Online accounting software company Xero has updated the notifications tool in the top-right corner of the program into a FaceBook-style messaging system.
The blue envelope menu symbol remains the same but instead of an email inbox with rows of subject headings it shows a dropdown menu that looks more like a FaceBook news feed. New items show as cards with a header photo or even a video that plays within the dropdown menu.
Besides the new layout the unified messaging platform is the first step towards receiving messages from a much broader range of sources. Notifications have typically been limited to alerts about files uploaded to Xero Files, approval of bank feeds, and short text summaries of feature updates.
The new Notifications is Xero’s plan to create a separate inbox for accounting and finance related topics only. Xero is addressing one of the biggest frustrations of accountants – losing track of emails to and from clients in an overcrowded inbox.
In the future Xero will use the notifications menu to send messages from a user’s accountant and bookkeeper, and potentially third-party services such as financial institutions and other business apps in Xero’s ecosystem.
Xero will also take a leaf from Apple’s latest operating system by using “toast” notifications that pop up by themselves and then fade away. Xero is a heavy user of Yammer, an instant-messaging tool used for internal communications, so don’t be surprised if notifications shares a couple of design cues.
The same messaging platform will be built into Xero Practice Manager, Xero’s free practice management tool for silver partners and above (bronze partners pay $149 a month). Xero has released a video showing the new design.
Today’s release includes several minor updates:
- A proper search for Quotes, including by quote number, reference, customer or amount.
- You can now copy a quote to a purchase order or a bill, as well as copy a quote to an invoice or another quote. This is useful for services businesses such as builders who sell a bill of materials to a customer and then need to send a purchase order to a supplier.
- Filter reports by tracking categories. The new Reports section lets you filter results using tracking categories in all reports. For example, if you have different business units making sales you can now run your Aged Receivables reports for one or several tracking categories.
- A faster inventory for customers with more than 1,000 items.