Xero, maker of cloud-based accounting software, has officially released Xero HQ, the software dashboard accountants can use to access and manage a suite of analytics and client communication tools. Along with this release comes a set of accounting tools that work within Xero HQ, and the integration of eight apps.

New tools

One of the new tools, Explorer, allows accountants to see which banks their clients are working with. This enables accountants to collaborate with those banks, and advise their clients on how to best interact with those banks, such as when in need of a loan, Xero America president Keri Gohman told Accounting Today. Accountants can also view which apps and app stacks their clients are using, which, Gohman said, allows them to compare and contrast between similar clients, and advise on tech options, enabling accountants to occupy more of an advisor role.

Xero accounting software on an iPad
Xero accounting software on an iPad

Xero Discuss is a new forum-like tool within Xero HQ that accountants can use to discuss financial details about a client’s business directly through the dashboard. Small business owners can ask questions about a specific contact, bill, invoice, purchase order or bank transaction.

Xero Expenses accounting and bookkeeping advisors to see how their small business clients are spending money. The API enables banks to link transactional and purchasing services to employees of small businesses using Xero. This feature is available now, but is in trial mode, according to a statement from the company.

Xero Projects is a basic time and cost tracking tool aimed at the growing group of gig economy clients. The feature focuses on the financial side of project management, provides such functions as project invoicing, and supports fixed price and time billing.

A view of Xero Projects
A view of Xero Projects

“As the gig economy grows faster than traditional employment, we see one major obstacle to any small business’ success: cash flow,” said Keri Gohman, president of Xero Americas, in a statement. “Xero Projects signals potential cash flow problems within the business before they become a major threat to their survival. By giving accounting and bookkeeping advisors an easy way to help their small business clients track key operating metrics including budgets, expenses and time, it empowers their clients to better manage their business’ survival and profitability.”

The app corner

Xero HQ now integrates with eight apps hand selected by Xero:

  • Boma for marketing automation
  • Fathom to efficiently create forecasting reports
  • Futrli to provide future insights for a business
  • Hubdoc for automated financial documents
  • Practice Ignition to assist with client onboarding
  • Receipt Bank for more efficient bookkeeping
  • Suite Files to bring all client data and files into one place
  • Spotlight Reporting to enable accountants and bookkeepers to see how clients are performing in a single view

Gohman said that more apps will be added in the future.

Xero completed a migration to Amazon Web Services earlier this year, which allowed the company to scale up to 1 million users. “It’s really changed the speed at which we innovate,” Gohman said. “It’s allowed us to take advantage of next generation technologies in partnerships with Amazon like machine learning and AI. We get to capitalize on best of breed technology in our releases.”

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