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Self Made: Another inspiring Xero Roadshow spent with our growing community

May 30, 2023

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This year was nothing short of phenomenal, as our Roadshows once again united our accounting, bookkeeping and app partners during our live Johannesburg and Cape Town events. This year we welcomed a record 2,300+ attendees across the two sold-out locations. It’s always amazing to see the passion and support within our growing community, and the innovation driving the accounting industry forward.

The day’s agenda combined an incredible line-up of speakers and we had a number of our Xero app partners exhibiting. Here are a few of my highlights from this year:

Celebrating the resilience of the self made

We celebrated the tenacity and resilience of the accounting, bookkeeping and small business community under this year’s theme of ‘self made’.

We talked a lot about the importance of people – both people in small businesses and the people who support them, especially accountants and bookkeepers. I shared the latest insights from our State of South African Small Business report. Despite concerns around political and economic instability, and revenue loss due to loadshedding, almost three-quarters of small businesses have grown over the past year. This growth is driving optimism, with more than 95% expecting to survive the coming year.

These businesses continue to have a positive outlook on life, with our recent study showing South African small business owners had the highest level of overall wellbeing out of seven countries surveyed. This suggests a marked difference in overall mindset and outlook rather than the result of any external conditions, and is what’s behind the grit and determination of self made businesses.

Colin Timmis on stage at the Roadshow

Accountants more important than ever

Our research also shows the incredible role accountants play in supporting small businesses. Nearly half (49%) of small businesses go to their accountants for business advice, well above any other source of guidance.

We heard from a number of accountants during a panel discussion delving into the evolving role of the accountant as technology-enabled business advisors, and the role they play in helping clients navigate ongoing challenges.

Our research shows nearly a third (29%) of small businesses credited their accountants as the most significant factor in surviving the last 12 months.

At Xero, we have an important role to play in ensuring accountants and bookkeepers have the tools they need to scale, grow and better support small businesses. We introduced direct VAT eFiling last year, and expanded this to payroll tax too by partnering with SimplePay and PaySpace. We’re continuing to build a more connected experience for our accounting partners by partnering with banks, apps and organisations like SARS to reimagine how accountants run their practice.

Bestselling author and adventurer, Joey Evans on stage

No grit, no glory: Overcoming adversity

“You didn’t come this far, to only come this far.”

Our guest speaker, bestselling author and adventurer, Joey Evans delivered an emotive and inspirational keynote on his journey to reach his life goal of competing in the Dakar Rally. A 13 day, 9000 km race widely known as the toughest, longest and most dangerous off-road race in the world, a race that has claimed the lives of over 70 people during its 42-year history. After a serious crash left him completely paralysed from just below his chest, Joey shared a story of passion and perseverance in overcoming physical and mental adversity to finally achieve his lifelong Dakar dream.

Dreaming big: How a local legend becomes a fashion icon

“Just begin”

We heard the incredible growth story of proudly South African brand Veldskoen Shoes from CEO Nick Dreyer.

Nick recalled the origins of Veldskoen: from humble beginnings in a 4×3 meter office and storeroom in Woodstock, Cape Town to global fashion sensation worn by Ashton Kutcher and Prince Harry. With passion and commitment, they achieved global growth by being an authentic, values-driven brand. Nick gave us a behind-the-scenes view into how he set up his UK and US businesses and bravely pivoted during the global pandemic. He spoke of the tenacity of South Africans and the importance of shopping local to drive economic growth.

What is clear from this years’ Roadshows, is  that despite the challenges that impact our current worldview, as South Africans we have a unique mindset that helps us tackle obstacles and come out the other side stronger. If we continue working together to solve problems, we are well positioned to thrive as a country. Thank you to everyone who joined us across the two days!

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