Issue 12

You’re wasting your time at Xerocon – let’s change that

Xero Ice

Xerocon is Xero’s annual conference. As we enter the second half of 2017, Xerocon season is officially upon us with Xerocon Melbourne in September, Xerocon London in October and Xerocon Austin in December. Whether you’re a first-timer or a Xerocon veteran, these practical tips will help you get the most out of the centerpiece of the Xero calendar…

Accountants reading this will be familiar with continuing professional development courses. If you’re looking to learn about the latest nuances of finance lease accounting or about recent guidance on fixed asset useful lives, Xerocon is the place for you. Fear not, I’m just kidding with you!

As a qualified accountant and veteran of three Xerocons, I can tell you that Xerocon is unlike any accounting conference youíve ever been to. It is outward-facing and big picture-focused. It looks at where the accounting profession is going and what the future of client service looks like.

Xerocon presents an incredible opportunity for attendees. To learn, to network and above all, to be inspired. Itís easy to get overwhelmed with all the opportunities available at Xerocon. That’s why we’ve put together these practical tips on how to get the best out of your time there. They draw upon our own experience, alongside the tips of key Xero industry figures (including Rod Drury, Founder and CEO of Xero, and Gary Turner, Co-founder and Managing Director of Xero UK) from our ‘How To Make The Most Out Of Xerocon’ video interview series. These videos can be accessed at www.chaserhq.com/xerocon.

What To Do Before Xerocon

Before anything else, sense-check to make sure you are in the right mindset for Xerocon. Sharon Pocock of Kinder Pocock, winner of Xero MVP 2016, put it perfectly: ‘Have an open mind and be ready to embrace change’.

Have the clothing to brand yourself in your firm’s name. This was a great tip from Rod Drury, who it’s fair to say knows a thing or two about marketing. By branding yourself, it ensures people can find you at Xerocon and builds the profile of you and your firm.

Another great practical clothing-related tip came from Gary Turner – wear comfy shoes. There is going to be a lot of walking around with all the event exhibitors and you don’t want foot pain preventing you from enjoying the conference.

Identify the App partners you want to speak to. There will be a huge number of connected Apps exhibiting at Xerocon. Look at the event guide beforehand to decide on the ones that will be relevant to you and your clients. Also have a look at the Xero App Marketplace and the customer reviews each app has on there to help you decide.

What To Do At Xerocon

Speak to and learn from other attendees. Xerocon is full of people who want to help each other, collaborate and share learnings from their own Xero journeys. There is a real abundance mentality – fears of other firms looking to steal your clients are outdated. If you need an ice-breaker, why not start with the simple: ‘How long have you been working with Xero?’

Ask the Xero team for help. The Xero team are fantastic and will be at Xerocon in huge number. They are always incredibly keen to help. Ask for their help if there’s someone you’re eager to speak to.

Get on social media, Twitter especially. The #xerocon hashtag builds up in the days before Xerocon before exploding during the conference itself. It is a great way to find out what is going on during the conference.

If there is more than one person from your firm attending Xerocon, divide and conquer when it comes to attending breakout sessions and visiting App partner exhibitors. Then compare notes afterwards.

The talks are incredible and must attends. But in the sessions prior to breaks and especially before lunch, weíd recommend sitting right at the back. That way you can get to the front of the queue during the break and give yourself that maximum time possible to spend with exhibitors!

What To Do After Xerocon

Block out time and follow up. Paul Bulpitt, Xero UK Head of Accounting, had these cautionary words: “It’s so easy to go from Xerocon straight back into the whirlwind. Before you know it’s the next Xerocon already and you’ve not done any of the things you wanted to do.” Both he and Stephen Paul, Founder of Valued Accountancy, who won Xero Accounting Partner of the Year 2015, suggest blocking out two days after Xerocon. That way you can follow up and act on your learnings and inspiration from the event.

Share your learnings with clients. Get the maximum bang for your Xerocon buck by sharing your learnings with clients. These make for an excellent newsletter. You can demonstrate your forward thinking and help them improve their use of Xero and its add-on App ecosystem.

That’s a wrap. You now have everything you need (ticket aside, that is!) to make incredible use of your time at Xerocon. You know what you need to do before the conference, whilst you’re there and what you need to do afterwards. I hope these tips have proved useful. I wish everyone an enjoyable and fruitful Xerocon – see you there!

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About the author

David Tuck, Founder & CEO, Chaser

David started his career with Deloitte where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser. He subsequently headed finance teams for three businesses who sold on payment terms. This experience led him to found Chaser to revolutionise how businesses can carry out credit control.