Las Vegas is the home of bright lights, slot machines and, you guessed it, accounting conferences. This year it played host to the Sleeter Conference, which is a must-attend conference for CPAs, bookkeepers and QuickBooks advisers operating in the SME market. The theme was – The Next “Next Big Thing”. It made sense for Xero to be there.
The Sleeter Conference was an important conference for Xero. The delegates are the cream of the QuickBooks community in the USA and we weren’t sure of the reaction we would get.
We’ve been working with many of the key influencers in the US accounting industry to ensure Xero fits the market and to get advice as to the best approach. Doug Sleeter, founder and host of the conference, came to visit us earlier in the year to see what we were doing and he invited us to speak at the conference. For those of you who don’t know, Doug is a veteran, well respected QuickBooks evangelist and small business technology expert.
We were blown away with the response to Xero and really excited to meet so many forward thinking business advisors who already understand the benefits of moving to the cloud for their business and their clients.
During the afternoon session on the first day, Xero CEO Rod Drury, was a guest speaker and we were delighted to see the room overflowing. Rod talked about where we believe the accounting software industry is going and how moving to the cloud changes the game for advisors. It was a thrill to hear oohs and ahhs during Rod’s demo.
After the presentations our booth went manic – the buzz remained from start to finish.
Our favorite quote from a delegate was – you had me at dashboard!
It was clear delegates are ready to move to collaborative service models that allow them to work more closely and frequently with clients. There’s still some confusion around what ‘the cloud’ really means – desktop vendors have muddied the waters with interim hosted offerings of their desktop solution under the moniker of cloud. It was great to show what a ‘true’ cloud accounting solution can do.
We were looking forward to the 3-5 year vision from the big players Sage and Intuit, and the audience seemed disappointed these companies did not lay out their roadmap or vision for how they will help the profession move into the cloud. We got the sense that the US accounting industry is ready for leadership and a fresh approach that leverages everyone being connected.
We still have a few things to do to be a perfect fit for the US market, but many delegates agreed Xero is at a point where they can begin the process of on-boarding clients and give us the feedback so we can keep building a product they will love for years to come.
The Xero team really enjoyed making a bunch of new friends and we look forward to being a long term partner.
And yes, check printing is coming real soon!