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Accountex – an amazing community of add-on software

We’ve loved having our add-on software partners here at Accountex. There’s been a real family vibe at the Xero Village over the two days of the show. And that feeling of community is central to how Xero works as a platform for businesses and accounting practices.

As Gary Turner, our MD, highlighted in his keynote speech yesterday, the days of desktop-based software are numbered. Cloud is where small businesses are working, and that means that accounting practices need to be in the cloud too. And when you have a platform like Xero, our open API gives developers complete access to create the business tools that companies are crying out for.

As Nathan Keeley from Carpenter Box LLP explains, having the right add-ons – Receipt Bank in this case – alongside Xero can really turn around your processes.

What did our add-on software partners think of Accountex?

We’re proud of the fact that there are now over 350 add-ons that work with Xero. And we’re so pleased that 14 of our partners came along to Accountex to meet existing accountancy partners, small business owners and other developers.

The community feeling between the different add-on pods has really been fantastic. So we went around the Xero Village earlier today to see how some of them had found Accountex.

Add-on software partners at Accountex

Xero Team at Accountex 2014


CrunchBoards were treating Accountex as their official launch and have had an incredibly busy time at the Xero Village, as Hannah McIntyre explains:

“Wow! We can’t believe the reaction we’ve had to the launch of CrunchBoards. Xero Village has been non-stop and the reaction to real-time collaborative add-ons overwhelming. If CrunchBoards is the frosting on Xero’s cake at Accountex we’ve had our cake and eaten it. Thank you Xero.”

Hannah McIntyre of add-on software partner Crunchboards

Hannah McIntyre from Crunchboards at their pod

The flow of people through the site has been phenomenal and is certainly not something we could have predicted. As Jake Shelley from Deputy said to me, they’ve been massively busy on all the add-on pods:

“It’s been like a Xerocon on steroids. It’s been a constant flow of people and that’s been great. It’s also been great to talk to people who aren’t in the cloud yet. It’s good to see people who’re willing to make that change and see what it means to them.”

Charlotte Hall from PaySuite also underlined how many people they’ve seen coming to their pod:

“We’ve been extremely busy. It’s been fantastic – we’ve been able to show PaySuite alongside all the other add-ons. We’re working with Deputy as well, so it’s been great to highlight that partnership. People know the Xero name now so it’s been a great selling point for us.”

Payment Express haven’t even had time to eat, they’ve been doing so many demos on their pod, as Catherine Mann explained to me:

“We’ve been doing demos every seven minutes! We didn’t even have lunch yesterday, it’s been so busy.”

People love the Partner Passport

Simon Anderson from Payment Express has a theory as to why the pods have been so busy. Giving delegates our Partner Passport and asking them to get a stamp in their passport from each add-on has really had an impact on the numbers of visits to each pod:

“The Partner Passport was a great idea – people have been really engaged with getting the stamps and going around to see everyone. I’ve done a lot of different events with different formats and this has been one of the best I’ve done. It’s been a bit like speed dating with people moving around the stand seeing everyone. We’ve even been doing demos of Xero so people can see how Payment Express works in context.”

David Watson from Fathom agrees that the Partner Passport has really helped to drive people to their stand:

“It’s been a constant stream of engaged delegates who are keen to learn about the innovation that’s happening in the accounting space. There’s strength in numbers with the add-on community – we’re proud to be part of it. So the Partner Passport has been great for us.”

Peter M Vessenes from ProfitSee has seen two very different types of delegate coming to their pod: those that are already Xero partners and want to know more, and those that are completely new to the cloud and need to understand why they should be using cloud products:

“We’re a unique product. We do reporting but our primary thing is providing analytics tools for CEOs – and for accountants to provide these analytics tools to their clients.

The show’s been good on two levels. Firstly, we’ve met a lot of Xero partners – we’ve been to Xerocon London before and at this year’s Accountex we’ve got to tell not just our story, but the Xero story too. And secondly, there have also been a lot of delegates who aren’t Xero users – and we’ve been explaining to them how cloud actually works.”

Grant Johnson from Rocketspark also reinforced that there’s a real desire from delegates to find out what the cloud is, and how it could help them run their business more efficiently. And, specifically, why Xero is the platform they should be using:

“The cool thing has been that when people come here they either know about Xero or know that they should know about it. It’s about understanding what else is in the community. They’re genuinely interested in what we have to offer. And the key thing is how positive people are about Xero. For us, coming here as an add-on, it’s been so well organised. People are seeing that accounting is changing. Between Xero and the add-ons you can take care of all your business.”

This is echoed by Andy Edwards from Time Saving Experts, a reseller for Rocketspark. He’s also been a big fan of the layout of the Xero Village this year and how’s it’s helped to create such a buzz in the hall:

“People have going around doing the circuit of add-ons and that’s been brilliant for us. They’re stopping and actually talking to us. Where people congregate there will always be more opportunities.

We’ve been talking to all the other add-ons as well, so it’s been a great networking opportunity and a great chance for referrals as well.”

AccountingWEB UK at Accountex 2014

John Stockdyk, Editor of AccountingWEB UK visits the stand.

Why the Xero Village was the destination point of the show

We’ve been blown away by how popular the Xero Village has been over the course of the two days. Nick Billington from The IT Partnership has been very busy on both days and has had a great response to their IT consultancy offering:

“It’s been great to be involved with Xero on this stand. It’s a great format – it’s a destination point for everyone involved and the visitors are definitely getting more bang for their buck. We’ve had loads of interest – far bigger than I expected. There’s a lack of quality IT for accountants so with us and Xero you really can have a great system. We push the whole of your office up into the cloud.”

Nelson Da Silva from Receipt Bank told me that Accountex has been a fantastic experience for them.

“The whole set-up is great and we’ve had so many positive comments from both new partners and existing partners. People love the platform and the value you get from the add-ons. Xero’s like Apple – it’s the apps that make the difference. So Xero’s like the operating system and we’re the apps.”

For the add-on partners, Accountex has also been a brilliant opportunity to meet their existing customers face-to-face. And when I spoke to Guy Letts from CustomerSure he was very clear that he’s seeing an increased interest in Xero as a platform:

“It’s terrific to see the momentum around Xero increasing. We’ve enjoyed meeting practices who are keen to keep a tight grip on client satisfaction. It’s been a steady level of interest on both days. The layout of the stand was inspired. There’s much more here with the add-on community for people who are already signed up with Xero to deliver additional value for their clients and their practice. One thing we really enjoy is meeting existing happy customers in person.”

And it’s not just been about meeting existing customers. There have also been great opportunities for the add-ons to meet new leads and really get talking to the delegates, as Katrina Lancaster from MyPAYE pointed out:

“We’ve been getting a lot of good leads over the two days. It’s great to be part of the add-on community. The pods we’ve been using have been excellent. We’d quite like to take it home, actually! People have been standing around the screens – they’re terrific.”

So, we’ve certainly been feeling the love for our new add-on pods and their large-scale screens. Hopefully, no-one will be taking theirs home, so you’ll be sure to see them at our next big Xero UK event.

We’ve loved every minute of Accountex and having our add-on software partners here has really made the Xero Village into something special. Our thanks to them for making Accountex really go with a bang!

 

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3 comments

Gayle Buchanan
17 May 2014 #

Ice Creams, Add-Ons and passport stamps – accountants? Na!
Looks like an awesome time, super green

Hannah McIntyre
17 May 2014 #

It was unbelievable Gayle! Can’t wait to do it again at Xerocon Sydney!!!

Richard Francis
21 May 2014 #

What a wonderful event – and a great effort by the Xero UK team.

It will be such an exciting year for Xero in the UK, where you can really feel the shift towards cloud and “better ways” happening. Exciting for Spotlight Reporting being alongside and supporting this paradigm shift directly from our soon-to-be-established UK beach-head :)

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