by Ray Hayes

The cloud accounting firm Xero is transitioning into a global small business platform. This past week during Xerocon, the firm unveiled several new products that will provide an even bigger platform for small businesses. The accounting firm’s goal is to help small businesses create new jobs, generate more capital and trade with other businesses domestically but most important, expand globally.

Xero CEO Rod Drury spoke about the recent news, “We’re moving away from the software to actually being a business platform that accountants and bookkeepers can run their practices on to make small business customers more productive. It’s the new tools that can further automate and make themselves more efficient. There are so many opportunities to build smart tools for employees of small businesses.”

Drury has indicated that the company is moving away from just being a back office accounting tool to a front office tool and instead of selling a product solely to employers, Xero’s new product will be available for employees as well. These new tools will be more automated than the old and will enable small businesses to become more efficient.

Furthermore, one of the new platforms includes the Lifelong Learning Platform which is an online learning tool aimed at teaching students new skills to operate in the workforce. The coursework will be taught by reputable educational institutions which will also include course work that allows educators to build different curriculum and exams.

In closing, Drury wrapped up Xerocon by saying that for now on machine learning and automation will be included in everything that Xero does. He is confident that the new innovation will lead the firm along a journey of success over the next couple of years.

“Everything we’re doing now is leveraging that investment … there’s so many commoditised technology we can use to transform the way accounting works. We have NZ$1.5 trillion of transactions last 12 months and what we’re seeing is an 80 percent hit rate when we apply machine learning to the raw data that we have. Already this year we’ve been shipping more and more smart suggestions and doing a bit of coding inside our core product, but AI and machine learning is still very, very new.”