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What tech can teach us about the future of accounting

11th Apr 2024
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Xero is an easy-to-use platform for businesses and advisors.

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Technology has transformed the accounting industry – but there’s still more to come; Generative AI, new financial tools, and a digital tax system will make sure of that. 

At Xero, we keep our finger on the pulse. Here’s a whistle-stop tour of the most exciting technology that could have a lasting impact on your practice and clients. 

Your AI companion

Many of us experimented with Generative AI in 2023. This year, as AI familiarity and confidence grow, we can expect to see more creative and diverse applications in accountancy. 

For your clients, that could mean implementing a customer-facing chatbot that answers product questions. For your practice, it could be using Generative AI to draft proposals or report templates. 

At Xero, we’ve been experimenting with ways to embed AI into our existing tools and services. Already, you’ll find Generative AI in Xero Central providing you with the answers you need – fast. So far, we’ve seen a 40% decrease in the average customer search time. 

We’ve also launched an AI-powered onboarding experience, to help new users set up their dashboard and get started with the product. It’s like having your own virtual Xero expert to walk you through the first steps. 

Most excitingly, we’re developing our own conversational interface – Just Ask Xero (JAX) – using Generative AI. JAX is a smart business companion for your clients. You’ll be able to Just Ask Xero to complete tasks like creating an invoice, editing a quote, or paying a bill, either in Xero or other commonly used apps such as WhatsApp or email. JAX will also anticipate follow-up tasks – like sending a payment reminder – and deliver personalised insights on demand.

Tools for a greener planet 

As climate action becomes increasingly urgent, businesses need accurate ways to measure and address their carbon footprint. 

Many companies already collect and take action on sustainability metrics. But as environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements extend to more businesses, smaller ones will employ tools and software to track and analyse their data. Some clients might want to measure their impact because it aligns with their values (even if it isn’t mandatory). 

Practices will see an uptick in sustainability accounting requests from clients over the coming months and years. Carbon accounting software integrations will grow in popularity, as businesses begin to measure their value not just by profit, but by environmental impact. 

Connecting these tools with accounting software will make carbon accounting an extension of financial reporting. With Xero, you can use app integrations like Sumday to upskill your practice in carbon accounting services, complete baseline emissions assessments, and help clients track their progress. 

Blissfully easy billing and payments

Despite technological advancement, many of your clients face the same challenge: getting paid on time. 

Very easy billing and payments are becoming a reality. Approvals software helps businesses get invoices out the door, with automatic routing and reminders for approvers. Digital payment integrations let customers pay at the touch of a button. And eInvoicing means invoices can be exchanged between recipients' accounting software – no email chains or manual uploads necessary.  

Many of these tools sync with your clients’ accounting software, meaning all financial activities – paying bills, raising invoices, accepting payments – are handled in one place. Automating payment processes makes it harder for unpaid invoices to slip through the cracks – customers are followed up with automatically until their bill is paid.  

Strengthen your skills for tomorrow

The future looks exciting. It’s one where smart tools help practices and businesses do better work; where your clients can focus on the things they do best, and you can equip them with the data and insights to run a healthy business. 

It might feel like there’s a lot to learn, but that learning doesn’t have to be a burden. At Xerocon – our conference for accounting and bookkeeping leaders – you can learn in the company of industry peers, from inspiring speakers and captivating live sessions. 

This year’s event takes place on the 12th and 13th of June. Expect product launches and announcements, and opportunities to connect with app partners, platform demonstrations, and conversations you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

See the future for yourself, at Xerocon 2024. 

Join us at Xerocon