I had the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with one of South Africa’s leading accountancy bodies – the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA). This followed continued work with their team to support and educate South Africa’s accounting practitioners.
Alongside other industry leaders, Xero will work with SAIPA in its mission to help equip accountants across South Africa with the right tools and skillset to thrive. Part of this will be advising on technology developments and how digitisation can be used to transform the role of accountants for the better.
This comes at a critical time when the accounting industry has been stepping up to support businesses through one of the biggest crises they’ve ever faced. They’ve been on the front line of helping our small business economy – which accounts for nearly half (47%) of the local workforce – weather the storm and now plan their road to recovery.
The transforming role of the accountant
Our recent research showed that the role of accountants is changing. Businesses are increasingly turning to them for much more than just the numbers. A massive 97% of SMEs believe that accountants have a vital role to play in supporting economic growth.
Nearly a third (28%) want their accountant to act as a full-on business consultant, an increase of just 11% last year. This shows that the number of businesses calling for accountants to act as advisors has doubled. This marks a radical shift from pure number crunching to valued counsel.
It’s great to see this positive shift happen, with accountants transitioning into essential advisors. But they need the right support to do this. The technology community and accounting bodies must work together to create the right support network for accountants and small businesses. That’s why we’re really proud to be joining forces with SAIPA at such an important time.
Shahied Daniels, Chief Executive of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), commented: “This partnership between the Institute and Xero signifies the inevitable rise of accounting automation as a catalyst in the practitioner’s transition to trusted business strategist. We look forward to working closely with Xero towards a digital future that frees professional accountants from mundane financial administration, to become the analytical pathfinders of the enterprise.”
We recently hosted a number of webinars with SAIPA to help advisors navigate the digital transformation happening across the industry. As part of the MoU, we’re excited to be working closely with SAIPA on a number of other initiatives as we continue to help accountants navigate the challenges ahead. We will share more about those initiatives soon.