By David Hughes
The Next Big Thing is People
That’s the word from Gary Turner, MD of Xero, which is one of the largest cloud bookkeeping software on the market. This was straight from Xerocon London 2017, where the UK’s largest contributors to accounting technology solutions came together to show off their latest products and discuss the hot topic – cloud accounting. It is clear that cloud accounting is now both accepted and understood by a majority of SMEs, as this year Xero focused more on their platform rather than educating customers on the concept of cloud accounting.
News from Xerocon 2017
Xero made some new announcements for their own offering and there was a horde of smaller SaaS companies there to tell their story of success. While the event itself is based upon technological solutions, it was refreshing to hear the emphasis on the fact that the next big thing is people. It is clear that cloud accounting solutions are causing some distress among accountants as it is altering the value we provide to our clients. It is, however, unlikely that robots will take over the accountancy profession as a whole. They are simply changing our roles, not replacing them. Accountancy practices not already in the cloud are one step behind and should begin thinking about making the step to adapt. Fortunately, accountancy software is being built to benefit both the agent (accountant) and the client. The phrase “accountants need to adapt” makes it sound like a huge change is coming. Although a change is coming, the change is only in how the accountants provide our value. As machines grow and improve, accountants will hold one advantage over these systems for a long time to come – we are able to provide the care, character and emotion that a machine cannot.
Where is accountancy going?
There are new opportunities on the horizon to use technology in new and imaginative ways for accountancy practices. New regulations will be a large contributing factor to the speed at which we see improvements in the software we use. PSD2 is a prime example of that, where bank data becomes more readily available to the software that SMEs work with. Bank feeds suddenly become a staple of bookkeeping software, increasing the level of competition and rate of growth of more complex features in cloud accounting software. We’re excited to see where software like Xero will go next.