I’ve often been quoted as saying that there’s no better time to be in the accounting industry. And today I had the chance to stand up in front of thousands of accountants and bookkeepers at Xerocon and explain exactly why.
It all starts with a debit and a credit.
As a former accountant, I love a good T-account. Every time someone makes a transaction, they create a spark that’s captured using double-entry accounting principles. One debit. One credit. Repeat.
The thousands of bookkeepers and accountants gathered at Xerocon Brisbane alone, tend to many millions of sparks across the world. And together, those sparks tell a story.
Building new layers of understanding
That was the vision for Xero Small Business Insights (SBI) – to tell those stories that no one else could and thereby affect change.
Since its launch just two years ago, Xero SBI now provides insights across Australia, New Zealand and the UK. It’s fast-becoming woven into the fabric of policy-making here in Australia, where it’s been known to give policy makers a deeper understanding of prevailing issues such as the impact of digital connectivity and tax cuts on small business success.
Today, new research adds another layer of understanding as we consider the impact of investment in technology. By comparing small businesses that spend more on information and communications technology (ICT) with those with lower ICT spending growth, we now know that those who invest in tech:
- are 68% more likely to be growing
- grew employment 5.2 percentage points faster
- grew revenue 3.5 percentage points faster.
And as recently as last week, the Australian Government released an online tool to enable small businesses across Australia to see if they are paying too much for energy. The Small Business Energy Check, checkyourenergyspend.com.au, is built on a statistical model that uses the aggregated and anonymous data from Xero Small Business Insights.
In the moments since its launch, we’ve been urging small businesses to complete the check and draw on the expertise of their accountants and bookkeepers to find a better deal, save money and achieve greater energy efficiency – as another part of their bid to be a better business.
Journey to a digital small business economy
Access to such trusted and impactful insights are just one of the reasons I believe there’s never been a better time to be in the accounting industry.
Thanks to the iterative nature of cloud technology, there are many more. Whether it’s a legislative change such as Single Touch Payroll, major product announcements, or the continual flow of functional updates and improvements, Xero is now releasing code at five times the rate we were two years ago.
And not just any code. We looked closely at the wasted hours of productivity that arise due to friction in processes and disconnection, and embarked on a journey to a digital small business economy. It’s a vision that uses technology to better bring customers, employees, suppliers, banking, government and technology together, into one dynamic and connected community, guided by advisors.
Investing in the future
But if I could pick one question I’m asked time and time again by our partner community, it would be this: do you know any up-and-coming accountants or bookkeepers who already know Xero?
We believe in investing in the development of accounting and bookkeeping skills for the future. And – as of today – I’m proud to announce we now have more than 10,000 students using our learning platform, Xero Learn, worldwide. They’re being taught by over 100 learning institutions across Australia, New Zealand, America and Asia.
It took Xero nearly three years to reach our first 10,000 subscribers and we’ve now gone from 0 to 10,000 students in the last 18 months. That’s incredible. And if you think about it, that’s more than two students for every accountant and bookkeeper here at Xerocon Brisbane today, preparing to enter the workforce with job-ready skills.
Thriving economies build thriving communities
When I first joined Xero, I knew we were building accounting software with a difference, for advisors who knew different. But even then, I didn’t grasp the full-circle impact we could all have on the make-up of our communities.
The world needs people who understand the beauty of debits and credits – and the stories they tell. And those people need technology that can take those insights, smooth out the friction points and create a platform for growth.
After all, a thriving small business economy builds thriving communities. And that all starts with you – one debit and credit at a time.