The folks at Xero have scored again with another awesome Xerocon.

This year’s conference, held in Austin (motto: still keeping it weird), featured, as usual, thought-provoking keynotes from leaders who made us think differently about the opportunity-rich future ahead … and I’ll get to some of those keynotes in the days to come.

First, though, there’s the good stuff: new research, products, and partnerships that continue to make Xero one of the most cutting-edge organizations in the profession. This isn’t a commercial. The stuff Xero is doing is important, and that’s why they’re one of the MACPA’s strategic partners. If you want to become future-ready, we think you need to know about it.

So here are the major announcements that surfaced during Xerocon Austin.

New Xero survey of accountants shows significant revenue opportunity in advisory services

Xero has released its U.S. annual national benchmarking study of accounting and bookkeeping practices, which found that investing in advisory services has become a large source of revenue for firms. Sixty-one percent of U.S. firms reported advisory revenues per client of $5,600 from advisory services, such as budgeting and forecasting, virtual CFO services, business app support, startup mentoring, capital raising, and business performance benchmarking.

Practices providing advisory services generated 69 percent more revenue per employee than firms offering only accounting and bookkeeping services. An overwhelming majority of all firms (76 percent) said they will be investing more time and resources to ramp up advisory services in the next one to two years, compared to 20 percent who “aren’t sure” and 4 percent who do not plan to invest. When asked to rank the most attractive areas for revenue growth, budgeting and forecasting assumed the number one spot. It was followed by virtual / outsourced CFO services, business performance benchmarking, startup mentoring, and business app support.

Xero launches Xero +C for self-employed clients, an automated way to create Schedule C reports

Xero has announced the launch of Xero +C for self-employed clients. Designed for the freelance workforce, Xero +C eliminates the need to manually sift through a year’s worth of expenses by providing an easy, automated way to create Schedule C reports with a customized chart of accounts and reporting template.

Xero, Microsoft deepen collaboration with MileIQ integration

Xero is expanding its integration with Microsoft by adding Microsoft-owned MileIQ to its growing ecosystem of app partners. 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.

Plooto, Xero announce partnership to provide transparent payment process for accounting firms

Financial technology company Plooto, a provider of electronic payment solutions, is announcing its continued partnership with Xero. The two organizations have strengthened their partnership with a software integration that gives accountants and bookkeepers the ability to send and collect payments electronically and sync all payment data into Xero HQ for automatic payment updates.

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