Global consumer tax franchise H&R Block has signed an agreement to promote Xero in the US as its recommended cloud accounting program. H&R Block, one of the world’s largest tax services providers, had over 12,000 company owned and franchised retail tax offices in the US and 1,300 offices in Canada and Australia. It processed 24.8 million tax returns in 2013.
Under the agreement, H&R Block will solely promote Xero as the recommended small business online accounting solution in locations that sell H&R Block’s Small Business Program suite of services, a subset of the 11,000 US stores.
“Together with H&R Block’s well known brand and established channel, we’re able to help improve the financial lives of more small businesses by bringing them the latest cutting edge financial tools,” said Peter Karpas, CEO of Xero North America in a press release.
The strategic alliance was only operating in the US at this stage, Chris Ridd, managing director at Xero Australia, told BoxFreeIT.
The announcement was in line with Xero’s plans to increase sales and awareness in the US.
Xero had used alliances with big four accounting firms and franchises to maintain its rapid growth and boost its credibility. The deal had validated its technology relevance and proved the calibre of management to source and execute deals, reported analyst firm, First New Zealand Capital.
A post on Xero’s blog about the H&R Block deal attracted not just praise but rare criticism from accountants who said H&R provided sub-standard accounting services at cut-price rates. “Frankly, I feel kind of ‘embarrassed’ for Xero/U.S. accounting partners. US C.P.A Mike and Erin state their ‘disgust’ and ‘disappointment’ too. Seems like giving up long term gains for a short term ‘buzz,’” said NateGraessleCPA on the blog.
The latest deal comes shortly after partnerships with US payment solution Square and KPMG in the UK.