Xero primes machine learning for SMBs

Xero primes machine learning for SMBs

Touts new capabilities to transform machine learning from wishful thinking to practical features that will help SMBs in decision-making, at Xerocon 2018

Credit: Xero

Machine learning capabilities lead the raft of new features and products Xero is presenting at its annual conference in Brisbane.

The new features make it easier to collate information from hundreds of sources, gain a single source of truth across crucial business metrics, and manage client projects profitably, said Xero.

Xero says by tapping into machine learning for everyday small business, the Xero platform can augment human ingenuity by automating repetitive tasks, reducing time spent collecting and entering data, and increasing the accuracy and reliability of a business’s accounting data.

It is “transforming machine learning capabilities from wishful thinking for most small businesses, into practical features that help provide deeper insights for vital decisions”.

“The new products and features show the next stage of our growth: moving from an accounting software provider into a true small business platform that helps business owners save time, gain control, and focus on growing,” said Steve Vamos, Xero CEO.

“These tools will also help our champion accountants and bookkeepers grow their practices, making it easier and more efficient to serve their clients, and helping them add value in entirely new ways,” he tells the more than 3500 attendees at the largest ever Xerocon.

New features and updates announced at the conference include:

● The files required feature: A more efficient way for advisors to identify and collect client documents in one place, taking the guesswork out of tax preparation and cutting down time spent chasing information.

● A new, more intuitive invoicing experience: Tapping into machine learning insights for each business, making it easier to invoice customers and speed up time to pay.

● Xero email-to-bills: The popular machine learning feature for Xero bills, is being expanded to extract and automatically populate details from any email PDF bill into Xero, saving businesses hours each month on data entry.

● The Xero app marketplace: Now more powerful, with a new way for advisors to get curated app recommendations for their clients, and showcase their expertise in technology integrations to prospective clients.

● Powerful Xero Projects integration: Enabling users to share timesheet information across both features, saving time and ensuring a single source of truth.

Focus on continuous learning 

The company also launched Xero Learn, a programme to train the next generation of accountants and bookkeepers.

Using Xero Learn, educators can teach their financial lessons directly within Xero, giving them global access to small business accounting software that’s always up-to-date with the latest features and compliance reporting. Educators can integrate Xero into their curriculum, giving businesses and accounting students real-life experience.

Xero Learn is the first product of its kind, and is now available across New Zealand and Australia, says Xero.

“Xero Learn will revolutionise and future-proof the way educators teach their financial lessons,” added Anna Curzon, chief partner officer at Xero.

“By partnering with educators such as the Auckland University of Technology, University of Southern Queensland and Macquarie University, we’re delivering on a joint mission to empower the next generation of accountants, bookkeepers and business owners with in-demand skills, knowledge and job opportunities."

AUT senior lecturer Dr Paul Wells says by using Xero Learn, the university aims to help their students be as prepared as possible to enter the workforce upon graduation.

Learning from textbooks and on outdated desktop tools has made it very difficult to equip them with the accounting software skills they need to work in a modern-day practice,” said Wells.

“With Xero Learn, students can gain the skills they need to walk into an accounting role straight after graduation, add value and be successful.”

More than 1000 students have been invited into Xero via Xero Learn to access over 100 courses that help teach core and advanced accounting and financial literacy skills with real- world examples and world-class accounting tools on Xero.

Xero says it launched an early access programme last year for Xero Learn, working with more than 30 educational institutions to finetune its design.

Xero Learn allows users to set up dummy Xero businesses loaded with data to be used in their lessons; add an in-app overlay within Xero to guide students through the course content and manage and monitor student access to ensure guided learning throughout the course material.

Divina Paredes is attending Xerocon 2018 in Brisbane as a guest of Xero

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