Our latest Accountex speaker Q&A features Dominic Allon, VP Europe at Intuit QuickBooks (and a former MD at Google Hong Kong).
What are your favourite early career memories?
Joining a start-up straight out of university! We had a great team and built a really successful business publishing local city guides for students across the UK.
How did you get into this business??
After the start-up, I did an MBA and then moved on to work for The Economist. My next role was at Google UK, managing media agency partnerships. I also did a lot of work with the government and advertising trade bodies to expand self-regulation to digital advertising. After seven years in the UK business, I moved to Google Hong Kong as managing director.
I joined Intuit because I saw fantastic opportunities to serve small businesses, and enable their success. QuickBooks gives them more confidence and helps them better understand their business. It’s a real privilege to serve the small business community and support start-ups in Britain.
Alongside the small business community, and just as important, we also work closely with accountants. We help them navigate the digitisation of their firms to better serve their clients.
What can accountants and finance professionals learn from Intuit QuickBooks, in a nutshell!?
First, we aim to help them keep up with the pace of change in technology, and make it easy for them to harness the power of new ways of working. Secondly, we place small businesses and accountants right at the heart of our business. We want to develop products that help them make smarter financial decisions, and enable accountants to continue to grow their practice.
Does the idea of information overload concern you?
Many of us need to navigate large volumes of data. This is a critical skill in today’s world. The key is having the right tools in place to collect and analyse data, and turn that data into actionable insights. In the digital age, not everyone should need a computer science degree to understand the data presented to them. We want to take away the pain of data mining, and empower accountants to use real-time customer insights to make smarter decisions, and in turn, become their trusted advisers.
What’s on the horizon for you and the sector?
As the UK continues to see a significant upturn in self-employment, with self-employed workers now accounting for 15 per cent of all people in work, accountants are taking on more self-employed clients than ever before. This next generation of entrepreneurs has grown up with technology playing a natural part of their lives. We will continue to innovate and invest in R&D to help empower our customers and enable them to turn insights into action, to drive long-term growth.
As an influential voice, what impact do you want to have on the industry this year and in the long run?
We want QuickBooks to be the ‘smarter’ way to do business. Accountants are critical partners in our ecosystem, both enabling self-employed and small business success. 89% of small businesses we talk to say that they are more successful when working with an accountant. Our ecosystem is stronger with a robust accountant network, and we will build applications and services to help them thrive and connect with our self-employed and small business customers.
Two of the key challenges accountants face are finding new clients to grow their business and managing their practice efficiently through a variety of applications. Long-term, we’re striving to solve both pain points with a simple vision: QuickBooks will be the one place for accountants to grow and manage their entire practice.
We are committed to continued innovation to help our accountant customers prepare for the rise of a new wave of workers.
What are your expectations for Accountex 2018?
We always look forward to Accountex. It’s a great way for us to meet ambitious and thriving accountants as well as get together with our accountant customers to catch up on their priorities, whether it’s about on-boarding new customers, or the ways technology is helping them become a trusted adviser. We can’t wait to see what this year has in store!
What key questions should accountants be asking vendors when looking for new products and services at the show?
The key here is how the products and services will impact their relationship with clients. What is the improved experience for both parties? How will it help them collaborate better? How easily and quickly can the product adapt to a rapidly changing market?
With a lot of unknowns in the world right now, how can an accountant best manage difficult questions from their clients?
Accountants should stay well-informed about industry trends and changes, seeking further insight from independent sources and industry leaders. When presented with difficult questions from their clients, they can offer a balanced view using their knowledge, but also provide their counsel where relevant.
Who has inspired you most in the industry?
I’m inspired by the accountants and small business owners that I meet every day. When I speak to accountants, their sole mission is to serve their customers and genuinely improve their lives – and that’s what makes the difference to small business growth. That’s a quality which I greatly admire.
SEE DOMINIC AT ACCOUNTEX 2018
For session details and timings, please visit: www.accountex.co.uk/speaker/dominic-allon.
To register for a free ticket to attend, please visit https://eventdata.uk/Visitor/Accountex.aspx?TrackingCode=ACX108.