For three days last week, hundreds of our accounting, bookkeeping and ecosystem partners came together for Xerocon Atlanta. It was our largest Xerocon in the Americas to date, and it was phenomenal to see partners from around the world (15 countries to be exact!) come together to learn and grow as a community.
Throughout the course of the event, I was constantly reminded of the opportunity we have. I truly believe that together we can solve some of the biggest challenges the world faces. By unleashing the combined power of our global accounting community and our platform on the small business community we can increase their odds of success and rewire the global economy.
With shifts in the workforce expected due to advances in automation technology, accounting is often singled out as one of the most at-risk industries. At Xero, we believe there has never been a better time to be an accountant. Accounting isn’t at risk because accounting isn’t simply about data collection and processing – it’s about advice and support. Advice that’s so critical that it changes the odds of success for small business owners.
We know that the odds are tough – 50% of U.S. small business owners fail within 5 years. Small businesses that are on Xero survive longer – 85% make it past year five and those that are connected to an accountant are more successful – growing profits 23% faster.
Yes, technology will automate the basic tasks, but it will allow accountants to focus on what they do best – providing real, human guidance, customized to each small business and their unique business design and goals.
Accountants will be the ones who can make sense of the data and provide insights to their small business clients in only a way a human can. And, accountants are and will continue to be the number one, most trusted source of business advice – as evidenced in a new survey from Xero that found 72% of small business owners will continue to rely on them even with advances in technology.
Digital transformations are daunting, but we are here to help you at every step along the way in this golden age of accounting. At Xerocon Atlanta, we heard from Ben Richmond, Head of Business Growth for Xero Americas, on how Xero’s partner products and our team are here to help you on your journey.
We believe that building a platform that is a force for good requires a balance between aggressively pushing forward with technological innovation, while also ensuring that innovation is done in the name of solving problems.
We also heard from Herman Man, Head of Product and Partnerships for the Americas, on our vision for the future of accounting technology. Connected accounting, he explained, is the next step in our code-free accounting vision. It will intelligently connect the different interactions that occur in the day-to-day operation of a business – freeing up time that accountants can use to drive efficiency in their practice or provide additional value-added services to small businesses.
He announced the first wave of connected accounting features – demonstrating how we’re making all of this innovation work for you. We’re committed to solving your pain points today to set you up for success in the future.
To close the event, I was excited to host a fireside chat with Xero’s new CEO, Steve Vamos. He is extremely well-versed on the subject of technological disruption and perfectly summarized the simple truth of it.
“Technology isn’t innovating, people are,” Steve said. “Technology isn’t disrupting, people are. It’s all about understanding the human dimension.”
He also shared with us his insights on what makes the Xero community so special and what the future of Xero Americas looks like.
“Whatever that human bond is that has been developed over the last 10 years – we really have to make sure we never lose that,” Steve said. “It’s about expanding our platform to be flexible at the edge to adapt to the needs of people here and around the world.”
He shared that it’s his dream to take all of the energy, passion and intelligence at all global Xerocons and find a way to spread it at scale across this part of the world. This dynamic is at the core of what makes Xero a special company. And that means focusing first on further building that deep sense of community with our customers and our partners that has always been core to our success.
He also stated an incredible goal: to put the power of the Xero platform to work for all of the world’s small businesses – ensuring they are armed with the critical advice and technology that increases the odds of business success and growth.
Xerocon was an amazing week spending time with so many outstanding leaders in our industry. For me, the past three days solidified the simple truth that when it comes to technology and humans – it takes both. Technology alone will never be the solution. People will be.