Aly & Andrews All Aussie Accounting Adventures

Getting Future Ready

June 20, 2024 Aly & Andrew Season 7 Episode 52
Getting Future Ready
Aly & Andrews All Aussie Accounting Adventures
More Info
Aly & Andrews All Aussie Accounting Adventures
Getting Future Ready
Jun 20, 2024 Season 7 Episode 52
Aly & Andrew

When thinking about the future of your practice, are you excited about emerging technology but wondering where to start? Tune in as we chat with our very special guest, James Bergin, Xero's Executive General Manager of Technology Research & Advocacy. Discover how cutting-edge tech trends, from advanced AI to smart personal assistants and innovative tools like Xero's new JAX, are transforming the industry - in an accessible way.

James shares his wealth of experience in tech research and leadership, exploring how generative AI is a game-changer for small businesses. With stories from Xero's Summer Series, we'll envision a future where tech streamlines operations, helping business owners thrive. Learn why technology should be seen as a catalyst, not just a trend, and how embracing purpose leads to sustainable growth and a strong community.

Join us for an episode brimming with optimism, actionable insights, and maybe even a debate on whether James would rather be a professor or an astronaut. Let's navigate the exciting future of accounting together! 

AAAAA IS PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY OUR SPONSORS
Xero | beautiful online accounting software for your business that connects you to your bank, accountant, bookkeeper, and other business apps.

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CHECK US OUT
ALL IN Advisory | Your squad of award-winning accountants, tax wizards, and business visionaries, perfectly tailored to elevate your biz. Let's soar together!
Illumin8 | Purpose-led cloud-driven accounting humans

MUSIC
ENTENTE (@ententemusic) | Instagram

PRODUCTION
David Easton (@davidjeasty) | Instagram

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When thinking about the future of your practice, are you excited about emerging technology but wondering where to start? Tune in as we chat with our very special guest, James Bergin, Xero's Executive General Manager of Technology Research & Advocacy. Discover how cutting-edge tech trends, from advanced AI to smart personal assistants and innovative tools like Xero's new JAX, are transforming the industry - in an accessible way.

James shares his wealth of experience in tech research and leadership, exploring how generative AI is a game-changer for small businesses. With stories from Xero's Summer Series, we'll envision a future where tech streamlines operations, helping business owners thrive. Learn why technology should be seen as a catalyst, not just a trend, and how embracing purpose leads to sustainable growth and a strong community.

Join us for an episode brimming with optimism, actionable insights, and maybe even a debate on whether James would rather be a professor or an astronaut. Let's navigate the exciting future of accounting together! 

AAAAA IS PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY OUR SPONSORS
Xero | beautiful online accounting software for your business that connects you to your bank, accountant, bookkeeper, and other business apps.

FOLLOW US ON THE SOCIALS
www.accountingadventures.com.au
Accounting Adventures (@accadvpodcast) | Instagram
Accounting Adventures | Facebook
Accounting Adventures | LinkedIn
Aly & Andrews All Aussie Accounting Adventures (@accadvpodcast) | X
Email: podcast@accountingadventures.com.au

CHECK US OUT
ALL IN Advisory | Your squad of award-winning accountants, tax wizards, and business visionaries, perfectly tailored to elevate your biz. Let's soar together!
Illumin8 | Purpose-led cloud-driven accounting humans

MUSIC
ENTENTE (@ententemusic) | Instagram

PRODUCTION
David Easton (@davidjeasty) | Instagram

Speaker 1:

Hey, ellie. Yes, andrew, you know the other day I was hanging out at a bar. You know how I like to hang out at bars, right.

Speaker 2:

Very typical. Yes, every day, was it morning, this time, or afternoon or evening.

Speaker 1:

That's none of your business, thank you. That's my personal life. I like to share some of it, but don't you assume things.

Speaker 2:

You're a classic of a sharer.

Speaker 1:

What do you mean you know what happens when you assume things? Ali? It makes an ass out of you and me Correct, but I was in the bar and past, present and future walked in. It was very All at the same time. All at the same time. It was exceptionally tense, okay. Past, present and future tense. Oh, present, yeah, and future tense, oh, okay, come on.

Speaker 2:

I don't know. You had time to plan that, wasn't it your best work?

Speaker 1:

I feel like you interrupting in the middle of the joke made it not as good, but it's okay Fair enough, fair enough, I'll blame myself.

Speaker 2:

It was me, it was completely me. But anyway, andrew, what are we doing today?

Speaker 1:

Well, as you know, we are two-thirds, three-quarters, half, somewhere through our season talking about the future, the future of our industry, the future of accounting, and how the future freaks us out to some extent, but also how we're really excited about it too, and today we've got a bit of a special chat.

Speaker 2:

Today we've got a bit of a special chat. I know I'm super excited about this one because we've got a special person who's coming and joining us today.

Speaker 1:

Alright, before we do, we're going to hit to the theme tune. David is going to hit the song it's going to play. We'll come back and then we're going to tell you who we're having a chat with. Absolutely so, Ellie. Yes, you, I believe, have spent some time around this person. You've shared a stage with this person recently. I haven't personally shared a stage, no.

Speaker 2:

Because I went on the Zero Summer Series. Yeah, and. I did Adelaide and Perth, but James didn't do those ones. He did everything else. But I know what he talked about, okay, and it was super super good, all right.

Speaker 1:

So you've already dropped that this person's name is James. You've already dropped that they were somehow connected to Zero Summer Series. So the person we're talking about is Ellie. Just give a bit, get the intro. Like who the hell's here? Dear listeners, ellie introduced James there pretty well, but what she made it sound like is the bloke's five years old and doesn't have any background in history and wanted to take just a fleeting moment just to give you a bit more of a background.

Speaker 1:

James has over a decade decades experience in senior leadership in this kind of technology research, advocacy, leadership side of stuff. At Xero. It's responsible for exploring and understanding the technology trends, looking to insights and advisory for key leadership teams across Xero as well as their customers and partners, and his role means he's got a keen eye on the future and helping others understand how tech can unlock new opportunities and capabilities for people in small businesses, their advisors and communities around the world. His background has a bunch of stuff with startups, tech companies, banking, financial, retail and a bunch of other stuff. The dude is smart and you'll hear over the next 35 to 40 minutes why I have recorded after having listened to him this, because, man, it's good. Anyway, enjoy the chat. Okay, well, I can see his video of him kind of just taking in what you've just said about him. We had a real quick chat with him yesterday just to prep for this, and we've been talking about how the future freaks us out and we're like, oh, james can be a bit of the de-freaker for this conversation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely, he fits the bill.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely so we're going to bring James. James is an exceptionally exceptional human, and what I love about it is we're going to be talking about how to create the future, not just what does it feel, how do we create it and then how do we be ready for it. So, without further ado, james, bloody welcome to the show, mate. Welcome.

Speaker 4:

Well, thanks very much, team. It's great to be spending time with you. I I was listening to that intro. I think I'm about as far away from being a professor as I am from being an astronaut, but I'll, I'll take it.

Speaker 1:

I'll take it absolutely well, what do you think you'd be first? A professor or an astronaut? Where do you reckon you go? If you could choose, which would you be first?

Speaker 4:

well, I mean, if we're talking about the future, you kind of I'd have to probably say astronaut. I think, uh, the closest I'll get to being a professor would be, uh, honorary doctorates, uh, or maybe some, um, some education on on topics that I like to geek out on, that I don't know if others want to be educated on, like I don't know, home automation and things that drive my family crazy oh no, you can geek me out on any of that stuff.

Speaker 1:

100 you and ellie can spend some time after this having a chat on that. I mean, I'm all about it, but I've got too much whiskey to drink. What you could do is you could make up your own topic, a brand new topic that no one knows, and then you could declare yourself the professor of it, because no one else knows anything about it. So I could be the professor of.

Speaker 2:

Andrew's beard. That's an interesting strategy. Yeah, I like that. There you go. No, professor of Beards.

Speaker 1:

Professor of.

Speaker 4:

Beards.

Speaker 2:

Fair enough.

Speaker 1:

Anyway, we're not here to talk about my beard, James' beard or Ellie's beard. We are here to talk about the future.

Speaker 1:

I didn't get an age joke into you, ellie, I had to throw something in there, but we are here to talk about the future. Now, james an avid listener of the podcast obviously has been paying close attention to what we've been talking about the future. We've talked about people, we've talked about technology, we've talked about the community in the accounting space. We've got other stuff coming around sustainability and stuff but, james, what we really wanted to talk to you today was some of the content you've been sharing around zero road roads and zero cons, around the future and how we think and how we perceive and how we plan and how we look at the future, how we think and how we perceive and how we plan and how we look at the future. So what I might do is I might just kind of handball to you, mate, and give us a bit of a. What on earth have you been chatting about lately and why? Is that somewhat important for people like us in our industry to have a listen and to contemplate and understand?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, sure, yeah, it's something which we have been talking a bit more about at Xero, and especially over the last. You know, as you said earlier, I've been at Xero for five years now, and especially over the last couple of years, we started to get some questions coming through from some of our amazing accountant and bookkeeping partners about emerging technologies. At the time which sort of dates when the questions were coming in there was a lot of questions about cryptocurrency and blockchain and NFTs and what the implications might be for small businesses, but also what the implications might be for accountancy, and we launched a campaign called Future Focus where I got to spend some time talking to some luminaries in the technology and business space and explain some of these technologies and what the potential capabilities might be and what they might have an impact on potential futures as well. We put that out there got some really great feedback, and so we've continued on that vein of exploring and looking at what the future might mean, what it might become, and tried to come up with ways to explain the technologies themselves.

Speaker 4:

At the the moment, people aren't talking so much about the blockchain. They're talking more about this artificial intelligence thing. Um, but if we have this podcast again in a year's time they'll be talking about something else, and really that's what I've been spending some time explaining is that the technologies themselves really are interesting, especially if you're a geek like me but I'm a geek too, james.

Speaker 1:

Okay, good, geek like us I find it interesting, like you said, like the, you know blockchain and crypto and you know we go back another six or seven years and it's the cloud and it's like I feel that the the fact that blockchain and crypto felt like the absolute biggest, most important thing, but that also felt like it was 30 seconds ago. Whereas you know the cloud and whatnot, that does feel like it's been around for long enough. Like, whereas you know the cloud and whatnot, that does feel like it's been around for long enough. Like I feel like the pace of that change is coming through. And then are you kind of suggesting, like or talking about. Here is like we're talking about this and we were talking about that is like is it? Does it matter what we're talking about, or does it matter that we're talking about something and that there's then we're keeping an eye ahead of us well, that's.

Speaker 4:

That's exactly where the my philosophy has been to try and think less about the technology by itself, as interesting as it may be, and more from the perspective of what does this technology enable, what? What does it act as a? The term I was using at zero con most recently is how does it act as a catalyst? You know, a catalyst is something that accelerates a reaction. Um, the actual innovation and change can happen in, in the parts of your business or the parts of how you're servicing your clients. The technology is an amplifier of that.

Speaker 4:

But I think many times because especially as you're sort of alluding to there, andrew with just the pace of change and the pace of new technology development, it's easy to get wrapped up in the new technologies and how shiny they are and what they might mean and all the rest of it, and not step back and say, okay, but what's the actual problem we're trying to solve here, or what's the actual change we're trying to introduce? And then how does the technology come second order, rather than just looking at it through the technology for technology's sake?

Speaker 2:

and um james, when you were going through the zero summer series and you, you basically took us on a bit of a journey through what you know could potentially be the future of what small businesses might look like and what accounting firms might look like. Can you just touch briefly on some of those discussions for people that may not have been able to attend those events, because I found it incredibly interesting and there were some really great key parts of that that I was like wow, that could actually be something and we need to look at it.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, sure, we wanted to use a bit of a different way of exploring what the future might look like. So, rather than talking purely about the technology for technology's sake, we wove together a bit of a narrative of a small business owner, amara. We called her, and she runs a bakery in Australia and also has some bakeries around in other parts of the world, and we used that as an example and said what would a day in the life of her be in 10 years time? What could it look like? And so we talked about, you know, a combination. You know, waking up in the morning and taking off her face mask that's automatically adjusted her skincare based on her calendar and and some micronutrients that she needs in her diet, and then working through her day as she starts to meet with her accountant and who is a real person, but also in the same team meeting, the virtual avatars of things like her, her ovens and her in her stores. They are represented by an artificial intelligence in the team meeting and also her personal digital assistant working through some of the decisions of the day in terms of running her business and went through a number of those kind of examples, just painting a picture of what you know, hey, look, it might look like this in 10 years' time, and some of the examples we use are maybe easy to see and some of them were a little bit more speculative and just had a little bit of fun with it.

Speaker 4:

But then what we did, as you know, ali, we then kind of said, okay, well, to look at that future. How far out is that future? How crazy is that future if that's 10 years from now? Well, a good way to look at how a trend works is you go back 10 years as well and extrapolate out, and so we talked about some of those key trends around connectivity, around artificial intelligence is another good example and looked at where things were 10 years ago versus where we are today. And so then, if you extrapolate out where that might lead us 10 years from now and it's not necessarily, in fact, in many of these cases it's no longer a linear growth profile you're starting to see, potentially, in some cases, exponential growth.

Speaker 4:

So 10 years from now could be dramatically different from from, say, two years from now, and then we rounded out that conversation saying, okay, well, so those trends might not be as crazy as they first sound like. Maybe the future does look like that, and that future is very different from where we are today. What isn't changing? Because that's maybe a better thing to build your strategy around, because there are certain core principles that are still fundamentally true. They were fundamentally true 10 years ago, they're fundamentally true today and they'll be fundamentally true in the future. And and so we had, you know, things in there like trust is earned, not given.

Speaker 4:

Humans aren't numbers. Technology augments us, it doesn't replace us. These are statements which you can then, I believe, build more of a strategy around and say, okay, I know these things are going to be the same in the future. How they are realized in day-to-day business may be totally different because the technology changes so fast. But, at its core, business is still about the interaction between people. You know, compliance still exists because commerce still exists, and so we were just trying to take a bit of a different take on the future and explore it from that lens.

Speaker 1:

I really like how you that's the do freak me part.

Speaker 1:

What I like there is that when we always talk about the future and we say the future freaks me out, it's because we're thinking so much about what's changing, not what will be constant. And I like the fact that if you can go, great, yeah, stuff's going to change, it's always going to change, there's nothing to do about it. But how do we understand and pay attention to what won't change or what I guess fundamentally won't change? And I love some of those things you said.

Speaker 1:

You know humans are not numbers, although we sometimes see environments and places which might treat or consider humans to be just a number or just a resource or a thing, as opposed to being people. And I look at that. I'm interested in your take on that future and looking at what you see that future looks like. But also, what is it that makes you a little bit nervous when you look into that future? Because I know a lot of people look at that and go, yeah, but if all of a sudden I'm sitting on a call with my oven, does that mean I don't have a human at my bakery?

Speaker 2:

Andrew, you're not doing that now? Well, who like does that mean I don't have a human at my bakery? Andrew, you're not doing that now.

Speaker 1:

Well, who knows? But does that mean I don't have a human that's looking after my oven and who's actually making sure stuff's being done? So like what happens to that person's job and then like so obviously all this fear comes down to like what are we going to do? Now? I don't need you to like think about all that kind of stuff, but I'm intrigued with how we look into the future and what scares you a little bit, and when we look at humans and technology, and not even just innovation and change yeah, I mean, I think my favorite definition of the word innovation is the one from the dictionary because I'm a bit old school like that which is innovation is to create something new in order to change something established.

Speaker 4:

And we often focus on the first half of that definition to create something new, because there's so many new things. They're new and they're shiny and they're different, but that's the definition of invention. Innovation is creating something new to change something established. Now, by its nature, that means we're talking about change, and change in and of itself can be scary because it's's the unknown, it's the things that we don't, we can't see, and maybe it's a little bit beyond the horizon of what we can control as well. And so when I think about the future and it's funny to think about it as one thing as opposed- to obviously there's infinite possibilities.

Speaker 4:

Exactly, um, that what, what I guess, worries me, what scares me, is not so much anything particularly technical I mean, maybe there's a couple of things there around the singularity and whatnot which are a bit scary but it's more the fact that we might just stumble into the future. So, rather than taking an active hand trying to shape the future, the thing that would scare me is we just sort of stumble. The future just happens, as opposed to asking some bigger and, let's be honest, harder questions about who we are and what makes us I mean, at the moment, what makes us human. This is a question that's coming up because of where artificial intelligence has got to in terms of its capabilities. So I guess the fear factor for me is the fear that we don't ask those big questions because they're too hard, and we just let things happen and see what happens.

Speaker 4:

And I I most of my career has been around, you know, in roles that are termed architects, even though they're not actually building anything to do with buildings. But the idea of an architect, the the word originally comes from principal thought. It's about trying to create a solution to a problem, or at least trying to create a trade-off that's slightly better than the situation that you're in, so it's a positive thing. It's an it's an active thing yeah and we talked about this at um, at zero con as well which is like accountants and bookkeepers have this golden opportunity to help try and shape the future, rather than and trying to predict what it will be and embracing for it.

Speaker 2:

There's an opportunity to embrace it and turn it into what we want it to be, which is it's a harder thing, but my biggest fear would be that we don't do that I love that, james, and I live my life with this control, the controllables that you have some level of control over, and so for us that it puts it on us and brings some accountability to us to actually do something about it. And that's about the education piece, the learning, the understanding, thinking outside, thinking ahead, it's those things we can control and it it puts you in a better place, I think, rather than living through this fear factor yeah, definitely, and I think I had a discussion with some friends the other day saying oh look, I'm seeing a similarity between the generations that bracket me.

Speaker 4:

So if I look at my children sort of in the early to mid teens, and if I look at my parents, it's interesting that both of them don't understand technology, technology. The only difference is that my parents' generation and I'm not generalizing, I shouldn't say the entire generation my parents aren't the kind of people who embrace technology because they're kind of afraid of it. They acknowledge they don't understand it and so they steer away from it. My children don't understand it either, but they embrace it wholeheartedly. And so there's an interesting that there's a connection there around whatever. A nicer term for the word ignorance is because we don't understand the technology, but nowadays we're, so we're soaked in it.

Speaker 4:

It's everywhere around us all this technology and coming back to, what am I using it for? How does it work? What are its limitations? Those questions don't get asked as much. The default is just use it, just keep going, just keep moving. And so that's the thing that I find quite scary, because it's quite passive. It sits back and, oh, I don't know what's going to happen, and I don't think that's what technology is supposed to be. It's it's the practical application of scientific knowledge for a purpose, and so it has to be purpose-led in order for it to be positive, and that's the kind of thing that comes to us love that, love that.

Speaker 1:

So how do we figure out the purpose? Mate, if I'm sitting here, I'm like I want to. I want to be an agent. A change I want to, I want to move into the future with and I like the rephrasing, like I'm always a big fan of like don't look at it as a problem, look at it as an opportunity, like what can we do to change our mindset so we approach things from a positive perspective and potentially a outcome? But what on earth can we do to start, you know, understanding what change needs to be created or what solution we're trying to drive or what problem we're trying to solve in a way that doesn't just get it stuck in complaining about, you know, a color of something or a function that I've done for 40 years the same way.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I mean, that's a big question. I mean, in the case of Xero, has a really clear purpose, right, and it's not something that's just a tagline. It's something which we live and breathe. We want to try and make life better for people who are in small business, their advisors and their communities around the world. So when you state your purpose like that and are really clear about it, you can use it as a filter. You can look at your actions, you can look at your choices, your decisions, you can look at your technology and you can say is this helping us achieve our purpose? And the purpose in that situation overrides any individual goals, any OKRs or objectives and key results that we might set for a particular quarter or for a year. We have this overarching purpose and then we have a vision to try and align to achieve that purpose about being the most trusted and insightful small business platform. So that's how Xero approaches it On a personal level, one of the frameworks that I've been a big fan of for many many years is a framework called Ikigai.

Speaker 4:

Ikigai is great, right, the four questions what does the world need, what am I good at, what can I get paid for and what do I love doing? And how do I get the crossover of those four things? Is your ikigai, your, your purpose? And there are people who spend their entire life searching to. You know, nail that, that purpose in the middle, and there's a whole lot of literature written by people far smarter than me about seeking your purpose.

Speaker 4:

But I think the very, the very fact of seeking it, the very fact of trying to define it, of trying to have a position on what your purpose is, even that is a great step forward, rather than saying, oh, it's all very hard and a bit too hard, I'll just go back to scrolling. That's the thing. Do you know what I mean? Like I'll go back into the passive behavior. So I think even just asking the big question in some cases leads people down a path that's more meaningful cases leads people down a path that's more meaningful, and then just using just those first few steps means you've got a different perspective when it comes to this technology that's emerged this week and what it's going to mean for me yeah, it's a lot around conscious choices, which I live my life by right, actually consciously choosing something, consciously choosing to lean into, say, learning the technology or understanding it.

Speaker 2:

And there was a part in there that I really loved where you were talking about the purpose of Xero and that it's to really help those small business clients and customers. And you recently had the exciting job of announcing a new Jaxx or Just Ask Xero at Xerocon, which kind of really plays into that. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, just Ask Xero or JAX, is our use of generative AI, our latest use of some of those capabilities in our product and also around our product? And by that I mean it's creating some capabilities that people will be able to use inside of Xero and, like what most people are associating with generative AI, particularly large language model driven generative AI is the ability to have a conversation and be able to say no, not this, a little bit of that and a bit of back and forward on some tasks that are every day. But we also had the realization that those tasks that small businesses are performing aren't necessarily starting in Xero. They may be starting in email or text messaging or whatsapp, and so the power of the generative ai capabilities that we haven't had as much in the past in terms of this conversation is why not inject into those worlds? So if you're, um, you know a trades person who's wanting to raise an invoice and you've just been talking to the client via text message, why not continue talking in text message and talk to jackax and say, actually, can you add some, add $50 to that quote based on the change that we've just talked about? And so we announced that and the beta launch of Jax, and what I'm really proud and excited about is that it comes back to that.

Speaker 4:

What we've just been talking about earlier in terms of the purpose, like how can we use this technology? Not because it's cool and shiny and exciting, but because it actually is giving us an opportunity to make people's lives better by saving them time, by being able to remove some of the tedium. And if that's just a little bit, if that's just a little bit every day or multiple times a day, that's enough. That's something let's let's go with it. So you know, very exciting days for us at the moment with, uh, with jacks yeah, I like that.

Speaker 1:

That's I. That's been a thread of zero for I'm gonna say like seven or eight years. I remember sitting in zero con brisbane.

Speaker 1:

I want to say like 2019, 2018 2019 yeah, it would have been, yeah and I remember the messenger chat bot that zero was playing around with back then, the idea of being able to ask questions, to get information. And we can see this is just that further iteration of something that's been bubbling away underneath and really kind of bringing out some really interesting ways that you can, I guess, collaborate and get information and empower a business owner and an accountant in a way that they haven't been able to do so far.

Speaker 4:

So that's true, yeah and I think that's very much like one of the things we talked about at Xericon this year on one of the breakouts I was talking about this idea of catalysts. That technology is catalyst I mentioned it before and as the technologies themselves develop, you can have these ideas, these innovative ideas about how you're going to change some processes or how you're going to change some processes or how you're going to change, you know, the structure of your business or your profit model. And these are these are for people who are familiar these are the types I'm just referring to are known as the 10 types of innovation. It was a bunch of work that was done by a guy called larry keely and his team at dublin monitor, which is now um, deloitte and uh. In that they explored and said, look, you've got these different types of innovation. And you said, look, you've got these different types of innovation and you can break innovation down into these different types and not a single one of the 10 types of innovation is a technology.

Speaker 4:

So if you take, you know they're all comments about changes that you can make to the way your business operates, whatever your business is, and the kind of aha moment that I had was that you could think about technology as a catalyst. If you think of those as elements, yes, and that was actually some of their original inspiration was the guy I always mispronounce his name, dimitri Mendeleev, who created the periodic table of elements, if we remember that from you know secondary school science, and so they think about these things as elements. Technology becomes a catalyst because it accelerates the reaction between multiple types, because their research showed, the more types you combine, the more interesting and more impactful the innovation might be. And so that's a long roundabout way of saying, andrew, when you take some of these ideas that Xero and other organizations have had for years and the catalysts weren't quite there, the technology wasn't necessarily enabling us to fully realize the vision.

Speaker 2:

That doesn't mean that the idea wasn't the right idea.

Speaker 4:

It means that you know you have a look at that idea again as the catalysts evolve and they change and really that's why, when you take generative ai capabilities that have really unlocked in the last 18 months to two years, it's changed a lot around conversational user interfaces. It's introduced some new challenges. There's you know, thomas sowell, a famous quote that I like there's no solutions, only trade-offs, and right. And so anytime you introduce a thomas sowell, a famous quote that I like there's no solutions, only trade-offs, and right. And so anytime you introduce a new technology, it introduces new trade-offs and those have to be managed responsibly and carefully. But it does unlock things that previously you're like oh, we tried to solve that problem and we couldn't because of a, b or c. Oh, a is now changed, let's have another look. And then that gives you another opportunity to look at the true innovation the equation is always moving, isn't?

Speaker 1:

it's always? There's always something. We thought it looked like this and then a bit later it looked like that and, and I like the fact that, like the, the end result can change because of that if that equation changes. So we thought it looked like this and then things have changed and now it's going to look like that and, and that evolution of the innovation that comes from there is um, is really cool. I I like that. My brain is melting.

Speaker 2:

It's on a puddle on the floor. But the amazing thing is we know that we've been sitting on enormous amounts of data, right, huge amounts of data, and what we're now getting is the usability of that data, and this is the catalyst component, this is the JAX component. Potentially, we're just fitting something in to be able to analyse and source these huge amounts of data into a usability that's going to make our life so much easier. And so when you think about the data has already been there, it's been there forever like that's not the new bit. The new bit is how we are actually able to extract that data and then use that data, and when I, when I break it down like that it does, it definitely doesn't scare me as much of oh this is a whole new thing.

Speaker 2:

And what does this mean and where is this going to go like? And so thinking about how we're using it, what we're doing and the opportunity behind it, that's amazing absolutely.

Speaker 4:

I think a lot of the raw material of innovation is is more of what we've already done. So if you think about leveraging capabilities that have been available for a long time, even just I mean, obviously I'm biased, but if you're, if you're a zero customer, you know, if you're using zero, then you're able to use our capabilities to digitize more and more of your operations, and when those operations are digitized, that unlocks the ability for that data to be responsibly used to unlock new insights, right? So if you think about cash flow forecasting, for example, which is one of our capabilities in analytics plus, and that's using artificial intelligence to provide insight. Cash flow forecasting, for example, which is one of our capabilities in Analytics Plus, and that's using artificial intelligence to provide insight based on the data that's in there. Now, that's not generative AI. It's a different kind of AI, but it's something that you can unlock by using the platform and then starting to digitize. So people have been on this journey for years Because AI up there.

Speaker 2:

Ai is not new. Yeah, it's not new, is it no?

Speaker 4:

No, it's not new, is it? No, it was first theorized in the 1950s. Wow, it's just what's happened. Is everyone's got theory? Oh, stop it.

Speaker 1:

It's older than you, Ali. I knew I'd get one in there eventually.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, James, for lining that one up. I am 10 years older than Andrew, and so he likes to play with that every single time.

Speaker 4:

Right Well, I older than Andrew and so he likes to play with that every single time. Right well, I wouldn't possibly have thought that that is at anywhere near close to the age.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much. I really like you, james.

Speaker 4:

I really do, but it's a it's a good example, right, that you take something like AI and, because of the uh, the massive um democratization of access to generative AI tools, particularly in the last little while For a lot of people. I mean, I had a number of people, especially about a year ago, who were saying, oh, this is AI is finally here. It's the first time I've used AI and I'm like it's the first time you've used AI.

Speaker 4:

You don't type Google searches, you don't use maps at all, and they're like, yeah, but that's not AI all. And they're like, yeah, but that's not ai. I'm like, no, that absolutely is ai and I. There's this sense I was talking to someone yesterday about. I'm a little bit of an english nerd, so you hear me come back to word definitions all the time, but there's a difference a little bit between the noun and the verb and the noun and the adjective. Sorry, when you talk about ai as a noun, as a thing, I'm interacting with this artificial intelligence, and that leads towards artificial general intelligence and the concepts out of science fiction, as, as opposed to the adjective, this capability is artificially intelligent.

Speaker 4:

We've made it smarter, so there are more opportunities for automation. They're not the first time we've automated things. There are more opportunities for insights. It's not the first time we've provided insights. So it's this evolution of capabilities that people have been able to have tastes of and will continue to be able to leverage, and that's why the future becomes something where you can, I think, have some agency in to decide what you want it to be. Now, if you're not in a digital world and if you're not operating your processes in that way, it's far harder for you to come into the world where you can leverage the new capabilities, but if you're there already, then you're already starting to access that capability now.

Speaker 1:

I like that. I like that you love the words and the definitions. I'm assuming that you don't play around with the Urban Dictionary all that much. I did do a little bit of research. I am somewhat prepared every now and then Innovation according to the Urban Dictionary doing the same old, pointless thing a different way. Alternatively, creating something brilliant in such a way that takes twice as long and costs three times as much as the old-fashioned way of doing the same thing. For example, bob hey, let's make a wheel. And bobette says, well, we have to draft the budget submissions, then set up a steering party, develop a business plan, publish the perspectives. I'm guessing we'll need a couple of million plus three year window for the R&D alone. I have to laugh.

Speaker 1:

Obviously, urban Dictionary is not the true definitions of, but sometimes it's what we feel on our insides about certain stuff. But what I want to move to is what are you excited about? Thinking about the future, thinking about innovation, change and what that future might look like. What just gets you out of bed, jumping and screaming and happy, and I guess, being that advocate that you are, that's your job, right. Why on earth are you so passionate about this stuff and what excites you about it going forward in the next? We're talking 10 to 20 years. I'm not talking tomorrow, I'm talking at a point where you probably can't even predict it.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think there's a quote that I love to use from Bill Gates. You may have heard of him and he said people always, often, overestimate what will happen in two years and underestimate what can happen in 10. And the end of that quote is don't let yourself be lulled into inaction. And I look at the future as something which is interesting because it's unwritten, and I think we can sometimes focus on the problems of the present or the scars of the past and then go oh well, the future's going to become like Eeyore, right? Oh well, I'm just going to go down to the garden and eat worms because it's all going to be bad. And sure, I can see how you can get to a future where things don't look good. But, at the same time, if you zoom out and look at history and see where we are and see the progress that we've made, yes, there are still problems. Boy oh boy. We are exceptional at finding problems, creating problems.

Speaker 4:

But I the thing that that excites me about the future, particularly when we talk about the future for um, whether it's small businesses or whether it's for individuals, the future that's leveraging technology for positive purpose. What gets me excited is I think there's most of the problems that we have created can be solved and how they are solved, I don't know. That's the part where I have to have a little bit of faith and also be optimistic that we will find ways to solve problems. But notwithstanding the quote from Thomas Sowell about there are no problems, no solutions. No solutions, only trade-offs the kind of trade-offs that we're willing to make that we could potentially benefit from are huge, and so some of these incredible thinkers that I get to spend time looking at and seeing where they're going points to a more not I mean there are others who talk about a utopic future.

Speaker 4:

Right that 10, 20 years out it's going to be, everything's going to be sunshine and rainbows and just lovely. Maybe not that extreme, but the potential to solve things around clean energy, the potential to solve things around access to clean water, access to food across the world, the ability to solve some of the challenges that have been the things that we fight over as a species for thousands of years, feel like they're in reach and maybe within reach for the first time genuinely in human history, solving a number of illnesses and sicknesses. So I think there's this potential is there and it feels like it's within reach and within our lifetimes, and so that I find very motivating because it is, it is easy to spend a bit of time kind of wallowing on where we are and the issues that we have today, but that also, you know, the necessity of all invention is. Necessity is the mother of all invention and we have plenty of necessity, so I'm just really positive that we could create an amazing future.

Speaker 2:

So powerful, james. And see Andrew, that's why I call him the professor. Do you see now why I said that before?

Speaker 1:

Like he's schooling me.

Speaker 2:

I love it, Like it's reframing a lot of my mindsets and how you know you can actually look at how are we going to look into the future and what can we do, and I think if we do take that really optimistic, positive mindset, we can do so much good instead of going to that negative. Oh, it's going to change and I've been through so much change and I'm so tired and I know that that's okay and I know that some people feel that way, but sometimes we've got to dig ourselves out of that hole and look at the exciting, opportunistic, positive stuff to come from that yeah, I think that's so true because there are a lot of people that I have been conversing with lately who are in a bit of that state.

Speaker 1:

They've gone through the last 10 to 15 years of change within our industry which for them has been enormous, and they've maybe managed it really well and been quite successful through it, and now find themselves in a different position because of the way they approached that. And then they sit here and they look at the next what's coming and they go. I'm just worn out. I just don't know if I can. And I definitely think it is that mindset of like, if you think that you're building something that will get to a point and go, great, it's done.

Speaker 1:

We're not like in what we do in business. Theoretically we're not building a house that's built and then it's built and you move and you live in it and, yeah, you might have to repair it over time, but that's kind of built. We're constantly having to pay attention to what's going on within our world, what you know as accountants, what our clients need from a regulator perspective, what sits there, but that gives us greater opportunity to find ways to service and support our clients in our community. Because of that, I loved, james, when you talked about the mission at Xero. Like at Illuminate, our mission is to build businesses that stand the test of time. So it's all about sustainable growth, driving community well-being, shared prosperity, that kind of stuff.

Speaker 1:

And so if we're not having a perspective of excitement about what's coming and where it's going, what it means is we're not thinking about how we can benefit the people that we're here to benefit. We're simply looking at how I can benefit myself. And don't get me wrong, I'm a massive, massive fan of people going hey, if you're building a business, it needs to make sure that it's serving you as the business owner and your family and what you want out of your life. But it ain't going to serve you very much if you're kind of sitting while in that fear and get afraid of that kind of stuff. You have to at some point. You got to get up and do something about it. So I like it. I just I don't know. It just makes me want to like just neck a whiskey and have a run.

Speaker 2:

I don't, I don't run that's you on a daily basis, andrew, but I do it, I do it to your point, andrew, like I think there are um operators, business operators that have been on this journey, and maybe the early adopters that may be feeling a little bit fatigued. But I think, you know, sometimes it is that reframing and looking at what is to come. But we're not, you know, jumping off a cliff here. It's still going to be those little baby steps as we walk through. James, what's your perspective on how we as business owners can kind of look at the future and how we can improve our businesses and kind of move from what we currently are to where we want to be and still protect ourselves?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I mean, I think that it's an active conversation at the moment because maybe more active than it has been, we've had a rough few years. Think generally as a, as a as a globe. Again, I can say, well, there's a bit of perspective. If you zoom out, you can take any you know collection of years and you'll probably say, well, that was a pretty rough time as well. But in that roughness comes opportunity. And I think if we look at the technologies that are emerging and you know, I keep picking on ai. I don't know why I'm picking on AI- you can keep.

Speaker 2:

You need to do it. I love it. It's my favorite topic right now.

Speaker 4:

It's one of those things where I think people are really kind of sitting back and saying, hang on a second. I don't think this is the way this was going to go. Like most of you, if you go back five, 10 years and look at where people were predicting artificial intelligence, most of the expectations were around around machine learning and insights. We're going to lead to more computational, mathematical insights, but the creative aspects of being human, the language and art yeah, we won't be able to do that and, in fact, what we've seen is the inverse. With generative AI, right, it can create text and create images, actually far better than it can calculate numbers. It's not very good with calculation, and so that's made people sit back and go well, hang on a second. If this thing can write as well as I can write on the face of it, where do I fit in? And so people are having across industries, across businesses, across the world. People are having maybe not an existential crisis, but asking these big questions and they can be scary, and I think there's a couple of takes for what it's worth. One is that you're not alone in that. I have not found, in my conversations with colleagues, with friends, with family, I have not found anyone who's sitting there going. Yeah, no, I'm not thinking about that. No, I haven't heard about this AI thing. No, everything's fine.

Speaker 4:

We're not alone, and we have had opportunity, I think, in the last few years, to recognize that there are things that we have in common as a species. Sure, there are things that are different, but you're not alone when it comes to trying to explore these things and explore them from a perspective of opportunity. What could this unlock? What could I leverage here? The other thing is, when I look at platforms like Xero, we have a responsibility for us to actually take some of that burden.

Speaker 4:

So I'm working with some of the smartest people I have ever met in my life at Xero, and they are all unified by this purpose of trying to make lives better for people in small business and their advisors and their communities around the world. That's the purpose, and so, in that context, we are looking at these technologies and figuring out how to leverage them responsibly and safely, in line with things like our responsible data use commitments, which are public. That we've said. This is what we're holding to, so that you don't have to, so that, by using zero, you can leverage those capabilities and leverage all those incredible smart people and and we're not alone in that there are other you know platforms that are that are doing the same thing. So, eyes wide open looking at what the capabilities that are out there having to become an expert in every single one of these technologies and finding time when you're already.

Speaker 4:

If you're running a small business, you're already, like, stacked with a lot of things on your plate. Now having to become an expert in artificial intelligence and machine learning is an unrealistic expectation. Being able to partner with organizations that can leverage that, when you know what they're leveraging it for, I think it's an opportunity to take some of that burden off. And then the third thing I would say is one of the best parts about my newish role at zero is I'm getting to spend more time with accountants and bookkeepers and small business owners right, our customers. The community is incredible, yeah, it is absolutely incredible. Like zero con, that's what. That's just the taste of it.

Speaker 4:

So you know, I was in london and I'm I'm jet lagged and and for anyone who's been in london recently, apparently summer is nine degrees and you know I'm sitting there and I'm and I'm tight and I've got to get up on stage and the rest of it. And then I just had partner after partner after partner coming up with this big smile and like just excited to be there and just talking about what they're doing and genuinely I felt privileged, I felt honored to be able to be mixing with this incredible community of people who are at the moments of the most amount of stress for small businesses, are at the moments of the most amount of stress for small businesses and I don't think get enough credit for the fact that often their role as advisors, their role as counselors, they're you know, they're helping people through these incredible, incredible challenges and yet they're looking at it through the lens of solving problems, being constructive, you know, finding ways, finding solutions. It's incredibly uplifting. So the community of and that's just one accountants and bookkeepers, community of small business owners, I think, finding power in the community, recognizing that you're not alone, as I said at the beginning, and then looking at the capabilities that are being unlocked by platform providers so that you can leverage without having to be an expert yourself yeah, bang on that's, that's so good.

Speaker 1:

And and and one question I'm chomping at the bit to ask you because obviously Ali and I built accounting firms over the last 10, 15 years kind of thing. We've been around the traps. I've also spent time like one thing that was great. When I was in the UK a few years ago, a bloke who's much older than I and Ali reminded me that the change we're going through they've gone through as well. It just looked different when they went through it.

Speaker 1:

But if I'm starting an accounting firm today, james, let's assume that you have gone. You know what Xero is amazing, but I am yearning to build my own accounting firm. You magically have qualifications there and everything required to be able to legally do that. So let's assume you have that. That's a thing. Um, those who employ james this is not a real situation just want to remind you he's amazing, not leaving zero. But if you were to, if you were to start an accounting firm with me and uh, what is it? What would you be focusing on in that, in that early stages, to build what I would? I mean what I'm kind of referring to, and feel free to change the way I'm referring this if you think it'd be thought differently, but to build a future-focused, slash, future-proofed business that services our clients within the tax, accounting, bookkeeping and advisory space.

Speaker 4:

I would add one thing to your future and maybe not future proofed, I'd say future ready and I think I would be looking to try and create a capability inside of a firm which is orienting towards the future with a context of anticipation, not prediction. So rather than trying to predict what the next technology is going to be or predict what the next big thing is going to be, anticipating that there will just be more change and building into the firm the ability to embrace that change. Now, easier said than done, because you know to make a decision is actually to have a little bit of a mental crisis. There's a connection in the word if you go back far enough into the Greek. But in what you're looking to try and do and making decisions about choices around change, there is, I think, a different level of resilience that's required inside of a firm. So my high school accounting teacher will find it hilarious that I'm working for Xero. The idea of me actually running an accounting firm would have him in fit. But if I was looking to try and hire in the kind of capabilities to build that firm, I'd be looking to create an environment that welcomes in different perspectives, diverse perspectives on any kind of problem. So I wouldn't be trying to have all introverts or all extroverts, all creative, all analytical. I'd be trying to get as much of a blend of different diversity as possible. That's the first thing. The second thing I'd be doing is trying to create a capability, that creating an environment sorry that the first thing. The second thing I'd be doing is trying to create a capability that creating an environment sorry that encourages safe experimentation, and by experimentation I mean like we did in I don't know why I keep coming back to chemistry, ellie but like what we did in high school.

Speaker 4:

So what's your hypothesis? How can you set up a bit of a method to test that and then test it and then learn from that and then make a decision and then start again and do another test. I think that continuous learning, continuous experimentation, I'll be trying to build that into the culture of the organization and I. The third thing, I would be obviously saying you'd want to be leveraging zero as much as possible, but you'd be wanting to try and be tech forward in your thinking. But bringing it back to the problems that you're trying to solve, the, the trade-offs that you're trying to make, and how can the capabilities that are being provided by platforms like Xero. How can they be leveraged in a way, actively, not passively, not? Oh well, whatever it's released, I'll use no, no, no actively. How do I use that? So you have this culture that's experimenting and then your capability enabled through looking through partners like Xero?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that active engagement is huge. The number of times that at Illuminate we have had great success with adoption of technology and change and whatnot, is because we've been actively engaging within that, as opposed to when it hasn't gone as well, we're like, oh, there's a thing, I guess we should use it right. And it's because it's a thing there. What I also liked and I'm thinking there as you're saying, when you said it's about being future ready it's also a massive change in the way we think of what that phrase is and means. So if I think about future ready, it's like I'm preparing for the game.

Speaker 1:

Future ready for me yesterday was like great, make sure that when Ali and I interview this professor called James that we don't stuff it up. Ali and I interview this professor called James, that we don't stuff it up. So I was being ready for the future, right. But when you're talking about it, like you're saying as a firm or as an organization or as a person, we need to be future ready, which means it's constant, it's never ending. Because if you're future ready, it's not like you get to tomorrow. You're like, great, done, now, I don't need to be future ready. So that future ready isn't just a matter of like get good at how to do tax returns or get it good using technology. It's almost like get good at not being good but being open and understanding of what and ready and willing to take whatever that future is Like. It's a mindset almost there, right.

Speaker 4:

It's absolutely a mindset and it's a mindset backed by capability. So, for example, if you're leveraging capabilities that are available to you now to be more digitized, to be more automated, that sets you up to be more ready for a future that is more digitized and more automated. For example, and I think that it's finding ways to shift the mindset to today. I mean, this podcast isn't live, so, by definition, we're talking to people. In the future definition, we're talking to people in the future.

Speaker 4:

When they're listening to this podcast, the idea of being able to say well, actually, when you've chosen to do this, is up to you. Now, the action that you want to take is up to you, and it might just be one small change that you make every 90 days in your practice. It doesn't need to be this big, massive thing. Being future ready, I think, is about iteration, evolution and experimentation, and doing that in a way which is safe and understood and you know your risk is managed. But it's small steps that you take. It's actions that you take that will become the future you want to be in.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and at all. In the way that we look at it, is the curiosity factor. Be curious, always be curious, and the curiosity leads to engagement, the curiosity leads to education, the curiosity leads to action. The curiosity leads to education, the curiosity leads to action. And so it's a real it's, it's a really big play there, but it I absolutely 100% agree with you, james, it's, it's the mindset, it's the culture, and I think it takes pressure off when you say I don't need to be future-proofed, I just need to be future ready and for me that's like a big deep breath out, like I've got this, I can do this, and it's just that continual journey.

Speaker 2:

What do you reckon, andrew?

Speaker 1:

I 100 agree, 100 million percent agree. Actually, no, sorry, indefinitely angry because I don't want to, I don't want to fix the point I don't want to put a fixed point on what that might be.

Speaker 1:

Um, james, we're going to start. We're going to start wrapping this up this. We could honestly talk for another few more hours, but I've got stuff to do today. I reckon you do as well, and I know ellie probably does too 100 and our listeners are probably sitting here like going guys, I need to start work. I have to this. When is this podcast gonna end? I'd like it's so good, but just just keep listening, guys. That's what one question, then we're going to wrap up, and this is just more of a general question from you.

Speaker 1:

You speak a lot about some stuff that I feel like not many people contemplate in the breadth and the width and the openness that you talk about and you share, and I'm sure that there are many people who are listening to this going oh wow, that's so interesting and unique and great. People who are listening to this going oh wow, that's so interesting and unique and great. Other than listening to you talk and finding stuff that you talk about, finding your zero bits and pieces and whatnot, where would you go and where would you suggest in places for people to go, whether it's books to read, authors, speakers, that kind of stuff you go you know what. Here's a good environment to help you to open and change your perception on the future. Innovation and change management and I know I'm throwing this in on you last second where would you say, is a good point to start I think that's a great question.

Speaker 4:

I think it's something we're orienting towards. The particular areas that you're interested in helps, because we have more access to more information and more inspiration than, I would argue, any generation prior to us. It can be incredibly overwhelming. No, it absolutely can, ali, and I think that's the issue is trying to figure out what's the one podcast, or obviously, this is the one podcast, but beyond this podcast, what's the one podcast I need to listen to? Or what's the one website I need to go to, or the one book I need to read, and I think that that that that search to try and find the one answer is, in and of itself, a bit counterproductive. So, casting wide is is good.

Speaker 4:

There's lots of stuff out there and I think coming back to that point around diversity and embracing different perspectives and getting people's um getting outside of your own echo chamber, I think is really important. But I think focusing in on what's the area that you're wanting to to change. So, for example, say, if you said, change management is something that I really want to work on, because that's a capability that I think I need to be more future ready great, well, then you can target your questions around that. So you can look at something like my favorite change management framework, which which is ADKAR awareness, desire, knowledge, ability reinforcement and there's a whole lot of stuff written about ADKAR and you can focus in on that and go, oh hang on, this is a framework that I could use and I could explore, or maybe it's. I want to look at emerging technologies and that's the thing that I want to explore, okay, great. Well then you can target towards particular podcasts you know that cover that technology or research institutions Like recently I've been spending some time looking at Imperial College London, who've done some incredible visualizations about emerging technologies and their potential impact on the future.

Speaker 4:

But if that's what you're wanting to grow a knowledge in, then that's a great place to start. So I would kind of I would be looking at it from the perspective of I try to go as wide as I can, but there will be periods of time, like at the moment, where there's a lot of focus on artificial intelligence. That's where I'll kind of zoom in a little bit more. But finding things that can help you in your search to reduce the scope of your search is probably the first thing, and having a clear understanding of your purpose is a really useful tool there and then not to totally count them on everything I just said, having stuff that's a little bit off the the piece as well, right? So, uh, finding things. If you're finding that you're very technically driven, maybe read some philosophy or some psychology or some theology, like read something different from what you're also reading, just to challenge yourself, to grow, because it's changing that aspect of your own learning mindset as well.

Speaker 1:

Love it. I like that. How was that for?

Speaker 4:

an answer. That was a tricky question, mate. It's a big question.

Speaker 1:

No, it was good because I was trying to ask you to give me a point and you were like I don't want to give you a spot.

Speaker 1:

I want it to be open. Find your own way, Find your own path. One thing that I really appreciate, because sometimes I have to go somewhere like where can I start? There's a group out there called the Do Book Company or the Do Book Co. And they have a whole bunch of stuff that's really interesting. So I kind of obsess over them and buy a whole bunch of them. But you know, like do interesting, it's about noticing, collecting like it's it's books and stuff like that that are not not at a point.

Speaker 1:

They're very open and they're just inspiring, and I like that. Um, for people like us who are in quite regulatory specific, you have to do it this way and this is the way you do it. It's really valuable for us to be, uh, around spaces that kind of tear at the edges a little bit and open us up a bit more to allow much, like you said allow us to test, try, fail, learn and see what happens, where normally we'd be afraid of that, because that's when you go to jail and we don't want to do that and we are going to go to jail people.

Speaker 1:

thanks, Andrew, it's time to start wrapping this baby up, Ellie, yes.

Speaker 2:

Andrew.

Speaker 1:

You've obviously been enjoying this conversation. I really have honestly I've been listening. I think you and I it's very, because normally you and I just talk crap for like half an hour 45.

Speaker 2:

We talk wonderful nuggets of gold for the whole time.

Speaker 1:

And I think that the two of us are relatively smart and we're kind of good, but it's rare that we get to have someone who is smarter than us on this conversation.

Speaker 2:

I know, I love it, I love it. You know what they say you shouldn't be the smartest person in the room, and I definitely wasn't today.

Speaker 1:

We're not the smartest person on the Zoom, that's for sure. But what's your takeaway, ellie? What is something you say? You know what? After that whole conversation? This is something that's just sat with me and something that you might take away and you might encourage the older, the older listeners something that really resonated with me is that tech is the catalyst.

Speaker 2:

Right it's. There's been so much change in our lifetime and before us and will be after us. But if we can see tech as the catalyst to bring us into that next level of change, I think that's the bit that excites me the most and that's the bit that's resonated with me the most. What about you?

Speaker 1:

yeah, no, I I mean there's just so much that I've kind of picked up there that it's I can see your brain swirling like I've gotten. I've gotten notes and I've got things.

Speaker 2:

It's like it's just it's. You need to give me one, one thing, all right I.

Speaker 1:

I think the way that that, that a lot of my thought process gone from here is not looking at the future as a point in time, but looking at it as an open-ended concept, and I think that's really important. Because in a business like us, I'm looking at what does the next financial year look like, we're looking at what does our next hire look like, we're looking at what does our clients need tomorrow, when are they going to go buy this house? And so we're constantly looking at a point that we have to deliver something. It's really important and valuable for us in our profession to have that.

Speaker 1:

If we don't have that, if we constantly live open-ended, we actually never get to a point of delivering a result and we actually can't communicate back to our clients why we're valuable and why we're helpful. But if we live that way through everything within our business, what it does is it caps what we can actually deliver. I can only do this for you because I only work to that point. But if I can be far more open-ended with what I'm looking at and how I'm thinking about things, I think what that does is that encourages that thought, innovation, change, approach within my firm and within my community, and that's what I love to see. It still sits on my LinkedIn tagline. I'm obsessed with the potential of our industry and I think the potential, if you don't have an end point, means that it is unlimited.

Speaker 2:

And I like that that's a mic drop moment. I think, we should thank James for his amazing contributions today. I've been so appreciative and so grateful and yes, I think it is Professor James Bergen, so thank you so much, james.

Speaker 4:

Well, thanks so much for having me team. I mean, it's been a genuine pleasure talking to you both, and I think that there's something where I'll leave you with one thought, if I can.

Speaker 4:

Please when we were talking about the future of accounting and where it heads and everything else, and I think that people thinking that accounting is about debits and credits and profit and loss and revenue and expense that's just the language of accounting, the tools of accounting. The nature of accounting is about relationships and trust and advice and guidance and being the person who people turn to, and I think in that world the potential is unlimited, because the future needs more of that more trust, more people who can help, and the fact that that's what accountants and bookkeepers are looking at and how they can do more of anything that can be done to support them in doing that is going to be beneficial for small businesses and the world. So keep it up, I say Preach it.

Speaker 1:

Yes, amazing. Now, james, if people did want to hit you up and have a chat and what kind of stuff, how do we find you?

Speaker 4:

yeah, sure, link linkedin. You can um find me there. That's probably where I'm most, uh, most visible.

Speaker 1:

Um, I think I'm on the other socials as well, but I think the the most um the one which gets updated the most is probably linkedin excellent and other than speaking at zero con that you just did at london, are you got anything else coming up that people might be able to see you in the flesh and hear you talk about stuff?

Speaker 4:

Well, we've got Zero Con in Nashville coming up, so if anyone's in the US Are you, ellie? Oh brilliant, there you go. We'll be able to geek out in person there, which will be great. How good, and there's a number of other things. So, yeah, I've been at Zero five years, but I've only been in this role five minutes, it feels like. So we me to be able to spend more time with um accountants, bookkeepers and small businesses.

Speaker 1:

so keep posted, and I'll post it on linkedin when, as as things line up, perfect well thank you, james, and we should probably also say thank you to zero as well for allowing james to join us on this podcast today. Um, ellie and I are both pretty big fans of what zero has done, is doing and will continue to do so. Thank you, j you Zero, thank you both. Thank you.

Speaker 3:

Wasn't that a fun adventure, my friends. Thank you so much, so incredibly much, for hanging out with us today. Ali, you've been amazing. Andrew, you've been all right. How good is it to be able to have adventures together.

Speaker 2:

It so is, and you know what. Keep following us. We are all over the socials at Accounting Adventures. Check us out on the website. Give us a bit of a like. You know how much we love that stuff.

Speaker 3:

The best thing about the adventure is the people that we do it with. So thank you so much for listening, thank you so much for hanging out with us, and please bring all the ideas. Keep, keep them coming. We can't wait to share more cool adventures with you.

Speaker 2:

We love you guys.

Exploring the Future With James
The Future Through a Different Lens
Embracing Purpose and Creating Solutions
Unleashing Innovation Through Technology
Embracing the Future With Optimism
Exploring AI and Future Technologies
Building a Future-Focused Accounting Firm
Navigating Future Knowledge and Innovation