Walking into Xero’s slick Melbourne office in Richmond conjures up images of what 1 Infinite Loop, home to Apple or a Google office might look like. There are the friendly happy employees proudly wearing their casual t-shirts emblazoned with the company logo, small team break out rooms encased wholly in glass and a presentation room hidden cleverly behind a huge sliding door. This nice silicon valley themed office sits perfectly with their self proclaimed ‘beautiful software,’ and its well earned image of a young up and coming tech company.
I’ve been impressed by their marketing drive in and around Melbourne city centre over the past year. Friendly faced urbanites in their late 20’s to early 40’s grace trams stops and billboards throughout the city spreading the word of Xero. This marketing, sitting alongside their advertisements in newspapers and online is reminiscent of a consumer product looking for widespread adoption. They are very comparable in tone to those you would see from Vodafone or Bank of Melbourne for example.
How Xero is Trying to Make Accounting Cool
There are approximately 500,000 small businesses in Victoria, each a potential Xero client, but these adverts are aimed at a wider market. They are attempting to drive brand awareness of their products among the general populace, with the presumption that will be some accountants or helpful friends among them ready to pass on the message to new wave entrepreneurs.
Xero have been quick to point to the 500,000 subscribers milestone that they have passed, having grown 10 fold in that last 4 years. This is an impressive metric for such a short time frame but further illustrates their position as an up and player on the global sense tying in with their advertisements. Their latest updates, especially the business intelligence dashboard takes their product to the next level where they may start to cannibalize some of their existing add on partners but this continual innovation is demanded.
While we should take this slick marketing with a pinch of salt, Xero deserve credit for spicing up a traditionally dull profession and promoting the idea among the general population, and accountants and bookkeepers themselves, that we we will no longer have to be satisfied with just spreadsheets and calculators - change is afoot.
Until we have an accounting themed TV show on ABC or Netflix to rival those with lawyers or doctors, which perhaps follows the trials and tribulations of tax season or the juicy reviews points of a tax file, we can never claim to be in vogue. So we should be thankful to Xero for injecting some much needed ‘cool’ into our work.