full announcement here: Xero half year announcement

For more information on Xero please contact Ralph on 091-442882 or

Financial snapshots

Financial snapshots

Today Xero launched Financial Snapshots personalised email updates that let you know how youre tracking with your finances in Xero Personal. These are a great way to keep on top of things, especially if youre time poor.

You get to choose the exact details youll be sent. For instance this might include bank account balances and planned payments. You can also include summary details of how well youre doing on your spending and savings goals to keep you motivated.

You decide how often you receive the Snapshots, which can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly or you may choose to turn them off.

If youre a Xero Personal customer youll receive your first Snapshot in coming days. Be sure to update your preferences so you get the right information at the right time.See Help for how for to do this.

Xero hiring in San Francisco

Xero hiring in San Francisco

With our additional investment from Peter Thiel were looking to hire great people to accelerate Xero in the US market.

Weve already attracted thousands of users across the country who love our accounting software. Its time to go big and we need exceptional people, starting with the following roles:

Product Manager

  • Build and prioritize our US product roadmap based on customer feedback and market insights (both end-user and partner)
  • Develop market requirements based on accounting, financial and tax requirements for small business
  • Work with sales and marketing to build compelling messaging and sales tools
  • Work with dedicated business development professionals to identify new partnership opportunities across banking/finance, telcos/ISPs, ecommerce and social networking sites, etc.
  • Work with sales and marketing to drive world-wide revenue and market share growth
  • Evangelize Xero to reviewers, analysts, and media
  • Experience with accounting software is preferred

Business Development

  • Engage with other SaaS and tech leaders, accountants, financial institutions, and telcos to establish strategic partnerships
  • Drive customer acquisition programs leveraging strategic partner customer bases
  • Execute customer and partner engagement programs spanning online and in-person events, user groups/communities, and social media
  • Promote demo Xero to partners, business owners, media, influencers and analysts
  • Experience with accounting software or the small business web is desirable

Xero is backed by an extremely talented, passionate and highly successful team. Our accounting software has rapidly attracted a loyal and growing following, with tens of thousands of passionate customers world wide.Were perfectly situated to build a substantial customer base in the US. We need people who recognize the opportunity and will shine the spotlight on it.

In addition to a competitive salary Xero has a company share plan (Xero is a publicly listed company).

If youre interested or know someone who is, please contact You can check out other Xero opportunities at

Please help us spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Thanks!

Read more about



Britains First Business Book Festival

This Friday sees Bournemouth host The Business Book Festival.

From the website:

Meet the UKs best selling business authors at the UKs first business book festival. Hear them speak; listen to their stories; seek their advice; buy their books.


Whats new in enterprise thinking;
How to succeed in todays challenging times;
Inspiration, innovation and intelligence
The first UK Business Book festival has invited the countrys top business authors to come together and spend a day sharing their knowledge of how to make money and change the world.


– Hear great stories from entrepreneurs
– Get ideas that will save you money
– Network with the sharpest brains in the business world
– Learn how to publish your own business book
– Find the courage to do your own thing and succeed

The line up of authors that will be speaking is pretty impressive and I suspect that Brad Burton will be worth the 35 entry fee on his own.

Operating on the IYDAYDG (if you dont ask, you dont get) principle, I asked the organizers for a reduced price to pass on to readers of this blog. And they said yes 10.

To take advantage of this offer, register online here and order just the 10 Single Session ticket. Theres an Order Notes box on the checkout page type the word KashFlow in to that box and then when you collect your ticket on the day youll find out its been magically upgraded to the Full Attendance package.

There are two catches:
1) dont expect the free book voucher
2) you must register by Thursday, so get it done now.

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