Up until last week, I was the 38-year-old Xerocon Virgin. Now, I can truly understand what the excitement is about. Xerocon London 2018 was two days of immersion into all things accounting, and an opportunity to get insight into where Xero is taking the future of small business.
Here’s a wrap-up of our key takeaways from the event:
Continuous product development
There were some big product announcements from Xero, specifically around the introduction of corporate tax and personal tax, as well as extending accounts production. There’s a lot going on, and the event demonstrated the extent to which Xero are focused on continual product development in the age of AI.
Product development is a focus for Figured too. For us, Xerocon was also an opportunity for us to showcase the first wave of the BCMS integration, which offers a read-only Cattle on Holding report directly from CTS Online flowing into Figured. This is the first step towards full integration, which will involve deducing these stock movements and creating them automatically in Figured.
A partnership approach
Xero has a huge app partner community, many of which were also in attendance at the exhibitor hall. However we noticed that accounting partners were taking a more considered and strategic approach to the app partners they were engaging with. It’s a sign that their practices are reaching the next stage of maturity, where they’re focusing on a core few applications that are really going to work for their practice, and their clients.
We witnessed a lot of conversations around the uptake of change within accounting practices, both in the presentations and panels, as well as in the conversations on our stand. It was great to see partners, including Grant Smith from our partner practice, Armstrong Watson, add their insights to the discussions around getting to grips with change towards becoming a digital practice, the challenges they’ve faced when implementing change at scale, and the conversations that need to be had when you’re dealing with diverse partner positions.
Sense of community
As a Xero partner, we see ourselves as a partner in change. As such, we recognise that we also have a responsibility to not just be a part of the Xero community, but also be a part of facilitating the conversations that can help drive change too. We see there is value in connecting partners with other practices who are at different parts of their journey with cloud technology, so they can learn and grow.
Human at heart
This also ties in with the overall theme of Xerocon 2018: Human at heart. Despite the advancements in technology, AI and machine learning, the idea of connecting humans remains at the heart of our purpose. As providers, it’s our role to enable connection, and it’s a premise that Figured has been built upon - connecting the farming team. Change is therefore less about technology, but about the behaviours and conversations it can facilitate, and the role here of accountants is critical. As Steve Vamos, Xero CEO said: "Technology doesn't innovate. Technology doesn't disrupt anything. People are fundamental. We need the human element".
A chance to celebrate
We are proud to share that we were named the Xero Industry Specific App Partner of the Year, which we feel is huge recognition of the work that we’ve done in establishing strong relationships with partners in the UK. This includes two new partnerships that we were really excited to officially announce at Xerocon - Armstrong Watson and Baldwins.
We're humbled by the support for Figured in the UK from our partners and the team at Xero, and looking forward to what the next year has in store for our partnerships.