Having our team attend Xerocon each year is one way we keep them up to date. In September 2022, DFK Everalls took a team of 11 (directors, client managers, our own office manager and all levels of accountants including new graduates and our bookkeepers) to XeroCon in Sydney. Xerocon is an event for Xero, software partners and developers to engage with their end users e.g. accountants and bookkeepers just like us. Xero also uses it as a time to showcase new product features as well as let us know what the road map is for future enhancements. As a team we find it valuable to attend Xerocon to gain knowledge about new and existing specialised apps and evaluate which ones may be a good fit for our clients. We also see it as an opportunity to look at the latest updates and best practice guides for accounting firms like ours so that we can make best use of available technology to deliver high quality service to our clients.
Xerocon is not all about products however, or even about Xero itself! This year there was an emphasis on bigger picture issues as well including employee wellbeing and engagement and how to develop our services to look after our clients better.
So what were some of the key takeaways from our team?
Different team members had different goals they wanted to achieve by attending.
Our Directors and Management team went to learn about how we can make our own business run more efficiently by using different apps that integrate with Xero (eg Practice Management software including Electronic Document Management systems, Client document portals, Electronic Document signing, Timesheets, Invoicing, Payroll, Tax Return Preparation, cyber security protection etc.)
The whole team went to learn about new Xero features and what Add On Apps are available to help us do client work more efficiently and help clients manage their businesses better.
So we have quite a cross section of Xerocon Top Takeaways to share with you now.
Our younger team members were very interested to hear about what new Generation business owners (eg Gen Alpha – yes that is now a thing!) are looking for when making their own purchasing decisions and they want to know how to track and report on their own Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) issues. There are now apps out there like COGO to track Carbon Footprints. ESG tracking will be something that will actually filter through all businesses large and small in coming years and we will watch this with particular interest so we can help clients accordingly.
We also noted that there has been a considerable shift from the app suppliers operating as a single/niche/independent suppliers. They appear to have been busy partnering up with industry colleagues so that they can provide a suite (or single platform) of integrated apps eg Electronic Doc Management system suppliers joining with Electronic Document Signing software suppliers; or Engagement letter software suppliers now joining up with Workflow software suppliers; or Timesheets prefilling payroll etc. This has the advantage of software that is more integrated (one platform) than current multi-supplier solutions and should result in better consistency & efficiency. We love enhancements in efficiency, so this information was warmly received by the team. We have started some internal conversations around what our preferred ‘app stack’ might look like for our clients. Stay tuned!
Our Bookkeeping team enjoyed participating in the Side Stage presentations to watch the practical demonstrations of new tools and apps. This also meant that we could ask specific questions of the app experts and dive into the programs in more detail.
In a world of rising interest rates and increased volatility it was timely to participate in discussions around how technology tools contained within the Xero app stack can help clients be more “Finance Ready” in case they need to apply for finance quickly. We hope to share more on this important topic in a future insight.
There were a host of opportunities to discuss where next for automation. Obviously every business is looking for efficiencies and a key way of achieving them is via automations. So we loved the opportunity to look at enhanced reporting templates and communication flows. However, automation and tech improvements didn’t stop there, we also looked more closely at the opportunity to use technology to improve our business advisory services to better assist our clients achieve their own business goals with enhanced forecasting tools.
Xerocon was a timely reminder that no tech stack stays appropriate forever. We all need to ensure that we review the suite of tools we use to run our businesses to ensure that our software continues to be best practice. Internally our team has started the processes of reviewing our current software suite to make sure it continues to be ‘best of breed’. An IT Systems review is something that we strongly encourage our business clients to undertake at regular intervals.
As a final note, the entire event also pressed home the point about Cyber security and ensuring two-factor authentication is turned on for every piece of software you have. This is critical and an essential part of doing business in a tech-centric world.
Of course it was also a great opportunity to get together as a team to focus our energy and attention on how we work together to improve our client outcomes. No amount of technology replaces the impact of expert eyes and hands on your business. This was a huge takeaway for all of our team. Working together with you, we can achieve great things.
The Business Advisory Team at DFK Everalls are more than just Tax Accountants. If you would like to discuss how you can use IT apps or other systems to improve the efficiency and profitability of your business please give us a call.