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Xero [NZX: XRO], the cloud-based accounting software, says it has more than 147,000 paying customers in Australia and plans a free trial offer of its service through Australia's largest telecommunications provider, Telstra.
The Wellington-based company had 109,000 Australian customers at March 31, as well as 5,328 current partners, according to chief executive Rod Drury's annual general meeting presentation to shareholders in July. The company is pushing to take market share of small business accounting in New Zealand and across the Tasman, where it has had the advantage of early adoption.
To sign up further Australian customers Xero will offer a free six-month trial of its online accounting software through its partner, Telstra. The company has also secured a partnership with CGU, a subsidiary of Australia's largest general insurer, IAG, to help calculate insurance premiums for workers' compensation.
Xero's ultimate goal is a million global customers, and it is targeting growth in the US where it sees the potential to take market share of an estimate 29 million small to medium sized business owners. According to Drury's July presentation Xero had 18,000 customers in North America at March 31.
Globally tech stocks have pared gains made early in the year as investors questioned high valuations relative to earnings. Xero's own shares recently traded down 0.5 percent to $23.40 and have fallen some 48 percent from their March record of $44.99 as analysts weigh the company's stock price against its ambitious US plans and the ability to take market share from incumbent Intuit.
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