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Ahead of Xerocon – the must attend conference for cloud accounting leaders – we caught up with a few of our partners who’ll be joining us at the conference: Nathan Keeley, Partner at MHA Carpenter Box, Richard Sutton, Head of Accountant Relationships at iwoca, and Ian Phillips, Partner Team Manager at Xero. We find out what they’re looking forward to, both at Xerocon and over the next year as the Xero ecosystem continues to develop.

First off, what’s everyone looking forward to most about Xerocon?

‘As always with Xerocon it’s good to catch up with familiar faces and contacts,’ says Nathan from MHA Carpenter Box. ‘The social element of Xerocon is so important as this significantly aids the collaboration element of the cloud.’

‘It’s truly inspiring to be amongst all the smart and passionate adopters of the cloud who are looking to use Xero to build a platform of tools that will help them deliver a wider range of services for their small business clients,’ adds iwoca’s Richard. ‘It really stands out as a phenomenal celebration of innovation in fintech. I’ve not been to an event on the calendar that really compares to Xerocon. Plus the party is pretty epic!’

It’s an ‘absolute must’ confirms Xero’s Ian Phillips.

And what’s everyone hoping to gain from attending?

‘For me it’ll be an opportunity to get up to speed on current developments, new apps in the Xero ecosystem and the direction of travel for Xero and the wider cloud development, especially with regards to an enhanced use of AI and machine learning,’ says Nathan.

‘Building meaningful relationships through face to face conversations’ will be Richard’s priority.

Conversation is key for Ian too: ‘I’m looking forward to catching up on everyone’s progress over the last year. And I’m particularly keen to see Anna Curzon’s session on “What’s new in Xero for running your practice”.’

What do you think will be the main trend within the Xero ecosystem in 2019?

‘Automation of data capture will become non-discretionary for firms looking to automate their compliance workflow,’ says Ian. ‘Beyond this I can see that firms who have automated this workflow, and are getting access to live data, will start to push on with offering simple advisory services around cashflow. I can also see more and more firms moving into the complex advisory space and offering non-traditional services. This could make recruitment a big challenge as companies seek out people with an entirely different skill set.’

Echoing Ian’s predictions around automation and adding extra value to clients through advice, Nathan also sees AI and machine learning ‘shaking up the industry’.

‘Open banking, and the collaboration this should lead to, will be a great development to see come to fruition,’ adds Richard.

Finally, how do you view the purpose of technology in the modern workplace?

‘Technology aids efficiency and collaboration,’ says Nathan, ‘and the developments in the industry mean that SME businesses can now enjoy some of the enterprise level tools which until recently were either unavailable, unobtainable or came at a prohibitive price.’

Productivity and efficiency are the key benefits of technology for Richard too.

‘Technology in the workplace should be about making work more interesting for staff, making clients happier and ensuring business is worthwhile for business owners,’ adds Ian.

Will you be at Xerocon? Don’t forget to stop by our stand and say hello! Our HR software with Xero integration could be just what you need to help streamline your HR admin.