As good as any excuse to get to Brisbane is to a bunch of Victorian accountants, #defrosting, Xerocon continually proves to be so much more than a conference with weather perks. There’s everything you’d expect to find at a cloud accounting event, yet when we’re home, it won’t be the technology that will bring a smile to our face or tears to our eyes.. Instead it is the words of those who showed vulnerability, who have forged a path and invited us to participate in a life long journey to bring our best.
With wisdom, humour and an approachable sensitivity, the keynotes this year have left a lasting impact on myself and the team. Often we can find ourselves trying to nail productivity hacks, and use the latest tech to get results. Nigel Latta put it best when he said, “don’t be a dick…and the results will come.” Albeit it simple, it’s so important to understand that the person we bring to work, happy us, or grumpy us, has a profound effect on the team and the health of the business. This isn’t to throw on a mask and pretend to be okay but to understand how you can love yourself, so you can bring your best self to work each and every day. Exhausted and overworked people aren’t super fun to be around, nor are they going to change the world.
Read through what impacted the team, and see all the latest features at the bottom of the post.
Mick - Cash Flow & Cats
For our clients: Auto payments coming to recurring invoicing in Xero! Super handy for users who have regular, repeating invoicing (eg. subscriptions or retainer type invoicing), these invoices can now be set up automatically, sent to the client and payment made automatically via Xero. Very cool and will reduce payment friction, allowing more cashflow into these business’.
For our People: Nigel Latta talked about cats, dogs, relations with cows and experiments with kids in a very entertaining presentation about the human brain and why we do the things we do. The general message that came across was that if you want results out of a team of people, don't be a dick and treat them like people, listen and communicate well and results will come.
Andrew - A Team Who Cares
Xero did a great job of bringing to light the importance of caring for yourself & the people around you. The fact that an accounting/tech conference dedicates so much of its time and resources on caring for people continues to blow me away.
Some Xero updates looked interesting, and we will continue to explore more for our clients.
Most importantly, team Illumin8 was able to learn this together, so we can continue to bring a team based approach to how we work with our awesome clients!
Shane - Cloud Community
Xerocon was again a massive hit. Xero stepped up their game with some fantastic content from the likes of Nigel Latta who told a fantastic story that leads to a simple conclusion (be kind and good things will happen), and Jaya Baloo who translated big thinking cyber security into little bites we can use to keep our clients data safe.
BUT! I would be lying if I said that was my main takeaway. The bigger and bigger attendance list every year brings with it some amazing accountants, bookkeepers, and financial magicians that are all willing to share how they do things better. Being able to get together with thousands of cloud accountants to see how they do what they do, share how we do what we do, is to me the best thing about Xerocon.
Kate - Feeling Hopeful
Approaching Xerocon 2019 as a business owner as opposed to an employee this year resulted in a different experience for me. It was amazing to check out apps APPlicable to our growing bookkeeping team and clients. Even more excitingly, connecting to our amazing community of other bookkeeping businesses. As we continue to push forward into a holistic business approach I was reminded of one key thing by Peter Baines, a homicide investigator and leader in international crisis management.. “There is one emotion stronger than fear - and that is hope.” And while I have fear of failure, as I am sure all business owners do, I am leaving Xerocon full of hope in our ever growing community.
Jade - Passwords & Dance Parties
Cheers to my first Xerocon Experience. I will say this again and again, I love attending events as part of Illumin8 and this one certainly has to top the list to date, except for the dances at the end of the financial year party. However as of writing, the night is still young and we are yet to attend the Xerocon Wrap party so who knows what moves will be busted on the dance floor.
The one thing that I got a great giggle from and can relate to was the talk by Jaya Baloo in regards to Cybersecurity. The part in particular that focused on passwords which is not a strength of mine however I don't think I will ever forget the following:
- Passwords are like underwear
- You have to change them often
- Do not share them
- Please do not leave them lying around
- The longer the better (no budgie smugglers)
Looking forward to next year already....as long as I make it through tonight
Amanda - Love Yourself
My highlight was Sharon McClafferty's session ‘overworked and underwhelmed’. Sharon told us about her own personal story on how easily we can be sucked into a downward spiral from prioritising the wrong things to not investing in our relationships and community.
Her story was raw and real. This hit me right in the feels because I am myself a big advocate of mental health. To give the best of ourselves to our clients, coworkers, family and friends we must invest in our own self love and awareness. Making this a priority can mean avoiding the scary and dangerous consequences of burning out. Loving yourself isn't vanity, it's sanity!
Amy - People Are Important
The last two days have been absolutely incredible and for someone new to accounting, totally eye opening. All I’m left saying is, wow! Seeing this amazing community of like minded people come together to create something of such value.
Day one, Craig Hudson stood strong and tall and was completely vulnerable in front of the whole auditorium which was incredibly inspiring. He spoke openly about his struggles through life and how his wife quite literally saved his life. He was living proof of just how important it is to stand up, speak up and show up for your family, co workers and loved ones. I was so happy to see the importance Xero has put on this and have implemented their own support program ‘Xero Assistance Program’ aka XAP for their staff.
The whole experience was amazing, something I’ll never forget and I can’t wait to do it all over again.
Christina - A-Game Always
As a first time Xerocon attendee I had quite high expectations, and let me tell you...it did not disappoint! The sense of community this event brings out among fellow accountants, bookkeepers, financial service providers, apps and everything in between sure is something pretty damn special.
The stand out for me was hearing Emma Murray, master of mindfulness, considered Richmond Football Club's secret weapon, speak about how to 'Bring Your A-Game’. There was an obvious focus on mental health, mindset and well-being over the two days and Emma perfectly balanced being vulnerable and sharing her story while providing concepts and techniques that you can apply to your own life.
It really reiterated for me to prioritise your physical health in order to aid your mindset. The idea is easier said than done. But being made aware that it's instinctive for us to focus our 'flashlight' on our B-game means we can make a conscious effort to constantly pick up the flashlight on hard days and shift from fear. Meaning we can leave the bullshit we can't control like deadlines, rejection and imposter syndrome to the A-game of strengths and assets that empower us!
New features and updates announced at Xerocon include
Amongst all the amazing announcements, these stood out for us:
Bolstering machine learning capabilities for document processing and extraction:
Xero has accelerated its automation technology with document extraction using machine learning in Hubdoc, giving advisors more accurate information faster than ever before.
Short-term cash flow tool:
A new pilot for small businesses to receive short-term cash flow forecasts that ensure healthy cash flow keep on top of commitments and immediate actions. Xero is showing us that they are really trying to find ways to help small business bridge the cashflow gap
Automatic Recurring Payments:
That’s right folks, auto pay of recurring invoices embedded within Xero. This is a huge game changer for those who operate with retainers or regular payments. Let the cash flow.
Stripe Bank Feeds:
Yeah, I know. It’s very cool. For those of you who use stripe daily, this will make keeping your books clean waaaaaay easier.
Feedback, Say What:
Xero announced a customer feedback tool to help accountants be more connected with their clients. Meaning we can do a better job of helping you and your business.
With that, it's another successful Xerocon! We cannot wait to implement all that we've learned, and all the amazing and power features that have been released.