Well I am here in the ‘Big-D’, Dallas, Texas on the 29th floor of the Renaissance Hotel. Tomorrow (which will be today by the time you read this) I will be attending the Xero Roadshow which is being held in what Dallas refers to as their ‘west end’, it is an area once noted for being primarily warehouse district that got converted into a cultural and entertainment district, along with some noted headline businesses. Located just north of the JFK Assassination museum, the west end hosts a lot of events. Alrighty that is enough logistics, except to say that from my room all of the west end and most of downtown Dallas proper is a bustle of light.
I must admit I have paid little attention to Xero, which they advertise as “Beautiful accounting software”. A few months back I wrote an article about the “New QBO” (QuickBooks online) which I referred to as ‘slick’. So I really will be interested in comparing ‘the beauty of Xero’ with 'the slick of QBO’ during the roadshow presentation. Obviously this will be a case for further study as I ponder each product over a great cigar. (Gary if you are reading this I expect my ‘great cigar’ to be a business expense; for those of you who don’t know, Gary is my Publisher.)
Even though Xero offers free trials, I have not enrolled in a one (yet) because I wanted to see Xero in its entire unveiled splendor at this roadshow, but I find myself wondering 'what makes it beautiful’ is it the color scheme, the simplicity, the essence of the interface? I mean let’s not forget this is ‘accounting software’.
By all accounts we are supposed to get an ‘early bird view’ of some of the great new features Xero is working on; they will also be introducing “their vision” for a new payroll feature including a firsthand demonstration of this functionality. The Roadshow is also presenting what I think of as ‘marketing opportunities’, in other words how to take clients from shoebox to Xero (or QuickBooks to Xero, for that matter, I suspect.) Among the virtual trinkets will be Xero’s training opportunities, practice management tools, and their partner program. I wonder where those things will rank on a scale of Xero to Five, oops, I mean zero to five (me bad).
Xero advertises that they are the global leader in online accounting with over 200,000 paying customers in over 100 countries. While that sounds like a ‘big number’, if you consider it solely on a ‘math basis’, it is an average of only 2,000 customers for each of the 100 countries. I am sure that isn’t really their statistics, but I really wish they would give us some more specifics on those kinds of numbers. I mean we are accountants and to us, ‘numbers’ are our lives, “right gang”? Perhaps that can be a question I ask during their presentation, it will probably go over like a ‘Sooner’ in ‘Texas’.
I have done a bit of study on Xero, and one of the things I really want to see is their ‘bank feeds’ functionality. I admit, with hundreds of thousands of banks around the world, if they have bank feeds functioning for each of those 100 countries that is a really big deal. And they apparently also offer ‘real time’ exchange rates, that can be a real advantage if say someone in Texas is working on the same data with someone from Sydney, a case of virtual exchange where ‘yonder meets down under’.
I find the list of Xero ‘add-on’ products amazing; they have point-of-sale offerings that integrate, and CRM products, inventory enhancements, time tracking, and A/P and A/R interfaces. Just a lot of products for something 'so young'. Some of these are familiar names (I won’t hint as to which ones) that work with ‘the other guys too’, and some are as new as Xero itself, presently dedicated to that relationship alone.
I am looking forward to seeing something new and different, I have used the ‘same old thing’ for longer than dirt has been alive, or so it seems; and while I am not fond of change, it is all around me….heck, my iPhone is telling me that if I don’t upgrade the OS, it is going to boot me back to ‘windows mobile’.
I think everyone who regularly reads this publication knows that I am somewhat difficult to impress; something really has to be above par to garner my endorsement; and if you want Murph’s real enthusiasm it better be as ‘great’ as this H. Upmann cigar I am savoring. So tomorrow is your chance Xero, here I come, ready or not.