Last month, City Dynamics once again returned to the London ExCeL exhibition centre to take part in Accountex 2018, the UK’s largest expo dedicated to all things accounting. Attending last year’s expo had been a fantastic opportunity to gain some crucial insight into what the hot topics were for accountants, as well as for executives from the financial services and professional services industries.
This year provided much of the same insight, with the bonus of being able to demonstrate the powerful functionality of Microsoft’s new flagship ERP solution, Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Whilst we learned a great deal, we wanted to share just a few key insights we gained from the conversations we had with accountants and other companies at our stand, as well as through discussions we held with other partners and exhibitors who attended the event.
1. Making Tax Digital was a major priority
Ever since the initiative was made public in 2017, accountants and professionals in both financial and professional services have put a strong focus on Making Tax Digital.
In the government’s own words, the scheme aims to “make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs - meaning the end of the annual tax return for millions.”
As such, it makes sense that so many of the accountants and organisations we engaged with, who watched our Dynamics 365 Business Central product demo, asked if the solution could assist with their journey towards compliance with Making Tax Digital.
With a deadline of April 2019, it’s no surprise that many are eager to know if and where they can find a solution that will support them with this important change. Fortunately, Microsoft are again one step ahead; they have already announced that Business Central will provide some essential tools to ensure end-users are able to comply with Making Tax Digital.
2. Accountants trust in Business Central
When Microsoft announced that their long-standing on-premise ERP solution, Dynamics NAV, would be succeeded by Business Central later this year, many existing users were understandably sceptical. Many accountants and other financial and professional services companies had been relying on NAV’s powerful ERP function for some time. However, once they took the time to explore what Business Central could offer through our interactive demos at Accountex, their concern turned to enthusiasm.
Many of those who engaged with our Business Central demos were instantly familiar with its overall design and functionality, recognising its similarity with popular Microsoft interfaces with which they were already accustomed. As well as this, those we spoke to were impressed by the new features and benefits provided by Business Central. As everything is based in the cloud, Business Central can speed up business processes through automation and, with its multiple integration capabilities, help teams collaborate better in a secure environment. All in all, it was a great opportunity to confirm what we at City Dynamics already knew, that Business Central truly is the perfect solution for both accountants and their financial services and professional services clients.
3. GDPR is having a direct impact on what people expect from their solutions
Perhaps one of the biggest themes at this year’s Accountex was GDPR, the EU’s new personal data regulation that came into force on 25 May. Right away, it was clear to see that there still existed a great deal of uncertainty surrounding exactly how to remain compliant under GDPR’s new requirements. Many speakers addressed GDPR in their presentations and again, during our Business Central demos, several raised the question of whether Business Central could help end-users remain compliant.
As we explained in our own series of blogs which break down the multiple facets of GDPR, Microsoft have been committed to ensuring their solutions provide end-users with all the tools necessary to remain compliant with GDPR, from data erasure to subject access . To this end, Business Central is no different. Many of those who we provided with demonstrations of Business Central were impressed to see how easy it was to ensure that personal data was only recorded and held when it was strictly necessary, as well as the helpful guides Microsoft produced to help the users of is solutions remain compliant.
Overall, Accountex 2018 provided some fresh insight into the world of accountancy, as well as challenges and opportunities faced by the professional and financial services industries at large. We really enjoyed speaking with everyone who came to our stands to watch our Business Central demos. It was great to have the chance to show Business Central’s impressive range of capabilities to accountants we knew could really benefit from its fantastic ERP functionality. You can be sure that we will be at Accountex 2019 to do it all over again!