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Xero goes all in on AI with accounting chatbot launch

Technology

The software company plans to double its turnover through a “simple” strategy that involves bolstering tech offerings for small businesses.

By Christine Chen 10 minute read

Xero will release a ChatGPT-like bot for accounting tasks, the latest in a series of recent AI upgrades it says will drive revenue and “reimagine accounting and improve the lives of small business”.

The conversational program, called Just Ask Xero (JAX), was being developed using generative AI technology and would launch in beta later in the year, the software giant announced during its Investor Day on Thursday.

Chief product officer, Diya Jolly, said: “Technology has changed the lives of small businesses dramatically – first with cloud accounting, then automation, and now through gen AI.”

“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.”

Xero said JAX was a “natural, approachable” way for customers to interact with its software.

Customers would be able to “just ask Xero” to complete tasks including generating an invoice, editing a quote or paying a bill.

JAX could anticipate tasks as well, such as sending emails to follow up on overdue payments, and provide personalised insights, such as cash flow projections, to give customers “the confidence they need to make business decisions”.

It comes after Xero rolled out an AI assistant to onboard customers, added generative AI to its support portal Xero Central last year, and machine learning to generate bank reconciliation predictions.

Xero said early testing showed customers using Xero Central spent 40 per cent less time searching for answers, with searches requiring additional customer service support decreasing by about 20 per cent.

It also recruited two US-based specialists in recent months to bolster its AI expertise, with Eitan Sharon joining in November as senior vice president of data and science, and Akankshu Dhawan joining as senior vice president of product in September.

“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,” Ms Jolly said.

Xero announced JAX on Thursday as part of a FY25–27 strategy called “Winning on Purpose” in four priority areas.

These included providing “winning” accounting, payments and payroll services as the “three most critical jobs for small business”, developing a “winning” go-to-market strategy and “winning” in the future through AI enhancements.

CEO Sukhinder Singh Cassidy said these initiatives would help it to double the size of its business over time, after bringing in $1,399 million in FY23.

“Our strategy is simple, focused, and purpose-driven. We have solid foundations, a strong financial profile, turbocharged capabilities,” she said.

“As we continue to build Xero for the long term, we aspire to be a world-class SaaS business, and believe we have the opportunity to double the size of our business.”

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Christine Chen

Christine Chen

AUTHOR

Christine Chen is a graduate journalist at Accountants Daily and Accounting Times, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting sector.

Previously, Christine has written for City Hub, the South Sydney Herald and Honi Soit. She has also produced online content for LegalVision and completed internships at EY and Deloitte.

Christine has a commerce degree from the University of Western Australia and is studying a Juris Doctor degree at the University of Sydney. 

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