Main image: Team from Spotlight Reporting, Xero’s Global Add-On of the Year
The future of accounting software is likely to be something like this. Imagine monthly GDP, CPI, business staff numbers, weather temperatures and rainfall feeding averages, etc. alongside the financials of a monthly profit and loss statement.
With interactive insights, advisors can look at how the macro and micro environments react together to affect business performance. Planning and forecasting becomes a science of pulling predicted future data and overlaying it across internal knowledge.
Your accounting program gives you a precise understanding of the profit drivers of the business and tools to intuitively forecast the future. Businesses who adopt this technology will be able to devise the optimal plan and delivery to market for their products and services.
So we’re not there yet, but we are rapidly moving towards that point – that was my major takeout from attending Xerocon, Xero’s recent two day conference held in Auckland, New Zealand.
As an Australian girl at a New Zealand conference I did notice the vision explained was slightly different to what I’d heard before.
On a crisp Auckland morning, Xero founder and CEO Rod Drury shared a vision that was bigger than just Xero. He challenged the audience to export their services to the world.
“Imagine if everyone in New Zealand exported their services and we were bringing foreign money into New Zealand – what would that do for our economy?”
I had a chuckle to myself at this point because I’m sure he told all of us here in Australia to consider outsourcing to New Zealand accountants and bookkeepers as they were 40 percent cheaper than us Australians! Smart move Mr Drury.
Back to the conference and other key announcements were that various big businesses had formed partnerships with Xero.
Microsoft is integrating Office 365 into Xero Practice Studio. A dedicated Xero feed to Microsoft Office 365 will give users the ability to send data from Xero and Xero Practice Manager directly through Microsoft Outlook.
New Zealand payment network Paymark, which processes 75 percent of the nation’s transactions, will soon be able to send receipts directly to Xero for expense management. Paymark is essentially the middle man, between the bank and the point of sale device.
Warehouse Stationery, a New Zealand version of Officeworks, will be able to send invoices to customers through Xero. Customers will be able to pay their bills from within Xero through a banking 2.0 initiative.
The partnership announcements connecting big business with small business will create a ‘financial web (that) will stimulate small business like we have never seen before,’ Drury said. A quarter of small businesses in New Zealand use Xero and a fifth of all Xero users connect to at least one add-on program.
As a small smart country New Zealand is the ideal petri dish for pushing the capabilities of a connected business environment. The Kiwis seem to be both keen and proud to try new things.
While the rest of the world seems to be creating the next social media platform, Kiwi tech businesses are developing strong business platforms that work with and around the Xero ecosystem.
As well as the partnership announcements Auckland Xerocon 2015 was about big data. And if ‘big data’ was a man, NGO CEO Lillian Grace is grooming him and making him deliciously appetising and bloody useful.
Through her not-for-profit organisation Wiki New Zealand she’s democratising data. “We think that providing usable, clear, digestible and unbiased information will help you make better decisions, and will lead to better outcomes for you, for your community and for New Zealand,” Grace said.
Grace shared with us at Xerocon, what she’s delivering via Wiki New Zealand, and my interpretation of that is one day we will run that macro data alongside micro data within the business and make better decisions!
Xerocon was more than just technology. With numerous costume changes Lisa Martin did her best to turn the accounting conference into an accountants and bookkeepers COMIC-CON conference.
A caped Xero hero with GoFi8ure, a nurse in six inch heels ready to check your business health, and promoting bookkeeping professionalism as vice president of the New Zealand Bookkeepers Association, Martin’s posse added to the excitement.
Martin’s not the only one in the Xero community to wear a few hats (or capes). I’m not sure why this is? Is it because they can think faster, can focus deeper, can see opportunities coming? Have lots of spare time on their hands because of all that cloud automation?
So that’s a wrap. That’s what this Aussie girl thought of the Kiwi Xerocon. I liked the New Zealand flavour of the conference. If you’re operating in this space, investing in attending an overseas event definitely broadens your mind to possibilities beyond your own shore.
The next Xerocon is in June in Denver USA. Maybe you should consider dusting off your ski boots?