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3 Xero changes to make you smile


Here’s a few changes to Xero software that will bring a smile to your face.

They may look like small tweaks but any functionality that makes your life easier gets a thumbs up from us!

1. Sales invoice Preview

You can now see what you’re sending by clicking Preview on your invoice before you send it to your customer. Check out the button that looks like an eye. You can see how your branding theme will look, on both desktop and mobile views, and it something isn’t quite right – you can change it.

Why should you care? This is much faster than having to download a .pdf file to look at the customer invoice – so it saves you time.

You can also still send a link for your online invoice to your customer, to help you get paid faster.

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2. Annual Compliance for Payroll – all ready

If you run, or we run, your monthly Payroll, this time of year is all about getting ready for the year-end processing required by HMRC. So it’s good to hear that the statutory rates for SSP, SMP, student loans, national insurance, PAYE  tax rates and thresholds are up-to-date for the 2017 / 2018 financial year. All ready for that all important roll over to the new financial year.

Why should you care? It’s one less thing you have to worry about. All you have to do is get ready for the final submission and make sure tax codes uplift as expected and run your P60’s with peace of mind.

3. Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Sick Pay

At last, Yay!

Xero have added Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) functionality that automatically calculates for you.

Why should you care?  You no longer need to manually calculate the time-off pay, this saves you time and reduces your worries about checking that you have manually calculated the statutory pay correctly. Big relief all round!

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You can keep up to date with Xero software updates here.

You can call us on 01603 516304 for help with your accounts on Xero.

Payroll – what you need to know

So you need to run a payroll?

When you decide it’s time to pay yourself through a payroll, if you’re already on Xero, you’ll need to get the Xero Payroll Add-On at £5 for 5 staff plus VAT – and away you go!

As with all things in life there are a few payroll basics you need to know, and do, first. Here’s some of them;

  1. Have a directors/owners pay strategy: this means making sure you pay yourself in the most tax efficient way, and from April 2016 you know the expected impact of the Governments tax changes planned for dividends.

2.  Register your business with HMRC for PAYE Tax. They’ll give you a PAYE reference which you need to run a payroll in the UK. You will also get a PAYE On-line login.

3.  Understand the Auto Enrolment Pension rules. Every employer will have duties under AE, even if it’s to assess only yourself and let the Pensions Regulator know you’ve done so. Follow the link below to the employer’s duties checker.

  1. Xero are introducing the AE functionality needed for assessment of workers soon too. If your business is Staging in 2016 this may well cause you some anxiety and extra work – but we are told to expect the catch up functionality by 2016 – Yay!
  1. Once you get your PAYE reference number, check up on your company’s staging date for Auto Enrolment. At the moment this can’t be helpfully stored on Xero Payroll – but that functionality is coming very soon.
  1. Know all you need to know about how to report to HMRC, how to actually pay any Tax and NI due, and how to send a Real Time Information return on time to HMRC. All modern payroll software will deal with this for you – but you remain responsible for ensuring it’s done at the correct time.

Check out the HMRC guideline here.

7.  You will usually pay HMRC every month – but if you expect to pay less than £1,500 a month, you can arrange to pay quarterly if you wish. Contact HMRC on the above link for this.

8.  Decide who is going to run your payroll. You can do it yourself or pay a payroll provider like a bureau or an accountant to run your payroll for you. Remember, you remain responsible for keeping employee records, and you must give them a payslip. Xero Payroll software deals with all of this and payslips are e-mailed to the staff.

9.  From April 2016, the government is allowing employers to payroll certain employee benefits in kind. Payrolling is where the employer includes a value for benefits in kind as taxable pay so the income tax is collected in real time. You may need to give this some consideration.

Here’s a summary for Setting up Payroll

If you decide to run payroll yourself, you need to complete certain tasks to pay your employees for the first time. You can choose when and how often to pay your employees.

  • Register as an employer with HMRC and get a login for PAYE Online.
  • Choose payroll software to record employee’s details, calculate pay and deductions, and report to HMRC. Xero Payroll does this, so do all cloud payroll solutions.
  • Collect and keep records.
  • Tell HMRC about your employees.
  • Record pay, make deductions and report to HMRC on or before the first payday.
  • Pay HMRC the tax and National Insurance you owe.
  • You’ll also need to complete certain annual reports and tasks


You can check out how-to videos for Xero Payroll here.

To talk payroll and Automatic Enrolment duties get in touch at or contact us here.



5 Time saving Xero Tips to make your life easier

5 Time saving Tips to make life easier for Xero Users

To make your life easier we’ve highlighted 5 top tips that you may not know about – to make working in Xero Accounts more efficient and speedier.

Xero Tips to save you time

Tip #1 Get the Xero Touch App for free.

This will mean you can see and process your accounts on the go or from anywhere you have an internet connection. But you can also snap a photo of a receipt, upload and process it there and then OR store the phot to Files and deal with it later. No more lost bits of paper, receipts or invoices. If you’re VAT registered keeping an on-line copy of a bill with your accounts will make that next VAT return easier, and you’ll have copies of your paperwork with you wherever you are.

Tip #2 Trip Catcher app for mileage claims and vat reclaim.

If you drive your car on business it can be hard work keeping records that satisfy HMRC and it is easy to forget those small trips because they are just too much trouble. Using a mileage App like Trip Catcher can make this so much easier. With just a few taps on your smart phone you can capture all of the information you need when you make the trip. You can then send it to Xero or to Receipt Bank if you have automated your bookkeeping processes. This will save you time, give you the feeling of control and allow you to check mileage claims from the staff team.

Tip #3 Keep contacts up to date

If you take the time to complete the details in contacts, you’re all ready for invoicing your customers or you can contact suppliers fast, at the click of a mouse. No more logging on to other systems, no more hunting around for phone numbers, guarantee certificates or engineers numbers. You can then use smart lists to create simple CRM lists or export the lot to an Add-On CRM app to do more meaty marketing. Don’t forget you can import a contacts list into Xero as  CSV file too.

Tip #4 Credit Control on Xero

When you e-mail or call a late payer, make use of the “payment due” dates in Xero, and use “Notes” to add a comment about what was agreed. Xero will automatically add the date and the user for you. That way you can keep track of your credit control conversations and follow up as needed. It’s also visible to anyone you’ve given user access to, so anyone of your team can follow the process and make sure you get paid.

There are lots of excellent Xero Add-Ons for credit control reminders, but for a low cost, low volume DIY approach follow our tip.

Tip #5 The very useful Xero to Xero key

If you hate paper invoices, and you get lots of bills and receipts sent to you electronically there are now many solutions to the task of then re-keying a bill into your Xero accounts. If you deal with suppliers who also use Xero, give them your Xero To Xero key number and they can send the bill direct to your Xero draft bills to pay, on your dashboard.

So save yourself time and ask suppliers on Xero to deliver their invoice (linked to their account and coded to the ledger) into your draft invoices in Xero. All you have to do is approve the invoice. You can return the favour by doing the same for your customers and making their lives easier. All you have to do is exchange your Xero Key with anyone who wants to do business with you this way, and setting up some default General Ledger codes for your suppliers. Another time saving feature of Xero Accounting Software.

Throughout this post we’ve added in links to the detailed How To websites for you.