After attending the inaugural Xerocon London 2012 event I wondered if Xerocon 2013 would meet the same high standards. The reality was it blew way past it. This conference has become far more than one companys’ explosive growth gathering, it has become an industry must-attend conference.
The conference serves a number of key purposes for us:
- Team building and networking. The full Profitpal team travelled to London again, we close our offices 3 times a year, Christmas, Easter and xerocon. It’s an offsite trip where we get to spend a few days discussing our business strategy and meet like-minded accountants to share stories. To me it is invaluable and I would recommend any firm who is moving to the cloud to bring their entire team.
- For people new to Xero it displays the core functionality and value adding user experience that has brought Xero such worldwide following. It also shows us the latest Xero functionality and development plans.
- We get to catch up with the Xero team who support us throughout the year and we meet the add-on partners who form an ever increasing role in ours and our clients businesses. Xero now has over 270 add on partners, all vibrant companies in their own right, and all building business solutions for aspiring businesses who are the target market of the accounting profession attendees.
- We gather insight into building a marketing edge and tweaking our sales process in an industry where marketing and sales has been mostly absent.
The show this year was held in the Brewery on Chiswell lane, it’s quite the place, 500 people packed the main hall, the Xero stage and set up was like something out of a rock concert. This company is coming of age and it shows in the approach they are taking during these events. This was apple-esk
Xero outlined some of the key components they are working on that will be released shortly. Document management, Workpapers (just released) , Quotes, Inventory, Tagging, Purchase orders and a lot more. This company is pouring money into the development of the product and service. It blew us away three years ago and with multiple upgrades each year we are even more excited about the product going forward. Gary Turner introduced the day and the ever present Rod Drury showed us a glimpse of the future as we struggled to keep up with his mile a minute speed of thought.
You get the sense from Rod that accounting was simply step one, this is about businesses doing smart business, connecting data and money flows that fit into an active non desk bound work day. The time he spends talking about the add-on partners highlights the value they bring to the equation as core business solutions to a diverse business world.
My job for the conference was to deliver a keynote speech entitled “rebranding your practice”. While everything I spoke about was directly related to rebranding, in reality it was about adding value to clients through services, capturing that value through pricing and communicating that value through marketing and sales.
To say I was nervous before the speech was a massive understatement, I kept thinking back to the “inspirational” words Gary Turner said to me the night before “Denis you’d better be shit-hot tomorrow” followed by a hearty laugh and pat on the back. Our business development manager couldn’t stop laughing, riiiiight no pressure! As I went on stage Gary pulled me aside and simply said “be yourself and enjoy it” and I think I managed to do that as the speech was very well received.
I briefly outline our plans for the future at the end of the speech, a detailed free webinar in October (feel free to sign up here http://www.profitpal.ie/accountants) to discuss the items in the presentation in greater detail, workshops in London and Dublin and a Partner program starting in 2014. I truly believe there are significant opportunities for accounting firms today.
The rest of the day we spent catching up with some of our friends at DJCA, the Wow Company, Mint, Valued, Fathom, Unleashed and Spotlight. I got caught up with the world’s best social media correspondent Catherine Walker aka orange girl and got to meet Rachael Power from @accountingwebuk, Rachael hails from Nenagh in Ireland, for non Irish it’s pronounced like an ambulance siren, neenaa neenaa, except only once!
The event was capped off with the gala dinner and awards ceremony that night where we won Irish partner of the year for the second year running – whuuuu whooooo and The Wow Company won UK partner of the year – whuuuuuu whoooooooo whoooooooo
To finish off the trip, 30 minutes after arriving back in Dublin I gave a transform your practice speech at Omni pros growth summit where Paul Dunne was holding court. Man he is one intensely energetic dude; he’s like my dad on red bull.
By Friday morning we were back at our desks taking Skype calls and on boarding new clients.
It was a hectic few days but so well worth it.
Roll on 2014