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Training & Beyond Blog

The Accounting Professional of Tomorrow - The Cloud Machine Learning Revolution

Melanie Morris | Date: Monday, November 28, 2016
Following on from Rod’s #Xerocon keynote where we learned that the bookkeeping future includes removing the Chart of Accounts and the need to code. We were taken on a journey of the power of big data machine learning. It has encouraged me to question, is it a threat or opportunity? Let’s take a look.

I am thinking that it is timely to start the conversation of how we can embrace the technological change by collaborating together to evolve our Bookkeeping Services. According to Google Heraclitus stated 2,500 years ago that “change is the only constant in life”  how right was he! 

It’s case in point that when I referred to Heraclities, I used Google to find quote and other facts rather than going into the library and looking up books or speaking with historians. We no longer need to know everything, however we do need to know what, where and how to gain the knowledge using the internet. I am wondering if the same can be said for accounting software, do we really need to know the debit and credit? Or can we just ‘trust’ the machine to make the best most logical choice for us? 

There is no doubt we are on the cusp of another revolution… The cloud machine learning revolution - interesting that this time it will be the accounting profession that leads the way The way I see it, there was the Industrial Revolution 1760 - Mechanism of the textile industry. 
Mass production revolution early 20th Century - Henry Ford and the assembly line.  
The electronics revolution - 1950s development of transistors and computers. 
And now the Cloud Machine Learning  Revolution - 2007 Xero Accounting software. Machine learning and the financial web. 

Why do we trust the internet? Because we know that the big data has a high chance of being correct. There are algorithms on algorithms that feed us information, know our habits and even auto suggest advertisements we might be interested in based on our behaviour.

That said, sometimes it is not 100% accurate. Most of us have ended up somewhere random while using maps on our mobile device - we shrug and share the funny story which is a funny story as it is an exception. This is why we will still need #human verification to manage the exceptions.

Xero will use the big data and machine learning to auto code transactions - we know that a particular behaviour results in motor vehicle expenses for example. But we still need our bookkeepers and accountants to use their knowledge to verify.  

I recall watching the original ‘Star Trek’ and wondering how the doors automatically opened as people entered the Starship Enterprise (also loved that noise … ssshhhp). It was so ahead of its time: mobile communications, Spock’s Tricorder and other medical advancements. Remember Doc would use a mobile device to review the patient data? The computers had all the lovely buttons and there was even a wide screen on the bridge. 

The next movie that is significant for me is ‘Total Recall’ - there was retina scanning, cloning a cashless society and driverless vehicles. 

The cloud machine learning revolution is delivering this science fiction, or should I say fact to our devices… The financial web is at the heart of this, which means the accounting profession will lead the way - how cool!  


The Bookkeeper of today undertakes data management tasks such as:
  • Bank Reconciliations
  • Accounts Payable Management 
  • Accounts Receivable Management (including debtor management) 
  • Budgets 
  • Management Reports 
  • Tax compliance 
  • Conversions to Xero 
  • Eco System Implementations 
  • Training 
  • And other additional services 

With the efficiencies gained the Bookkeeper of tomorrow may look something like: 
  • Implementation of software 
  • Training 
  • Technical support
  • Business consulting 
  • Ecosystem specialist 
  • Management Reports 
  • Banking consultants

Xerocon Bookkeeper Style

Melanie Morris | Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wow! Still on a high writing this after finishing up three phenomenal days at Xero’s conference in Brisbane, Xeroconsouth. It’s my sixth year in attendance and the bar gets set higher with every conference!

I flew into Brisbane Airport along with 2500 others: plane loads of Bookkeepers, Accountants, Ecosystem Partners and presenters. Everyone piled into cars and off we went to the Brisbane Convention Centre. It was humming to say the least.

The conference organisers deserved medals for their superb effort and support from the seamless initial registration process to leaving at the end of the day, the awards events recognising true legends, the incredible space and the nutritious, fun food. I also loved the ‘Debit and Credit’ Pin Ball Game and the playground meant plenty of smiling adults who had been let loose on the swings and seesaws.

In fact, you could be forgiven in missing the point that this was an accounting conference. Having a live DJ entertaining us from 8.30am made it feel like more like a festival of fun and the best family reunion there ever was. And Xero does consider itself to be a big family. The common theme throughout the conference was “connecting” and the “network effect” which reflected and encouraged this aspect. Xeroconsouth absolutely achieved a very special feeling of kindredness.

There were so, so many highlights! Major mentions go out to a few special people, one of whom was Hindu monk and entrepreneur Dandapani. He reminded us that we have a finite amount of energy and money. People don’t realise that energy is like money. It needs to managed, it needs to be wisely allocated and wisely invested into things that really matter, because we only have so much of it.

Another incredible insight was provided by Antarctic Expedition Leader Rachael Robertson. Can you imagine leading a team of 18 strangers for an entire year in Antarctica? From her best selling book ‘Leading on the Edge’ she shared words of wisdom including respect trumps harmony every time. You won’t always see eye to eye with your peers, colleagues or clients. Realise that this is actually OK and work out how you can build respect into your diverse team. Rachael is also big on Integrity a.k.a no triangles. I won’t speak to him about you, you won’t speak to her about me, and he won’t speak about me to you. If there’s a problem, go directly to the person. This is an effective way to build trust within a team.

CEO of Xero, Rod Drury, also gave a fantastic and inspiring keynote address. Attendees were taken on a journey of the past, present and future of bookkeeping. We all understood what lies ahead for bookkeepers and how we need to be continually adapting to take advantage of the opportunities the future will offer. Charles Darwin would be impressed with the speed of evolution in our accounting and bookkeeping space.

However, by far the biggest highlight was the chance to connect with our global peers. Catching up with friends from past Xerocons and meeting face-to-face for the first time with those we’d previously only communicated with online. There was tears, laughter, sharing and hugs. It was wonderful to see everyone supporting one another and bringing together New Zealand, Australian and Asian Bookkeepers into one community. It feels surreal, even emotional, as I reflect on this sitting on a plane heading back to Aotearoa, post-conference. Xeroconsouth truly felt like a family reunion, nothing like an accounting conference.


Melanie Morris | Date: Thursday, June 16, 2016


However hectic life gets, don't skip a regular check of your Bank Reconciliation Summary, It's such a time saver in the long run.

The Bank Reconciliation Summary shows how your actual bank balance and Xero balance match up, so you can stay on top of any discrepancies.

Here's a one minute video tutorial to help you understand your summary and make it easy for you to identify why things may not be matching up.

Free iPayroll Trial

Melanie Morris | Date: Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Free iPayroll Trial

Want an easy to use, trusted and proven online payroll that’s perfect for small to medium businesses?

They are New Zealand’s premier Internet based payroll service and designed for anything from one employee up to several hundred.

iPayroll was established in 2001 and were the first XERO Add-on Partner. They are also New Zealand’s largest IRD listed online PAYE Intermediary, processing upwards of $3.5 billion of customers payrolls every year.

Features: - Manages leave, Nett payments and PAYE, ir-filing for you - Employee Payslip Kiosk with leave requests - Free ongoing use of help desk - Hourly, salary, full- and part-time, casual and permanent... everything is easy to set up once and let your - employees see their own payslips - Access to the full payroll and timesheet system - Hours, pay, taxes... Watch it all get calculated, processed and recorded instantly. - Produce over 40 reports - All information private and secure

Training and Beyond are an Affiliate Partner of iPayroll. For more info and a free trial click this link.

XERO Signal Series Launched

Melanie Morris | Date: Wednesday, May 04, 2016

XERO Signal Series Launched

Seven out of ten small business owners have no interest in growing their firms, but 83% of them want to increase efficiency. That's according to Xero's new Signals data series, which has just launched.

The research series aggregates anonymous Xero data from almost 10,000 small New Zealand businesses and combines it with local business surveys.

The information aims to help business owners understand how they are faring. For too long big-data has been the domain of big businesses, the Signal Series democratises data for small businesses in New Zealand.

"It's our responsibility to provide the tools to small businesses to help them thrive. These insights enable New Zealand's small businesses to assess their own business using comparative insight from thousands of other similar-sized businesses." The data released showed 87% of invoices were overdue - 40% of them by more than a month. "The relaxed attitude to paying invoices in New Zealand is having a real impact on our economy and small businesses can change their invoicing practice to combat this," Xero managing director Anna Curzon said.

Xero said companies should consider increasing their online presence, as 78% of Kiwis aged over 18 shopped on the web but the data suggested only 15% of small businesses had an online store.
The research also revealed only one in ten small businesses had an accountant, while only one in three had a business plan.

"The data shows how much opportunity there is for small business owners to tighten their operations, become more efficient and grow," Curzon said. Xero said the Signals data would be updated regularly and published online at

SIGNALS from Xero on Vimeo.

My Top Tip for May

Melanie Morris | Date: Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Xero + Google Maps

Google Maps is such a useful app. It’s a great addition to any program and Xero uses it well. The Google + Xero connection is visible in Xero Contacts and the Xero Mobile app.

Both places show the location of a customer or supplier on a map. You can click on the map to see an expanded view of the area or click on the address marker to look up directions. So useful for organising face to face meetings.


Melanie Morris | Date: Wednesday, May 04, 2016

It’s common to get so busy helping our clients we put off our own needs. Big mistake! By looking after ourselves, we can actually be far more effective and productive.

So for May, treat yourself as your most important client, and book in for a complimentary consult with Mel. She’ll give your business processes and software solutions a free once over. To make sure you’re streamlined for success, she'll be looking at areas you may be able to gain maximum efficiency. Whether it’s to outsource or delegate tasks such as sales, accounts, marketing, production, customer service, client management or lead generation, Mel will be able to suggest solutions to your challenges.

Free up your time to do what you do best, book today by contacting Mel.*

*T&Cs Free Consults bookings available until 31 May 2016. Limited spaces available.

The Cash Flow Game Changer

Melanie Morris | Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016

BNZ has announced a new app and smartphone integration that is getting plenty of attention right now in the small business community.

The rather delightful PayClip is a mobile payment device that connects to Apple or Android compatible smartphones via Bluetooth. Together with a free BNZ PayClip app, payments can be made on the spot via contactless, swipe, or chip and PIN from Eftpos, Visa, Mastercard and debit cards. So easy!

As attractive as it’s portability are the costs for this at an affordable $30 per month, no charge for eftpos and 2.95% merchant service fee for credit cards. It also has the added functionality of being able to send a receipt straight away via text or email and full transactional reporting ready to reconcile in Xero once the funds hit the bank.

Running your business on-the-go just hit next level awesome.

To read more head to

Lots to love at Aromaunga Flowers

Melanie Morris | Date: Thursday, March 24, 2016

One of our favourite florists, Aromaunga Flowers, were feeling the love from Xero when Valentine’s Day rolled around this year. 

As you can imagine, Valentine’s Day is flat out for a florist and Aromaunga is no exception. While cupid was firing off arrows in all directions, Xero helped them keep tabs on what was happening.

Here’s a quick screen grab so you can have a peek at Xero behind the scenes.

Enjoy a Little Freebie this Easter

Melanie Morris | Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yesss, it’s almost Easter! Yet even on our days off, we’re often still on the job. Catching up with clients, researching or picking up some cool new business stuff.

These are the times I find the Xero Mobile App so invaluable. I can take off for the weekend and still be adding receipts from wherever I am. It’s just fabulous, so freeing!

If you have half an hour free this Easter, have a play. It’s totally free to download the Xero Mobile App Demo, test it out and pick up some tips.

Click here for your free download.

Happy Easter!