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Corporate strategy

Surviving Economic Turbulence? No problem! Says Xero UK MD

Xero UK Gary Turner

Xero UK is an online accounting software used by small businesses and their accountants and bookkeepers.

They currently have 800,000 subscribers based around the world and offices in 5 countries. But although co-founder and Managing Director Gary Turner may be keeping an eye on what the economic fall out surrounding Brexit might look like, it’s not something the thought-leader is particularly worried about.

Turner explains, “We launched during the UK’s double-dip recession that resulted from the Global Financial Crisis and provide a service that’s key to SMBs regardless of the economic circumstances, which is arguably even more important during tougher times.”

In 2014 & 2015 Forbes Magazine named Xero “World’s Most Innovative Growth Company” and IDC Research named Xero “Fastest Growing Financial Software Applications Vendor” globally.

This is mainly due to investment that Turner credits with the companies success.

He says, “Over the next two years while Brexit is negotiated we don’t anticipate much impact will result and so we intend to continue to invest for significant growth.

“We have always operated internationally and although we have no plans to expand right now, we might still extend in to Europe later this year if demand keeps increasing as predicted.”

Under Gary’s leadership Xero UK has scaled from a three-person startup with annual revenues of £50,000 in 2009 to what will surpass 200 staff and £25M in revenues in 2017.

And although not particularly worried about Brexit, he is keeping an eye on policy decisions falling out of the recently launched White Paper (brexit white paper)

“We expect to continue our recent track record of strong growth. However, when looking at what challenges our industry faces in 2017 other than Brexit, I think access to talent could be adversely impacted if visa regulations are tightened.”

With the UK arm of the company currently employing over 200 staff, many who have been drawn to the company from abroad. Talent acquisition is a huge concern for the company and Turner, who is a thought-leader on leadership inside hyper-growth organisations.

Globally, Xero employ more than 1,500 staff and although only 200 are based in the UK, there is a commonality and a choice as to whether to work in the twenty offices which span five countries; the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

If the ability to let staff move freely around the organisation was lost than that would become a difficulty for the global company Xero offers an environment to its employee’s that is transferable, work mainly based in the Cloud and all staff are provided with professional barista training in order to operate the professional coffee machine’s available – no matter what office they find themselves in.

But if the restrictions on candidates were put in place as we have seen in America recently, that would be a serious drain on the kind of talent that Turner wants to employ.

However, Turner is confident whatever fall outs come from the split with the European Union, the company is set up in a secure way to tackle financial instability.

He says:

“We expect to continue our recent track record of strong growth.

“We provide software that’s designed to help the UK’s 5 million SMBs manage their cashflow and business finances more effectively which is a key survival skill, particularly during times of economic uncertainty.”

It that uncertainty, so damaging for any business, that the native Glaswegian is urging the Government to fix as a priority.

He says, “As soon as SMBs have more certainty, the sooner they can begin to plan and adapt to either challenges or opportunities that may emerge.

“Luckily, Xero helps SMBs manage their finances more effectively whether that’s during a downturn or an upturn in the economy.”

Turner, who oversees Xero’s business interests across Europe, Middle East & Africa, is also keeping a watchful eye on what is going on across the pond with new President Donald Trump and the currency fluctuations effecting the Pound.

He says, “From an operational perspective we are not concerned about which currency is worth more or less than the other. It is my belief that stability is more important than a stronger or weaker pound.”

Currently serving as a mentor to early stage Fintech startups at Techstars London, for Turner who has held executive positions at Microsoft, Systems Union and Pegasus Software, minimising the risk of a start-up has served the company well during times of cutbacks else where.

He explains, “Xero is online and so unlike software for Windows PCs, it can be accessed from anywhere and on any device, giving over 800,000 businesses globally finance and clarity on their accounts at any time.

“Managing cash flow is a key survival skill which is needed across the small business market – Brexit or no Brexit. We’re not worried.”

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