Accountex puts the profession face to face with the future

Accountex puts the profession face to face with the future

How Accountex 2019 will help you to navigate uncertain times for the profession - with some exciting prospects on the horizon too

Accountex puts the profession face to face with the future

Whichever way you look at it, the accountancy and finance landscape is changing fast.

For instance, the adoption of artificial intelligence is going to massively disrupt the profession.

On the positive side of that is AI is set to revolutionise the accountant’s role, consigning repetitive and mundane tasks to the bin and replacing them with new opportunities.

But, on the negative, it is signalling an end to the traditional accountant’s compliance role and sounding the death knell for the bookkeeper.

Controversial policy

Then there is Making Tax Digital, HMRC’s at times controversial policy of digitising the UK’s taxation system.

As from April 1, all businesses with a turnover above the £85k VAT threshold will have to file returns digitally, using approved software or at least using bridging software that can convert Excel sheets.

That marks the start in earnest of a financial revolution that will eventually see the whole system, including income and corporation tax, brought under the digital umbrella.

Some observers are forecasting an HMRC meltdown over MTD.

MTD message

Others think the Revenue has made a hash of delivering the MTD message and implementing the changes.

Then there’s the view that Brexit has derailed the whole thing.

And then there’s the evangelists who see MTD and technology as unparalleled opportunities for the accountant to make hay in the sunny uplands of advisory work.

It’s a familiar narrative, but it remains none the less confusing.

And this is all before we arrive at payroll, cashflow, forecasting, blockchain and the arcane world of IR35.

White noise

With all the white noise, it’s difficult to get a clear perspective on which direction the accountant of today – let alone tomorrow – should be travelling in.

This is where Accountex can help.

Why? Because it gives you the opportunity to get all the information you need at first hand.

It allows you to hear all the different voices and opinions. Under one roof. It allows you to make your own mind up and to feel confident that you are making the best decisions for your business or practice.

Accounting software

Many in the profession are already familiar with the annual two-day expo for accounting and finance professionals at London’s ExCeL.

This year’s event takes place on May 1-2, and it is expected to attract nearly 8,000 visitors.

They will be there to meet over 200 exhibitors and to get up speed on everything from accounting software and sales strategies to outsourcing and expense management systems.

Then there is the show’s unrivalled education programme, which this year has more than 100 CPD seminars in 12 theatres.

There will speakers from the HMRC and the major accounting professional associations such as ATT, ACCA and ICAEW.

There will be leading lights from accounting software market leaders such as Intuit, Xero, Sage and IRIS.

Face to face contact

There will be the cutting-edge start-ups. There will be marketing gurus and accounting tech thought leaders.

And there will also be sessions focusing on well-being and mental health; plus absorbing features such as the history of women in accountancy.

It’s a packed and comprehensive agenda that is matched by a real buzz on the exhibition floor.

Zoe Lacey-Cooper, Accountex group portfolio director, says: “With everything moving to the cloud… online …on email … on Slack groups, it’s all getting a bit anonymous. We are losing opportunities for face-to-face contact.

“But when I turn up at the exhibition and take a moment just to stop and have a look… just having these accountants in one room, under one roof, just for two days; you can see they really thoroughly enjoy being together.

“They love to catch up, they love to share their insights because (I get the impression) they work on their own quite a lot.”

Sound strategy

If you decide to visit ExCeL in May, it is important to have a sound strategy so that you can optimise your visit.

Zoe adds: “Accountex London can be an overwhelming event. There are lots of speaker sessions, about 200 exhibitors to see – it’s busy busy! And it’s a lot to do in two days. “

The good news is that the organisers are always looking for ways to improve the show. “We are trying to make the visitor journey easier,” says Zoe.

“But it’s all about planning. At the point of registration, we ask what ‘tech journey’ the attendee is on. Are they tech savvy, cautious or curious? We also ask what they’re looking to get out of the show.

“Then we ask those same questions to our speakers, so we can match our speaker seminar sessions to the visitors.

“We are hoping to develop this to then send them nudges like, ‘If you are tech savvy then here are some speaker sessions that would be great for you, and here are some exhibitors that you might like to see’.  We are trying to do a little bit of clever matching for people so it’s not so daunting.”

And on a lighter note, she says: “I also recommend looking at all the free parties that you can go to!”

Accountex takes place at London ExCeL on 1-2 May.  Attending is free if visitors register in advance, or is £25 on the door. All Keynotes and seminars (in the show’s 12 theatres) are also free to attend, but are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Register for a free ticket to attend here.

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