I have just returned from Xerocon, an annual gathering of accounting nerds, held in beautiful San Francisco. I am always so excited to hang out with people who are stoked to sit and chat over coffee and dish about what is working/not working in their practice and what is on the horizon. Day One literally started off with a bang as Russ Fujiyoka, President of Xero US, shot swag into a crowd of over caffeinated accountants. Gladly, everyone remained safe as the tshirt gun hurled really cool Xero shirts into the audience. 🙂 Rod then hopped on stage and blew our minds. He demonstrated some of the neat ways that Xero is changing the industry by incorporating things like artificial intelligence and machine learning into their software. The Xero dev team has been tirelessly moving their software onto Amazon Web Services (AWS) so that they can really put the pedal to the metal. As Xero sprints toward 1mm+ users on their platform, it is absolutely essential to upgrade their infrastructure and they are smart to do this now as growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down one bit. I am very excited for the robots to take over, as that means that the mundane can be automated. This means we can spend all of our time working directly with clients on things like planning and forecasting which make the biggest impact on their bottom line. Really, why do we need to reconcile recurring bank transactions when we can be dreaming of a better future with our clients?
Day One was also exciting because I got to moderate a panel with Hubdoc, Bill.com, and Crunchboards– likely the best add-ons a nerdy accountant can dream of. I was a bit nervous to get on stage and chat these pros up, but since we provide this stack to each and every client, it ended up being a really easy and fun talk. I guided the conversation by introducing each of these partners in a particular order. We start the document gathering process with Hubdoc- their software fetches statements and bills and our clients can use their handy dandy smart phone app to snap pics of receipts, on the fly. This data then gets pushed into Bill.com, the next partner on the panel. We went through how data flows between each software and how we do cool things like create approval workflows and send payments to vendors with just a few clicks of a button. Finally, we introduced Crunchboards, a financial dashboard that visualizes our clients’ data and helps them to better run their business- no matter what industry they are in. Once the talk was over, we fielded a lot of really great questions from the audience, which I think was the best part. Usually when I sit in on a talk, I want to get down to brass tacks and find out how I can apply what I am learning in my practice. The audience members peppered us with questions and we almost went over time because the conversation was so fun.
Day Two was also a blast but didn’t start at Pier 27, where Xerocon was held. I actually dropped into the Gusto office for a partner breakfast where I got to hang out with accountants who rock Xero and the Gusto Dev and Marketing team. We learned about their new partner program, their revised on-boarding process, and how they are about to blow the roof off of the industry by offering health benefits through their platform. I must say, they are doing incredible things at Gusto and I am glad that they are our partner in payroll. After noshing on some delicious snacks, I headed back over to Xerocon and hopped on stage once again; this time chatting about how to hire and keep accounting unicorns. I love talking about finding and keeping talented people, because I have such an amazing staff that keep me sane and our clients happy. It wasn’t easy to do this though- I really messed up hiring when I first started the practice. I often hired quickly, because we had to fill an immediate need, which was often a recipe for disaster. I have worked with my Operations Manager, Kienan, to revise this process and we are reaping the rewards. Some of the high points of the talk included what our interview process looks like (very exhaustive!), what we are looking for in a candidate (passion!), how we onboard them, and how we keep them happy. I only had 15 minutes for my talk, but really I could have discussed what we do for hours. Seriously, I love thinking about stuff like this.
My mind is buzzing with excitement as I let all of things I learned and shared at Xerocon soak in. I am excited to attend the event next year and hope you will join me. For now, take a gander at a few pictures I snapped during my time in San Francisco.