Fuseworks Media

‘Xero unveils its AI vision to reimagine small business accounting’

Wellington – 29 February 2024 – At its inaugural Investor Day today, global small business platform Xero unveiled its AI vision which the business says has the potential to reimagine accounting and improve the lives of small businesses. This included previewing ‘Just Ask Xero’ – Xero’s new GenAI-powered smart business companion for small businesses and their advisors – that will help them complete accounting-related tasks and provide deep insights to enable them to run their business better.

Xero outlined its approach to improve how small businesses and advisors can manage their accounting by integrating AI into business-facing tasks to automate them, help improve efficiency, and empower them with better insights to run their business. Xero is doing this by:

  • Introducing conversational interfaces on the apps and surfaces (i.e. mobile, email and Whatsapp) where Xero customers need support
  • Automating and streamlining important but repetitive and time-consuming accounting tasks
  • Delivering the right insights at the right time

Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer at Xero, said: “Technology has changed the lives of small businesses dramatically – first with cloud accounting, then automation, and now through GenAI. We’re embracing this new wave of tech innovation responsibly, with our customers at the heart of what we do, as we deliver on our vision to be the most trusted and insightful small business platform.”

Introducing GenAI smart business companion

Xero is developing a conversational interface – called Just Ask Xero (JAX) – using powerful GenAI technology.

JAX gives users a natural, approachable way to interact with Xero’s product, right from within the apps and devices they already use everyday. When available, Xero’s customers will be able to Just Ask Xero to complete tasks like generating an invoice, editing a quote or paying a bill, either in Xero or other commonly used apps and surfaces such as mobile, WhatsApp and email. JAX will not only complete the task, but it will also anticipate other tasks that may follow, such as sending an email to follow up on an overdue payment. It will also provide rapid, personalised insights on demand, such as cash flow projections, to give customers the confidence they need to make business decisions.

Find out more about how JAX will work and see a video here. A JAX beta will go live later this calendar year.

Using GenAI to onboard customers and support next generation customer service

Xero has also rolled out an AI assistant to improve the customer onboarding experience.

Announced at Xerocon Sydney, the AI assistant provides new users with relevant answers and information as they set up their Xero dashboard and get started in the product. In the future Xero plans to integrate the AI assistant into the JAX experience to iteratively streamline the onboarding and troubleshooting experience.

Xero has also embedded a GenAI tool into Xero Central to provide answers customers need in conversational language. Results of the early testing performed have been promising. Xero has seen a 40% decrease in average customer search time, with search sessions requiring additional customer service support decreasing by about 20%.

Bolstering Xero’s AI talent and expertise

To help Xero achieve its AI vision and the rollout of new GenAI accounting features to customers, Xero recently appointed two senior US hires – Eitan Sharon as Senior Vice President of Data & Science and Akankshu Dhawan, Senior Vice President of Product – Direct, Growth, and AI products.

Eitan has spent the past four years as Director of Applied Science at Amazon, focused on developing strategies that disrupted the product development process. Akankshu most recently oversaw Uber’s Earner, AI & Data products.

“We’re putting the right global experience, strategy, data and partnerships in place to harness the power of AI, while making sure our tools remain grounded in truth,” said Jolly. “Eitan and Akankshu’s many years experience in accelerating digital commerce and empowering worldwide businesses through AI, supports our strategy as we continue to drive innovation and value for our customers.”

Building on Xero’s AI-powered tools and feature

Xero has a long and proven experience with AI underpinning many of its products, including bank reconciliation predictions, Hubdoc data capture, Xero Expenses, and cash flow forecasting in Xero Analytics Plus.

“AI already powers many of Xero’s everyday features, saving our customers time and delivering them important insights. Our AI vision builds on our strong foundation of experience in building data-driven products, and holds true to the responsible data use commitments that guide our decisions,” Jolly said.

 

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