One of the things I love about Xero is their willingness to partner alongside the ‘little guy’.
As someone who’s spent the last 10 years working in various administration and communications roles, I know how it feels to be viewed as the ‘little guy’. Obviously, anyone who has worked in administration knows that we are often the glue that holds the ship together. (Can I start a #gotheadministrators hashtag?!)
So, when it comes to conferences like Xerocon, I see so much value in ensuring our wider teams are involved. Firms can put so much emphasis on what the accountants and bookkeepers can get out of it, that they miss the huge opportunity that lies within having wider teams involved (including admin and communications staff).
Don’t underestimate the power of an invitation
It was my first year working at illumin8 that I was invited to Xerocon. Not knowing anything about the conference, my initial response was, ‘Why on earth would I want to go to an accounting conference?’ Following this was an excitement that I’d actually been invited to go along in the first place. Honestly, knowing that our director, Andrew, saw the value in me being there was just as powerful as attending the conference itself.
Xerocon has become the staple event of my conference calendar. One of the best things about the conference is taking my online connections and turning them into tangible relationships. We’re exposed to a plethora of incredible networking opportunities. We also get the chance to meet other people doing kick-ass things in our industry. I often contact people I’ve met at past conferences for their perspectives, advice or just for a general catch up. So, don’t be shy – make friends and break the ice over a beer or two.
Pursuit of a better way
Xerocon offers attendees the chance to chat with many of their add-on partners in an easy and no-obligation environment. I start planning which exhibitors I’m going to chat with weeks in advance. It’s an opportunity to seek out solutions for my clients. There’s also the opportunity to be exposed to a range of software that my own firm can adopt and implement. We’re constantly looking for the best way to do things, and Xerocon allows us to continue that pursuit through the add-on exhibition, but also through networking with other partners.
Let your hair down
Who doesn’t love an excuse to put their dancing shoes on? Our team revel in the chance to dress up and have a boogie together. One of illumin8’s core values is fun, so we use Xerocon as a chance to bond over the things we learn (and the champagne … obviously). We can also take our relationships with each other to a level that can’t be reached within the confines of the office.
I’d love to see more conferences invest in sessions and panels that include administrators. Not only will this be an awesome resource for accountants, bookkeepers and administrators alike, it will continue to encourage our admin teams to take ownership of the importance and value of their roles.
Inviting your administrative staff isn’t just a ‘nice idea’, but a necessity for firms wanting to position themselves for growth. Entire teams can deepen their connection to the reason why the likes of Xero and illumin8 exist … to create freedom for our clients.
Brooke Holmes is the Practice Manager of illumin8.
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