Upgrade to Xero Business Edition for ALL centres!

Over the last few months we have been working with Xero to come up with a great package to allow all our centres to upgrade from Cashbooks and GST Cashbooks to Business edition and we are pleased to announce we have made it happen. And the best part is the upgrade will be entirely covered by Federation levies. Xero will generally work the same, there is no new learning or transition required to keep doing what you are currently doing, however, the upgrade allows all centres the ability to invoice directly through Xero, set reminders for payment and reconcile the payments to Accounts receivable along with several other features and benefits. This will also allow our centres to use “accrual” accounting at year end and the finance pack done in excel can become a thing of the past. For centres who have already upgraded your centre will no longer be billed for the upgrade from March 2019.

We are in the process of updating the Treasurer instructions on our website for the new features and will also provide guidance at year end for the few items that will need to be accounted for differently in lieu of the finance pack.

2017/18 Group Accounts are available for Grant Applications:
Our Group audit for the 2017/18 year is complete and the accounts are available on our website here. These can be used when your centre wishes to make a Grant submission, your centres name can be found in Appendix A starting on page 17.

We want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the centres that were selected to provide audit evidence and the incredible response we received despite the short timeframes. We are really proud to have achieved comfort over expenses this year and this is entirely to your credit. Overall we had a huge improvement on our previous audit opinion and this will continue to improve as we move through the Amalgamation.

Taking your books paper free:
Most of our centres are currently keeping their accounting records in paper files and lately I have had a few approach me and ask if they are “allowed” to go paper free. The answer is ABSOLUTELY! In fact, Federation finance turned away from paper about a year ago and haven’t looked back.

We are not mandating the move and for many we understand it may seem a bit daunting, however we do encourage centres consider utilising Xero functions to add invoices to the payment record as a safety net. Unfortunatly we have had a couple of incidences where a centre has lost or damaged their financial records in a flood or fire. The loss of records was not only a reporting issue but made it difficult to prove the ownership and purchase of items in the Playcentre for insurance purposes.

Although we are no longer require all centres to carry out individual audits, all centres are still included in our Group audit on a sample basis. Some of you will have had requests for documents from our Group audit and would have had to find these in your files and scan back. We did however discover in this process centres who have uploaded to Xero the auditors were able to simply check these invoices themselves without asking any further work from the Treasurer.

We have had questions about review of invoices if they are no longer signed on a piece of paper. Authorisation can be set up via Xero creating a perfect audit trail. But most of all I cannot stress enough that if you are authorising a payment ALWAYS ensure you know what it is for and check the invoice, whether paper of soft your approval is only as good as your review of the invoice.
More information on how to load invoices into Xero can be found on our updated Treasurers guide on our website here.

Fixed Asset register in Xero – change of process
Over the next few months prior to yearend we would like all centre treasurers to create a fixed asset register within Xero and register all centre owned fixed assets over $2,500 (note this does not include the land and buildings that you currently occupy). This is a key element of the move away from a manual finance pack. We thank the Treasurers who volunteered to “Road test” the process, their comments and input have been invaluable. We also noted many of them managed to complete the task in under half an hour and it is a much less daunting task than it sounds.

A step by step guide has been developed and is available here and note the more you do now the less you will need to do at year end.

For the handful of our incorporated centres that have been identified as owning their own land and buildings, we will reach out to your centre individually for permission to update your fixed asset register on your behalf as this is slightly more complex.

Reminder about invoice terms with contractors and other service providers
I would like to remind all our staff and centre members about the standard terms for payment that NZ Federation accept when contracting out services (for example trades people) that are being paid directly by Federation Accounts Payable team. In order to best manage our controls around payments and staff workload we do require all invoices to be entered into on normal business payment terms of the 20th of the following month. All invoices receive by Playcentre Aotearoa Accounts Payable [email protected] by the 10th of the month will be paid on the 20th. We do not accept complaints about late payment of invoices entered into on short payment terms.