Greetings from the cloud accounting frontier
Meet Heather Smith, AccountingWEB’s new roving tech columnist. Sometimes based in Australia, she offers a vision of accountancy as a truly global profession. Find out what she’s about and what she’ll be writing about.
I’m delighted to join AccountingWEB as a regular columnist. I’m obsessed with how effective automation and integration can produce timely clean data, to surface information for informed decision making. I have a hard niche focus on business intelligence (BI), management reporting and analytics.
Who am I?
I love to travel. I love to write. I love accounting. I do what I call worcations: mixing work with vacations, so I take extra-long holidays abroad. I’ve a grown family, and a Border Collie pup called Chester.
What does my practice look like?
My Xero platinum practice fits in a stylish Italian leather handbag/backpack. I’m a digital nomad who runs a micro practice. I embrace technology, or what I like to refer to as “robots”. I currently have many robots working in the background, relieving my mental clutter, and saving me anything from seconds to hours.
I did once describe myself as Mary Poppins. I’d jump in, fix up an accounting file, train and empower clients, and jump out.
I’ve evolved to spend my time focused on creating and curating educational content about accounting technology. Now I call myself Hype Girl for Accounting Apps. It may sound a bit silly, but explains what I do and where my focus lies.
Something that’s emerged recently, especially due to the lockdown, is I find myself developing, and facilitating panel discussions, and webinars. I’ve co-ordinated the delivery of close to 400 hours this year, with thousands in attendance, from Brisbane to Barbados.
I also volunteer my time on many committees, including ACCA, ICB, and CA ANZ, and work with several providers in the community.
What have I built?
I kind of accidentally grew my social media connections because of my love for writing and curiosity about what other people were doing.
Proving that good things do come from social media, Rod Drury, the founder of Xero, contacted me over Twitter and suggested I write a book about Xero. I’ve now written nine books, including Xero for Dummies.
You can find me on all the typical platforms as HeatherSmithAU. I now experiment with these platforms as an opportunity to drip feed educational, technical content into the community.
I host a podcast called Cloud Stories which is long form interviews of people working in the accounting apps community – the human side of accounting technology. I’m in the top 5% of Australian YouTubers with my accounting technology channel, and I’ve built a community of tech lovers having advanced conversations about the Integration of Accounting Apps.
Why’s an Aussie writing for a UK site?
Accounting is an international language. As a management accountant, I’ve worked in England, Singapore, Canada and Australia. Now based in Brisbane, technology means I can be anywhere and my clients can be anywhere. I’ve worked in the UK, continue to work with UK clients, and am UK qualified. Hopefully, I can bring a different perspective to AccountingWEB’s readers.
What’s happening in my backyard?
Locally, we have a thriving and supportive accounting and bookkeeping community. In 2015 I started a Cloud Accountants MeetUp group and our first speaker was the founder of Chaser, David Tuck.
We’ve had hundreds of people attend and welcomed local and international speakers to the sessions. Brisbane is also home to some global accounting technology solutions, including:
- Integrapay - payment solution
- Fathom - analytics, management reporting, benchmarking and forecasting
- Neto - all-in-one ecommerce platform
- Oncord - an ecommerce software platform
- Tanda - workforce management software
What can you expect from me?
I’m curious and constantly learning. In the early stages of my business journey, Wayne Schmidt ran a session on terminal services. I went home, with the notes from the sessions, and figured out how to remotely connect with my client’s computers. I surprised even myself by starting a remote business two decades ago.
Honestly, I’m not a tech whiz, but I do love to save time. I’m always looking for efficiency. If there’s the potential I can connect two pieces of technology and it’ll save time, it whizzes around in my head until I’ve sorted it out. I’ll read, I’ll ask questions, I’ll test it out, I’ll sketch it out, I’ll go for long walks to clear my mind, and repeat until I figure it out. If I can’t sort it out, yes, I engage an integrator.
Nothing’s ever finished until I’ve written about it. I observe, implement, and then I explain. That’s where my column at AccountingWEB comes in. I’ll be sharing my observations with you. Thank-you for this opportunity, I look forward to connecting with you.
You might also be interested in
FCCA, Hype Girl for Accounting Apps.
Host of the Accounting Technology podcast Cloud Stories, author of Xero for Dummies and runs a platinum Xero practice from her handbag. Obsessed with how effective automation and integration can produce timely clean data, to surface information for informed decision making.