Each year, Xero holds an annual conference called Xerocon that allows those that utilise the accounting software to learn of the game-changing product announcements, invigorate their mindset with inspiring keynote speakers, participate in break out sessions and network with like minded accountants and add-on partners.
This year, Troy, Michael Dance and Gary ventured off to Brisbane. Gary provides us with his insights on the two days below…
Day 1 is in full swing. The team strides down to the Brisbane Exhibition Centre with excitement in our hearts, and what a scene it is. There are skateboards flying up and down the halfpipe, a pop-up barber, table tennis and a million donuts nailed to the wall; this is going to be fun. The highlight of the day hands down was by Xero’s Managing Director, Craig Hudson where he opened up on his personal battle with Imposter Syndrome and mental health. It takes a lot of courage to give the world a look behind the curtain, at the moments you’ve lost hope, when you can’t see a future and are right at your breaking point. He served as an example that it’s never too late to turn things around and that with the right support networks and skills, you can bring yourself back on the right path and get through.
Technically, Xero has focused on solving the big issue facing SMEs, cashflow. Most small businesses fail due to running out of money and Xero has partnered with payment processing platform Stripe to help fix this. If your business is struggling to chase up those clients who just won’t pay, this is a must have feature for you. Having the payment function directly embedded in the Xero invoice has led to payments being received up to 15 days faster.
My standout for day 2 was a presentation on leadership by Peter Baines. He gifted us some lessons learnt from his years working at the head natural disaster operations. He mentioned that leaders often have the same technical ability as everyone around them, however what separates them is their ability to act.
He told a story about a young boy and his grandfather running for shelter, desperately trying to find refuge before they would be swept away by the tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004. The grandfather looked toward a building ahead, however knowing that they wouldn’t make it, he made a split-second decision to climb a tree, dragging the young boy with him to the top.
They made it to the top of the tree, battered, bruised and exhausted… but alive. That split second decision saved his grandson’s life, but what we didn’t know was with the decision to climb the tree, he had to leave the boy’s younger brother behind, knowing the tsunami would take his life.
Through my glassy eyes, Peter’s message was clear; leadership is often difficult, but the best leaders take responsibility, make the best decision they can at the time and live with the consequences and the inner doubt of whether they could have done anything better to improve the outcome. They take on the burden of responsibility.
To finish off the conference, we headed down to the wrap party with all our friends, both old and new. We celebrated a successful week of getting to know the direction of where Xero and the accounting industry are headed, and all the third-party applications we can use to make our clients’ lives easier.
Xerocon this year showed us what is most important. In this industry, we often focus on performance, efficiency and output so much that we can sometimes lose awareness of how we and those around us are travelling. We could all use a reminder to be kind, helpful and considerate to our colleagues, clients, friends & family.
It’s always worth making five minutes to check in with someone, to make sure they are doing okay or to see if they need any help. To you, it might just be a moment of kindness, to them it may be the moment that saves their life.
HTA Intermediate Accountant