The rate of technological change in accounting is staggering, but there’s at least one independent event that’s helping accountants, bookkeepers and advisors to stay ahead of the curve.
When National Media acquired the Accountants Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) last year, they began a process to completely rebrand and reimagine the decade-old event.
Founded by David Smith in 2007, ATSA is now Accountech.Live, and its transformation means it’s no longer the small, pay-to-attend conference it once was.
Supported by MYOB, Accountech.Live now follows a free-to-attend exhibition model, where the organisers are expecting more than 2,000 attendees through their doors over the two-day schedule in Melbourne.
The model follows in line with National Media’s other accounting-focused event, the Accounting Business Expo, which is held in Sydney each March.
Event Director Laura Venables said the new format will allow attendees to get more face-to-face time with exhibitors.
“The new format provides far more face-time between exhibitors and attendees making it much more conducive to doing business.” said Venables.
“The marketplace environment is designed to facilitate connections and provide a platform for attendees to find, compare and trial the right solutions for their business.”
And just like the Accounting Business Expo, Accountech.Live exhibition showroom will be surrounded by amphitheatres all hosting educational presentations.
The education program is curated by Sholto Macpherson, one of the world’s top cloud accounting technology analysts.
Topics are to cover a wide range of subject matter across five streams, including everything new and emerging in cloud accounting and discussion on how accountants might be impacted.
AI and the Internet of Things, blockchain, big data and analytics, the future of work, cyber security, digital marketing and social media, as well as how to navigate the tech investment journey – from research and negotiation to selection and implementation – will all feature in the conference program.
According to Macpherson, the content will highlight all the big trends “before they take hold”, specifically highlighting the shift towards data engineering.
“The most confronting concept is that accountants interested in business advisory will inevitably be drawn towards the field of data engineering.
“The rationale is pretty watertight: to do advisory well you need to look beyond financial numbers to the leading indicators in a business that are typically defined by non-financial numbers.
“These could be number of invoices produced, number of calls made by the sales team, number of deliveries or even online traffic volumes.”
For accountants, the problem with non-financial data is that it’s stored in databases where any forecasting requires the data to be exported, cleaned and finally analysed.
“This is the role of a data engineer,” said Macpherson. “The Big Four firms are already exploring this area, and a handful of small and medium practices are hiring data engineers too.”
The launch of Accountech.Live is the first time in the world that data engineering will be discussed in detail at an event for accountants in practice, but it isn’t the only topic on offer.
MYOB will be joined by Google and Microsoft among other big names in business tech, all of whom are presenting engaging topics designed to help practice owners prepare for tomorrow.
Simon Dennis, Head of Partnerships for MYOB is giving a talk dubbed ‘The next killer feature in accounting? Holistic expense management’, where he’ll reveal how smart bills, smart receipts and direct feeds from major suppliers will bring greater levels of automation to accounting practices.
“Bank feeds used to be that killer feature that drove a lot of cloud accounting software adoption and set the stage for bank rec,” said Dennis.
“A host of new features are beginning to hit the market that will further transform bank rec, making payments workflow and receipt processing absolutely critical to a Connected Practice.”
And even if you’re not a tech wizard and all this data science is currently a step beyond you, Accountech.Live will offer plenty of other high-level discussions on the way technology is affecting business, whether it’s the direct impacts on your practice or on your clients’ businesses.
“Accountech.Live is an unparalleled opportunity to explore the latest in technology for accounting firms, especially those based in Victoria,” said Macpherson.