While on my travels I took the chance to meet with Australian practitioners who are doing cool and interesting things. The video above shows representatives from three Xero based firms.
The first thing to note is that they’re not using traditional accounting firm naming conventions. No Dolittle Plunder & Grabbit here. Instead, each has opted for names that better reflect what they offer. In this case: Guy Pearson of Interactive Accounting, James Solomon of Elite Financial Solutions and Dyeann Moodley of Wilde Financial Services.
Each of their stories reflects what I see as shifts in the business of providing accounting services. Let’s start with Guy.
Interactive Accounting sees accounting functions as the underpinning to a broader range of services that include helping business collaborate using tools like Google Apps and LinkedIn. The firm is so technology focused they only hire people who understand technology and are prepared to use Apple equipment. “The aim is to have all our services in the cloud so that we don’t waste time and money managing infrastructure.” That makes sense. While small today, his firm has international ambitions with plans to open in the US next year.
Dyeann represents a blend of the business that grows by acquisition while recognising the needs of remote workers. In a country as large as Australia distance between major cities is often thought of in terms of plane rides. That makes for a perfect environment for cloud computing which has the effect of collapsing time and space. “When I realised that combining motherhood with work meant I needed to work remotely then moving to the cloud was an obvious choice.”
James represents one of what I call the ‘Brave Ones.’ His firm is in the process of splitting between those partner/directors who believe in cloud based services and those that don’t. It is a story that resonates well with me since it was technology shifts that pulled me into a position where retirement was preferable to a messy partnership break up.
What struck me most about these practitioners, all of which by the way are CAs, is their eagerness to try new things. That is so not like the traditional practice where stability and security are the watchwords. Like their UK counterparts, they see enormous potential to build the accounting practice of the future. That is they see the opportunity to use their training as the foundation for a different type of business; one that could not exist without cloud technologies. All are growing at double digit rates.
Finally, I had to giggle at Guy Pearson’s choice of attire: a tee shirt that says: ‘Want to meet an accountant with personality? Look no further.’ That kinda says it all.
Thanks to the UK/Australian Xero team for making the meeting happen and thanks also to Guy, Dyeann and James for sitting in the coconut shy with me. It was a memorable experience.
Bonus points: Chris Ridd of Xero talks about my visit ‘down under.’ It’s a generous piece.