Accountants and small business owners from around the world converged today in the Mile-High city of Denver. Xerocon 2015 got underway with a presentation by Xero’s founder and CEO, Rod Drury. He covered not only the history of Xero, but also what we can expect from cloud-based accounting software in the near future. Drury shared a few key takeaways to rousing applause at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
1) 500,000 Subscribers
“It was only three or four years ago that we got to 50,000 subscribers,” Drury said, “and people were still sort of confused about this Xero thing.” Today Xero has officially topped the 500k mark. “Even nine years in, we’re at 80% growth,” said Drury, grinning, “which is nuts.” And the growth hasn’t only been on the customer side of the business equation. That half-a-million subscriber base is now supported by 1,200 Xero employees. And it’s all backed by an innovative cloud platform. We’re powered by upwards of 650 servers with an incredibly stable and reliable “four nine’s uptime” (translation: 99.99%).
2) Beyond Accounting
Xero’s continued growth, however, won’t just be contained within its innovative ledger features alone. Drury explained that future iterations of Xero will also act as a “business platform.” This means it will address a variety of small-business needs beyond accounting, such as email management and payment processing. But one of Xero’s native functions—handling massive amounts of data—may prove to be one of its most useful features.
Xero processes a lot of transactions—$232 billion dollars’ worth, in fact, in the last 12 months alone. The big data generated in the process is a goldmine by itself. Many enterprises spend exorbitant sums to mine their data for insights, but what about small businesses? Well, your existing Xero subscription now includes that too. Xero launched their new analytics features and industry benchmarking metrics launched today. With this, Xero can help small business owners better understand their customers—and their business. Concrete, data-driven insights are now gleaned from the transactions that Xero processes daily. “We can unlock processing power that’s never been available to small businesses before,” Drury said “really making big data for small businesses come alive.”
3) Over 400 Partners
Ean Murphy, a bookkeeper in New York, commented that “Xero is an open platform, and when it says it integrates with something, it actually does.” That openness has made Xero an ideal partner for hundreds of businesses. Partnerships include system that integrate with us horizontally, such as sales-tax calculator Avalara. Others build entirely new systems, vertically, by baking in Xero at a more fundamental level. One such “vertical” partnership, announced today, is with MindBody. It’s the popular business management software used for online booking, PoS, and general business scheduling purposes. “Our strategy working with them,” said Drury, “is to be the accounting engine working underneath [the MindBody platform].”
But the biggest news announced today is with a reasonably successful company based in Cupertino, CA. “We’re really excited to announce that we’re working very closely with Apple,” said Drury. One of the main goals of the initiative with Apple is to find new ways to appeal to Xero’s existing OSX- and iOS-heavy user base. We also want to attract a new generation of entrepreneurs and small-business owners. The kind who often conduct business from coffee shops on their MacBooks. With Millennials already outnumbering Gen X, and Boomers in the 2015 workforce, it’s never too soon to make accounting as painless as possible. And if anyone can help find a way, it’s Apple.
Find out more at xero.com/apple.