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What is BOMA?

Could the future be fully automated marketing campaigns with Xero’s pal, BOMA?

XERO HQ BOMA learn xero online learning training course videosXERO HAS A NEW bookkeeper and accountant platform, Xero HQ, which is available to Xero Partners, and includes a whole new app marketplace geared towards bookkeepers and accountants with a minimum of 100 clients.

One of the most recommended apps in the HQ partner app marketplace, was BOMA, a marketing and advertising platform that lets you create and broadcast marketing and advertising messages across five channels (email, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter).

How BOMA is different

There are lots of marketing automation platforms on the market (MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, Get Response, to name a few), so BOMA is competing in a crowded space. The first difference you’ll notice between BOMA and the market leader, MailChimp, is the price.

BOMA charges a minimum of $49 U.S. ($67.74 UD) a month to create unlimited social media marketing campaigns and send unlimited emails to 500 contacts; by contrast, MailChimp charges $10 U.S. ($13.43 AUD).

But MailChimp doesn’t integrate with Xero, so you need to import your contacts some other way (an Excel spreadsheet and by capturing data using an “opt-in” button). You also can’t create marketing or advertising campaigns for LinkedIn or Twitter in MailChimp, though it does support creating re-targeting advertisements for Google.

Content creation in BOMA

The most time-consuming aspect of any marketing or advertising campaign is the design stage. MailChimp provides templates, but unless you want to use the pre-designed templates, you need to bring your own images. Or pay to access an image library like Getty Images. Included in BOMA’s monthly fee is free access to a library of 250,000 images.

Once you’ve created your design, BOMA will automatically re-format it to fit any marketing channel, be it email, Facebook newsfeed posts, Instagram sponsored posts, and so on.

Automation and analysis in BOMA

automated marketing xero boma learn xero online training course videosBOMA uses machine learning, a sub branch of artificial intelligence, to power its contact segment feature. Machine learning is just as it sounds: machines learning to do things. It’s what powers the Netflix algorithm that recommends films and TV shows to you based on what you’ve viewed previously.

Without machine learning, Netflix wouldn’t be able to make individual recommendations (six or seven action movies with a strong female lead), but rather present a large pool of raw data (it’s entire library of action movies) for you to choose from.

And just as with Netflix, the more you use BOMA to send marketing and advertising campaigns, the better its insights will become.

Each time you send an email campaign, for instance, BOMA collects and analyses data about each individual contact so that it can make recommendations based on its analysis of that data: the best time to email certain contacts or the types of messages they respond to, and so on.

This is different to MailChimp and other platforms, which collect that data, but leave the analysis to you.

The Xero and BOMA partnership means that, aside from syncing client data in Xero with BOMA, you’re also given access to an exclusive library of content, covering a range of topics — “why use business software”, “get paid faster”, “create the perfect business plan” — that you can push out to your social channels.

In the future, if this integration was powered by machine learning, BOMA could create and send campaigns of pre-written content to an approved contact list at the times an algorithm has determined will be most effective, without any input from the user.

In the future, if this integration was powered by machine learning, BOMA could create and send campaigns of pre-written content to an approved contact list at the times an algorithm has determined will be most effective, without any input from the user.

What about MYOB and QuickBooks?

That’s a ways off yet, though. That’s because BOMA is a startup, and it’s still in the process of developing and turning on features that are standard on many other platforms. (It only recently made it possible to upload contacts from a CSV file, for example.) Getting to partner with one of the world’s largest cloud accounting applications is a major win, especially when Xero has given it top billing in its HQ partner app marketplace.

So if you search the BOMA website for any mentions of MYOB or QuickBooks, you won’t find one; not even so much as a passing mention to say it doesn’t integrate or support MYOB or QuickBooks.

The Xero/BOMA partnership

Who knows what the future might bring, but this is a platform play for Xero. And Xero has said plenty of times in the past that it would rather partner with third party providers, than develop their own services from scratch. If one starts to make real inroads, and it seems like a good long-term match for Xero, perhaps Xero will acquire it, but most likely it won’t.

And in the immediate short-term, BOMA ticks a couple of boxes for Xero: It provides a service that nearly every mid-size business needs, and it encourages bookkeepers and accountants to stay within the Xero ecosystem.

Xero is enticing to startups and app developers, because they offer a partnership, but don’t control how startups and their businesses operate. Currently, MYOB and QuickBooks don’t offer any such partnership, and that’s giving Xero the upper hand.  

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We are always exploring and analysing new and emerging technologies and introducing new content as part of our Updates and Additions policy. Any new content we add to the course in which you’re enrolled is yours’ for free if you’re a current EzyLearn student. Find out more about our suite of Xero online training courses.


 

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What is Xero HQ?

Now you can do more with Xero

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Xero is adding to its list of features with Xero HQ so it’s no longer just for more basic bookkeeping, but can be used for analysis as well.

XERO HAS LONG POSTIONED ITSELF as the cloud accounting software for small-to-medium businesses. It’s one of the most popular of our online training courses; appealing not only to bookkeepers, but small to medium sized businesses in all industries.

What makes Xero so popular is that it is inexpensive software that’s simple to use and has lots of time-saving features.

In doing so, it’s basically left MYOB to hold the mantle of the accounting software used by accountants and bookkeepers.

Now, however, Xero is looking to close that gap, with the launch of “Xero HQ”; a data and insights platform for bookkeepers and accountants who are part of the Xero Partner Program.

Xero HQ wants to help you grow

To shake MYOB’s stranglehold on the accountant and bookkeeper market, Xero had to do something to differentiate itself and tempt accountants and bookkeepers away from MYOB.

And they’re betting that Xero HQ will be the thing that does it. Xero HQ will provide bookkeepers and accountants with data and insights tools so they can provide “advisory level” services to clients.

Xero’s focus on “advisory level” services is important here, because it reveals a couple of things Xero plans to do with the industry. The first is to continue to automate many of the tasks a bookkeeper would traditionally carry out — the introduction of bank feeds eliminated data entry, for instance — and the second is to up-skill junior bookkeepers, while simultaneously embedding them within the Xero ecosystem — which will fit nicely with their recently launched Xero Lifelong Learning platform.

What exactly is the Xero HQ platform?

If you’re part of the Xero Partner Program already, then access to the Xero HQ platform is free. The Xero HQ platform is essentially a separate workflow that you access online, which provides a number of features not available though your regular Xero software.

These Xero HQ features include the following:

  • Activity feed: When your clients’ GST or activity statements are due, a notification will appear in the activity feed to alert you.
  • Client list: This is essentially like a contact book, where you can store all your clients’ information in one place; even those clients who aren’t on Xero.
  • Explorer: This feature pulls data Xero knows about your clients to help you provide them with better advice, or help you up-skill in areas you know are important to them. For example: it will show you which apps are popular across all your clients, so you can learn how to use them.

Xero HQ app marketplace

The Xero HQ platform also has an app marketplace, which has a focus on apps that will help bookkeepers and accountants with their business. That’s different to the existing Xero app marketplace, which is geared towards small businesses in any industry.

The Xero HQ app marketplace is split up into three tiers, depending on the size of your bookkeeping or accounting practice.

Which Xero HQ app marketplace will suit you?

If you’ve 100 or fewer clients, then you’d be best suited to the “activate” package of apps especially “curated” by the Xero HQ team.

If you have between 100 and 200 clients, then you’re best suited to the “energise” package of apps; practices with 300 or more clients suit the “supercharge” package.

It’s up to you which apps you switch on, but Xero has eliminated the leg work involved in finding apps to suit your business needs.

Some common third party apps, recommended across all three Xero HQ app marketplace tiers include:

  • Futrli: A forecasting and reporting app designed to help control cash flow and accelerate growth. Technically, you can pull all these data out of Xero by running a number of different reports and exporting them into Excel, but this app does all that work for you, and just delivers the insights. Partner pricing starts at $399 per month.
  • Receipt Bank: Extracts relevant information from paper receipts and invoices, imports the data into Xero, categorises it, and stores both the data and receipt safely in the cloud. Your clients just snap a picture of the receipt using the Receipt Bank app on their smartphone or upload from their PC.
  • BOMA: Is a marketing and advertising platform that lets you export data from Xero and use it for your marketing and advertising campaigns. With BOMA you can create and broadcast marketing and advertising messages across five channels (email, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter), including sponsored advertising posts on those platforms. It also provides you with all the imagery, templates and other design needs to create your campaigns. It’s basically a one- stop -shop for digital marketing and advertising. Partner pricing starts at $49 per month.  

Xero HQ is where accounting meets CRM

In essence, the Xero HQ platform is where accounting and customer relationship management meet. Xero provides bookkeepers and accountants with a platform that enables high-level analysis and data management through integrating third-party Xero HQ partner apps.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, Xero HQ serves dual purposes: it encourages bookkeepers to move away from providing basic bookkeeping services to deeper analysis and advisory roles; and they can use the Xero Lifelong Learning platform to up-skill and provide those services.

“Xero HQ serves dual purposes: it encourages bookkeepers to move away from providing basic bookkeeping services to deeper analysis and advisory roles…”


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Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses.