Xerocon Brisbane 2018, a place where thousands of people from Australia, NZ and Asia gather to hear from industry professionals, business leaders and thought makers in the cloud-accounting and bookkeeping sector.
In the lead up to Xerocon, Vivek and I were busy arranging times with friends and small business owners to catch up over the two days. Although there was a lot of time over the two days to network, I was especially excited to hear from all the speakers as they talked about topics set to impact the bookkeeping and accounting industry.
Wednesday 5th September, which was also my birthday, started early as Vivek and I got ready for a full day of learning and being inspired. The doors opened at 8:00am and we were welcomed at 9:00am by MC Fenella Kernebone. The keynotes started at 9:20am where we heard Xero’s Chief Executive Officer – Steve Vamos, Vice President of Product and Alliances – Herman Man, London Bombings Survivor – Gill Hicks and a distinguished Professor at the Australian National University, Director of the 3A Institute and Senior Fellow at Intel – Genevieve Bell.
My personal favourite was Gill Hicks. I was so in awe of Gill. She was so soft spoken but created so much impact with her words. As she shared her story with us she also spoke about what her real fear in life is. She said, “My biggest fear in life used to be death, but once I died, it was no longer my biggest fear.” Gill then exclaimed, “Do you know what my biggest fear is now? My biggest fear is to be alive and not live.”
The breakout sessions started at 2:30pm and first on my agenda was Executive General Manager – Ecosystem, Xero – Nick Houldsworth. He spoke about how Xero is empowering advisors with the tools and insights they need to become advisors of the future, while arming clients with the right apps to help them succeed.
Next up was Strategic Vertical Manager for Xero New Zealand – Byron McLean. Byron did an app deep dive into the professional services industry. He shared that professional services are a significant opportunity for growth. Professional Services have 329k SMEs as opposed to 158k SMEs within the Retail Trade industry in Australia and New Zealand. Xero had researched the concerns and pain points of SMEs in 2017. They found that 17% was poor work/life balance, 18% were struggling with pace of technology change, 20% were too busy to work on the business and 23% were too busy managing clients.
The last speaker for the day was Head of Ecosystem Marketing, Xero NZ – Kaye Harding. Did you know that trade and construction clients have the lowest digital engagement of all Australian small businesses? 1/3 of tradies use the app to accept payment from customers and only 1/5 use it for quoting and invoicing.
Networking and drinks started at 5:30pm. It was awesome meeting some new faces and Vivek had a good crack at shooting some hoops with a professional basketball player.
Thursday 6th September. The keynote speakers for the morning were Author, Thinker, Life Enthusiast – Mark Manson, Chief Partner Officer, Xero – Anna Curzon and Managing Director, Xero Australia & Asia – Trent Innes.
I loved hearing Mark Manson, who is the author of the very well-known orange book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. With his no BS attitude, Mark spoke about doing ordinary things extremely well, focusing on the few things that matter and not to pursue happiness, but pain. If you are wondering what on earth that all means, go ahead and read his book.
After morning tea, the breakout sessions started again and first up was a panel of speakers including Receipt bank’s Vice President – Global Accountants’ Programs – Damian Greathead, a beautiful friend of mine and CEO of NowInfinity – Amreeta Abbott, Chartered Accountant, Cloud solutions expert, YouTuber, Author and Speaker, ANISE Consulting – Heather Smith and Country Manager, Australia, Hubdoc – Matt Bunston. They discussed about the evolving breadth and depth of data automation and the importance of data security.
The last breakout session was by AU Financial Industry Director, Xero – Ian Boyd. He presented what Xero has been busy working on to help businesses and their clients stay on top of cash flow, optimise sales workflows and drive profitability.
Chief Executive Officer, Xero – Steve Vamos, kicked off the final keynotes of Xerocon at 2:30pm and introduced Founder and Non-Executive Director at Xero – Rod Drury. Rod was so happy and proud of the team that has been created at Xero that he has been able to step out of working IN the business and is now working ON the business, which ultimately has given him the time to be able to reconnect with family and friends.
Most people partied on at the Xerocon Wrap up party, held at Cloudland in Fortitude Valley. Vivek and I needed to get back to Sydney as my husband Brendan and I needed to be in Sydney for the settlement of buying our first home.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first ever #Xerocon. I got to see so many new and known faces and I will definitely be back next year for Xerocon 2019.
Carly works as the Xperience Manager at Quiddity, an amazing workflow and customer relationship management tool for small businesses. Carly is passionate about ensuring that all users get the very best out of Quiddity.