Business report

Xero Announces New Platform Updates, Scholarship, and Quarterly Business Report

TORONTO, September 4, 2022 – Xero, the cloud-based small business accounting platform, recently announced a series of updates designed to make annual compliance significantly easier for Canadian accountants and bookkeepers. In 2021, Xero took “an important step forward” in its commitment to the Canadian market by acquiring TaxCycle, the Calgary-based tax preparation software company used by many Canadian accountants.

Xero expands and improves its tax offering with updates that will simplify year-end accounting and tax preparation. Xero has announced an expanded TaxCycle integration that includes key forms required to complete T1 tax returns. Effective September 1, Xero Partner Program rebate rates for Canadian subscriptions will also apply to all TaxCycle products, for those who have a standard license agreement with TaxCycle.

To help further simplify the year-end compliance workflow, Xero announced Hubdoc Bank Statement Extraction, a new feature that makes it easier to extract transaction data from PDF digital bank statements and import data in Xero. With coverage for several major Canadian banks, and more to come, the feature will reduce the need for manual data entry and speed up the time spent on year-end bookkeeping tasks.

Xero Workpapers, a crucial tool for year-end compliance workflows, is also improving to help make tax preparation more efficient for Canadian practitioners. The live beta was launched on August 26 for Work Balance and will allow bookkeepers and bookkeepers to generate a read-only work balance report directly in Xero Workpapers, and easily view and validate all balances and account adjustments. It will be available exclusively to Canadian practitioners for now, with additional feature enhancements to come.

Xero also has a growing ecosystem of app partners to help accounting professionals use the tools that work best for them. This includes a new integration with Countablea cloud-based office paper management and automation solution, giving accountants greater option for office paper solutions to streamline their annual compliance process.

BMO and Xero team up to help small businesses put accounting on autopilot

Xero, in partnership with BMO Financial Group, also announced a new integration allowing business customers with complex needs to service and sync their BMO and Xero accounts in minutes. Customers will be able to see their daily balances and transactions automatically – no need to log into online banking or manually export files.

Coming later this year, the integration will allow customers using Online Banking for Business to connect directly and save time previously spent on data entry and reconciliation, as well as the following features:

  • Automatically receive their latest BMO transactions and account balances in their Xero account daily
  • Include a one-year transaction and balance history from the start
  • Modify or deactivate this integration at any time from their BMO account

Xero promotes accounting diversity with annual scholarship

In partnership with the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA), Xero has also launched an annual scholarship to increase diversity in the accountancy profession. The award, based on academic achievement and financial need, will be awarded to a Black student studying any field of accounting at an accredited Canadian college or university. This is the first award designed specifically for the BBPA.

The need for greater diversity in the financial sector is crying out. A 2021 global study, conducted by Gartner, found that corporate finance ranks among the lowest of any industry in increasing representation, with people of color making up just 11% of the total workforce and only 6% of management positions in finance. The announcement aims to improve those numbers and represents an evolution of Xero’s partnership with BBPA.

“Xero believes that the Canadian accounting industry is at an inflection point and will be very different in the years to come, whether it’s the people doing the work or the tools they use. to do this job,” said Faye Pang, Canada Country Manager. in Xero. “We are honored to partner with BBPA to make the field more accessible to future generations of accountants, and a field that reflects Canada’s beautiful diversity.

Xero, the global small business platform, has released its Xero Small Business Insights for Canada and the United States, which reveals how inflationary pressures and the current economic climate have affected Canadian small businesses in recent months.

Quarterly Small Business Insights to Leverage SME Data Going Forward

Xero will now provide quarterly small business performance data for Canada and the United States, covering sales, payment times and late payments for tens of thousands of its small business customers. Key findings from the first quarterly report reveal that Canadian small business sales growth has slowed through early 2022, with March growth of 5%, down from the pre-pandemic average growth of 9%, and growth of less than 13.4% in February.

The report, available here, provides a wealth of data useful to Canadian accountants and their small business clients, while providing comparisons to small business trends in the United States and abroad. For example, small business sales growth in real terms actually fell into negative territory, once inflation was taken into account, lagging behind its global peers. (When inflation is higher than nominal sales growth, it is likely that sales volumes have fallen and the increase in sales is entirely due to higher prices.)

According to Xero, the experience for small businesses in 2022 is clear. “It is becoming more and more expensive to borrow money due to rising interest rates set by central banks, profit margins for small businesses are squeezed as their expenses soar due to inflation and customers’ money is not going as far as it used to due to rising costs of life pressures.

“Meanwhile, concerns about significantly slower economic growth in the coming months are growing in the five countries highlighted in this section. This means that small businesses need our support more than ever to face the difficult conditions that lie ahead.

Colin Ellis is editor of Canadian Accountant.