Innovation

An accounting software roadshow was on in Melbourne a few days ago and the buzz in the conference rooms of hundreds of accountants and bookkeepers was pretty rowdy. You might be surprised that accountants can be as chatty and schmoozy as a room full of marketing and PR geniuses….they just can’t sustain it for long. So, we were all at our brightest and bubbliest and were looking around at the innovative products on display with a fair degree of optimism.

Most people who went to it came home and wrote blog posts, ear-bashed friends and family and were bursting to get in and bowl over their clients with the technology that would turn their businesses around. However I couldn’t help feeling that a lot of the innovation was actually just catching up to other accounting software (the addition of “quotes” to an accounting software is nothing new) or expanding one product to incorporate more elements so that another product is now obsolete. For example, inventory was now included in a product so you no longer needed an inventory add-on. There were innovations, such as, “now our software product can look up legal forms and precedents as well as send billing straight to the accounting software”. Well, that’s handy, that’s an improvement but for me that’s not truly innovative. I mean, couldn’t the lawyer just have billed through the accounting software?

Innovation, for me, was accounting software going to “the cloud”. The introduction of having an evolving software that did not need yearly updates but could be improved at any time. The introduction of collaboration; being able to work on the same problems at the same time as your accountant for example, while having a dialogue. What freedom to be able to solve problems together, while looking at the actual numbers, from wherever in the world you were!

For me, that was a leap, the rest are updates.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with improvements, and incremental change is an absolute necessity. As well, there is always a time for consolidation and ironing-out of little niggles.

Sometimes products are so good that tweaking is all that’s left to do.

But gosh I love a game-changer.