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Take your practice to the next level with Xero, First National Bank and Edge Growth

Colin Timmis

Mar 30, 2021

This week, we’re excited to launch a new programme with First National Bank (FNB) and enterprise engagement agency Edge Growth to support the growth of black-owned accounting practices in South Africa. 

The partnership will work closely with up to 15 entrepreneurial accounting firms – that are 51% black owned – across the country, helping them to scale, develop the right skills and implement technology that will drive growth. Creating healthy accounting firms, will help create a healthier overall small business economy. The scheme is open for entrepreneurial firms to apply to from 6th April. 

Supporting the critical role of accountants

Accountants are vital to the economy. They are the unsung heroes of our ongoing recovery and have played an instrumental role in supporting businesses through the Coronavirus pandemic. Recent Xero research shows that 56% of South Africa’s SME owners say their accountant was crucial in helping them survive the pandemic. 

Despite their resilience, small accounting firms face challenges too. The industry is changing, but with the right support accounting firms have the potential to make a massive impact on our economic recovery. 

That’s why we have launched this programme with FNB and Edge Growth to support the growth and skills development in practices. 

Boosting digitisation

Accountants are no longer seen as just number crunchers, small businesses are turning to them for broader business advisory and support on digitising processes. Only 8% of accountants think their role remains focused entirely on the numbers.

Technology is playing a crucial role in enabling this shift. It’s helping practices to streamline processes, scale, and save time so they can focus on adding value to their clients. 

The FNB, Xero and Edge Growth programme will have a significant focus on supporting those on the scheme to harness the right digital tools and skills. Part of this will be through education and insights from established, thriving digital practices

How the programme works

The scheme is open to registered accounting practices that:

  • have been in operation for at least three years;
  • are at least 51% black-owned; 
  • have an accreditation with a professional body such as SAICA or SAIPA; 
  • have industry experience servicing SMEs;
  • are keen to embrace technology.

Up to 15 entrepreneurs will be selected to be part of the programme, which will begin in June 2021 and run for eight months. Support will include:

  • An assessment of your business to understand the main needs for the business and how best these can be addressed. This will inform a unique growth plan that will be implemented and tracked throughout the programme 
  • Support through strong mentorship and guidance from seasoned specialists within the accounting services sector to help implement interventions. 
  • Access to Xero and support on how to get the most out of cloud technology
  • Education and resources to help you gain knowledge, skills and tools geared to help accelerate your growth 

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