James Solomons

Accounting, Business & Technology; Advocate, Entrepreneur & Educator

Future of Accounting Podcast with Danetha Doe

Late last year I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Danetha Doe on her Future of Accounting Podcast. Its a great website for young and old finance professionals to check out !

Focus of the podcast was on the innovation occurring in the industry and unlike many of my other articles and interviews it focused more on my personal journey as an accountant, something which I rarely speak about (because frankly, everyone has a story and mine is nothing special !)

Check it out here !

Here is what Danetha wrote on her site about the Podcast !  Continue reading “Future of Accounting Podcast with Danetha Doe”

Immediate reflections on my CEO Sleepout Experience…..

Back at the office after a tough night sleeping without a roof over my head on the SCG turf. Even in an environment safe from the threat of being bashed and robbed it was impossible to get any real sleep. But this experience would not compare to what 105,000 people in Australia go through every night, including 17,000 kids under the age of 12. 
I have been so lucky in my life to have been helped by so many people to get to where I am today. A beautiful family, nice house, nice car, good education, a steady income and great people to work with everyday. Some however, from decisions they make themselves or from circumstances out of their control are not so lucky. 
When I tuck my kids into bed tonight and then later on kiss my wife goodnight and tell her I love her, then rest my head on my own pillow and try to drift off to sleep I will not be able to shake the fact that so many adults and kids in Australia will be searching for a place to curl up for the night, hoping to make it through the cold and to not be preyed upon while they sleep. 
As a society we have a responsibility to not only help those in need but to protect them when they are unable to do so themselves, regardless of the reason. Where the system fails, the rest of us need to step in.
You can still donate and I urge you to do so to help Vinnies continue the great work that they do.


Embracing Change For Start-up Success

It’s human nature to dislike change. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right? Why disrupt a process, or do things differently?

Usually the answer is that the process is, in fact, broken – or could be massively improved – but we’ve become too complacent to notice.

This is particularly apparent to start-ups providing a service to enterprise customers. Unlike the nimble, adaptable start-up themselves – or SMEs that can react with agility – large enterprises with multiple decision-makers are typically more change-averse simply because of their size and scale. Despite the fact that technological evolution is inevitable, and new technologies are becoming quicker and easier to implement, the process of integrating new solutions is still a risk for large organisations.

So as an enterprise start-up, how do you break through?

Continue reading “Embracing Change For Start-up Success”

What the next generation of accountants really wants

Read Time: 4m 55s

Millennials are often portrayed in the media as entitled, frequent job switchers and interested primarily in monetary gain. But the reality doesn’t quite match up.

The next generation of accountants want to be exactly that. Accountants.

They studied accounting because it interests them, not because it is a stable career they can fall back on if ‘Plan A’ fails. They’re also not afraid to call themselves accountants. In fact they relish breaking the stereotype of a boring accountant.

They do however expect something from their employers that previous generations didn’t ask for. They want to be engaged. They want to use their minds to solve problems for clients. They want to challenge themselves on complex tasks or projects.

Millennials want to use technology. You won’t keep an accounting graduate for long if they are set to work coding and posting bank statements – which was my first task on my first day of work sixteen years ago. Even the date is etched on my mind – there I was, on 29 January 2001, coding and posting a quarter’s worth of bank statements. I fell asleep and woke to my head hitting the desk. I thought there had to be a better way and set out to find it. Continue reading “What the next generation of accountants really wants”

Did desktop DIY accounting software nearly destroy an industry ?

Read Time: 3m 55s

Sometimes you find it’s the simple systems that work the best. Back in the day, manual ledgers were the accounting hero for most SMEs. The retro green ledger book, ruled up and reconciled each period, may have been labour intensive, but it worked, pure and simple.

More importantly, the regularity of the work allowed accountants to spot trends within their clients’ data, and to keep track of potential future problems, not to mention the kudos they received for translating green ledger book balances into a GL system, preparing P&Ls and balance sheets, and spending time with their client.

Not only demonstrating their value as accountants, they were performing an advisory service.

Continue reading “Did desktop DIY accounting software nearly destroy an industry ?”

Better SMEs create better accountants: the benefit of working with your clients in the Cloud

Read Time: 3m 30s

Back in the day of desktop accounting, both clients and their accountants were somewhat disconnected from the true financial events taking place behind the scenes of their company. SMEs ran their business based on gut feel and measured their success on how much cash was in the bank. But that is a volatile and risky method.

Before Cloud accounting, receiving daily live data updates was prohibitively expensive, and only really feasible for larger corporations. This in turn meant businesses were being run based on old financial data – 30 days after the end of the month, or even six months after the end of the financial year. Anomalies were missed, small issues snowballed, and all too often alarm bells rang too late.

Continue reading “Better SMEs create better accountants: the benefit of working with your clients in the Cloud”

Why cloud technology is an accountant’s best sales tool

Read Time: 4m 15s

It’s a beautiful thing when an accountant and their client build a working relationship that is efficient, productive and mutually beneficial. But it hasn’t always been that easy to achieve.

Prior to the Cloud, accountants spent a prohibitive amount of time managing the flow of client data between desktop programs and their accountant’s ledger. Being able to convince small business owners to invest in value-add advisory-type services was something left to the few, and even then, such programs remained un-appealingly expensive and took time to prepare. Continue reading “Why cloud technology is an accountant’s best sales tool”

A career of two halves…. Pre and Post “The Cloud”

Read Time: 3m 27s

When looking at my career retrospectively, it’s clear to me that it’s been a game of two halves; pre- and post-2011. As a small business owner and consultant running my accountancy practice, my primary role pre-2011 focused on problem solving for clients based on past events. As much as I wanted to help clients look forward, the tools available didn’t allow me to offer proactive and affordable advisory solutions.

Let’s also not forget the general consensus (back then) of what an accountant is or does; a boring maths nerd who spends all day filling out tax returns! So, flying in the face of stereotypes, in 2010 I began writing – lots – with a view to helping SMEs and providing practical and easy to understand nuggets of advice.

Frustratingly, while SMEs certainly did find what I wrote to be useful, most of them did not have the resources to engage me to help make a difference to their business.

And then, in 2011, like a billowy God from above, the Cloud emerged. And the game changed…..

Continue reading “A career of two halves…. Pre and Post “The Cloud””

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