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People power: Has tech run ahead of the market?

5th Mar 2019
Editor AccountingWEB
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Building teams in a digital world

While the talk on the QuickBooks Connect main stage focused on the developer’s latest MTD product updates, conversation elsewhere in the Old Billingsgate venue emphasised people rather than AI and tech.

One of the first announcements on day two of QuickBooks Connect was the keynote's unveiling of SmartLook. Effectively replacing a chatbot, QuickBooks users will be able to summon a human equivalent of Microsoft’s paperclip. “We put a human inside QuickBooks,” announced QuickBooks’ executive vice president Alex Chriss. Whether intended or not, this statement actually set the tone for the whole day.

The international accounting giant dedicated its afternoon breakout sessions to people-centric talks such as ‘Be a people first firm’, and having a guided mindfulness meditation during the 'Boost your resilience' workshop. And speaker Warren Cass even signed off his presentation with “it’s not B2B or B2C, it’s H2H (human-to-human)”.

However, it was Will Farnell’s ‘building great teams in a digital word’ session (pictured above) that captured the essence of why people-centric talk dominated the event: technology has run ahead of the market.

Challenges of change

Session presenter Farnell invited cloud managers Emma Chesson from Kreston Reeves and Stuart Hurst from UHY Hacker Young to the stage. What linked the two were the challenges they’ve pushed against within their different-sized firms and changing client behaviour.

Change is difficult when you have to convince 50 partners. Chesson was faced with this task when she took charge of Kreston Reeves’ cloud team. Recent millennial partner promotions have helped push forward the firm’s cloud journey. But again, the success of their cloud team goes back to people and values.

AI is changing at an exponential rate… whereas people are a lot harder to manage

But with offices spread across London, Kent and Sussex, Chesson faced another large firm challenge of micro-cultures. Speaking after the session on an AccountingWEB podcast (listen below), Chesson explained: “AI is changing at an exponential rate… whereas people are a lot harder to manage. When you’ve got to change the me itave tup_593WEB_halle on an AccountingWEBent aspons-iherea3> te> afirm challengen(event) { “AI is changing at an exponential rate… whereas people ake__.:GL0

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