Xero isn’t only a product. And it’s not just accounting software. Advisors and small business owners alike will discover the most success when they embrace the mindset that Xero is, in fact, a platform.
This was one of the main messages from the Xero Roadshows across Australia this month, and it has the power to change the way you do business.
The thing that makes Xero unique is our beautiful, easy-to-use small business platform that seamlessly connects businesses and unlocks opportunities for business owners and advisors. This platform provides our 2 million plus subscribers with connections to a thriving ecosystem of over 800 third-party apps and more than 200 banks and financial service providers.
As always, each Roadshow proved to be the ultimate display of our platform in action, with our app ecosystem community given the opportunity to connect with our Xero advisors in real life. In fact, this year we saw the largest ever number of exhibitors joining us across the nation – with everything from long-time favourite apps to first-timers on show.
The power of an open app ecosystem
Cultivating an open ecosystem means that the team at Xero don’t have to spread ourselves thin and build it all. For example, apps can focus on a specific vertical and build deep features for niche audiences without needing to worry about building the accounting functions too – they can simply integrate with Xero for that.
The end result is that small business is the winner. This is supported by the findings of our Small Business Insights research, which revealed that Xero customers who have at least one connected app grew revenue and employment faster than Xero customers with no connected apps.
Having an open ecosystem also means that users aren’t trapped into using one product for everything. Instead, they can select a bespoke set of best-in-class apps that seamlessly integrate with the Xero platform and suit their unique circumstances.
Sharing success from the Xero community
Each year, we continue to be inspired by the success stories that emerge from our advisor community. In particular, there were two examples that perfectly illustrate how accountants and bookkeepers who harness Xero as a platform are earning more revenue and better serving their clients:
- Ben Chandler from Strategy1, an accounting firm in Devonport, Tasmania. Ben has increased the revenue he earns from each client by transitioning from tax compliance to advisory services such as tax planning. This was achieved on the back of connecting Xero’s practice tools to NowInfinity, BGL Simple Fund 360 and ChangeGPS.
- Anne-Marie Swinburne from The Outsourced Office, a bookkeeping practice based in Camberwell, Victoria. Anne-Marie increased her revenue beyond traditional bookkeeping services by recommending and implementing apps such as Deputy, Vend and Shopify.
Making it easier to find and use the most relevant apps
The Xero App Marketplace is made up of hundreds of apps and continues to expand. The good news is that you don’t need to know about all of them to benefit.
The team at Xero are constantly working behind the scenes to make it easier to find and use the most relevant apps for your situation. Here’s a recap of what we’ve recently released:
- Sign in with Xero: use your Xero login credentials to sign in to connected apps.
- Contact integrations with Microsoft Outlook, Google Contacts, Mailchimp and HubSpot.
- Advisor-powered recommendations: advisors can now select a range of recommended apps to appear in their clients’ Xero account.
- App Advisory: Cash Flow course & badge. The latest in our app advisory courses, you’ll discover how to provide cash flow app advisory services to grow a trusted advisor relationship with your clients and increase revenue opportunities. This course complements the Xero Cash Flow App Advisory playbook.
Using the Xero platform to get paid quicker
Our research shows that only 54 percent of Australian businesses are cash flow positive within a given month. This means that many of them are struggling to pay their everyday bills. One way to help small businesses with cash flow issues is to enable them to get paid quicker.
Xero’s research shows that customers who use invoice payments, such as Stripe and GoCardless, get paid on average 14 days faster than those who don’t. Consider, what difference would settling with your debtors two whole weeks faster do to your peace of mind and your bank account?
On the topic of ways to get paid, we were delighted to announce enhanced integrations with Square that include the ability to pay Xero invoices online, as well as new point of sale and payment processing integrations.
Looking forward, we can’t wait to hear the story of the next Ben or Anne-Marie. If you think that this could be you one day, then know that a key to their success is always looking to new apps and solutions. But moreso, it’s about taking on one app a time, and only in the context of solving a specific problem or making the most of an opportunity.
Speaking of opportunities, take a moment to think about how you can make the Xero platform and its plethora of apps work best for you. Whether your desired outcome is to save time, minimise admin, gain deeper insights or automate report preparation – it all adds up.
So, what’s the next app or opportunity you decide to focus on going to be?