New Zealand-based accounting software company Xero has reaffirmed its commitment to machine learning and artificial intelligence to reduce compliance costs and arm accountants and financial advisers "with the tools required to support the world's small businesses."
Speaking at the Xero annual shareholder meeting in Sydney this morning, chief executive and founder Rod Drury said the firm will also increase its focus on the financial services sector to establish a "global financial web."
Partnering with more than 140 financial and fintech organisations, Xero will seek to collaborate on innovation and data share standards, adding resources to its global team and building relationships with financial institutions including Australia's big four banks, Wells Fargo and HSBC.
"The future of finance is steeped in collaboration rather than competition between banking institutions and technology companies," Drury said.
"This is vital to the success of small businesses, and also for the effective future operation of the financial services sector. We are working with financial and fintech organisations around the world to securely open up data flows which can help de-risk lending and enable small businesses to access much-needed capital so that they can prosper."
Xero is also emerging as one of the largest listed technology companies in Australasia by revenue after substantially increasing its subscriber base.
In less than two years, Xero has doubled its subscribers to more than one million globally, and expects to reach half-a-million subscribers in Australia.
Since 2016 the company share price (ASX: XRO) has increased from around $17 in July 2016 to $24.44 today, a price which Xero Limited hasn't reached since March 2015.
"It has been a milestone year for Xero. We have executed on all fronts to achieve strong results for the financial year. We're now well past the startup phase and are pleased to become one of the larger technology companies by revenue listed on the ASX and NZX," Drury said.
Alongside the announcements, director Craig Elliot confirmed his retirement from the company. Craig joined the board in 2012 and played a significant role in Xero's global growth.
Susan Peterson and Lee Hatton were both elected as directors of Xero.
Non-executive board members received an annual remuneration increase from NZ$850,000 to NZ$1,400,000, a move which Xero says will help it on its journey to NZ$1 billion in revenue, and enable the company to recruit two-to-three additional non-executive directors in key markets including the UK and the US.