Meet our guest judges

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

Headshot of Brannon Poe

Brannon Poe

CPA, Founder, Poe Group Advisors

He started his career in public accounting as an auditor with Ernst & Young before working for several years in auditing and tax preparation for the regional firm of Elliott, Davis & Company. Subsequently, Brannon became a shareholder in a privately-held, family-owned business and a founding shareholder in a successful start-up manufacturing company. This breadth of experience — with companies large and small — has provided the foundation for Poe Group Advisors to become the industry service leader.

He is the author of “Accountant’s Flight Plan: Best Practices for Today’s Firms” (published by the AICPA and CPA Canada), “On Your Own: How to Start Your Own CPA Firm” and multiple blogs.

Headshot of Deb Defer

Deborah Defer

Director of CAS Consulting at Woodard

Deborah Defer has over 35 years of accounting experience. She continues to contribute to the accounting profession by sharing thought leadership on the direction of accounting and advisory services and presenting at numerous conferences. She regularly consults with organizations to optimize their Client Advisory Service (CAS) practices. Deborah has led technology teams for various platforms, including QuickBooks Online, Xero, Sage Intacct, and a wide range of third-party applications. Her primary focus is helping organizations grow and achieve their strategic goals by providing technology recommendations, streamlining administration, improving processes, optimizing business workflows, and implementing best practices.

Deborah is dedicated to ensuring the ongoing financial and operational success of organizations seeking growth. She recognizes the transformative impact of technology on businesses and is well-versed in training, analyzing systems, understanding integrations, and providing guidance on the implementation of third-party applications. Additionally, she troubleshoots areas of concern to enhance overall operational efficiency.

Headshot of Guillermo Will DeJesus

Guillermo Will DeJesus CPA, CIA

Co-Founder & CFO, Negozee

Guillermo Will Dejesus CPA is Co-Founder & CFO of negozee, Inc, Americas first Social Professional Media App in Spanish language. He is also the original founder of, an online Tax and Business Services app used by tax professionals and tax clients nationwide.

Will went to Queens College on a baseball scholarship and played competitively throughout his college years. Following his graduation in 1998, Will became a management consultant for various Fortune 100 companies, such as Sony Entertainment, Altria Corporation and Deloitte and Touche, the largest CPA and advisory firm in the country.

Wills latest entrepreneurial endeavor is negozee, Inc., A social professional application for Spanish speaking entrepreneurs and professionals alike. Team negozee is building a professional ecosystem of brands, technology, creators and education to support the 500 million Spanish speaking professionals and entrepreneurs world-wide. "We are building the Spanish Version of LinkedIn, With an authentic Brick & Click twist. One user and one brand at a time".

Headshot of Kimberly Ellison-Taylor

Kimberly Ellison-Taylor

CEO and founder, KET Solutions, LLC

Ms. Ellison‐Taylor is a former global leader of Oracle Corporation and the chief executive officer of KET Solutions, LLC, which she founded in 2021.

During her 17‐year tenure with Oracle, Ms. Ellison‐Taylor held senior leadership roles including executive director of Finance Thought Leadership; global strategy leader in the Cloud Business Group; global strategy director in the Financial Services Industry Group; and executive director and global leader of the Health, Human Services and Labor Solutions team. Prior to joining Oracle, she served as the chief information technology officer for Prince George’s County government in Maryland and also held roles at KPMG, Motorola and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

She is a certified public accountant, a certified internal auditor and a certified information systems auditor. She is a past chairman of the American Institute of CPAs and a past chairman of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

Headshot of Phil Pallen

Phil Pallen

Brand Strategist & Keynote Speaker Phil Pallen is a personal branding expert and keynote speaker. His non-conventional approach to digital marketing and talent for social media has built him a global audience.

As a brand strategist, Phil has advised hundreds of brands from over 30 countries, including a Shark on Shark Tank, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, politicians, and some of the most important names in entertainment. A digital nomad and globetrotter, Phil has delivered speeches on five different continents and frequently appears as an expert contributor in media outlets around the world, including CNN, Access Hollywood, and The Daily Mail.

Headshot of Yosef Bonaparte

Professor Yosef Bonaparte, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Finance at University of Colorado Denver Professor Yosef Bonaparte, Ph.D., a finance scholar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, is a leading researcher in Fintech, specializing in Crypto, Blockchain, AI, and ML. With numerous publications in esteemed journals such as the Journal of Financial Economics and Management Science, he's a recognized authority in financial innovation. Dr. Bonaparte's influential works have been featured in top-tier media like The New York Times and CNBC. As an accomplished educator, he imparts knowledge in various classes, including FinTech, Crypto & Blockchain Investing, and Entrepreneurship in Finance. His multidimensional expertise continues to shape the finance landscape.

Meet our Xero judges

Headshots of Xero Awards US judges

Short form rules

Contest open only to legal residents of 50 US/DC, 18 years of age and older (19 in AL & NE, and 21 in MS). Must be either an accounting or bookkeeping practice or firm that held a partner or business edition subscription between April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024, or a long standing certified Xero Application (“Xero App”) or new to the Xero App Store between April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024; and meet the requirements listed in the rules for the awards categories you wish to apply. Void where prohibited by law. Contest entry period begins 12:00 p.m. ET on 5/1/24 and ends 11:59:59 a.m. ET on 5/31/24. Judging period starts 12:00 p.m. ET 6/6/24 and ends 11:59:59 p.m. ET 6/28/24. Subject to full Official Rules, including how to enter, prizes, judging criteria, additional eligibility per Award Category, and all details, click here. Sponsor: Xero, Inc., 1615 Platte Street Denver, CO 80202.