Xero’s app marketplace has over 800 apps which help small businesses and their advisors reach their goals. Each month we celebrate an app partner who stands out for helping small businesses thrive. Find out more about Xero’s app partner program here.
Introducing A2X, our August app partner of the month
E-commerce platforms have opened a world of possibilities for small businesses. Selling products domestically has never been easier, and sites like Amazon and Shopify are helping businesses export to new markets. But there’s a lot more work behind the scenes when it comes to the accounting side of e-commerce. Enter A2X, the specialists in automated accounting for marketplace sales, fees, cost of goods sold and FBA inventory.
Co-founder and Head of Engineering at A2X Ashley Schroder says he and co-founder Paul Grey saw the problem e-commerce sellers were having first hand over a decade ago.
“Paul and I have been involved in e-commerce since around 2008. We had first hand knowledge of how challenging it was selling on Amazon and the accounting side of that. We developed internal tools to solve the problem, but quickly began realising it was a challenge for all Amazon sellers. So we decided to create A2X.”
Expanding e-commerce solutions
A2X launched on Xero’s app marketplace in 2015 as an app for Amazon sellers, and in June of 2019 the A2X team launched A2X for Shopify. “It was a very customer driven decision,” says Ashley.
“We were being asked for a Shopify solution for a long time. Doing it as well as we did Amazon was our benchmark.”
The A2X team took everything they had learned about accounting for e-commerce – primarily the principles of accuracy and reconciliation – and applied those to the A2X for Shopify integration.
“It became possible when Shopify had a better API we could use, and we’d learned more about e-commerce.”
Ashley notes the challenge is the same for Shopify and Amazon sellers. Multiple payment gateways can complicate things on e-commerce platforms.
“As a seller on Shopify you could be getting paid from Shopify payments or from PayPal or from Amazon Pay. We’ve taken on the challenge of reconciling the different ways sellers can get paid to the various transactions and sales flowing through their Shopify stores.”
Navigating a path through the Amazon
As a seller on Amazon, it can be extremely hard to figure out when (and why) you’re getting paid. The money arriving in your account might cover sales, orders, refunds, disputes or charge-backs. Sellers might find hundreds of different fees and charges bundled into their account. A2X is turning this mess into comprehensible reconciliation for sellers, Ashley explains.
“It gets really messy. We figured out how to work backwards from the money arriving in your bank account to all of the transactions which comprise. This makes it easier to reconcile what you’re getting paid with all of the transactions happening. You know you’re getting paid the right amount and nothing is slipping through the cracks.”
Ashley finds there are two main types of customers using A2X – e-commerce businesses subscribing directly, and accounting firms who specialise in e-commerce.
“Accounting firms use us because it automates the manual work they would otherwise be doing. We enable them to scale and power the work behind each client.”
Helping firms and accounting partners specialise in e-commerce is a big push for A2X moving forward.
“We really want to work with partners who have the goal of becoming specialists in e-commerce.”
Growing with users and perfecting the product
Ashley points out acquiring users and listening to their feedback early in the journey was invaluable to the growth and direction of A2X.
“The feedback we get from them is critical to making the product better for accountants. It drives our design decisions in data and how we service our users, whether they’re SMBs or accountants. Everyone gets a high quality result.”
Having open channels for that feedback is hugely important for A2X. Ashley mentions Xero’s app marketplace and Xerocons specifically.
“We’ve been to the last few Xerocons in the US, the UK and Australia. From a sales point of view to getting feedback in person and managing partner relationships with accounting firms. We can find leads and to talk to existing customers. We love getting there.”
As an engineer, Ashley loves getting this feedback from users.
“I feel a real sense of achievement when I hear it’s awesome and it’s saves a huge amount of time. Your product is really helping people. When people have built a business with A2X and they’ve focused on e-commerce, we’ve enabled a business model to emerge. I love it.”