By Alfie Osborne.

Picture this, I joined de Jong Phillips nearly 3 years ago back in September 2019. Shortly after joining, I found out that we had been named finalists in the 100% Xero category for the Xero awards.

Unfortunately being the newbie in a team of 6 meant that I was not picked to go to the awards ceremony as the table meant we could bring a max of 5. On the other hand, as this was my first role in the financial sector I was quite happy with missing the awards due to my lack of experience in the field and probably would have had some awkward conversations networking. 

The morning after the awards was eventful. Firstly, we sadly didn’t come away with any awards but the team sounded like they had a great time. They filled me in on everything from the drinking, the eating, and the drunken karaoke. They even managed to come back with a new office plant… don’t ask.

This made me excited about the proposition of going to next year’s awards. (If we were to be nominated, I was guaranteed a spot at the table due to me missing out.) 

 

A virtual evening to remember

Fast forward to the 2021 awards, we had been nominated finalists in the Small firm of the year category.

This came as great news but this was dampened by the small factor of Covid-19 and meant that the awards ceremony had to be held virtually. Xero did a great job of making us feel as though we were really there but as with everything during this period of uncertainty, it was not quite the same as being there in the flesh.

2022 – the year of the Xero rockstar

Now, this was it, the 2022 awards had finally arrived and we had been nominated for the Small Firm of the year award.

This year’s theme was Rockstar and it was being held at the Troxy in London. The team set off at around 3 pm to make the trip to London, after about a 1 hour and 15 min train journey we had arrived in East London. Being early we thought we would go for a drink in the local pub, on arrival we saw some of the other finalists as they clearly had the same idea. 

 

Like with any good story – there was a problem to overcome!

We sunk a few drinks to settle the nerves before heading off as it was a 5 pm start (except there was only one problem…Pam our MD was nowhere to be seen). We messaged her to find out what time she would be meeting us but due to her calendar still being in German timezones (1 hour ahead) as that’s where she’s based. To our amazement, she thought it was due to start at 6 pm but it started at 5 pm!

After multiple cancelled Ubers, we finally were able to secure Pam a ride from the hotel to the Troxy. We then decided to go in and were greeted along the walkway by some famous rockstars. Here’s our very own Leanne showing some love to Freddie Mercury.

Leanne Grant Senior Accountant de Jong Phillips

We made our way down to the front stage to enjoy some; canapes, glasses of prosecco, and some networking with all of the other worthy finalists.

Shortly after, we took our seats and the main event was about to start. Pam had timed this perfectly and was able to get down to her seat before the awards started. 

The 2022 winners were revealed! 

After finding out who had won the Ireland awards and the App awards, it was time for the UK awards. Starting with the Small Firm of the Year Award.

Small Firm of The Year was one of the most hotly contested awards this year so it was amazing to even just be nominated alongside these finalists a shoutout to Full Stop, Kinder Pocock, Pink Pig Financials, and Raedan for the support they have given their client’s during a year of unprecedented times.

And the winner is de Jong Phillips Ltd!!!!

Small firm of the year winners Xero 2022 Alfie Osborne Emily Win Pam Phillips Leanne Grant Emily McKenna

It was great to get the recognition that the team deserved for all of their hard work throughout the year. I can now say I am part of an award-winning team and it feels good to know that you were part of the growth and development that’s made the difference between being just finalists to finally winning.

Still in a state of excitement as we wandered back to our seats just in time for Xero to conclude this year’s awards with the annual MVP award. 

The Most Valued professional 2022 went to none other than our very own Pam Phillips. (Luckily we reminded her that it was 5 pm and not 6 pm otherwise that would have been awkward!)

An award that I believe was thoroughly deserved although I could be perceived as biased given she is my boss so find Xero’s words below.

 

“Pamela Phillips from De Jong Phillips is a true advocate for Xero, continually flying the flag for how Xero and cloud software can transform business operations.

Pam is generous with her time and expertise as an active member of the Xero Partner Advisory Council, providing advice and feedback on behalf of the accounting industry, while also advocating for her client community.

She runs a modern, forward-thinking accountancy firm, De Jong Phillips. Having relocated to Germany during the pandemic, and managing the firm remotely, Pam is living proof that the future of the accounting industry can be flexible and inclusive, while still ensuring that excellent client service remains at the core. Pam is a true industry leader and an inspiration to many.”

Pam Phillips Xero MVP 2022

Now time to celebrate our success…

This leads me to my favourite part of the evening, the party.

We needed to fill up before the celebrations started so enjoyed setting ourselves the target of trying each food stall on offer. The team had cauliflower and beef burgers, dirty fries, and hotdogs then followed by ice cream and cookies for dessert!

We made the sensible decision of letting our food go down before we then started on the free beers and prosecco, then rocked out with the amazing band that was playing. 

After a few drinks and enjoying the band as fans danced below we decided that we had built up the courage to have a go ourselves and decided to head over to the karaoke booth.

Let’s just say thank you to Xero for those walls being soundproof!

Some fun networking was had too

Once we had lived out our rockstar dreams we headed over to network with the other firms of accountants and our friends at Syft, ApprovalMax, Xero, and Reducer.

This was way less daunting than I imagined, I expected some really technical questions but as a whole, it was nice to put names to faces and build on our relationships.

At about 10 pm we decided to make the smart decision of getting the last train home. By 11:30 pm I was back in bed after an enjoyable evening.

 

The morning after the night before

However, the alarm clock was not something anyone wanted to hear the next morning after drinking but at least we were all in the same boat.

We powered through and were rewarded with a victory breakfast, which was well needed.

 

The Xero awards were one of the best nights I have had since joining de Jong Phillips and I would recommend it to anyone who may be a bit apprehensive like me at first.

I hope to see you all again next year and have bagsied a spot if we are lucky enough to be nominated again (due to the fact that I have given myself the title of the team’s lucky charm).

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