A few days ago (13-14 November), Xero, the creator of the now world-renowned cloud-accounting platform of the same name, ran a conference so fun it could compete with Coachella. From latte art stencils featuring each attendee’s face, Xerocon tattoos to live performers and astronauts, Xero once again showed us that anything it touches turn to gold – or a great party.
However, while Xero deserves a massive pat on the back for debunking the ‘boring accountant’ stereotype, it must be said the company deserves credit for a lot more than its ability to entertain. And before we give you the low-down on the event’s key highlights, indulge us as we tell you more about Xero and shed light on why over 3,000 delegates flew in from the world’s all corners to attend its annual conference.
What is Xero and Why Are They Such a Big Deal?
Hailing from New Zealand, Xero is a public software company that transformed the world of bookkeeping and accounting in ways that merit the term ‘unprecedented’. Rejecting the traditional accounting tools, such as spreadsheets and paper ledgers, Xero created a cloud-based software that was faster, more secure and more in tune with the changing business landscape of 2006 and onwards.
However, if you ask Xero users what makes this cloud-based software so special, they won’t just pinpoint the lack of time-consuming, unexciting spreadsheets. You’re more likely to hear about all the ways this software has revolutionised small businesses around the globe, helping business owners take control of and grow their operations in previously inconceivable ways. Similarly, accountants and bookkeepers have been able to redefine and modernise their jobs, allowing them to do more of the stuff that truly matters to their customers and less of the stuff that doesn’t.
With 1.8 million subscribers as of 2019, Xero is no longer just a software people use to make their jobs easier; Xero is now a movement, of which the popularity of Xerocon is a representation. This movement expands every year as more and more accountants and bookkeepers take on Xero qualifications to allow them to elevate their careers and to become part of a great following of forward thinkers devoted to growth and success.
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Xerocon London 2019
It’s fair to say this year Xerocon left no stone unturned and delivered everything the attendee thrill-seekers were after. Though it’s hard to pinpoint the main event when pretty much every aspect of the conference makes it seem like Disneyland for accountants and bookkeepers, the parts that stood out to us were:
Communities of Purpose
As the theme of this year’s conference was ‘communities of purpose’, Steve Vamos talked at length about the key role communities such as the Xero community can play in helping people to regain control at a time of great change. From increasing cloud technology adoption and AI to changes to and uncertainty surrounding our work, Steve stated that it’s not unusual to feel a ‘lack of control’.
And he’s right, as studies indicate that as more questions arise with regards to the future of our jobs, the more stressed and insecure we feel at work now. The by-products of that have been plummeting job satisfaction, physical health problems and more people thinking about leaving their existing jobs.
According to Steve, a way to combat feeling like this and, even better, find purpose in this uncertainty is by forming communities and by ‘connecting and caring for others facing similar challenges’. And it is exactly this feeling of community, this sense of coming together and celebrating innovation and change despite their many uncertainties, that bound all of this year’s Xerocon attendees, making the event both unique and inspiring.
Xero’s Environmental Pledge
As global emissions spike and climate change pushes ahead, it becomes more important than ever for businesses to remain aware of their impact and commit to helping the planet mend. And that’s precisely what Xero is doing. During this year’s conference, the company reiterated its dedication to taking responsibility for their social and environmental impact.
In his speech, Steve Vamos stated:
Our aim is to reduce our impact across all areas of the business for the year to 31 March 2020 and beyond’
More specifically, Xero pledged to reduce their footprint by neutralising 100% of the company’s carbon emissions (a net zero carbon footprint) as part of their existing initiative called Net Xero @ Xero. In order to achieve this, Xero has already implemented things like:
It’s fair to say that Xero doesn’t just talk the talk; it actively uses its resources and influence to counteract the damage that has been done to our planet. It also ensures that its own operations don’t exacerbate said damage. Power to you, Xero!
There is no disputing the fact that this year’s Xerocon London 2019 was a fun-filled, exhilarating event – and it’s really no wonder one attendee referred to it as being ‘better than Christmas’. However, beyond the fun and the excitement were also powerful insights relating to many aspects of our lives in the thick of great technological disruption. Emphasising community and connection, Xero skillfully reminded us that we’re in this together and it’s this togetherness that will ultimately help us weather the many changes coming our way.
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