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Cloud is the only topic for accountants at ATSA2011

The first 20 minutes set the trend for the rest of the Accountant’s Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) conference held at the Hilton in Melbourne yesterday and today. It’s all cloud, cloud, cloud. Even a survey conducted by Smithink and MYOB of accountants around Australia predict that cloud accounting solutions were going to be the biggest technology change for the industry in the next 2 years.

Chris Ridd, our Managing Director of Australia contributed heavily to the CEO panel discussion that kicked the conference off. The mood in the room was intense listening to the likes of Alan Osrin, Managing Director of HandiSoft Software Australia and Tim Reed CEO of MYOB respond to questions about how they’re managing the transition from legacy, desktop based software to cloud based solutions that deliver on all the advantages of a single ledger.

The hybrid solution seems to be the common answer, however the conviction with which these companies are pursuing these strategies seems to suggest there is lingering doubt. The complexities that are introduced with syncing technologies are difficult to solve and problematic to maintain. These strategies are so difficult to explain to the consumer market that Tim Reed identified the biggest challenge facing MYOB was being able to articulate it’s strategy to their customers. So much so in fact there were 30 evangelists recently appointed and are dedicated to that task.

Issues that were prominent at past conferences such as document management and client portals appear to have been relegated to lesser priority. Forward thinking accountants are starting to contemplate the possibilities that cloud based solutions offer including open platforms where various solutions are tightly integrated to accommodate the needs of the modern practice. At one stage it was even suggested that accountants prefer desktop software because the user interface is superior to a web based interface. Xero customers are absolutely talking with their feet on this subject.

One thing we can definitely agree on though is the trend towards mobile devices and constant connectivity with our staff, clients and stakeholders. Xero has released our touch application which was in high demand at our demonstration stand. In addition, the hot topic for Xero’s Australian customers was the pending integrated payroll release as well as the more advanced reporting capability scheduled for early next year.

What did you think of ATSA2011?


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18 October 2011 #

“At one stage it was even suggested that accountants prefer desktop software because the user interface is superior to a web based interface” – who are they kidding.

Xero’s interface is superior to anything else out there, it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the claustrophobic and boringly clunky interfaces of other desktop and cloud offerings out there.

What’s more laughable is that our client’s love it too, so why build a product that “accountants” like when they should be thinking about what consumers like.

Charles Sondergaard
18 October 2011 #

We are strong believers in Xero and Cloud Accounting and believe this is an opportunity for our business clients to rethink the way they use their Management Information and Accounting System. Time to re-engineer business processes and take advantage of real-time information and involve your team in your business.

Anton Gerner
18 October 2011 #

From a clients point of view, I think the problem here is that most accountants heads are in the clouds. Thank goodness there is a new generation of accountants coming through who ‘get it’!

Leader Accountancy
19 October 2011 #

Great to see MYOB and Handisoft are trying to catch up. Well done Xero!

Chris Eccles
19 October 2011 #

I thought the CEO Q&A was excellent. It is easy to understand why Chris Ridd and Mike Chisholm from Acclipse were smiling and the most relaxed. It was evident that the others struggled and their denial that cloud is the future of accounting. Was also good to see everyone with iPads, I’ve had an iPad for a few months and could not live without it. Our advice to clients now is get an iPad and get Xero. The next phase of accounting is already here. Thanks for a great conference

Steph Hinds
19 October 2011 #

As usual xero stood out from the crowd. It’s awesome to see an MD demonstrate the product as oppopsed to play a video. Its sad to see some of the other suppliers so far behind and with their heads in the sand. #xerocon rocked compared to #atsa2011 though :)

Richard Francis
19 October 2011 #

As a Kiwi CA and software dude who made the effort to get across the ditch for ATSA, I have to say that those still talking about the Cloud have missed the boat. Some were talking about social media as if it was a new phenomenon. Sigh.
Great to see Xero wow the audience though, and to see how Xero, the Paycycle acquisition, LodgeIT add-on will just move the game further ahead of the pack.

Check out my cheeky blogpost re ATSA at

Stuart Thomson
19 October 2011 #

Thanks to Tim & Chris @ Xero for their presentations. The CEO’s Q & A was just downright embarassing & awkward for a few, it wasn’t so much what you guys said (which was spot on!) but more the silence or jibberish from your so called competition. Honourable mention to Acclipse for having a CEO, like Xero that actually knows his own software…Well done guys

Falk Willi
22 October 2011 #

The Clouds are everywhere. Sometimes I feel a bit like Luke Skywalker flying to Bespin. But your comment is mostly on business, and the connectivity between customer and agend. I feel it the other way around. Especially our private life soon will be changed. The “Personal Computer” will diminish

7 November 2011 #

Xero is indeed leading the cloud accounting space. To see how small business owners rate Xero, and let us know what you think, visit cheapstart here . We compare small business cloud software to help run and grow your Australian business.

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