At Xero we’re in the business of making things simple, seamless and smart. Simple in the way we collect data. Seamless in the way it creates beautiful workflows. Smart in the insights we unearth and deliver to accountants and bookkeepers, establishing them as the experts for small businesses.
Today at Xerocon Brisbane, I unveiled our latest product innovations and gave a glimpse into how technology will continue to shape the future of small business success. I shared a plan to collaborate closely with the Xero partner community to design and develop tools to solve their biggest pain points and create beautiful customer experiences.
It all starts with beautiful data
We know that for many accountants and bookkeepers, up to 30% of their time is still spent on manual data entry. That’s a 1.5 days a week plugging raw numbers into the general ledger instead of reading, interpreting and making magic from those numbers.
We’re committed to harnessing the very best AI and machine learning technology to give partners better control of their time. Since the acquisition of Hubdoc, Xero has bolstered the data automation capabilities within its platform, and today Hubdoc processes twice the number of documents than it did 12 months ago – making it one of the fastest automated platforms on the market.
As we continue to automate the most laborious parts of the accounting workflow, we’re working towards enabling 100% of all data extraction to be powered by machine learning technology, as well as leveraging these capabilities in other areas of the Xero platform.
Creating beautiful workflows
We want to enable our partners to have access to the best tools and workflows that fit the needs of their practice.
Whether you’re a bookkeeper or sole-trader using Xero Projects, a mid-sized firm on Xero Practice Manager or an enterprise firm using Xero integration partners CCH iFirm or Greatsoft, we’re investing at every level.
Last year at Xerocon Brisbane we announced our increased investment in Xero Practice Manager. Today I was pleased to share how we continue to double down in this area with improvements in stability and new functionality to consolidate your invoice export to Xero, remove WIP and update job status in bulk.
And it doesn’t end there. The next XPM enhancements will be centred around delivering more in-depth reporting. An all-new WIP dashboard will let you view your WIP at a selected date and see your aged WIP totals. We’re also building a standard aged WIP report that you can run at a selected date with a number of grouping options to give you the flexibility and insights you need.
As well as adding new functionality to our existing practice tools, we’re working to minimise friction to drive these beautiful workflows. We know that setting up clients can be time consuming, so we’re introducing practice templates for Charts of Accounts with your report codes already assigned. Rather than using the Xero default chart or having to upload a CSV, you can build and apply your custom templates during setup.
But for a workflow to be truly effective it needs to be intuitive. Which is why we’re surfacing upcoming work and alerts to put our partners in the driver’s seat with compliance needs. Our Xero partners in Australia will soon benefit from an aerial view of all their upcoming client work in one place: Xero HQ. This functionality will provide visibility and insight like never before, and you won’t have to check individual client files to know what’s going on.
The first new Xero HQ areas will be:
- Xero HQ Payroll – gain oversight of all your Payroll work (available later this year)
- Xero HQ BAS – all your upcoming BAS work will be in this one place, with handy insights and direct links to the work in the client’s organisation (available next year)
And for our partners in New Zealand, we are working on bringing you the same great insights next year.
Unearthing beautiful insights
With data flowing seamlessly into practices, accountants and bookkeepers are better equipped than they’ve ever been to start having deeper conversations and take meaningful action. Today we have announced two pilot programs to help partners do just that.
The first, already underway, is aimed at solving one of the biggest concerns for small businesses – cash flow. We know that small businesses want to be assured of their financial position, so we collaborated with them and their advisors to solve this problem.
The short-term cash flow feature projects a user’s bank balance across 7 or 30 days into the future, showing the impact of existing bills and invoices paid on their due dates. The tool is part of our broader efforts to help ensure small businesses are healthy and paid promptly. Earlier this year we announced a global partnership with Stripe to build tools and features that give business owners the ability to manage their payments easily within the Xero platform.
Right now, we’re only scraping the surface of the functionality we’d like to build with the short-term cash flow feature. Thank you to everyone who has signed up to try the feature and give us feedback before the official launch in early 2020 – we now have enough participants for the pilot. We look forward to learning more, and providing you with a released short term cash flow product soon.
These advances, to me, are a living and breathing example of how we can all build a community of purpose – and ensure every practice, regardless of size or growth ambition can benefit from Xero’s beautiful data. Your feedback and input is central to our innovation and to help us create a simple, seamless and smarter client experience for small business all over the world.