Business Continuum

Xerocon South 2016 Recap

Xerocon South came and went last week in sunny Brisbane. Matthew went up for the conference, leaving the team and I behind to man the fort. To stay in the loop Matt and I had a quick chat about his experience and some of the highlights.

Day 1

Me: Hi Matt, how’s day 1 been?

Matt: Day 1 was a blur of listening to talks and catchups with ecosystem partners and old friends.

Me: Which sessions did you attend today?

Matt: All main stage keynotes presented by Trent Innes (MD Xero Australia) and Anna Curzon (MD Xero New Zealand), a talk with Paul Farrell ( journalist from the Guardian Australia) on the Panama Papers and product demos led by Laura Cardinal, Oliver Furniss and their Xero product teams, Last keynote of the day featured Andy Lark (Xero’s CMO) about how the access economy is driving demand and markets, changing the normal adoption bell curve to more like a hockey stick.

Me: How does the hockey stick adoption curve impact accountants?

Matt: He spoke about how it highlights that the fast do really eat the slow, and cited the Pokemon Go phenomenon as an example of this. It’s a cautionary tale of sorts (both for accountants and their clients) as Pokemon Go took the world by storm – completely unexpectedly. In just 13 hours it became the highest grossing app in the USA and made $200m in global revenue in the first month post launch – so shows you just how quickly a disrupter can come along and knock you off your perch.

Me: What were the other highlights?

Matt: Other highlights from the product roadmap included a new mobile app to create quotes on the go; copying bank rules, contacts and tracking categories from one Xero file to another; businesses will also be able to offer early payment discounts to their customers through Xero; and BPay is finally going to be supported on invoices via Macquarie’s DEFT service. Finally, they also teased that they would begin a re-write of expense management and introduce basic job management.

Me: Job management is going to be HUGE! So many of our clients have requested that feature! Any indication of a release date?

Matt: Just a teaser at this point.

Me: 🙁

Me: Did you get a chance to speak to some of the new add-on partners? What were some of the add-ons that piqued your interest?

Matt: NowInfinity have been really busy, adding feature requests and have also completed a re-design of the app. I saw a demo of this which was lightening quick. AccountKit was also another add-on exhibitor I visited. They launched just prior to Xerocon and their app has a tonne of features that I know some of our accounting partners will love. It was to also great to see Practice Ignition and Fathom at the stands also.

Me: Looking forward to checking some of those out! Most importantly, how’s the catering been this year? Who did you run into while lining up for food?

Matt: Unlimited coffee and fruit on offer! I caught up with Bree and Ben from Young & Grant and chatted on the lawn over lunch, as well as Tim from HTA Advisory. I am meeting with Lisa at Interactive Accounting over networking drinks, so I will catch you tomorrow.

Day 2

Me: Hey Matt, it’s later in the day but how is day 2 going? Lots of activity on Twitter with the #Xerocon hashtag!

Matt: Yeah good! Hitting with the Asset Guru guys up the front listening to Rachael Robertson share her tale about answering an ad to work in Antarctica. There was plenty of humour in the stories she told us about how she managed to lead and set the culture for the team working together under pretty closed conditions, with their limited access to the outside world and media.

I also just heard Rod recap the last 10 years of Xero in his Keynote address. I can see now see how Xero will disrupt small business accounting by taking away a lot of the data processing through Machine Learning, freeing accountants and bookkeepers to work on other areas of their business. Rod mentioned Xero has now processed a trillion dollars in transactions, which will help in building accuracy in processing accounting data and who the client is doing business with. He also demoed a Facebook chatbot that will answer questions in plain English about a business’s finances.

Rod also demoed Xero HQ, which will be the new My Green Xero coming later this year. Some cool insights into practice clients using Xero show what addons their clients are using. This will be a great tool for practices to use and will help them understand the needs of their client base better.

Me: Thanks for the update Matt. Have fun at the gala dinner, speak on Monday!

Author: Chung Hui