Our decision to become a Xero partner six years ago came about because of clients approaching us to make the move to Xero. They understood that the software was revolutionary and would offered endless possibilities to their business. At the time, Xero was still quite young and was missing some of the key features we, at Account Aspects, were used to in desktop software. But after signing up and experimenting on our own company data, we saw the possibilities Xero brought to our business, and would bring to our clients.
We craved flexible ways to service our clients without interruption to their business. One of our clients was an auto electrician. Before changing to Xero, we’d go into his workshop once a week to update his bookkeeping. The office space, which was separated from the workshop by a glass door, had never seen a vacuum cleaner. I sat on a wonky chair surrounded by piles of archive boxes overflowing with A4 folders of paperwork. Old oily engine parts sat on the shelves waiting to live another day. When a client came in to pick up their car, I was asked to move aside so the invoice could be entered and the payment taken.
Xero was a game changer. I could log in from the comfort of my office with any number of other users working on different parts of the software at the same time. The client benefited from the increase in time and efficiency while also saving money.
Investing in my future
I attended my first Xerocon in 2013. The event was focused on the possibilities that Xero, their partners and the cloud had to offered. The buzz and energy was so intoxicating, it sparked a renewal of energy. Meeting other Xero partners with a similar vision to my own gave a great sense of belonging. And the add-on app exhibitors opened our eyes to solutions we didn’t know existed.
There are costs; the event itself, travel, accommodation and time out of our business serving clients. But the decision to be a part of Xerocon is a worthwhile investment. I’ve found that Xerocon introduces us to opportunities, taking advantage of them is up to us.
My 2016 Xerocon experience opened my eyes to many opportunities. There were the obvious ones like meeting and forming bonds with other partners; putting Xero staff names to faces and getting to know them on a more personal level; and learning firsthand how Xero planned to evolve their software and how my business can survive the revolution in accounting.
My biggest break came from listening to Andy Larkin’s keynote. He mentioned that he used to work for the Commonwealth Bank, who also happened to be the major sponsor of the event. He was speaking directly to me. I worked for CommBank before starting my own bookkeeping business and I could relate to what he was saying.
Making every opportunity count
After the keynote, I spoke with the Commonwealth Bank attendees. I told them I wanted to show bank staff how Xero and CommBank bank feeds had transformed their clients’ businesses. Later, the local business banker, Jade Starr, got in touch with me to arrange for me to give a presentation. The bank staff found seeing how the system came together a real eye-opener.
Since we both play an important role in our mutual clients’ business, Jade and I kept in touch sharing information and ideas. Then I got a call from Jade telling me she wanted to nominate me for the Commonwealth Bank’s ‘Women In Focus’ conference. The bank selects 170 women from around Australia to celebrate their contribution to business and the community. I was shocked – and delighted – when I received the email telling me I was one of the winners. Included in the prize was the September conference in Noosa, including entry and all my accommodation, food and beverages.
This opportunity didn’t come looking for me. I saw an opening, reached out and made it work.
Is Xerocon worth the investment? I say yes! Make the decision to attend the biggest event of the year.
This piece was written by one of our partners, Leigh Cummings from Account Aspects based in Broadmeadow NSW.