New Zealand software development and online experience consultancy, Provoke Solutions, began in 2001 as a start-up with one office in Wellington, a vision for greatness and a clunky accounting package. Now with five offices on three continents, Xero have helped us go global.
Out with the old, in with the Xero
Following the opening of our Auckland office in 2007, we came to realize that our bulky accounting product, designed for large organizations and multi-nationals of 500+ employees, proved more a hindrance than a help. It was neither easy to administer nor simple to customize. We needed an accounting solution that would better meet our needs.
Upon early research, Xero became a front-runner. We were already collaborating on Xero’s “Modern Practice” initiative, because of our early adoption of cloud to develop small business applications, and following the appointment of a Finance Manager, who was already a Xero advocate, it was just a matter of time before we made the transition to Xero for our accounting needs.
While Xero seemed like the obvious choice for Provoke, we undertook a thorough review of all competing accounting packages available to confirm there was no better solution. There wasn’t. Though it was in its infancy at the time, Xero covered all of our needs. Its flexibility and ability to scale with our rapidly growing business made it the clear choice and there were immediate wins following the implementation. Productivity was positively impacted by Xero’s easy-to-configure interfaces and its ability to automatically pull data (e.g. bank feeds), which had previously been a manual and time-consuming task.
Xero as the international partner
In 2010 we launched an offshore expansion strategy, with our vision of having five offices on three continents. It was a challenging and exciting move for us to take the Provoke Solutions formula offshore.
As a Microsoft partner, Seattle was an obvious extension and as an emerging SharePoint market, South East Asia soon followed in 2012. With this global expansion came new financial complexities, and Xero offered a platform to accommodate such growth. With Xero, conversion rates are updated automatically, saving us a significant amount of financial resource every month on calculating multi-currency conversions across our offices.
Chris Johnson, GM Provoke Seattle, was immediately impressed. “As the General Manager of a rapidly growing business, I need to know my numbers. Being able to log in to Xero and quickly see how my business is tracking in real time is a huge benefit. Without Xero it would be much harder for me to manage the key drivers of my business,” he said.
Xero can handle complexities
To give some idea of the complexity that Xero manages for us, here are some of the stats: eight companies, 18 bank accounts, 30 credit cards, four PayPals, five offices in three continents, five external advisor groups and four tax jurisdictions. Not only does Xero help us manage complex intercompany payments and loans, and ensure both sides of the transactions happen in real time, the multi-user access and flexible permissions mean that we can manage our growing financial operations across our overseas locations from Wellington head office. Plus we can allow partners/advisors and auditors access via a read-only account.
Organizes and saves our money
The capacity Xero has to automate business processes allows us to operate a very small central finance function. Local staff in each office can all access Xero with their own logins to perform their financial administration duties. They enter their data and attach PDFs, meaning there is no head office conduit delaying workflow or consuming resource. This centralizing platform for all account records also makes auditing a considerably easier process.
Xero grows with us
We’re a company that places a lot of emphasis on innovating. We like to think outside the box and we always seek to partner with like-minded organizations. Xero continually develops its offering and grows with the businesses that use it. Provoke Finance Manager Brendan White has a strong relationship with the Xero team and feedback sessions have proved fruitful. Brendan says, “Xero is incredibly responsive and we’ve seen lots of evidence of the team listening to our feedback and adapting the product accordingly. Our experience with Xero has been extremely positive and it has been a valuable partner in our global expansion.”