From XU Magazine, 
Issue 18

Xero marketplace: the Netflix of accounting apps

Too many apps and not enough time?

With over 700 apps in the Xero marketplace and many great ones at that, it can feel nearly impossible to pick the right solution to recommend to clients or use day-to-day for your business. How should you approach the decision-making process? Do you prioritise the familiar solution? Or, do you pick the one that may require some process change but could solve more of your problems?

In a few short years, Xero has grown from an unproven accounting platform to a huge, rapidly expanding accounting ecosystem at the forefront of innovation in the industry. And, with a marketplace teeming with innovations to match

Yes, Xero marketplace can feel like Netflix when you don’t know what to watch.

The number of apps can quickly stack up

With so much choice for add-on Xero apps, accountants, businesses and employees can be forgiven for having app fatigue and perhaps even app choice paralysis. Competition is fierce, and many offer features that overlap with other apps. So much choice can be both a blessing and a curse, and before you know it, you’ve got a jumbled ‘stack’ of apps and services, all of which may require their own training and support.

Understanding the root cause of problems you’re trying to solve

It sounds simple on the face of it, but without fully understanding the underlying the problem, how can you pick the right solution? Spending a bit of time up front can be the difference between solving the problem or papering over the cracks.

In our case, we are laser-focused on company expenses, from spending and receipt capture, through to insights and management. Our goal is simple, to solve the expenses problem. To do that we have to be flexible to what each unique business needs, not just a grand idea of what a perfect expense management world should look like.

Feeling invested in a solution that will not only serve you now but in the future

Do you feel invested in the solutions that you use or recommend? Many will feel invested in Xero, but perhaps not so much in some of the other apps. Perhaps they offered some cool swag at a show. But do they really serve your requirements?

Having that strong focus on the problem means that it’s our customers and accounting partners who have helped shape our expenses solution. They’ve been instrumental in developing additional features to complement our connected payment cards. It’s that investment from our customers and partners that have driven powerful innovations including our new Expend Flex card for automatically improving business cash flow, managing out-of-pocket expenses and tracking mileage claims.

Can you see improvements in their Xero integration? Does it move with the times?

If you’ve invested in Xero and your entire business depends on it, you naturally want the connected apps to constantly improve and add new features that will benefit you and your clients. That said, having to constantly keep an eye on every new update that app partner releases might feel like a job in itself.

Our Xero integration has also been fundamental to our growth, and it is something we continue to invest in and are very proud of. In 2018 alone, we released over 30 new features like client rebilling and tracking categories because our customers told us that they needed them. We share the same passion that Xero and it’s users have for a modern world of accounting. A world where real-time insights and automation makes important business decisions easier to make.

In conclusion:

It’s my belief that as the Xero marketplace matures and it’s users become ever more demanding, that there will likely be consolidation in the connected app space. The need to increase automation will give way to the need to streamline and simplify processes. Connected apps like Expend are already becoming platforms in their own right and are ahead of this curve.

By tackling the problem head-on, our UK based team has successfully streamlined the expenses process for thousands of people. Whilst it’s very gratifying to be recognised with awards for our platform and named in the Top 100 Britain’s Fastest Growing Business in 2018 –  what really keeps driving us forward is the feedback from our customers that we’re saving them time, effort and money. And an endless search through the Xero app marketplace!

Why leave it there?

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