PwC teams up with Australasian startups for new cloud offering

PricewaterhouseCoopers has said it will be collaborating with a number of emerging tech companies in the region to deliver a purpose-built cloud platform.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced it will be working with startups in Australasia on PwC Next, the company's cloud accounting open platform.

According to the accounting giant, its collaboration with emerging technology companies will see PwC leverage the startup mentality when delivering new products to its clients.

PwC Private Clients' Leader David Wills said Sydney-based enterprise app store Maestrano will be the first to collaborate with PwC, providing PwC with the API and integration layer of its platform, leveraging its Connec! capability.

"We chose Sydney-based startup Maestrano as the engine for PwC's Next due to its highly innovative approach, agnostic capabilities and market-leading technology, which seamlessly integrates cloud applications," Wills said.

"In line with the federal government's National Innovation and Science Agenda, we're building a culture around collaboration and embracing the talent and skills of Australia's startup community."

In addition to Maestrano, PwC said it is working with other startups and data providers in Australia and New Zealand in a bid to solve business problems through cloud technology.

"There's a phenomenal amount of innovation happening in the local cloud environment -- having an open platform that allows us to continuously bring on best of breed solutions for our clients is absolutely critical," Wills said.

"Our work with local startups is a great example of how larger businesses can collaborate with agile startups and emerging companies to create unique solutions for the Australian business community. And by collaborating with these innovative companies, we can harness PwC's deep industry expertise and collective experience to give our clients insights far beyond what the market is currently delivering."

According to a report [PDF] previously prepared by PwC, it is estimated the Australian tech startup sector has the potential to contribute over AU$100 billion, or 4 percent of the country's gross domestic product by 2033.

Cloud accounting firm Xero also announced a partnership on Tuesday, teaming up with Google to introduce the search giant's Gmail platform into Xero's software.

"Our global relationship with Google bolsters Xero as a real-time business platform for business owners," Xero general manager James Maiocco said. "Our integrations provide a smarter and simpler way to manage the daily workflows associated with all aspects of their business operation."

According to Xero, its Gmail integration will be available immediately, with the offering extending to Android users, allowing the creating and sending of invoices, receipts, and expense claims via mobile.

"Xero for Android integrates with Google Maps in case users need to visit a client or send them an invoice," the company said. "Xero is making it easier for small businesses to invoice their customers and capture receipts, speeding up the process for them to get paid faster."

Earlier this month, Xero teamed up with Microsoft to provide an avenue for its customers to collect and collate its own big data across Xero's software and other integrated business applications, via Microsoft Power BI.

"Technology exists for us to transform and change what we can do," said James Phillips, Microsoft corporate vice president and general manager of Microsoft's business applications, platform and intelligence organisation.

"Microsoft's integration work with Xero brings together each of our strengths in cloud, productivity, and business intelligence so our customers can more easily analyse and visualise their business data, share insights from anywhere within Office 365, and work with each other to get more done."

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