In the US, the gig economy is booming, with 36% of the nation’s workforce now freelancing. In his keynote at Xerocon Austin, Herman Man, Vice President of Product and Partnerships at Xero Americas shared how Xero wants to help solopreneurs and their advisors meet the demands of this growing segment.

Herman provided a picture of just a handful of the 2,500 product and platform releases we’ve supported over the last year. After migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS) a year ago, we can leverage the considerable investment AWS has made in platform services to build and deploy software with shorter delivery timeframes like these.

Herman announced tools for the US market to give small businesses and their advisors more insights and control over business performance, including Xero Projects. Projects makes managing projects easier and enables them to be more profitable than ever. Built inside Xero, Projects works seamlessly with our single ledger and other Xero features.

“We know though feedback that it’s difficult for service businesses to keep track of all the moving parts when running jobs and projects – they have bills coming in, proposals and invoices going out, people working on different tasks and managing expenses,” Herman said. “Understanding where you at, what to invoice and whether you are making profit can be dark art.”

Having an inefficient expense workflow can mean less predictability in cash flow, with unaccounted for expenses creeping up at inconvenient times. We want to simplify this process for small business owners and their advisors, and today Herman announced the availability of Xero Expenses for US advisors, a modern, mobile-first approach to expense reporting.

We know mileage is an important part of the self-employed economy, and today Herman announced a partnership with Microsoft MileIQ – the leading mileage tracking application in the industry.

MileIQ allows independent contractors to automatically track mileage, classify drives and accurately report in Xero. Plugging directly into Xero+C, MileIQ enables independent contractors to more accurately deduct their mileage on their Schedule C reports. The integration will be available early next year.

“Integrating with Microsoft’s MileIQ is another example of Xero embracing the gig economy,” Herman said. “Together, Xero and Microsoft provide a smarter, simpler way for our users to manage their businesses. Now, with the addition of MileIQ, we’re making it easier for independent contractors to reap the benefits of a more simplified mileage tracking and accounting process too.”

As a value-added benefit for accountants and bookkeepers, MileIQ is also launching MileIQ for Xero Advisors – an exclusive partner program for Xero Advisors. The program benefits include a free MileIQ Premium subscription, 20 percent discount for clients, unique MileIQ + Xero educational and sales enablement materials.

At Xero, we’d like to thank all of you for helping us solve real problems for small businesses and making their lives better. We’re looking forward to what lies ahead.

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