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Reflections on Xerocon, desktop data amnesty

Apparently the true measure of any conference that claims to be worth its salt these days can be quickly discerned by weighing both the quantity and colour of the social media chatter the following day. Indeed, judging from the large number of “Post Xerocon Blues” tweets that peppered my timeline twenty-four hours after Xerocon London 2015 had closed its doors, our UK conference seemed to have very much hit the spot for a good many of our 800 attendees this year.

In barely more than two years, Xerocon London has grown to become what I believe is now the UK’s largest gathering of its kind, eclipsing the mainstream accounting industry bodies’ annual conference circuits, nevermind those of the accounting software industry.

Alongside some great guest speakers, forty-odd exhibitors and sneak previews of coming product updates to Xero, the bigger news items that featured this Xerocon were the UK launch of our new Payroll in Xero, the accelerating pace with which the UK banking community is now attaching itself to our platform with news of our new technical partnership with Metrobank, our desire to support our UK Partner community in telling the cloud story and the growing incidence of Sage and Quickbooks customers choosing to migrate to the cloud with Xero.

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Celebrating our partners: Xero Awards London

Last night we enjoyed an evening of dinner, dancing and decoration at the Xero Awards in London, celebrating the success of our partners in 2014.

Nineteen awards were presented across the evening, from our Regional Accounting Partners of the Year, right through to the Most Valued Professional, Add-on Partner of the Year and the Overall Accounting Partner of the Year.

Xero Awards room

A huge congratulations to all of our winners! 

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Xerocon London 2015 – day two highlights

We welcomed our guests back to Xerocon day two after a big night of celebrations at the Xero Awards, acknowledging the success of our high achieving partners.

Branding your practice

Rita Clifton, chair of BrandCap, opened day two with why branding is so vital in the digital age. Successful branding is about being clear about who you are and what you stand for, communicating that in all that you do, and employing people who stand for what your brand stands for. “It helps if the CEO isn’t an idiot… they’ve got to epitomise who the brand actually is.”

“A brand is more than packaging and labelling,” she said. “It’s the substance that lies beneath.”

Rita Clifton Xerocon 2

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Xerocon London 2015 – day one highlights

More than 800 accounting industry professionals rolled into Battersea Evolution this morning for Xerocon London 2015, the UK’s largest fintech conference. Attendees arrived from far and wide – New Zealand, Australia, and the US, as well as all across the UK. Many rolled in on our awesome Xero shuttle bus, and some even arrived in our Xero black cab… though it’s no longer black!

xero black cab

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Getting ready for Xerocon London 2015

We’re getting ready to host the UK’s biggest fintech conference, with over 800 attendees and an amazing line-up of keynote speakers.

Xero UK managing director Gary Turner is down at Battersea Evolution the day before Xerocon London 2015 kicks off, with a summary of what to expect over the next two days. Check it out here:

 

Xerocon London 2015 – four weeks to go!

It’s now more than twelve months since our last big event in London and excitement is really building now as Xerocon, our two day conference for financial professionals and software developers, re-opens its doors four weeks from today on 10 and 11 February.

Our first London event in 2012 attracted just over 200 delegates, and in 2013 we saw that grow to over 400. Now I’m pleased to share that Xerocon 2015 is going to be a very big one indeed – last week registrations shot way past Xerocon 2013, some five weeks out.

Xerocon London 2015 – four weeks to go… from Xero Limited on Vimeo.

So, Xerocon London 2015 looks set to become not only the UK’s biggest FinTech conference, but the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

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Xero’s accounting, finance or economics scholarship is back

Earlier this week, we announced the first winner of Xero’s accounting, finance or economics scholarship – Alisha McGoldrick of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

We’re excited to tell you that the scholarship is now live again! So if you or someone you know could benefit from $5,000 towards studying one of these subjects, check out the information below:

What does Xero’s accounting, finance or economics scholarship cover?

The $5,000 scholarship can be used to cover any expenses directly associated with an accounting, economics or finance degree. This could be tuition, accommodation or course materials.

You can now apply to recieve an accounting, finance or economics scholarship from Xero in 2015

Who is eligible to apply?

If you’re a legal resident of the US who is currently enrolled (full-time as an undergrad or graduated student) at an accredited university or business school, we’d love to receive your application. Of course, you’ll need to be majoring in accounting, finance or economics to be considered.

Students of all ages are invited to apply and you can be at any stage of your study. Note that if you’re still at high school you will need to have been accepted into college to be eligible.

You’ll also need a GPA of 3.0 or higher cumulative from your university, business school or high school (whichever is most recent).

How can I apply?

You’ll need to submit the following four materials to submissions@xero.com no later than February 28, 2015. Any questions can be sent them to this address too.

  1. A transcript, including your GPA.
  2. Proof that you’re enrolled full-time in an accredited university or business school in the US.
  3. A letter of recommendation from a relevant referee to convince us that you’re a great candidate.
  4. A 500–700 essay on one of the following topics:
  • How is cloud technology changing the world of accounting, finance and/or economics? What impact do you see this having on your career?
  • What changes do you predict the accounting industry will face in the next decade? How do you (1) intend to react to these changes and (2) contribute to the industry?
  • What compels you to study accounting, economics and/or finance? What role does technology play in your chosen industry and how will you use it in your career?

Check out the official scholarship page for more information, including full terms and conditions and selection criteria:

Win an accounting, economics or finance scholarship for 2015

 

Xero’s accounting scholarship goes to…

Supporting young people early in their careers has always been a matter close to Xero’s heart. Earlier this year, we started thinking about new ways to help young adults succeed in the accounting sphere. So we decided to offer a $5,000 finance, economics or accounting scholarship to a student majoring in one or more of these subjects.

We received so many fantastic entries that it was difficult to pick just one winner. However in the end we had to choose the incredibly deserving Alisha McGoldrick of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Not only did Alisha submit a glowing recommendation and an impressive GPA, she also wrote a fantastic essay. It describes the obstacles she overcame in order to study accounting, along with a clear passion to make a difference in the industry.

Alisha has kindly agreed to let us share her story with you, in the hope it inspires others with mental disorders to follow their dreams and achieve their goals.

The troubled mind of a tax accountant

Alisha McGoldrick is the first winner of Xero's accounting scholarship

Congratulations to Alisha, our extremely deserving scholarship winner.

By Alisha McGoldrick

The word “crazy” can be hurtful and offensive to some, yet remains powerfully accurate in describing one’s emotions. I was convinced that I was crazy when I had to drive six times  around the same block to make sure there was not a dead body in the road. Even then, I went home and hyperventilated until I cried myself to sleep. Welcome to my world; a world  dominated by an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Throughout high school and college, my mental health took a backseat to everything else in my life. Eventually it became unbearable to complete everyday tasks. I would spend hours checking to make sure the door was locked and the stove was off. I feared hurting something or someone, and I believed that these rituals would prevent harm. It took a great deal of therapy and medication, but I am now in a better place than I was two years ago. I am now able to work two jobs and go to school full-time, which I never dreamed possible a short while ago. One of these jobs has been a saving grace in my struggle with anxiety, and happens to be quite the ironic workplace.

I landed a job as an Office Administrator working for a single psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety. I vowed to keep my professional and personal life separate and did not vocalize my own anxiety, lest it get in the way of serving the patients of this organization. I was given the opportunity to learn QuickBooks and put my accounting acumen to good use. I was determined to use my illness in a positive manner, and applied my OCD to double and triple checking insurance amounts and client balances to ensure perfection when engaging in billing services. I am responsible for all financial matters of this small business, which comes with a great deal of stress. This job is where I realized that I actually enjoy researching the tax implications of classifying different purchases, and I decided that I would pursue a career in public accounting.

My ultimate goal is to utilize my expertise to make life easier for those who struggle with OCD and other mental disorders. I know what they are going through. I know what it feels like to want to die some days. I am lucky enough to have survived the struggles of a mental disability, and I would like to help others through the tribulations I have conquered. Taxes are extremely stressful, and financial planning can take a mental toll. I would like to achieve my CPA licensure and use my expertise to specialize in individual tax planning and compliance in hopes of alleviating financial stress for individuals. Continue reading ›

 

Apply for an accounting, economics or finance scholarship

Do you know anyone in the US who is in school – or about to head to school – to get an accounting, economics or finance degree? Could they benefit from a little financial help? If so, make sure to tell them about Xero’s $5,000 accounting, economics or finance scholarship.

Here at Xero, the accounting and financial worlds are obviously a huge part of what we do. What’s more, we know that accounting, economics and finance students go on to play an extremely important role in the small business world. So we’ve decided to award $5,000 to a student who is majoring in one (or more) of these subjects.

Xero is offering a $5,000 accounting, economics or finance scholarship to US university students

Who can apply for Xero’s accounting or finance scholarship?

All legal US residents who are currently enrolled full-time at an accredited university or business school (which must also be in the US). Applicants must be majoring in accounting, economics or finance. There is no age limit and it doesn’t matter what stage of study the student is at (see below for GPA requirements).

What can the scholarship money be used for?

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SEO Guide for Xero Partners

SEO (short for ‘search engine optimization’) is an important measure for every website. It’s the best way to make sure potential (and existing) customers can find you online – even if they haven’t heard of you.

Businesses looking for a Xero Partner for accounting, bookkeeping or financial advice are more likely to land on your site if it’s properly optimized. So we created an SEO Guide for Xero Partners to help you get familiar with the basics. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here (note: there are regionalized versions):

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of making search engine-friendly, user-friendly improvements to your website. The purpose of this is to make it easy for Google and other search engines to find your practice online.

Why is SEO important?

Xero's SEO Guide is designed to help Google find your website

Search engines are a popular tool used by small businesses to find new accountants, so SEO is a great way to increase relevant traffic to your website.

According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses on the internet. Obviously, when users are searching for relevant terms such as ‘[your location] accountants’, ‘Xero partner’ and ‘accounting practice’, you want Google to show them your site. You can also use more targeted keywords specific to your firm – if it has a specialization or serves certain industries, an optimized website can help you get noticed by people searching for exactly what you offer.

Users trust search engine results, so businesses that appear high in results pages are more likely to receive visits from potential customers. Think about it – how often do you venture past the first few websites on a search results page if you’ve found what you’re looking for at the top?

How does SEO work?

There are a bunch of methods that will help your website be found and indexed by search engines such as Google.

First, the site itself should be user-friendly – in other words, it should be easy for visitors to navigate and use. Google wants to provide users with the best possible experience, so it won’t give much weight to websites that are poorly designed, slow, difficult to use or out-of-date.

Second, your site should be easy for search engines to read (or ‘crawl’). You need to make it as easy as possible for them to understand what your website is about so it can direct relevant audiences towards it.

You can read more about these methods in the guide above.

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