As Published in Rural News

Last month Xero released its plans for the farming sector at their annual Xero conference. Xero are the software darling of the NZX, with a share price that has been growing faster than the price of irrigated land in Mid Canterbury.

To date, Xero has not provided much for farmers, instead focusing on small to medium businesses, of which 250,000 use their software globally. Xero has also spawned a large number of add in partners that provide very useful services for business in conjunction with Xero.

Some popular ones include: include:

Workflow Max;Time and job management software, Receipt Bank ; Just email or scan your receipt, it reads it and enters it into Xero, iPayroll ; Simple to use online timesheet and payroll

There are over 100 apps that integrate with Xero, and like Xero they are all just a monthly cost with no commitment.  This is ideal for seasonal business allowing you to scale up and down throughout the year.

You can watch the full Xero announcement below:

So why should farmers consider Xero?

Xero are positioning themselves as a full solution that will link in with banks, farm suppliers and others so they can all work together. If they can pull this off in the rural sector by linking with rural merchants and providing a useful service to manage livestock then they may be onto a winner.

Here at Ripped Orange we use Xero, and love it not for all the flash features, but because at the end of the month accounts can be sorted very quickly giving me more time with the family.

Xero for Farming will be launching later this year, talk to your farm advisor and accountant about it.

Windows XP – End of life

In other IT news, Windows XP that was released in 2001 with fairground rides in Times Square, and Madonna signing Ray of Light will be coming to an end in April 8, 2014.

If you purchased your computer before 2010, then it’s likely you are running Windows XP, (look for the big green start button on the bottom left of the page)

From April 8th, 2014 Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP, this means that they won’t release updates and fixes, and in particular security updates.  They are recommending that you upgrade to Windows 8.1 which may mean purchasing a new computer.

So how will this impact you?

If your computer is attached to the internet on a regular basis, you do run the risk of getting a virus which there is no updates of fixes to get rid of it. Hackers know that Microsoft XP won’t be supported so there is fear that they will target these computers, all 500 million of them globally!

So will the sky fall in on April 8th?  Probably not, but if you run your farm business on a Windows XP computer, now would be a good time to think about alternatives.

Next month we will focus some of these alternatives, form Office 365, Google Apps and other cloud based options.