I recently read a post by Nick Houldsworth on some predictions for 2018 from Xero app partners. There are some exciting developments within banking and AI that will allow SMEs to shift up a gear or three over the next 12 months.
I have reprinted below, some of my favourites from Nick’s list of predictions.
Duncan Barrigan, Head of Product Management, GoCardless predicts that in 2018 open banking will to usher in a new era for bank-to-bank payments, making it the most powerful way for small businesses to get paid.
“Until now, banks have been the sole owners of financial data like account balance or payment history, Duncan says. “With Open Banking, small businesses will be able to tell their banks to share relevant data with app providers like GoCardless, allowing us to make payments that are ‘smarter’ (e.g. could be triggered when money is in your customer’s account), faster, more secure and less likely to fail. And for small businesses, that will mean better cash flow and less time chasing payments.”
A trend that’s on just about everyone’s radar for 2018 is machine learning – but how will this impact small businesses? It’s clear that accounting software is going to continue to embrace machine learning capabilities. According to Jamie Shulman, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Hubdoc these developments will enable faster and more accurate document coding and data extraction, as well as the automation of complex, repetitive, and time-consuming processes.
“Machine learning will help to automate the small business back office and perform much of the heavy lifting associated with financial management. This will increase accuracy and efficiency in financial reporting, as well as move us closer to real-time financials. Having the capability to make informed business decisions in real-time will be a huge win for small businesses!” Jamie said.
As technology becomes more accessible, it will also make it easier for small businesses to offer employees flexibility such as remote working, and perks that on par with bigger corporations. According to Mike Triantos, Head of Partnership Development at Gusto this will see small businesses surpass big corporations as the best places to work.
“We see small businesses leveraging technology to offer comprehensive benefits to employees where previously this was not possible. With the use of modern software such as Gusto, or Guideline, small businesses can now easily administer employee savings plans, such as 401K and 529, as well as offer health insurance,” Mike said.
Guy Pearson, CEO at Practice Ignition, ties together how some of the biggest trends in tech including big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and moving to the cloud, will come together to see the accounting industry go through a period of rapid change.
“We’ve seen a shift the world over, with banks, software and even tax departments releasing APIs allowing SMEs to connect and centralise data from all sources for analysis. Now it’s time to put it to work! In 2018 we’re going to see the impact of this smart data.
“A humanised interface (AI) will be searching your data (big data) from your systems (cloud based) and looking at what decisions you’ve made in the past (machine learning) to suggest the best outcome. Process workers are to be replaced by systems and we’ll get closer to the mainstream adoption of connected systems in SME and the accounting sector. We’ll finally be crossing the chasm of cloud-connected systems. It’s such an exciting time to be in business as we see the accounting market going through a year of rapid change! Finally,” Guy said.
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