Address lookups: Simple time saver & a vision of things to come

Today we added address lookups: as you’re entering a contact’s address Xero quickly finds the complete address and will fill in all the correct details for you.

It’s a nice time saver and it makes sure you get the address right, in particular the post code, without having to hunt down all the particulars and potentially getting it wrong.

Watch this video to see how it works:

Beyond just being a simple convenience, there’s a deeper and powerful shift happening here. In desktop accounting software, contacts are stored on a single computer. Since nobody else can access that computer they duplicate the same contacts on their computer. Who’s got the right address? It’s a mess.

On the web it would be great to just connect directly to a business, get all their up-to-date details and stay in sync. That is the vision of a Single Business Identifier, something we’re working on. Address lookup is a small step towards this vision.

Initially, the lookup feature released today is available only in New Zealand where we’re working with e-Spatial who provide and maintain the data. We’re also looking at localized address providers in other regions. Let us know in the comments if there are companies we should be working with in your region.

We’re very excited about these new connected features because it’s a great example of how being online transforms traditional accounting. This is just a small first step but we hope some of you can see where this goes.

13 Comments

Blair Hughson
May 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Nice simple feature which saves me looking up postcodes for now – bring on the Single Business Identifier…

Joshua Farmer
May 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Nice touch. Keep the cool little extra features coming…

Simon
May 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm

That looks cool.

One thought for when you roll out for different countries, make the address lookup capability across all countries, not just the user’s country. For instance, we are an Australian company, with many American suppliers, so US address lookup would be amazing, but I would also want Australia :)

David Kime
May 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I suppose us in the poor old UK will have quite a wait – very envious of UK

Adam
May 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

This is great value adding stuff. Now that the accounting system foundations are there I’m looking forward to more of this innovation.

How is this done behind the scenes? A bloom filter, in memory hash tables, or just raw SQL queries?

Martyn
May 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm

http://www.postcodeanywhere.co.uk is the company we are about to use for address input for our customers, hopefully Xero can do a deal and integrate their software for us in the UK

Warren/Zylex
May 5, 2011 at 12:25 am

Another great feature i’d been hoping would come along for some time – however the vast majority of my addresses are added when creating a new invoice – I rarely go in to the contacts section. Will you be adding this feature in there (the ‘edit address’ part of an invoice) too?

Also I notice for PO Boxes it’s inputting the address with BOX in upper case – not strictly correct as per the NZ Post standards (should be PO Box).

Scott
May 5, 2011 at 2:23 am

A good addressing data company in the UK who have grasped the whole online market is Postcode Anywhere… a fab bunch of guys! You should consider using these for the UK customers. http://www.postcodeanywhere.co.uk

Louise
May 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I agree with Warren/Zylex, I add my contacts at time of invoicing, way too many keystrokes at moment just to switch from invoicing to contacts to add one. Nice feature though to be able to invoice straight from adding contact screen.

He’s also right about the BOX format.

Nice addition to Xero though – keep it up.

Tim
May 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm

This is a really handy feature that will prove to be a big time saver compared with manually checking addresses on the NZ Post website.
It’s not such a big issue for Australian, Canadian and US addresses where the address format is a simple street, city, state/province zip/postcode, but it would be really great to have this feature for UK addresses. It would save me hours manually checking Wikipedia to find out the post town for a UK address.
While you’re at it could the addresses be displayed on invoices in the correct format for each country. eg. the post town in capitals with the postal code on a separate line for UK addresses and the city, state abbreviation and zip/postcode on the same line for Australia/USA addresses.

Jason Jackson
August 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm

A company that have developed the single business identifier and postcode lookup API in the UK are Data8: http://www.data-8.co.uk

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