As an FCCA and member of CA ANZ, in addition to being the author of ‘Xero for Dummies’, she is not only a qualified accountant but also eminently knowledgeable on the subject of cloud accounting. Her journey into the digital world came from a simple need to do more with less; being able to multitask with digital tools allows her to manage a work life balance, and grow her client-base without physically expanding. She states:

“As a mother with two children at school, I recognised that between drop off and pick up I had five hours to work. If I worked at a client’s place, I had three hours. But if I could do it online, I had five hours. It made a significant difference in the availability of time that I could dedicate to earning money. My entire practice actually fits in my handbag. I realised that the more value there was in the service I offered, the higher the rate I could charge and the more money I could make. It was all about maximising the five hours available to me. I automate anything I can possibly automate. Whenever there’s a piece of technology out there that will streamline my workflow, that will make my life more effective and more efficient, and that can replace something that I’m doing manually, I’ll look to it and assess it. And if it’s economically viable and will save me time, I’ll adopt it. I’m always happy to pay for technology.”

Learning is also important to Heather, who sets small windows of time aside to learn all of the functionality and features of new software. And if something does not work the way she wants she will go back to the supplier and tell them what she wants, or go to her peers in the online forums and see if there is another solution:

“If you look at Xero, when that initially came out, it was a bit of a leap. I set myself up 15-minute chunked learning challenges so that every day, even though I was busy, I would pull out something, test it out, try it, and sort of push myself to learn it. And those 15 minutes built up, so I comprehensively learned the system inside and out.”

Finally, Heather discusses the true benefits of digitalisation to her clients, focusing on the real-time nature of the data and how this allows her to provide greater value by extracting much more meaning from the information available to her:

“With the shift to online accounting, we now have access to timely accurate data. We’re in such a better position because before that the data could be 18 months out of date. So we now have access to online real-time data with which we can make data-driven decisions. This leads to the creation of client ‘dashboards’ that extract business insights from the data into areas such as cash flow and projects. We may call them KPIs or goals or benchmarks. But these are things that actually matter to their business, that the business owner will understand, and that they can use to drive their business.”

ACCA is dedicated to supporting small and medium sized practices with the tools they need to enter the world of digitalised accounting. We understand the benefits of being able to do more with less, and the effect on your bottom line when every minute counts. By providing up-to-date information on the wave of digitalisation in our sector, you can make informed decisions and add real value to your business.