I got a huge amount of value out of travelling to AccountEx in 2018.
CRC Accountancy was only 2 months old, so I knew I had to attend to see what was out there – both in terms of accounting software, and other professionals.
One year later, and I was unsure whether to make the 1,000+ mile round trip again. After all, could things have changed that much in 12 months?
Time would tell.
What it's all about
All fighting for our attention, one of the most immediately noticeable things about AccountEx is the large display stands shown by all of the main accounting software houses. Within the gigantic conference hall, Xero, Quickbooks, Sage, FreeAgent and ReceiptBank’s stalls almost manage to dominate the view.
However, there are hundreds of other businesses on show – covering almost every imaginable area of the tech & skills market relating to accountants and our working relationship with our staff and clients.
Cloud accounting software kind of just ‘is what it is’ at this stage. There are always new apps & integrations being announced, but each cloud accounting platform is largely achieving the same thing now. With each month that passes, data processing gets ever-easier, meaning we can focus our efforts on the important issues of ensuring the business continues to work for you, and helping you achieve that.
There was little in the way of ground-breaking announcements on the software front at the event itself, but at least all of these big competitors continue to keep one another honest & focussed with our best interests at heart.
That said, among the tech stalls, there were a couple of things which did catch my eye:
- Receipt Bank – whom we’ve been working with since CRC began - were demonstrating their new Receipt Bank Mastercard.
It works exactly the same as a normal business Mastercard, but works with their software to automate more of the data entry reconciliations.
When I think about businesses with a few employees, each of whom submit monthly expense claim forms, this could be a massive admin time-saver. The receipt image, which will have been submitted directly by your employee, is reconciled against the card transaction - saving the admin team a lot of chasing & paperwork!
The card’s limits, etc, are all customisable online, giving you control over how and what the employees spend.
Businesses can get an account with a credit limit of up to £50k, split over all of its cards. There's no foreign exchange charges, and the cards can also provide 0.5% cashback.
Overall, a neat wee card, which can be applied for here. Don’t worry, we’re not on a commission!
Receipt Bank also have other developments in the pipeline which we’re pretty excited about, and will be keeping an eye on!
- The Goodtill Company – not new this year, but just a really solid system.
Basically an extremely customisable till system which could be used by a very wide range of businesses. The system is operated through an iPad, which Goodtill can provide as part of the package. The till links in with your existing card reader, such as through iZettle and SumUp, and speaks to your accounting software directly.
Not only is it super easy to use, and saves you time on the admin front, but its ability to be fully-customisable can give you (and us) an abundance of relevanty data which shows exactly your business is performing.
Ultimately, this should help us work with you on stock management, sales performance and marketing & sales initiatives, as well as overall cashflow management, meaning you can identify and implement anything needed in order to keep things on track!
Find out a wee bit more here.
Whilst the tech developments were fine, for me this year the trip was more about the people.
Meeting my account managers whom I’ve been dealing with solely by email/phone since setting up CRC was great. Always good to put a face to a name.
Moreover, meeting other like-minded professionals who are, or have been, in a similar position to me formed a large part of the visit. These discussions – whether it’s part of a formal seminar, or just an informal chat round a coffee table – are invaluable.
Many ideas get floated around during these events. Some very idealistic and ‘salesy’ in nature; others much more honest and open. It’s only by meeting this breadth of people that I could sift through what’s going to work for CRC and our clients.
in order to identify the true developmental gems, a period of reflection is required first.
It would be easy to become super-inspired, and look to implement everything at once. Of course, that’s almost certainly a recipe for disaster.
Instead, much like when I used to attend athletics coaching seminars, in order to identify the true developmental gems, a period of reflection is required first.
Plane and simple
My time to reflect often happens when travelling. Sitting on a train or plane gives me the change to filter through the noise, and form a clear picture of what’s relevant to me.
I've found plenty things to inspire & excite me going forward!
Safe to say, I’ve had a good chance to reflect now, and I've found plenty things to inspire & excite me going forward!
On reflection, maybe the tech & services hasn't changed in any real groundbreaking ways. However, the new relationships, strengthened existing relationships, and wealth of experience I’ve been exposed to at AccountEx 2019 will inevitably play a role in CRC over the coming months and years. Things certainly wont be staying still!
So, was the trip worth it?