Tuesday, 24 March 2015 08:02

Xero stocks up on new features: inventory, online quotes and more

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The latest release of the Xero cloud accounting software includes several major pieces of new and improved functionality including basic inventory management and online quotes.

Xero's inventory management feature has arrived well within the 90 day timeframe that managing director Chris Ridd revealed to iTWire last month.

"For 80% of the market, it's an awesome solution," he told iTWire.

Available from today, Xero's inventory management (pictured above) allows real-time tracking of the quantity and value of a small business's inventory. It also allows items to be easily added to quotes or invoices, the company said. Businesses with more complex inventory needs can still pick from a range of add-ons offered by Xero partners.

Xero added quoting to the system in January, but according to the company "Online Quotes complements Xero's Online Invoicing capability, enabling small businesses to improve business efficiency and cash flow by making it easier and faster for quotes to be provided and approved on site and online, and for invoices to be sent and paid quickly."

Side-by-side files (pictured below) augments the Xero Files online storage feature introduced last October that allows documents such as receipts to kept in Xero and linked to transactions such as purchases. The usability of this feature has been enhanced by allowing the document to be displayed alongside the transaction to ease data entry.

Xero Side by Side Files

A wider range of bank feeds are now supported, taking the total to 7,000 feeds and 5,000 institutions. Xero's announcement did not say which if any of the new feeds are relevant to Australian users (the company seems to be focusing on the US as a growth market).

Not all the new features are aimed at end users. Accountants stand to benefit from the new practice reports feature, said to allow them to add value by providing clients with customised reporting based on real-time data. Practice reports are available in New Zealand, and will shortly be rolled out in Australia.

"We were 'born in the Cloud' which continues to enable an unmatched pace of innovation to the ongoing benefit of our customers. Our fast SaaS model has delivered over 150 new features and improvements so far this year," said chief product officer Angus Norton.

"Our latest innovations allow customers to manage cash flow through effective stock management, easily convert new business prospects through online quotes and manage their receipts, expenses and payments."

And CEO Rod Drury said "Today we've not only matched most of the features of traditional desktop software, but taken it beyond in terms of ease-of-use, mobility, value and performance. This is about ensuring more small businesses have the opportunity to succeed through a constant wave of innovations."

Xero prices start at $25 a month. The new features come at no additional cost.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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