KPMG has launched a new cloud based service named Agile, aimed at small businesses. It works with the KPMG business process outsource model to deliver the capability for business owners to run their business more efficiently, with the advantage of information and insights at their fingertips wherever they are.
The strategic alliance between Xero and KPMG enables Xero to reach a new set of customers that form part of the KPMG ecosystem. For KPMG it is able to deliver on its promise to meet the financial and business needs of its customer base.
Xero will join Spotlight Reporting and Invitbox on the Agile platform. It will be interesting to see what other applications KPMG adds to that platform over time, but for now this is a golden opportunity for Xero to extend its market reach within Australia. For the Private Enterprise Division in KPMG the Agile cloud service will allow KPMG to deliver a best in class service to its existing customers and demonstrate its capability to potential customers that it can offer full service support as Rob Bazzani, Managing Partner, KPMG explained:
“KPMG Agile will provide KPMG Private Enterprise clients with a single access point bringing together the accessibility and convenience of a cloud based accounting platform like Xero, with our other chosen cloud partners.
“We’re excited that our clients in this space will now be able to outsource chosen back office functions freeing them up to focus on business growth.”
Can Xero extend KPMG relationship further.
This is not the first alliance between these two companies with Xero signing a strategic alliance with KPMG in the UK in March 2014. Other agreements have been reached in New Zealand and Singapore and the key question perhaps is whether further alliances will occur. For example if Xero could manage an alliance in the US it may enable Xero to experience a greater growth curve there than it has achieved so far.
For now though eyes will be on Australia to see whether the cloud service that KPMG are delivering gains traction in its customer base and whether Xero see an increase in revenue from it. Chris Ridd, Xero Australia Managing Director said in the press release: “Small businesses looking to KPMG for advice on how to run their business will now see Xero as a positive example of cloud accounting software.
“Our relationship with KPMG has been fruitful around the world, and this alliance will further solidify Xero as an accounting platform for professional services firms advising small business clients.”
Can KPMG Agile re-unite Xero and Invitbox?
The Agile service description includes a statement which says: “We’ve chosen solutions that work seamlessly together to produce a high quality product to automate bookkeeping and accounting processes. KPMG Agile currently features Xero, Spotlight Reporting and Invitbox. There is no complicated installation of hardware and software, and KPMG Agile provides easy integration with other business applications and ability to export data.”
While this may be the case at present, the truth and the future may be a little more complicated.
In 2013 Invitbox won the Emerging Add-On Partner award for Xero. The relationship soured however when Invitbox was bought by Intuit in May 2014 and Invitbox is no longer listed as an add-on partner. It will be quite interesting to see whether they re-appear on the add-on Marketplace for Xero following this announcement.
The other application on Agile, Spotlight Reporting is already listed as an add-on partner and there is no doubt that the integration between those two applications will remain. Xero and Intuit are strong rivals and it seems unlikely that the integration between Invitbox and Xero will be maintained in the longer term unless KPMG insists upon it.
It will be interesting to see whether that will be the case or whether KPMG will decide to run with another Accounts Payable solution on the Xero marketplace such as Shoebox.
This is good news for Xero in Australia as it seeks to grow market share in that country. It achieved 100,000 customers in the country last year and it will be interesting to see how far and how fast that number will climb.
The KPMG Agile cloud service is new and will be a significant tool in the armoury of KPMG Private Enterprise Division as it seeks to grow as well. Whether it can broker a peace deal between two of the three applications it chose to launch with is yet to be seen.