Xero has hit one million users after doubling subscriptions in two years

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Cloud accounting software Xero has announced that its subscriber numbers have hit the one million mark after doubling in less than two years.

Xero founder and chief executive Rod Drury said that it was “very satisfying” to reach a milestone that had been promised to shareholders a few years back.

“Five-and-a-half years ago, at 50,000 subscribers, we asked shareholders to imagine our business at a million subscribers,” he said. “We invested for the long term to build a business and ecosystem to achieve those numbers.”

The investment required to get to this point has had a bearing on company results, with it reporting a $NZ82.5 million net loss for the 2016 financial year. Xero’s 2017 results are due to be announced in May.

The Wellington-headquartered startup has been locked in a bitter battle against incumbent MYOB for dominance in the accounting software market. MYOB claims a user base of 1.2 million businesses in Australia and New Zealand, although that figure may include licensees of its older non-cloud products.

Xero last year migrated more than 700,000 customers’ data to Amazon’s cloud in preparation for scaling to one million users, with one executive claiming it’s not weighed down maintaining a “legacy of desktop software”. MYOB then fought back to say Xero had been “a bit late” migrating to Amazon Web Services, claiming it has been on that cloud since 2011.

Drury said today that Xero’s single platform for global access had helped it gain subscribers in more than 180 countries and claimed the company’s products help break down international barriers for small business.

“Only a global platform… can offer the opportunity for small businesses and their advisors to expand their businesses offshore, connect to banks in multiple countries and use Xero’s technology and payment partnerships with Google, Apple, Square, Paypal, Stripe and others to do business seamlessly all over the world.”

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