“The cloud dam is about to burst, we’ve seen this movie before,” said Xero founder and CEO Rod Drury during the kickoff of Xerocon 2017 in Austin -- a comment that underlies how Xero sees the future as the comparatively slow adoption of cloud accounting in the U.S. is soon to reach a tipping point and rapidly accelerate.
It is that change that is going to precede a significant reshaping of accounting software with disparate front and back office software being replaced by a more holistic combination of software being accessed by all stakeholders within the business from customer to CFO. “Stand-alone accounting is just not a thing anymore – we’re done” he said.
Xerocon 2017 in Austin is the U.S. leg of Xero’s global tour and the message from Drury’s keynote is that the changes we’ve seen so far in the profession are just the beginning.
Of course the app ecosystem is going to be pivotal in this and we heard a lot about how important collaboration with those partners is to Xero. Notably, Drury made the point that ‘owning the stack’ is simply not on Xero’s agenda – perhaps a comment on the touted TSheets acquisition by Intuit.
Speaking of their core competitor, from a non-U.S perspective, it’s sometimes difficult to see past the dominance of Intuit in the accounting market, but the global expansion of Xero is quite startling as 1.2 million accounts makes Xero twice as big as Intuit outside of the U.S. – and that was from a standing start.
For accountants and bookkeepers themselves, let's look at the new offerings; the Xero HQ product is impressive. The core product offers slick practice management, reporting and work papers with its own ecosystem providing automation of proposals (Practice Ignition) and payments (Plooto) and much more.
What really stands out here at Xerocon is the crowd itself. Xero have attracted a following of genuine enthusiasts and the CPAs and bookkeepers I’ve met here, see themselves as in a relationship with Xero rather than just being customers.
What to Watch
Drury talked about wider collaboration between vendors and floated that integrations with Intuit wouldn’t be off the table – I’ll believe it when I see it, but it’s an interesting prospect.