Tax & admin · 17 August 2016

Xero joins forces with PayPal to provide speedier checkout for small businesses

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Xero has 130,000 customers in the UK and 700,000 globally

Two global technology businesses have announced a partnership, which is aiming to cut down the time it takes for small businesses to take payments from customers online.

Xero, which is headquartered in New Zealand, and PayPal, based in California, have launched PayPal Express checkout with Xero. This has come about after nearly $90m worth of PayPal transactions were processed by small businesses on the Xero platform – 40 per cent growth.

Explaining the move, Xero’s founder and CEO Rod Drury said: “By enabling third party financial services providers such as Braintree and PayPal with Xero globally, small businesses are able to offer multiple payment options on an invoice, giving them and their customers choice of payment, ensuring they get paid faster.”

According to a statement, PayPal Express Checkout for Xero will allow customers to either log-in and pay with PayPal or pay with a credit card – meaning directing to a separate website to complete payment will not be necessary.

New features include auto-creation of fees, whereby a PayPal fee comes through as a separate line item and the business owner can then create a rule to reconcile fees to an account.

In the competitive small business accountancy provider space, Xero now has 130,000 users in the UK. Speaking to Business Advice in January, when he was providing insider expertise on the government’s transition to digital tax accounts, Xero’s UK MD, Gary Turner, said that the relevance of mobiles and tablets in the business world is reflected in the company’s product offering.

“If we all decided to quit our jobs and set up a business we would be unlikely to go to PC World and buy a PC each. We’d be on Google Apps, Office 365 and use social media rather than the old specification,” he said.

Research carried out by Xero at the end of 2015 found that 65 per cent of British small business blamed financial issues, such as cash flow visibility and access to capital, as a reason for failure.

Contextualising this with the company’s new partnership with PayPal, Drury added: “Working with PayPal has allowed us to address one of the biggest concerns for small businesses owners, delayed cash flows. By extending our integrations with PayPal payments and automating the invoicing reconciliation process, we are giving customers the tools they need to spend less time chasing money and more time to focus on growing their business.”

Alongside its new offering with PayPal, Xero also has technology partnerships with Apple, Google and Microsoft. With Apple, Xero is working with the global brand to bring “innovative mobile services to customers seeking to transform their businesses using iOS devices”.

PayPal itself has also made the small business community a focus with new product offerings. It’s Working Capital service provides advances to small businesses with a PayPal trading history. In second quarter figures, it was revealed that PayPal Working Capital had exceeded $2bn in originations since the product launched in September 2013 – and has now funded in excess of 90,000 small business merchants in the US, UK and Australia.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Business Advice. He is also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative. Prior to his role at Real Business, he was editor at competitor website Growth Business and head reporter at M&A Deals. Throughout his career he has interviewed leading entrepreneurs including Alex Chesterman, Lopo Champalimaud, Sarah Wood, James Averdeick and Alex Saint.

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