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

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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…..

When I was introduced to Xero, I found myself connected to my clients in ways I had never been before. No longer was I just providing tips and tricks, I was now able to instigate solutions at a price point that my clients could afford. Moreover, my suggestions were delivering visible, positive results.

My transformation from accountant to #Accloudant had begun.

My writing took on more of a tech focus, looking at how technology could not only improve SMEs but also how it could change for the better the actual role accountants play in the complete life-cycle of their clients.

In August 2014 I accepted the appointment as Xero’s Head of Accounting, a role which I could never have envisioned having the opportunity to pursue back in early 2011. The position sees me delivering industry experience and feedback directly into Xero as well as being Xero’s accounting industry spokesperson. Being able to help my peers make the transition to the Cloud was, and continues to be, a humbling experience

Choosing to remain in practice, running my firm in the cloud while simultaneously working for Xero day-to-day gave me unique insight on a global scale as to how the accounting profession could survive and thrive through this great period of digital disruption. It was also an important decision on my behalf to ensure I remained relevant and in touch with what was happening in the accounting industry daily.

Post-2011, my career and vocation has undergone a complete transformation for the better. On a personal level, my appointment at Xero – undoubtedly a key event in my life – continues to give me fresh insight and new opportunities from which to learn. On a professional level, the Cloud represents a paradigm shift in technology that has fundamentally changed the way an accountant operates, both in practice, and in all parts of the profession.

Learning, adapting and sharing information is part of my accounting DNA. And being able to apply new methods to changing scenarios for different clients is vital in my job, as is the ability to identify and apply transferable skills, irrespective of the profession or industry. Sadly though, as my commitments increased, my blogs decreased.

I have inherited many labels in recent years – #Accloudant, thought leader, small business accounting influencer – but for the most part, I get a kick out of finding ways to transfer my learnings and skills to a wider audience on a regular basis.

So, my decision to start writing again seemed the obvious solution, aptly prompted by a nice bit of recognition last month from GetApp. Being singled out by them for my accounting expertise, global perspective on the Xero platform, and my vast number of published articles more than encourages me that giving advice one blog at a time will pay dividends for all in years to come.

So, as well as sharing my learnings, I’m going to include more content within this blog on specific parts of my personal journey as an accountant and adviser in this new tech-focused, globally connected profession.

Be sure to follow!


Published by James Solomons

FCA, GAICD. Innovative Business Leader. Global CFO @Xref (ASX:XF1). Director at @business_Depot (formerly Aptus Accounting & Advisory @AptusAA). Former Head of Accounting @Xero Australia. Advocate, Entrepreneur & Educator #Family #Football #Fastcars!

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

  1. Hi James, I’m the author of GetApp’s article on accounting influencers that you mention here. A colleague just sent this post to me, and I’m thrilled that you’re inspired to write more often now. I also love your thoughts on how the Cloud changed your work as a consultant. I cover trends in the accounting and project management software markets for small and midsize businesses. So, I know that even when workflows evolve, the software products that support them don’t always follow suit.

    It can be tough to cover the human element of software and what it allows users to do (or not). I see that human interest angle reflected really well in this post and hope we can collaborate again soon. If you’d ever like to write a guest post for GetApp, we would love to publish it 🙂


    1. Hi Lauren, thanks for taking the time to write a comment on my blogpost ! I love to share my experiences and tell it how it is, warts and all. Change is hard but in any scenario or industry but it is made easier when we all share our experiences with one another. Love to collaborate again ! You know where to find me ! Cheers


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