Letting the dust settle on Xerocon 2013

by Doug Morris

At Sharesight, we’re big believers in the “app store” concept. If you’re an iPhone user, chances are you’ve downloaded Google Maps. It’s the best map app available and runs seamlessly on your Apple device. We’re applying the same concept to financial services. We think DIY investors and the accountants and advisers who serve them are best off choosing from a number of best of breed apps. This day in age, it’s simple for one app to talk to another. Service providers who stick to their knitting will inevitably churn out the best products, and the end user wins.

Xero is all in on the app concept as well. They’re committed to providing an accounting engine for apps like Sharesight to connect to. They focus on accounting software and we focus on investment software. Need an inventory app? How about payroll? They’ve got those too.

Business models aligned, it was with great enthusiasm that we exhibited at Xero’s annual accountant and add-on provider conference, Xerocon 2013 at the Australian Technology Park, Sydney. It was a smashing success. We chose to host a stand at the event, and had four people representing Sharesight. Over the course of two days, I estimate we conducted 100 product demos, answered five times as many questions, and met hundreds of awesome accountants. It’s refreshing to see so many small business owners eagerly seeking the best solutions for their clients. We also met a number of really cool add-ons, including PocketRent, a property management app.

xerocon 2013 - photobooth queueThe crowd gathers outside the Sharesight photobooth

We were flattered to get a number of shout-outs from Xero product management, even from the man himself, CEO Rod Drury. As Xero pushes into the financial advice industry, Sharesight figures to be a cornerstone add-on.

xerocon 2013 - slideBig shout-out from Xero CEO, Rod Drury

Scott Ryburn, Sharesight co-founder and chief product guru did a fantastic job handling the gamut of accounting and software questions (when not sampling Aussie craft beers), whilst Vanessa Gorman, our BDM (never short of enthusiasm) expertly reeled in the delegates and our Xero mates with a cocktails-driven photobooth competition. Andrew Bird, our Executive Director, couldn’t resist letting his accountant streak run wild. He’s right at home at the intersection of technology and finance.

Over the years I’ve attended many financial conferences. Typically, they revolve around a bunch of competing exhibitors hawking similar wares to a skeptical and tired audience. Xerocon was completely different. They’ve done a remarkable job creating an entire business community. As Xero continues to grow, so does accountant productivity and the choices for end users. First and foremost they deliver great accounting software, but they sure do know how to market themselves and create a disruption. We’re happy to be along for the ride.