Xavier Analytics

A small web development agency called Hatch Apps have partnered with their accountancy firm called FD Works to build a web product called Xavier Analytics (xavier-analytics.com). The product provides technical, time-saving tools and reporting for finance professionals using Xero cloud accounting software. The project has gone well and is now in beta testing. The Hatch team are moving away from agency work and focusing on Xavier full time.

After launch and refinement of the Xavier Analytics product, the Xavier team will embark on expanding the offering into a much broader suite of products that combines data from a wide-range of sources, with the aim of increasing the chance of success for small businesses. The team is excited about the idea of applying the latest accounting academic theory, artificial intelligence and big data techniques to achieve insights not currently possible with the current tools and data SMEs have access to. The code name for this suite is the Xavier Ecosystem.

The key objectives of the team are to:

1. Identify, clean up and blend a number of data sources, including private data from our users and large public data sets, into an accessible database
2. Build an analytical engine that employs artificial intelligence and big data techniques to extract accounting insights from the database
3. Provide a web application user interface that presents these insights to businesses and their financial advisors, enabling them to understand their business performance and evaluate and model future business decisions

The Xavier Ecosystem will be innovative in its approach due to the unique combination of data sources, and the broad audience it will be applicable to. During a consultation phase with academic accounting and big data experts, the team established that the public data available around SMEs at a national level is currently shallow and sparse. The private data held by these SMEs in their cloud accounting ledgers is detailed and extensive.

The success of Xavier will rely on widespread participation of SMEs, and the data they bring with them. The planned freemium pricing model, along with high-visibility listings on app marketplaces will encourage this adoption. Xavier will result in the first and only offering of deep and wide SME data - which will be truly transformational for the economy.

Xavier Analytics is an accounting professional’s best friend. Xavier’s initial focus is on the Xero marketplace and the financial firms that support clients using Xero. The system solves frustrations and accelerates time-consuming tasks that the FD Works team deal with on a daily basis when working with Xero data. Xavier Analytics’ approach is:

Step 1: automated extraction of data out of Xero for all of a firm’s clients, on a regular basis

Step 2: guidance and tools for cleaning up Xero data - helping identify and amend unreconciled transactions, duplication of contacts, account coding errors, and tracking changes in relation to locked periods

Step 3: Sanitised client data served up in a flexible format for customised reporting

The pain points Xavier solves for FD Works are common across all accountants working with Xero, as they are built around day-to-day bookkeeping tasks. Expansion into benchmarking and forecasting tools will provide financial advisors with the ability to have constructive conversations with their SME clients about the future of their business.

The future Xavier Ecosystem will level the playing field by giving small businesses access to meaningful comparative data, something usually only accessible to large organisations. This comparative data will focus on financial metrics (spend on bills, revenue growth, gross profit, gross margin) against companies in similar sectors, geographic regions or of similar ages.

A number of existing providers offer elements of the Xavier ecosystem, but not all:

- Botkeeper (https://www.botkeeper.com/) combines financial and non-financial data sources and bookkeeping tools, but is limited to cash-only accounting, lacks UK-specific data and benchmarking analysis.

- CheckMyBooks (https://www.checkmybooks.co.uk/) provides accountants with help on compliance however the functionality is limited and SMEs are not their target audience.

- Fathom (https://www.fathomhq.com/) provides SMEs with reporting over their financial data, but lacks integration across data sources.

- Ormsby Street (https://www.ormsbystreet.com/) uses Office for National Statistics data to provide high-level statistics for UK SMEs, but does not combine this with a business’s financial records for direct comparison.

None of these providers are combining data across multiple sources and allowing SMEs to take action in the wide range of ways that Xavier will offer. This integrated database will make Xavier truly unique in the marketplace.