Tuesday, 06 December 2016 01:07

Xero expands partner programme, advisory directory

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Accounting software provider Xero has launched its expanded Partner Programme and Advisory Directory powered by a Facebook Messenger chatbot service, connecting its claimed global network of more than 100,000 business advisers with even more small businesses.

According to the New Zealand-based company, in 72 hours more than 13,500 accountants and bookkeepers have already opted into Xero HQ’s beta release, with the platform launched to take advantage of the available tools to help expand and grow their practices.

“The Xero Partner Programme reflects our deep commitment to helping small businesses grow and be more productive by connecting every small business to an advisor,” said Doug LaBahn, global vice-president, Partner Marketing at Xero.

“It’s designed entirely around giving our partners the right tools to help them be successful, by providing tools and services which will differentiate their practices and offer more value and excellent service to their new and existing clients.”

LaBahn says the new Advisor Directory will help connect Xero-certified partners with small businesses searching for an advisor. “Whether based on industry expertise or location, the Advisor Directory will enable a small business to find the right adviser, and help the adviser to be matched with the right client for their business expertise and the industries they serve,” he said.

“Xero Signals research tells us that small businesses who use an accountant grow their net profit 23% faster than those who do not. Today, Xero is connecting over 89% of small businesses to advisers, and 29% to apps in our App Marketplace ecosystem. We know that every connection on our platform increases the success of small businesses and helps our Xero partners grow their practice.”

Xero says its Advisor Directory is already a substantial source of client leads for partners, with more than 20,000 people searching the directory every month to find a financial adviser to suit their needs.

Revamped to take advantage of the AWS platform and AI, the new chatbot feature, Hey Xero, will have the potential to connect millions of small businesses to advisers using social media, according to Xero.

“Connecting the millions of small businesses on Facebook Messenger with advisers, Xero’s Chatbot, Hey Xero, will open up a huge opportunity for the industry from within Advisor Directory,” LaBahn said.

“With Hey Xero, we can connect these businesses with the right advisor using Facebook messenger. For our partners, it’s a seamless way to be found and will help millions of small businesses be more productive, get the advice they need to grow and create jobs.”

LaBahn said the Advisor Directory is also designed with new geo-sensing features to showcase partners that operate within the area the small business is situated, while other features like the “sophisticated search function”, detailed listings, and richer profile pages equip partners with the tools to market their businesses and grow their client base.

“With so many accountants and bookkeepers in one area, it can be hard for small businesses to find the right adviser, and for us to reach them,” said Nelson Wang, founder of NumberWise.

“The Advisor Directory helps me attract new clients, even from countries as far away as China!”

LaBahn said Xero HQ is the platform that will help practices grow, equipping partners with the tools and apps needed to connect to and manage clients better, by unlocking the insights they need to provide more advice.

The Xero HQ opt-in beta release delivers a set of new features designed to allow:

•    Developers to integrate with the Xero ecosystem for small business apps and develop integrations for Xero HQ via api’s coming in 2017;

•    Prioritise work using the activity feed to see which clients need action and when; and

•    Drill into clients with Explorer based on industry, apps or banking relationships.


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Peter Dinham

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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