NZ students at INCITE gain confidence in accounting career

In Part Two of this story, Anusha Ahluwalia discusses her experience at MYOB INCITE 2019 and how it’s shaped her view on the future of accounting and the tech that’s driving it.

For the third year in a row, accounting students from around New Zealand were invited to attend MYOB INCITE and received a behind-the-scenes glimpse on what’s on the horizon for our industry.

As the online accounting software leader in Australia and New Zealand, the roadmap for MYOB’s proprietary technology offers a tantalizing perspective of what the future holds in store for accountants and bookkeepers – and INCITE was the perfect place to see that roadmap taking shape.

For my first time at INCITE, I was excited to see what information would be presented and, it seems, so were the other hundred or so student attendees who attended across the Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington events.


Tech-led evolution in accounting points towards advisory


Having been a part of the accounting industry for almost three years and having a great relationship with MYOB, I felt that MYOB INCITE was going to be an exciting opportunity to understand the industry and technology’s impact on it.

I also wanted to attend an event that welcomed students but catered towards professionals, as I felt this would offer a more ‘on-the-job’ type of experience.

As far as highlights are concerned, my favourite part of the day was Paul Buchanan’s discussion on ‘change management’ and its application for deriving value from rapidly evolving accounting tech.

From the four levels of change, the states of change and the roles involved (including ours as change practitioners), Buchanan enthusiastically explained how technology is best embraced rather than shunned.

Being a university student means having constant discussions about how your chosen industry is set to evolve with technology and how you can brace for the change. Buchanan’s presentation removed many of the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘buts’ from these conversations and left attendees feeling their contribution to facilitating change in the industry is one that mattered.

As a future practitioner, this practical knowledge coupled with the sense of confidence it engendered is exactly what I needed to hear for my own future. As a student leader, I couldn’t wait to begin sharing this message with my peers.


User-led design in accounting tech builds towards ‘value-added’ business model


A key takeaway for me was the idea that, although accountants increasingly rely on technology, their roles are evolving towards a ‘value-add’ model, becoming more focused on advisory.

This concept was evident in the way presenters at INCITE focused on how new features reduce time spent in their workflows, allowing more time to be put towards extracting valuable insights for clients.

As a student, understanding this has helped change my ‘technology is taking away my job’ mindset and transform it into one that embraces technology.

But it was also of interest to learn how these solutions are being designed with multiple layers of user-feedback and testing in order to best meet the needs of both accountants and bookkeepers, as well as their clients.

During the presentation of each section, MYOB presenters reflected on the feedback received from users and how that translated into the design of the new features. Attendees were also encouraged to take part in beta trials to provide further feedback.

With a two-way exchange in value and feedback in place, it’s clear to see how it’s industry practitioners themselves who remain in the driver’s seat when it comes to future change in the accounting industry.


An unmissable experience for accounting students


Events like MYOB INCITE offer students the opportunity to be in a room with professionals from a wide range of firms – a range that extends beyond what’s usually on offer at University Career Expos and other networking events.

Here, students have the chance to speak to accountants and other accounting professionals about their roles and the companies they work for, gaining a better understanding about what future career path might best match their goals, values and aspirations, as opposed to what their peers suggest may be best for them.

Beyond that, I felt INCITE was a refreshing change of pace. It was exciting to see relevant topics discussed from a different perspective to university-run events and to experience the various reactions and responses provided by practitioners and other users of the MYOB accounting software.

As a student of accounting, I’ve been acutely aware of the impacts of tech development and our evolving industry for some time now, but it was the presentations discussing these themes at INCITE (including the keynote by MYOB’s Chief Executive, Tim Reed) that have, for the first time, given me a sense of optimism for the future of accounting.

 

For the third year in a row, accounting students were invited to join MYOB INCITE to get an intimate view of Australia and New Zealand’s leading online accounting software provider.

This is the second instalment of a two-part series describing Anusha’s experience in the lead up to, and during, MYOB INCITE 2019. You can read the first part here.

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