The biggest accounting technology conference in New Zealand (NZ) transpired last 30 April – 1 May in Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland.
Xerocon 2015 was attended by over 1000 accounting industry professionals, with 35 Xero partners who participated in the exhibition. It was filled with product sessions, talks on future of cloud accounting technology, and opportunities to network and have some fun.
Notable industry-leading speakers include Xero CEO Rod Drury, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon Bill English, Deloitte Chief Strategy Officer Gerhard Vorster, Microsoft NZ Legal Counsel and Corporate Affairs Director Michael Brick, and Kiwibank Head of Marketing Communications & Content Regan Savage.
Day One Highlights
Some of the new product and software enhancements rolled out on the first day of the event were:
- Xero Business Performance Dashboard
Xero Business Performance dashboard aims to provide a real-time visual snapshot of a businesses’ health using a simple, easy-to-understand interface. It keeps significant metrics available at a glance and helps you track your performance against standard financial ratios. What’s more, it lets you collaborate with your advisor in interpreting numbers into meaningful data.
- Apple iOS Integration
Xero’s mobile app has offered consistent access and ease of use from any Apple device—a MacBook, iPhone, iPad. Now, with the rapid development of wearable technology, Xero showcased its integration with theApple Watch that provides consistent banking notifications while owners are on the go. “We waited to see how it would be used, and found that the Apple Watch is primarily a notifications engine,” said Luke Gumbley, Xero’s Product Manager of Mobile. Xero Apple Watch app does exactly that, providing real-time notifications of transactions.
- Improved Gmail Integration
Another common business tool that Xero enhanced integration with is Gmail. Xero incorporates email and contact records—initially via Gmail—into the Xero platform. With this, Xero users will have the capability to choose a filtered view of their inbox in relation to a specific business contact.
- Practice Reports
Xero believes that bringing practice reporting and the single ledger together is the most significant revolution in accounting since they started the company. Practice Reports are practice-wide report templates that give you the flexibility to create reports just the way you want them. Traditional financial reports take hours to build and are difficult to keep up-to-date. With Xero’s Practice Reports, you can build reports in minutes and use accurate real-time data.
Drury, also the founder of Xero, gave a quick overview of the successes over the past year and discussed the emerging financial web. “New Zealand is still the test lab for the world and our market share in New Zealand, around 20 percent, is enabling us to work with Government and big business to benchmark against industry and unlock insights that can mitigate risk, enable capital investment and ultimately raise the game for small business in New Zealand,” he said. Some of his key announcements include:
- 500,000 subscriber milestone
In September 2011, Xero achieved its first 50,000 subscribers after being in the business for five years. In just 10 months, it doubled and reach another milestone. During Xerocon 2015’s first day, Drury announced that Xero has hit the 500,000 mark. “Even nine years in, we’re at 80% growth,” said Drury, grinning, “which is nuts.”
- Going Beyond Accounting
With its continued growth, Xero aims to be more than just a “beautiful accounting software; it will also act as a “business platform,” addressing a variety of small-business needs beyond accounting, such as email management and payment processing. But one of Xero’s native functions—handling massive amounts of data—may prove to be one of its most useful features. “We’re moving from being an integrated accounting and payroll platform to very much a small business platform and delivering big data for small business.”
- Over 400 Partners
With over 400 add-on partner applications, Xero makes for an ideal companion for hundreds of businesses. Ean Murphy, a bookkeeper in New York, commented that “Xero is an open platform, and when it says it integrates with something, it actually does.”
Day Two Highlights
On day 2, Xero announced its success in connecting big business with small business and adding new partnerships with NZI and PlaceMakers going live to the Xero Business Connect network, with Meridian, OfficeMax and Watercare Services integrating later this year.
Another news is the launch of Xero Business Signals, which gauges the health of the small business economy. Victoria Crone, Managing Director of Xero New Zealand, said “Small business owners usually do not recognise the importance of their place in the world economy and usually fail to appreciate their own contribution to the world’s gross domestic product.”
Xero’s Chief Marketing Officer Andy Lark also talked about managing change and discussed the wave of disruption. During the last fifty years, we have witnessed four master corporate technology architectures namely the mainframe, the minicomputer, client/server, and the internet. In the previous blog, we noted that the fifth wave is called SMAC, the combination of four trends in the Information Technology (IT) field namely Social Media, Mobile Technologies, Analytics, and Cloud Computing. Now, he talked about another coming disruption – the wave of sensory technology.
Other guest speakers Insurance Australia Group (IAG) CEO Jacki Johnson, Minister of Women Hon Louise Upston, and Leadership – NZ CEO Sina Moore-Wendt joined Crone in examining the key challenges facing professional women in 2015, female leadership, cultural diversity, and the importance of women in the accounting and finance industry.
Winners & Finalists
Another highlight of Xerocon NZ is the celebration of the contributions of NZ’s top small businesses in Xero Partner Awards dinner. Here is the list of winners:
- 100% Xero Award – Enspiral Accounting Ltd
- Industry Partner of the Year 2014 (sponsored by Salesforce) – Z Energy
- Marketing Innovation Award 2014 (sponsored by Meridian) – Findlay & Co Chartered Accountants
- Emerging Add-on Partner of the Year – Figured
- Xero MVP Award – Adam Davy
- Bookkeeping Partner of the Year – Bookkeeping & Beyond
- Add-on Partner of the Year (sponsored by NZI) – Spotlight Reporting
- Emerging Partner of the Year – Noone Plus
- National Practice of the Year (sponsored by BizRewards) – RightWay Limited
- Accounting Partner of the Year (sponsored by Microsoft) – Enable Business
Overall, it was another successful event for Xero as it continues to bring innovation to the accounting industry.
The Outsourced Accountant supports Australian and New Zealand accounting firms by helping them understand and implement outsourcing solutions to help them become more proactive and truly add value to their clients. If you want to know more about outsourcing, call us at 1300 896 522/0800 452 853, and download our e-book.