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Happy birthday to Payroll

Posted 5 years ago in Advisors by
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It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we released Payroll in Xero in Australia and nearly two years since we sold our little company to Xero. Over 140,000 employees have been paid more than $2.5b with Payroll and these figures continue to climb every day.

We’re always proud of building software that makes the lives of small business owners and accountants easier, and we come to work every day to make sure that still happens. There’s some exciting end-of-year changes that we’ll share with everyone next week that should just save you a few minutes, but they all count! In the meantime we thought it would be interesting to share some moments of note over the last two years or so.

With our sale in 2011, came a new office which housed all 12 Australian employees. It was clear from early on that our software was well down the list of priorities. Turns out that country manager Chris Ridd also needed a drummer for his band! Our own Joe Salvati (now Partner Enablement Team Leader) fitted the bill perfectly. Here’s Chris and Joe jamming out a session in the abandoned server room at the old office!

Payroll has never been a Melbourne only affair, development has always been churned out in Canberra and back then John and David operated from what was known as the “cave”. Our bootstrapped startup shelled out a whopping $500 a month for a dirty little space in the CBD. In fact, the only tiny window in the cave featured security bars, ensuring any sunlight that was trying to invade our development space was averted! Not long after the purchase, HQ afforded us a fantastic office in Canberra that now houses 13 engineers and is bursting at the seams.

Prior to the release of Payroll, Xero launched the most ambitious roadshow ever attempted at that time by an accounting software vendor. Fifteen venues and more than 2,000 attendees saw us present integrated payroll for the very first time. This was in stark contrast to the year before, and I still remember clearly while with Paycycle, we attended a roadshow as sponsor in Adelaide and there was more Xero and sponsors than there were attendees! Thankfully, we’ve come an awful long way in that short time, and here’s a shot of a packed Melbourne event. Numbers continue to grow substantially throughout the world.


Xero needed a new Australian office to house everyone who looks after our ever increasing customer base and with the Wellington being such a wonderful place to work, the desire to create something similar was strong. In December last year Xero opened a brand new office that’s also filling up fast. Of course, if you’d like to work with a great bunch of people, check out the careers site. There’s some of them enjoying the new kitchen space here, complete with Xero blue espresso machine.


So with ambitious plans of one million customers, we have firmly set our payroll sights on the US and our family relocated to San Francisco in December. Since then we’ve increased the payroll team globally from 14 to 40 and are in the very complex depths of what is essentially like building payroll for 50 countries! We have product managers, business analysts, engineers, testers, marketing managers and designers all working towards a seamless payroll experience for our ever expanding US customer base.

There’s an enormous amount happening in the Australian product as well. Commencing with end of financial year improvements including the rebuilding of the payment summary process from the ground up and adjustments to accommodate superannuation legislation changes. Longer term we’re looking forward to delivering a brand new leave process and removing the draft invoice from the post pay run function and integrating directly with the general ledger. In addition, on Wednesday we announced the general availability of payroll functionality in the Xero API, making much more functionality available to integrated applications.

There will be lots more to share about all of this in the coming months.

Finally, the Americas Cup is heating up here in San Francisco and Emirates Team New Zealand arrived last week to take on the USA on their home soil. Fun times!

Happy birthday Xero Payroll.


Gayle Buchanan
May 31, 2013 at 3.18 pm

super congrats Xero payroll, the offices look amazing and just quietly … GO THE KIWIs

Nigel Godfrey
June 4, 2013 at 4.46 am

Sounds great. Glad you are developing other territories – and please make one of those the UK!

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