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XD17: Connecting Asia’s Small Businesses

Posted 4 months ago in Small business by Marjolein Janmaat

On 15th August we’re welcoming our awesome Xero Development Team to Singapore for the Asia instalment of our Developer Roadshow, XD17.

We’ll be spending the afternoon with developers to talk about the importance of apps to driving success for small businesses, and how developers can integrate with Xero to connect with more customers and a larger network of complementary apps.

XD17 is visiting six countries and we’ll be updating our partners around the globe with new features of and updates to our API. We’re also connecting developers with the learnings and insights from their peers around the world.

Before Singapore’s event, we spoke to some of our most popular apps in the region about what they’re up to and the opportunities they see for app developers working in and looking to move in this market.

Read below our interview with Pascal Henry, Co-Founder of HReasily; Cameron Priest, Co-Founder of TradeGecko; and, Abraham Gibson, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Spotlight Reporting.

Join us for the event by registering here https://xd17-singapore.lilregie.com/step1

Tell us about your business

Pascal Henry, HReasily (HR): HReasily is a cloud based SaaS provider specialising in delivering HR solutions. We offer HR solutions that work, but using technology to automate HR processes such as payroll, leave, staff, claims management and more.

We’re the only home-grown provider of this service. We offer one of our apps in English as well as traditional and simplified Chinese and Indonesian. We’re currently finalising Thai, Khmer and Vietnamese versions, which makes us competitive in the Southeast Asia market.

We launched two years ago in Singapore. We’re now working on Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Hong Kong. Also, we have a global version that integrates with Xero in places with different infrastructure, for example no tax.

Cameron Priest, TradeGecko (TG): We help commerce entrepreneurs build the businesses of their dreams, through  online inventory and order management software. We strive to help SMEs save time managing operations, and more time doing what they love.

TradeGecko launched five and a half years ago and are now operational in 96 countries. We have offices in Singapore, the Philippines and Canada.

Abraham Gibson, Spotlight Reporting (SR): Spotlight Reporting is a cloud based reporting and forecasting tool to help accountants deliver strategic advisory services.

We’re 5 years old, and though we’ve had multi currency capabilities from day one we’ve been actively building a presence in Asia for two years.

When did you integrate with Xero?

HR: We had decided we would integrate with Xero before we even officially launched. We met the Xero Head of Sales at an event, and after receiving positive reviews from our other partners – including our banking partner UOB – we were sold.

TG: From the get go.

SR: Day 1.

What are the benefits of integrating with Xero?

HR: There are benefits for both of us, and for our clients. We use Xero for our own business – religiously. And for our clients, our partnership with Xero means seamless integration from payroll to ledger entry.

TG: There is no amount of money you could pay me that would incentivise me to build our own accounting software, and all customers need an accounting platform. Our clients want complete solutions for their businesses, and accounting is the backbone of all business.

Xero is the best accounting solution available, and the integration means we can leverage both our strengths to meet the needs of our clients.

SR: Integrating with Xero saves us time, opens up new revenue opportunities and means we can provide management reports and forecasts professionally.

What trends are you seeing in the Asia markets among your customers?

HR: There is a definite move onto the cloud as the market better understands the benefits. It’s incredibly rewarding when you help a traditional ‘mom and pop’ shop onto the cloud, and they end up saving themselves sometimes 5 full days of admin work a month.

The future is cloud. We’re on the runway, and things are going to take off.

TG: In Asia we’re seeing marketplaces driving cloud adoption, and there is increasing demand for android mobile based products.

The market is still fragmented, but 74% of commerce in the region is mobile.

SR: In the accounting sector globally we’re seeing the shift to cloud. Accountants are moving into advisory rather than focusing solely on core compliance.

We see a huge opportunity particularly for English speaking Asia to adopt best in class cloud tools to modernise and streamline how they do business.

What would you say to international developers looking into Asia?

HR: It makes good business sense to be here.  Southeast Asia and Hong Kong are massive markets – Indonesia alone is home to 65 million SMEs. There’s a huge growth opportunity here.

One thing international market entrants need to remember is to be relevant. Localise, localise, localise!

TG: Know your market. Spend time building traction in your local market before making the move.

SR: Asia is still relatively early in the cloud journey, but is and will continue to adopt the cloud tools that are being adopted globally. Asia is a massive market in terms of population, number of businesses and accounting firms. The market is rapidly modernising.

What would you say to local apps in Singapore and Asia about integrating with Xero?

HR: There’s certainly no harm integrating with the fastest growing accounting software, especially one that offers powerful bank feeds!

TG: The technology is easy, its distribution that’s hard. When you’re getting started, reaching customers can be difficult, so integrating with a bigger, well respected platform helps you scale much more easily.

SR: Xero has a world class API. If you want to do something in the financial space, in the cloud with ease of development, Xero is your go-to. It offers great developer support, and is lightyears ahead of its competitors.

What’s next for your business?

HR: Our goal is to be THE HR solution in Asia.

TG: There’s an opportunity for someone to become the dominant player in the market. While we’re not there yet we think there is the opportunity to achieve this in the next couple of years. It’s our ball to drop.

SR: We’re seeding the market at the moment, servicing Asia remotely but supported with visits and targeted activity. We’d like to have staff on the ground in the next 12 months, and help grow the advisory and cloud message in Asia.

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