An announcement from Xero today that I’ve known about for awhile but not been able to discuss publicly. From the media release;

Online small business accounting software provider Xero (XRO) will launch a personal money manager in early 2010. Xero Personal will allow consumers to have a complete view all aspects of their finances. They’ll be able to see ALL their bank accounts in one place; accurately track where their money is going; set savings goals and monitor the progress toward these – all in a way that’s not been seen before.

Early this year I wrote a post espousing my view that, for small businesses at least, there is a very blurred line between personal finance and business finance. CEO of Xero, Rod Drury concurs, saying that;

There’s an increasing blur between consumer and SME services and personal/consumer finance literacy is a hot topic on the global stage, recent evidence of this is US financial and business solution giant Intuit acquiring Californian based online personal finance service Mint.com for US$170 million.

When the Mint deal went down, I dived in early surmising that the deal, beyond customer acquisition would, over time, see a blending of the personal and business finance products to reflect the real world reality (disclosure – despite Intuit being a client, I have no visibility over the strategy for Mint).

Xero have posted a teaser video of the product (see below);

The video shows similar functionality to that which another New Zealand startup, Pocketsmith, provides. However I can see this morphing much more into a hybrid dashboard approach. Given the blurred lines between business and personal finance, it would make sense to create a dashboard that allows an individual visibility into both their business and personal expenditure at the same time, one that allows transactions through personal accounts to automatically be posted to the business ledgers, and one which allows tracking of both the business and personal goals and helps in balancing the two.

In New Zealand Xero is partnering with the Bank of New Zealand (who is a fairly significant shareholder in the company) to deliver the application for a reported “less than $5 a month”. What is really interesting is that the BNZ seems poised to market the product overseas, something of a rarity seeing a traditional bank branching out into new services in new markets. Update – It was rash of me to say that the BNZ will be marketing the personal edition overseas – apologies for any confusion caused…

Personal addition, as I suggest in my post from the start of the year, is a complete no-brainer, what remains to be seen is the strength of the bonds between Xero for business and Xero personal

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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