The accelerating pace of technology means accountants must learn to adapt faster or risk falling behind. To do that, advisors need to look at how new platforms fit into their operations. That’s the key takeaway from Xero Ambassador, Blake Oliver’s Accountex session in Las Vegas today.
Speaking to a full house, Oliver explained the network effect of the Xero platform, when data is flowing directly into the accounting system from business owners, accountants, bookkeepers, secure bank connections, investors, cloud integrators, apps, vendors and employees. The Xero ecosystem is the network effect in action.
Investing heavily in maintaining an open platform and establishing an ecosystem has become one of our key competitive advantages. It’s also become a competitive advantage for many of our partners that have integrated to connect with over 800,000 Xero subscribers, to grow.
For customers, they benefit from the ecosystem because it drives innovation en masse. Since 2011, we’ve grown from 25 add-ons to more than 500 partner integrations today. All the companies connecting to Xero APIs can benefit from the Xero marketplace, where small businesses access and search for tailored solutions integrated to Xero. And, with over a quarter of our customers connecting other business tools to Xero, the small business ecosystem is thriving.
Blake demonstrated how a number of apps connect with Xero. Showcasing Bill.com, Expensify, Crunchboards, TSheets and Hubdoc, he explained that by using the right technology tools you can automate what were tedious, manual processes and put yourself in a position where you can better serve your clients.
For companies in the ecosystem, leveraging the platform can make a small vendor more nimble than a large incumbent, and a shared customer doesn’t have to compromise on functionality as the various tools integrate.
There is an inherently global nature to the network effect. Noting that globalization is a very real trend that shows no sign of slowing, Blake said this is especially true when it comes to client accounting services. Adapting to this global nature means using an accounting system that is truly global, with multi-currency built into the core accounting engine.
One of the first Xero-certified bookkeepers in the US, Blake has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to cloud adoption. When talking about the future of the bookkeeping profession, Blake imagines the role evolving with technology, moving from the traditional hourly position to an ‘Information Systems Manager’.
As Information Systems Manager, the new-wave bookkeeper will design and set up an integrated cloud accounting system and oversee the flow of data among apps and reporting tools. They will approve bills and payments, monitor cash flow and interface with clients, employees, vendors, stakeholders to provide information and give back time to business owners.
The network effect is people coming together, and when they do so around the general ledger accounting system, we’re all connected.
You can check out the Xero app Marketplace here.