Wow! Well, it looks like the world has truly gotten over its fear of face-to-face events and big buys rooms! Accountex London 2023 was a huge success, with over 10,000 professionals in attendance this year, up 28% on last year and even beating their previous best year (pre-Covid) 2019.
So, was it worth heading down to London and taking 2 days out of the office? I would definitely say so!
Not only is the chance to see all the main players in the accounting workflow from software to services and of course HMRC! It’s also a great chance to network with your fellow accountants and industry professionals.
My Accountex this year started a day early with a Pre-Con networking event “AccountAxe” at the Whistle Punks Axe throwing bar in London. With over 80 people in attendance, it was a great turnout. There was a mix of accountants and exhibitors taking the chance to discuss what’s happening in the industry like the huge raft of mergers and acquisitions, software providers consolidation and the march of AI into the knowledge-based business front lawn – and whether accountants should open the front door or release the hounds 😆 More on this later.
My Key Takeaways
Unsurprisingly, with the talent gap in the UK ever worsening, many of the topics centred on recruiting top talent. Discussions revolved around how best to retain and nurture top talent; from how to handle neurodiversity, diversity, and inclusion and how to recruit, manage and retain Gen-Z staff. There were several people dedicated to helping ageing accountants with their social media profiles, including and not limited to making TikTok dance videos which I found very amusing!
After years of the main message at these shows being, “You must adopt technology”, I’m glad to see that the message has finally started to change a little. The big tech players like Xero, Intuit, Dext, Sage & IRIS are still dominating the floorplan with their massive stands and marketing budget. But, now the focus seems to have shifted away from “getting your clients on tech” to “now that your clients are on tech, your firm needs to be more human”
With the advancements in AI, plain for all to see, it's more important than ever to do what AI can’t do: speak to your clients, understand their needs and wants, show empathy and work with them to create the roadmap to their end goals. Accountants must now focus on providing their clients with actionable insight now that live data capture from all business services is in place.
The technology has allowed accountants to act like they are in the room with the client. There is live data from banking, invoicing, sales teams, web portals, payment cards & expenses, and mobile payments.
We saw Software providers from Intuit & Sage peddling the, “We’re developing Generative AI” message like their stock price depended on it, to smaller players like Pixie who demonstrated their Co-Pilot (Chat GPT Plugin) that was easily able to adopt a persona and draft responses to client emails in seconds. This saves precious time for users meaning they could review and make minor edits rather than drafting messages from scratch.
We’ve all had canned email responses for years now, but to see the system “read” a client email, respond using your suggested tone, and include info available on its system was impressive. It was a real eye-opener on how much more efficient it could make everyone’s day at work. Summary
Since leaving the world of Accounting Tech nearly 18 months ago, I’ve had the same message to clients. The best accounting firms need Artificial Intelligence + Actual Intelligence to provide the service that modern businesses need.
For years software providers have told Accountants to be weary of using the time-based billing model as tasks that used to take 3 days will soon take 3 hours – this is more evident than ever with the rise of useful AI. Firms must now focus on the value that they provide and do what AI cannot – be human. 🤖 + 🙋🏽♂️
Written & Produced by Chat GPT 4… Just kidding 😉
Get in touch if you would like me to help you get more rest!
UK Country Director
With over 10 years’ experience working with Accountancy Firms, BPO’s and Fintech’s like Intuit & Dext; Mark helps firms maximize efficiency and solve capacity issues with People + Technology.
Learn more about how Offshoring works: www.frontlineaccounting.com
Book a call with me: www.calendly.com/markmcnee