Rome is where the heart is

Posted: 3 Nov '23
Rome is where the heart is

Rome is where the heart is

Aaah, holidays – the ultimate escape. Until that inevitable moment when you crack open your laptop, and there it is, the daunting backlog waiting for your attention. Let us face it, switching off the "work mode" during a vacation is easier said than done. But once you have successfully flipped that mental switch, transitioning back into the "working mode" upon your return can be quite the challenge. While I missed all of you, I can confidently say that I did not miss the looming BAS deadlines on the horizon!

However, my recent journey taught me more than just the locations of the best rooftop bars. It illuminated the exceptional strides Australia has made in cloud-based accounting. While many nations have evolved beyond paper ledgers, there remain distinct variations in accounting and bookkeeping practices across the globe. Recent research has categorized these practices into three major groups: first, the Australian and New Zealand model, closely followed by the US and its influenced nations, and then the developing countries.

In my personal opinion (now backed by solid research), I have to agree with the notion of separating Australian and New Zealand practices from the rest of the world. We seem to be ahead of the curve, particularly in the integration of cloud-based accounting systems. And if you suspect any bias in my assessment, consider this: in 2020, a whopping 80.4% of Australian businesses were using cloud-based accounting software. In contrast, only 58% of US businesses had adopted such systems, and Europe lagged even further behind at 41%. Numbers do not lie.

While I was busy savouring delectable pasta dishes, I could not help but wonder why some European countries still rely on paper tax returns. It baffles me that Italian tax returns and financial information are not readily accessible online, a practice now commonplace for most Australians.

This revelation raises questions about our nation. What makes Australia so adept at embracing cloud-based technology in our accounting practices? According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Australia is renowned for being a nation of early adopters, ranking first in the world for the skills needed to use and adopt frontier technologies. It might also have something to do with the fact that New Zealand and Australia were among the first countries to embrace Xero software in the early 2000s. There could be multiple reasons, but I like to think that we simply recognize a good thing when we see it.

Enough with the heavy statistics, let us look ahead. While Australian businesses may lead the way in advanced accounting software, the rest of the world is catching up. Cloud-based software like Xero is expected to become the primary choice for accounting and bookkeeping practices over the next decade. As more countries integrate it into their business processes, we should keep an eye out for the innovations that will further streamline our accounting practices. I predict that accounting and bookkeeping will become a lot "smarter" in the coming decade. Who knows, maybe if we wait long enough, AI will be completing our BAS for us, and we will not return from leave feeling so stressed!

Keep going and stay ‘Appy!

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