Xerocon Brisbane 2018: Accounting Leaders Reflect on the Power of Cloud Technology

August 30, 2018 Matt Bunston

Hubdoc - Xerocon Brisbane 2018

Heading to Xerocon Brisbane? I’ll be there with the Hubdoc team! I’m Matt, Hubdoc’s Country Manager for Australia. Thinking about the fact that this will be my third Xerocon made me feel a bit nostalgic about my journey with Hubdoc. Read on to hear the story of how I learned the value of cloud accounting, as well as some of our partners’ tips for getting the most out of Xerocon. Hop in the time machine, let’s accelerate the DeLorean to 88...

I began my cloud accounting journey a little over three years ago when I joined two guys named Jamie in a 150 square metre office in Toronto, Canada. Hubdoc was one of the many accounting tech companies born in the cloud, but the ecosystem was entirely new to me. While I built up my product knowledge, I realized that I had little to no understanding of our customers and the value they were able to extract from Hubdoc.

I thought that taking a base-level accounting course at a local university could help me better understand. It didn’t. While it was a great experience and I surprisingly enjoyed balance sheets and FIFO (LIFO not to be forgotten), I didn’t acquire the level of customer understanding that I was looking for.

Beyond the high-level problems, how was Hubdoc really affecting our partners’ workflows? How different is their practice now – from client relationships to processes – compared to how it used to be in the days before cloud accounting technology?

This is stuff you don’t learn in Accounting 101. These types of insights only come from experience, and in my case, customer interactions. With that in mind (and since Xerocon Brisbane is right around the corner – a great opportunity to learn more about the accounting tech ecosystem), I recently asked some of our amazing Hubdoc partners about how cloud technology has transformed their practice, their client interactions, and their lives.

What task(s) did you do when you first started in the accounting industry that you can’t imagine ever doing again?

Steph Hinds, Head Ninja, Growthwise:

“When I first started in accounting, we used to handwrite journals, code cash books for entering into the computer, and print out paper to send to clients! I actually can’t imagine having to do anything manually anymore. It really is the combination of apps like Hubdoc, Xero, and BGL that has allowed this to happen.”

Jason Robinson, Director, RBK Advisory:

“Manually reconciling bank accounts with paper bank statements, a box of physical receipts, a ruler to mark off each line item, and entering data into cashflow manager desktop software… I’m dying writing this! With Xero and Hubdoc, all of these tasks are SOLVED!”

What was your “aha” moment when you realized the cloud was the future?

Meryl Johnston, CEO, Bean Ninjas:

“My goal was to have a business that was global and that I could run from anywhere in the world, with a team that I didn’t need an office for, and where I could work wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I didn’t think that was possible in the accounting industry, and it was only when I discovered Xero that I realized that it was!”

Steph Hinds, Head Ninja, Growthwise:

“The moment was when our clients started telling other business owners, ‘You’ve got to get this Xero thing… it saves so much time, and you can do it from anywhere!’ That was nine years ago. Being able to collaborate on the same data anytime, anywhere is so valuable to our clients.”

What is your number one tactical tip for advisors looking to make the shift to the cloud?

Jason Robinson, Director, RBK Advisory:

“Vision. Think long term. Think win-win. If your clients feel good about it and it makes your life easier in the long run, put a plan in place and get it done! Begin with the end in mind, draw your ideal firm and the ideal way you can work with your clients, and work your way back to where you are today to map out the roadmap. Speak to people who have done it.”

Meryl Johnston, CEO, Bean Ninjas:

“Pick a small number of cloud apps to focus on. There are hundreds of apps that connect with Xero – it’s not possible to be an expert in all of these. Understand who your customers are and work out which apps are the most useful and most relevant for them. Then, figure out which ones you’re going to really learn, and do those really well.”

Will we see you at Xerocon Brisbane? What are you most looking forward to?

Meryl Johnston, CEO, Bean Ninjas:

“Yes, I’ll be at Xerocon! This will be my third Xerocon and I’ll be going to many more.” 

Steph Hinds, Head Ninja, Growthwise:

“Of course! Haven't missed a Xerocon in Australia! For me, it’s important to network with app partners. The ecosystem is such a big part of what we do for our clients, so it's important to catch up, learn what's coming, and discuss the problems our clients are facing.”

What advice would you give to somebody heading to their first Xerocon and perhaps just beginning their journey in the cloud?

Jason Robinson, Director, RBK Advisory:

“Talk to everyone. Get involved with everything. At our first Xerocon, we took advantage of Practice Ignition’s onboarding offer – it saved us hours and $1,000. Have a hit list of the apps/partners you are keen to speak to, and don’t get too distracted by the shiny lights and fancy toys – get value for your money!”

Steph Hinds, Head Ninja, Growthwise:

“Get excited! Xerocon will be huge for someone for the first time. Keep an open mind. Talk to people, ask questions, and don't be afraid to be outside your comfort zone."

Meryl Johnston, CEO, Bean Ninjas:

“Make sure you go to the social events, too! It’s not just about listening to the presentations, it’s about connecting with people. Make sure that you are open to connecting with people, be friendly, and talk to people on breaks.”

Are you attending Xerocon Brisbane? Tell us on Twitter!

About the Author

Matt Bunston

Matt is the Australian Country Manager at Hubdoc. He is a graduate of the University of British Columbia where he majored in History. He’s obsessed with music and sports – he believes it’s a healthy obsession.

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