"Coachella for accountants": My experience as a grad at Xerocon

25 February 2019

Laura Barber, Accountant, Business Services |

At the beginning of 2017, I was lucky enough to be able to complete a vacation position in BDO Brisbane's Business Services division. After my two week vacation placement, I was offered an undergraduate role initially working three days per week which then progressed to four and I started working full-time after I graduated in December 2017. One of my favourite things about working with BDO is the huge range of opportunities on offer including that I was able to represent BDO at Xerocon Brisbane in September 2018.

What I learnt at Xerocon

Xerocon is an education-focused event run by the accounting technology platform Xero. Known as "Coachella for accountants", BDO offered a number of spaces for employees to attend the event.  Spaces are both limited and in high demand, so I had to demonstrate why I wanted to go, what I wanted to learn, and how I would share that knowledge with the rest of my team through a formal expression of interest process. I was delighted to be accepted, along with colleagues from all over the BDO in Australia network.

The speakers covered a huge range of topics, including new features that are planned for Xero, right through to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and what it means for society. One of the key themes was that evolution of technology, like AI, allows us to embrace those things that, as humans make us special and cannot be replicated by any machines – empathy, creativity, negotiation, judgement, cuddles – and it is not here to take over our jobs. 

This is something that I have seen for myself since starting at BDO. Xero now takes care of the many manual accounting tasks, leaving accountants free to apply their expertise and experience to really add value to the client relationship through advisory services. I love the way the accounting industry is transforming and am excited to see all of the new ways we can add value, instead of simply meeting compliance needs.

BDO: Global reach, small firm culture

The opportunities available is just one of the things I like about BDO. What first attracted me to the firm is that it is a global, renowned name, with a small firm culture. Everyone is friendly and always willing to help each other, which is great, especially as I move into my Chartered Accounting (CA) studies.

I'm not too daunted about starting my CA studies. Whilst I know there will be a lot of work involved, the great thing about working at BDO as an undergrad were the skills I developed to work three to four days per week and study simultaneously. This helped to develop my management and prioritisation skills, which I will be able to use during my CA studies.

I can't wait to become CA-qualified and see where my career at BDO will take me next.

For more information on graduate roles at BDO, visit our careers website today.