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Money is a tricky topic for a lot of business owners. There’s the matter of how to account for it, how to present it, and of course, how to raise it. Having worked with plenty of startups over the years, I’ve noticed how their approach to their numbers varies. Some don’t prioritise accounting and financial transparency, while others inflate the importance of fundraising to a disproportionate degree. 

As finances are an integral aspect of any successful business, we decided to sit down and probe this topic a little further. On episode 4 of Xero On Air, I sat down with host Graham Brown and Sam Gibb, an investor and partner at venture capital firm Endeavour Ventures, to do just that. 

You can listen to the full podcast here

So, in this day and age where accounting has been made a lot easier and financial information more transparent, how should business owners approach their numbers? Here are some things we figured out. 

Numbers should tell a story 

Proper accounting is more than just compliance. It’s an opportunity to paint a picture of your business—where its strength and opportunities lie, as well as its risks and challenges—which, in turn, can help business owners make better decisions. 

But accounting is a technical skill, and not all business owners are necessarily savvy in this field. This is where a good accountant can come in. 

Let me explain. 

More SMEs are leveraging accounting solutions like Xero to get yesterday’s data. Back in the day, this was an accountant’s job. It would take them up to three days to collect information from the client and the bank before they could present the numbers. But because Xero does all this already, accountants get to take a more strategic role as an advisor, reading and interpreting the numbers into actionable advice. 

This is important because business owners don’t always think about this. They see positive numbers and think they’re doing well, so no need to bother checking what’s under the hood, right? 

I knew one business in particular that didn’t realise 82 to 83 percent of their revenue was coming from one client. They knew it in their heads, but didn’t have a concrete number for it. When their relationship with that client soured, they had to scramble to get back on their feet. 

Had an accountant stepped in to provide advice beforehand, whether that was to take care of that customer or to focus their efforts into acquiring other big clients, the business wouldn’t have had to rely on a single major source of revenue. 

Back then, many accountants saw themselves solely as the people who could help business owners pay less tax and comply with the law. But now, thanks to new solutions and emerging technologies, they get to be so much more than that. 

Financial transparency is important to investors

When pitching a business to investors, getting the right number—whether it’s net profit, sales, margins—is key. But the kind of data you present depends a lot on the stage of your startup and the kind of investor you’re looking at. 

As an investor himself, Sam had this advice to give: “If we’re talking about seed [funding], they’ll be investing more in the team, personality, vision, and market—depending on the stage.” 

He goes on to advise SMEs that “annual finances are useless in the beginning because business is changing so frequently. Investors will want to see on a month-on-month basis what’s happening.” 

Mature startups appealing to investors who have part-ownership of the business is a different story. 

Investors typically want financial transparency to understand the health of the business. Like Sam, they usually ask for a monthly update using consistent growth metrics. But it’s a bonus if the investors are aware of what’s happening in the business’ bank accounts as well. 

A business could have sold to a client and earned $200,000, for example, but they might not be receiving the payment another 90 days. This kind of information helps everyone involved make better decisions. 

Tools like Xero are extremely useful in this case because it provides real-time insight into a business’ cash flow. Especially since cash flow management is one of the top issues for Singapore SMEs, this sort of transparency is essential to grow and scale. 

Fundraising isn’t the end-goal

The last topic we broached was fundraising. Should businesses bootstrap or raise external financing? 

There is a time and place for either strategy, but what we’ve noticed is that startups tend to fixate on the latter. Some believe that once they’ve raised enough money, everything’s going to be okay. But while raising capital definitely helps, it shouldn’t be the end goal of a business. 

Working with someone else’s cash gives business owners a sense of confidence and accountability. But there are many things bootstrapping can teach founders. 

In fact, it’s quite common in Australia for business owners to bootstrap. They have credit card limits of $30,000 to $50,000—enough to run their businesses on personal credit. That’s very risky. But in the process, founders become more disciplined and thoughtful about where they spend their cash. 

Graham himself, the host of Xero On Air, has built a business bootstrapping. Even though he’s had some success with it, he still struggles to spend two dollars on a coffee. 

At the end of the day, it isn’t just about raising the funds—because a business isn’t about going from fundraising to fundraising. It’s about being able to achieve a goal, such as acquiring new markets or launching proprietary products, with that cash. 

Xero empowers businesses

While we aren’t business owners ourselves (with the exception of Graham), we have enough experience to know what SMEs need to grow and scale. Prior to Xero, I worked as an accountant for many years and learned about all the stresses that business owners go through. I felt like I often doubled as a therapist. 

That’s how I know that being a startup founder is tough. It can get lonely and mentally fatiguing. And that’s why we developed solutions like Xero—so that business owners can have an easier experience with accounting and make better decisions based on their financial data. 

By making accounting easy, we empower business owners to focus on scaling and doing beautiful business. 

Did you enjoy this episode? Follow Xero on Air here as we deep-dive with industry leaders on key topics that drive business success. 

To support startups, we have put together exclusive promotions for Xero and our complementary app partners in our Xero for Startups bundle. Sign up here to lay a strong and scalable foundation for your startup today. 

The post How business owners should approach their numbers appeared first on Xero Blog.

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Around the world, there are over 700 apps in Xero’s App Marketplace. 

In the past few months alone, we’ve added more than 21 South African apps. These include Yoco, Payfast, SME Snapshot, Syft, Aurik, Simple Pay, Payspace and Tall Order.

We know that finding the right apps for you or your client’s business can be an arduous task. So to lift the load, we’ve launched a new South African Xero App Integrator Directory

The directory has now gone live in South Africa – with six partners – Realm Digital, Radical Cloud Solutions, Nimacc, Insights, Iridium Business Solutions and Creative CFO. These are all organisations with a proven track record of successfully integrating marketplace apps into Xero businesses. 

How you can benefit

We know that when small businesses are connected up to more than one app to manage their finances, they are more likely to succeed. These digital tools enable them to develop better processes, increase client engagement, monitor performance and even reach new markets.

But new tools often require new skills to select, implement and operate them.

The app integrator partners in this new directory are leaders in their fields. They have the necessary skills, knowledge, and most importantly experience to guide small businesses and their advisors when selecting, implementing and operating apps in our marketplace.

Sharing the burden

Keeping a business afloat during times of political and economic instability is never an easy task. So the last thing a business owner wants to be doing is wasting time getting on board with a new tech tool. So that’s why we’ve launched this new directory – to make the whole process a whole lot easier. 

As small businesses become more tech-savvy, they’ll value guidance from a trusted app integrator, to help identify app solutions to improve operational efficiencies, growth and cash flow.

So whether you’re upscaling your business or digitising your processes, connecting with a Xero App Integrator will help you navigate, select and implement the right app for you, or your clients business.

We’re pretty excited to be launching this directory. To find out more, check out the App Integrator Directory today.

The post Launching South Africa’s Xero App Integrator Directory appeared first on Xero Blog.

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When it came to her day job, Katherine Yerondais just wasn’t feeling it. A pastry chef by trade, she’d spent the past 12 years whipping up sweet treats for Melbourne’s fanciest fine dining establishments and 5-star hotels. But it wasn’t making her happy anymore. So, she did something about it.

‘Basically, I quit my job in a blaze of glory and told them all to get stuffed,’ Katherine explains. The problem was, she now needed to find herself a solid income. Luckily, her brother had an idea: ‘He thought I should sell my homemade caramel popcorn. I thought he was crazy.’ It turns out he wasn’t – and so, Crackle Caramel Popcorn was born.

Here at Xero, our driving force is helping small businesses like Katherine’s to do beautiful business. Which is why we’re proud sponsors of the Finders Keepers – a sustainably-minded market that features the work of more than 1200 independent makers and designers from across the country.

Taking risks, making with care, and soaring sky-high

A returning Melbourne stall owner and something of a veteran, Katherine says, ‘Finders Keepers is an institution – it’s an absolute gift for brands like mine. This is the ultimate platform to get your business out there and it allows me to teach people that caramel popcorn can be so much better than what they’re buying at the supermarket.’

On the topic of which, she says: ‘I sell the best caramel popcorn ever. It’s super light and crispy, and it’s very much different to anything else out there.’ Why? ‘Because I choose the longer, more technical method of cooking it, which gives a superior finish. It’s all in the tender loving care! I don’t half-arse anything and my popcorn is made with so much joy and love.’

That devotion has paid off. Katherine explains, ‘In my first weekend of trading at markets I earned more money than I did in a week as a pastry chef.’ And people – important ones at that – have taken notice. ‘Somebody bought my popcorn at Finders Keepers and just so happened to give a bag to the lady who’s in charge of catering for Virgin Airlines. From that, I got myself a six-month contract. So Crackle Caramel Popcorn is currently flying above our heads in the air as we speak.’

But running a small business isn’t all easy. Far from it. In a sentiment echoed by Xero’s recent late payments report, Katherine explains, ‘I’m terrible at asking for money. And when you have stock going out but aren’t getting paid until much, much later – it can be totally crippling. Starting Crackle Caramel Popcorn  has been a big lesson that it’s ok to put your hand up for help when you need it.’

And that help comes in many forms: ‘I have a brilliant accountant who really believes in me and in the business – and he got me on to Xero.’ Katherine adds, ‘Now that I’m on it, I’m just like, “What the hell was I waiting for?” I don’t need to stress about income versus expenditure anymore, because I can actually see how much money I’m waiting on to come in. Xero lets me know what the big picture is. In other words, it helps me sleep at night.’

In a show of support for innovative new retail businesses, Xero is the proud sponsor of the Finders Keepers debut stall section. Positioned near the entrance of each event, this is a one time opportunity for freshly formed businesses to showcase their wares. As a champion of startups, we’re here to help these brands learn, grow and inspire, just like Crackle Caramel Popcorn  before them.

When asked whether nabbing an airline deal was the ultimate marker of success for Crackle Caramel Popcorn , Katherine says with a laugh, ‘Oh no, I’ve got a goal to own a tropical island in the Caribbean one day, right next to Richard Branson. So when I’ve retired and I’m sitting pretty with a cocktail in a coconut – then I’ll be truly happy.’

Thankfully, Xero is here to help turn dreamers into doers.

Melburnians, don’t miss the chance to support small business and find yourself a treasure or two at the AW19 Finders Keepers Market at The Royal Exhibition Building on 12 to 14 July. 

It’s official: all Australian business owners are now required to digitally report their payroll information to the ATO through Single Touch Payroll. Join the team behind Finders Keepers in discovering that STP is only a few clicks away with Xero.

The post Crackle Corn goes pop! How this small business went from market stall to airline snack appeared first on Xero Blog.

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Of Australia’s 2.1 million small businesses, 400,000 employ just four people or less. But while they may be ‘micro’ in size, the impact they have on our community is immeasurable. 

These same business owners are now required to digitally report their payroll information to the ATO through Single Touch Payroll. With the release of Xero’s new Payroll Only plan, the country’s smallest employers have a simple way to begin their online accounting journey and comply with legislation. For some, it will be their first move to digital, while others have already embraced the evolution. Join us as we uncover the human stories behind the facts and figures.

Michael Bloom believes that you could be better. Sure, he may not know you. But what he does know is that wherever you are in your health journey, there’s room for improvement.

As the director and principal chiropractor at Happy Chiropractic, he explains, ‘We recognise the incredible self-healing and self-regulating capacity that all humans possess, and we’re excited to have a positive impact on as many people as possible.’

For those who aren’t in the know: ‘Chiro is based on the principle that by promoting optimal spinal function, and therefore clear and healthy pathways to and from the central nervous system, the body’s ability to self heal is improved. This holistic approach to healing is quite a unique concept within western medicine.’

The pleasure and the pain points of easing pain for a living

According to Michael, when it comes to running a small business in the health space, the most rewarding thing is the results. ‘People don’t just leave feeling better, they can function better. And you just can’t help but feel that what you’ve spent your day – and life – doing is incredibly worthwhile.’ 

However, being a business owner isn’t without its pain points. ‘It’s rewarding in that you can make your own decisions. You’re your own boss, and therefore you can create the vision and the direction. But it’s a double-edged sword. At the other end of the spectrum, when you’re going through anything stressful, it all falls back onto you. Ultimately, it’s about balance.’

Finding ease, growth and support in software made for small businesses

With the ATO requirement for Single Touch Payroll (STP) having come into effect from 1 July, countless small businesses will start using accounting software technology for digital payroll reporting. Happy Chiropractic has already transitioned to Xero’s cloud-based system, and Michael says it has revolutionised the way they operate.

He explains that in his previous practice, ‘It was literally me keeping paper receipts of everything that I ever spent, popping them into a plastic folder and dumping them on my accountant’s doorstep. Then, I used to email staff hours through to my bookkeeper. This time around, I do the payroll myself through Xero.’

While the introduction of online software can feel overwhelming for some small business owners, Michael has welcomed the benefits of increased accuracy, faster payroll calculation, and the visibility to plan forward. 

‘Now, I can log in and see how much I’ve paid my staff across the entire year, how much I’ve spent on X, Y, and Z, and how much I’ve generated in terms of earnings. Instead of having to keep bits of paper everywhere, I can open Xero up at any time and immediately check in on how the business is tracking,’ he says.

This new-found connectivity helps the small Happy Chiropractic team make a big impact on the bodies – and mindsets – of their patients. ‘At Happy Chiropractic we don’t just deal with physical ailments. Our holistic approach to care means that we’re not happy unless you achieve both physical and mental wellbeing.’ 

Xero has created Payroll Only, a plan that provides Australia’s 400,000 smallest employers (those with one to four employees) with access to a simple, STP-compliant digital payroll.  

Employ five or more people? Discover how Xero can support you to do beautiful business. 

The post Small business, big impact: Healing bodies and shaping mindsets appeared first on Xero Blog.

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For the past two years A2X has attended Xero’s global developer roadshow – XD. The event returns in August this year, and I want to share why A2X always attends.

What is XD19?

XD is a series of developer roadshows hosted by Xero’s ecosystem team in several countries (Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia). It attracts developers and app businesses from the Xero ecosystem for information sessions, panels and to network with other developers and the Xero team.

At XD18 accountants shared what makes apps valuable to them, and how they advise clients on app usage. This was a first-hand account of the challenges accountants face when recommending apps to their clients. It also provided insights into what they look for in an app (such as good support). My biggest takeaway last year was understanding the consideration accountants make when recommending or using apps with their clients. Their recommendation or use of an app can potentially risk their professional reputation with their clients. For example, if you ran a retail business and your accountant recommends a point-of-sale app, you’re more likely to trust their advice if it’s successful.

XD19 - YouTube

What will you get out of attending XD19?

The following three things stand out for me:

  • Meet other developers and app businesses in the Xero ecosystem
  • Understand best practices for apps and app marketing from the Xero Team
  • Hear from accountants in the industry about what they value in an app

The event attracts local developers and app businesses providing an opportunity to learn informally about technical and business challenges. I experienced this at the Auckland event where I met Nathan and Dale from Quotient – a fast growing SaaS software company, for instance. I enjoyed hearing about their personal experiences with marketing and growth.

The event is also attended by the Xero ecosystem team making it a great opportunity to get to meet and learn from them. In the past there’s been technical sessions discussing new or upcoming API features. There have also been marketing sessions offering tips for getting the most out of the Xero app marketplace

XD brings together everyone in the Xero ecosystem – the Xero team, the developers and apps, and the accountants. It’s the coming together of these three groups that makes XD a fantastic event to attend.

About the author

Ashley Schroder leads development of A2X in Auckland, New Zealand. A2X is an automated cloud-based service used by Amazon merchants and Shopify sellers to import their eCommerce sales and fee transactions, and to post summarised transactions to Xero.

The post XD19: A look at why developers should attend appeared first on Xero Blog.

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In support of Plastic Free July, we’re showcasing a few of our small business customers who are embracing sustainability as part of their business model.

CaliWoods is a Social Enterprise that provides eco-alternatives for everyday plastic items. We talk to founder, Shay Lawrence, about how her business is helping to eliminate single-use plastic.

State of the environment around the world a catalyst for change

Travelling around the world after finishing university opened Shay’s eyes to the state of the environment. An avid surfer, she was horrified to find that plastic pollution littered even the most untouched pieces of ocean.

“I was fortunate enough to work in the super yacht industry, which landed me on patches of isolated, tropical sand,” she says. “It was truly shocking to see human consumption and plastic pollution follow us to these places. There were bottle caps, straws and bags – showing that we really haven’t left any stone unturned.”

The realisation hit Shay hard. When she returned to New Zealand after six years abroad, she set out to make a positive difference to the environment.

“I knew that I wanted to try and inspire some positive change in the sustainability space. CaliWoods has been the voice thus far.”

Social enterprise a great mechanism for positive change

Sustainability isn’t a new concept for Shay. She studied environmental science at university, and says she always had an interest in business, too.

“I find the sustainability space and social enterprise a really great mechanism for positive change. Since starting CaliWoods, I’ve learned that from small actions there can be massive, wide-spread reactions, and change really can happen if we commit to a more sustainable future.”

Eliminating single-use packaging is one easy step that consumers can take to live more sustainably.

“Look at the serial offenders and slowly start to remove each one from your life. It might be disposable coffee cups the first week, plastic bags the next. Making small, achievable goals so that the habits stick.”

Another easy step is to be more aware about what you’re consuming – think about whether you really need it.

“And that goes for CaliWoods products too. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Reducing consumption is one thing individuals can do to make the biggest impact. It stops waste before it begins and helps you to place importance on quality products that will really last,” Shay adds.

Shay says the CaliWoods range has grown over the last year to include stainless pegs, cutlery packs, eco-friendly food wraps and other replacements for plastic. “We launched reusable straws into the market when people didn’t even know what they were. It’s so amazing to see the massive increase in awareness, adoption of habits and the general consensus that we urgently need to step into our role as Guardians of the Earth.”

The big picture

Long-term, Shay hopes to continue to grow the product line. She’s committed to focusing on social enterprise so that the company’s strong purpose is measurably impactful. In just two and a half years, CaliWoods has diverted over 1 million pieces of plastic from being used. The business has also engaged with over 60,000 people about sustainability and plastic pollution.

“Our core mission is to inspire sustainable lifestyles. I’m focused on CaliWoods being a source of information and a thought-leader in the sustainability space. We are a place that people can come to for reliable eco-tips and sustainable living ideas. This helps us to all be more informed and work towards more responsible lifestyle choices.”

Nationwide, Shay would like to see necessary steps taken on the consumer, business and government level to set ourselves up for a circular economy in the waste space, achieving climate change related emissions goals and protection of our precious and unique natural environments.

Adjust our mindset for positive impact

“In 20 years the change I would like to see is our relationship to ‘stuff’ working in harmony with the natural environment, rather than in an exploitative way. Effectively, a carbon zero economy with value placed on quality, minimal consumption and circular use of resources,” Shay continues.

“This is going to take a massive mindset shift and change within our system to take into account the ‘True Cost’. We must consider the environmental cost in every item we use, the way we move, what we wear.”

“The scale at which we currently manufacture everything is almost unfathomable. To get to where we need to be, change is going to have to be huge as well as rapid. I’m not sure if 20 years is realistic, but if we all focus on our little part, as businesses and as individuals, our collective action will for sure have a positive impact that at least is heading in the right direction.”

“We invented ourselves into this situation – human ingenuity and an openness to adapt will be the thing that gets us out.”

If you want to learn more about how you can reduce single-use plastic, check out the CaliWoods website and Instagram.

The post CaliWoods: Mission to eliminate single-use plastic appeared first on Xero Blog.

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In support of Plastic Free July, we’re showcasing a few of our small business customers who are embracing sustainability as part of their business model.

LilyBee Wrap is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic food wrap. Owners Stacia and Miko Jensen created the reusable handmade wraps, made from cotton and beeswax to reduce the impact of plastic on our land and sea. We talk to Stacia to find out how her business is helping reduce the amount of plastic in our environment.

A drive to leave the world a better place

A dream trip around New Zealand in 2015 opened Stacia and Miko’s eyes to a growing plastic problem.

“While appreciating all of the beauty here, we also noticed the rubbish left behind. Using plastic drove us crazy. And once we learned how the toxicity of plastic easily leaches into our food it scared us,” says Stacia.

The couple started to look into how food was stored before plastic became the default method. After trying a few products that didn’t quite fit their needs, they decided to create their own.

“It was when I became pregnant that spurred us on wanting to leave a healthier planet and life for the next generation coming through.”

If they’re looked after well, our wraps last for between six months to a year or more. This eliminates countless rolls of single-use plastic wrap and brightens up lunch boxes across the country with their beautiful prints.

Small changes can make a big difference

Replacing plastic food wrap with LilyBee wraps has been a starting point for a lot of Kiwis looking for easy ways to reduce their plastic consumption.

“It kind of plants the seed and gives them confidence to try other easy wins like reusable water bottles and KeepCups. One of my favourites recently though is using glass jars to freeze food,” says Stacia.

A movement of everyday New Zealanders who want to do their bit to improve the environment is gathering steam. Stacia is proud that LilyBee is encouraging customers to think about what other steps they can take to reduce plastic.

“We heard about LilyBee being a starting point for so many people and wondering what they could do next. So we started a Facebook group called All You Can Eco. That’s actually where I learned about the using glass jars to freeze things.”

Their goal is to keep inspiring and empowering people to take small, achievable changes that can have a huge impact. They also have big aspirations for New Zealand.

“I would love New Zealand to take the lead from some other countries like the states in India that are banning all single use plastic. I think the more everyone realises how connected we are and how easy some of these changes can be, it will make all the difference.”

If you want to learn more about how you can reduce single-use plastic, check out the Plastic Free July resources.

The post LilyBee Wrap: Changing habits one step at a time appeared first on Xero Blog.

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In support of Plastic Free July, we’re showcasing a few of our small business customers who are embracing sustainability as part of their business model.

CaliWoods is a Social Enterprise that provides eco-alternatives for everyday plastic items. We talk to founder, Shay Lawrence, about how her business is helping to eliminate single-use plastic.

State of the environment around the world a catalyst for change

Travelling around the world after finishing university opened Shay’s eyes to the state of the environment. An avid surfer, she was horrified to find that plastic pollution littered even the most untouched pieces of ocean.

“I was fortunate enough to work in the super yacht industry, which landed me on patches of isolated, tropical sand,” she says. “It was truly shocking to see human consumption and plastic pollution follow us to these places. There were bottle caps, straws and bags – showing that we really haven’t left any stone unturned.”

The realisation hit Shay hard. When she returned to New Zealand after six years abroad, she set out to make a positive difference to the environment.

“I knew that I wanted to try and inspire some positive change in the sustainability space. CaliWoods has been the voice thus far.”

Social enterprise a great mechanism for positive change

Sustainability isn’t a new concept for Shay. She studied environmental science at university, and says she always had an interest in business, too.

“I find the sustainability space and social enterprise a really great mechanism for positive change. Since starting CaliWoods, I’ve learned that from small actions there can be massive, wide-spread reactions, and change really can happen if we commit to a more sustainable future.”

Eliminating single-use packaging is one easy step that consumers can take to live more sustainably.

“Look at the serial offenders and slowly start to remove each one from your life. It might be disposable coffee cups the first week, plastic bags the next. Making small, achievable goals so that the habits stick.”

Another easy step is to be more aware about what you’re consuming – think about whether you really need it.

“And that goes for CaliWoods products too. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Reducing consumption is one thing individuals can do to make the biggest impact. It stops waste before it begins and helps you to place importance on quality products that will really last,” Shay adds.

Shay says the CaliWoods range has grown over the last year to include stainless pegs, cutlery packs, eco-friendly food wraps and other replacements for plastic. “We launched reusable straws into the market when people didn’t even know what they were. It’s so amazing to see the massive increase in awareness, adoption of habits and the general consensus that we urgently need to step into our role as Guardians of the Earth.”

The big picture

Long-term, Shay hopes to continue to grow the product line. She’s committed to focusing on social enterprise so that the company’s strong purpose is measurably impactful. In just two and a half years, CaliWoods has diverted over 1 million pieces of plastic from being used. The business has also engaged with over 60,000 people about sustainability and plastic pollution.

“Our core mission is to inspire sustainable lifestyles. I’m focused on CaliWoods being a source of information and a thought-leader in the sustainability space. We are a place that people can come to for reliable eco-tips and sustainable living ideas. This helps us to all be more informed and work towards more responsible lifestyle choices.”

Nationwide, Shay would like to see necessary steps taken on the consumer, business and government level to set ourselves up for a circular economy in the waste space, achieving climate change related emissions goals and protection of our precious and unique natural environments.

Adjust our mindset for positive impact

“In 20 years the change I would like to see is our relationship to ‘stuff’ working in harmony with the natural environment, rather than in an exploitative way. Effectively, a carbon zero economy with value placed on quality, minimal consumption and circular use of resources,” Shay continues.

“This is going to take a massive mindset shift and change within our system to take into account the ‘True Cost’. We must consider the environmental cost in every item we use, the way we move, what we wear.”

“The scale at which we currently manufacture everything is almost unfathomable. To get to where we need to be, change is going to have to be huge as well as rapid. I’m not sure if 20 years is realistic, but if we all focus on our little part, as businesses and as individuals, our collective action will for sure have a positive impact that at least is heading in the right direction.”

“We invented ourselves into this situation – human ingenuity and an openness to adapt will be the thing that gets us out.”

If you want to learn more about how you can reduce single-use plastic, check out the CaliWoods website and Instagram.

The post Stainless steel straws with a side of social enterprise appeared first on Xero Blog.

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We talk a lot about how late payments affect businesses from a financial and operational perspective. It’s an issue that’s close to our hearts here at Xero, and it’s a conversation that matters. 

But another conversation, one that’s often lost amid all the talk about lost revenues, invoice-chasing and the rest is the human cost of late payments. Because when businesses aren’t paid on time, it doesn’t just affect the bottom line – it affects people

We teamed up with PayPal to find out more about how late payments affect, not just British businesses – but their owners too. 500 SMB owners shared how they dealt with this ongoing issue. 

Here’s what we found out. 

Impact on personal finances 

Businesses are comprised of people – and people need to be paid on time if they’re going to avoid stress and enjoy their work. It goes for entrepreneurs just as much as employees.  

Overall, 35% of SMB owners claimed late payments meant an increased risk of debt – and 52% said they’d used their own money, or that of their friends and family, just to keep going. 

Late payments can stop entrepreneurs from tending to relationships and their wellbeing. If you’re not getting paid on time, you might not be at your best. 

So, it’s no surprise that 73% feel much more optimistic about their business when they have positive cash flow. The more reliable and regular your income, the better! 

Impact on personal wellbeing 

Running a business is an act of love, but it can also place a strain on entrepreneurs – particularly if they don’t know when the money they’re owed is coming in. Late payments can affect: 

  • Mental health. More than two fifths of SMB owners claim that late payments have affected their mental health. 
  • Sleep. 43% say they’ve been kept up worrying about their business’ cash flow. 
  • Self esteem. Some 45% of business owners feel they’ve failed their companies when they’re cash flow negative. 
  • Outlook and optimism. Overall, 37% of entrepreneurs have considered giving up the ghost because of cash flow issues. 

We don’t want SMB owners to give up. They’re essential to the UK economy – they make up 99.9% of registered businesses, after all.

Making late payments history

What if late payments were no longer an issue? What if every entrepreneur was paid on time and in full? We found it would make a real difference to finances, wellbeing, and overall attitude. When asked, business owners said: 

    • It would make running the business feel ‘worth it’. Over three-quarters of entrepreneurs (76%) think being paid on time would make the work more rewarding. 
    • They’d feel more optimistic about their businesses. 73% claim it would make them more hopeful about their prospects. 
    • They’d enjoy better health. 26% say they’d have better physical fitness, and 21% say they’d spend more time on interests and hobbies. 
A happier, healthier business owner 

Small business owners have enough on their plates. Running a business is hard enough as it is, without losing sleep over a late invoice.

There are things entrepreneurs can do to minimise these issues and bring more positivity into the workplace. Accounting tools such as Xero, supported by PayPal’s “Pay Now” functionality, can make managing invoices simple and straightforward. 

But, beyond that, we’d encourage everyone across all links of a supply chain to pay their invoices promptly and without fuss. It’s not just the business that’s affected: it’s the people who work for it. Everyone benefits when everyone is paid on time. Let’s make late payments history. 

To see the full report and for tips on how to tackle late payments take a look here.

The post The human cost of late payments appeared first on Xero Blog.

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We’re fresh into the new financial year, and there’s change afoot – as of 1 July, Single Touch Payroll (STP) legislation has kicked in for all employers across Australia. 

An ATO initiative to enable real time digital salary reporting, STP means employers are now required to report salaries and wages, PAYG withholding, and superannuation information, each time they pay their employees. There are multiple changes for everyone to get their heads around. But rest assured, the information is out there. In fact, we’ve gone ahead and gathered it all together for you.

The Xero team is revisiting some of the most commonly asked questions from our community – and connecting you with the answers and resources you need to stay on top of all things STP.

Why can’t I produce payment summaries anymore?

STP removes the requirement for payment summaries altogether –  a change that may take some getting used to. Instead, the ATO will now make this information directly available to employees online through their individual myGov accounts, in what is called an ‘income statement’.

Completing the STP opt in process within Xero connects your business with the ATO and enables STP reporting. The date by which you’ve opted in to STP will determine how you report payroll information to the ATO for your year end payroll requirements. If you opt in to STP after 1 July 2019, payment summaries can still be produced for FY19 and the years prior. However, if you opted in before 1 July 2019, you can no longer produce payment summaries (you can still access those from prior to your opt in date) – this is in order to prevent duplicate reporting of employee information to the ATO.

Remember, you don’t need to complete the STP finalisation process before the first pay run of this year – you have until 31 July for the 2018/2019 financial year. 

Where can I find out more? 

Advisors and business owners:

Employees:

What does it mean if I opted in before 1 July 2019? 

Once the STP opt in process has been completed, your business should be filing pay runs to the ATO on or before the payment date of each pay run. If you’ve opted in, but haven’t been filing any pay runs since you did so, there’s no need for concern. During the first year, the ATO has said they will not pursue penalties when businesses are making the effort to do their best to comply with the law. 

When you have opted in to STP, payroll year end occurs within your software – and there is no more paperwork or processes happening outside of your payroll system (STP will prefill all of your employees’ tax return information). All you need to do is complete your STP finalisation, as this will give the required end of year information to the ATO. 

Again, you have until 31 July to complete STP finalisation for the 2018/2019 financial year. 

How do my employees access their end of year figures for their tax return? 

Employees can find their income statement within their myGov account – that’s everything they need to complete their tax return. They will be able to view this information online and also print a tax friendly report called tax print that includes all details. 

Where can I find out more? 

Employees:

What resources can I give employees to teach them how to use myGov?

One of the key changes that employees may notice as part of the transition to STP is that payment summaries will no longer be issued at the end of the financial year. Instead, the ATO will make information reported by an employer directly available to an employee online through their individual myGov account. 

The ATO has provided the following information to help employees understand how to use and navigate myGov:

Is it true that the filing status can take up to 72 hours to update from the ATO? 

That’s correct. The ATO references that it can take up to 72 hours to process this information for you. If, for example, you have filed a pay run but it is marked as ‘Pending’ rather than ‘Filed’, this means that it is waiting for a response from the ATO. 

However, just because one of your filings is pending a response from the ATO, it doesn’t prevent you from filing another pay run or completing an STP finalisation. For example, if you process and file your last pay run for the financial year and it has a status of ‘Pending’; you don’t have to wait until that status changes to ‘Filed’ before you do your STP finalisation.

Where can I find out more? 

Advisors and business owners:

  • The ATO references its 72 hour process time in this factsheet: Get ready for Single Touch Payroll
  • If you are waiting for an extended period of time, it may be worth checking the SBR system status in case the ATO is experiencing any system issues that are resulting in longer than usual response times.
What other resources are available?

While STP is a change for many small businesses and their trusted advisors, all the information you need is out there. In addition to our Single Touch Payroll homepage, you can:

The post Single Touch Payroll is here: Your top queries answered appeared first on Xero Blog.

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