This article was originally published on the WorldFirst Australia blog and has been modified slightly to reflect the local market.

This era we’re living through has become known as the fourth industrial revolution for a very good reason.

The advent of new tech that’s accessible to all, bold ideas that are focused on solving real problems and a low barrier to entry have seen a whole host of tech-based brands change the way we do things forever – and in the process have made the old way of tackling things seem rather obsolete.

Here are four brands who’ve ripped up the rulebook and helped open up a whole new world for small and medium-sized enterprises across the globe.

And aren’t we glad they did!

Xero takes the hard yards out of accountingXero: Taking the hard yards out of accounting

Remember those days of printing out online receipts and saving till copies, putting them in a box – or an envelope – and getting them out every three months to prepare your BAS (business activity statement)… only to discover some of the receipts were missing, and the majority of the ones that were there had faded away to nothing? And then the nights of accounting that followed?

Xero saw that problem and did something about it, creating a user-friendly platform that simplifies accounting. By uploading and categorising receipts and expenses on the go, recording income and issuing invoices from the same platform, small business owners now find their accounts are done on the run, meaning no more last-minute panics as ATO deadlines loom. And no more late nights spent trying to balance ledgers.

“Xero connects and collects the information small businesses need — from their financial institution or vendor — to form deep insights that help them make decisions and set them up for growth,” says Joseph Lyons, Managing Director Australia and Asia, Xero. “Through Xero, small businesses and their advisors can access accounting, compliance and business management solutions, as well as more than 1000 connected apps to customise their Xero experience.

“Our cloud-based platform continues to evolve because of the Xero community and the feedback we get on a daily basis. These valuable insights are the foundation of our future innovation. They help us build simple, flexible and innovative products that save our customers time.”

“These valuable insights are the foundation of our future innovation. They help us build simple, flexible and innovative products that save our customers time.”

Salesforce: Bringing brands more customer intel than ever before

Want to know how your customers got to your website? The steps they took, the ads they interacted with, the products they browsed but never bought? And what about getting an instant lowdown on what people are saying about your business online?

Before Salesforce, that was a utopian pipe dream. Today, it’s a norm for many high-performing businesses. Salesforce, and its raft of bolt-on products, has changed the way businesses not only market themselves, but essentially run their businesses.

From ‘forgotten cart’ emails to dashboards full of meaningful customer insights, Salesforce has completed the journey from pricey CRM’ to ‘essential business software’ – and has done so in style.

Marketing managers all over the world are thankful for them too. In fact, one of the businesses benefitting from Salesforce’s marketing tools happens to be next on the list.

WorldFirst:WorldFirst helps you do business without a bank Doing business without a bank

Business today is global. With a capital G. Location and time zones are irrelevant, as long as you’ve got the right products, the right service, and you’re a joy to deal with.

But while business is global, banks are still operating in the confines of their own backyard. Want to take payment from overseas customers? Someone’s going to end up paying transaction fees – you’ll get an ordinary rate of exchange and you’ll be waiting a few days for your money to turn up.

Back in 2004, WorldFirst saw the problem, and decided to do something about it, making international business payments easy for importers, exporters and eCommerce businesses. Today, WorldFirst enables you to access local currency accounts for your business in up to 10 currencies, meaning businesses can collect funds from marketplaces and payment gateways all over the world. A faster, cheaper and easier way to manage global sales revenues.

Making international payments? Not a problem – with WorldFirst, international payments are up to eight times cheaper than banks, while exchange rates are market-leading with a margin capped at 0.60 per cent. Want to pay overseas suppliers without incurring steep transaction costs? Easy.

“At WorldFirst, we help small and medium enterprises of all sizes do global business like a local. From offering locally based currency accounts to businesses selling overseas, to helping local small and medium enterprises achieve bank-beating exchange rates on their international payments, we’re focused on finding solutions that solve our customers’ pain points,” says John O’Loghlen, Country Manager, WorldFirst Australia.

WorldFirst is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and, as a supremely useful added bonus, integrates with Xero – meaning transactions are captured seamlessly. WorldFirst also uses the tools provided by the next digital disruptor on our list…WorldFirst helps small and medium enterprises do global business like a local.

“…we’re focused on finding solutions that solve our customers’ pain points.”

Canva: Making design accessible to all

Great designers are still worth their weight in gold, but for many small businesses a real-life designer who doesn’t use MS Art is out of reach.

Enter Canva, stage left. This Aussie startup makes design accessible to everyone. From a new logo to party invites, business presentations to flyers, T-shirts to postcards – if you want a professional design for almost any reason, there’s a Canva template to edit and adapt to your need.

“Since the very beginning, we’ve focused on solving genuine problems that deliver value to millions of people around the world,” says Zach Kitschke, Chief Marketing Officer, Canva.

“We started by looking at how we could make social media managers who were needing to create more and more content at speed, so when we launched Canva, we created a whole bunch of templates to help them quickly and easily create content for a variety of channels and saw incredible growth through word of mouth as a result.

“Today, we’re applying this same problem-solving philosophy at a much larger scale – looking at how we can empower teams, workplaces and businesses around the world. Whether it’s creating engaging presentations while working remotely, turning brick and mortar businesses into online stores, or building a brand from scratch – Canva makes it incredibly simple and enjoyable for anyone to get started.”

For consumers there’s a free version, while for businesses there are paid options with more functionalities. The success lies in how Canva has created a universal language for design that millions of individuals and businesses find easy to use every day.

“Right from day one, we’ve been building the product with the belief that users shouldn’t need to understand complex software,” Kitschke adds. “Instead, the software should intuitively understand and guide the user. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the emotional journey behind using Canva for the first time. Today, millions of people come to Canva looking to create a presentation, social media post, flyer, or business card and return time and time again to continue bringing their ideas to life.”

Quite simply, Canva has brought pro design to the mass market – and there’s simply no excuse for a poorly designed anything, ever again.Canva makes design accessible to all

“…we’re applying this same problem-solving philosophy at a much larger scale – looking at how we can empower teams, workplaces and businesses around the world.”

Doing international business without a bank? It’s as easy as doing design without a designer. Check out how WorldFirst can get you better rates – and provide better service – than a traditional bank, at

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