The Back Room founding director, Wayne Findlay, recently had the opportunity to hear disruptive strategist, Shawn Kanungo, speak at the 2019 Xerocon in San Diego. Shawn’s eye-opening and innovative perspective on the future of accounting inspired us to seriously consider how disruptive innovation impacts accounting as a profession.

We thought we’d share our findings with you, so here’s a quick breakdown of disruptive innovation and the key ways it impacts accountants today.

What is disruptive innovation?

Disruptive Innovation was first proposed by Harvard professor, Clayton M Christensen. The theory describes how an innovation may transform an existing industry, market or sector where complication and high cost are the current norm by offering simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability.

What does disruptive innovation look like today?

Today the world is experiencing the fastest rate of innovation and change ever seen. Technology is making the irrelevant relevant, and the opportunities for businesses to innovate are endless. With smart phones in every pocket, individuals have all the information they could possibly need at their disposal, and new technologies, tools, products and services are being developed at an unprecedented rate. These disruptive innovations are shaking the foundations of more traditional business models and practices but offering innumerable opportunities to those businesses willing to adapt.

The mindset every accountant needs

Shawn Kanungo presented the idea of an “exponential accountant”, someone who’s “focused on capabilities, automation, experimentation and using ecosystems around us”, and this is the mindset every accountant needs today. In order to adapt, stay current, and find enormous success in the exponential age, we need a different mindset.

The rate at which things are changing is faster than the human brain is designed to keep up with, and embracing an open mindset can help us to keep pace with innovation and new technologies evolving around us.

How accounting firms can stay in the game

With the introduction of new technologies and tools such as Xero, the accounting profession has changed for good. However this time of exponential change has only just begun.

Shawn Kanungo believes that when Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finally introduced to many industries it will be “one of the greatest things to happen to accountants”. While AI will certainly change the accounting landscape, it will bring with it the opportunity for accountants to focus their efforts almost purely on the human side of business, the side that matters. Working together with clients, customers and employees, accountants will offer a true 21st century product.

Experimentation and an exponential mindset is ultimately the way forward, for when companies dive into experimentation, a culture of innovation is created which can transform your business.

Using Xero as a gateway to the exponential age

Accountants can use Xero as a tool to innovate on top of. Shawn Kanungo believes that the individual is now the most powerful entity on the planet because “we have everything at our fingertips” with tools and technology readily available and instantly accessible. Xero is the prime tool for accountants to access this exponential age of innovations, as the beauty of Xero is that it gives you the foundation and platform to innovate on top of it.

At The Back Room, we specialise in using innovative technologies and models such as Xero and Business Process Outsourcing to help accounting firms adapt. To learn more, read about us.

Find out more about disruptive innovation

Big ideas at Xerocon San Diego

Xerocon inspiration from keynote speakers

Shawn Kanungo at Xerocon (video)

Shawn Kanungo at TEDx (video)

Related Articles