As the Xero Roadshow reaches its final week – encouraging accountants and bookkeepers how to use technology as a product of their imagination – we asked Melanie Morris, Head of Bookkeeping in New Zealand, why she does what she does and what she imagines for the future of the industry.
Our accounting and bookkeeping future is full of exciting possibilities. As technology continuously evolves, so do the opportunities for us to develop and expand our profession.
But as manufacturing automation and computers make decisions based on algorithms, we can be excused for wondering what that means for our day-to-day jobs in the future.
So much of what was once science fiction is now reality in 2017. Sci-fi movies where computers can talk to each other, learn from each other and ultimately decide the fate of humanity were all the rage in the early 80s. The underlying theme in movies like Terminator was of a dire future where humans were replaced by computers and artificial intelligence.
Yesterday, today, tomorrow
Almost thirty years on, I have to say my outlook is far more optimistic than the science flicks of old. I can’t wait to enjoy more of the positive impact of artificial intelligence.
For example, AI will likely reduce the need to code regular day-to-day transactions. That will leave us time to hone our other skills – like verification or undertaking professional development – and enable us to deliver value-added services to our small business clients.
Rather than spending our day undertaking data entry, we’ll look on broader strategic terms at the past, present and future of our client’s businesses. Utilising powerful reporting technology will make a huge difference to our client’s bottom line and future strategic plans.
The inner circle of trust – making a difference
One of the many reasons I love my job is due to the certainty that bookkeepers are now at the frontline of small business success. We’re part of the inner circle of trusted advisors for our small business clients.
We help with day-to-day decisions that impact profitability; we can see cash flow trends develop; and we are perfectly positioned to make a difference. We often become trusted confidants, and help small businesses interpret hard data into meaningful decisions.
We need to start giving ourselves permission to work in this space; to develop a deep understanding of the fundamentals involved in operating a successful small business – such as marketing, sales, HR and strategic planning. This a wonderful opportunity to expand our knowledge-base beyond the numbers as we prepare to offer services that support our close involvement with small business success.
It’s the right time to embrace technology such as Xero HQ, the new reporting centre, and XeroU for ongoing education.
My journey started 11 years ago as a sole-trading kitchen-tabletop bookkeeper. Over time, the business grew to seven staff – and all the while it felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back. We’ve been part of the evolution of a self-monitoring, energetic and engaged bookkeeping community that not only cares about its clients, but is eager to continue its professional development.
We are now on the cusp of a new future. My role with Xero is to think strategically and work with our awesome internal teams to imagine the future of accounting and bookkeeping. To help small business succeed while succeeding themselves.
Here’s to imagining that future, together.
This blog was submitted by Melanie Morris, Head of Bookkeeping, New Zealand.