Now in its eighth year, the countdown to Xerocon London has officially begun. To mark the occasion, we want to shine a light on Xerocon’s most loyal attendees and understand what makes them come back year after year.
We’re delighted to introduce Stephen Paul. After learning of his mother’s terminal cancer, Stephen wanted a way of working that would enable him to spend as much time with his family as possible so eight years ago he set up his practice, Valued Accountancy.
From helping Stephen realise the national reach of his business, to signing new clients and growing his accounting network, we’re proud to hear how Xerocon has proved invaluable to Stephen and his firm.
How is Xerocon different from any other accounting conference that you’ve been to before?
In all honesty, I normally do my best to avoid accounting conferences (unless I need help sleeping) but Xerocon is completely different from any other accounting conference. The buzz at Xerocon is incredible – there is such an open community feel at the event and on social media.
There are always world-class speakers who give some of the most motivational talks I’ve heard. Some of my firm’s biggest business decisions have come off the back of Xerocon.
Why should accountants and bookkeepers attend Xerocon – what do they get out of it?
There is such openness at Xerocon, with everyone sharing ideas. It’s an opportunity to speak with like-minded, tech-driven ‘Xeros’ but also to speak directly with app partners and share what you think is working well or could be improved.
It’s a time when you really can do some blue-sky thinking and take stock of what you can do with your business.
Who has been the most memorable speaker and why?
Ben McBean, a former Royal Marine commando, has to be one of the most memorable speakers. Hearing about his resilience in the face of reality and how he overcame the pain and suffering after losing his left arm and right leg in Afghanistan was just so inspiring. His transformational life-moment certainly put a lot of things into perspective.
But there was also something extremely relatable about his experience. His point that the will to succeed has to be as great – or greater – than your natural ability or talent – is something I could really apply to my own business and relay to my clients.
Have there been any other memorable or amusing moments?
Xero does a great job of picking some amazing speakers. The explorer, Ranulph Fiennes, gave another game-changing speech.
I also always look forward to Gary Turner’s keynote speech. Hearing him talk about the business, Xero’s culture and how proud he is of the company really makes you feel that you’re part of the Xero journey.
It’s great to see how much Xero has grown since it launched in the UK. When I attended the first Xerocon, there were just a couple hundred of us – now that’s just the size of the breakout sessions.
What are your top tips for getting the most out of Xerocon?
My advice would be to go with an open mind but have a rough plan in place. Know who you want to speak to and what you want to achieve from being there.
The Xero community is great and tends to ramp up three weeks before the conference – I always end up arranging to meet people for coffee beforehand.
I’d definitely recommend getting lots of sleep beforehand.
If you could sum up Xerocon in three words what would it be?
Fun, inspirational, community.
Join us at the year’s most beautiful, innovative cloud accounting event. Xerocon London will take place on 13-14 November, get your tickets here.