Next-generation technologies are empowering accountants and bookkeepers to become true advisors to small businesses. Part of a growing global movement of advisors, these advisors are poised to transform the struggling small business sector Keri Gohman, President, Xero Americas, told attendees in her keynote at Xerocon Austin.
By the end of this season of Xerocons, more than 6,500 accountants and bookkeepers will have gotten together to engage in this important conversation about the future, said Keri.
“We’re part of a growing group of people who believe we can be better, do more and help the 50% of Americans who own or work for a small business thrive,” Keri said. “Given that small businesses are one of our greatest job engines, creating two out of every three net new jobs in the US, it’s more important than ever that we support them.”
“I’m blown away by all of you, because I believe you are all part of the community that is best armed to help businesses succeed.”
A movement shaped by technology
Keri told delegates that when she attended Xerocon last year as a partner, she felt the passion that people had for their work, for using technology to change the game and for helping business owners succeed.
“Walking the floor, talking to many of you, I realized I’d found my people – and I heard from you that you felt the same way about each other,” Keri remembered. “There’s this special energy that the Xero community is a conductor for. In that moment, I knew I wanted to be a part of this movement.”
She said that the cloud has been transformational in opening up hours and days of efficiency and beginning to stitch together the financial web for small business owners and their advisors. The rate of change in technology is only accelerating, and in parallel so too is our ability to help small businesses.
Today, Keri says artificial intelligence is transforming industries. The next phase of the great technology revolution is upon us, where we can compliment automation and efficiency to insights and advice
“This is the golden age of accounting and advice, but what’s next?” Keri asked. “Next generational technologies will fully unleash the proficiency from efficiency to advice and integration power.
“The future is yours for the taking and we’re thrilled to be along for the ride, helping you on this journey. Looking around this room, what’s clear to me is: there’s never been a better time to be an advisor or a small business owner.”
U.S. small businesses are facing a crisis
With half of US small businesses not making it past the first five years, Keri highlighted just how tough it is for them to survive today. While technology has gotten better across the board for small business owners, Keri explained, a lot of them are built to solve specific use cases in the small business ecosystem.
“This proliferation of apps is offering small business owners more choice than ever. Unfortunately, while those solutions are great at solving a point issue, they don’t always work together. Business owners just want to know things like which ones work together and which ones are best for their industry.”
Keri also highlighted another critical issue: there simply aren’t enough small businesses with an advisor today.
“Only 32% of small business owners have an accountant, and almost half of small businesses lack an advisor of any kind,” Keri explained. “This leaves SBOs with huge knowledge gaps as technology keeps accelerating.”
More small business owners matched with advisors
At Xero we know that pairing accountants with SMBs is a critical part of the solution – we are already making ground on this problem. Xero subscribers who are connected to an accountant grow their net profit 23% faster than those who don’t make use of an advisor, Keri explained.
“When we look at our subscribers and compare their success rate against the nation’s average, it becomes more clear how important advice and the right platforms are. Eighty-five percent of US Xero customers survive the first five years, that’s huge when you look at the nation’s small business population as a whole – just half.”
When you look at the fact that more than 90% of Xero SMBs are connected to an advisor, it all begins to add up.
Keri closed by reinforcing our commitment to helping accountants, bookkeepers and small business owners thrive.
“You are always at the heart of everything we do at Xero – across our platform, products, partnerships, and people. Xerocon is about bringing all that together,” Keri said. “We know that strategic advisory will help small businesses reach their full potential. By coming together, we can help you continue to transform your practices – and we can help small businesses thrive – positively influencing our economy, communities and families.”