Last summer Joanne Paul was relaxing on a two-week cruise of the islands – leaving the office admin and payroll of her furniture removal and labour hire business in the hands of a colleague.
But when a message arrived saying the person needed to pay her team was off sick, she reached for her iPad.
"We use Xero for our accounts and payroll so I just logged in and did the weekly pay run from the deck of the ship using satellite internet – that's the benefit of having everything stored in the cloud," says Joanne. "I didn't even have a laptop with me."
With her iPad and phone, she ran Waiheke Movers from the deck of the ship, mixing cool drinks and warm sun with a little business. She was up early in the morning to respond to emails.
"All it took was a few hours in the morning to send out work," she says. "I even sent a photo of the scenery to the team saying I had the best office anywhere."
Joanne had used a different accounting package for 14 years before her accountant, Hayley Wilson of My Two Cents, encouraged her to switch to Xero four years ago. While it has made the job of running her Waiheke Island business easier, the weekly pay run was always cumbersome and time consuming – until Xero's Payday filing option was released.
"Every week I had to create two payroll files, then log into my Inland Revenue (IR) account, and upload them," she says. "But now when I run payroll, Xero automatically sends information to IR so you're actually not doing anything to make that happen. You don't even have to push an extra button. It's a lot less aggravation and you know it is done."
With staff numbers fluctuating between 12 and 18 people, depending on the volume of work, Joanne relies on each member of the team to log their hours worked at the end of each day. Those numbers are then transferred to Xero Payroll.
"The boys can log in on their phones to put in the hours and the various job sites because sometimes they might be working at two or three different locations in a day," says Joanne.
"There is an option in Xero for team members to log in and enter their hours – all they would see is their personal timesheet.
"At the end of the week I push a button to run payroll. This pulls the hours worked from the timesheets and produces a payslip. We double check the numbers and some people have child support deducted and things like that which can be automated too, once it is part of a template."
Joanne says while there are lots of payroll options, she prefers Xero because everything is in one place and she is not paying for things she doesn't need.
"The cool thing is it is a New Zealand company. I have recommended Xero to plenty of people and they have moved across."
She also likes the way Xero integrates with job scheduling software: "For small businesses it's not a matter of 'if' you're going to use job scheduling software. At some stage you 'will' have to use it – because if you don't, you cannot compete."
"I have been managing businesses for around 25 years so I know my way around accounts packages. If I need anything out of Xero then I can do that easily," says Joanne, adding that any small business owner not using an electronic accounting system was making life much harder than it should be.
"In fact, what's happening is that some accountants almost insist you use Xero before they will take you on – that's how popular it is becoming."
For more information on Xero Payroll - go to xero.com/payroll