As many of you will be aware, I have just returned from a trip to Kuala Lumpur where I had been exhibiting at the World Congress of Accountants with E-conomic in my capacity as Advisory Board Chairman.
Travelling to the other side of the world was an interesting experience on many levels. Firstly, it was the first time that I had travelled so far East – Venice being my limit before now – so that in itself was a personal milestone. Secondly, I found the trip to be one of surprising inconsistencies. Having survived the long flight (in itself not as unpleasant as I had at first feared), I was surprised that, apart from the heat and humidity, everything was very familiar. Traffic drove on the left, everyone spoke English, the electricity system is the same as here and on walking through a major shopping centre to reach the convention centre, the first store I saw was Marks and Spencer! Weird!.
The WCOA is a major event that takes place every four years and was attended by 6000 accountants from literally all over the world – Monty Python would have had a field day! It was fascinating talking to accountants from, amongst others, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Ghana, India, Pakistan and of course Malaysia. Our stand was even visited by accountants from Mongolia! It was fascinating talking through the idea of Cloud Computing with so many accountants from such diverse backgrounds. The issues raised were the same, irrespective of the background and the various aspects of dealing with clients and processing their records in a cost efficient and timely manner was the same the world over. Who would have thought that accountancy would be the universal language!
The E-conomic delegation in itself was a representation of the true international nature of the application. Three of us attended – Anders Bornsbro from Denmark, Markus Aberg from Sweden and yours truly from the UK. In itself, it was a great opportunity to discuss amongst ourselves aspects of the system and the improvements etc that are in the pipeline.
As well as the delegates, we also had a great opportunity to talk to other exhibitors and had interesting meetings with International Accountancy Groups and associations. Talks with the Australian accountants was encouraging and there is considerable interest from South Africa and India.
However, the proverbial icing on the cake was our meeting with a major Malaysian firm of accountants who are members of a well known international group. They arranged a meeting for us on the last afternoon at their offices which was attended by their Director of Outsourcing, the firm’s managing partner and other senior members of their outsourcing team. With typical Malaysian efficiency, they had carried out considerable research into E-conomic and the product and the questions they put to us during the meeting were pertinent and to the point.
They were impressed by E-conomic and immediately saw the benefits for them and their clients. The result was that they are now trialling the system with a view to rolling it out to their client base. An impressive result by any standards and the continuation of E-conomic’s worldwide expansion!
What was interesting about this process was that, although questions were asked about data storage and security etc, there was none of the preconceived negativity that is so prevalent in the UK. I can do no better than concluding this blog with a direct quote from their email to us following the meeting:
“….I really appreciate both of you coming over despite your busy schedule. I have just spoken to my managing partner, and he is also excited on embarking on a paradigm shift on how accountants work. Cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) is no longer just a concept but the new way forward.”
No need to say anything more!