Xerocon 2015 Day 1 - Get Ready to Rumble

And we’re off.

Registered, fuelled with a Melbourne coffee and ready to go.

For the uninitiated, probably Australia’s largest Cloud conference, Xerocon brings together over 1000 accountants for the annual revup on all things Xero and cloud related. Over two days, Xerocon is packed full of content, not only on the Xero product but also the broader Cloud space.

With over 80 sponsors and exhibitors, it’s also a great chance to catch up on the latest add ons for clients.

Better still, there is not one brown cardigan in sight. You see, the accountants at Xerocon aren’t stuck back in their offices burning the midnight oil over a $20 tax deduction. No, for all of us in Melbourne this week, it’s to keep at the edge of our game, push the envelope of our clients and be leaders in our respective fields.

First cab off the rank for Day 1 is MC, comedian Peter Berner who whilst comparing accounting to a death-like experience of looking for documents in your roof, admitted that the guys from Xero have “Made Accounting Sexy” … who’d have thought!!!

Interestingly Xero was created 9 years ago in an apartment by 4 people … and let me tell you … a lot has changed.

Next on stage, CEO Rod Drury who took the Xero faithful through a brief timeline of some of the major achievements and milestones. The claim that “Cloud Happened” being a realisation of the targets set at the first Xerocon 5 years ago.

Drury’s passion is clearly evident, as he talks about the impact that can be made with businesses embracing the cloud and accountants as key advisors bring financial aspects like banking and lending into a streamlined system. And it is not only the banks that will benefit with increased features allowing advisors to view an “Assurance dashboard” a game changer for Not for Profits making audit trails and visibility an easy and efficient reality.

Drury’s statement that Xero is a “tide that rises all boats” brought home the power of the Xero product evolution. Xero is now the world’s fastest growing Accounting platform outside of the US.

The second speaker for the Day was Managing Director Chris Ridd … armed with all the statistics you could want.

250,000 Subscribers in Australia alone
588 firms at Xerocon
30% of conversions are coming from former users of MYOB
1200 of those MYOB users transferred to Xero in July
To date, Xero has converted over 20,000 users from Banklink

Ridd went on to discuss the upcoming integrations of ADOBE, DROPBOX and GOOGLE FOR WORK tools, with accounting partners products, making the interaction with clients in the modern cloud environment even easier.

Keep an eye out too for Xero to enter the retail channels, with 12 month subscription cards, along the lines of the Itunes card model, due to hit Officeworks soon.

This continued direct market presence combined with an enhanced Partner matching process via Xero’s partner directory will lead to enhanced growth opportunities for accountants and better on boarding for businesses new to Xero.

Still ringing in our heads is Ridd’s parting quote “With Leadership comes Influence”

Xerocon always excels with it’s breakout sessions, after a quick coffee and catchup with sponsors at their booths, the show rolled on with three separate streams of sessions, One each for accountants, Bookeepers and Education.

Highlights from these sessions included :

Great advice from Xero’s head of Accounting , James Solomons on getting your platform right for clients.
For the online marketing thirsty it was time for knowledge on the three letter acronyms (they love them), PPC …pay per click, SEO, SEM and host of others, as well as key tips on Remarketing strategies

By this stage I get the feeling we need a session called Xeroquote :-) with another gem to take us to lunch re getting your web strategy right:

“If a new site is launched but no-one can find it, does it even exist?”

All in all a fantastic morning for day one, some great networking with colleagues and add on partners and ready for the afternoon stretch. Be sure to keep an eye out for more updates soon.