The new year is looming ever nearer, which means we’ll soon be leaving 2018 behind! The last quarter of this year was not only a big deal for us (you’ll see why below), but a lot happened at Xero too. Unless you keep your finger on the Xero pulse, it’s easy to miss the fresh news and updates regularly rolled out. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to do a recap of everything noteworthy that has come to light in the last few months so that you know everything you need to know going into 2019!
Spotlight on Ireland
The UK, North America, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa all have their own Xero teams, but Ireland has always been grouped in with the ‘Rest of the World’ category – until now! Alastair McDonald has been allocated as the Account Manager for Ireland which is a fantastic step up for us. They’re also planning to customise some features on the Xero platform for Ireland, principally around Irish VAT. You can expect this update to be released within the next year. It’s interesting to note that Xero thinks of the Irish market as having similar characteristics to New Zealand, which has over 300,000 subscribers. Xero recognises that this may be overly optimistic for Ireland and reaching 100,000 subscribers is more likely, but even so, this would be phenomenal growth! Ireland has 5,000 subscribes right now and it’s pretty clear that Xero plans to invest more of their efforts here in the next few years.
Hubdoc: document collection & management
As anyone working with Xero knows, the product is developing all the time. They have recently acquired Hubdoc, which is a great addition to their overall service offering. Hubdoc is a system for keeping all your documents in the one place by scanning receipts, invoices and bills for important information. The result is easy access to the information you need when you need it as well as another way to go paperless, which is exactly how Xero likes it!
Improved navigation in Xero
Xero has been busy studying how hundreds of accountants, small business users, bookkeepers and new clients use their software. With their findings, they have further streamlined the navigation to make using Xero even easier. The fundamentals are the same, but there have been a few key changes. For example, you’ll notice that there is a new Organisation menu. From here you can change between different organisations easily. This is now the best place to change settings or add files for an organisation. You’ll also find a new Do more with Xero section here. This makes integrating third-party apps or other Xero services that bit easier. Other than that, Xero has simply grouped things together in a more logical way. For example, the Business menu is where your bills, invoices and expenses claims live. The Accounting menu is where you’ll find your bank accounts, reports as well as the more advanced tools. All in all, the new interface is yet another tweak Xero has made to further refine their product.
More and more Xero subscribers
Xero is now up to over 1.5 million subscribers worldwide! Australia is the strongest market with 600,000 subscribers; the UK has just overtaken New Zealand with over 300,000 subscribers; North America has 132,000; and, as already mentioned, we have 5,000 in Ireland. Xero has been putting a lot of investment into the North American market, going head-to-head with QuickBooks, but we predict that in 2019 Xero’s focus is going to zero in on Europe. It’s been a bit of a learning curve for Xero as they went after payroll in North America where each state has its own payroll system. All the while, the take-up of Xero in Europe has been very promising and we imagine Xero will use their learnings from the North American market to double down on this success.
EBITDA profitability and cash flow positive
By crunching the numbers, because that’s what Xero do, they have found that they are doing very well for themselves! Back in the recession when SaaS companies were struggling to raise money, Xero had a cash balance of several hundred million on their balance sheet. This year they have reached EBITDA profitability of $26,006,000, with a 38% increase in operating value, and are cashflow positive. In 2013, Xero was at $5 a share and today they’re up to AUS$50 a share, which would come to about €35. For Xero, everything really is on the up!
A new CEO at Xero
After over 11 years as CEO, Rod Drury has stepped down, which means a fresh pair of eyes overseeing Xero. Steve Vamos, who has over 30 years of experience in technology and digital media, has taken over the position. We think his blue-chip CV will help take Xero to the next level.
Exciting news for Beyond at XeroCon
The annual Xero conference, XeroCon, is held at locations across the world – from North America to Australia to New Zealand and the UK. The Beyond team always attends because it really is a fabulous event. This year, we headed over to London’s ExCeL Centre on 14th November, excited to see how we would do. In 2017, we had scooped Partner of the Year for Ireland, which was a great buzz, but it also meant that the pressure was on this time around. If you subscribe to our monthly newsletter, you’ll know already know that we managed to win it again this year! The whole team is delighted of course, and it is fantastic to get this recognition for our hard work throughout the year.