Well, Xero’s February Roadshows are now done and dusted. And there was certainly a lot to take in.

The first thing I noticed was the number of attendees. More and more people seem to be moving to the cloud every day, with attendance records being smashed at almost every venue. Melbourne’s registrations, for example, ended up being 150% of the venue’s capacity.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was at my first Xerocon (Xero’s big annual conference), where there were only 450 attendees. (The earlier figures were even lower.) Now it’s the expected crowd number at many of the regional roadshows.

The second thing I noticed was the level of innovation. Xero itself will be delivering eight major projects in the next 90 days. Including, just to name a few:

  • Online quoting
  • Global search features
  • A separate Xero tax platform, with more features coming
  • Inventory.

These new features are always being requested, and it’s great to see Xero delivering on its promises.

The number of add-on partners in the ecosystem is also growing. These include more innovations, ideas and ways to improve business performance for both practices and clients. Check out our recent blog post on demystifying the myriad of add-on partners, and choosing the right ones for you and your clients.

But the biggest lesson came from talking to the people climbing the stairway to cloud-based heaven, and finding out where they’re up to at the moment.

Many were just starting the climb, with around 40% attending their first Roadshow. A lot of them are using Xero with a number of their clients, and some are already moving their practices to the cloud, via Xero Practice Manager (XPM).

Xero accounting software not fully utilized

I’d say most of the attendees still don’t understand the full implications and benefits of moving their practice to the cloud. This was nothing to do with the presenters — their advice on subjects such as automation, product advice and updates, and being a connected advisor  was superb. I just don’t think many of their audience even now fully understand the efficiencies Xero can bring to their accounting practices.

Such as using Xero ledgers to have all of their clients on one platform.

Several people I spoke to used Xero Tax for their Xero clients and another package for their other clients. Talk about inefficiency! With ledgers they can run reporting packs, Xero Workpapers, and Xero Tax across all of their clients — not just those on Xero.

Interestingly, when I spoke with The Wow Company’s Paul Bulpitt in the UK after their recent Xerocon, he said the same thing was happening over there. People still don’t understand the full ramifications of the Xero model.

For me it’s a no-brainer. Xero isn’t just an accounting package for our clients. It’s about creating an entire business platform that can change the way accounting practices operate, and deliver services to complement their basic compliance work.

And once people really start getting their head around this big picture concept, our entire industry is going to be transformed.

We certainly have some exciting times ahead. And that’s something I never thought I’d be saying about the accounting industry!