de Jong and Phillips LLP

Xerocon 2019: Communities of Purpose

Xerocon 2019: Communities of Purpose

By Pamela Phillips

What is Xerocon

If I asked you to imagine the scene of a conference for accountants you might find yourself imagining a room full of grey-suited bean-counters exchanging opinions on the latest tax budget.

You’d be wrong! Xerocon, known as the Glastonbury for Accountants, is an annual 2-day conference in November held in the Excel Centre in London. This year it was attended by more than 3,000 Accountants.

Why do we go?

It inspires us to be better: for our clients and for our people

We went to our first Xerocon in 2015 and were totally blown away. We were surrounded by accountants who, like us, embraced the world of digital accounting and advisory and could see how it could be leveraged to deliver more than just year-end accounts and tax returns to their clients.

With speakers like Major Tim Peak (astronaut), Priya Lakhani OBE (founder of Century Tech), Steve Vamos (Xero CEO), Mathew Syed (Author and Journalist) and Chris Hoy (Olympian) it is impossible not to be inspired.

Going to Xerocon is a chance to get away from the day-to-day of running our business and to immerse ourselves in learning about new developments in business thinking, accounting, technology, and the future. Learning from the diverse group of speakers, our peers, from Xero and from the app ecosystem, it is a chance to refocus on our purpose and energises us for the rest of the year to continue to improve how we serve our clients.

It is fun!

As well as being a chance to learn and be inspired, Xerocon is great fun! This year's party included dodgems, a helter-skelter, a carousel, a few double-decker drinks buses, limitless food and drink, and a couple of bands. It is a great team-building event and a fantastic way to make connections in the accounting and tech community.

This year's theme: Communities of Purpose

Gary Turner talked about his own very personal account of how the success and failure of businesses affect not just business owners and their staff but families and communities. There is a ripple effect that radiates out from a business and, as accountants, we have the ability to help owners of small businesses take control and thrive.

Craig Hudson (Xero NZ MD) gave a very moving talk about his own experience with mental health challenges and how emotional and mental health is an issue for business owners as 80% of small business owners feeling like they’re in it alone.

There was a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and also that business is, and needs to be, Human at Heart (which incidentally was the theme of last years Xerocon). When human skills like empathy and insight are layered on top of AI, the combination is really powerful.

Xero Awards Finalist

This year we were also very excited to find out that we are a finalist in the 100% Xero firm of the year. This is an achievement we are very proud of and we are looking forward to finding out the winner at the Awards ceremony in March 2020.

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