So, Matt and I attended the annual Xero conference at ExCel in Docklands. It is theory an easy couple of hours on the Virgin train, Tube and then DLR. Getting there was actually fairly close to this, we opted to walk the Tube leg which added an hour and gave us an interesting view of the EastEnd as we walked down Greys Inn Road and turned left, passing out of the City and into the East End.
Coming back was less interesting and much longer. It had evidently rained in the rest of the country while we had been enjoying the balmy weather in Docklands. As a result, the train from Euston to Birminghamtook over 3 hours instead of the usual 80 minutes. Much of this was spent sitting outside stations “waiting for platforms”. I did wonder where the platforms went for their days off.
Still, we arrived safely and that’s always good. The extended journey did at least make the trip seem like more of an intrepid exhibition which I suppose adds to its impact.
Once there, it was an interesting and helpful experience. We got to see what features Xero has coming in 2020, met several add on vendors and received motivation and inspiration from a good range of speakers.
Key takeaways for us are the upcoming Xero Tax which will allow us to file accounts and tax returns straight from Xero, instead of manually re keying the TB into GBooks, HubDoc to capture receipts, invoices etc. and auto code them using AI, and TransferWise to make payments straight from Xero. This latter feature is enabled by Open Banking, there was a useful talk from the head of Open Banking in the UK, this initiative is going to have major impacts on the way we all manage and interact with bank accounts in years to come.
ExCel itself is worth a visit, there were over 3,000 delegates at XeroCon and this was only one of several similarly sized events taking place in ExCel at the same time. The complex resembles an airport in scale and layout. It is supported by hotels and restaurants, not to mention a cable-car link across the Thames to London City Airport, which, if the trains continue as now may be a viable option for us next time.