Where did the name Xero come from?

We had a question from customer care today regarding how we got the name Xero.

I often tell this story during events, but may as well tell the world.

Firstly we really wanted a great name. If we are going to be a global player we wanted a name that stood next to SAP, IBM etc.  But it is really tough because you have to have a great web address as well.

We thought it would be impossible to get a great 3 letter domain name, but were really keen on 4 letters. It had to be a ‘.com’. Some of the early names we looked was Accounting 2.0, Basecount, Pacioli (the inventor of double entry accounting), etc etc.  Not great names.

A friend of mine Dot Johnstone is great at finding names so we engaged her to help us out.  It’s unlikely you’ll be able to just get a great domain name.  Most are taken and parked so you have to negotiate for them.

Dot thought of Zero, but when we approached the domain holder the numbers they wanted were ridiculous.  She then thought of Xero. We just immediately liked it.

Xero.com was used by an designer in New York. We made contact, had a good discussion and negotiation and got the domain for a reasonable price for both parties. (Thank you!)

Later we found out that Xero was a comic book character, so my google alerts often come back with unusual results.


Doing some further research on the other Xero superhero turned up this …

Xero, about a superpowered government agent who was a black man who wore a mask to appear as a white man while working as Xero, was a short-lived comic series from DC in 1997. Christopher Priest (who owned the character) and ChrisCross were the creative team.

Hope that answers the question.


April 9, 2009 at 2:16 am

Thanks for sharing that story with us, Rod. Shame the Xero comic was discontinued – would have been really interesting to see how the comic character turns out to be! Some sort of vigilante hero parading as a civil servant championing the interests of the underprivileged. Now that would be a tough act to follow!

April 10, 2009 at 2:55 am

Pacioli wasn’t inventor of double-entry accounting. It was used long before he was even born. I think he just wrote the first book how to do double-entry accounting and therefore standardized basic principles. Anyway, still good story.

Philip Fierlinger
April 10, 2009 at 5:08 am

Somebody just asked if it’s how we spell zero in New Zealand :)

Accountants in Kent
August 28, 2011 at 12:23 am

Never new this, makes it even cooler.

Xero really is a superhero

Xero really is a superhero | Telford Associates
August 28, 2011 at 12:27 am

[…] Xero the superhero. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInEmailStumbleUponPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

January 29, 2012 at 1:19 am

You should talk to DC comics about co-branding your media, many companies use a superhero figure in advertising schemes 😀

January 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Thanks for sharing – I often wondered what the story was.

Xero is also the name of a punk rock band from Brisbane formed in 1978.

Maybe they can re-form for xerocon?


Mike Caldwell
January 17, 2014 at 6:54 am

Xero means “I know” in modern Greek. That word’s pronunciation is “ksero”. It’s fitting as a company name for that reason alone.

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