Well, that’s another accounting software conference season done and dusted. We had such a great time attending both #XeroCon and #MYOBPC. The conferences were completely different, and therefore difficult to compare, but we certainly formed some observations and would like to share them with you here …
(and by the way – there are no product comparisons … that’s for you to decide)
Bigger is Always Better … Right?
Xero chose to have one conference for Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. As a result there were over 2,300 attendees. Seats at the keynote speeches were strictly arranged in a linear fashion, and at the break outs there were many sessions with standing room only.
Pros – first impressions count – there was a DJ to kick off the day, some awe inspiring photos due to the sheer size, and the wow factor was huge. There was a playground for goodness sake!
Cons – it felt big, much bigger than last year. We were less likely to approach add-on exhibitors and it seemed more difficult to network and feel part of the group.
MYOB had many conferences based in each major Australian and New Zealand city. The one we attended was the largest one held at the Gold Coast. There were approximately 500 attendees. Attendees sat at round tables.
Pros – it felt much more like a family atmosphere, it was easier to have chats with the add on partners and move around. Conversations happened naturally.
Cons – it was nowhere near as slick or styled (if you are in to that sort of thing).
100% Xero or Proudly Purple
We were lucky enough to attend the Gala dinner for both conferences. One thing that was reinforced at both award ceremonies was the importance of aligning your company entirely with one software provider.
We’re not so sure about this. Both software products have benefits that differ for our client base. The price points differ. The customer support levels differ. No one product is ever going to be a perfect fit for our client base.
We would encourage both MYOB and Xero to think carefully about their promotional strategies and how they are crafting the partner reward programs. All free world economies need choice, and ultimately our clients will suffer if one accounting software provider prevails. Competition is healthy and necessary for our clients to get the best value.
** UPDATE ** MYOB has been in touch to clarify their position on this. It is not necessary to be totally aligned with one software provider to be an award winner. In fact, many of the MYOB award winners this year are partners that support many accounting software solutions. Our account manager at Xero also wanted to pass along that the 100% Xero award is not meant to be given to a partner that only uses Xero for their clients, it is intended to be given to a partner that uses all of the Xero practice manager tools in their business – Practice Manager, Workpapers, and Tax. Thank you to both providers for touching base to be clear about this!
Big Fish in a small (social media) pond, or Small Fish in a big (social media) pond
There is no question, at least in our mind, that Xero has been the forerunner in the Social Media war so far. On a daily basis, slick videos and blogs are produced and distributed to partners, clients and potential clients. Most of the Xero community are entirely comfortable tweeting, participating in Facebook social media groups, and connecting via Linked In.
We have seen some amazing content from the Xero community and we have learned so much about how to position our company to enjoy the momentum from the social media movement. Efforts in social media are quickly praised and responded to by Xero.
We were very impressed at MYOB’s efforts to promote and improve the attendees use of social media. Tweets by the attendees were displayed on a regular basis on the big screen and MYOB were very quick to like and retweet our comments. MYOB has also gone to great efforts to help their community develop websites and understand how Google algorithms work by arranging special presentations.
Partners LOVE to feel loved
Our account manager at Xero always makes us feel loved. We have already had a phone debrief after XeroCon and there was lots of affirmation via social media for our tweeting and social media efforts.
We certainly had more personal connections at the MYOB conference. Simon Dennis, head of sales, must have walked many miles over the two days and I’m sure he is enjoying his well deserved rest. The smaller size of the conference allowed people like James Scollay and Tim Reed to meet and greet many more of the attendees.
We’ll end this comparison by highlighting the content from both conferences – one of the most important reasons that we all make the trek to these events.
MYOB scored a real goal in appointing Michael Crossland as their MC and main keynote speaker. Wow. Just wow. And we loved the pay it forward message when a gob-smacking amount of money was raised to support some very worthy causes. This is very important to us that the software providers are community focussed citizens. The other sessions were very helpful, with just the right blend of how to build your business, versus deep dives into the extensive software product library.
Xero also did a great job, and offered the additional benefit of break out sessions, so attendees could personalize their experience. The keynote speakers were varied and engaging. Top marks for catering to many different expectations!
We are so happy we decided to attend both conferences, and it has really helped us decide on our strategy for future growth. Whilst we certainly have preferences around certain software features, at the end of the day it is all about delivering the best service we can possibly deliver to our clients. And that is by offering our clients CHOICE.
We would love to hear your thoughts!
Cheers – The Team from CloudCounting