In search of the latest tech at AccountingWEB Live Expo

Live Expo tech quest: Where to see new apps


For tech heads, the best thing about a live exhibition is the opportunity to see all the latest apps in one place. Join John Stokdyk in his quest to find the star attractions at AccountingWEB Live Expo next week.

25th Nov 2021
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After more than a year and a half of pandemic disruption, there are a lot of product developments to catch up with – and as we have been hearing from AccountingWEB’s research into practice management software, a lot of pent-up demand.

The practice cloud race

Given the recent Sage for Accountants and Xero Tax updates, it makes sense to start our quest in the practice software sector, where the alternatives are proliferating for integrated tax, accounting and practice suites.

While the global software giants are gearing up for a no-holds-barred fight for up to 4m new customers who will come into MTD from April 2024 (plus another decent chunk of VAT businesses in April 2022), don’t forget that other suite suppliers are available.

With Taxfiler, Senta and KashFlow in its portfolio, IRIS [stand F1] also has all the ingredients to handle the end-to-end accounting processes in the cloud and has been working on its Elements integration platform to connect together these tools with its IRIS Accountancy Suite.

If you’re influenced by who got there first, Wolters Kluwer claimed that crown almost 10 years ago when it connected up its Twinfield cloud accounting subsidiary to the CCH Central practice and compliance suite. Wolters Kluwer [stand F3] is well entrenched among top tier firms, so if you’re looking for industrial strength practice tools, it’s well worth a visit.

TaxCalc [stand D10] continues to get a good press from small firm customers in our accounting software survey and BTCSoftware is always hot on its heels. While TaxCalc will be demonstrating its new Communications Centre email reminder engine, BTCSoftware is very solid on the development side of things – so it’s well worth paying a visit [stand C12].

Also worth a look are Capium [stand F16] and Nomisma [stand C5]. Both of these independent UK developers have been offering fully integrated cloud accounting-practice-tax-payroll suites since 2014.

There have been a lot of rumours and hints this year about what the tax software developers have up their sleeves to manage the increased workloads around MTD. If you’re one of those accountants thinking ahead to the spring practice software boom, you can do a lot of your preliminary research in one place.

The business side of the fence

There is also life on the other side of the accounting fence, so the Expo also provides a good opportunity to catch up with developments in the mid-market accounting and ERP space.

Xledger [stand G12] is a great story – the plucky Silicon Valley start-up that took on the giants and beat them at their own game. Launched in 2006, Xledger ranks alongside NetSuite as a pioneer of integrated online business management systems. If you want to see what integrated cloud ERP looks like up close, this is your chance. And Xledger isn’t just for the management accountants, there’s a dedicated workshop for practitioners on scaling their services to cater for larger organisations that want outsourced finance.

In the UK corner, we’ve got iplicit [stand B10]. Designed more as an accounting engine for mid-market organisations, iplicit too has an impeccable accounting pedigree that was confirmed by its  victory in the 2020 Accounting Excellence Software Awards as mid-market accounting software of the year. Detailed product plans are still under wraps ahead of the show, but iplicit are promising to unveil something big on Day 1.

We’ve also been hearing from our survey that a lot of mid-size organisations are reviewing their payroll software options. IRIS, Sage, BrightPay [stand F10], KeyPay [stand C15] and our professional partner CIPP are all worth a look on that front, along with portable pension provider Collegia [stand B8] and PensionSync [stand C20] if streamlining pension data is part of your quest.

Fintech and the new stuff

If you’re like me and love nothing more than discovering shiny new software goodies, there’s a very healthy crop to review in Coventry this December. Leading the charge are the increasingly mature fintech operators – including the digital banks Starling [stand F14], Cashplus [stand C10], Countingup,  Coconut [stand F5] and Anna Money [stand A20].

Then there are the online finance marketplaces Capitalise [stand E5] and Swoop [stand F18].

In the recent Tech Stack Session on app trends for 2022, our panellists highlighted the increasing prominence of payment platforms and “spend 2.0” solutions, as Mayday co-founder David Tuck described them. If you want to get ahead of that particular trend, follow his advice and check out Airwallex [stand A14], Comma [stand D21], Crezco [stand E26], Libeo [stand H12], Lightyear [stand D22], Modulr [stand G11], Spendesk SAS [stand D5] and WorldFirst [stand C8].

And finally a nod towards some of the other smaller developers who are making their debut at the Expo. These minnows are the real market innovators, who saw gaps in the market and got to work fill them. To get a glimpse of how we’ll be doing accounting after we’ve stopped fretting so much about MTD, pay a visit to the new online meeting platform Connect4 [stand E24], data advisory and integration app Airpa [stand H6], “financial wellness” platform Maji [stand D24], landlord accounting app Hammock [stand G10], AML software specialist Xama Technologies [stand F19] and open banking data integrator Streem Connect [stand B1].

That’s all we’ve got time to mention in this round-up, but whether your thing is forecasting software (eg Fluidly and Fathom), R&D tax claims (WhisperClaims, or outsourcing providers (Diamond Outsourcing, Outbooks), there really is something for every taste at the AccountingWEB Live Expo.

So to all you software explorers out there, I’ll see you out on the show floor next Wednesday and Thursday!

AccountingWEB Live Expo takes place on 1-2 December 2021 at Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry. Registration is now open and the tickets are free

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