By Jason Bramwell
Two competing small business accounting software providers will be hosting events on the same two days within nearly forty miles of each other in California September 4 and 5, 2013.
Xero, a San Francisco-based online accounting software provider that specializes in Cloud-based data management systems for small businesses, is hosting its inaugural Xerocon US event for accounting professionals and the media on September 4 and 5 at Terra Gallery in San Francisco.
Founded in New Zealand in 2006, Xero launched in the United States nineteen months ago, and the event serves as the official launch party for its online platform in the North American market.
Also on those two days, Intuit Inc., developer of small business accounting software package QuickBooks, is hosting a VIP Accounting Professionals Summit south of San Francisco at its headquarters in Mountain View. Unlike Xerocon US, Intuit's conference is a private, invitation-only event that will include its top thirty to forty influencers, including accounting professionals, pundits, media, and customers from around the globe.
According to a 2012 investor briefing presentation, Xero stated it is now recognized as Intuit's number-one Cloud challenger, and the presentation included a quote from Intuit CEO Brad Smith, saying he "admired" Xero. However, some people within Xero believe Intuit deliberately scheduled its conference on the same two days as Xerocon US.
"We announced our conference on June 27, and then a week later, Intuit sent out a note about their VIP conference to many of the same attendees of our conference. We'll leave it up to people to decide what they think", Xero US President Jamie Sutherland told AccountingWEB.
On July 13, Xero CEO Rod Drury tweeted",Hats off to Intuit for pulling the old event ambush trick."
But according to Kim Amsbaugh, senior public relations manager for Intuit's Accounting Professionals Division, Xero's conference has no bearing on Intuit's private event.
"We've been planning this meeting for months and, as we always do, schedule our events at a time that works best for our customers and makes the most sense for our business and our executives", she told AccountingWEB. "This event would have been scheduled for the first week of September, regardless of what else was going on in the Bay Area or with any other company. We're flattered that a private company meeting is garnering so much interest, but one really has nothing to do with the other."
Guests of the Intuit VIP Accounting Professionals Summit are those whose perspective Intuit values, Amsbaugh said.
"The event will enable us to outline our strategy in more detail for our core audience, as we do each year around the beginning of our fiscal year [on August 1] and before tax season begins", she added.
More than 400 Xero accounting and technology partners are expected to attend the inaugural Xerocon US event next week. The two-day conference features educational, collaborative, networking, and celebratory activities.
"We consider ourselves the leaders in online accounting", Sutherland said. "We built a platform for the web from the ground up and have a pretty interesting story to tell about where the future of accounting is going – for how small businesses and accounting professionals can manage their books."
Attendees also have the opportunity to gain CPE credit through multiple sessions presented by Sutherland, Drury, and Xero Chief Technology Officer Craig Walker, among others.
"We talk about products that are coming down the pipeline very openly. We want our software to be accessible to any accounting professional or any small business around the world or in the United States", Sutherland said. "At the end of the day, we are building software for small businesses and accountants that makes their lives easier and their businesses more productive and more efficient."