Interview With Russ Fujioka, Xero US President

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Russ Fujioka InterviewThis interview was conducted back in 2015, but many of the insights hold true to this day, and give an insightful perspective on the growth of accounting software provider Xero.

Russ Fujioka has quite the resume making a career out of building companies and their brands. Xero is a global company with hundreds of employees, yet it caters to small to mid size businesses. Learn more about his advice and the future of accounting for small businesses as one of our top picks for best accounting software.

What has been the most memorable accomplishment and why?

Wow lots of them. Helping drive Adobe from $40M to a billion. Starting my own company and helping heaps of companies build their brands and ultimately being acquired by one of the largest global agencies.  To driving various global marketing roles in Dell and taking them private.

How do you maintain that small business feel of being flat and transparent as Xero grows and expands?

Mission.  Always easy to feel nimble and enthused when everyone wakes up knowing the “Why” we do what we do.  Open and clear communication is crucial to ensuring that the troops are all marching to the same drum. Our entire executive team supports transparency and openness.

With cloud-based technology comes security concerns, How is Xero making customers feel their privacy is secure?

Security is not only important, it is core to the business.  Not only must you pay attention to the things you can control, you must double down on educating your ecosystem of customers and partners on the best practices to avoid breaches.

Where do you see the accounting software going in the future?

Drawing on aggregated data to spot trends and combining that information with macro-economic numbers will give small businesses a clearer picture of where they stand and how they’re performing. In aggregate, Xero is heading towards a position where it can determine how liquid small businesses are, if it’s taking longer for small businesses to be paid, or if less invoices are being sent out. The data is anonymised but there’s so much opportunity to understand the health of the small business market globally.

The future?  It won’t be just the numbers, it will be the insights to them and who to use them to help businesses navigate their markets.

Who is your business mentor and what have you learned from them?

I have had the distinct opportunity to work with many of the icons of technology.  They have all taught me a lot.  Michael Dell showed me a large company can keep focused on the original mission and still feel innovative.  But, I credit much of what I learned from the two founders of Adobe.  John Warnock and Chuck Geschke, together they embodied innovation, passion, people and culture.  And never said any of those words.

When you face roadblocks or feel discouraged, what drives/motivates you?

The ability to look back and see what effect you have in the careers and lives of the people you have worked with, been friends with had interactions with.  Makes me smile to see that I have had some role in their lives.

What are 3 must have gadgets you couldn’t live without?

Mobile phone, mobile phone and yes mobile phone.

When not working, what do you like to do for fun?

Family and friends.  That can mean revving up for some off road adventures or power watching a series on Netflix.

What advice do you have for others looking to start their own business?

Having a solid financial advisor overwhelmingly increases the chance that a new business will succeed, so I highly recommend that all entrepreneurs find a trusted advisor or refer to Xero’s list of certified accountants in your area.

Russ Fujioka Video From Xerocon

Watch this short interview with Russ as he shares more about how Xero is fundamentally focused on cloud-based accounting to help small businesses be successful.

Big thanks again to Russ for taking the time to chat with We Rock Your Web, it was an honor! Read our full Xero review to learn more about this fascinating company, and see how they stack up vs the competition in our accounting software comparison.

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