Our Top 3 Takeaways from Xerocon 2016

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Being dedicated to always bringing our clients the most up-to-date accountancy and business advice and tools, Approved Accounting dispatched directors Jon Green, Trevor Green and accountant Matthew Gair to this year’s Xerocon, the annual conference of Xero, the global cloud accounting software provider.

Here are their top three takeaways from this year’s conference:

1. Expect and embrace more automation

Automation was the key theme running through Xerocon 2016. According to Xero CEO, Rod Drury, in his keynote speech to the conference, ‘machine learning’ and ‘big data’ will begin to deliver mass automation. While business owners sleep, Xero and other systems will be at work, delivering ever-increasing efficiency and reducing the need for human data input.

The combination of increasing integration and collaboration between Xero and the banks (creating what Drury referred to as ‘a financial web’) and advisers who can provide real-time data, along with expert analysis and advice can help businesses in many ways, including easier access to bank lending. Xero hope and expect that this will help to boost the small business economy across the world.

Drury also told the conference that, having invested tens of millions of dollars helping to migrate the accounting industry into the cloud, the next wave of the transition is upon us. Technology will continue to transform accounting and automation will streamline entire functions within the industry, as will ‘big data’ and advanced ‘machine learning’. These are relatively new terms to most, but they will become increasingly common in the next couple of years as we use technology to automate more and more tasks in our business and personal lives.

2. Quality advice will replace compliance

Dale Murray, a guest speaker at Xerocon, championed good, practical, understandable accounting advice and demonstrated how new technology and automation will both encourage and support this transition. As cloud accounting develops, alongside the impact of technology on service more generally, Murray predicted that automation will play a key role. This in turn will make an accountant’s ability to deliver quality advice to clients far more important than pure compliance work. It is the interpretation of the figures, and resulting decisions and actions taken which are important to a business owner.

3. Add-ons will continue to improve productivity

With 88% of new small businesses who use Xero surviving past the five-year mark, when statistically 40% of all startups fail during that period, there’s a proven case that technology has the edge over more traditional methods of accounting (e.g. spreadsheets). Xero’s UK Managing Director, Gary Turner, explained that Xero’s focus is on developing technologies to further improve productivity for small businesses and their advisers.

A key element of this focus is Xero’s 500+-strong (and growing) community of add-on partners. These are enterprises that have developed business applications that easily sync with and work alongside Xero and streamline data, to provide specialised software for all business types.
Xerocon 2016 provided Jon, Trevor and Matt with excellent insights into the way Xero and other industry experts see the business world developing over the next couple of years, continuing the huge changes we have seen in recent times. The trip gave our team a host of excellent ideas for the development of Approved Accounting and our clients in 2016 and beyond.

Perhaps the most important point that was underlined by the conference was the importance of every business embracing the benefits technology can bring, in order to keep up with the pace of change and remain competitive. This has always been our strategy, and something we encourage and assist our clients to do too.

If your accountant is not giving you the advice you feel you need on how best to use technology in your business to gain maximum benefit, please don’t hesitate to get in touch
with us today.

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