Xero rebuff’s ‘code of conduct’ concerns and pledges practice commitment

CONCERNS THAT XERO has set a path to prioritise end users over its practice community have been strongly rebuffed by its UK boss.

Xero UK managing director Gary Turner told Accountancy Age that the cloud accounting giant was completely committed to practices as partners, after a code of conduct it issued was criticised for favouring its end users over advisers.

The code of conduct seen by Accountancy Age, and released by Xero as it makes major updates to its partner programme, compels client access to the software even if the accountant and client are in dispute.

“Occasionally we have situations where there are disputes between accountants and their clients. Normally we’d want the accountants’ regulatory body to deal with it,” said Turner.

The code sets out Xero’s position for other situations. “We think that’s reasonable behaviour from us,” he added.

A senior practitioner raised concern about the supposed increase in power that Xero was wielding over practices: “It seems like a commercial organisation trying to regulate an industry that has its own regulators.

“Does it shift Xero to being onside of the business owners rather than the accountants?,” they added.

‘Hostile language’

Xero’s Turner admitted that some of the language used in the code, particularly around its headings, could “probably have been a bit less hostile”.

That did not change that Xero was completely committed to the profession.

“People that say those things don’t know us. That’s 100% opposite of our business strategy. Every other paragraph of our strategy outlined by CEO Rod Drury mentions accountants and bookkeepers. It’s absolutely not our strategy to [circumvent them],” Turner concluded.

At Xerocon South, being held through Australasia, Xero introduced an enhanced platform for clients to be able to find accountants, among other features.

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