Confectionary or art?: The A519 Chocolate story

Confectionary or art?: The A519 Chocolate story

Confectionary or art?: The A519 Chocolate story Sarah Richards When unwrapping a box from A519 Chocolate, bewilderment might be one of the first emotions you experience. Nestled inside are what look like tiny pieces of abstract art, but are in fact chocolate truffles. Adorned with a bold and unique visual flair, the company’s products no doubt leave a memorable impression on any lucky recipient. A519 chocolates are individually handcrafted with inspiration derived from modern art and time-tested flavor profiles. Amanda Wright is the Head Chocolatier and Co-founder of the Pittsburgh-based company. We spoke with her about the inspiration behind the company’s unique offerings and, as a Xero customer, how using cloud accounting enables her to focus on growing her business. Can you tell me a little about your background and how you came to start your business? I remember standing on my tip toes perched upon books piled on a chair, peering over the kitchen counter taking in my first culinary lesson from my mother. By age six or seven, I was proficient in leveling flour in a measuring cup and locking the kitchen aid before mixing. The lessons that I learned from my mother were that the best food is made from scratch. She also taught me that the time saved by shortcuts is better invested in preparing a thoughtful meal. The realization that food can serve as the gathering point for family and conversations cemented my desire to make my life’s work food-related. After training at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, I decided it was time to start my own company, where I could actualize...
Meet Jake McKeon of Coconut Bowls

Meet Jake McKeon of Coconut Bowls

Meet Jake McKeon of Coconut Bowls Posted byTiana Barns Jake McKeon featured on Shark Tank, pitching his business Coconut Bowls. The sustainable model intrigued a few of the sharks and Jake secured an investment from Janine and Andrew. We sat down with the young founder to discuss how the business began. You’ve started a few small businesses, at quite a young age too. What sparked this passion for running your own business? Growing up, I was never inspired to have a career in any particular industry, and was always drawn to interesting people doing different things to the norm. Throughout school, and even university, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. However, I always found business, finance and commerce subjects fascinating because of the case studies and practical side of learning. After I graduated from university, I began a corporate role, and stuck at it for a couple of years before an idea for my own business came about. Once I began researching the concept and learning how to start a business, I was inspired a whole lot more than I had ever been before. When I handed in my resignation, I knew that I was never going to work for someone else again. Tell us about starting your most successful business Coconut Bowls? How did that come about? While on a surfing trip to Bali, I came across coconut shell handicrafts. I instantly fell in love with them, and knew that if they could be turned into the coconut bowls I envisioned, then others would too. I had a local craftsman make me a hundred, packed them into my suitcase, and...
Making payroll a breeze with Xero + Paychex

Making payroll a breeze with Xero + Paychex

Making payroll a breeze with Xero + Paychex Payroll can be fraught with pain points – but it doesn’t have to be. At Xero, we’re teaming up with Paychex to help you avoid all the headaches that can come with processing payroll. Thanks to our new integration with Paychex General Ledger Service (GLS) you can quickly and easily connect to your Xero account, post payroll entries to your general ledger in just seconds and save time and reduce errors. Marie Phillips, CPA, head of the accounting team at Gursey|Schneider LLP took the new integration for a spin. Here is what she had to say about it. What method did you use previously to input payroll entries? We had to do it manually. It was a time-consuming process: downloading payroll reports (sometimes hard to find on the website), drafting journal entries in excel for manager review, and manually recording journal entries in the software. In addition, part of our month-end close involved tying out year-to-date payroll amounts to supporting payroll reports. With Paychex GLS, we are able to cut down data entry and review time. What was your biggest payroll painpoint before using the Paychex and Xero integration? It was inefficient. The process required back-and-forth communication between staff and manager. And, although our process required supervisor review, there was still a chance of human error. Another issue was cash flow management. Payroll was not always recorded timely (i.e. the day it was processed) so clients could not rely on their cash balances as displayed in Xero. This resulted in cash flow issues. Where have you noticed improvements in efficiency with the Paychex and Xero integration? This...
Say hello to the new Xero Expenses

Say hello to the new Xero Expenses

Say hello to the new Xero Expenses \ Expense claims are the simple truth of running most any business. From gas, flights, meals, supplies, and everything in between – there are countless expenses that need to be reimbursed to the folks who work at the company. But it’s amazing how the simple task of reimbursing employees turns into a paper-filled/process-filled/follow up-filled back-office nightmare. Not anymore. Today, we are excited to announce new Xero Expenses to tackle these issues all inside Xero. That’s right, starting today, you can try new Xero Expenses within your practice organisation. Now accountants and bookkeepers can access powerful analytics and flexible controls to provide valuable advice and support to their clients around expense claims. For example, accountants and their small business clients can snap photos of receipts and automatically create that expense claim in Xero – without ever touching a scrap of paper. The new Xero Expenses can then provide reports and analytics to help better understand spending patterns. What’s new in Xero Expenses? You’ll notice a cleaner and easier to understand user interface, simplified workflows, powerful analytics and – most importantly – integration into accounting with automatic journal entries and payment through bills. This robust feature lineup gives accountants, bookkeepers and small businesses all the tools they need to process expense claims, analyze spending patterns and communicate and connect with their clients – quickly, simply – on one platform. For you, this means better insights and support for your clients … not to mention less steps and reduced costs. All told, the new Xero Expenses can help your practice flourish and grow. Read on...
Top 5 tips for saving money when you work for yourself

Top 5 tips for saving money when you work for yourself

Savings are vital for people who work for themselves. For many self-employed people, cash flow can be erratic, and you don’t get the same job security as those with full-time employment. Painless life hacks are one way to help get your finances in shape. Being able to put something aside is the first step to being in control of your money. Unless you’re paying off expensive debt such as credit cards — in which case that should be your first priority. Research shows that 16 million people in the UK have less than £100 stashed away in savings. That’s according to recent research by the Money Advice Service, which is a government-backed organisation that aims to help people make good financial decisions. The same study asked people with low savings what kind of help or advice they would find the most useful. The most popular answer, selected by 55% of people, was: “Show me how I can save without impacting on my lifestyle” This seems like a fair request. So without further ado, here are our top five life hacks for saving money without compromising on the way you live your life. 1. Make the most of compound returns Compound returns are often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. The concept is simple. In the first year of investing you generate returns on your initial investment. In the second year you invest the capital plus the returns, and you generate further returns on the total. And so it goes on, and your money snowballs into a pot that you can eventually retire on. But most people underestimate...
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