Invoices have come a long way since they arrived in the letterbox. Today, you can send them instantly from your phone, add flexible payment options that help you get paid faster, track when a customer has paid and remind them when they haven’t. And there will always be room for improvement with ever changing ways of how businesses do business.
At Xero we work hard to design an experience with small business in mind. With this as our top priority, we keep close to our community, listen and take action.
Introducing a better way to invoice
We’re making Xero’s invoicing more beautiful. And we don’t just mean visually. We’re moving to a simplified experience designed with small business in mind, so you don’t have to worry about the accounting behind the scenes.
Interestingly, 80% of small businesses only have 1-3 line items they need to populate on an invoice. We frequently hear from our community that Xero’s current invoicing asks for a little too much information for an invoice to go out the door quickly. 80% of small businesses only have 1-3 line items they need to populate on an invoice. So we identified a need to update the current version of invoicing to make it more efficient. By removing some of the clutter that isn’t useful day to day, and pre- populating fields, we create a more effortless experience that saves time.
In July this year we opened up a pilot release to a small number of customers, collecting feedback on what’s working well and identifying any gaps. Based on your feedback, we’ve made a number of improvements to how the new invoicing experience works and looks, as well as updated our future plans so we’re building in the tools you need the most.
This is an experience that caters for those of you who are hands on in the business and create invoices yourselves. Later next year, we’ll retire the current version of invoicing and introduce the refresh to everyone.
1,841,453 hours of invoice time saved
Composing invoices can take a bit of time, in fact the current average for completing an invoice is 1 minute and 46 seconds. For an activity you may be doing everyday – that time adds up. With the new improvements to invoicing you are able to complete an invoice 30 seconds quicker on average than previously. You’ll find the invoice number, date and due date as well as the account codes there for you already.
Here are some pretty cool numbers for you to get an idea of what this means for small businesses on Xero: 220,974,470 invoices were raised with Xero in the last 12 months.
Collectively, Xero businesses could save 1,841,453 hours of invoice time over a year. It helps win back some of your time as well and makes room for the things that matter.
The invisible helping hand
Looking after your accounting shouldn’t be a focus for you day to day. We’re embracing the fact that you like to do things on the fly and want to remove monotony in your day. Leave the rest up to Xero and your accountant.
We introduced machine learning to Xero invoicing a number of months ago. Think of it as your invisible assistant who helps make it quicker and easier to create an invoice. With the machine learning technology, Xero asks for only the basic information needed to complete your invoice. Then your invisible assistant completes the rest for you, based on what it has learned about your business from previous invoice entries.
We’re embracing machine learning with invoicing, so you can say goodbye to monotony and leaving you doing the things that made you start your business in the first place. And the best thing is you can rely on the information entered, not having to worry whether or not you missed something.
What’s new for Xero invoicing
- As mentioned above, every time you enter information into an invoice, Xero learns from your selections for subsequent invoices. For example, Xero suggests an account for each item based on what it knows from your previous sales.
- Your changes are saved automatically as you create and edit an invoice. And you can easily preview the invoice.
- You can show and hide fields in your invoice to suit your business. Only certain fields are shown in your final approved invoice.
- You can add a contact on the fly. As you’re creating an invoice for a new contact, you can save the contact and add some basic information about them to your records in Xero.
- You can edit inventory items on the fly within your invoice.
- Most commonly used due dates for the invoice are available in a drop down. Once selected, the date is automatically updated for you.
What else can you expect from the new experience? Have a read of our help pages and watch the video below. The help pages are a good place to check in regularly for any feature updates.
Some of the things you may be missing and what’s next
- Something that isn’t included for the moment are tracked inventory items and files. Reason being that these functionalities are adding more complexity and aren’t made for simple invoicing needs.
- We’ve previously talked about adding a title and summary to invoicing. As stated in community, we are planning to add these to the new version of invoicing. However, those won’t be available straight away.
- In the new year, you’ll be able to add online payment options to invoices more effortlessly. Adding a Pay now button to your invoices creates a better experience for your customers and helps you get paid faster with PayPal, credit or debit card.
You’ll notice during the refresh that we are continually introducing improvements as we monitor your feedback. All the while keeping our goal in mind — to offer an experience that prioritises how small businesses take care of invoicing.
- At the beginning of next year, you’ll be able to add multi-currency to your invoices. Although it’s an important part of the invoicing experience, it isn’t used by everyone. So instead of rushing to get to multi-currency, we are getting some of the basics right first during the pilot.
- Something we’ve been hearing throughout the pilot is that you are missing the ability to allocate a credit note to an invoice. We understand this feature is important to you, so rest assured, we’re working on it at the moment — it won’t be far away.
- A quick way to copy an invoice. This is another feature on our to-do-list. Keep an eye out for it early in the new year.
That’s a wrap
With the introduction of this new experience, we’re staying true to keeping small businesses at top of mind. We are creating an experience that lets you take care of your invoicing faster and smarter. It takes the complexity out of it that suits those with less complex invoicing requirements.
Expect to hear more updates from us soon. We’ll keep you in the loop about how the invoicing pilot is going and encourage you to share your thoughts with us. Your opinion matters to us and the more voices are heard, the better we can make invoicing.