After some speculation over his new role, former Sage North America executive Jamie Sutherland has officially signed on as president, U.S. operations, for cloud-based accounting software provider Xero.

Sutherland departed Sage in April, after serving for three years as vice president and general manager of Sage Simply Accounting. 

New Zealand-based Xero is publicly traded in that country and claims customers in over 100 countries, including the U.S., but only recently established an official U.S. office in San Francisco. Sutherland is technically employee number three at the office, which also includes chief technology officer Craig Walker and community manager Catherine Walker, who both come from New Zealand. 

“Everyone has been asking, ‘When are you coming, when will you be here?’ but we have had U.S. customers for over two years and now we are aggressively hiring here,” said Sutherland. “We’re very focused on building an accountant channel—that’s core to this business—and marrying up small businesses to bookkeepers and accountants is essential. You will see lots of strategies around that.”

Sutherland stressed there are plans to grow the U.S. operation “significantly” over the next several years, which  includes getting more accountants here familiar with the product and company.

“We’ve already proven our model as a business,” he said. “We’re not starting from scratch so it’s about execution [in the U.S. market] now. Putting the accountant at the center of the small business growth strategy is what we are all about. It’s free for accountant partners, and the training is free as well. It’s about giving them the platform to manage their practice, and getting their clients on product as well.”

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