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Xero deepens technology capabilities for accounting industry with machine learning improvements, cash flow forecasting and single sign-on

New innovations announced at Xerocon Brisbane include accelerated machine learning capabilities, and new tools for small businesses and their advisors to gain greater visibility into business health and growth opportunities

BRISBANE, Australia, Sept. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Xero, the global small business platform, today unveiled at Xerocon, its annual flagship conference, new tools that help small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers tap into their clients' rich data on the Xero platform to surface valuable new insights.

Steve Vamos, CEO of Xero, addressing 3500 accountants and bookkeepers at Xerocon 2019 in Brisbane

Xero has accelerated its machine learning capabilities and launched new tools that will help accountants and bookkeepers save time, attract and set up new customers, gain a deeper understanding of client financial health, and grow their practice.

The announcements, unveiled to thousands of accountants and bookkeepers at Xerocon Brisbane 2019 this week, include:

  • Bolstering machine learning capabilities for document processing and extraction: Xero has accelerated its automation technology with document extraction using machine learning in Hubdoc, giving advisors more accurate information faster than ever before
  • Short-term cash flow tool: A new pilot for small businesses to receive short-term cash flow forecasts that ensure healthy cash flow and help them keep on top of commitments and immediate actions
  • Greater compliance visibility in Xero HQ: A new overview of compliance work directly within Xero HQ gives accountants and bookkeepers deeper insights to prioritise their compliance work and save time
  • Geo-targeting to generate leads and onboarding for new clients: Updates to the Xero Advisor Directory make it easier for small businesses to find a local accountant or bookkeeper, and help advisors get new clients. Additional changes also help advisors onboard new clients faster than before
  • Single Sign-On: Xero is making it as easy to sign into business apps as it is with a Google or Apple account with Single Sign-On -- a new, seamless and secure way for developers to build on the Xero platform, onboard new users without making them remember more passwords and integrate Xero with certified third-party apps more easily

"Xero has always recognised that accountants and bookkeepers are the heroes and champions osmall businesses -- working with them every day to help them succeed. Xero's new products and features are designed with the advisor in mind -- to help them grow, manage workloads and support them to provide a high value service to their clients. With more data flowing into the Xero platform, we are able to create seamless workflows and provide smarter insights to ensure advisors spend less time finding and managing their information and more time advising and helping grow the small business economy wherever they are based" - Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, Xero

Xero achieves new machine learning milestones with Hubdoc data extraction

In the 12 months after Xero's acquisition of Hubdoc, the business announced major advances in its machine learning-powered data extraction technology.

Xero purchased Hubdoc to supercharge its automation capabilities and the business is now extracting 70% of all financial documents in Hubdoc using machine learning, compared to 20% at the time of acquisition.

Thanks to major improvements in machine learning algorithms, Hubdoc is extracting vital financial data from bills, receipts and more, now processing 200% more documents a day than this time last year, making it one of the fastest automated platforms on the market.

This significantly reduces the extraction time for customers, with documents being processed in seconds instead of hours.

"We know that data extraction powered by machine learning is significantly faster and more accurate than humans. The improvements we've made to the Xero platform, speed up time-consuming tasks for accountants and bookkeepers which then benefit advising small businesses to make better decisions. Our teams are working towards 100% machine learning-powered data extraction to ensure other areas of the Xero platform automate the most time consuming, administrative accounting tasks for our partners and customers," Anna Curzon said.

Short-term cash flow forecasts helps small businesses track their financial health

Using data and advanced statistical methods, Xero is creating an AI-powered cash flow forecasting tool, giving small business owners and their accountants a better view on how their business is running and help them make better decisions.

Healthy cash flow is one of the most important indicators of business health -- more than half of all small businesses fail within the first five years of operation.

The new tool in Xero will provide a forecast of a business' 30-day cash flow, including the impact of existing bills and invoices.

Small businesses can use the forecast information to keep up to date, understand their cash flow and take early actions. Additionally, advisors can use the tool to understand their clients' immediate business needs and work with them to recommend solutions or uses for cash surplus, and have deeper conversations to help improve their clients' financial literacy.

Xero is piloting the tool closely with advisors to ensure they are able to unearth accurate cash flow information and take appropriate actions.

Advisors gain greater visibility of compliance work across clients in Xero HQ

Improvements to Xero HQ now make it easier for accountants and bookkeepers to keep on top of their compliance work, surfacing deeper insights on business payroll and tax obligations across all clients. Instead of tracking compliance requirements for clients across different spreadsheets, task lists, emails, or individual client files, advisors will now get a holistic view of upcoming needs across all of their clients in one place.

This is a major improvement on the activity feed already available in Xero HQ, giving advisors more time to add value to their clients and giving them unprecedented visibility over their entire practice.

Attract and onboard new clients in a snap

Xero is making it easier for accountants and bookkeepers to find new clients and grow their practice. A richer Xero Advisor Directory, already a major source of new business, will now make it easier for small businesses to find the right accountant or bookkeeper in their neighbourhood. Advisors can automatically geotag their existing client base to help demonstrate their areas of expertise in each major location.

With more than 800,000 queries on the Xero Advisor Directory every month already, the improvements will help connect small businesses to the right advisors even faster than before.

The richer experience extends to onboarding new clients. Now, practices can create templated charts of accounts within Xero, ensuring they can spend less time setting up the client and more time working with them. Advisors will be able to use cleaner books, and focus on what matters to their small business client, setting up banking, invoicing and getting paid.

Single Sign-On for Xero and app ecosystem partners gives small businesses one password, hundreds of possibilities

The ecosystem of small businesses, advisors and developers has continued to grow stronger every day. More than USD$1 trillion in payments were processed over the Xero platform in the 12 months to 30 June, 2019, placing the Xero ecosystem on par with the 20 largest economies globally by Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In addition to a powerful global platform, small businesses get access to a new benchmark of 800 certified third-party apps, over 200 financial institutions and an Advisor Directory, where over 800,000 small businesses search for local accountants and bookkeepers each month.

"The magic of the Xero small business platform really comes to life with the entire ecosystem -- from financial services to the third-party apps that businesses use every day to grow and thrive. These new features make it easier for developers to create seamless experiences for their customers, and for advisors to help clients find the right apps to suit their needs. With trillions of dollars transacted on the Xero platform every year, every step forward is a step to fuel the global small business economy." - Nick Houldsworth, Executive General Manager of Ecosystem, Xero

Xero is making it easier than ever for developers to create connected experiences between the platform and third-party apps with the new Xero Single Sign-On. Small businesses and advisors will be able to log in using their Xero credentials, making sign-on and connecting to apps simple and seamless.

Mr Houldsworth said the new functionality will enable Xero's platform capabilities in a whole new way, seamlessly connecting apps which will encourage greater usage by the network.

About Xero

Born in the cloud, Xero is a beautiful, easy-to-use platform for small businesses and their advisors around the world. Xero provides its 1.8 million subscribers with connections to a thriving ecosystem of 800+ third-party apps and 200+ connections to banks and financial service providers. On the inaugural 2018 Financial Times FT1000 High-Growth Companies Asia Pacific list, Xero was the fastest growing tech company in the $200 million+ segment. Xero won 'Bookkeeping software of the year' from the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers UK in 2018, and was rated by Canstar Blue as the best accounting software in Australia from 2015-2018 and in New Zealand in 2019.

Photo - https://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20190904/2567819-1