Online accounting platform Xero 'has experienced its biggest-ever growth' after introducing machine learning and artificial intelligence to its business.

In the last 12 months, the company has processed more than NZ$1.2 trillion of global economic activity, giving it a high-value dataset to drive insights and machine learning.

Its system can now code invoices for small businesses, categorise expenses and recommend accounting practices to a potential client.

This reduces human error while automating much of the busy work of accounting, freeing advisors up to focus on providing clients with advice. 

“Machine learning and automation will open up the next phase of innovation in accounting, driving a transition in the industry bigger than the move to the cloud did ten years ago,” said Xero CEO and Founder, Rod Drury.

“Rather than just keying in data, they’re interpreting the output – and with the power of machine learning, they’ll provide higher level advisory services that help clients feel in control of their finances which is a key human function that cannot be replaced.”

Cloud Innovation has also played a key part in Xero’s rise to help more than one million subscribers, a figure which has doubled in less than two years. 

“Xero has evolved from the market challenger into one of the leading global cloud accounting platforms.

“The first challenger to surpass one million subscribers is a significant milestone for cloud accounting and validation for an industry which didn’t exist a decade ago.

“Together with our accounting partners and small business owners, we’re so excited to lead the industry innovation charge,” said Drury.

With Xero subscribers in more than 180 countries, many are now doing business across borders not just in their home countries thanks to the changes to trade made possible by cloud technology.

This has allowed for the globalisation of small businesses which have grown up without the need to operate within the confines of a single country’s borders.

“Only a global platform – on a single global code base like Xero – can offer the opportunity for small businesses and their advisors to expand their businesses offshore, connect to banks in multiple countries," said Drury.

“It also allows them to use Xero’s technology and payment partnerships with Google, Apple, Square, Paypal, Stripe and others to do business seamlessly all over the world. It sets in motion a global network effect as small businesses expand their trade between countries."