Xerocon Brisbane 2018: Making Human Connections

September 13, 2018 Paige Sopik

Xerocon Brisbane 2018 Hubdoc

On Tuesday, September 4, the Hubdogs traveled to Brisbane to attend Xero’s annual accounting conference extraordinaire, Xerocon. Over 3,700 accountants, bookkeepers, and financial professionals gathered to connect with each other and hear the best and the brightest discuss the future of cloud accounting and how it will help small businesses succeed. 

As our first event as an official member of the Xero family, Xerocon Brisbane was especially exciting for Hubdoc. We were looking forward to meeting up with old and new friends, and Xerocon provided the perfect venue to do exactly that. Within minutes of entering the convention centre, it became evident that this conference was about much more than just accounting – it was about people.

A basketball court, a pool-sized ball pit, and a human-powered technology charging station were just a few of the exhibition attractions that encouraged attendees to connect with each other in a meaningful way.

Throughout Xerocon, we listened to passionate keynotes, attended the expert-led breakout sessions, and had several conversations with fellow attendees. Here are our three key takeaways from Xerocon Brisbane 2018!

1. Machine learning & AI will continue to better serve advisors

According to Genevieve Bell, an anthropology professor and futurist who spoke on day one of Xerocon, machine learning and artificial intelligence are the key technologies that will shape our next industrial revolution. Products of these technologies – robots, self-driving cars, OCR – will fundamentally change the way that we spend our time.

Xero and other app partners like Hubdoc are continuing to develop accounting technology using machine learning and AI to automate highly repetitive and tedious tasks. These technologies allow advisors to spend more time interpreting their clients’ data, growing their business, or simply enjoying quality family time.

Matt Sharwood, Strategist at Advise Accountants (a Hubdoc Top 50 Cloud Accountant and Xero Gold Partner), is one of the many advisors who is excited about the possibilities that come with AI: “Data automation gives us a lot more face-to-face time with our customers. If all the heavy administrative work is done for us, we can spend more time being people with people.”

Xero’s product feature announcements, including an enhanced email-to-bills feature and a revamped invoicing feature, as well as Xero’s acquisition of Hubdoc, demonstrate their commitment to creating products that will help our partners save time and run more efficient practices.

2. Accountants and bookkeepers are keen to explore app advisory

App advisory can yield many benefits for accounting practices and their small business clients; however, only a relatively small percentage of firms offer this service today.

At Xerocon, accountants and bookkeepers showed their eagerness to learn more about offering app advisory, as demonstrated by the popularity of Nick Houldsworth’s (Executive General Manager of Ecosystem at Xero) breakout session, “Recommending the Right Apps for Your Clients”. According to Nick, over half of Xero partners are keen to recommend apps to their clients, but don’t know how to get started.

One of the reasons commonly provided for not offering app advisory services is that advisors are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available apps – and understandably so. There are over 700 add-on solutions in the Xero App Marketplace!

Xero listened to their partners’ feedback and launched a few awesome programs aimed at helping them begin their app advisory journey. Among our favorites are the new Xero U courses on app advisory, which will include industry-specific certifications so advisors can feel more confident when recommending the right apps to their clients.

3. #Human remains at the heart of the accounting industry

This year, Xerocon was all about being human – the people behind the practices and technology that are influencing the future of the accounting industry. Why do people matter so much in a world that seems to be driven by technology?

Rachael Powell, Xero’s Chief Customer and People Officer, explained how Xero thrives by applying its people-focused “inside-out” approach, which starts with defining your company values and purpose. People want to partner with organizations that are working toward something meaningful.

Trent Innes, Xero’s Managing Director for Australia & Asia, explained how 99 percent of what your business does – your technology, processes, outputs – is largely invisible to your customers. In order to stand out and take your business to the next level, you need to consistently deliver the extra one percent, which according to Trent, always comes from your people.

At Hubdoc, being human is one of our core values. The people we work with – our community of accountants, bookkeepers, partners, their small business clients, and our colleagues – are the reason we come to work every day, and we know we’re not alone in that.

Moving forward with people first

Xerocon kicked off its opening keynote with a performance by Australian beatboxer, Tom Thum, who used only his voice combined with technology to create an astonishing musical experience. As Tom simply illustrated, technology can enhance, transform, and change the way that we interact with our surroundings, but being human remains at the center.

To quote Steve Vamos, CEO at Xero, “Technology doesn’t innovate, people do.” As we reflect on Xerocon Brisbane 2018, we are reminded that people are the force of change in the accounting industry, and we couldn’t be more excited about the people who are driving this change to help small businesses succeed.

What are your Xerocon takeaways? Tweet at Hubdoc to share them with us!

Want to learn more about Hubdoc? Sign up for our free webinar where we’ll show you how to use Hubdoc and Xero together for frictionless bookkeeping!

About the Author

Paige Sopik

Paige is an Education Specialist at Hubdoc. She draws on her experience on Hubdoc's support and marketing teams to provide users with top-notch digital educational resources. Paige takes her knack for teaching to the yoga studio and chases any opportunity to learn something new.

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