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Accounting Apps Podcast| formerly Cloud Stories | Accounting Technology

“Cloud Stories is the world’s coolest accounting podcast” A guy on the Internet told me this once, and I choose to believe him!

The Cloud Stories podcast explores how business solutions integrate with online accounting software (Xero, MYOB and or QBO), and can, in turn, automate processes and improve productivity and profitability. By sharing Cloud Stories from the community listeners gain insights into how small businesses and advisory services can thrive in a brave new world of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robots.

Over the years, Heather Smith has interviewed Accountants • Bookkeepers • Business Consultants • Cloud Advisors • Cloud Integrators • Developers • Small Business Owners • and Solution Providers • who have generously shared their own Cloud Story on the popular podcast.

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Nov 29, 2023

Xero co-founder Philip Fierlinger shares the story behind building one of the world's most successful accounting platforms, Xero He discusses his early inspiration from car dashboards and the gamification of bank reconciliations. Fierlinger also reveals how his latest startup Upstock is transforming the inefficient B2B food ordering process and levelling the playing field for small suppliers. 


Many of our listeners will know Philip Fierlinger as one of the 5 co-founders of Xero, but let me share with you a bit of background about Philip:

For over 5 years, Philip has been creating digital products and experiences that have set new standards of design, business and technology. 

In 1992 a university project landed Philip an internship at General Magic where he conceptualised the “Mediaphone” a digital walkman, letting you download music anywhere, anytime. To give you some context this was 9 years before Steve Jobs introduced the iPod and 15 years before Jobs introduced the iPhone.

Philip went on to create a digital agency, with his brother in 1994, doing work for Apple, the Beastie Boys, Comcast, Disney, Dreamworks, Macromedia, Palm, Sony Playstation, among many others.

After moving to NZ, Philip co-founded Xero in 2006, where he was Head of Design for nearly 10 years. Philip was instrumental in Xero becoming a disruptive platform, an iconic global brand, and a market leading public company worth billions of dollars. And I suspect as he had a focus on design, he had something to do with making Xero beautiful software.

Philip is currently Co-CEO of Upstock, a B2B wholesale platform that's transforming the way the foodservice industry operates.

Along the way Philip has been an investor and advisor to numerous startups and scaleups including Sharesies, Milanote, Deputy, Atomic, Karbon, Chartio (sold to Atlassian) – helping with product, marketing, growth, team & culture, and investor strategy.

In this episode, I talk to Philip Fierlinger Co-Ceo of about . . .

  • Career journey from car design to tech entrepreneurship. 

  • Xero’s history, developing an accounting system with a focus on bank feeds and beautiful design. 

  • Prioritising business operations over tax compliance with real-time cash flow visibility.

  • How a three year old inspired the innovative design of Xero

  • Launching a foodservice marketplace, digitising B2B transactions.

  • The business model and pricing for a B2B marketplace. 

  • Streamlining foodservice industry operations with UpStock platform. 

A platform for farmers and suppliers to connect and grow their businesses.

You have been listening to the Cloud Stories podcast. I encourage you to subscribe and leave a five star review, so other people can find this podcast. From here, I suggest you join the Xero Mastermind group on Facebook for advanced conversations around the ecosystem. I suggest you  subscribe to the informative Accounting Apps newsletter which gives you a great overview of the ecosystem space. It's available at https://HeatherSmithAU.COM.  I encourage you to connect with me on LinkedIn and subscribe to the Cloud Stories podcast. I’m Heather Smith and you've been listening to the Cloud Stories podcast.