Well, Xerocon is over for another year. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. Mind you, when you have a CEO riding around on a skateboard and an MD at home belting out a rock tune and playing lead guitar, you know it will be a conference with a difference.

Everyone had a good time, and there was certainly plenty to take in. Here’s what we thought were some of the highlights.

Ecosystem of Xero Add-on Partners Continues to Expand

The first thing we noticed was the exhibition of add-on partners being significantly bigger than last year (let alone Melbourne the year before that). With 82 exhibitors, there was plenty of variety.

And if you didn’t think much more could be done in the add-on ecosystem, new partners such as CompanyIQ, Float, CashView Plus by Rype, CrunchBoards and Workshop Software are coming up with plenty of new ideas to add variety and address pain points. These apps will complement our current favourites—Receipt Bank, Vend, Unleashed, Deputy, Tanda, Spotlight, Fathom and a host of others.

It was also great to see more interest in the cloud IT integrators. These guys are becoming an essential part of the Xero ecosystem, because their expertise in add-ons for certain verticals can help advisors recommend and implement business platforms for their clients. We already work with Rype and TradiePad, and look forward to working with several new ones we made contact with at Xerocon.

I enjoyed being part of a panel at the Developers Day that talked about the interaction between accountants, integrators and add-on partners. Watch out for a future blog post on the rise of the cloud integrators.

Then there was the informative, humorous and technical side of the conference. At both the main and breakout sessions people talked about issues such as value adding to your clients, outsourcing vs automation, practice management and more. These gave everyone plenty of hints, ideas and food for thought on how to improve their practice.

Throughout the conference Rod, Chris and the product managers gave us updates on Xero. They talked about their growth and plans, and gave us an insight into new features in the pipeline as well as updates on existing work-in-progress such as tax. The proposed dashboards look awesome, and the changes to the partner programme is a great response to the feedback and criticisms they’ve received over the past year or so. It should certainly ensure the ‘Org Hungry Zombies’ become a thing of the past.

The gala dinner and awards night was the perfect way to end such a great conference. It was a great chance to wind down with old friends, and catch up and network with new ones made during the event. We were proud to be nominated for the Innovative Marketing award, and we’d like to congratulate all the award winners, especially our good friends at Receipt Bank who won the Add-On Partner of the Year Cross-Industryaward for the second year in a row.

Our 5 key takeaways from Xerocon:

  1. The app ecosystem is growing and offering more solutions all the time. The innovation is constant.
  2. Cloud integrators will become an important part of keeping up with the ecosystem and offering advice to clients.
  3. Xero is still innovating and delivering new features to help both their partners and their clients.
  4. Xero listens to their partners and takes on their concerns, which they demonstrated by changing their partner program and appointing a Partners Advisory Council.
  5. Xero is growing quickly, and their ongoing investment in products and features will keep them at the forefront of our industry across the globe for many years to come.

Overall, the conference reinforced our decision to adopt the Xero platform.

We’re looking forward to an exciting future as we help transition our clients to the advantages and benefits of the Xero platform and ecosystem.