Is Accounting Becoming (Gasp!) Cool?
Maybe it’s the afterglow from attending my first Xerocon last week.
That place was buzzing. The gorgeous setting on the sparkling Auckland waterfront, the huge queue to get in, the beautiful people (including the ever-glamorous Petra Baghurst as MC), the hip Xero kids circulating with smoothies, good coffee, Xero t-shirts – this felt less like a conference and more like a music festival (without the portaloos). OK, so maybe it’s a while since I went to a music festival, but still.
And then, Rod Dury. This guy is a total rock star. I mean, not only does he take an accounting system of all things and makes it cool, he and the Xero team have also:
- Created a community of 250,000 engaged and passionate users who embrace Xero as not just an accounting system, but a way of working.
- Helped to create a separate industry where kiwi companies like Unleashed and Vend are now themselves taking on the world, and winning. These companies are seriously going places. There are now 320 add-on companies who are each employing staff – how awesome is that?
- Played a key role in the blossoming of a new breed of accountancy firm, and a new type of accountant. Firms like Rightway are experiencing massive growth because they are offering more than just accounting – they’re offering a new way of doing business.
- Hugely raised the profile of accounting and accountants as business partners working on the cutting edge of technology in the general public consciousness.
I think all this good stuff is feeding into a shift in the social cachet that comes with being an accountant. Good accountants have long thought of themselves as business partners, not beanies; but the public perception of accountants has remained stubbornly out of date. Be honest: I bet there have been times when you haven’t been exactly thrilled to own up to being an accountant around the BBQ.
I reckon that’s about to change.
We’re getting ready to throw off the shackles of our cardigan-wearing past for good and embrace a new future as the cool kids of commerce.
I think maybe I’ll start introducing myself as an accountant at parties again.