Receipt Bank Blog>News>Countdown to Xerocon London: A Sneak-Peek into John Connolly’s Breakout Session

Countdown to Xerocon London: A Sneak-Peek into John Connolly’s Breakout Session



Xerocon Countdown

Next week, Xerocon lands in London.

This is a chance for accountants and bookkeepers to connect, share insights, reflect on the past year and look forward to the one ahead.

2018 marks a fascinating time for the industry, as the UK prepares for the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) in April 2019 and Brexit. In light of these changes, our Chief Product Officer, John Connolly, will be sharing his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the accounting and bookkeeping profession.

Ahead of his session on Day 2 of Xerocon, we talk to John for a sneak-peek.


I wouldn’t say I always knew I’d end up working in the accounting field, but there is a certain logic to it.

I actually first started dealing with the principles of accounting during bookkeeping lessons at school. And then my first job out of university was in tax.

I studied machine learning at Queen’s University Belfast – neural networks trained by genetic algorithms, if you’re interested – and graduated with an MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

So naturally I went on to code V.A.T. systems for the Irish government. Later, I crossed the pond to join an online taxation filing venture in the US in 1999. And then I stepped away for the next 18 years, and worked in the healthcare, travel and science industries.

Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve looked to push the boundaries. That’s why I seem to keep finding myself in industries that first, keep us alive, and second, make that life worth living. Accounting is central to helping the world’s businesses succeed, and touches the majority of the labour force and economy. Doing it well and pushing the limits of what’s possible means improving society as a whole.


I lead the Product team at Receipt Bank. If Sales ‘sell’ it, Marketing ‘market’ it and Engineering ‘build’ it, Product decides what ‘it’ is.

That requires looking inside the souls of accountants and bookkeepers to understand them better. It means translating new and emerging technologies into tangible benefits for businesses, while at the same time making it easy to learn, fun to use, and robust for the future.


My session is all about making choices. The range of options in front of accountants and bookkeepers have never been wider. But it can be hard to engage with them to the fullest when you’ve always done things a certain way. A few changes in how you approach your thinking, however, can make a huge difference.

When talking about ‘you’, it’s also reassuring to remember that we are all part of the Xero and Receipt Bank community. You are a part of a wider ecosystem of other practitioners, technologists and software companies, working together to make a meaningful impact in the lives of you and your clients.

I firmly believe that you are in charge of the agenda of your firm.

So you shouldn’t feel tied to an agenda set by the government or anyone else. Real transformation is created not by some piece of software, but by people.

That’s why the product is, to put it simply, you.

Catch the breakout session at Gold Stage 2 in the Exhibition Hall, on Thursday 15 November 2018. I can’t wait to see you there. And, if you see me – unless running to the breakout session – please come by and say hello. 


Learn more about Receipt Bank and network with other industry professionals on the Receipt Bank VIP Yacht Party. You’ll enjoy signature cocktails and canapés, take home some Receipt Bank swag, plus hear Gary Turner, Co-Founder and MD of Xero EMEA.

Please note that places are limited. To avoid disappointment, book today. Book your place

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