When we recently caught up with the team from Xavier Analytics, Xero’s December app partner of the month, they were still buzzing from Xerocon London. Previously attending as an accountant, for Xavier’s co-founder, Simon Williams, being there as an exhibitor was a totally new experience. There was so much interest from accountants and bookkeepers in the company’s data quality solution, he barely made it beyond Xavier’s booth.
Yet, little more than a year ago, Xavier Analytics didn’t even exist. Since then, the team has placed second in Xero’s Developer Hackathon 2018, been nominated for Xero’s UK emerging app of the year award and has surged in popularity after launching in Xero’s app marketplace.
We talked to the team about their journey with Xero, why data quality is so crucial, and what it is about their app that has so many accountants and bookkeepers clambering at their door.
The importance of data quality
“Financial data is complex, often coming from a huge variety of sources, including bank feeds, scans and manual data entry,” Simon said. “This can make managing data accuracy and quality a challenge, especially for accountants working across multiple clients. Often you only realise there’s a problem when the numbers don’t add up at the end of the process. It can be time-consuming to remedy and mean costly mistakes in tax and cash flow forecasting.”
Xavier automates checks on data quality, tax compliance and transaction history, highlighting any issues, so accountants and bookkeepers can fix them upfront. It gives a health score for every Xero client, identifying any problem areas, like whether transactions have been coded correctly or whether banks reconcile. This helps accountants and bookkeepers prioritise where to spend their time.
Collaboration on the journey
Data quality wasn’t the initial problem the Xavier team, comprising of two accountants and three web developers, set out to solve. As an accountant at Xero-first accounting agency, FD Works, Simon and a fellow colleague were looking to create a forecasting tool, so combined forces with one of their clients, Hatch Apps.
“The initial idea was to build a simple forecasting tool based on FD Works’ spreadsheet models,” said Helen Lloyd, co-founder and front end director at Xavier Analytics. “While building this out our team at Hatch found a number of data issues that needed to be fixed before the model would work effectively. So we built an error detection system. It was when we realised that system was meeting a really common need for accountants to have better quality data that Xavier Analytics was born.”
The team entered their idea in Xero’s Developer Hackathon, XDHAX 2018. Taking out second place for the EMEA region gave them the encouragement they needed to turn their idea into a viable product. The team has been working on it ever since, signing on their first customer in December 2018.
“The accessibility of Xero’s API, the support of the Xero team, and launching in Xero’s app marketplace was a real springboard for us. It was amazing to hear success stories from our users at Xerocon London. Accountants and bookkeepers have been able to provide additional services and get recognised for the work they do. And they’re getting better results for their small business clients as well, saving some literally thousands in unclaimed tax from having the right information,” Helen said.
What’s next for Xavier Analytics
“All the way along we’ve worked closely with our users to ensure we’re meeting real needs. Hearing success stories spurs us on to continue making our product even better. We have a huge amount of improvements and new checks on our roadmap. In the short-term, we’re building out our newest feature called Focus, which lets accountancies integrate Xavier checks into their own workflows. We’re also expanding our team, working on a knowledge base to help our partners use Xavier more effectively in their practices. It’s a really exciting time,” Simon concluded.
Find out more about how Xavier Analytics integrates with Xero here.