Meet the judges

We’re pleased to introduce the distinguished judges for this year’s Xero Awards.

Headshot of Emily Hoult

Emily Hoult

Managing Partner, Rice & Company LLP and Xero ambassador

Emily is a Calgary-based CPA whose firm serves clients across Canada. She loves using her wide-ranging experience, drawing from her time as a SaaS CEO, IT auditor, listed-company CFO and complex-tax advisor to help her small business clients with whatever they need, including tax, audit and advisory services. She’s also a Xero ambassador and a long-time advocate of cloud accounting.

Headshot of Erika Dowell

Erika Dowell

CEO and founder, Signal Operations and Xero ambassador

Erika is a bookkeeper with over ten years’ experience who specializes in finding efficiencies and helping creative businesses thrive by understanding their numbers with the proper tools. She founded Signal Operations back in 2018 and has helped numerous businesses transition to cloud-based bookkeeping. As a way to give back to her community, she’s a mentor with the Women’s Economic Council and Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, helping newcomers jumpstart their businesses.

Headshot of Leonie Phillips

Leonie Phillips

Partner and co-founder, Action Exchange

Leonie Phillips is partner and co-founder of the Action Exchange, a thought-leadership agency specializing in finance, tech and sustainability. A twice-minted small business owner, Leonie has used Xero since 2010. Prior to launching the Action Exchange, Leonie was director of research and thought leadership at CPA Ontario where she researched and wrote about accounting and finance. Leonie has spent two decades developing and publicizing ideas and research around the world. She served as chief of staff to a public intellectual at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and produced editorial content and events for the Economist Group in Hong Kong, New York and London. She co-founded and later sold a thought-leadership agency in Sydney, Australia and has held public affairs and communications roles at a public policy think-tank, a cancer clinical trials center, and in book publishing. For a number of years, Leonie produced and presented a radio program on books and writing, and she holds a Master of Bioethics (Hons) from Sydney University.

Headshot of Mark Stovel

Mark Stovel

Founder and CEO, Firm Nexus

Mark is a CPA and CA with over a decade of public accounting and industry experience. In 2017, he launched a fully remote CPA firm built on Xero, and sold it four years later. He now advises accounting and bookkeeping firms in Canada, the US, and Australia on improving their tech, teams and trajectory. He is passionate about using tech so accountants can do their best work and get paid well.

Headshot of SK Uddin

SK Uddin

Founder and Editor, Canadian SME Small Business Magazine; Publisher, Indigenous SME Magazine

SK Uddin is a key figure in the Canadian small business sector, known for his influential roles as the founder and editor of CanadianSME Small Business Magazine, and the publisher of Indigenous SME Magazine. Through these platforms, he delivers invaluable insights and support to entrepreneurs and small business owners, highlighting the unique challenges and successes within the Canadian and Indigenous business communities.

In addition to his editorial work, SK Uddin amplifies his impact by hosting the CanadianSME Small Business Podcast, engaging with business leaders and innovators to share knowledge and inspiration. He is also the force behind pivotal industry events such as the Small Business Summit, Small Business Show, and CanadianSME National Small Business Awards, creating vital opportunities for networking, learning, and celebration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Headshot of Steve Janz

Steve Janz

Accounting Instructor, SAIT

Steve is a passionate accounting instructor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) who integrated Xero into his computer accounting software class five years ago. In addition to the 80-page beginner, intermediate and advanced Xero training manual he developed, Steve also built training manuals for Spotlight Reporting, Payment Evolution, and Helcim. On top of that, Steve integrated a 2D virtual reality training process where his students improve their persuasive communication skills and increase their self-efficacy by participating in a persuasive conversation with an existing client (Gabrielle the avatar) with the goal of convincing Gabrielle to consider switching from her existing accounting software system to Xero.


Meet our Xero judges

Headshots of Xero Awards Canada judges


*No purchase required. A purchase or payment will not affect your chances of winning. You have not yet won. You must have been (a1) an accounting or bookkeeping practice or firm that held a Xero partner and business edition subscription between April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024, or (a2) a long standing certified Xero app or new to the Xero App Store between April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024, and (b) meet the applicable category’s requirements at to enter. One entry per category per firm/practice or app partner. Finalists will be announced on or around 1:00pm EST, July 10th, 2024; winners will be selected from the finalists and announced on or around 1:00pm EST, August 15th, 2024. Open only to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. Nine (9) major prizes and twenty seven (27) minor prizes will be awarded to winners and finalists, respectively. One (1) prize per entrant; provided, winners of an applicable category are awarded both major and minor prize packages. The minor prize includes (a) recognition as a Xero Award FY25 Finalist across the Awards website, blogs, and social media (estimated value $1,000 CAD), (b) a social media kit to help promote the finalist (estimated value $200 CAD). The major prize includes (a) recognition as a Xero Award FY25 Winner across the Awards website, blogs and social media (estimated value $1,000 CAD), (b) a social media kit to help promote the winner (estimated value $200 CAD), (d) an Award Trophy (estimated value $150 CAD), and (e) a two-day experience for one (1) nominated representatives of the winner to attend the Xero Awards Banquet in Toronto, Ontario, including but not limited to a workshop and dinner between October and November 2024. Xero will cover the nominated representative’s expenses for a roundtrip flight (domestic only) to Xero Awards Banquet, accommodation (to be determined by Xero), and catering during the workshop and Awards dinner for a total value of up to $2,000 CAD per nominated representative. The odds of winning a prize depends on the number of eligible entries received by Xero. Winners are required to execute a Release Form. See the official rules at