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From SMBs and partners to pacesetters at the Accounting & Finance Show 2019

Posted 1 month ago in Xero news by Kevin Fitzgerald

5500 attendees, 260 speakers, and 140 exhibitors. 

Such was the scale of this year’s Accounting & Finance Show in Singapore and Hong Kong, where the Xero Asia team had the opportunity to share and learn from fellow accounting practitioners.

We particularly enjoyed the two keynote and six breakout tracks sessions that we hosted, where we were able to share more about how accounting firms can do more for their clients and grow their businesses on the cloud. Below are some of the key highlights.

Become a pacesetter in the accounting industry

With the digital transformation taking place in the accounting industry, we are seeing our partners rising to become pacesetters. To us, a pacesetter is defined as an accountant that has successfully reaped the benefits of cloud technology to run an efficient digitally-led practice. They are able to evolve into advisors to understand their clients’ financial needs, and bring tailored solutions to the table as a value-add.

In my keynote session, I shared about how pacesetters are able to surmount the biggest challenge that accounting firms are facing in 2019: acquiring new clients. 

How so? By leveraging cloud technology to provide complex advisory services, and not simply focusing on conventional accounting and compliance-related services. After all, how can you acquire new clients if you don’t free up time to focus on business development and tasks that drive business value?

Furthermore, pacesetters understand that SMBs’ move to the cloud is not a matter of if, but when. This is an opportunity for partners to serve a critical role in their digital journey. Already, pacesetters are providing app advisory services, reviewing their clients’ day-to-day business operations and selecting the right apps to suit their needs. By tapping on Xero’s app marketplace comprising over 800 complementary third-party apps, your clients will be able to gain an overview of their financials and establish greater control over their businesses.

The evolving relationship between accountant and client

Charlie Lam, Senior Account Manager at Xero Hong Kong, offered a closer look at the expectations of clients in an increasingly digitised world. 

To date, over 1.8 million businesses are users of Xero globally—432,000 of which joined in the last 12 months. Clearly, the time is ripe as businesses in Asia awaken to the idea of migrating to the cloud.

By using Xero, accounting firms can help their clients to get paid faster and manage cash flow better, which can help to solve some of their biggest challenges:

  • Cash flow issues: a large percentage of startups don’t make it to their 5th birthday, and in many cases, insufficient cash flow, and other financial problems are to blame
  • Long hours: business owners are some of the most stressed, overworked, and underpaid workers
  • Compliance: recording their income, spending, and all other financial transactions, on top of submitting financial reports and paying tax
  • Needing to bring extra skills to the table, from marketing to HR

In fact, if a small business partners with an accounting firm, and they are on Xero, Charlie says that there is an 85 percent chance they will still be in business after five years.

Achieving business success and sustainability

Jon Winter, Education Manager at Xero Asia, highlighted the critical role that SMBs play in driving the economies across Asia. For instance, SMBs make up 99 percent of businesses in Singapore, bringing in 50 percent of the total GDP. 

With the rise of digital technologies and internet penetration, traditional, and geographical boundaries have fallen away, enhancing the ease of expansion and internationalisation. In order to scale sustainably, Jon shares, SMBs need to answer four questions daily:

  • What do we owe?
  • How much is in the bank account?
  • What do people owe us?
  • Are we making a profit?

This is because growth usually results in the need for more inventory, more staff, and bigger office or warehouse space. In other words, more operating costs. Staying on top of the finances as the business scales or navigates the new ecosystem is critical to stay competitive and cash flow positive.

You can become a pacesetter too

Becoming a pacesetter is not a stretch as long as you commit to making the change and lay down the steps of your digital transformation journey. 

With increasing competition and a volatile economic landscape, the best way to combat rising operating costs is by raising productivity. With the help of technology and by moving to cloud accounting, SMBs will be able to automate a large portion of administrative tasks such as manual data entry, bank reconciliation, and chasing clients for documents and payments.  

Xero does our part by hosting demo sessions for SMBs at our office every week, and an annual roadshow for our partners. Join us and accelerate your journey towards digital transformation!

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