We’re pleased to announce that Xero is expanding into a third building in Wellington. We now have over 600 staff globally of which 250 are based in this city.
What has been known as the Manthel building is on the high profile corner of Taranaki and Wakefield Streets, in view of the existing Xero HQ. It is also across the road from an additional space we are leasing in Wakefield Street. The building is being repainted as shown in the picture mockup and will be called Xero Two.
Staff will start moving in to Xero Two from the end of December this year. We will take the ground floor of the building for an initial term of just over two years. We are excited about the location and unique character of the building and the landlord is committed to further development work around further space.
This area really is Wellington’s “hi-tech precinct”, with Trade Me, NZX, Infratil and other firms nearby. It is close to transport for commuting staff and there are plenty of cafes and facilities nearby. It’s fantastic to be able to use our growth to revitalize character spaces in this beautiful city,
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Now in its 10th year, Sleeter Group’s Accounting Solutions Conference in Las Vegas has become a mainstay in the accounting industry with accountants, bookkeepers, thought leaders, and vendors convening around the world of accounting.
We’ve attended for three years now and have seen the conference evolve from a desktop-centric to a more cloud-centric feel. The proliferation of online apps catering to the needs of accounting professionals was very apparent across the trade show floor. It’s really cool to see this sea change of accounting professionals picking up cloud tools and really starting to understand the power of online accounting solutions.
Below is a photo of one of our happy new Gold Partners, Carol Hower from TeamWorks. She has jumped into the new world of online accounting and is loving it.
Intuit vs. Xero
The playful jabs throughout the conference between Intuit and Xero are a good sign of healthy competition. Accountants and small businesses all over the world are going to benefit. Intuit hasn’t had a credible challenger in the accounting space and it’s time they did. Here’s our CEO Rod Drury with Intuit CEO Brad Smith:
When I first started at Xero just under two years ago I was asked how I thought Intuit would respond to Xero’s entry into the US. It was pretty clear to me that they had two choices. One was to buy us out and the other was to try to emulate our success and compete. Since we were not, and are not for sale, option two is the only way forward.
The Xero platform is one of the keys to Xero’s success. The software is built around a solid global accounting engine designed for the cloud to connect small businesses and their business advisors.
The Xero platform from the early days
We started with a big vision and were fortunate to have the resources for real research and development to build the accounting system we always wanted. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build the foundations without constraint. This is what makes Xero unique, we had no legacy and were able to build it right.
Check out this video with Kirk Jackson, one of the very first developers at Xero. Together we go behind the scenes on the development of the software from the early days and how some great technical decisions are allowing for continuous innovation from Xero in the small business and accounting markets.
It’s these foundations, and the Xero platform, that allow Xero to move much faster than the incumbents.
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[Update: The session with Mark Mader went really well. He gave some history of the company, the early years before it started its triple digit growth, then he did a product demo of some of the key features that differentiate Smartsheet from spreadsheets like Excel and Google's, like hierarchal rows, emailing of sections, and cell histories.
Mark emphasized the need for SaaS companies to focus on keeping the product easy to learn and delivering value. There's also the integration with other online software including Google Apps and the importance of working with the tools that your customers use. He doesn't shy from using Excel himself, although it getting less over time. All in all it was a well spent evening hearing Mark's experiences and chatting over a drink and nibbles with him and everyone else who came along.]
Smartsheet is a popular collaborative project and work management tool and has been a very welcome addition to the suite of tools we use here at Xero. There are many teams across our business using it everyday to track and collaborate on a variety of work projects and processes.
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It is great to see not just one, but two Xero Add-on partners in the news today.
Unleashed closes funding round
Not to be outdone, inventory management Add-on partner Unleashed Software today announced they have secured NZ $4m in new funding to continue their expansion into Australian and US markets. More on this at NZHerald.co.nz.
From today, accountants and bookkeepers can use the Microsoft Office 365 document management solution (SharePoint) and Practice Manager together seamlessly. The integration by The Full Suite gives our Partners commoditized, cloud-based document management on the Microsoft platform they’re used to.
The integration with Office 365 and Sharepoint is achieved using The Full Suite’s SuiteFiles web application. SuiteFiles lets documents created in Office 365 automatically include client information from Xero Practice Manager saving accountants hours per week and ensuring documents are more accurate. Client documents such as contracts, images and spreadsheets relevant to a project or job can be accessed directly from SuiteFiles.
This two-way integration between Office 365 and Practice Manager adds to the existing integrations with Box, Dropbox and Google Drive.
Handy features like scenario planning for potential issues and seasonality means you can get rid of the spreadsheets and rely on an app that makes forecasting easy enough so that anyone can use it. It syncs with Xero so your forecast is always up to date.
Who is it for?
Float has been designed so anyone that runs a small business can use it to plan their future cash flow. There are plans that cover everyone from sole traders right through to larger finance teams.
And just like Xero, you can invite your accountant in to help out too.
One of our objectives this year was to make some progress on Xero for Farming. Today we’re releasing a Farming Integration guide that provides a blueprint for seamless farming and accounting software. We have a number of providers with solutions in progress.
Farm solutions have traditionally included farm management and accounting. They are also traditionally disconnected from other software. The farmer works away on forecasts, livestock and fertilizer planning on their software while the accountant in town often processes bank transactions from the bank statements – the same work being done twice.
We’re solving this problem by helping farm solution providers use our API to connect the farm management side of their business to accounting in Xero. Here’s our thinking:
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According to new research commissioned by PayPal Australia, technology comprehension can have a big impact on the growth of Australian SMEs. Three in five SMEs claim that they could run their business more efficiently if they knew more about the digital tools and technology innovation available.
Last week, AU Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull and I tackled this issue at PayPal’s annual Driving Business Online event. This is a national education program to help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) take advantage of the digital economy.
It was a great opportunity for me to restate the importance of small business to the economy, a sector that represents 46% of GDP and 73% of all trading entities.
I spoke about the rapid shift to cloud computing within this sector due to the compelling cost savings and agility that moving to the cloud offers to these business owners. I also spoke of the trend we’re seeing among small businesses moving to mobile, with over 145,000 downloads of our smartphone app, Xero Touch. The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull agreed and said that one aspect of the digital economy that businesses are being forced to address is the increasing use of mobile devices by customers.
Following on from last week’s TV interview with Peter Switzer, I was again in the hot seat at Sky News studio. This time I was speaking with Nigel Freitas, host of Technology Behind Business.
Since the last time I spoke to Nigel on the launch of our listing on the ASX, Xero shares have risen 275%. There was a lot of news to update him on, especially Xero’s recent capital raise, our plans for the funding, and our strategy for taking on some of our bigger competitors.
We talked about the competitive landscape in Australia and the investment needed to fuel future growth. We see this as a big point of difference between Xero and some of our competitors in the Australasian market. We’re excited about the opportunities the funding will bring for Xero as a global leader in accounting software.
Check out the interview below: