Wow! What an exciting first Xerocon as CEO. Day one was full of so many inspiring moments. Of course, the best part was talking directly to our accounting and bookkeeping community about the critical role they play in the lives of small businesses.
Being on the big stage to discuss the importance of Xero’s purpose and partnerships was not only a highlight, but also a privilege – as was seeing the rest of the day unfold.
Looking ahead with the Xerocon opening showcase
The morning began with a mesmerising dance performance from Milan Ring, followed by a showcase from some of Xero’s leadership team.
I loved hearing Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer, talk about her passion for helping advisors and how Xero is helping accountants and bookkeepers grow their practice. James Bergin, EGM of Technology Strategy and Integration, talked about emerging technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and how we can help our partners prepare for the future. We heard from Jeremy Butteriss, EGM of Ecosystem and Partnerships, who highlighted the many benefits that Xero delivers through our ecosystem of over 1,000 connected apps such as Planday, and building custom integrations.
Head here to learn more about the product updates and features we announced.
Our Chief Customer Officer Rachael Powell also shared insights about the challenges small businesses face, and opportunities for advisors to evolve in areas like carbon accounting. What’s more, Xero’s resident economist Louise Southall gave an overview of the economic climate that small businesses are operating in, including the latest from Xero Small Business Insights.
Taking inspiration from the main stage speakers
The day continued with some special guest speakers. Lisa MacCallum, former VP of Nike, inspired us with a session on the transformative power of balancing purpose and profit. She reminded us that business owners who stand for more than what they sell always come out on top.
Our fabulous Xerocon host Julia Zemiro kept energy levels high. It was wonderful to hear her interview Sam Elsom about his passion for environmentalism. Sam is the CEO of Sea Forest, a company that produces a special breed of seaweed that combats climate change. He left a lasting impression, rallying everyone to take steps – no matter how small – to become more sustainable in business and life.
We also heard from APAC Managing Director Joseph Lyons, who discussed the importance of trust. In the age of automation, he reinforced that technology will only ever be the co-pilot – not the replacement – to human-led advisory.
Learning about the latest trends
The breakout sessions in the afternoon delved deeper into the topics that matter most. We expanded on some key themes from the morning like carbon accounting, how practices are preparing for the future, and emerging technologies like AI.
We shared some research on small businesses and how they are responding to AI. The insights showed they are concerned that AI development and adoption is outpacing regulation, but many are still proactively looking to use AI. There’s a clear desire for more education, and that’s why we launched the Future Focus: AI Guide for Accountants and Bookkeepers to help our partners navigate the impact of AI on their practices and clients, with plenty more insights, meaningful discussions and learnings shared.
Having a blast in the exhibition hall
Of course, Xerocon isn’t just about listening to main stage and breakout sessions; there was plenty of buzz and activity in the exhibition hall, with attendees having the opportunity to meet with over 70 app partners taking part in Xerocon.
From a bedazzling Xero piggy bank and ‘beating a bot’ to taking a ride down the slides and going for a massage or haircut in the wellness area, plenty of fun was had by everyone involved. And I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow!