Another year, another extravaganza!
The overarching theme of this year's Xerocon was wellness and looking after yourself, both mentally and physically. There were plenty of activities to promote self wellness, from riding a bike to make a smoothie, to table tennis, totem tennis, hair cuts, a nail bar and a huge sweet bar. A big hit was the line up of speakers who brought tears to the eyes of attendees (both happy and emotional tears) in almost every keynote speech.
Like every Xerocon, there were opportunities throughout the event to connect with peers, including when attendees got to paint their very own skateboards! Attendees made the most of these networking and collaboration opportunities to chat to fellow Xero groupies about how they are using technology with their clients and within their practice.
The only let down would have been the app - which apparently was not even an app, and its lack of intuitiveness. It took us almost 2 days to work out that we could swipe left and go back, rather than hitting on the breadcrumb which would take us all the way back to the top of the first day. I also asked a very tech savvy Xero employee to show us how to use the app and they too were amazed at its lack of intuitiveness, so we were glad it was not just us that couldn’t work it out!
On a personal note for Clarity Street, it was great to connect with Tim Hoopman who was promoting Beyond Blue. Clarity Street was able to connect Tim with a staff member from one of our clients, who will be presenting on the topic of “Are you OK” within their local community group. As a result, the staff member gained valuable insights into how to present on the topic. We’re super grateful for Tim’s assistance and what he continues to do to support Beyond Blue.
Xerocon is always the perfect stage to present the raft of new feature releases that are designed to make everyone’s life simpler when using Xero and its app marketplace. Some key highlights for Clarity Street were:
Single Sign on identity
With cyber security always a hot topic, Xero have announced they have built a single user identity sign on solution that will be used by apps in their marketplace, starting with our friends at Practice Ignition and SuiteFiles and a few other select app vendors.
What does this mean for you as the end user? The ability to use your Xero credentials to log into your other apps will mean that you no longer need to remember that pesky password – unless you’re already using Practice Protect to handle this function. For those of you who use G-Suite or Facebook, you would already be familiar with this functionality, as this has been on offer for quite some time.
What does this mean for you if you are using Practice Protect? Not a lot really, as you will still use Practice Protect to access your applications from within the user portal, the same way you did before. We can only see this complementing Practice Protect as the Xero sign in will only cover those apps that are in their marketplace, and not third party non Xero applications such as QBO and MYOB. You also cannot lock down the geolocation or seamlessly onboard and offboard employees from all the other applications within your practice.
You can read more about the single sign on identity here.
Recurring payments and tighter integration with Stripe and GoCardless
This is a game changer for those businesses and accounting firms who have recurring invoicing and have been struggling to automate the payment process. Xero has announced an integration with Stripe that will allow customers to input and save their credit card details for recurring invoicing. The best thing is that because those payment details are kept in stripe, whenever the customer updates their credit card, it automatically updates within Xero’s recurring payment.
Also announced, was a much deeper integration with Stripe bank feeds and GoCardless, that will hopefully mean the end of clearing accounts and manual reconciliation.
Short term cashflow
A short term cashflow predictor is currently in beta phase and is due to be released in the coming months. It will utilise the current reconciled bank account amount, along with due dates for invoices and bills, providing business owners with a very basic understanding of their cashflow into the future. Will this release mean that you no longer need to use third party cashflow forecasting apps? The short answer is no. This feature is very light on at this stage and does not provide the robust functionality that the third-party apps like Spotlight Reporting, Helm and Float bring.
Reporting improvements for XPM
Good news for XPM users who struggle to create reports out of the system. It was announced that improvements are being made and a new report creating module is on the way - stand by for the feature release soon.
GreatSoft integration for Xero Tax
This is something we at Clarity Street have been waiting for, the ability for us to provide a multi locational, multi divisional, robust, cloud based practice management system to firms that fall outside of an XPM environment.
We have been big followers of GreatSoft ever since they hit our shores last year and with the announcement of a Xero tax integration, we are thrilled to finally see the last piece of the puzzle put in place for GreatSoft.
For those of you who don’t know about the features of GreatSoft you can see them here and Xero’s media release here.
A fabulous location supported by the perfect weather brought XeroCon 2019 to a close. It was a bit different to last years event at Cloud Land and more resembled the street party of Melbourne in 2017. There were Chinese dragons, ballerina’s and of course plenty of street food and alcohol. The evening gave attendees a chance to unwind and network with peers in a more relaxed setting after an intense 2 days. We bumped into a number of different people that we had met over the 2 days and made it our mission to introduce them to others that we had met, in continuing the teach it forward mentality of Clarity Street. All in all it was a night of good food, great company and many laughs!
In conclusion, XeroCon 2019 was another well run event by the Xero team, apart from the unintuitive app! The focus on mindfulness and the environment was a big hit with all attendees and one that sets Xero apart from the rest of the accounting software giants.
The product updates of single user identity, short term cashflow forecasting, recurring payments, stronger integrations with Stripe and Go Cardless were fantastic, however the big announcement of the integration of Xero tax with GreatSoft was one that we particularly enjoyed hearing.
We loved networking with everyone and in particular were very happy to finally meet the team at Clarity HQ, who have been popping up in our google searches for quite some time. The team at Clarity HQ are awesome and are building up a really strong product that will help business owners earn more money and live the life they want. It also involves the blockchain so Ian is very excited by this concept!
Bring on Sydney 2020!
Clarity Street was conceived from years of engaging with Accounting firms on a daily basis and a constant desire to make Accounting firms & SME’s more efficient and profitable.