Xero has made a name for itself as a cloud accounting platform that continues to shape the industry. So it’s no wonder that three of our own have recently been ranked in a list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the industry, released by Accounting Today.

We asked the trio what has them most excited for the future of the profession. Here are their insights.

Xero US President, Russ Fujioka

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For the second year in a row, Russ Fujioka has been named as one of the most influential people in accounting. He tells how improvements in FinTech will see more accountants become trusted advisors for their clients.  

“There has never been a better time to be in the accounting field. Much of the excitement and investments in technology surround the accountant. SaaS companies like ourselves are but one cog that is building around the accountants. FinWeb, FinTech, SaaS solutions for the front office to back office integration,” he said.

“The requirements for IT have virtually gone away, and now businesses require a custodian of their workflow and data, this is the heart of the new role of the accountant. Accountants are the cool kids as they will continually make more and more business decisions for their clients and set up their workflows and their software and of course compliance.”

Xero Global Vice President, Education and Head of Accounting, USA, Amy Vetter

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Joining Russ on the list for a second year in a row, Amy Vetter tells how she’s excited to see more accounting firms go all-in on the cloud and expand their offerings globally.

“The amount of disruption currently occurring in the accounting industry is unprecedented. Millennials, in particular, are introducing the industry to a new way of working, as well as a new set of technology that is changing the way we do business.”

“From the client’s perspective, we’re able to move accounting professionals from “the person who does my taxes” to “the trusted business partner I can’t do without.” While there is a knowledge gap that needs closing, technology is driving new opportunities for accounting professionals and changing the future of our industry.”

“I’m also excited about the changes technology is creating when it comes to globalization. In the past, accounting professionals were constrained by geographical borders. With the cloud, an accountant in New York can service a small business in the UK just as effectively as they would someone in their own backyard. In this borderless tech world, accounting professionals are now rethinking how to market and sell services. With the right approach, opportunities for client prospects are borderless and available for firms of all sizes, not just the large firms anymore.”   

Xero Founder and CEO, Rod Drury

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The only person located outside the US named one of the top 10 people in public accounting, Rod Drury explained at Xerocon recently that the next phase of innovation in the sector will be driven by automation and machine learning.

“In the past 12 months, Xero has processed well over $1 trillion worth of transactions. It’s this vast data set that we’re putting to work to leverage AI and machine learning technology to automate more of the data processing tasks which weigh both accountants and small business owners down,” he said.

“We have the ability to use all this data to help small business owners access capital, make smarter business decisions and drive economic growth.

“At the heart of this change is a fundamental shift in the way financial services are created, delivered and managed. Before the power of open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), connected platforms and free-flowing data was realized, information was tightly held by institutions, making it difficult to understand a business’ true financial standing.

“For the past ten years, Xero has been establishing itself as a small business platform, connecting the dots between small businesses, their financial institutions, and enterprise. As a cloud accounting platform, Xero acts as a connector for the highly fragmented small business market, helping owners derive true value from their data. By providing a clearer picture of small business performance, new services can be provisioned, products accurately served, and compliance commitments met,” Rod said.

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