October 2017

14 APAC / October 2017 , Xero seamlessly integrates with more than 500 apps and 140 financial institutions. This ecosystem has been designed to suit the nuanced requirements of individual small businesses, regardless of their location, sector and scale. Founder and CEO, Rod Drury reveals how the firm’s remarkable software can truly benefit businesses and explains the strong reputation Xero has today. “The company’s cloud based accounting software gives control back to small businesses, enabling faster collection of debts through our automated invoicing system, real-time view of cash flow and financials, as well as easier access to capital with direct bank feeds and more. By automating manual processes such as data entry and reporting, Xero frees up time and resources for accountants to act as strategic advisors to their small business clients, allowing them to make more informed business and investment decisions. “Xero was ranked no. 1 by Forbes as the ‘World’s Most Innovative Growth Company’, in both 2014 and 2015, we won ‘Technology Provider of the Year for the British Small Business Awards’ while Canstar Blue rated Xero as having ‘Australia’s Best Accounting Software’ in both 2015 and 2016. We have had an organic presence in Asia since 2008 and launched 1710AP02 An Exciting Time to Be in Accounting Xero is cloud based accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. The firm is committed to rewiring the small business economy globally and their platform is used by over onemillion subscribers, inmore than 180 countries.We interviewed Founder and CEOof Xero, RodDrury, to find out why it’s never been amore exciting time to be in theworld of accounting. our regional headquarters here in Singapore at the beginning of 2016. From this base, we are focused primarily on the Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysian markets, with some wider activity in Indonesia and The Philippines.” Financial services are also a core part of the ecosystem that Xero offers to their customers, Rod adds. “Xero was built on the insight that small businesses are highly sensitive to changes in their cashflow and financial position. By providing small business owners with financial integrations that provide a real-time view of their businesses and finances, we can empower them to make informed, strategic decisions to grow their business. “One example of this is direct bank feeds. These mean small businesses can see their cash flow in their accounting system each day, without having to spend hours manually importing the data. This gives them real time visibility of their financial position, enabling them to make more informed and accurate business decisions. “It also considerably frees up their valuable time and resource - in Singapore alone SMEs spend an average of 16.5 hours a month manually reconciling their bank statement data (according to a research study by Xero of 150 Singaporean SMEs). In Asia, Xero is already partnered with leading banks including DBS, UOB, HSBC and CIMB and we are working on further integrations to support our small business customers.” Working within the industry, Rod then reveals what techniques Xero employs to stay ahead of any emerging developments. Technology is changing traditional industry landscapes on a global scale at a rapid pace and accounting is no exception, she emphasises. “Accounting technology should lead the next era of innovation, because the industry has so much to gain from artificial intelligence and machine learning advances, both of which reduce the cost of compliance and help arm accountants with both the tools as well as the skills required to support the world’s small businesses. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are helping unlock the potential of the Xero community’s vast connections and unique dataset, to drive the establishment of personalised automation systems for small businesses. “Xero possesses an unrelenting pace of innovation in an industry, that used to be dictated by slow, out-of-date desktop software and accounting ledgers strewn across computers. So, we’re taking advantage of cutting-edge technology, such as the Amazon Web Services public cloud, that enables us to innovate faster than before and push into new geographies. We will also continue to grow our financial web, that is the network of financial institutions that share data with the Xero accounting platform. It’s never been a more exciting time to be in accounting. As small businesses’ contribution to the global economy grows, so does the accountant’s role as advisors in supporting them.” In closing, Rod keenly explains what the future holds for Xero, with a focus on emerging technologies which will ultimately benefit each client. “Xero believes that machine learning and artificial intelligence will drive long-term growth, so our business model is focused on continued investment to innovate in this space. Xero’s next phase of investment will be in realising further benefits from our AWS migration, at the end of 2016. “We’re executing a clear strategy, focused on investing for long-term growth while driving operational improvements across the business. We completed our migration to AWS at the end of 2016, which has opened significant capability to innovate faster and more efficiently. “AWS provides a backbone to a huge number of technologies, including machine learning, that we can leverage to develop our own APIs without reinventing the wheel. It allows us to roll out updates at scale, innovate rapidly and effectively manage costs.”