B2B Payments

Cash Flow Management for the 21st Century

Cash flow management is becoming an increasingly greater priority for suppliers, especially as late payments continue to jeopardize small business operations. With the supply chain becoming even more global, and with buyers and suppliers pushing for real-time invoice statuses, managing cash flow is not only crucial, but incredibly complex.

Xero is a member of the rising Software-as-a-Service community looking to aid small- and medium-sized businesses with the capital management process. Companies in more than 180 nations around the globe use Xero’s accounting software, an international presence that reflects SMEs’ growing demand for solutions and services to aid oversight of their cash flow.

According to Xero’s newly-appointed US President Russell Fujioka, the company acknowledges the struggle cash flow management can impose upon small business owners.

“Cash flow management can often be complicated for small businesses to manage,” Fujioka told PYMNTS.com. “Our goal is to help companies visually see their upcoming expenses, bills, invoices and bank balances, and make educated business decisions with up-to-date information.”

The executive, who will be based at Xero’s San Francisco headquarters office, has more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry under his belt and previously served at Dell and Adobe Systems, among other firms. His new position as head of US operations came at a pivotal time for Xero, as the announcement of his appointment coincided with the company’s news last week that it secured more than $110 million in its latest funding round, with investments led by Accel Partners and Matrix Capital Management.

That funding, the company revealed, will boost Xero’s plans to expand in both the U.K. and U.S. According to Fujioka, focusing on the U.S.’s small business market is key for the growth of Xero, and the growth of those SMEs.

“We continue to pursue the U.S. market in a deliberate way – innovating continuously and listening to customers,” he said. “We are making progress and are only in the earliest stages of our growth here. The world’s leading investors agree that we are well positioned to address the needs of millions of small businesses, who, so far, have been unserved by a platform that can connect them to customers and help them collaborate with advisors.”

According to Fujioka, part of why SMEs struggle with managing their cash flow is because they use outdated services to do so. While these services are often familiar to business owners, they are not always optimized or most efficient for managing capital.

“There are over 28 million small businesses in the U.S., and they use everything from incumbent desktop accounting software to Microsoft Excel and Word,” the executive said. “They hack their own solutions by using whatever is most familiar and fits their needs, so they can spend more time running their business rather than crunching numbers. Yet, we believe that without the right accounting software, small business owners could be missing out on big opportunities.”

Using outdated services, Fujioka said, often creates a “lag time” in the procurement process between when a supplier delivers a quote, a buyer makes a purchase, and that purchase yields an invoice. That delay can prevent business owners from obtaining accurate, real-time information into the financial health of their company, in turn preventing those owners from making accurate, well-informed decisions about how to grow their operations.

Fujioka cited a recent survey conducted by Xero aimed at exploring the main goals for small businesses this year. While 74 percent of SME owners were optimistic about the growth of their businesses, 80 percent said they did not plan to expand their workforce. “The right accounting management could help them plan better for hiring and growth, let them invest and expand with confidence, and offer the ability to plan for the longer term,” Fujioka said.

Xero now aims to strengthen the presence of its cloud and mobile solutions for invoice, payroll, bill pay and other services within the US as part of the company’s efforts to eliminate a slow and bumpy procurement process.

“Accounting software needs to be simple, smart, up-to-date and readily available for business owners anytime and anywhere,” Fujioka said. “There are millions of small businesses in the U.S. and U.K., and we are excited at the potential these markets hold and how Xero can make a difference to the lives and success of small business owners and entrepreneurs. We put them in control of their business to achieve growth.”

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