Last week Esther & Natasha attended Xerocon, the accountancy industry’s annual conference, hosted by Xero.

The Xerocon event was held at the Excel conference centre in London and hosted by Louise Minchin – it was very rock n roll and not at all what you would expect for a room full of accountants!

The theme was ‘Human At Heart’ and each of the keynote speeches were focussed on artificial intelligence (AI) and how our lives will be changed by automation in years ahead.


Of course, the automation is largely driven by HMRC’s project called Making Tax Digital (MTD), where the 2.1 million business who are registered for VAT will need to use approved software to file their VAT returns from April 2019.

A large chunk of the event was dedicated to MTD; who is affected and how the changes need to be implemented.

At a4c, Natasha is our qualified MTD advisor, with the rest of the team taking their certifications later this month.

Xero are launching an MTD advertising campaign on the topic, a sneak preview of which can be viewed here:

Change is hard

As individuals, we are naturally programmed to fear change.

Gert Leonhard is a Futurist and he gave a keynote presentation on how data is the new oil.

It’s unsurprising that the richest companies in the world trade in data; Apple, Microsoft, Facebook etc.

The internet of things is our new nervous system and when companies such as Amazon use data to plan deliveries based on weather and traffic conditions, they are all taking data and turning it into knowledge.

We should embrace these smart machines but accept they are more like intelligent assistants than terminator type robots to be feared (perhaps IA rather than AI?!)

Cloud is the future

There’s been a massive shift to the cloud in the last decade across all walks of life, for example:

  • Consider how the music industry has changed from record shops to online streaming.
  • The pop charts now record success based on downloads rather than sales.
  • Media & marketing is now all about the social media presence.
  • Who has the most likes and shares!
  • Transportation now includes smart motorways which know about congestion and pollution and change the speed limits accordingly.
  • Banking is done via apps and contactless cards.
  • Accounting and book-keeping is going hands free with Receipt Bank and Xero smart software combinations.
  • And so it continues…

In thirty years’ time because of automation there will be jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.  Already we have ‘Meme Makers’ and ‘Royalty Miners’, what other crazy sounding jobs will future generations aspire to have?!

Xero Improvements

Of course, the conference wouldn’t be complete without Xero showcasing their latest software improvement releases.  And we’re very excited with the upcoming releases, these include:

  • Renewed navigation
  • Improved invoice layout
  • Simpler ways to add new customer details
  • Autosave is a welcomed addition to avoid lost data
  • Autocomplete to help you benefit from machine learning and text prompts
  • 20 big features will be added to the mobile app, including P&L at a glance, print using air print, simpler sales and bill creation.
  • And of course, the largest chunk of development resource has been on the HMRC MTD project. The Beta site looks very impressive and we’re delighted that Xero have used the required HMRC changes to improve the Xero user experience.

Xero Love

You will already be aware how impressed we are at a4c with Xero.  It’s simple to use and supports clients to take control over their business affairs.  The company is always looking to improve and shares our desire to make your accounting experiences better and hassle-free.

As we head towards 2019 a4c will be embracing the change all will face in terms of MTD.  As a team, we are spending a lot of time researching and training ourselves on the new HMRC requirements so that we can fully support you with compliance.

But more than MTD, we want to ensure that where possible we focus the power of artificial intelligence to make your day to day lives easier when it comes to record keeping, as we know this will help you to save tax and understand what your business needs to grow and thrive in an ever-evolving technological landscape.