At the recent Xero Road Show, the Australian Product Manager, Laura Cardinal gave us a sneak preview of the significant features that will be released into the product within the next 90 days. Most importantly and after years of the refrain ‘coming soon’ will be the long awaited inventory module which CEO Rod Drury has previously described as ‘the end of the beginning’ as it would complete the accounting engine of the software. It was February last year when I lamented the lack of advice about this module and hoped in vain for end of financial year 2014. At this Road Show, I didn’t even dare to wonder so was pleasantly surprised.
Release of an integrated Inventory module will put Xero on a par with QuickBooks Online and Saasu and leapfrog it ahead of MYOB Essentials and Reckon One (not that it wasn’t already ahead.) and really complete the accounting software equation.
We didn‘t see a lot of the module but enough to prove it really was on its way. It definitely looks to be coming in very much on the light side which provides scope for further development but will satisfy the requirements of those small businesses just needing to track cost of goods and quantity on hand
We did find out that Average Cost will be the costing methodology, that stock adjustments for both quantity and value will be available but I didn’t see that there would be an opportunity to do a full stock take. Nor will there be nice little features like automatic reordering or multi location. Against each item the inventory asset, sales and cost of goods sold accounts could be recorded. As yet I couldn’t tell if it supported Tracking Categories which is an issue with existing add-ons including Unleashed and DEAR.
Additional features we can expect in the 90 day timeline included:
- Enhancement to Sales Quotes which were released at the end of 2014 thereby removing the need to use a draft invoice. The upcoming enhancements include online quoting, the ability to copy the quote to a purchase order or bill and to send to the customer with accept/decline options and add to comments.
- Global Searching which will include the option to search the entire product or a specific sub section of Xero to find a text or numeric string.
- Business KPIs including Accounts Payable and Receivable days, Inventory turnover and Gross Profit – all of which can be added to the dashboard.
- A Find and Recode feature to enable fast correction of errors.
Further out than 90 days we can expect some enhancements to the New Reports including the ability to run the P&L on a cash basis, group detail accounts under a header and add a formula to a line amongst others. A Business Performance dashboard will provide a set of tool to help understand the financial health of the business and a host of enhancements to the sales and marketing cycles will be available.
So there are many interesting developments and enhancements that have progressed beyond the drawing board and we can look forward to some solid functionality gains during the rest of this year.