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My XeroCon London 2018 Highlights

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
By Cheryl Sharp
My XeroCon London 2018 Highlights

I am slowly emerging from my XeroCon bubble!  Last week's conference can be summed up as an amazing and surreal experience.  Right from the moment I arrived in London for a live Accelerator session with Karren and Tom from The Profitable Firm I knew this was going to be one to remember.  I got to meet up with my ‘virtual accountant friends’ – other accountants and bookkeepers who I have met online in various Xero groups, or Twitter, or my fellow PF accelerators was amazing.  Then I got to check onto the Sunborn Yacht Hotel and all I can say is WOW! We were all so looked after by the guys from Receipt Bank, I can’t thank them enough for their wonderful hospitality (and great swag!).  Then it was the actual conference itself – so many announcements which will help not just us accountants and bookkeepers but will be so invaluable to our clients too.  We also got to meet so many app partners offering fantastic services to make your businesses less stressful and help to grow, as well as some fab speakers.  The Behind Your Business video we filmed with our client 3D Oak was launched – and of course the XeroCon Party, and the exhibition hall even had a zip wire!  In the words of Ashley Leeds – “If Carlsberg did conferences – this would be it!”

The theme of the conference was Human at Heart – and this is a great reminder for us all – no matter how good the tech is, people will always want to do business with other people who they like and trust, and this will never change.  It’s the people in your business that sets you apart Laughing

I’d also like to say a big thank you to James (my fiancé) for having the kids which allowed us to attend the event – couldn’t be without them Laughing

So onto my highlights, and there are quite a few to include!

Xero Awards London 2018

Well I guess the first place to start has to be the Awards.  I am still in shock at being named Xero’s Most Valued Professional for 2018.  It is such an honour and I am so proud at winning the award.  Xero said they chose me as their MVP as I am a tireless Xero advocate (I do love Xero!), helping the team with various issues, as well as helping with their new CIS and MTD for VAT functionality.  They also like our business model of being run by and for parents, allowing flexible working among other things.  

A big congrats to all the finalists and winners, especially my co-winner Mark Telford of Telfords Chartered Accountants – you are all incredible.  You can read more about the awards and all the incredible businesses here.

Announcements

There were plenty of feature announcements, including improvements to CIS (emailing deduction statements which we have been part of the trials for and we are a fan of this!).

MTD for VAT was launched, and further trials opened.  After our success as part of the Beta trials this is great to see this being opened up to other partners.  This really shows that Xero are ahead of the game and MTD ready.  As part of Xero’s MTD campaign, they also introduced us to Dexter – the new face of Digital Tax.  You can read more about Dexter here.

The new Navigation Bar which goes live next week was shown to us in more detail – and looks fab,  I  can’t wait to start using it.  There were some great FinTech partnerships announced too, which we will be exploring further.  The new banking API is now live and banks are starting to come on board.  We’ve already been working with Tide, and now the partnership and their new bank feed have been announced we are looking to explore a further partnership with them ourselves – watch this space!

Xero also launched its new courses for specialist badges, which will show our experience and specialism in various areas.  These courses are on our to do lists and we hope to have them all completed in the next couple of weeks.  This will give you, our clients and potential clients, further assurance that we are able to help you and your businesses to grow.

Speakers

As usual there was a great keynote from Gary Turner (UK MD), and it was great to get to know and hear from the new CEO Steve Vamos.

There were great talks and sessions from Edward Berks, Damon Anderson, Ashleigh Lambers, fab demo from Neil Sheehan and Marc, as well as a great session with Rod Drury and Sir Chris Hoy, not forgetting the fabulous host Louise Minchin.  However for me the talk of the conference was from Ben McBean who shared his story of his time in Afgan and how he’s strived to succeed since. There was barely a dry eye in the house, such an inspirational and emotional speech.  You can read more about Ben and his story here.

Video shown on the big screen!

Our behind your video which was filmed by Xero with our client Darren of 3D Oak  was unveiled at XeroCon. It was mad to see our video on the big screen! I’ve included a clip in the highlights video above and will be sharing the full video on our SM channels later on this week – watch this space!

App Partners

During the breakout sessions we were able to meet the teams from Receipt Bank, Futrli, Float, Pleo, Tide, GoCardless, Chaser, MileIQ, Square and many others.  It was great to meet the teams we work with and also get to know more about each of these apps.  I have a separate blog with more info on each of these apps to come Smile

We certainly did work hard and play hard during our time at XeroCon and we are already looking forward to next year's conference – although not sure how they will be able to top this year!  Thank you Xero for such an amazing few days.  Until next time...