November 13th and we’re off to Xerocon 2018 !
We arrived at ExCel London for Xerocon at 6:30 on Tuesday and registered early to avoid the inevitable queuing that would ensue the following day. Once issued with our Lanyards we exerted our ‘sneak peek’ privileges and made our way into the main hall. Immediately we felt overwhelmed by the scale, excited by all the stalls and impressed by some unusual touches such as the garden area with the glowing swings and the zip line!
We continued on to the Receipt Bank Yacht Party upon the Sunborn Hotel just outside of the ExCel Centre on the Thames. Inside, we were given delicious canapes and got to try some interesting cocktails as well as meeting other Receipt Bank and Xero Partners.
Gary Turner, Co-Founder and MD of Xero took to the stage and addressed the party ahead of the conference…
We are the generation that is defining the way business is done in the future and we will be judged on that by future generations.
There were also talks on stage with panellists discussing how they’d implemented technology into their practice and the benefits of Receipt Bank.
Xerocon 2018: Day 1
Gary Turner opened the Xerocon 2018 with gusto (not the payroll app < eek! a Xero joke! ) and presented well- his style evocative of a Ted Talk or Steve Jobbs.
“If we are about to embark on changing the world of business from analogue to digital then we are the people who are tasked with doing that… When you consider the impact, technology has had on other industries it usually works out the same way, you get some early efficiencies, things are a little easier, a little quicker and then something fundamental changes; the character and infrastructure of an industry completely flips on its head when it goes fully digital.”
Gary went on to share updates and important key initiatives most notably Xero’s move into income tax, corporation tax and accounts production with their acquisition of Instafile.
Instafile is a cloud-based accounts preparation and tax filing solution that connects UK accountants, bookkeepers and small businesses to UK compliance bodies (including HMRC). It’s a big deal and the next level in automated tax filing solutions.
Another important announcement at Xerocon 2018 was the beta testing for Making Tax Digital and an invitation to sign up [we have]. Gary revealed Xero’s new MTD campaign; a re-imagining of HMRC’s Self-Assessment Campaign from 20 years ago.
Who’s old enough to remember the original?
Steve Vamos, the new CEO of Xero followed straight after and drove home the need for a dynamic, forward thinking approach within the accountancy profession as well as his vision for the future of Xero.
Chief Product Officer, Anna Curzon took to the stage before lunch to announce the release of new industry specialist app advisory badges for practices to attain.
“Deepen your industry knowledge and learn how to match the needs of your clients with the right apps. “
(These cool new badges have definitely made our ‘to do’ list Anna. )
After lunch we had a thorough visit round the stalls and chatted with some interesting App Partners about their integrations.
There was a lot to take in but here are some of the Apps we saw at Xerocon that caught our eye.
- Chaser: A Credit Control App with lots of great template and scheduling features as well as insights and integration with Xero & Quickbooks.
- Satago: An Invoice Finance App that has a free credit control feature. They only charge for the Invoice Finance and there’s no obligation to use it. The rest of the platform is free.
- Expend: A Xero Expense management system.
- Soldo: A smart prepaid multi-user expense account for businesses of all sizes.
- Tradify: Job management from quoting to invoicing.
There were also some interesting breakout sessions including one from Clare Sheehan from HMRC on Getting set up for MTD.
Day one of Xerocon ended for us with a fantastic talk on the main stage by Ben McBean; a Business Portfolio manager who had been a soldier in Afghanistan. Ben lost his left arm and leg in an explosion whilst on patrol some years ago and spoke candidly about his life after the event. Ben was funny, a great story teller and delivered his message of ‘ Resilience and Positivity ’ brilliantly. It was great to end the day on such a high.
Evening was upon us in no time and it was back to the hotel for a quick change of outfit then back to the ExCel for the Xerocon Party!
The main auditorium was completely transformed and a circular stage sat smack bang in the middle of the room, first hosting a DJ and then a fantastic band that had everyone up dancing. Around the edges of the room there were food vans serving a delicious range from gourmet hotdogs to shish kebabs- jerk chicken and curry. There was so much to choose from. Entertainment also included mini golf, table tennis on fancy led tables and even a Karaoke van. As parties for Accountancy Professionals go… this was a really good one.
Xerocon 2018: Day 2
We arrived at the Excel bright and early as we had an appointment with our account handler at Receipt Bank. He kindly went through some new features and identified areas within Receipt Bank where we could make further efficiencies.
We then returned to the stall holders with a focus on credit control apps to get our heads around what’s on offer before watching more speakers on the main stage; most notably Rod Drury who founded Xero and talked at length in an interview with Louise Minchin about where it all started and what his ambitions for Xero had been.
After lunch we wearily ended some more breakout sessions but the hustle and bustle of the previous two days and our attempt to do everything was beginning to take its toll. A final lap of the stalls to make sure we hadn’t missed any biggies and it was time for home.
We were EXHAUSTED.