B2B Payments

Xero Jumps In On Facebook Chatbot Trend

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SME accounting company Xero continues on with its streak of announcements at its Xerocon South event.

The latest is a bot that integrates into Facebook Messenger, iMessage and Slack to help small business users manage their business.

"Using Hey Xero, businesses will be able to access the Xero Advisor Directory and be recommended a suitable accountant or bookkeeper in their area," Xero said in its announcement late last week. "Xero subscribers will also be able to discover new apps in the Xero ecosystem and query their latest financial data, such as who owes them money or when their next bill is due."

In announcing the new solution, dubbed Hey Xero, the company shared screenshots with examples of how the bot will work. The technology can respond to requests for balance information, send invoice reminders upon request and other tasks.

Xero plans to roll out Hey Xero "in the near future," the company added.

"Connecting the more than 50 million small businesses on Facebook Messenger with accountants and bookkeepers is a huge opportunity for our industry," said Xero CEO Rod Drury. "We're opening up access to accounting software, solutions and advisors to help millions of small businesses be more productive and get the advice they need to grow and create jobs."

Xero recently surveyed SMEs and found that the vast majority are using platforms like text, social media and mobile messaging to connect with their clients. More than half of those surveyed, Xero added, have used these mediums to connect to accountants or bookkeepers.

Just one day prior, Xero revealed an integration with electronic bill pay system BPAY, as well as a new partnership with small business lending platform Fuelled.

Facebook Messenger is a popular destination for SME-serving chatbots. Earlier this year, another small business accounting firm, Sage, debuted its own chatbot for the messaging platform, which followed the introduction of Tradeshift Go by the travel and expense management company, another chatbot using artificial intelligence.

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