Xero has flicked the switch on a range of extra features on its recently launched Xero HQ platform, including a Siri-style artificial intelligence chatbot for Facebook Messenger and an upgraded directory of accounting practices.
The update comes just one week after the cloud accounting provider set its new Xero HQ system live, with the platform designed to replace My Xero as a central hub for accounting practices and advisors.
The main feature included in the update is the advisor directory, which was first announced during September at Xero’s annual XeroCon South conference in Brisbane.
The directory will help small businesses and startups to search for accountants and bookkeepers based on a range of factors including industry expertise or location.
As part of the upgrade, which goes live today, businesses looking for an accounting practice or financial advisor now do so directly from within Facebook Messenger, using a chatbot called Hey Xero.
While the feature initially focuses on finding nearby practices, Xero has revealed it intends to extend its functionality over time to provide a range of advice and information drawing on information from a business’ accounts.
“Connecting the millions of small businesses on Facebook Messenger with advisors, Xero’s chatbot, Hey Xero, will open up a huge opportunity for the industry from within the advisor directory,” Xero‘s global vice president, partner marketing Doug LaBahn said.
“For our partners, it’s a seamless way to be found and will help millions of small businesses be more productive, get the advice they need to grow and create jobs.”
Alongside the release, Xero is rolling out changes to its partner program, which allows practices to earn a higher status and unlock features by accumulating points for things like adding new clients or upgrading Xero products.
The changes allow advisors to earn points for completing Xero training and certifications, with a new distinction called ‘Xero Champion’ introduced for highly trained partners.
The company also claims the Xero HQ platform has seen a strong uptake from industry so far, with 13,500 practices adopting the new tool within the first 72 hours of its launch.