Xero has announced a wave of new features during the Xerocon San Diego, showing the company's increased investment in North America and new automated workflows in tax tools and a new personalized learning experience.
The company has formed a collaboration with the multinational professional services network, PwC, allowing local PwC firms around the world to provide quick and easy access for their clients to access the Xero platform.
It builds on established relationships in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As a result of the new global collaboration, new advantages will emerge for small businesses based in markets like Asia, Europe, the United States and other countries to accelerate their cloud adoption journey. It also outlines a commitment from both PwC and Xero to continue to innovate together, resulting in the development of efficient products and services for small businesses globally.
Anna Curzon, Xero’s Chief Product Officer said: “Internationally, less than 20% of small businesses use cloud accounting technologies. Australia and New Zealand are much further advanced in this area, there is a huge opportunity to bring the benefits of real-time tools to businesses and advisors around the world. This alliance means Xero and PwC can work together to help small businesses increase productivity and provide them valuable time back in the day.”
“Accountants, bookkeepers and their customers want beautiful technology and intuitive online experiences to drive efficiency which helps their businesses thrive. PwC has big ambitions for delivering the innovations their clients want and are asking for. By leveraging Xero’s global platform and strengthening our relationship, we’re able to build a more connected network to accelerate innovation. We see this as helping small businesses succeed by opening up even more opportunities to deliver beautiful products and services around the world,” Curzon said.
Using Xero APIs, PwC will work with Xero to continue to innovate together, resulting in the development of efficient products and services for small businesses. Xero and PwC have already established a track record of designing and building innovative tools and solutions such as PwC’s Cashflow Coach.
Scott McLiver, Digital Innovation Leader for Global Entrepreneurial & Private Business, based in PwC New Zealand, said: “Business owners are increasingly embracing the cloud for their key business systems. For the simple reason that the benefits of doing this are simply enormous. The access to business data that Xero provides allows PwC to build products that solve key business problems. By leveraging powerful cloud accounting technology to build digital products with PwC’s knowledge and technical capability, we can help small business owners to be successful in ways that previously wasn’t possible.”
With Strip, Xero is working to develop new innovations that help small businesses get paid faster, in more ways, and get more visibility over their business performance. This will enable new payments experiences that are more seamless and efficient for small business owners and their advisors around the world. Xero and Stripe are building new tools to invoice customers more efficiently, bring additional insights on their business performance and get paid, no matter how or where they do business.
The first two innovations announced today that are being developed under the new partnership include a new Stripe feed, bringing comprehensive transaction data for all Stripe payments into Xero for easy reconciliation and greater insights, whether a small business invoices from the Xero platform or an ecommerce site, and Auto pay, allowing small businesses to set up and receive recurring payments for repeat billing customers directly through Xero.
Aggregated and anonymous data from Xero found that in the last 12 months, on average, 49.2 percent of New Zealand small businesses were cash flow positive each month, and they were paid an average of 8.9 days late each month.
“Small businesses are fundamental to the growth of major and developing economies around the world; and that ensuring they get paid on time is vital to their survival and growth,” said Craig Walker, Founding CTO & Executive General Manager Platform Business Technologies at Xero.
“We built the Xero platform to help small businesses grow with better tools, smarter insights and comprehensive connections to the information they need to run their business. Our partnership with Stripe today brings us even closer to helping small businesses spend less time chasing payments, and more time focusing on doing what they love.”
The new data feed from Stripe — a first-of-its-kind integration with a major cloud accounting platform — will make it easier than ever for small businesses to receive comprehensive transaction data on sales and invoices within Xero.
Xero previously enabled automated Stripe reconciliation for customers who accepted credit card payments with Stripe through Xero online invoices. With the new Stripe feed, the small business user will see all transactional data processed through Stripe — whether an online invoice from Xero or an e-commerce platform such as Shopify — this includes automatically seeing all payment transaction data, processing charges, flow into Xero as individual items.
Smart machine learning features in Xero can automatically reconcile transactions in the ledger, ensuring greater data accuracy and providing an up-to-date view of their cash flow in one place.
Accountants and bookkeepers will be able to work with more accurate data through the Xero Assurance Dashboard, so they can spend less time chasing information or fixing errors, and more time helping their clients grow.
Small businesses will also be able to set up and accept recurring payments from customers who do repeat business, enabling greater on-time payment of invoices. On a monthly basis, more than 1.6 million repeating invoices globally are paid in Xero.
While small businesses can already schedule and automatically send recurring invoices from Xero, the new auto pay feature means they can now be paid automatically by their own customers as well. Professional services and other business-focused firms will particularly benefit from the ability to set-and-forget regular billing cycles with customers who opt in, resulting in receipt of regular payments without worrying about forgotten bills or invoices.
Auto-pay will be available soon to businesses in the United States before rolling out globally.
For the North American market, Xero is rolling out highly requested tools for advisors to digitise their tax workflows, including new, smart tools for US and Canada advisors and a new learning platform for businesses and advisors, bringing learning and support resources in one place to help business owners level up.
“With our latest enhancements to the Xero platform, we’re following up on our previous geographic expansion, investing in the region to help level the playing field for ambitious business owners who want to spend less time managing operations and more time growing it,” said Jamie McDonald, Executive General Manager, Product, Accounting and Global Services at Xero.
“Through an increasingly connected global platform, advisors can save hours on entering and processing data and more time upskilling and providing higher-value services to their clients. Our accounting partners are the true engine room of the small business economy, and we know these tools will help them do that even more.”
Tax Mapper, the all-new tax workflow solution, makes annual tax preparation easier than ever for US accountants and bookkeepers by seamlessly mapping client data from the Xero platform for their preferred tax software in a few easy clicks.
Currently, many tax accountants manually collate client documents from multiple sources, and data accuracy checks require swapping between multiple pieces of software, meaning time spent chasing and processing information.
Tax Mapper makes automated tax workflow easy for advisors, and significantly reduces the time spent entering data and managing manual workarounds. Each client’s necessary financial information is systematically aligned to the relevant US tax forms, ready for input to any tax platform.
Tax Mapper is a major step in Xero’s journey toward automating the compliance process for advisors agnostic to platforms and partners, so accountants and bookkeepers can work with the tools and software that suit them.
The Xero platform brings information into one place and, by providing easy reporting and checking, accountants and bookkeepers can be more confident in the accuracy of the information. Tax Mapper will also include a report to show a record of all the mappings, so advisors can double-check the mappings before export.
Xero will roll out additional tax preparation services and deeper partnerships with tax providers in the coming months.
Nick Pasquarosa, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Bookkeeper360: "We are excited to hear Xero will have more customization and functionality with exporting/importing data into our tax software. Tax Mapper will save us countless hours of manual data entry, allowing us to focus on the things that matter most, having impactful relationships with our clients and adding value so they can grow their businesses. As a long time Xero partner, we love the changes Xero continues to make to allow us to improve our client experience."
A Canada GST/HST solution is also now available in beta for select Canadian subscribers, allowing accountants and bookkeepers to automatically generate GST or HST tax returns with a single click, saving hours of time spent manually calculating tax requirements. The new feature brings GST and HST calculations directly into the Xero platform so advisors can manage and audit tax returns quickly.
By automating Canadian tax obligations, advisors can work more efficiently, grow their practice and help small business clients stay on top of their tax obligations from day one.
Xero Central, the all-in-one support portal, is now home to Xero’s most comprehensive suite of learning courses and resources, aimed at helping all of Xero’s global subscribers including small businesses, and accounting and bookkeeping practices, grow their knowledge in the areas most important to them.
Covering a wide range of topics from payroll and invoicing to taxation and apps, the revamped learning platform provides one place for customers to learn, by themselves or alongside their advisors.
Xero users can learn in the formats best suited to them, such as e-learning content, video, live classroom events or interactive webinars. With machine learning and intelligent search at the center, Xero Central is designed to deliver relevant and personalized training content to help people and businesses of all experience levels and sizes to get what they need most.
The new learning portal simplifies the process of getting certified, giving users the ability to stay up to date on the latest product updates and learning content. And with new learning badges, accountants and bookkeepers can market their specializations to prospective clients, from product and app specializations to industry expertise in construction, retail and other industries.