If I could tie a bow on this year I would. It has been a great inaugural year for Xero in the US and such a pleasure to meet so many forward thinking small businesses and accounting professionals. Many thanks to all who have joined us early in the US ride. It feels like a real partnership and I feel like we are building cloud accounting the way it should be.
Building a great team
Less than a year ago that it was just Craig, Catherine, and myself on the ground in San Francisco. Fast forward to today and we’ve grown to 20 people across the US. Our staff have come from all over, with a variety of backgrounds. Some from Intuit and Quickbooks, some with payroll backgrounds, some who have run their own successful accounting practices, and some with a deep understanding of small business because they have run their own. While they all bring something a little different to the table, they all have something very much in common – a passion for building a great company that is solving real problems for real businesses. They are some of the most energetic people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. If you have the same passion and drive – we’re hiring!
Localizing with a z
Our number one priority this year was to get Xero localized for the US. As with all product development there is always more to do but this year we ripped through quite a few big US features. We introduced check printing in April, moved to American spelling, introduced a 1099 workflow, and organized integration with online filing service Track1099.
We partnered with both Bill.com, and ADP, and lastly, we built in GAAP reporting making us the first small business cloud accounting application to do both IFRS and GAAP reporting in a single online system. On top of all this US-specific work we released a ton of features that were applicable to all regions we operate in.
Partners and customers made it possible
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the encouragement from partners and customers. To help with our market entry in the US, we set up a Xero Partner Advisory Council with long-time industry influencers like Doug Sleeter and Gary Boomer. They helped us with strategy, product feedback, and also advised us on gaps we can fill that aren’t being addressed by other software and service vendors in our space.
We are seeing Xero being used by a huge variety of accounting professionals. Steve Chaney has transformed his practice with Xero at the core and has done it so well that he is in demand from accounting firms across the country to provide consulting on how to move to the cloud. Armanino McKenna, the 35th largest accounting firm in the US, is now developing their outsourced accounting services division with Xero as the platform of choice for all those customers that would have typically been Quickbooks customers. Todd Peterson, their new Financial Management Outsourcing Practice Leader, has one of the most forward-looking visions of how to put together a 21st generation cloud practice. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from him on the speaker circuit.
And to cap of the year, we received praise from Brad Smith, Intuit’s CEO and our biggest competitor in the US. He said he admires what Xero has done and that Intuit has learned some things from Xero. It’s always great to have the market leader endorse you – and also rare.
Here’s to a great foundational year in the US and to many more fantastic years ahead. If you are not on the Xero train yet, we hope you will come join us for the ride – there are plenty of seats available!