Although I've been all-in on the Cloud for quite a while now, after attending Xerocon San Francisco, I came away with a renewed understanding of just how much the accounting industry has changed because of Cloud technology. The way we run our firms, hire new employees and operate in our day-to-day lives has completely shifted.
In the past 12 months alone, Xero has shipped more than 1,400 product releases and feature updates. This shows the pace of innovation Cloud accounting is driving. Xerocon taught me that the future of accounting holds a huge mass of technological innovation that will continue to improve our work and our lives.
In the future, the Cloud will continue to enhance our lives by making our work more efficient and enabling us to live our lives to the fullest.
Desktop accounting software used to tie us to our desks, restricting us in more ways than one. Without the ability to work from anywhere, at anytime, a strict dichotomy between our work and personal lives was forged. We were forced to complete our work either in our own offices or our clients.
Having this limitation created a balancing act where we needed to divide the parts of our time spent working and living. Working on Xero gives me the ability to integrate the two. I start working at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. until my daughter and wife wake up. I can take my daughter to school, come home and keep working, and then pick her up at 3 p.m. My wife is able to pursue her studies and we can work our schedules around our lives – all while running a business at the same time.
I’ve held many leadership positions throughout my career. Most recently, I owned a manufacturing firm that relied on the typical client server accounting software. This was a huge investment in technology, requiring time and money. Everything I did then, I can do now for a fraction of the cost and the time.
I’m not tied to the huge overheads of having a brick-and-mortar office and all of the expenses that go along with it. When I made the switch to Xero all those years ago, I immediately noticed an uptick of about 50 percent in the amount of clients I was taking on. And that was using the automation tools that were available back then.
Advancements in A.I. and machine learning are going to help make us more efficient going forward. It’s important to embrace these innovations today, so when they become available, we’re ready.
As previewed at Xerocon, chatbots are going to revolutionize the accounting firm, putting them at the forefront of social media. Xero’s chatbot will enable small businesses owners to get information about their accounting through Facebook Messenger.
Businesses will be able to access the Xero Advisor Directory and get a recommendation for a suitable accountant or bookkeeper in their area, which will help with our marketing efforts.
As more firms adapt to Cloud accounting technology, we’ll see demand for flexible work opportunities increase. Industry job board, Accountingfly, already receives eight times more applicants for remote positions than open positions at traditional firms.
Whether a firm is virtual or has brick-and-mortar offices, the talent pool is significantly widened when you’re looking at candidates from, not just your local area, but around the country. We’ll see a more satisfied workforce because the staff we’re hiring will have the capability to work flexibly. Firms will be able to take advantage of the ability to grow by hiring remote workers.
Accountants like me already are enjoying the benefits of Cloud accounting software. In the future, the Cloud will continue to enhance our lives by making our work more efficient and enabling us to live our lives to the fullest.
Jay Kimelman is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of the digital CPA, a technology focused accounting firm. Jay has served in the role of CFO, CIO and business owner. His passion is helping other bookkeepers, accountants and CPA firms utilize technology to support themselves and their clients do beautiful business. He was awarded the "Xero MVP" award in 2016, and now serves as a Xero Ambassador.