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Xerocon 2018: the key takeaways for South Africa’s small businesses

Posted 7 days ago in Advisors by Colin Timmis
Posted by Colin Timmis

This year’s Xerocon London was attended by over 3,000 accountants and bookkeepers – united by their universal love of caffeine! Baristas from one of Xero’s customers, Grind & Co., whipped up some 10,000 cups of coffee over the two day event.

There was also plenty to see and do, many people to meet and inspirational talks to listen to. Motivational speakers like Olympic gold medallist, Sir Chris Hoy; Royal Marine commando, Ben McCLean and former BBC HR Director, Lucy Adams stirred audiences with their inspiring true-life tales.

And of course, accountants and bookkeepers were the undisputed heroes of the entire event, with South African firms, BVSA Chartered Accountants and Core Cloud Accounting both crowned winners in Xerocon’s award ceremony. Check out why they won here.

As 2018 draws to a close, here are the key takeaways that small businesses and accounting firms in South Africa should be thinking about in the New Year:

Faster access to financial data

At Xero, we know that the right business partner can make all the difference between real success and doing ok. That’s why we are very excited about our integration with Absa. Together, we aim to provide small businesses with next generation financial management.

It’s simple; Absa’s banking customers who use Xero will be able to upload and access their financial information faster than ever before. Bank statements, for example, will be automatically imported and categorised, eliminating the need for manual oversight and thereby saving small business owners a lot of time.

Absa spokesperson Molahadi Mohale joined us at Xerocon to talk about the integration. She said that it is designed to “give clients a full view of their financials and full control over their business, so that they can run their business a lot more efficiently.”

Better banking

Xero’s new, full-featured API for bank feeds, announced at Xerocon, makes it easy for small businesses and their advisors to receive the financial information they need anytime, anywhere. Customers can reconcile accounts, create smart, shareable reports and online invoices, and review their cashflow in real-time while on the go. This means that users are always working with completely accurate data.

We are now living in a world in which businesses with vital data from the financial sources they use daily in one platform. With financial institutions of all sizes across the world able to securely integrate with Xero, less time is spent chasing information or fixing errors, and more time is spent helping clients grow.

Jacobus de Nysschen, Director at CreativeCFO said, “one of the challenges that small businesses in South Africa face is access to information, and the ability to obtain quality information to help make the decisions that will help their business grow. Xero’s new API for bank feeds is perfect to address this as it means he has all the information that he needs to make better business decisions, all in one place.”

Using technology to make better business decisions

What Molahadi and Jacobson reinforce is that technology, and the information that it provides is crucial to business growth. The right technology can automate mundane administrative tasks and free up valuable time. Invoices, for example, are now chased via intelligent software and reconciliation can happen at the click of a button. This gives business owners and their accountants more opportunity to focus on business strategy and advisory services.

Research from Accenture suggests that AI can double the growth rate of the South African economy and accelerate rates of profitability by an average of 38% by 2035. It’s crucial that accountants and small businesses in South Africa get to grips with AI and learn how to work alongside it to better manage their finances and so much more growth. And for those who have already adopted new technologies, they need to ensure they don’t lift their foot off the pedal, by keeping up-to-date with the latest training and developments to ensure that they stay relevant.

Why this matters in 2019

At Xero, we’re on a mission to develop new tech and create new partnerships that improve the accounting experience for small businesses and accountants around the world. South African accountants and small businesses have better access to smart financial tools than ever before – and we look forward to seeing and hearing more of their big wins at Xerocon 2019.

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