2 Aug 2013

Xero considers how to protect data from US surveillance

7:35 pm on 2 August 2013

Cloud based accountancy software firm Xero says it has considered how to protect its clients' data from infiltration by the United States government.

Xero held its annual general meeting in Wellington on Thursday, at which it outlined plans for expansion into the US market.

In the United States, the Obama administration declassified documents describing how data from its phone-snooping programme would be stored and accessed.

Xero chief executive Rod Drury says the company would try to alert its customers to a request for information from any authority.

"Our view is that we are custodians of our clients' data so if any authority asked us for information we would argue hard that we had the right to notify our customer and they can use normal legal process, as they do today, if the files were on their desktop."

Mr Drury says Xero has been working with the Privacy Commissioner and working on a cloud code of conduct with the industry to cover these types of issues.

Xero has yet to make a profit, for which Mr Drury is unapologetic. He says that has allowed the company to focus on expanding into overseas markets like the US.

Launch into US market delayed

Xero says its investment in its local and overseas markets is now paying for itself, with the exception of the US.

Earlier this year Xero had said it planned launch fully into the US market in July to coincide with the first round of the Americas Cup.

But Mr Drury says the official launch to the US accounting community will be in September. He says the situation in Australia is going very well and the UK is contributing as much new revenue as the New Zealand market.

The tech share has been the stock market's darling this year and its market value stands at just over $2 billion.

But the company lost $14.4 million in the 12 months to the end of March.

Mr Drury says the company doesn't think of it as a loss and it has the capital to invest.