by Estelle Sherlock |
Last week Paula, Phil and I were fortunate enough to attend the accountancy conference of the year – Xerocon, it’s no ordinary business conference. In fact it has been billed as "Coachella for accountants", a phrase coined during Xerocon South in Melbourne, I believe, by Rebecca Stevenson @TheSpinOff.
During a presentation on Cognitive Applications & AI at a recent Tech conference, Paula leaned over to show me a handwritten note on her iPad. This is what it said: “Xerocon will be so much more than this!”. As you can imagine – my expectation of Xerocon was high, I’d not been before and to be perfectly honest, I’d not even really heard of Xero until 5 months ago, when I left the rather insular world of financial services behind to begin working at LimeCloud.
During the lead up to Xerocon, social media was hit by an absolute frenzy of tweets, posts and updates by very excited attendees. When the opening welcome event included a ‘random’ selection of people from the audience banging on drums (in a very musical and cohesive way…) Scott Kennedy of EQ tweeted a question: “Is this an accounting conference or a music festival....????”. Apparently if Carlsberg did accountancy conferences… you get my drift.
So, I’m sure you get the idea and I’ve not even mentioned that party, Xerocon is a fun place to hang out. In fact, it’s a bit like Xero, really – cool, cutting edge and satisfying. Although there was a lot of fun to be had, of course it wasn’t all about the magic tricks, the music and the free cocktails, we were there to learn, to network, to engage and to be inspired.
Part of the learning involved seeing the whizzy updates and extras new within Xero, this did not disappoint and the audience were quick to show their appreciation by applauding and even the odd wolf whistle was heard in the auditorium.
For a full round up of the new whistles and bells coming, check out Paula’s recap of Xerocon on the main Blog page.
Something that has struck me about Xero and was reinforced by attending Xerocon, is that it never stands still. It is never ‘done’ and never will be. In an ever-changing world, Xero is constantly adapting, evolving and growing. The bit I love most, though, is the way Xero opens its doors, it genuinely welcomes suggestions and criticisms and genuinely engages with its users. This is helped Xero become the success story it is today, but has also produced a platform that people want to not only subscribe too, but they also want to become part of the amazing community that is the Xero family.
This time last year Xero advertised itself as having a marketplace of over 500 add-ons. Now, it has an ecosystem of over 600 connected apps, some of these were exhibiting at Xerocon and here are a few that stood out for me:
Boma: This fab app allows even the least creative amongst us to produce relevant, up-to-date and personalised content that can be distributed across all digital and social platforms. Creating marketing campaigns and emails is made simple and effective and importantly, analytics can be fully tracked for future marketing decision making.
Tradify: Created for ‘tradies’ (my kiwi roots are showing!) of all kinds, this app pulls together time/job tracking, employee scheduling and quotes/invoicing, streamlining the business and allowing the bulk of the admin to be done on site straightaway. It has the added bonus of kit set creation which makes the quote and invoice process simpler for all those items regularly bought together.
Curve: A relative newbie to the ecosystem, Curve is a MasterCard which brings together all your cards in one place, personal and business and makes it simple to use the correct connected card each time. It even has a reward points system and can be used exactly as a standard MasterCard, including for contactless payments.
So, a magician compered, the food was nutritious and plentiful and the alcohol flowed freely. There were pyrotechnics and magic tricks too, but I was particularly amused (and impressed) by the kiwi influence. I’m not sure you’d often find so many antipodean accents in once space outside of Australasia, but what great things come out of a couple of small islands on the other side of the world. New Zealand may be small, but it is mighty and has earned itself accolades in every area including sport, music and business. I am proud to call myself a kiwi, and as such I have to apologise to all at Xerocon, that I greedily ate all the Hokey Pokey ice cream, because I actually felt a bit homesick!
The curtain comes down
Like all good things, Xerocon had to come to an end. My one regret is that I didn’t make a big enough list beforehand of people I wanted to connect with and apps I wanted to check out, because it was all over so quickly, with some of that unrealised.
While the events team were packing up all the neon signs and pulling the exhibits apart, Xero CEO Gary Turner tweeted “Closing the doors on another #Xerocon in London feels a bit like putting the Xmas tree away for another year.” And you know that feeling you get when the hype and the expectation of an event is all over, well, I have discovered another shade of Xero blue, it’s called ‘The Post-Xerocon Blues’. Bring on Xerocon London 2018, we will be snapping up early-bird tickets as soon as they become available.
For more information and to see some cool Xerocon videos, check out this link here for Xero’s own series of articles reviewing Xerocon and even if you are not an accountant or bookkeeper, there really is something to takeaway for everyone.