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Re:start – creating the right mindset, toolset and skillset to rebuild South Africa’s economy

Colin Timmis

Jul 10, 2020

Last week we hosted our Re:start 2020 digital series for accountants and bookkeepers in South Africa. It was great to see so many of our community come together over the three days – with almost 1,000 of you joining us each day! 

It’s been a challenging few months for everyone, but the accounting industry in South Africa has adapted fast. It’s been great to see the community pulling together to support SMEs and the wider economy. We’ve even heard from partners helping other practices with more traditional set-ups get online.

Over the coming months, accountants and bookkeepers will play a critical role in helping the SME economy rebuild. To do this they need the right mindset, toolset and skillset. We focussed on these three areas during the Re:start events, to help accountants ensure they’re operating like an essential service. 

Here are some of the key takeaways and a snapshot of some exciting launches we announced…

Mindset, toolset, skillset 

Accountants are the untapped resource of the South African economy, but with the right mindset, toolset and skillset can unlock the potential in many small businesses.

At Xero we want accountants and small businesses to thrive on the Xero platform, and in the Xero community. More than ever they need their platform and community to be connected and growing. We’re doing this by investing in the minds, tools and skills of every community member.

Xero partners can listen again to some of the Re:start sessions like ‘Advice from our app integrators’ (skillset), ‘end to end accounting’ (mindset) and ‘using bank feeds’ (toolset) by logging into Xero Central. 

The power of the platform 

Platform and community are two really important elements of scaling a small business. We need to start reimagining how we think about software. Instead of just talking about software, accountants need to talk about the platform they’re using. The two are different, platforms allow businesses to connect and grow and enable accountants to move into a world of end-to-end accounting – transitioning to a fully digital practice. 

The power of the Xero platform is driving innovation and enabling South African accountants, banks and SMEs to collaborate in communities of purpose.

Communication to collaboration 

We need to think about shifting from an environment where we’re talking about communication to collaboration. Communication in the traditional sense is often based on things like email and direct messages. This type of communication is great and necessary, but collaboration is often better. It enables you to talk and connect with your customers and collaborate with them on a platform. 

Collaboration and having a platform of partners – from apps and banks to alt lending providers – to support business needs is going to be key post-Covid.

New releases 

We announced some exciting product and platform releases set to land over the coming months. These developments form part of our mission to accelerate digitisation in the industry and equip accountants with the right toolset to thrive post-Covid. 

VAT tools: Processing VAT is one of the biggest pain-points for businesses and a significant drain on resources. To help, we are launching two new cloud VAT tools later this month – the VAT201 form and Late Claims functionality in Xero. These will help to simplify the reconciliation and submission process – increasing efficiency and reducing errors.

These tools will be available free of charge to all accountants and bookkeepers on the Xero Partner Programme and all small business subscribers. We’ll share more on these soon. 

Bank feeds: They are one of the greatest innovations in the accounting industry. They significantly reduce the amount of time SMEs and accountants need to spend on data entry, giving them better control over finances.

Xero has been at the forefront of bank feeds globally for the past decade so we’re delighted to be working with one of the country’s biggest banks – Nedbank – to bring this to SMEs across South Africa soon. 

A massive thank you to all of our partners who joined us for the Re:start events last week! We’re facing some tough challenges but it’s great to see accountants stepping up to support their communities. We’ve got lots more to come in SA this year so stay tuned.

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