Xero have recently released some new and exciting features and based on this and the value of the Xero platform for small business they are also increasing their pricing as of 28 September 2018. To see Xero’s blog regarding the pricing changes and more detail on the new features then please click here.
We continually to see great value in the Xero product and are excited about the data scraping technology they are introducing through expenses first which means that Xero will automatically extract data off receipts to minimise the time spent manually entering that information.
We have various clients using the payroll feature in Xero and they have also recently launched a Projects feature to help with recording time and costs on projects and invoicing your clients. This is aimed at businesses that work on a few projects at a time and is not designed around around working with lots of smaller jobs or projects. For this a tool like WorkflowMax, Tradify or Fergus would work better.
For more information on Xero Projects feature then please click here
Due to this pricing change from Xero our pricing will also change from 1 October 2018.
If you would like to understand how you can better use Xero then please contact us.
If you’ve spent any time around the Bishop Toomey Pfeifer team, you will have heard our favourite phrase. You have to know thy numbers to grow thy numbers.
It makes sense. You have to know how your business is tracking, what’s working, and where improvements need to be made to have any chance of growing your business. What if you’re not a numbers person?
Some people struggle to make sense of profit and loss reports, or get their heads around pages of numbers. That’s ok. BTP has a solution.
We are proud to partner with Spotlight Reporting to help you keep your finger on the pulse of your business. With BTP and Spotlight Reporting, it’s easy to track your progress and meet your business goals.
Spotlight Reporting takes your financial data from Xero or QuickBooks Online, and combines it with non-financial data from Google Analytics or Workflow Max to present a visual picture of your entire business.
This is a fantastic tool for visual learners who want to look at a balance sheet in the form of a colourful pie chart, or profit and loss as a graph.
We’re passionate about seeing our clients grow, thrive, and reach their goals. Would you like to better know your numbers and track your success?
Let us know if you would like a free Spotlight Reporting trial. We can show you what a visual report or budget can look like for your business. .
If you want to know more or would like a free Spotlight Reporting trial, contact Paul Dawson
You’re working harder, more money is going through the business, but you don’t seem to be making a profit. Sound familiar? This is the ultimate session for those who want to know their numbers. You’ll learn how to create customised reports in Xero, plus we’ll introduce you to some other reporting tools so you can easily get an accurate picture of your business’ financial health.
$75 including GST per person
Click here for more details and to reserve your place.
In business, cash flow is king and Xero has a number of ways to help you collect your money faster. We’ll teach you how to use these features and discuss best business practice around interacting with your debtors.
For this session, Bishop Toomey and Pfeifer are proud to partner with Jeannette Kwant from Undercontrol Credit Management who will be sharing suggestions on how to maximise your chances of getting paid on time.
Xero is beautiful accounting software. That’s easy for us accountants to say, but working with Xero over the past eight years we’ve seen the difference it has made in so many businesses, both small and large.
Xero helps you better understand your numbers, saves you time around invoicing and keeps track of your expenses, making it easier to run your business.
To help you know your numbers, we’re organising a series of interactive Xero workshops. At the Ara Campus in Hornby, you’ll have the privacy of working on your own numbers in Xero, while being able to ask questions and learn in a group environment.
Whatever your experience level in Xero, you’ll be sure to get something out of these engaging and interesting interactive workshops.
When you’re reviewing your investments, it’s important to remember that income and returns come from two main sources, Capital Gains and Interim Income.
Capital gain (or loss)
This is the difference in the overall value of your investment between when you purchased it and now (or the date that you sold it.) You can work it out as:
((Current or sale price per unit – purchase price) * number of units) – fees and taxes
For example, let’s assume that you purchased 100 shares of Amazing Blue Widget Co. for $50 each and then sold them for $80 each. You had to pay $10 to buy, $10 to sell and 15% tax on the profit, this would work out to: (($80 – $50)*100) – $20 – $450 = $2,430 or a return of 48.6% on your original $5,000 investment.
Interim income (dividends, interest etc.)
This is the amount that you’ve received in interim payments over the life of your investment. It’s calculated as:
(Interim % * value of investment) – taxes
You would need to work this out for each interim payment that you receive.
For example, let’s assume that you’ve held 100 ABWC shares for three years, and that they paid dividends of 3% a year; in the first year the shares were $50 each, in the second, $60 each and in the third $80 each. Your return would be: 3% of $5,000, $6,000 and $8,000 less tax; this works out to: $485.
Your total return
This is equal to your capital gain (or loss) plus your interim income. You can then compare this to your original purchase price to understand what percentage gain or loss that you’ve made.
For example, your purchase price of ABWC shares was $5,000; over three years, you’ve made $2,430 in capital gains and $485 in interim returns (dividends) for a total of $2,915. That’s an increase of 58.3% over three years, or 19.4% a year – Not bad!
You should compare your total return to your targets and life goals. This can help you decide if you should keep your investments, or if it would be wise to sell them.
If you use a vehicle in your business that is not exclusively for business then you need to run a log book for 3 months every 3 years detailing your trips and what they are for so you work out what percentage of your travel is for business use. This percentage is then used to calculate the amount of expenses related to running the vehicle that can be claimed as a business expense.
Typically the process has been done in manual logbook and it easy to forget to do and often does not get done at all which does leave clients exposed if there were to be audited by the IRD.
In the last couple of weeks I have trialed a device which automatically collects my trip data and provides this data in a format that can be downloaded into a spreadsheet to be summarised and analysed.
This is not an expensive device either with a current price of $129.
At last count in our accounting firm we had 16 different systems that we use on a daily basis that all cover off a different part of our business functions. The amount of systems that businesses run has changed significantly over the last few years as it has become a lot less expensive to develop and deliver systems, cloud computing has made it a lot easier to access sophisticated systems, and mobile computing has changed the way people want to use their systems.
So, as a business owner, how do you choose what systems you should use and how you should use them?
Why implement a system into your business?
For me this starts with a good understanding of the strategy of your business and understanding what are the key drivers for creating the results in your business. We can use a lot of systems because a particular team member likes them or they are fun to use but in a business you really want systems that make it easier to deliver the outcomes you want.
In this sense I think that systems that help you to effectively manage:
Team and individual productivity
Performance and development of team members, and
should be high on the priority list of a lot of businesses. It is also important when choosing which systems to implement that you get the team on board and can clearly demonstrate the business need for the systems you are implementing.
What systems should I choose
When selecting any system you want to think carefully about whether you want your systems to talk to one another. If you do want this, then you might want to look at your most important system first and choose the system that is a best fit for you in that area and then look at systems that integrate with that core system.
For example if you have various systems that utilise client data, ideally you want those systems to integrate so that if you update a customer’s details then these changes get reflected in all your systems. If this integration is not built in to the core product and they are cloud based solutions then you can use a tool like Zapier to provide that integration for you.
I also find that when choosing a system you want to do your homework and, if you can do, find someone who is already using the system you are considering and get their feedback about it.
With most systems these days the small part of the cost is the system cost itself, the bigger costs is in the time involved in implementing it properly. So in this sense you want to make a good choice.
How to implement systems
Once you have chosen a system to use then I recommend appointing a system champion and get them to drive the implementation. I see a lot of businesses doing minimal or no training on their systems but I think most training is well worth the investment. The majority of systems we use collect data of some form or another, and when this is the case it is really important to report on that data and examine it critically. This will then tell you whether data is being entered correctly and when it is the results you get from that system will be more meaningful. I also recommend that whatever system is being used there should be a regular meeting where the results of that system are reviewed and discussed.
A great tool for helping to manage system implementations is Basecamp. This is a high level project management and collaboration tool which is very flexible.
There is a lot to consider when deciding what systems you need, which system to choose and how to implement it, but in this day and age getting this right is critical to your ongoing success.
Paul Dawson will be speaking more on this topic at our upcoming seminar in Christchurch. Click here to register
With the new financial year upon us it is a great time to establish some financial targets and import them into Xero so you can compare your actual results versus your targets (or budget).
What we find, is that the understanding of the financial make-up of a business is enhanced significantly when you set targets and then report against those targets and get curious about the variances. Some good tips for establishing your financial targets for the year are:
Start with a review of the strategy of your business
Set some targets around the key drivers for your business (eg no of customers, productivity)
Use excel or another spread-sheeting program to “play” with your numbers and create some what-if scenarios
Prepare a bottom up budget for your overheads (day to day running costs)
Once this is done you can then easily import the targets into Xero
Customise reports in Xero to optimise the reporting and the use of your financial goals
Run reports each month and get curious about your variances
For a video on how to import budget data into Xero click here
We regulalrly run webinars to cover establishing targets and how to upload them into Xero.
Xero have released the long awaited Payroll functionality for the NZ version ready for use from 1 April 2015.
Xero’s payroll functionality includes the standard features of payroll software in terms of calculating pays, managing leave etc but it also includes the ability for staff to login and view their leave balances, pay history and submit leave requests. As you would expect from Xero the User Interface looks nice and it seems very easy to follow your nose.
Xero Payroll is not a payroll intermediary though which means it will not collect and pay PAYE to the IRD on your behalf and wont automatically submit your payroll returns to the IRD. If this is a feature you would like then I recommend checking out one of the following Xero partners:
For babies born on or after 1 April 2015, the Government will increase the parental tax credit from $150 a week to $220 a week, and extend the payment period from eight weeks to ten weeks. How much you receive also depends on:
your total family income before tax
the number of dependent children in your care and how old they are
the number of newborn children per year
You can either receive PTC or paid parental leave. You can’t receive both at the same time. And you can’t receive PTC if your family income for the full eight to ten weeks includes an income-tested benefit, NZ Super, a veteran’s pension, a student allowance, or accident compensation from ACC (unless you are receiving this for less than three months).
Changes to parental leave
The current 14 weeks’ of paid parental leave will be increased to 16 weeks for babies expected or born on or after 1 April 2015.
From 1 May 2015 new registration requirements come into force for applications to incorporate a New Zealand Limited Liability company. All New Zealand incorporated companiesmust have at least one director who lives in New Zealand or who lives in Australia and is a director of an Australian incorporated company. Existing companies on the companies register will have 180 days to comply with these New Zealand ‘resident director’ requirements. In addition, all directors must provide their place and date of birth and all companies must supply their ultimate holding company details (if applicable).
The government has made some major employment relations changes, effective from 6 March 2015. Changes target flexible working arrangements, rest and meal breaks, continuity of employment for vulnerable employees upon restructuring, the good faith provisions, collective bargaining, and how the Employment Relations Authority gives its determinations.
Flexible working arrangements
Up till now flexible working arrangements have only been available to caregivers who have been employed at their place of work for six months or more. From March, all employees will have the right to request flexible working arrangements from their first day on the job. There’s no longer a limit on the number of requests an employee can make in a year. When employers receive requests for flexible work arrangements, they must respond within one month, rather than three as before. The response must be in writing and, if a refusal, it must explain why.
Rest and meal breaks
Previously, provisions for rest and meal breaks were quite strict. They now seek to balance the importance of rest and breaks for employees with what is practical for the business. Essentially, employees are entitled to breaks and, if it’s not possible for the employer to ensure breaks for employees, the employer must offer reasonable compensation. Employees and employers can’t contract out of the right to rest and meal breaks though under some circumstances an employer might be exempt from giving breaks or may restrict breaks when the restrictions are reasonable. Key to the new provisions is that employers and employees agree on whatever arrangements are put in place and that arrangements are reasonable. If you are considering varying the arrangements around rest and meal breaks for your employees, touch base with your employment advisor to discuss your approach. As with other employment matters it is important to follow fair process and document any agreements made with employees so that, if required, you can show you have acted fairly and reasonably.
Continuity of employment
The changes to continuity of employment relate specifically to employees in situations where an employer is restructuring or selling a cleaning or catering business and employees are transferring to the new employer. A 2012 review found businesses have difficulty implementing the provisions in practical terms. The changes include set timeframes for employees to elect to move to a new employer; the outgoing employer’s obligation to provide the new employer with detailed information on employees and their entitlements; a way for the outgoing and incoming employers to share responsibility for employee entitlements if they can’t agree on it; protection for employers from unjustified increases in employment costs; and provision for SMEs to be exempt.
Good faith provisions and confidential information
Where the employer proposes to take a decision which will or is likely to affect that employee’s continued employment adversely, changes to the good faith provisions set out what confidential information an employer has to give an employee. The employer must give the employee confidential information where it relates to them but does not have to provide confidential information on anyone else if doing so would involve an unwarranted disclosure of their affairs. Nor are employers required to give confidential information that legally must stay confidential, or where there is a good reason to keep the information confidential (for example, to protect the business’ commercial position). Where allegations are made against an employee, the employee should still know the identity of their accuser and the nature of allegations made against them unless there is good reason to keep this information confidential.
The new collective bargaining framework includes provision that collective bargaining does not have to be concluded, though employers will not be able to end bargaining or refuse to enter into a collective agreement just because they object in principle to collective bargaining or collective agreements. A party to collective bargaining can apply to the Employment Relations Authority for a determination as to whether bargaining has concluded.
Employers will be able to opt out of multi-employer bargaining from the start. New employees who are non-union members are no longer covered by terms and conditions of a collective agreement for the first 30 days of their employment. Employers may respond to partial strikes by imposing proportionate pay reductions and unions must provide advanced written notice of any proposed strikes and lockouts.
There are also changes to when and how the Employment Relations Authority must give preliminary findings and determinations following an investigation.
Xero have released a long awaited feature in the past week – the ability to produce quotes.
Many Xero users have been providing quotes by creating a draft invoice but now that quotes are available it offers a much better way of providing and managing quotes to help you improve your sales results.
The last few years have seen a new wave breaking in the marketing world. You may be aware of it under different labels, but ‘inbound marketing’ is an umbrella term for the change.
The bedrock of marketing was always outbound strategy:
the print advertisement
the commercial on TV or in the cinema (remember going out to the movies?)
Market share used to be heavily influenced by how much you could afford to spend on advertising. So the companies most likely to succeed were those who could afford billboards and full page ads. Smaller competitors had to be a lot craftier, the quality of their products or services had to be outstanding and their appeal to niche markets was often their secret weapon.
Today’s customers are much more proactive about seeking out products and services for themselves, empowered by their confidence online. If they want a plumber or a palm tree or a book on rare birds, they’re more likely to begin their search on Google before they reach for the yellow pages or walk into a shop. They don’t only search online. They compare prices and features. They look at product surveys and access customer reviews.
By the time they email, pick up the phone, or complete the online form on your website, they’re more than likely well informed about you, your business and what you have to offer. And they’re already inclined to buy your product or use your services. They’re a prospect who’s generated a lead for you and they’ve invited you to contact them. You don’t have to cold call them. You ‘warm call’ them. Of course, it’s up to you to delight them from there.
Businesses have been quick to recognise the need to connect with the new style of customers. They’re making it easy for customers to find them with inbound marketing strategies. Inbound marketing outperforms outbound strategies and is cheaper.
An eConsultancy survey from 2012 found the cost of acquiring a new lead was $346 using outbound marketing strategies, yet only $135 using inbound strategies. So, while larger companies have been quick to spot the trend, many smaller businesses are finding inbound strategies well within their reach and their budget.
The message for your online strategy is: make it easy for customers to find you. Make it enticing to stay and play. Offer takeaways with sufficient value for web-surfers to be happy to exchange their contact details for your white paper or presentation or your podcast. Create opportunities to interact with potential customers so your web presence is less of a billboard and has more potential to personalise future contact.
Many people kick start the New Year with a myriad of resolutions, from keeping fit to losing weight or achieving financial goals. However, many of those resolutions fail to embody anything remotely close to working life. The first week back is usually a slow one; clearing out the inbox (usually spam as most other people were also on break) dusting off the keyboard and restocking the cupboard with fresh new stationery.
So when your employees hit the deck with the January blues, here are some ideas to instil excitement and motivation.
Know your team
Inspiring your team can start even before the New Year kicks off. If you give out Christmas gifts at the end of each year, do your research first. Find out about your team and ensure you’re getting each and every one of them something that is thoughtful and representative of how you see them as individuals. If specialised gifts are not within your budget, ensure you do something, whether it be a Christmas party or even a personalised card that lets each of your employees know how much you’ve appreciated their efforts throughout the year. By feeling this appreciation, they are more likely to come back to work in a positive frame of mind.
As a by the by, when you’re planning the office Christmas party, if it’s likely to be especially festive, make some provision so that people don’t have to drink and drive. Often someone’s willing to volunteer as sober driver but give it some thought and talk it over with the team so there’s a plan for everyone to make it home safely.
Include your staff in the company goals
In your initial meeting at the beginning of the year, let everyone know what the overall plan is for the year and where the business is going. Sit down with each staff member individually and chat about personal career goals, how you and the company can help to achieve these and reiterate the importance of the company values. This makes each team member feel valued and appreciated, with the knowledge that you care about his or her future.
Make it fun
In this initial meeting, make sure you include some exciting goals and talk about ideas for functions and team outings. It’s good for your crew to have something to look forward to. More importantly, make sure it happens. You don’t want to plan big and be greeted with exasperated sighs and rolled eyes for not following through on promises from previous years.
Keep it moving
Is everyone in the team already a bit nostalgic for the days on the beach? Or are they talking about their healthy lifestyle resolutions? Would they be up for a detox week at work? Programme some healthy shared lunches, with everyone bringing in their favourite salads and juices. Make the most of the long summer days and go for a walk in the sun during lunch or before work. Make a date to go out to a local lookout for a scenic moment. Get the blood pumping with a game of touch after work.
Leave room for treats
Build in some reward moments, too. Simply surprise the team with an occasional morning tea treat. Or, if people are in the mood to be social but a little cash-poor after the holidays, suggest an evening get-together at someone’s house for DVDs and snacks.
These ideas can also be helpful tools to check in with your team throughout the year. Open communication, positive attitudes and keeping everyone in the loop is just the start to maintaining motivation and keeping energy levels up. This can encourage respect and in turn, reinforce staff retention and loyalty. By treating your employees as valued team players, you can have a far more productive and efficient year ahead.
One of the things that we have learned with Xero is that many of our clients needs are different and that knowing how to use Xero properly is an important part of the picture and that is why we have been investing in our own training and in developing ways to get more education around Xero to our clients.
We have found that the best method to provide education to as many clients as possible is to create training videos.
Xero have developed many videos which can help, especially with how to use the functions generically. Here are a few examples.
Based on the feedback we have received the most common area that Xero users want assistance in is Reporting and Budgets.
So this is the first of a series of tips we will be creating to help out in this area.
One easy way to quickly get a budget in Xero and start using a budget to analyse the performance of your business is to load the previous years actual results as a budget. This is also a good way to start your budget but then you can make changes based on what you expect to be different in the next 12 months.
One method for doing this in Xero is to:
Go to Reports/Budget manager
Change the settings to show 12 months of actuals
Download the budget to Excel
Change the column headings of the actual results to the months of the current year
Save file and import back into Xero Budget Manager
This will then allow you to run reports and compare this years results with last years by using the budget data.
Any questions about this then please get in touch with our Xero expert Paul Dawson
Most small business operators are lazy about keeping records to help them improve their business. They’d say they are too busy.
If you provide services, you need good time recording to measure your performance.
It’s very onerous keeping time records, but if you’re prepared to do it well, it will add thousands of dollars to your profit. You must keep a record of ALL the hours you are at work for the day – 7.30am to 5.30pm is 10 hours. Account for 10 hours.
You will find it easy to change, if you wish to. Your problem will be to keep going month after month. You’ll also find, after a few months, time recording and analysing will have become a habit and it will be easier to sustain it.
Measure what you do every day and if you have staff working for you get them to do the same. Analyse this information. Calculate the amount of time you put into work you can’t charge for (non productive time), like going to the bank, social calls, ducking out to get X etc. Analyse this and work out how to reduce it.
For example, use emails more, cut social chat during work hours and reduce the time you spend looking at work you never even quote for. You will get a shock when you see how much time you lose every week.
Occasionally, as a matter of interest, calculate the value of time for one week you spend doing work you can’t charge. Multiply by 52 and you’ve got a measure of what your non-chargeable time is costing you, every year, in terms of lost opportunity to be doing work you could be paid for. Aim to halve it.
You can also analyse your chargeable (productive) work. The best way is to look at the extremes. Work out the cost (in hours) of each job. Look at the ones which have taken you far too long. Work out how you could have done them better. Maybe you did more work than quoted and could charge for extras. Learn from the mistakes. Look at the jobs which have been very successful and see if you can learn from them, too. Disregard the majority in the middle, where the time quoted and the time taken were reasonably close.
Time spent working on your business as opposed to in your business is an investment. Most of us have our heads down working hard to get the work done and find it difficult to put time aside to make the business more profitable. If you can control your business like this, you will be a winner.
“If you can measure it, you can manage it” applies just as much to other aspects of your business. Sales are a good example.
Do you count up the number of enquiries you get from your advertisements? How do you know whether you are spending your money wisely, if you don’t? Do you measure the number of enquiries you convert to sales? What’s your success rate? A retailer keeps a record of each assistant’s sales, totalling them monthly. In this way, he helps his staff to improve their techniques.
Increase your profits by measuring what you do and managing yourself – and staff if you have any.
If you would like to discuss more about this article please contact Mark Pfeifer or Paul Dawson.
An email signature can be a useful marketing tool. A signature can automatically go on the end of every email you send. It should at the very least include your contact details, company name and your designation (i.e. sales manager). It can also include the company logo and, if relevant, your website and social media addresses (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).
However, you can use the signature to market yourself, your company and or a product/service by adding special offers (make sure you change it or delete it once the offer expires), to publicise any awards won (Plumber of the Year etc), a testimonial or even a recommendation for a partner business.
There’s plenty of information on the internet about how to set up a signature in Outlook or in Mac Mail if you don’t have one already. You can even set up different signatures for different recipients (i.e. sales or general).
You can also use a tool like Wisestamp which makes creating and maintaining a signature very easy.