The Accountant’s Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) conference in Brisbane last week kicked off with the traditional CEO Debate & Forum featuring our very own Chris Ridd (Managing Director in Australia), Tim Reed (CEO of MYOB), Brad Paterson (Intuit) and Alan Osrin (Sage Software Australia).
It was encouraging to learn that in a ‘Leaders & Laggard’ survey by Smithink and MYOB, concerns expressed about the cloud in previous surveys had decreased significantly in 2013. This is a sign that forward-thinking accountants and their clients are beginning to really embrace the benefits of collaborating via the cloud.
While Xero has been designed as a pure cloud solution from day one, other vendors were still clearly grappling with how to most effectively transition their customers from on premise solutions to the cloud.
The survey further revealed that cloud-based practice management software and electronic workpapers were high on the priority shopping list for accountants. It was great to receive validation and encouraging support from Xero partners in attendance that we are ticking these two very important boxes for them.
There were no surprises when cloud accounting was confirmed as the number one new technology to be implemented by the accounting profession in the last two years, although even tighter integration and faster, more stable internet remain top of the wish list for accountants. Widespread cloud adoption certainly explained why smartphone and tablet take up has been so significant in the profession in the last two years. Social media presence of accounting firms was also shown as fast on the increase.
Our partners continued to do us proud in our ‘Open Cloud Discussion’ where I had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion with Xero Gold partners, Tim Munro of Change Accountants & Advisors, Tanya Titman of Consolid8 and Jeremy Harris of Gill McKerrow & Associates. It was a refreshing change not to hear a software vendor push their wares and instead have the advocacy of accountants speak far louder.
On day two, Oliver Furniss (Xero Product Manager in Australia), combined with Craig Little (Practice Studio BDM), showed off Xero’s Practice Studio – our integrated suite of practice management tools for accountants. It features the first phases of our online tax offering – online TFN declaration and BAS lodgement, and generated applause from the audience.
All in all, it was an information packed two days at ATSA. A special congratulations to Deidre Morgan of Business Buddy, Xero partner visiting from Auckland who was the winner of our iPad Mini business card draw.
If you were also in attendance at this accounting conference, Xero partner or not, we’d love to hear your thoughts.