#xerocon’s are a special day for the Xero Team as it’s a chance to connect with our top partners in an intimate environment and hear where they would like us to focus our development resources. Held in Melbourne at the weekend, this was our first conference for Australian accountants and bookkeepers.
Right from the start we took delegates deep into the strategy behind the business of online accounting.
CEO and co-founder, Rod Drury, spoke about being at ‘the end of the beginning’ – having taken accounting online, connecting advisors to their clients, the door is now open to pursue huge productivity gains that have the potential to move the needle on GDP. Rod then shared insights into the three waves of innovation that will drive the cloud accounting journey and completely change how businesses operate on the inside and how they interact with each other. Delegates were challenged with the premise that in the cloud business software is not a software business. We’ve gone beyond just the debits and credits of accounting and we’re now putting in place the building blocks for the next phase of innovation with benchmarking, online invoicing, group buying, intelligent notifications and much more.
I then outlined the strategy for the Australian market. Five months in, there’s evidence this strategy is bearing fruit with 5 x growth of revenue, an expanding network of top accounting and bookkeeping partners and an annualised doubling of the customer base. Stuart McLeod joined me on stage, from online payroll provider Paycycle, which was recently acquired by Xero. The room erupted in applause when Stuart shared a sneak peek at the screenflow of what Xero Payroll will look like when it’s released in Australia in Q1 next year.
Guest speaker Rob Nixon walked through how accountants run their business in this new age of technology. With his hard hitting and likeably controversial style, Rob walked through the New Growth Equation and uncovered what’s needed to take productivity and practice profits to another level. The image of a burning $1.2M house reflected the amount of money some firms waste every year in unproductive time.
Xero co-founder, Hamish Edwards shared his own story of how he used cloud technology to build capacity into his practice and gave examples of the higher value services he provided clients. For the first time Hamish put a spotlight on the hard numbers and KPI improvements behind cloud accounting. It was this that made his firm Openside an attractive target for Deloitte, who acquired them in February.
Trevor Schoenmaekers from Gold Partner accounting firm Hansens, described first-hand why he made the decision to partner with Xero. Trevor had been ready to call it a day but his move to the cloud and being able to serve his clients in a more connected way, reignited his passion for the profession.
Xero customer Jamie Potter gave an insight into what it’s like to be a client of a Xero accounting or bookkeeping partner. He argued that delegates were doing their clients a disservice by letting them stumble across Xero rather than being the ones to inform them. Jamie won a bet with me he’d get a standing ovation – though he did ask for it.
The Modern Practice team took to the stage and ran through a day in the life of an Australian Modern Practice. They seamlessly brought together in the cloud online marketing by e360, practice management by WorkflowMax, tax by Lodge IT, office tools by Microsoft Office 365 and document management through PracticePoint. Xero Product Specialist Tim Wright then outlined how this suite of solutions will come together for firms who plan to migrate in time for the new financial year.
Xero Product Managers Andrew Tokeley and Sara Goepel concluded the day with impressive demos of upcoming features including practice level report templates, over-payments, pre-payments, discounts, remittance advices, Xero Personal bank feeds and the recently launched iPhone Touch app. These demos are one of the most exciting parts of the xerocon, because delegates really love that we share with them what’s coming up – even if it’s not complete.
That night we had a stunning dinner and awards ceremony to celebrate partners who really have gone the extra mile. Here’s the winners:
Fastest Growing Partner Award: Southern Cross Business Advisers
Xero Knowledge Award: Jill of All Trades
Partner Website Award: Your Accounts Department
Partner of the Year: Guy Pearson of Interactive Accounting (pictured below centre)
As is custom at #xerocon events we partied on into the night with all of our partners and Xero team.
For more pictures of the day check out our Facebook page here.
For our inaugural #xerocon delegates we’d love you to share your thoughts on the event here.