Accountex 2019: conference on trends in accounting services
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On 1–2 May, London hosted Accountex 2019, Europe’s biggest accountancy and finance conference and expo. This was one of the key events held for financial professionals, with presentations of the latest technological solutions aimed at making corporate accounting processes easier and more efficient, and a variety of workshops for discussing the current trends in the accounting industry.
Technology, technology, technology
Attending the Accountex expo or workshops dispels any doubt about the paramount role of technology in accounting. Most of the exhibition stands represented IT companies, from FinTechs and blockchain to data encryption systems and cloud computing. The presentations and workshops featured stories and discussions about digital transformation.
Digitalisation has become a hot topic in recent years. Many companies are already setting up automated systems to exclude basic accounting tasks and allow their accountants to pay more attention to business development and marketing.
Many presentations discussed how automated processes can add value and how cloud software can be used to rationalise workflows and provide new services.
This year’s Accountex offered insights into how the accounting industry is likely to evolve over the next decade – it is all about technology.
Changing recruitment criteria
As the accounting world is changing, would-be professionals should be prepared for such change. Industry newcomers need many more skills as well as professional qualifications. Corporate recruiters rate employees also according to skills such as technology, relationship, business advisory, industry, and project management.
All these skills again point to changes in the industry, with accountants simply becoming more involved in their customers’ business.
Corporate accountants should become consultants who advise their internal and external customers. The Accountex workshops featured experienced industry professionals sharing stories about how accountants are already providing business advisory services in their companies.
This proves that the accounting profession is changing, and the coming years should see accountants developing their relationship skills as well as increasing the use of technology. Your corporate success depends on how you build relationships with your customers.
Accounting firms should realise that they are actually in the business of building relationships.
Marketing in the accounting industry
Unfortunately, most accounting service providers do not spend enough time on marketing activities aimed at making their company popular. However, this year’s Accountex showed that digitalisation might have freed up time for accounting service providers to devise marketing strategies and raise their company’s profile. Here are just a few marketing trends in accounting:
Personalising – it is all about you, from email subjects to article titles. Studies suggest that a message addressed to you results in more online followers.
Paid surveys and social surveys – modern social advertising is a success story for accounting service providers. This makes you visible 24/7. You will be able to accurately select your target audience and yield higher returns on your advertising investment. In other words, being visible on Facebook or LinkedIn might solve all your marketing problems.
Feedback – a Google survey has shown that people rely on online reviews and on feedback from friends and family almost equally.
This year’s Accountex was a big event with a huge expo attended by 9,000 visitors and many industry professionals. You could attend more than 200 workshops over the course of two days and visit 200 stands featuring different software developers and service providers. Accountex offers a thrilling insight into the latest accounting trends affecting all industry professionals and provides a reminder that the industry is undergoing major changes.