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James Solomons

Accounting, Business & Technology; Advocate, Entrepreneur & Educator

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Small Business

Recognition – Advancement to a Chartered Accountant Fellow (FCA) – Video & Transcript

On Wednesday August 1st I had the privilege of delivering the guest address at the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand (CA ANZ) New Member certificate presentation & merit award recipient presentation. The night also held special significance for me personally as I was presented with my CA ANZ Fellowship Certificate.

Being advanced to Fellowship of CA ANZ has been a humbling experience as it recognises the contribution I have made to CA ANZ and the entire accounting profession since being admitted as a Chartered Accountant in Oct 2007.

Continue reading “Recognition – Advancement to a Chartered Accountant Fellow (FCA) – Video & Transcript”

From the Xero band to the budget roundtable; A review of my time as Xero’s Head of Accounting

In May 2014 after the Xero roadshow, I wrote a blog that challenged Xero to take responsibility for the disruption it was bringing to the industry (for the better). Little did I know that this blog would start a chain reaction of proportions I could never have imagined.

I had spent the better part of five years writing about industry change, and the issues facing small businesses. I’d shared my thoughts on panels at Xerocon and at roadshows, played in the Xero All Stars band and worked closely with the Xero team to help the platform better serve accountants, bookkeepers and small businesses. Continue reading “From the Xero band to the budget roundtable; A review of my time as Xero’s Head of Accounting”

The rise of the agile accountant

As noted in my last post I have number of speaking commitments coming up over the next couple of months, so I’ve spent a lot of time recently reflecting on the role of a CFO and, indeed, the wider accounting profession.

During my presentations and panel discussions, I’ll be speaking to audiences from across the APAC accounting community about the tech trends that are going to shape the future of the industry.

These sessions will take a deep dive into the topics of:  Continue reading “The rise of the agile accountant”

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”

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