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The power of community: how Xero’s ecosystem is supporting each other and small businesses

May 7, 2020

I’m old enough now to remember a handful of events that have shaped the course of history. The fall of the Berlin wall, 9/11, the dotcom crash and GFC (to name a few). In the moment life goes on — you still have dinner to make, bills to pay (or in the case of the Berlin wall, homework to do 🤓). Often it’s not until years later that you appreciate the significance of the time. Amongst the chaos of homeschooling three children while working from home, we’ve tried to remind our kids to reflect, because one day they will remember this time too.
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So as we adapt to the size of the challenge around the world, finding new ways of working and living, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some positives I’ve seen. How even though so many of us are working or living remotely, the current environment has also brought us closer together.

At Xero, we’re placing an even greater emphasis on family, wellbeing and the importance of maintaining connections, as we work together to achieve our purpose of making life better for small businesses — which is now more important than ever. Community has always been at the heart of what we do, and alongside us, are our 800+ app partners. The strength of this community is more apparent than ever, as we work together to support our shared customers with some of their (and our) greatest challenges.

We know small businesses are feeling vulnerable, and with our insights showing cash flow at the top of their list of concerns, many are relying on contingency funds to keep their business buoyant. Not surprisingly, “cash flow” has jumped to the top of the most popular keyword searches on Xero’s app marketplace, as business owners and their advisors look for the right tools to help them understand and improve operations.

There’s some great added support available in this space from our app partners around the globe. To name just a few, Float is rolling out an initiative that matches customers in need of financial expertise with a group of Xero’s accounting and bookkeeping partners, who will be providing free assistance and advice. Spotlight Reporting has made their certification unlimited and FUTRLI has developed a practical and informative whitepaper — Advising clients through COVID-19. You can read more about these partners here.

As businesses focus on how they can move more of their commerce online, we’re also seeing the popularity of apps such as Shopify soar on our marketplace. It’s also great to see Shopify bringing their app partner community together to solve emerging business problems with their app partner challenge. And as a past member of the team at Vend, I’m proud to see their “Love Local Retail” campaign, designed to encourage spending in struggling stores and provide education around the need for cloud based systems.

These are just a few examples from the hundreds of Xero app partners going above and beyond for small businesses and their advisors. I wish I could call them all out.

The growing importance of the cloud

In many conversations people are referring to the “new normal” in business. As different parts of the world move through different stages of the crisis, some, like here in New Zealand, are slowly re-opening for business. But what will business look like a year or two from now?

It’s too early to predict for sure (and anyway, those kind of articles are ripe for poking fun at in the actual future when they inevitably get it wrong), but anecdotally we’re hearing about more and more businesses moving their operations to the cloud, so they can be more responsive to evolving conditions, and thrive, now and in the future

While COVID-19 forced many businesses to close their doors or significantly reduce operations, we’ve also heard from our community that it’s giving some small business owners precious time to take stock and focus on improving their systems. One of our customers, with a previously booming business forced to shut its doors, said it’s been: “a great opportunity to get my business automated. To integrate a bunch of apps and get my business humming.”

In addition to the trends in our own app marketplace, we’re seeing an increasing importance on making sure systems are connected, and people have the right tools for their team to work both on the business, and with each other, from anywhere — evidenced by the skyrocketing popularity of communication tools like Zoom, Slack, and Google Meet.

As the cloud becomes increasingly important, and we help even more customers do beautiful business in the cloud — we can’t do it alone. Our app ecosystem plays a crucial role in providing small businesses and their advisors with the choice of tools to run their entire business operations online. And we’re continuing to invest in Xero’s APIs, marketplace and partnerships to help connect small businesses to the tools they need, and ensure they work well together.

We’re here to support each other, so tell us what more we can do

While we may not be having Xerocon Sydney this year, which for me is a strange feeling because I’ve been attending since 2012, connecting with our community is more important than ever. And we will be exploring new ways to make this happen.

Xero is committed to standing behind our community of small businesses, advisors, developers and app partners during this challenging time, and we know many of our app partners are small businesses themselves. To help, we’ve activated a dedicated Business Continuity Hub on Xero Central that brings together a range of practical tools, from keeping track of cash flow through to advice on working from home and maintaining wellbeing. We’ve also been privileged to join many partner webinars and will continue to collaborate on helpful content that supports small business.

I chose to work at Xero because of the passion of our app partner community, and it genuinely motivates our team, every day, to do more. So we’re keen to hear from our partners about what more we can do to help. If you’re doing great things to support small businesses or have ideas on how we can continue to support our you, or our mutual customers, please get in touch with us via or by filling in this form.

Why leave it there?

If you’re doing great things to support small businesses or have ideas on how we can continue to support our you, or our mutual customers, please get in touch with us via

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