Well I have managed to make it to the station in good time for journey home after 3 days in the smoke. I had good catch up with the secret southern branch of the exclusive Aweb members club on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a drinks event near the Excel hosted by some of show vendors. At the drinks sesh I had a great conversation with Olly from Capitalise, what a sharp fella he is, super focused and big plans for their lending platform I think you will be hearing a lot more from them over next few months.
There is 2 people I have always wanted to meet, Nelson Mendela and Richard Sergeant, sadly I missed out on Mandela but finally met the Sarge at the drinks do and what a great bloke he is, if you ever see him at an event stop and have a chat with him.
The talk of the day was the Taxfiler deal with IRIS. What I suspect will be Taxfilers loss will be Taxcalc's gain as there stand was rammmed both days and to be honest they seemed to be the only ones of the main players with anything new to launch at the event. As the cloud is no longer new and most people are as ready as they can be for MTD the show was a bit of a low key event with less buzz than previous years. I spent a lot of the first day just catching up with people and networking. I managed to grab a few decent presentations on the day. For me I am fairly happy with my core offering but I am really wanting to develop my xero add ons beyond the standard add ons like bank feeds and RB, (I beleive this is called App Stacking if you are under 30, cool or have a beard). Xero seemed quite reseptive to this and are wanting to do more to promote the Xero eco system.
I noticed this year that both practice managment and out sourcing solutions featured well at the event. I was contacted by 6 outsourcing companies wanting to meet me before the event I suspect labour provision of this nature is going to be "a thing" as part of delivering low cost MTD services to the masses.
Accounatncy Manager and Senta seem to dominate the PM space with both their stands very busy for the first day, whereas others seemed to have very little traffic yet operating in same space, Onkho seemed to have very little interest.
I managed to blag an entry to the RB party after the first day, accountants let loose at a free bar are a sight to behold, and actually quite funny. Again I caught up with a lot of old contacts. I had a great chat with James from Accountancy Manager, he is another very impressive guy, who is really focussed on what he is doing. If you see how far they have come in just over a year, you wouldnt bet aginst him dominating that space. They will be another firm to watch over the next 12 months, I could of talked to him all night and nearly did. Great Guy.
Next day was a subdued affair many probably hung over from the RB party and numbers seemed a lot less than the day before. This was good though as you could get some time on the stands with the smaller vendors to demo the half dozen specific apps i wnated to check out face to face.
I got what I needed from the show although it was a bit of a low key event this year, which is no way down the organistaion of it, by Zoey and her team, she grafts for the 2 days and seems to bomb around the place on roller skates, never stops. It just is a bit if flat time in the professions development which the likes of Accounatncy Manager and Capitalise are looking to capitalise on (see what I did there). I am just focusing on making hay while we have this lull before MTD happens and signing up as much work as I can.
All in all a good few days away to bash some ideas about but not as good as previous years.
Best Speaker - Amanda C Watts - Head and shoulders better than the old guard who tout the same old tut every year. I think I need a middle name as the C nails it on Google from an SEO point of view.
Top Blokes to meet at a accounting based function - The Sarge, Olly from Capitalise and James from Accountancy Manager, great banter.
Busiest Stand - Proably Taxcalc- smashed it.
Best Merch - Senta branded ground coffee is a real thing.
Offer of the Show - Joint Winner - Chaser - Free Ipad and 3 months half price subscription for their partner platform - Phillilpino Outsourcer - Offered a signed set of Manny Pacaiuo boxing gloves if I commited to a full time member of staff from him.
Hightlight - lunch with the inner circle before the event.
Low Point - After 5 years trying to stop spam from MyFirmsApp, I opted out from their GDPR email, only to have to sign up again to download the show brochure. I was literally spam free for 24 hours from them. It reminded me of Al Pacino in Godfather 3, "Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in"
The girls in the office will be all over my fresh mug and note pad collection like a tramp on a bag of chips in the morning no doubt.
Next trip out Xerocon in November.