We have a thriving community of small businesses and accountants, and it’s been amazing to see the growth of these businesses. We’re so proud to have played even a small part in their journeys.
As someone who has had the opportunity to watch our South African business grow - as the country’s first certified Xero partner and then joining the team in 2016 - I wanted to reflect on our progress and commitment to the market.
In the last few years we’ve delivered on important product features like launching South Africa’s first fully digital bank feed with Nedbank and a number of other banks including Investec following. We pushed digital tax forward with the launch of direct VAT eFiling to the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Our Xero App Store has grown giving our customers access to over 1,000 apps and it's been great to see local South African apps thrive as part of our ecosystem.
To help small businesses make the most of these apps we launched, and then just recently expanded, our App Integrator community. These accounting and technology partners serve as experts in recommending and setting up the right add-on apps.
This week we’ve hit another important milestone in South Africa. We have just gone live with local Rand billing for all of our customers. It might seem like a small change, but removing the volatility of currency exchange will make it much easier for our customers to manage costs and cash flow month-on-month.
But it doesn’t stop there. We’re continuously looking for new ways to foster greater innovation amongst our communities. Here are some of the areas we’re committed to supporting South African small businesses and accountants in the coming months.
Driving digital tax
We know tax is one of the biggest pain-points for small businesses and accountants, and South Africa has been behind the curve when it comes to digitising tax processes. Launching direct VAT eFiling from Xero to SARS was a great first step in us pushing for a simpler system and now we’re looking to expand this to different areas.
South Africa has approximately 632,599 businesses registered for PAYE and the majority of businesses need to pay this tax. We’ve just launched a payroll integration with SARS to allow direct eFiling for employee tax declarations (EMP201s), which will help further reduce the tax burden for accountants. Accounting partners can talk to their account manager about this new feature.
Supporting businesses to grow
Our team has loved being back out on the road over the last 12 months meeting customers, and we had nearly two thousand join us at our Roadshow events earlier this year. Throughout this month we’re visiting accounting partners all over South Africa - from the big cities to rural areas - to help them get the most out of Xero and discuss how we can support their growth.
We’ve already visited around 90 partners with many more to come before the festive break!
Future proofing the accounting and bookkeeping industry
Accountants and bookkeepers are the backbone of our economy. That’s why it’s essential we future-proof the industry by ensuring they have the latest digital tools and develop the right skills to support the changing needs of clients.
That’s why we’ve just launched the second year of our FNB Xero Programme to mentor black-owned accounting practices. Those on the scheme last year experienced a 34% rise in revenue. We’re excited to welcome the 2023 group very soon.
Ncumisa Nodaka, founder and MD of Ncumisa Chartered Accountants and Auditors, who was one of last years’ participants said: “What I appreciated about the programme is that I could meet with my mentor weekly and was given access to leaders of successful accounting firms, and able to speak to them in a way that we wouldn’t usually have a chance to. Normally, as accountants, we are great at looking at other businesses and giving recommendations, but we tend to neglect our own houses.”