New Zealand based online accounting services firm Xero has signed a deal with ANZ to distribute its cloud-based accounting tool.
The exclusive marketing agreement will see Xero's integrated banking and accounting solution promoted to ANZ's 450,000 small business customers and their advisers. It also includes an agreement to explore opportunities in Singapore, New Zealand and the broader Asia Pacific region.
Xero chief executive officer Rod Drury told iTnews the move to the cloud, the introduction of the iPad and other low-cost tablet devices, and the impending release of Google Chrome are all helping to make services like Xero more compelling to banks.
"We're seeing a lot more innovation now as banks realise it's not just about providing basic Internet banking, it's about delivering upstream and downstream services that provide value to small business customers".
Nick Reade, general manager of small business with ANZ said that the integration of Xero's software "provides customers with a simple and convenient solution to manage their cash flow and provide greater transparency around trading performance".
Drury said ANZ has expressed a strong desire to extend the partnership to other territories in Asia, and also in New Zealand, once Xero has proven its model in Australia.
New Zealand bank BNZ, which is owned by NAB, owns a shareholding in Xero. In November last year it launched a co-branded version of Xero's personal financial management solution, Xero Personal.
Drury says Xero Personal is still very new for the company, but he would like to see ANZ extend the partnership to offer Xero Personal to retail consumers. "Because of ANZ's existing product it's not simple, but it is a logical extension," he said.
ANZ already offers a personal financial management service that aggregates data from multiple financial institutions in one place for both customers and non-customers. The MoneyManager service is powered with technology from US online banking provider Yodlee and currently has 70,000 users.
Xero already has bank data feed arrangements in place with ANZ, CBA and NAB.
The accounting software vendor also rents its wares online via Telstra's T-Suite.