What's Around the Corner for Accountants in 2018?

13-Oct 2017

For the past month I’ve had the privilege of attending not one, but two, of the biggest cloud accounting conferences in the world. I am indeed talking about Xerocon London and Melbourne! Xero’s annual conference has been growing in attendee numbers every single year and it’s not hard to see why. These guys know how to throw a conference. If you’re a cloud-savvy, geeky accountant like me, you’d absolutely love the vibe and the atmosphere of the conference.

Today, my job is to give you a breakdown of what you missed at Xerocon and what you should start to focus on coming into 2018:

The Human Element

Rod Drury (Xero CEO), Anna Curzon and Gary Turner all focused on the ‘Human Element’ being the next big focus accounting firms need to bring to their customers lives. A transition away from how Xero can automate your life as an accountant and a big focus on the impact Xero partners have on their clients and what that means to the good in the world.

It was a big transition from recent years and I think for both the Melbourne and London audience, a sense of relief. This was something everyone could get behind. Focus on enriching our client’s lives. Help them to succeed. Then, you will also succeed as a result.

There was also a great debate between what does the ‘Machine’ bring and what does the ‘Human’ bring to these relationships and to the scope of the work.

Xero HQ Announces 11 App Integrations

Of course, there was a massive focus on the new features being rolled out to Xero HQ and live examples of how that would work for Xero Partners using Xero HQ as part of their practice suite.

The biggest announcement came around the 11 integration partners that were announced as best of breed products that now integrate into Xero HQ. Publishing notifications when certain events happen within the product.

These 11 app partners are Datamolino, Practice Ignition, Receiptbank, Futrli, Fathom, Spotlight, Expensify, Hubdoc, SuiteFiles, NowInfinity & BOMA.

Opening up these API’s is now showing what could be possible in cloud-based workflow integrations around the Xero Ecosystem. It’s an exciting time and a great achievement for all involved.

xero stuff

New Xero Features

There was a string of other new Xero features announced at Xerocon this year. From new mobile app functionality to new tracking modules, to the vision and commitment that will help reshape the education industry forever.

Xero Projects

Xero Projects was announced at Xerocon, and we think this is a great solution for the Xero Partner Community. Xero Projects allow you to bill expenses and track time accordingly which will essentially give you and your small business clients a better way to manage and track specific projects that need to be billed out accordingly. This solution will result in better functionality than using tracking codes inside Xero’s reporting suite. From what we saw on stage, Projects will give you the ability to track and allocate time, as well.

Xero Expenses

There were some announcements around Xero Expenses that we haven’t covered that you can read about here.

This update involved a full rebuild from the ground up of the Xero mobile app, and enhancements to the Expenses API which should see new functionality and integrations from the data automation solutions.

Xero HQ Asks

Xero announced some new functionality around Xero HQ in London that the Melbourne attendee’s missed out on. We saw the arrival of Xero HQ Asks, demoed by Guy Alexander, Xero HQ guru. Xero HQ Asks is an interface that allows a Xero Partner to send requests and set reminders to their clients with regards outstanding source documents required by the accountant or bookkeeper to complete their client’s work. Asks is all built into Xero HQ and displays on the Xero HQ newsfeed when an action or activity had occurred.

This new release has the potential to be a real game changer and further enhances the user journey for Xero HQ. If you’re not using Xero HQ currently, then now might be the time to start looking at how it could benefit your practice.

There was a quick view of the new staff permissions and client picker selection within Xero HQ which gave the audience a few “ahh” moments. We think you should keep a watchful eye on Xero HQ as this seems to be the Xero platform of the future.

xero conf

Xero’s Lifelong Learning Platform

The globalization of technology has not only reshaped the way we work but also the need for lifelong learning to stay relevant with the pace of change in the workforce. Handling finances, both personal and business, is a necessity for everyone, from school-age students to retirees. Yet many neglect this important life-skill. Xero Lifelong Learning Platform allows students to grow their financial literacy to help prepare them for the real world.

The Xero Lifelong Learning Platform paves the way for education to be accessible to everyone, from anywhere, at any time, democratizing education for all. Best of all, it’s always up to date. Students and people reskilling will always be working on the latest version of the tools used in business, not the out of date desktop technology still taught across the world.

In Closing...

Xerocon attracted over 5000 Xero partners between both conferences this year with that number expected to jump up over 7000 partners next year. It’s safe to say the Xerocon behemoth will continue to get bigger and bigger.

These events have been great to look at what Xero believes are the next key things accountants should focus on whilst displaying new innovations they are bringing to the accounting industry.

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