Jonathan’s Xerocon 2018 diary – Day Two


After the expectations set by day one of Xerocon, day two had a lot to live up to.

I began my day by visiting more Quicktalks, including one hosted by PayPal and led by Director of Partnerships & Marketplaces UK, Dave Smallwood. His talk demonstrated just how simple it is to get paid using Xero and PayPal in conjunction. By setting your client up with PayPal in Xero, payment can be made from within an approved invoice, which makes things so much easier for both parties.

We’re not just accountants

Next was a breakout session hosted by John Conolly, where he shared an interesting statistic on the negative impact of time spent by accountants when collecting fees. A whopping 30% of time is spent on collecting documents and doing data entry!

John also mentioned that “there’s a role that affects 1/10th of the whole workforce, and it’s called Uber, but we are just accountants. There’s also an app that puts a mini doctor in each pocket and it’s called Babylon Health, but we are just accountants.”

He then went on to say that we must remember this is not just accounting; we help the majority of the workforce, not just 1/10th . Every company needs accountants as 20% of small businesses fail within their first year, and 50% of small businesses fail after 5 years. Correctly handling your finances contributes immensely to avoiding that fate.

A new dawn in accounting tech

The most informative session I attended throughout the two days was Code-free Accounting by Product Marketing Manager of Xero, Diane O’Neil, and Director of Marketing at Hubdoc, Geoff Gualano.

The idea of technology being influential was strongly suggested as Diane spoke about how Xero uses artificial intelligence to execute instructions within the software. Humans perform inaccurately at a rate of 33%, while machines do so at a rate of just 9%. Xero is trying to incorporate artificial intelligence as efficiently as possible with the likes of automated bank rules.

Shoot for the stars

The most influential part of the day for me was once again hearing from someone who had nothing to do with accounting or Xero!

Olympic & World Champion Sir Chris Hoy took the stage to talk about pushing yourself to the limit. Like Ben McBean on day one, he gave transferable advice which would benefit me greatly at the office.

He spoke about his journey and how it all stemmed from his ambition to dare to dream. “Whatever you do, dream big! Aim for the stars and if you miss you might still hit the moon.”

He also advised on having a plan and strategizing, and not to focus on the outcome, but the process instead. A carefully thought out process is likely to result in a positive outcome. “When you’ve done everything you can to be in the best shape, there’s nothing more you can do at the start line, and you accept the end result – whatever it may be.”

My two days at Xerocon taught me many things. But one thing I’ve definitely learned above all else is that I chose a very cool job!

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