“It strengthens and protects the relationship between the business owner, accountant, and the bookkeeper. It’s not just about little errors that get made. There’s automated integrated apps that put things in there, that don’t necessarily always get it right. There’s insights that we surface to potentially have conversation about unusual activity. It gives advisors a great chance to save a bit of time without having to dig too deep and pull a business owner aside, and jump into that advisory role.

There’s massive value in that to business owners. I mean, that’s what they want out of their advisors. You pay for that sort of information. You want that. That’s something that I certainly didn’t have 10 years ago. Because you’re running a business. If a product can help facilitate building that relationship based on conversation starters, on data, then it’s a win/win for both.” Troy Brown

Today I’m speaking with Troy Brown Director and co-founder of XBert

In this episode, we talk about . . .

  • The impact the GFC had on his first business, and how that was a catalyst for creating XBert.
  • The importance of data integrity and visibility
  • The three-way collaboration and conversation between the accountant, bookkeeper and small business owner
  • How they are proactively listening to the audience and building in feature requests.
  • How a strong marketing background helps them design a beautiful, simple and intuitive solution.
  • Adapting the XBert checklists for their own customised uses.

In the interests of transparency, I’d like to let you know I do work with this team, though I believe I have still delivered a measured and interesting interview. You can read more about the way I work at EndorsementDisclosure.com

Heather Smith:                  Hello Troy. Thank you so much for joining us on the Cloud Stories Podcast. I’m really excited to have you here. Now, I’d like to start with an icebreaker question.

What’s your favourite thing to listen to while you’re working?

Troy Brown:                       Oh, geeze. I’m struggling to listen to things at the moment. I like to go back to the ’90s, the rock stuff. I’m a big Smashing Pumpkins fan, but these days trying to focus a lot of more ambient type music, to try and concentrate. And then when I’m in the groove, the old ’90s come back out.

Heather Smith:                  The old ’90s. Now I feel really old. Thank you for sharing that, and I actually really like … Rob Thomas has done covers of Smashing Pumpkins. That’s what I really like, some of their work that way. That’s how I guess I discovered them, through Rob Thomas doing covers of their music.

Troy, can I ask you before you co-founded XBert, which is what we’re going to talk about today, what were you doing before that? Maybe say in your early 20s. Whereabouts were you and what were you doing?

Troy Brown:                       I was in Sydney. Had a young family. I was working in marketing and advertising industry. Started my own business very young in my early 20s. It’s probably good to talk about pre-GFC days. Wasn’t an easy journey by any means, but it paid off for quite a while. I went through the era of online was really kicking off and the industries were slow to embrace and adapt new technology platforms. But as a consultant, I would help them innovate, and capitalise on what was available.

Troy Brown:                       Everything was rocking along in our business for a long time. Had a great team, an award winning team, and had put on a new business partner. As time went on, we had big brands, blue chip clients, government organisations. We were thriving, absolutely thriving, and we delivered our first million dollar profit, absolutely astounding. It was amazing. We just couldn’t believe we were the favourite of our time for a while there. It was fantastic.

Troy Brown:                       Then the good old GFC came along which was very hard times for everyone. That following year we literally had a million dollar loss. From highlight to lowlight. That was a real eye-opening time.

Heather Smith:                  Must have been quite a journey for you, going up and then going down like that.

What impact did the 2007 GFC have on your business and perhaps on you personally?

Troy Brown:                       Personally it was really hard. I guess the business landscape just changed overnight. Actually, it didn’t change quite overnight. It took probably about six months to a year to really see a change in the business landscape, but what we saw was the industry just slashed spending. It was just what used to be a huge budget was now a quarter of the budget to do things, do the same things on a project.

Troy Brown:                       At the time we kept operating and thinking the downturn would pass and we’d bounce back. I kept staff that really I couldn’t afford to, and I was always thinking that the next month, the industry would jump out of caution mode and clients would start spending again. I had faith that things would improve but instead of faith, I should have been looking at the numbers a lot harder than we used to, because things just really didn’t go back to normal.

Heather Smith:                  In respect to that, can you maybe share with us what was your relationship as a small business owner with your financial reports before the GFC? When things were going really well, what was your relationship like with your financial reports? Knowing that you’re a marketing man who’s built a business, an entrepreneurial business.

What was your relationship as a small business owner with your financial reports before the GFC? When things were going really well, what was your relationship like with your financial reports?

Troy Brown:                       When you start out, you’re very close to the numbers. You’re literally your own bookkeeper for many years. You’re really deep in it, so you feel like you’re across it, but when you start to get a bigger team, those reports, you don’t have time at all. You’re working on the business, or you’re working in the business and you should be working on the business, sort of thing. You part ways a little bit more with the actual numbers and you’re focusing on the bigger things, making sure the big doors are coming in, as opposed to keeping a closer eye on where the money’s going.

Troy Brown:                       We went through a time where I used to understand the reports from then not understanding the financial reports, and you’d have many back and forth questions with your internal finance team. Asking questions and, “This doesn’t seem right. Let’s fix that.” By the time you deal with that, you should have been making decisions, not trying to work out if you should be making decisions. We went through a had time, I discovered personal expense items from one of our staff members that shouldn’t have been claimed, and hidden away in the books. Should have been noticing those things years before they happened.

Troy Brown:                       I had really bad problems with one of our bookkeepers that we did have on, who’s just too busy. Just too busy to get all the numbers in there when you needed it to see it accurately on time and things like that. It came down towards after 15 years of operating a business, after some tough times, that a bookkeeper jumped in and went, “That cash report I’ve given you is really wrong. We’ve got some big duplicates in there. Your account management team have doubled up on invoices” and we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars that you’re making decisions on thinking the money’s going to come in, when you know what? It just isn’t.

Troy Brown:                       And by the time you go, “Why hasn’t these been paid 90 days after the invoice went out?” When you really try and dig deep, you go, “Okay, it’s a little duplicate in there. Not such a little one, but a big one.” That ended up me shutting the doors of the business, which was a real pain. From award winning to shutting the doors and letting go of staff I’d had for … Half a dozen of those staff, guys I had for 10 years, some of your best friends. It was a real, definitely the lowlight I guess of where I’ve been. But I guess it just points out that when the business landscape’s in crisis, like it is now, smaller stakes in income are much bigger deal because it becomes less money around.

Troy Brown:                       The impact of a $300 bookkeeping error is a very different matter for a highly profitable business versus a business that had no revenue for two months. In my case, the numbers in the errors were higher than $300, but you spend a lot of time going through something like that going, “What if I’d only done this?” Or, “What if this had happened? Why didn’t my advisors spend more time with us? Why wasn’t there technology to catch these issues faster?” I knew there needed to be a better way for business owners and bookkeepers and advisors to collaborate. Order the work, ensure accuracy, resolve risks and save money that ultimately saves businesses.

Troy Brown:                       And after all that went down, I thought, “Right, get back on the horse. What are we going to do next?” I ran into a lifelong friend, Aaron, who ended up being XBert’s co-founder with me, who’d had similar bad experiences through business as well. One being that the company got bought out and there was a lot of numbers changed hands in the background of the books, to make sure some of the directors weren’t paid out maybe what they should have, and to find out the truth of what happened, it’s sort of like, “Oh, big order would have had to take place on the books” and, “Where’d this money go? Why did it go there? Is it right? Is it wrong?”

Troy Brown:                       I guess that was another catalyst of all that pain that happens in day-to-day business that got us to the point where it’s time to build XBert. That’s where we’re up to.

Heather Smith:                  That’s one hell of an origin story for creating a software solution for the small business community, Troy.

Can you share with us, our listeners, a little bit about what XBert actually does?

Troy Brown:                       Okay, yeah. XBert’s quite new. We launched late last year, and everything’s ramping up big time right now. Really exciting time for us, a really fantastic team. What we do with XBert, we say it’s a smarter way to power through your bookkeeping. We’ve got XBert and we’ve got XBert Connect for advisors, and what we do is we use AI and machine learning to help businesses of all types, and advisors, stay on top of cash flow and other financial risks, and with hourly audit alerts, looking into Xero data at the moment.

Troy Brown:                       It avoids advisors and bookkeepers having to perform a lot of manual bookkeeping checks, and audits that obviously take them hours and hours each day, and month. We give them oversight of the client’s risk, business health, and ways to streamline their processes and practice workflow, which gives them more time to create meaningful value with their clients through advisory, and grow their own business, or learn new skills.

Troy Brown:                       It’s been a fantastic journey so far. We’re finalists of Emerging App of the Year for Xero, late last year, which was pretty cool for such a short time in the market, and every bit of feedback we get from our customers is fantastic, so it makes all the hard work and long hours very, very worthwhile, I can tell you. XBert’s really created from shared experiences. We’ve talked to business owners and bookkeepers and accountants, hundreds of them, and the more we did, I guess the more we recognise we’re on the right track with our solution.

Troy Brown:                       Every day it brings a new conversation point, learning, idea, with the aim that we’ll include that on our roadmap and it will shape XBert in some way. That’s one of the things we really make sure we spend so much time with all our users. Maybe I need to slow that down a bit because they go, “Oh, wow, wow, wow. Now if we could just do that I can lie down and have a sleep.” That’s the goal. Aaron and I know what it’s like to put absolutely everything into your business and how things are beyond your control, risks that you never thought of making decisions on, and inaccurate information can bring everything crashing down.

Troy Brown:                       It’s always been our goal to help businesses stay a step ahead and practice to save more time so they can find more time to provide advice and build a stronger relationship with their clients. I think right now, what we’re going through again, with this COVID pandemic, there’s no more important time to be just careful of what the landscape’s going to be like for the next 6-12 months or who knows how long.

Heather Smith:                  Yeah, absolutely. And for many people this might be their first big downturn that they’re experiencing, like what you actually experienced back in 2007. It’s quite revealing that both you and your partner, Aaron, both had your own bad experiences in business and you put that to one side and took the leap of faith to actually start another business which is quite a big undertaking.

Troy Brown:                       Yeah. Well, I mean, yeah, you’ve got to get back on the horse. I watched what Tim Hoopmann goes out and writes around the place, and goes out and talks about how hard it is for businesses, and the good works that he does. I guess it’s really important to focus well and start afresh when times like that happen. And again, like now, a lot of people are going through hard times with business and things like that. If we can help businesses any way, and that’s that whole idea of what XBert’s all about, then fantastic.

What is your role in the business and what does a typical day look like for you, Troy?

Troy Brown:                       Typical day? I feel like an octopus many days.

Heather Smith:                  I think only females can be octopuses.

Troy Brown:                       Oh look, it’s crazy. It’s a crazy day. We’ve constantly got a list of XBerts that we’re building, and there’d be 40 XBerts, all with multiple variations in them, and then we’ve literally got a list of 60 that we send out to all our users who vote on the top ones that we’ve sort of built now, and so you’ll spend a day working out algorithms and the best way to do that and looking at different ways people do things. That’s part of the day, then you’ve got … I spend a lot of my time on the user experience, and making sure we’ve got a really beautiful, intuitive, simple product to use, that actually saves people time. It’s really my passion is to make sure what we’re delivering is a time saver and it’s really simple to use.

Troy Brown:                       We’re making some pretty tricky changes and features at the moment, so there’s a lot of testing of the product and managing the team and then trying to do things like podcasts, and tell people about the product. Because we haven’t been good at that now, and now we’ve really found a passion in our users for our product, we really think we’ve found the solution that they’ve been aching for. So now it’s talking about it more. That’s a little snapshot of my day, but many things happen in that day, I can tell you.

Heather Smith:                  It is certainly if users go and have a look at the website, or test out the solution, it is actually visually stunning. It is intuitive, it does highlight surface the information very well, very much like a dashboard that is easy for people to use and have a conversation over. Alongside your blog, your blog has been visually stunning all the way along. So, obviously surfacing all of your marketing skills into the solution, your digital marketing skills into creating that dashboard.

Troy Brown:                       Yeah. Oh look, yeah, like I said, I’m never happy with it. It can always be better. But look, that’s one thing, but it’s about the feature set that we’re providing. I think data integrity’s the most important thing, I think for businesses to operate in this day and age. That’s why we audit hourly into Xero, we’re looking into other accounting software products at the moment, but Xero is all we’re plugging into at the moment.

Troy Brown:                       We’ve tried to provide one beautiful way and really simple way, and one of our users called it, “Can you just get rid of my whiteboards?” We’re, “Okay, how do we move a whiteboard onto this platform and show it in a new interesting way that you can have oversight of what’s got to be done, what’s got to be done in the team, really simply?” That’s been a new feature that we’ve released just recently.

Troy Brown:                       There’s insights, and it’s about collaboration. Really important thing, little simple methods to collaborate between your advisors and the business owners. Because I guess it’s a really interesting sort of thing that we’ve found out along the way, it’s sort of like 60 or 70% of our users, their clients manage the books to a certain point. They try and reconcile everything themselves, and a lot of the time they bugger it all up.

Troy Brown:                       It’s important that we build a feature that could easily, like a browser extension, that if you’re logged into Xero at a time, and you can see something that they’ve done wrong, you can actually create a task that throws it into XBert, you can assign it straight way to the business owner, so you can talk about that and say, “If you’re going to manage our books and they don’t do it this way,” or vice versa. That’s a really handy feature I guess, and that comes back to that whole collaboration piece.

Heather Smith:                  That’s really interesting that you say that 70% of users are DIYing or doing their own books. That was actually something that I have always pushed to encourage the business owners to embrace having ownership and responsibility of their books, whether they abdicate, whether they outsource the actual technical entry or flow of work happening in them, but to really be close to their books. And it is interesting, because some people in the community don’t want the business owners to actually even touch their own books.

Heather Smith:                  They just want to produce reports from them, which I’ve never been a fan of, so that is actually quite interesting. And it gives I guess, like I always consider it to be a three way conversation between the accountant, the bookkeeper, and the small business owner, and it gives them the opportunity to actually have that conversation. If an alert happens, “Hey, this has happened. Touch base, circle back, go round. Who’s done it? Why have you done it? What was the reason? And where should it be?”

Troy Brown:                       Yeah. I guess that you just touched on our framework just there, which is it is, it strengthens and protects the relationship between the business owner, accountant, and the bookkeeper. It’s not just about little errors that get made. There’s automated apps that put things in there, that don’t necessarily always get it right, and there’s insights that we try and produce, to have conversation. Unusual activity, it’s sort of like it gives advisors a great chance to save a bit of time without having to dig too deep and pull a business owner aside, and jump into that advisory role without having to spend all those hours, and sort of say pull it aside.

Troy Brown:                       I mean, there’s massive value in that to business owners. I mean, that’s what they want out of their advisors. You pay for that sort of information. You want that. That’s something that I certainly didn’t have 10 years ago. Because you’re running a business. I mean, if a product can help facilitate building that relationship based on conversation starters, on data, then it’s a win/win for both.

Heather Smith:                  Yeah, absolutely. It’s Kumbaya around the campfire, an opportunity to continually have a conversation and as needed, that is actually useful. It’s been a busy few months for accountants and bookkeepers dealing with tax stimulus requirements.

Have you seen a change in the uptake of XBert during this time?

Troy Brown:                       We have. We haven’t seen a lot, I guess. Advisors have been very busy, the ones we’ve talked to. JobKeeper’s (part of the Australian tax stimulus) kept people busy, busy, busy at the moment. And actually I was watching a … Could have been a little one of the Xero mastermind little things the other day, I noticed one of the users that use our thing jumped in and say, “Oh, it’s saved us so much time to do JobKeeper XBert.” That’s been a good thing.

Troy Brown:                       Things are definitely ramping up now. I think some of the JobKeeper things are slowing down a little bit somewhat. But uptake’s definitely ramping up, so that’s exactly what we were hoping to see right now. It’s great for the time.

Heather Smith:                  Yeah, excellent. For people listening in, I’ll throw in my own two cents worth. I do think that if you are taking on a new client, XBert is a really good tool to actually jump in and make a really quick assessment of the integrity of their books, so that you are potentially in a better understanding, opposition, to price the work that you will actually be doing with them.

Heather Smith:                  Because someone who can produce an efficient set of books is potentially going to be easier to deal with, and will require less work ongoing than someone who’s not got an easy set of books to work with. You probably would agree with that. It’s a good tool right at that beginning point, but the also logical position is to have it as an ongoing solution across everything, so you’ve just got this continual collaborative conversations happening, which we have talked about.

Troy Brown:                       Yeah, certainly people are using the product for a new client. We have a little XBert review, it’s a great way to see how many transactions are running through the file and how many risks that we’ve found has XBerts in the business. That’s a good way to be able to better guesstimate at least, what it’s going to cost to take on that work. Definitely been used for that. We’re working with a top tier accounting firm at the moment with a risk report based around that XBert review that provides a lot more insight, as well as provides a risk, so they’re looking to push that out to all their clients on a regular basis. That’s something that will be released very shortly in the product and available for everyone.

Heather Smith:                  That’s very exciting. Look, yeah, at the initial pricing point, a lot of accountants and bookkeepers struggle over how they’re going to price their work. It puts you in a position of having more information to make an informed decision, and I always want you to be in a position to be able to make an informed decision over what you’re actually doing. Yeah, and that’s interesting. Yes, another feature coming out from you.

How do you build in feature requires into your solution? And what are the common pain points you’re hearing from the community?

Troy Brown:                       I think obviously the big GST issues were a big pain point that we solved straight off the bat, and some say we should have just launched that a year ago. But pain points right now, it’s really, I think it’s time. Time is the killer. Especially with JobKeeper and things like that, there’s a lot of outsourcing going on in the industry, at the moment. It even makes more sense now that we’ve been forced into remote working, and people want to know the quality of that outsourcing. That’s been a nice one to fulfil that need of seeing the accuracy from what’s coming from outsourcing, and the visibility of what has to be done on a day-to-day basis.

Troy Brown:                       That’s made it a lot easier for those people to adopt, and I guess that’s … We use that when we sell these days. It’s really just having those conversations with those people and finding out that pain point. Now we’ve solved it and people can get on and have a play with the product. They can see the true value of it, so that’s been pretty cool.

Am I right in saying currently XBert works only with Xero? And the Australian version of Xero. Is that correct? And what is your outlook on that?

Troy Brown:                       That’s correct. We are across all the tax and the compliance for Australian market. Obviously XBert works anywhere, because it’s not just about the tax compliance. The whole system’s got a lot of alerts and features that just wrong across generic accounting practices, and bookkeeping practices. XBert has an automation workflow, process management sort of system within it, so you can manage your whole practice regardless of having been plugged into Xero or not, or been in Australian tax region.

Troy Brown:                       We’re currently looking at overseas markets, and we’ve got testers in the UK that use the product and are providing into our roadmap for features and things. We’ve got someone in Canada, a couple of people in the US, a few other, South Africa. It’s great and we’re nurturing those guys for our roadmap and all the types of XBerts that we’re building, we’re currently doing there. Time wise, hopefully towards the end of the year we’ll be pushing very hard for the overseas, the XBert alerts. But like I said, the sort of product works anyway, really.

What makes your solution different to your closest competition?

Troy Brown:                       Good topic at the moment. It’s a very interesting space, isn’t it? Competition just sort of got bought out, which is really, really I think shown the true value of the need for these products in the industry and good on those guys. I guess our products, I mean obviously we’re Australian based, so we sort of cover that off well. We’re looking at different areas of XBerts, our collaboration tools are very different with the business owner. I mean, that was the initial focus of our product, is to build better collaboration tools with business owners.

Troy Brown:                       The business owner themselves is a big part of our product. The roadmap ahead and things that we’ve just sort of released are very AI process orientated, and there’ll be some big changes coming in that space as well. It’s not just about the data, it’s more about your internal behaviours and things that we learn about, your behaviour using the system and alerts will be popping up based on that sort of thing. Some very different avenues that we’re going down there, and look, we’ve also, we’re going down to, I alluded to before, about these sort of risk reports or we’re bringing in some big business intelligence reporting coming in as well, that’ll be tied in through our risk alert system. Not sure what everyone else is working on out there at the moment.

Troy Brown:                       That’s where we’re sort of headed, and it’s exciting time for the data integrity space and the automation space. The way we see it, there’s got to be a smarter way to power through your bookkeeping, and that’s our mantra, is to have a solution that enables that.

 You’ve recently written a post for the Xero blog, Why Accurate Data and Collaboration Between Business Owners and Advisors is Essential for Business Survival. Can you share with our listeners the points you addressed in this blog?

Troy Brown:                       It was sort of what we covered a few things off earlier in I guess my background. It was nice to be invited by Xero, getting a lot of nice comments from those guys. But covered off in the blog, yeah, it’s really just about the collaboration piece I guess, and now being the time more than ever to have the best channel of communication to talk to your business owners. It’s about small things can turn into almighty problems, or small things can turn into problems down the road that you didn’t realise the small problem three months ago is going to affect you now.

Troy Brown:                       We just talked about the collaboration piece, I guess, and the advisors in the role, and trying to step up from generalised bookkeeping into that advisor role and XBerts can help with that. The data’s more accurate, you feel confident you can talk about that with your businesses, with the confidence. Look, just a piece to really stay atop of the changes that are coming, to be prepared for changes in the industry. If it’s anything like the GFC that we went through, is that businesses, they use this time to cull stuff, to stop spending, to reduce the costs on projects, to barter down fees from external businesses that provided supplies and goods. There’s less money around, so it’s really important to be atop of that that is what is happening right now, and maybe for years to come, and that now more than ever you need to know those numbers are accurate and be spending as much time, quality time, with your advisors as you can.

Heather Smith:                  Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think we actually have many … Not that many, huge number of small business owners listening into the show. Mainly it will be accountants and bookkeepers. But it does astonish me, like over the last decade, the number of companies that I came across that actually had all of their financial reports processed and I could sit at them and find error after error after error.

Heather Smith:                  And that professionals were pushing it through, but not properly reconciling the detail of the reports, because in some instances, they would say, “Well, that’s not their area. They don’t worry about things being properly reconciled.” And then you have this situation, you’re lacking data integrity, you’re lacking timeliness of data, and my biggest request of the Xero solution is the ability to reconcile all of their accounts including their clearing accounts. That’s my bugbear.

Troy, what technology tools do you actually like to use? Either at work or professionally.

Troy Brown:                       Oh, tools? I’m a bit of a creative, so I use a lot of creative products. I’m born and bred Adobe Creative Suite fan. Technology, we use Slack, we use our own product to manage … We use XBert to actually manage non-accounting things with our team. We set up a process management within our own office, so it doesn’t have to be tied in with accounting at all. You can use the whole task tools to manage anything.

Heather Smith:                  Oh okay. Explain that a bit further.

Troy Brown:                       We’ve brought in software products, so you run little sprints to get features out and things like that, and there’s testing that happens in that. You might set up some processes. XBert comes with like, there’s about 16 accounting and bookkeeping processes by default that we’ve learned from all the advisors that we’ve been working with. But you can update those to however you want.

Troy Brown:                       We’ve set up one business within XBert that manages our releases for our feature requests and things like that. Set up a bunch of processes and you’re able to create tasks, templates against a process, and you have those things reoccur during your sprint, and then just those common things, those manual processes that you’ve got to do. They fall in on your board, when they’re due, and you tick them off, and you can use each little ticket to talk to each of your team on nice and simply.

Troy Brown:                       When they’re complete, they fall off your little whiteboard, our process status board, as we call it, to know that you’re ahead of time and you’re getting things done quite easily.

Heather Smith:                  I love that. Thank you for sharing that with us. It gives people the other opportunity to see how to extend and fully utilise the solution beyond its core requirements or core offerings.

Troy, what’s next for you?

Troy Brown:                       What’s next? Some sleep would be good. Spend some time with the kids would be good. They’re all growing up.

Heather Smith:                  You sound like the type of guy who gets up three hours before he goes to bed.

Troy Brown:                       Yeah, pretty much. That’s pretty much, yeah, especially the last week or two. Last week or two, yeah. We’re trying to release as quickly as possible, I guess, being agile and nimble, to what people are asking for. I mean, that’s the main focus for us right now. You can be 99% there, 99% there, and if you can find that extra 1% from a feature request that someone gives you that solves a lot of pain for a lot of people, I mean, it’s all hands on deck to do that. That’s where we’re headed. We’re next, again, looking further at international expansion and things like that, and just yeah, I guess we hope to slow down a little bit. Slow down a little bit, well I hope to anyway.

Troy Brown:                       XBert always keeps busy and we’ve got a big long list of things that are constantly getting built every weeks. New XBerts, and just fall into the framework. But yeah, a holiday would be good if they let me up in Queensland.

Heather Smith:                  You live in a holiday zone. You can’t say that. Everyone wants to come … For our listeners, I think you live at Coffs Harbour don’t you?

Troy Brown:                       Yeah, we got out of the rat race a while ago.

Heather Smith:                  You can’t want to escape from Coffs Harbour. It’s beautiful there.

Troy Brown:                       Yeah. Well, I had to get out of Sydney when I went broke, so I had to go and live somewhere I can afford. Nah. Aaron and I thought if we were going to go and build a big product like XBert, you want to be able to get out of the rat race and being able to focus, and have some quality focus time away from sitting in traffic. I mean, we’ve definitely found that. It’s definitely a good place to live and build a global product, which is what we’re trying to do.

How big is your team and where are they based?

Troy Brown:                       They’re scattered around Coffs Harbour, where we are. We try and do everything in house. We don’t outsource everything. We’ve got a fantastic team that have worked around the world. Very smart bunch of cookies, and a couple of new guys, up and coming very smart people. We’re all based out of Coffs, so we work in an office out of Coffs Harbour. All very flexible team. COVID’s been great to be able to work at home. Everyone’s like, “Oh, get more done at home.” Whatever works for the team at the moment. There’s about 10 of us at the moment. We’re looking to double the team in the next few months, because things are so crazy, for us to keep up with what’s going on. We definitely need to do that. Anyone looking to be part of a funky startup like XBert, give me a ring.

Heather Smith:                  And move to Coffs Harbour.

Troy Brown:                       Definitely, yeah. Why not? You know you want to.

Heather Smith:                  You’re the one who wants to leave and go on holiday.

Troy, is there anything else you’d like to share with our listeners? And how can they get in touch with you?

Troy Brown:                       Look, you can just grab me at my email address, or troy.brown@xbert.io, or contact me via LinkedIn, or Twitter. Look, we’re just encouraging people to get onboard and try the product at the moment. Get on there, and tell us what you don’t like. That’s what I want to hear, too. That’s definitely what we need. I mean, we don’t get much of that because we’ve spent so much time getting it right with a big user base test group. But getting the next right, like you’ll save a lot of time with your manual checks. It’s a time saver, especially now.

Troy Brown:                       Great time to re-look at your app stack towards the end of the year. Great time to just throw an audit over your books to tidy up that year end, and like we like to say, make your month end glorious is sort of what we’re saying at the moment. Because there’s a lot of pain at month end, and we’re trying to make it glorious for you, so look, get on there and just try the product out. I’d love to get some feedback.

Heather Smith:                  Excellent. Thank you so much for a glorious end to the interview, Troy. I really enjoyed talking with you and thank you for sharing so many insights with our listeners.

Troy Brown:                       Thanks Heather. I really appreciate the opportunity and congratulations on all the work you do, too, for the accounting ecosystem. I love reading and listening to what you’ve been putting out there, so good on you.

Heather Smith:                  Awesome. Thank you.