Clever Commerce

Sep 07

5 reasons Xero is leading the way in cloud-based accounting

Posted by Deborah Harris at Monday, September 07, 2015

We’re back from Xerocon 2015 and boy, what an event it’s become.

In case you don’t know, Xerocon is the annual gathering of accountants, bookkeepers and financial advisers who are Xero online accounting software users and partners. It’s an opportunity to: 

  • see the latest product developments (and feed ideas and wishlists back to the developers) 
  • learn about add-on applications that take care of other business functions and synchronise with Xero 
  • connect with cloud integrators 
  • generally see how things are being done, and will be done, in our increasingly connected business world.

This year’s Xerocon was in Melbourne, and we’re still processing all the information we got from the event. But some things became clear pretty quickly, and here are the top five takeaways we got from Xerocon 2015.

1. They’re big, and getting bigger

Here are a few statistics we heard during the conference: 

  • The first Xerocon (back in 2011) had 120 delegates. This year there were 1,500. 
  • Worldwide there are 540,000 Xero subscribers. And nearly half of them are in Australia. 
  • More than 20 million people are currently interacting on the Xero platform.

Cloud accounting has massive momentum, and Xero has staked a big claim in the market. So much so that their next big target is to have one million subscribers. 

2. They continue to innovate

Xero is currently number one on the Forbes Most Innovative Growth Companies list.

Co-founder and CEO Rod Drury says they’ve just about finished the boring stuff. And so we’re now starting to see the next generation of features, including: 

  • streamlining processes such as paying suppliers 
  • getting a loan 
  • renewing Workcover.

The data available in Xero gives business owners the insight they need to make the big decisions faster and more accurately. Soon there will be opt-in benchmarking, and the analytics on the dashboard is getting smarter all the time.

Smart add-ons can also be connected to help streamline processes, save time and allow better micro decisions to be made every day.

Xero has $250M in the bank so they can keep innovating. And as Rod Drury says, investors didn’t give them that money to pay a dividend. It’s for product development. 

3. Their vision and passion are still there

For years Rod Drury has talked about his vision to grow the small business economy so we can have better schools and hospitals. And that passion continues to show through.

Xero Australia Managing Director Chris Ridd contributes to major discussions on cloud accounting and the economy in both private and government circles.

Many of the original team are still there, and it’s clear they love what they do and the difference they make to small business.

And Chris has just been recognised with two awards for Executive of the Year and Innovator of the Year. Awesome work, Chris! 

4. They’re starting to play with the big boys

Xero is certainly getting noticed. They’re forming partnerships and collaborating with Apple, Dropbox, Adobe and Google, bringing the benefit of integrated tools for maximum productivity.

Federal Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson was at the conference, talking passionately and from experience about: 

  • the importance of small business to the economy and to communities 
  • reducing red tape compliance.

At the panel session he chaired, David Koch said he uses Xero for his family business, and explained how critical it is for someone who travels as much as he does.

5. They’re giving bookkeepers the chance to do a lot more

On average, businesses with bookkeepers have higher revenue. Why? Because they: 

  • free up the business owner to do what they do to make more money 
  • give the business owner greater insight into the business numbers.

We’ve always believed that cloud accounting gives bookkeepers the opportunity to move from data entry to valuable process roles, such as detail-level compliance tasks and redesigning business processes.

And Xero is certainly giving them that opportunity.

After five years in Australia, and increased competition in the cloud accounting space, we thought Xero’s gloss might be starting to wear off. But the vision and innovation they demonstrated at Xerocon 2015 has strengthened our faith in Xero even more. And we look forward to the exciting developments to come.

Have you made the switch to cloud-based accounting? If you have, we’d love to hear your story. Why not tell us about it in the comments area?

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