On August 23-24, I had the privilege of attending Xerocon 2023 at ICC Sydney, alongside Jay Lobo, representing Scrubbed. Jay and I are part of the Tech Enablement team, responsible for implementing and deploying apps used by Scrubbed. Therefore, the Xerocon event, as a platinum partner, provided an excellent opportunity for us to learn about new apps that we can potentially utilize in the future. It also gave us a chance to meet with partner apps currently in use, such as Syft Analytics.
Xerocon is renowned for showcasing the latest and most groundbreaking ideas in cloud-based finance and accounting. The event featured prominent guest speakers, including Lisa MacCallum, the Founder of Inspired Companies and former VP at Nike, who shared insights on becoming an inspired company. Additionally, Mark D. Pesce, an author, researcher, engineer, and futurist, presented his new book, “Getting Started with Generative AI.” The event’s highlights were the Breakout Sessions led by various distinguished speakers, which focused on three main topics:
- Prepare for the future: Get ready for what AI and cybersecurity mean for the future.
- Help your clients succeed: Explore ways to help your clients build successful businesses.
- Grow your practice: See how the right apps and targeted marketing can help grow your practice.
Here are the standout insights from the conference:
1. In the realm of accounting, AI is set to play a pivotal role in two ways: by streamlining time-consuming manual processes and by providing timely insights. This empowers small business owners and their advisors, allowing them to allocate more time to managing their businesses. In essence, AI possesses the capability to enhance human intelligence rather than replace it.
2. AI can be a valuable tool for marketing to new clients. For example, it can assist in developing initial campaign ideas and strategies, as well as in gathering information about potential leads through the use of chatbots on your website. However, it’s important to be vigilant as AI usage in marketing carries certain risks.
3. AI can also expedite calculations and financial projections for your practice, saving you time and enabling a focus on higher-value client servicing. For instance, Xero’s short-term cash flow tool in Xero Analytics Plus offers insights to facilitate cash flow management.
4. Research conducted by Xero in collaboration with C-Space reveals that accountants are most enthusiastic about using AI to enhance their existing back-office systems, such as accounting and payroll, as well as to support functions like customer service and helpdesk tools.
5. Xero’s primary focus lies in comprehending the limitations of LLMs (Language Model Models) and finding ways to ensure their alignment with accuracy. This is crucial, especially as they begin to explore generative AI capabilities in product areas aimed at assisting customers in finding information and receiving support, which are pivotal to achieving success.
6. Xero has also introduced the Xero Beautiful Business Fund—an initiative that offers over NZ$750,000 in funding to Xero small business customers in Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the UK, and the US.
7. The conference also unveiled the latest enhancements, including predictions for recurring invoice and bill payments in Xero Analytics Plus’ short-term cash flow feature. This provides small businesses with a clearer outlook on their potential future cash flow. Businesses now have the option to incorporate future invoice and bill payments, either collectively or individually, into their cash flow forecasts.
The Xerocon Sydney event made a profound impact on our team. It provided us with the opportunity to forge meaningful connections with Xero partner apps, allowing us to put faces to the names behind the emails. Additionally, we had the chance to explore potential new apps for future use.
However, our trip was not solely business-oriented. We also enjoyed participating in exciting games, collecting an abundance of freebies from various app booths, and taking the time to explore the renowned sights of Sydney.