Having joined Dext just a few months ago as Chief Marketing Officer I was excited to attend my first trade show with the team, the Accountex Summit in Manchester. It was a mix of eye-opening insights, meaningful connections, and an immersive exploration into what lies ahead for the accounting world. As a newcomer to both Dext and the Accounting industry, I wanted to share some of my highlights and key takeaways.
Meeting Dext Customers: A Personal Connection
One of the most rewarding aspects of the event was meeting Dext partners in person for the first time. I’ve been a Dext Prepare customer for a long time, even before joining the company. However, seeing our product through the eyes of accountants and bookkeepers brought a whole new level of understanding and appreciation. Hearing firsthand how our solutions are empowering them to better serve their clients was heartwarming, and it really brought home just how important a role accountants and bookkeeping professionals play for their clients.
The Dext Team: A Community of Innovators
I was also impressed (but not surprised) by the expertise and passion displayed by the Dext team. Whether it was discussing the intricacies of data extraction or the insights Dext can provide to a firm or a business, the team’s depth of knowledge and enthusiasm was evident. It’s clear that we’re not just a company; we’re a community of professionals committed to elevating the accounting industry.
AI: Beyond Science Fiction
Before joining Dext I was CMO at an AI scale-up, so I was particularly interested in the conversations surrounding artificial intelligence in accountancy. Another highlight was seeing Ben Smith from our product marketing team join an AI panel with the ACCA, ICB, FreeAgent, and IRIS to discuss whether AI was going to be ‘the end of accounting as we know it’.
I had three main takeaways:
• AI is already changing the way accountants and bookkeepers work. Dext alone uses AI and Machine Learning to process 350m plus documents a year. If you’re using Dext, you’re using AI.
• The profession as a whole needs to develop guardrails for the use of AI in some workflows. It’s a new space for accountancy, but there is a clear need for accountants and bookkeepers to reconcile their use of AI with the duty of care to clients, and their own risk and indemnity policies.
• Technology developers like Dext need to understand the consequences of AI applications at a product experience level. We need to find the balance between productivity, visibility of where and when AI is being used, and accountability measures for users.
The discussions were not just cursory overviews but deep dives into how AI already can, and will revolutionise various aspects of accounting. The accounting profession has had to develop a robust attitude to change and technology adoption, and it’s going to be fascinating to see how AI improves existing workflows.
Special Sessions: Thought Leadership in Action
One of the standout moments was watching Dext’s Paul Lodder lead a session alongside Katherine O’Carroll, Director of Technology Advisory at BDO, Unlocking Efficiency: Lessons learnt from a successful accounting automation journey. The insights shared were invaluable, and it was a fantastic opportunity to see thought leaders in action, discussing real-world applications and challenges in accounting. Their advice was to view accountancy technology, and the adoption of automation it requires, as a collaborative journey. Developers and accounting & bookkeeping professionals can work together so that ultimately, technology advances bring the best possible outcomes to firms and their clients.
Looking Ahead: The Journey Continues
As I reflect on the Accountex Summit, I’m filled with excitement for what’s to come. I’m particularly looking forward to my next Dext event, Quickbooks Connect in Las Vegas this November. If the Accountex Summit is any indication, it promises to be another incredible experience filled with learning, networking, and innovation.
Attending the Accountex Summit was a fantastic introduction to the Dext partner community and accounting ecosystems. From meeting our wonderful customers to discussions about AI, the event was a treasure trove of learning and networking opportunities.
I’m already proud to be a part of the Dext team and am looking forward to contributing to this community in the months and years to come.
Emily Westgate, CMO at Dext