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The platform that powers small business

Posted 1 month ago in Advisors by Nick Houldsworth

I’ve been attending Xerocons around the world every year since 2012 – both at Xero and in my previous role at Vend. It’s such an exciting event, and gets better every year.

This year, at Xerocon London, I was privileged to talk about the investments we’re making in our platform, and share some announcements about how we’re helping empower advisors to help their clients succeed. 

The transformation in technology over the past decade has meant big benefits for small business. A US study commissioned by Google and published by Deloitte last year found those using digital tools:

  • earned double the revenue per employee than those that don’t 
  • experienced four times the revenue growth compared to the previous year
  • and were almost three times more likely to create additional jobs. 

Yet most small businesses simply aren’t making the most of the tools available to them. Our own study found less than 9% of businesses use more than five apps. To have a positive impact on the lives of people in small business, we have to change this. 

We understand the technology landscape can be overwhelming. Many small businesses are too busy getting on with the day-to-day, to think about implementing the latest technology in the future. And that’s why over the past year we’ve been working on some exciting things to make using apps simple, seamless and smarter. So you can unlock the ‘now what?’ for your clients, and together, we can have a positive impact on the world of small business.

Extending the power of our platform to solve customer data pain points

Our app marketplace features over 800 third party apps that connect to Xero, and more are being added every week. Through the power of our API, these apps share information seamlessly with Xero, helping you and your clients solve workflows, from managing people and processes, to inventory and everything else. 

Our research tells us one of the areas small businesses are crying out for help with is  managing their customers’ data. It’s often held in silos, increasing the risk that the information is inconsistent and inaccurate. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce Xero has built new integrations to Google, Microsoft Office 365 and Hubspot to solve these challenges. 

  • Our Hubspot integration automatically syncs customer contacts between Xero and Hubspot’s free CRM. It means any customer details – from changes to email or address information – are captured, managed and edited in one place.
  • Our integration with Google contacts means you can now sync all of your customer and supplier contacts from Xero to Google Contacts. This ensures contact details are always up to date.
  • With Microsoft Office 365 integrations you can instantly update customers’ contacts from Xero to Outlook. This helps small businesses ensure they’re sending the invoice to the right contact. 

Sign in with Xero for a seamless login experience

As we continue to build connections that add value to our platform, we’re also focused on ensuring quality, security and seamless workflows. Our customers have been telling us signing in to Xero, moving between apps and managing users and passwords is a big pain point. Which is why in September, at Xerocon Brisbane, we launched “Sign in with Xero”.  

You’ve probably seen this feature available with other platforms, like Google and Facebook. Sign in with Xero means our partners can leverage our investment in security, reliability and things like two factor authentication. For your clients it means a more seamless experience and one less password to remember. A number of our leading third party apps have already built to this integration, including A2X, ApprovalMax, Float, Practice Ignition, ServiceM8, SuiteFiles and Waddle.

Personalising app recommendations for your clients

We’re continuing our work to leverage insights to help you and your clients find the right solution for their business. Earlier this year we relaunched apps.xero.com with all new features, search and introduced Xero’s advisor-powered recommendations. Now, when you and your clients sign in to a full version of the marketplace, we can use our insights to offer you smart recommendations on apps most likely to be suitable for your clients’ business needs. Some have called it the Netflix of Xero. Instead, I like to think of it as being able to give your clients a mixtape of app recommendations that will work for them.

New courses for app recommendation success

Last year we announced our new app advisory playbooks and courses in Xero U. We’ve seen nearly 4000 courses completed and 2000 app advisory badges earned, over half of these from the UK. We’ve had some really positive outcomes for those who have completed the badges. 

To complement these resources, we’re pleased to announce a new Xero U course and badge for Managing Cashflow with Xero. It will help you set your clients on the path to success by improving their cashflow with the right mix of apps and can be downloaded here. And if you need a helping hand with your clients, we now have a program of certified cloud integrators here in the UK, experts who can provide hands on service.

We’ll be continuing to make further investments in our platform, as we connect to even more banks and innovation partners around the world. We’re continuing to develop resources and tools to make business simple, seamless and smarter for small business.

Head back to Xerocon in review for more news and updates.

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