Wednesday, 13 September 2017 12:04

Xero’s HQ open practice platform leads raft of new product releases


Global cloud accounting software provider Xero has released what it says is its biggest ever wave of new products at its annual Xerocon Asia Pacific region conference in Melbourne.

The New Zealand-headquartered company led its raft of releases with its HQ open practice platform, an integrated multi-vendor platform which it claims accountants and bookkeepers can use to run their entire back office.

According to Xero, the next iteration of the Xero HQ open practice platform provides a “curated ecosystem of nine integrated practice apps, to provide accountants and bookkeepers the best tools to drive efficiency within their own practice, build closer relationships with clients, and build additional advisory services”.

And Xero says the HQ solution was designed to connect more than 100,000 Xero advisers globally to the “best cloud tools tailored to their practice, and revolutionises the way accountants and bookkeepers work by providing real-time visibility and insights across all clients, with timely alerts about a client's most urgent needs”.

“We are early in the journey of using artificial intelligence to simplify accounting to make it easier for small businesses,” Xero founder and chief executive Rod Drury told 3000 accountants, bookkeepers and ecosystem partners representing 19 countries attending the conference.

“We are proud to deliver a new generation of smart tools to drive further productivity. In parallel, our focus is to create opportunities for our community of accountants and bookkeepers to take advantage of our global platform to help grow small businesses and create new jobs.”

Alongside HQ, Xero launched a curated set of third-party apps for accounting and bookkeeping practices and also touted a number of other new product announcements including:

  • Xero Expenses, mobile-first expense management with Open APIs for banks to connect to the millions of employees in small business;
  • Xero Discuss, allows users and their advisors to communicate within the Xero platform;
  • Xero Projects, time and job costing for professional services; and
  • Xero Lifelong Learning Platform, an online learning tool aimed at students and the reskilling of the workforce, which will be delivered by educational institutions.  

Anna Curzon, Xero chief partner officer, said: “It is the golden age of accounting. It is creating opportunities for the growth of accounting and bookkeeping practices and it’s increasing their capacity to be the advisors small businesses need to succeed”.

“We know that by helping accountants and bookkeepers fully embrace technology with a digital switchover of their practices, we can help them grow their own business.

“As accountants and bookkeepers move to the cloud, we’re seeing that by the time they reach 100  clients or more they are growing revenue 80 percent faster and creating 70% more jobs relative  to non-Xero partners.  

“These practices are adding more capacity and resources in additional services and those practices providing IT and app advice are growing 60 percent faster. The efficiency gains these practices are gaining bring them closer to their customers as a true adviser.  

“Historically practice management solutions have been monolithic providing a defined suite of tools within one application. Xero HQ instead encourages accounting and bookkeeping practices to access a suite of tools to help them build a successful digital practice.”

Xero cites benchmarking surveys of 2000 accountants and bookkeepers worldwide which it says found a  substantial lift in efficiencies from automation.  

According to Xero, in Australia a single employee of an accounting or bookkeeping practice can service up to 74 clients on its platform, “whereas traditional accounting solutions not in the cloud may only be able to service 21”.  

“The survey has also suggested the revenue opportunity for practices is even more exciting. While more traditional practices continue to provide compliance support, accountants and bookkeepers on Xero are reaching more clients and unlocking additional services,” Xero claimed.

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Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).





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