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The Millennial take on Xerocon

Zac Hayes at Xerocon

This week I had the privilege of presenting at Xerocon to share a small part of my story as a young thought leader in the accounting industry, but it was really more about educating our community about the new generation of business owners. And yes, my partner Scott (podiatrist) was super proud I managed to get the “One Foot” joke in while on stage.

 It was a chance for me to voice how I see the mindset of a millennial business owner and how we here at HA Accounting overcome the traditional issues our industry experiences in engaging and retaining clients in this new age of doing business.

 Xero really put on the Coachella for accountants this year, Xerocon again living up to its reputation of being THE conference to attend if you were going to go to any. To say I was nervous jumping in front of my peers before I got off the plane would be an understatement, this event pulls over 3500 attendees each year.

 My experience this year was so much different from the prior 2 years I’ve attended. Xero really pushed the concept of the power of humanity in business and how a ‘community over competition’ mindset is how advisors can make the biggest impact in transitioning into a next-generation society of automation and tech-based firms, but without compromising on compassion and connection.

With Trent opening the conference on the topic of small business insights and the tools we now have available to help our clients; and Craig’s amazingly brave personal story on mental health; I was at those moments proud to be a Xero champion partner and on board with a company developing a culture that is focused on the health and wellbeing of small business as a whole.

 The power of vulnerability and authenticity when it comes to connections and relationships is not one to be taken lightly. 

 Earlier this year Alicia Moreau from Xero, my bestie Rebecca Gadd from Nourish Business Solutions and I collaborated on bringing the topic of Mental Health in Business TO our industry peers in the Albury area. Having experienced personally the effects of mental health in our own businesses, and the additional challenges it imposes, Alicia decided to enlist Rebecca & I as advocates on this topic in our area.

 We presented the first-ever panel discussion of its type to advisors and it was honestly a very challenging yet invigorating experience, and one I feel made a significant impact. Alicia really trusted us to kick off her passion for mental health discussions within our community and I was so pleased that they really followed this through with the theme for Xerocon this year.

 Xero announced, along with Beyond Blue, the release of their advisors Mental Health Awareness Tool Kit - I’m so excited for this as it’s something we have on our team meeting agenda to discuss this week and plan out how we begin to roll this out with our Clients.

 Rachel’s presentations really cemented my belief that my own presentation was on point, further encouraging me with the facts and figures she brought to the table. My hope is that it will get many of my peers thinking more in terms of mindset and positive psychology when it comes to wellness, balance, and lifestyles with our Teams and with our Clients.

 I’m working on a mindset drawing for EBITDA so will keep you all posted if i manage to crack it!

 It’s seriously fantastic to see presenters bringing people back to the forefront of the discussion rather than technology, the numbers, and the bottom line. 

 Having taken in all the talks on vulnerability, I took to the stage with more passion and excitement than nervousness and was further encouraged to see so many local accountants from Albury, Celeste, Dani, Nathan & Bek (who was there in spirit or on Laura’s phone), all of whom I am proud to call more friends than peers, come and support me. This is a perfect example of collaboration over competition and supporting one another in our journeys in business.

 I wanted to really try and break down some barriers for our industry in tackling the new expectations of today’s business owners, or as Trent said to me earlier, the mindset of the Millenial.

 To see Amanda really give partners an opportunity to share our knowledge and engage our peers is something I think the team at Xero needs to be really proud of. It’s brilliant to be able to share our individual experiences in business amongst ourselves at an event like this.

 I lost count of the number of Xero team members who came up to me to ask how I went after my presentation; and Ally and my Twitter meme hug ‘Community over Competition’ as we had presented at the same time, pretty much summed up the vibe of the event.  

 I’m only just coming down from my champagne high with Sarah, and the espresso martini vibe with Katie; so note to self - mentally prepare for the hangovers or prepare to avoid my tribe next year. These girls really hammered home to me the meaning of #findyourtribe.

I am really proud of myself for achieving the goal of presenting at Xerocon this year; which I had set after attending last years event and I'm super proud of Alicia for helping support me hitting a new milestone and that our plan for me stepping up in the community this year worked really well.

Honestly, the relationships you can build with the Xero community, not just your account managers but other peers and advisors makes these events more than worthwhile. I can’t wait to do it all again next year and continue to build my tribe and share my experience in business #collaborationovercompetition.

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