Hundreds of thousands of small businesses are having trouble raising invoices and sorting out their monthly payroll following an outage at accounting software-as-a-service outfit Xero.
The cloud-based software slinger, which boasts around 640,000 customers in the UK including accountants, bookkeepers and SMEs, has posted a succession of messages on its status page this morning apologising for the downtime and informing customers it is busy trying to fix the problem.
The problems started just as people were logging on to start their working day at 08:25 UTC, according to the company's status page. They continued through to lunchtime and at the time of writing Xero was still down.
Engineers have been investigating the root cause of the problem. In its latest update at 13:16 UTC, the company said: "Unfortunately we are continuing to experience an outage of the Xero Platform which is preventing users from logging in. This is related to a Xero login infrastructure issue, and our teams are doing everything they can to get our customers back online."
With a lack of information forthcoming and in an effort to get around the problem, some users attempted to reset their login details to see if that would help.
But Xero told them: "Fixing this issue is our top priority right now, as we can appreciate the impact this is having for our users. Please note that passwords and logins are not incorrect. There is no need to attempt to reset your password."
According to some comments from hacked-off punters, there are doubts as to whether Xero really does appreciate the consequences that its technical wobble is causing.
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Over on Twitter, a platform renowned for rationale debates and considered opinions, Xero was given the benefit of the doubt.
Goodness. A good advert for why cloud based accounting is a bad idea? I have two VAT returns I needed to get done today and an ongoing VAT enquiry that I can't deal with. Plus my clients are shouting at me as they use Xero daily for work.— Insight bookkeeping and accounting (@Insightaccts) July 27, 2021
This is outrageous. We haven't been able to work for half day already when it's the busiest time of the month for all accountants. This is the second time this has happened in a week and Xero is not talking proper action, very disappointing. We're 100% Xero partner and can't work— Expert Accounting & Finance (@ExpertAccounti2) July 27, 2021
To lighten the mood, someone did ask: "Have you tried turning it off and back on again?"
And while one contributor suggested that systems can't be up 100 per cent of the time, the opinion of many is that at least Xero should provide more clarity as to when things might be fixed.
I agree, but I would expect clarity on the issue with it being down nearly three hours now. There has been no confirmation that the data of affected users is safe, nor has there been clarity on what is causing the issue and an estimated downtime now they are attempting to fix.— Francesca Doe (@francesca_doe) July 27, 2021
One Home Counties accountant we spoke to, who asked not to be named, looks after scores of small businesses. They told us: "This is really frustrating. We're at the end of the month looking at payroll and all we can do is look at their status page and wait."
A spokesperson at Xero sent us a statement:
"Unfortunately we are continuing to experience an outage of the Xero Platform which is preventing users from logging in. This is related to a Xero login infrastructure issue, and our teams are doing everything they can to get our customers back online. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience this is causing." ®
*Total Inability To Serve Users' Payrolls