Xero was testing an automated conversion service to convert data files from MYOB and QuickBooks when setting up a new Xero account, the company revealed at last week’s roadshows in Australia.
The Xero accountants and partners would upload the file in the “Green” Xero Adviser screen and receive a notification when the converted Xero file was ready, according to screenshots of the service shown at Xero’s roadshow in Sydney last Wednesday.
The conversion service would address one of the two main impediments to switching businesses from rival programs.
“Over 90 percent of people are saying we need help with this. That excites and concerns us because there is massive demand. But we’re determined to capitalise on the opportunity,” Chris Ridd, managing director for Xero Australia, told BoxFreeIT.
Two impediments stopped businesses from switching accounting platforms. The first was that business owners didn’t have time to learn a new product. Xero hoped to address this with its training webinars and online video library. The second issue was moving data from the incumbent program to Xero.
The first phase of the project, to create an automated tool to help partners do conversions, had already been completed, Ridd said.
While earlier conversion services had relied on outsourced accountants in India to convert files within three business days, Xero partner Jet Convert had built an automated tool that could scale up to meet demand. Xero had carried out technical due diligence into the Jet Convert software and was in commercial discussions to provide funding and boost capacity.
Jet Convert had processed several thousand conversions of which 70 percent were completed within a day, Xero claimed.
Xero planned to integrate the conversion service into the sign-up process under the second phase. A screenshot at the roadshow displayed a list of shared Xero files in the Xero Adviser screen with a progress bar under converting files.
Conversions would be handled invisibly by Jet Convert and other conversion services.
Partners preferred to trust their clients’ files to Xero and wanted one throat to choke, Ridd said. “The experience is I load the data file through My Green Xero and several days later all the balances are set up including payroll,” Ridd said.
Xero planned to launch the second phase by the middle of the year. It would be trialled first in the US where Xero was anxious to remove any barriers in its fight against Intuit.
“Our strategy for the US is to knock down any barriers to switch. Intuit is very strong and we’re a challenger,” Ridd said.