Xero's new Australian MD plans to invest in education and products

Trent Innes, who will shortly be replacing Chris Ridd as Xero Australia's managing director, said he plans to focus on three key areas that will involve educating customers, and investing in new products and the company.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on

Xero Australia's soon-to-be managing director Trent Innes has outlined that when he takes on the leadership role at the end of March, he will be focused on three key areas.

Innes will replace Chris Ridd, who will step down from the Australian MD role after five years but remain as an adviser to the company for the next 12 months. Innes will come into the role after spending nearly three years as Xero Australia's national sales director.

Speaking to ZDNet, Innes said Ridd's work so far will act as the foundation for the three areas he plans to address when he takes on the position.

He said these focus areas will involve investing and educating 19,000 accounting and bookkeeping partners with the release of new tools; delivering its SMB end-customers with new technology and services that will connect them to more banks, financial providers, big businesses, and other small businesses; and making the accounting industry appealing to new entrants.

As part of Xero's annual roadshow, Innes revealed the company announced a handful of new products and services that will be released during Q3, including Xero HQ to help partners better manage their client list; and a product with Veda that will give users access to a directory to verify contact records, including credit risk information.

The company will also be extending Xero Tax to its bronze partners. Innes said so far the product has been used by over 1,400 partners and has processed over a million tax lodgements.

According to Innes, his vision for Xero and the products being released will help customers improve their understanding about their numbers.

"A lot of the information they have is out of date. We know if they have insight to their numbers and can get access to information quicker, they're likely to be more successful," he said.

"The other thing is when they're more likely to actually understand their numbers, they're more likely to seek help and advice from an advisor, and that's where our partner community comes in quite strongly. If you don't understand things then you don't ask the questions."

At the same time, Xero aims to help its SMB customers get paid quicker. "Over 50 percent of SMB invoices get paid over 30 days, but we want to bring that forward because they can get paid quicker then they're in a much better position," Innes said.

In addition, Xero has released the a split-screen feature to allow users running iOS9 on an iPad Air or iPad Pro the opportunity to multitask and use two apps side by side at the same time.

The company reported negative net operating cash flow of NZ$6.5 million for 1H16, an improvement on the same quarter last year, when negative net operation cash flow was NZ$8.5 million.

Xero said the result was reflective of cash it spent on operating and investing activities, including staff costs, advertising and marketing, and other working capital.

Meanwhile, total sales for the current quarter lifted to NZ$52.6 million from the NZ$32.5 million that was reported during the same period last year.

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