I started as an accountant back in the 90s when Oasis and Blur were fighting and Tony Blair was leading the Labour party to glory. It was a different time and the technology used to do the work was limited at best. When I started Azure in 2008, accounting packages were still on servers and Sage was the leader in town.
Then, in the new millennium, cloud computing started to change the landscape and it was only a matter of time before accounting moved to the cloud.
The leader of this revolution, was Xero and we started using Xero in 2012. I quickly realised that this would create a complete change about how accountants work and the relationship with their clients. This was driven by two serious changes.
Firstly, new technology like Xero made the whole book-keeping process far simpler. New intuitive, web based programs replaced the old server based programs that it seemed only accountants could make work.
Secondly, and crucially, the numbers were placed back in the hands of the business owners through the opportunity to create a financial system that was real time, online, and accessible. No longer did busines owners have to wait for their accountants to provide them out of date information on spreadsheets. They could interrogate the data themselves.
This serious shift has meant that accountants need to re-invent themselves and can no longer be these old fashioned, reactive service providers who gave their clients little value above and beyond the statutory accounts which provided well out of date information.
Now, we need to be that number two for our business owners – guiding them through the peaks and troughs of business ownership. The conversation has changed completely. It has become more forward thinking and advisory.
This is a shift that we embrace completely. The conversations we have with our clients now are more exciting and give us more opportunity to help business owners use their businesses to get where they want to go in life.
“We love to help our clients achieve their dreams” was what we wrote on the wall some ten year ago. Not much has changed in our intent, but the technology and the shift in conversation has made this much more of a realistic prospect and it is what gets us out of bed in the morning.